|What James looked like before we pulled |
his mane. The Equine Cousin It.
Tonight we both worked on one of the no stirrups exercises from Kate Benson's article in the latest issue of Practical Horseman. After all, if you lose a stirrup it's a pretty good thing to be able to pick it up without losing your balance or yanking on your horse's mouth. So we worked at dropping and then picking them up, first at the walk and then a teensy bit at the trot. Let me say this about that: Easier said than done. My ankles are cement blocks, so being able to just raise my toes and pick up my stirrup is about as easy as, well, flying. Without an airplane.
After my no stirrup fun I concentrated on my two point, relaxing through my knees and sinking into my heels. My goal was to work on getting my ankles to act as shock absorbers and using my legs more to tell Sug where to go. I read somewhere (or heard somewhere) that you should be able to do everything in the two point that you can do in a full seat, so I've been practicing. This, too, is harder than you might think. Trust me. I find myself trying to keep my balance, and then I shift my legs to ask her to circle and Whoops! There goes the balance and I've got a mouth full of mane. I'm getting a bit better. I've noticed that as I do more of this, I find my legs work more independently of each other and my other parts. For example, before as I'd come around a turn to a fence my trainer would always tell me to add more outside leg. I thought I was using plenty of leg before, but I can tell the difference now, and my trainer doesn't tell to add outside leg as often.
After our ride I showed Noah how to pull James' mane, which James was not thrilled about. However, I found he handled like a big boy as long as we fed him the occasional peppermint and sang James Taylor's Sweet Baby James to him. We topped the evening off with a stop at Cold Stone Creamery for a Hot For Cookie and then watched some of the Westminster Dog Show.
Not a bad night, right?