Thursday, February 2, 2012

Moments of Clarity

I get off early from work and zip my way home making the decision in my head that dinner will be whatever I can throw together quickly or as my husband calls them "Fend for Yourself" nights where each of us is responsible for finding our own dinner.

The day is warm and dry, a rare combination these days. I get home, change, grab my new boots that I am still breaking in and my new helmet that I love, then let the dogs out.  Agate, the six month old Bull Terrier makes mad circles around me as I head for the door then bursts off the porch and in to the backyard like the bullet I sometimes call him.  Georgia makes a more stately jog down the porch then sprawls rolling and rubbing her shaggy Golden Retriever coat in to the grass.

In the five minutes that has taken me Seneca has emptied half the water from the water trough that I left to fill while I was in the house liberally splashing herself and then rolled. I mentally tack on an extra ten minutes for grooming then head over to take out all my gear before going to catch my bay drama queen.

When she sees me coming Seneca retreats to the furthest corner of the pasture because she thinks I can't see her down there. I fool her by making a fuss over Cowboy and pretending to feed him things from my palm when what he actually doing is licking the salt he tastes there. She comes halfway back and I clip on the lead line before she can walk off again.

I had set up the same exercise that C. was teaching me in the lesson although a shortened version as I don't have as many poles to work with. Seneca and I warm up at the trot and it is here that she is calm, I am chest up, heels down, leg secure, and the slightest tightening of leg and rein have her turning, circling moving as if there is a mental connection between us. It is in these moments in this clarity between us, that I have never felt before, that I feel as if I really am a rider. I feel as if were someone to take a picture of this moment I would look like Karen O'Connor, or Sinead Halpin, or Kim Severson or even some great professional dressage rider. I don't feel as I do most of the time that I am a child struggling to keep up with the adults who seem to know so much. I feel in those moments that I really could get to Beginner Novice this year.

We practice cantering and she is softer today, easier. On the left lead she even deigns to give me the canter depart from the walk something she has never done. The right is a bit harder for her, or rather my aids aren't as good and we struggle with it but get it in the end.

Then before the sun falls so far that it would be dangerous we canter the poles on the ground aiming for softness and rythym. Seneca gives me both on the third pass and I dismount to set the pole on to my Bloks so that it is raised as if it were a cavaletti. We canter this too and the first time through she puts her head down, rushes it and is flat.  I circle and we come back to it. I ask for more canter this time and give Seneca her head as we cross the first pole.  She is still quick but softer, she thumps the rail behind and half of it is knocked from its cradle in the Blok.  I end the ride there as the sun is going down and it will soon be dark, too dark to see. Always when I think of that I am reminded of a song whose words I stole. Guns N'Roses wasn't the orignal artist but Axel Rose's voice is the one I hear when I think of the song.

I untack carefully putting boots and helmet back in their respective carrying cases then put the chain lead shank on Seneca. I haven't loaded her in the trailer in a few weeks and I need to remind her that trailer loading is not a request, it's an order.  She steps on after me, no hesitation, only obedience and I sigh with relief. It has taken a long, hard year to get her back to this point. Thank you Kim Clark for giving me back my horse who I had lost somewhere behind the drama queen who has no respect for me or trailers.

I reblanket the High Queen as it is going to rain tonight then turn her loose in the driveway to graze on the often untouched by horses grass that grows there.  She dives at it as there is no grass in the back pasture at this time of year and the pickings in the side pasture are sparce. I put all my gear back then put Seneca back out in the pasture before feeding her and Cowboy and saying goodnight.

Another day is almost over. I go to bed early during the week so that I will not be a zombie at work. I'm thinking of taking Seneca to a trail ride this weekend and then maybe schooling at E.'s on Sunday if the weather is good. We'll see. I need more poles I think as I am trying to send myself to sleep. More poles for more jumps. And then I fall to sleep.

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