Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Coming up roses

Sorry (again) for my lack of posts lately. I've been busy, busy, busy. In fact, this afternoon I'm posting before I work because otherwise I won't, and then I'll never say what I've been wanting to say.

I can't believe how well everything has been going lately. The things I was worried about seem to be resolving themselves. Panama has been sooooo good lately; I'd almost forgotten what it's like to ride him when he's not constantly ready to explode. And things are going GREAT with my trainer, which is a relief after the concerns I had.

On Monday, I rode Panama in the indoor for the first time in a couple weeks (the last time being the perfect ride I blogged about). Michael came with me, since he had the day off. There was surprisingly not too much going on at the barn that day — one girl was blow drying her horse in the cross ties just outside the arena entrance, and another couple brought their horse in toward the end of the ride.

It was, however, quite sunny outside, so the roof was dripping from Sunday's snow. Panama was sure that the jump standards in the corner was making this strange noise. He was clearly nervous about it, and was doing his speed-walk for a while, but he eventually calmed down nicely. Unfortunately, right about the time I was thinking we could finally move on to something else, Michael was wanting to leave, so I only made a couple of passes at the trot.

Yesterday I had a session with my trainer — her day to ride. She got on Panama in the outdoor arena, and he was so good that within the first ten minutes they had walked, trotted, and cantered. She praised him like crazy, then told me that she was pretty much done. "If he's being this good, I want YOU to be on him," she said, and gave me a lesson instead of working with him herself.

She is having me practice my two-point quite a bit, in preparation for cantering (which she wants me to do in the two-point at first). She was having me trot Panama in a serpentine in the two-point, and pushing me to go longer and longer without a walk break (I'm kind of a wimp). Around one of the turns of the serpentine, I could feel that Panama was wanting to speed up. Once I was sure that he had cantered (albeit tentatively) for two strides, but my trainer said she didn't see it. But after a couple more times around, he did canter for a couple of strides. I didn't panic or lose my balance, just scolded him a little ("Hey") and pulled him back down into a trot. My trainer said I handled it very well, and said that if it happened again when she wasn't there, she knew I could handle it without her.

My trainer was really pleased, and said I could canter on him again if I felt up to it. He was getting a bit excited, though, anticipating it in that spot, so I opted instead to work on something else to get his mind off it. My trainer put me to work doing smaller circles in the two-point, and coaching me on looking (something I don't do very well).

It was an amazing lesson. If he continues behaving like this, I won't have to canter first on another horse — which, of course, would be my preference. I feel most comfortable on Panama, so if he can behave himself and keep taking good care of me like that, I'd much rather get my cantering experience on him.

As "homework," my trainer told me to keep practicing my two-point, and we scheduled my next lesson for Friday to give me some time to do so. So today, after a playdate with his buddy Voodoo, I rode Panama for a little bit in the indoor. This time he was even more relaxed than Monday (no dripping, I guess), and I was able to walk him with a loose rein from the very beginning. That's a first for riding in the indoor!

I didn't have long to ride today, but I practiced my two-point at the trot for almost the entire time. Tomorrow I'm going to try to get out there and ride again. I don't know what has caused Panama's good behavior, but I hope it means he's back to normal!

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