Sunday, March 1, 2009

Une jeune cavaliere balayee par les vents

Yesterday's crazy spring weather made me think of a long-forgotten lullabye:

Vent frais
Vent du matin
Vent qui souffle aux sommets des grands pins
Joie du vent qui passe
Allons dans le grand vent frais
Vent du matin...

I remember singing this to Supersim when she was tiny.

That tiny baby had a riding lesson today!  She is looking great and making so much progress.  

She did her usual serpentine warm up.  She went over a couple of poles at a walk, practicing keeping her horse in a very straight line.  Walking in a straight line may sound easy, but horses tend to amble from side to side (especially older lazy horses) so going perfectly straight can actually be challenging. 

Then she practiced the half-halt, which is what you use when you are trotting or cantering, and want to slow down to a walk.  You have to have good control of the horse during the walk-to-trot transition, and her horse wasn't taking direction well, so she directed him to halt and back up.  I don't know why, but horses HATE to back up.  So if a horse is feeling rebellious, you can usually keep them in line by stopping and backing up a few steps.  Basically, it's a gentle way of reminding the horse that you are the leader. 

The teacher stood in the center of the arena and had Supersim ride around the wall, changing speeds and/or directions at every letter.  "Now turn turn around..." etc.  This is when you really need to direct the horse well, and Supersim did a wonderful job!   From my point of view, I couldn't even tell you what she does with the reins and what she says to the horse.  It's very subtle, but the horse understands and complies. Then her teacher asked her to practice small circles, then wider turns, and finally, the wide easy turns required for riding fast.  

Finally, Supersim did several laps around the arena at a trot.  When her teacher let her take the poles at a trot, she looked so focused, and she did it in perfect form.  She really does look graceful and natural when she posts, and I'm not just saying that because I'm her mother!

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