Wednesday, October 8, 2008

All In Due Time

I have been noticing lately that there is a time for everything with horses.

A time to work hard and push for the next level.
A time to return to basics.
A time to challenge your comfort zone.
A time to, well, take time off!
A time to relax and listen to your horse.
A time to tell your horse to shut up and put up.
A time to ride with others or a pair of eyes on the ground;
And a time to ride alone.
A time for long periods of rest due to injury, horse or human.
A time for fun, silly games with or on your horse.
A time to take other people's advice,
And a time to figure it out on your own.
A time to watch, and a time to do.

The last two months, it has been a time for watching, listening, and working on the basics as I healed.

Right now it was about freakin' time I got back over some fences. Tonight, I did.

I can't begin to describe how beautiful it was.

We headed out to a small front paddock, my mom and I, where several fences were set up. I warmed McKinna up at a steady, relaxed trot, then did a few laps of canter in each direction. She was feeling good, balanced, attentive; eager to go, but willing to settle down and listen. The months of walk-trot work had clearly paid off. My ankle was doing okay -- a little inflexible, a little weak in the lower leg, but no pain. It was time to take the girl over some jumps, something neither of us had done since that day I fell off more than two months ago.

The sun was low and a perfect fall-evening temperature settled in, cool and crisp, where riding in a sweatshirt is perfect. All I could think of as we trotted up to the fence was how silent we were, her hooves noiseless on the soft dirt. I inhaled, stretched my shoulders up to remember not to throw myself forward, as McKinna pricked her ears at the low fence. Steady, steady, steady; up and over we go, smooth as butter, whisper-quiet.

Somewhere around this point, the grin got stuck on my face and I couldn't get it off.

We worked for maybe five more minutes, adding a short line of fences. Each takeoff was steady and relaxed, no matter what distance we got. For whatever reason, I couldn't stop thinking about how quiet we were as we coursed across the damp ground, each takeoff and landing barely more than a soft scattering of dirt. My face hurt from smiling.

Yup. That "yee-haw" feeling? Still there.


allhorsestuff said...

I am so happy for that good grinin you got and the pleasure of it all!!Yea for you and Your Mcinna!
I am re evaluating my mare and what she is good at and what she hates/likes/loves.
Today someone,it ususally is me, but not this instance, took the time to set some nice small to large branches across the trails..randomly so, and lots of different trails too. We just had a blast with mare loves to focus on them and perfectly jump each and every one I head her towards! Even last night in the arena, I set her towards some ground polls ..she was on it from across the arena..and she over jumped them ..but we loved it! time to sit back is now..and plan some gynastics and is gonna be a nice fall into winter for us with popping over some rails and doing Cavelettis I think!
I am glad you are back!

Leah Fry said...

The one and only time I ever jumped anything was an accident. I was riding Jaz in Heather's pasture after a rain. There's a dip that runs laterally across the width of the property, so you have to cross it sooner or later to ride the length. Jaz is really prissy about his feet -- he doesn't like getting them wet, even with fly spray and he folds up a back leg as he stands, which we call Jaz's "prissy foot." Anyways, instead of just walking across the dip, which couldn't have had more than an inch of water, Jaz hopped it. That was fairly early in my burgeoning equestrienne experience and I was happy not to have died. It wasn't as pretty as your experience sounded.

Crazy Easton Family said...

You write so well, I feel like if I just close my eyes I can see it all. I can see that grin stuck on your face, listen as Mck's hooves touch back down on the other side of the jump... you are so talented and I really enjoy living my horse riding life vicariously through your blog!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back to the wonderful world of jumping! Jumping is something I will never get over. I love it so much that even today at work I'm reading my Cavalletti & Gymnastics book and cannot wait to get to the barn today.

Londoner said...

You forgot one:
A time to get off before you REALLY get angry.
I had one of those today - sigh - but I'm glad someone had a good ride.

What's ur favourite type of ride: Solo or in competition? I mean, say your horse was to do a perfect halfpass, would you rather she did it for you alone in a field, or in a big dressage test?

I think there's more an innate sense of satisfaction when nobody's around, but then again I do like the glory of a win at a show. My favourite ride was last week: we had a tiny comp at my yard and won Chase-me-Charlie, then a hack alone around the fields at sunset. ahh, perfection

manymisadventures said...

Thanks guys, it feels great to be back.

Londoner -- that is a really tough question! I love those solitary moments at home. But I would probably have to say at a show, because I LOVE it when my horses show other people what I see every day, you know? It makes me feel good.

Also, I'm competitive and like to win!

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