Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's Raining! Now what?

So it's raining here. It actually rains A LOT here! I have heard it rains more here than in Seattle!I believe it! It makes doing any routine thing outside a real challenge!It also throws me off with trying to ride or work my horses regularly.The only consolation about that is that most horse people in this area are in the same boat (no pun intended) as me! Unless of course they are blessed to own or have access to an indoor arena or covered pen.

Later today I am scheduled to take a my 3rd lesson on the flag at Steve Foley's place. HE has a covered pen so I am in luck!Of course I will have to load,drive and tack up in the rain but we're just about used to that since every time I go to Steve's it is RAINING!

I thought today would be a good time to fill you in on the some of the riding I HAVE been able to do this year that I feel is helping me to reach my goal.

In January of this year,my best friend Kim and I drove up to Madison,MS. to ride with Tom McBeath.No not the Tom McBeath from Stargate or The Watchmen,the horse trainer! He's a card holding judge for AQHA,APHA,and NSBA and has traveled around the world to judge the big shows.He's also trained several horses and exhibitors to the top level of their disciplines. Here's a link to his place: Anyways we picked THE COLDEST week of the year to ride with him! We all were bundled up in 5 layers from head to toe and rode ALL DAY long! At 11 am it was maybe 30 degreesF! Crazy! At any rate it was a great experience! Excluding of course the first evening I rode and I felt I had no riding experience,and had no reason to be on a horse! But after that it was much better!

We worked on getting Hayden to be soft and SLOW, which meant I had to slow my movements and thoughts WAY down! Tom kept telling us: "It's not a timed event!" What Kim and I tried to explain to him was that we were MOMS! Everything is a timed event!
And this was all over just picking up our reins, not even about walking!In fact we didn't get to jog until the second day!

We had the most fun picking on Tom when he wasn't around. Giggling back at the hotel as we repeated in our best Tom voice:"SLOWWWWWWWW. EASYYYYYYY." And our favorite: "Whooooooa." Writing this really does it NO justice whatsoever!

By the 3rd day,Hayden and I were jogging around great with head down like we were ready for a pleasure class! Ok maybe not that slow or consistent but we had great improvement! We even managed a few quiet walk to canter transitions withOUT catapulting into the air first!But we were far from great.We were destined to return to the land of "Whoooa-dom".In my own little dream world I think if we could just stay for several months in a row we might have half a chance of speeding this whole process up. But then I remember that I have a life back home and realize that will never happen...

I returned for a few more days in July of this year. Probably the HOTTEST days of the year there. This time I went by myself and so no one was able to get pics of me riding.But it was another great time and we showed some improvement from the last visit! We even bumped Hayden up into a shanked snaffle and are working towards riding in one hand. Baby steps. Our finesse is what Tom said we were working on!

If you ever get to ride with someone like Tom whose timing and "feel" are so much better than your own,you will be amazed and humbled. I love riding there and having the opportunity to learn so much! Lord knows I still have A LOT to learn!

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