Saturday, October 27, 2012
I dropped by the barn for a last ride before heading off on a business trip. As Sug had seen the inside of the indoor ring a lot this past week it seemed like a good time to take her out to one of the neighboring fields for some playtime.
I could tell as soon as we headed away from the barn that she agreed. She tossed her head and trotted right off with her ears pricked, letting off the occasional snort. Her trot was big and free and powerful, and she felt amazing.
You know how Hunter/Jumper guru George Morris often bemoans the fact that today's junior riders don't seem to have any experience riding outside a ring, or on anything other than perfectly manicured surfaces? Holy cow, was I feeling the truth of that today!
Riding out over terrain is HARD! It requires a completely different balance. Honestly, I felt like I did the very first time I ever tried to post the trot - I was all over the place. Sug must've thought she was carrying a very heavy sack of potatoes. We trotted around that field for what must've been 15 minutes before I felt like I had some sense of balance. Don't even ask me about our trot down the hill! All I can say is that I had a tremendous amount of respect for eventers before today's excercise, and I have even more now.
So Sug trotted, and I worked on my balance in the two point, trying to allow my heels and knees to absorb the shock. I let her move out into a canter, and she was clearly thrilled, tossing her head and squealing with equine joy. I'm not afraid to say tell you I grabbed a little mane. She is the Sainted Mare, but you can't be too careful, and I had a plane to catch. She had a few "moments of joy" and threw in a couple exuberant hops, but true to form she didn't throw me anything I couldn't handle, bless her big ol' heart.
I'm so glad we had this play day. I had a great workout and learned a lot. Sug had a chance to stretch her muscles and enjoy herself. She was clearly energized by our excursion -- her walk on our way back was enormous and swing, and she let out repeated snorts of satisfaction.
Talk about a win-win! After our post-ride grooming session I put her back out in her field with Cookie and then left for the airport smelling like horse and happy as heck.
Happy horse. Happy horse-Mom. All good!