Sunday, May 15, 2011

Renee Says Relax... and Royal Listens

Oh what an interesting few days it's been.

Friday was my last final (O Chem) so what did I do? Of course. I went riding. And it was not a good one. Royal was very hyper and distracted, and I just could not hold his attention. He seemed fine on the ground, but not in the saddle. I spent an hour trying to get him to synchronize with me, to no avail. Partial disengagement, figure-8s, transitions, nothing worked. This depressed me greatly, and I could just see all of my summer goals fading away.

Saturday, winter came back for a visit. An unwanted visit, but not we could do about it. I was working at the clinic all morning and a good part of the afternoon, despite my finger's protests. I ran into a Parelli student, and made some observations about perceptions of Parelli vs. "normal" people that I'll talk about later. But I had no idea how I was going to be able to re-kindle my synchronicity with Royal. What to do.

Today I went up of the farm intending to do whatever it took, as long as it took, to help Royal relax. And, wouldn't you know it, a bit of partial disengagement turned the hyper block of wood into butter. Royal was so soft and relaxed, so I started trotting. A little excessive speed, but not a lot. We do some more PD, and he gives me a trot that could win a Pleasure class, both directions. Right lead canter, no problems. Left lead, a little fast for two strides, but then he settled into a nice relaxed canter.

I had no idea what to do with myself. Here'd I had the intention of spending hours helping my horse relax, only to have him relaxed in 15 minutes. So, I did something I've been aching to do for months: jumping. I set up our favorite starter grid (pole to cross-rail) and that was no problem. After three passes, added another cross-rail 18' away. Three more perfect passes. Turn the second cross-rail into a 2' vertical. No problems.

At this point I was feeling confident, so I did something I have never done before: I raised the vertical to 2'6". Now, I had never jumped 2'6" in my life. 2'3" a few times, but never any higher. Royal's jumped higher plenty of times, but with my feet firmly on the ground. After mounting back up, we tried the grid again. I felt Royal add more power, which felt quite cool. He seemed to jump in a more "heavy" manner: I could really feel feel him land, which is not usually the case. At 2' and below, he seems to float over the jumps and land like a duck. I didn't know if the heavier landing was due to the increased height of the jump or the short distance I was making him take. But either way, we had many wonderful leaps over that jump and I hopped off a very happy human. Royal got a nice roll in the dirt, the crumbles from the cookies (which he loves), and a nice long grazing session.

Oh, and the field boots are currently doing very well with the addition of the gel ankle bands. Felt very comfortable today and didn't get in the way of jumping, unlike other tall boots I've worn. I think they're keepers. :D

Royal in Bayfield, 2006.

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