Weekend Update

Friday was a nasty day when it comes to weather.  Most of the day we were hit with wet rain/snow that reminded us that the winter we never really had isn’t quite over.  For fear of dangerous driving conditions, my boss let me out early… so naturally I went to the barn!

Typically I don’t get to see Bentley on Fridays because of my lessons at Myrddin.  I think he appreciated the fact that I came however, it doesn’t seem like he enjoys being wet.  He simply adored having me fawn over him and was quiet and melted in my hands as I dried him and scratched his forehead.  Poor guy looked so pathetic:

We had a nice quiet ride in the ring since the kids weren’t off school yet.  Crisper, the black barn cat trotted into the ring while we were trotting around.  I have never introduced him to a cat before, so naturally I slowed him, expecting the worst.  Crisper jumped up on the mounting block and sat there, so I decided to bring Bentley over to sniff him.  Well he got his nose right in there with interest in the cat, the cat proceeded to butt his head into Bentley’s nose with affection, so Bentley buried his nose deep into the cat’s fur.  It didn’t stop there, Crisper started rubbing all over Bentley’s face and wrapping his tail around B’s nose.  This was followed by Bentley gently nibbling up and down the cat’s spine… loud purrs ensued and the happy cat was our new best friend.

It was unbelievable, I expected it of Crisper, who often plays with the horses and will sit on their backs, but I was not expecting Bentley to give affection to the cat.  And this is the horse who is terrified of the miniature ponies?  I wish I had a video or even a witness, it was the cutest thing ever!

My lesson at Myrddin was difficult.  I jumped the hardest course I have ever attempted.  The hardest part about it was the tight turns, combined with skinny and tall jumps.

So if you are following, it was a liverpool crossrail, rollback to a green gate/vertical (2’6″) squeeze through tiny space and to a skinny 2’9″ gate vertical (I did a terrible turn here, LBH saved me with a great jump even though I made a bad corner and we didn’t have enough speed for the height) around the outside and into the centre to another skinny gate 3′, then back around the outside and a 2’6″ vertical to oxer 1 stride combo.  I have to say, I have NEVER done anything like that before, and I was lucky to have such an eager jumper beneath me.  Remember, this ring is quite small! For example that first rollback, I think I counted 4-5 strides from land to jump, and here we had to make a 270 degree turn!  I had a lot of fun but need a lot more practise looking towards the next jump.

After our lesson, Barb (one of the other riders in my lesson) made a comment that she was really impressed about how quickly I improved, and was a bit jealous of my ability to take the coach’s advice and apply the correction so quickly.  I suppose I have always been a quick and easy learner, I didn’t have to study half as much as my peers through school.  I think I have found what my #1 skill is, and lucky me… I can use it for anything!  I cant believe the progress that I have made in the last year.  I have learned under a few different coaches, and always seem to connect well.  It really encourages me to keep going with lessons, I am seeing such tremendous value in them! 

My greatest teacher still remains my partner and teammate, Bentley.  If you want to learn how to ride a horse, the first person you must listen to is your HORSE!  He is constantly telling me what he needs and wants, and I must ensure I listen.  Horses are incredibly honest, and will never ask for more than they need or deserve.

We rode on Saturday, just a light ride, with my friend Heather.  When it comes to a relationship between horse and rider, I greatly look up to her and Rurik.  As life grows within Heather, I have noticed how in touch her gelding is with her needs.  In fact, for our ride she said “lets take it easy today, I’m just going to ride bareback.”  What an incredible display of trust and love!  Even as she had some trouble mounting (due to belly restrictions from her coat and jeans!) he stood patiently with a loving expression in his eye.  Beautiful!

Bentley was good too, he must have caught good vibes from Rurik, because even as sheets of ice slid from the roof in the scary arena, there was no spooking.  I rode him the entire time on the buckle (at the end of the reins) and he would stop, turn, and bend with only a gentle wiggle of the reins.  This was our first “fun” ride we have ever had, where i was not trying to teach him anything, but just enjoying his company.  He certainly deserved it, and performed his best ever even though we were only walking, a big step forward in our trust.  Soon enough we will be ready to leave the arena in favour of a hack!

The days were my typical weekend story.  I worked at the other barn and herded cats during the day.  I got a good photo of a bunch of them trying to squeeze into one cat bed:

And Dori taking a nice nap in the hay wheelbarrow:

And on my lunch breaks, I had time for nice naps with my kitty Abbey:

Linda was nice enough to take a list and some money to the Rockton Tack Swap Sunday and brought me back some interesting finds.  A nice step stool with a grooming caddy built in (and hot pink to boot!) A nice new girth for my all purpose saddle, a fly mask and some brushes.  Also a halter with neon yellow reflective strips on it.  Yes, neon does seem to be my theme!  Tack swaps always seem like Christmas but better!  I cant wait to try everything out.  Not sure if I will be at the barn tonight… there is a free seminar at Bahrs I have been considering.  Hmm, which will win… I guess we will see how I feel come 6:30!

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