Hippoi Athanatoi


Since last week was a theory lesson, the riding lesson today was greatly anticipated. I need my weekly dose of riding to keep my mood up, especially in autumn, and even though I was pretty certain I wouldn’t get Murphy I was looking forward to the lesson.

This time, I was (unfortunately) right about not getting him. Instead it was time for Malupin again, which I like well enough but my back hates. Grooming him was less than fun today, too, as he had dry, caked mud on his legs that turned into a lovely black dust when brushed off. Fortunately, he’s not very fussy about being groomed, except he didn’t like a harder brush on his legs and kept lifting them. But hey, I am sure he had fun getting all that mud on. He did, however, decide to be fussy about being bridled. He likes to try to sneak off if you are the least unwary when you take off the halter to put on the bridle, even if you put the halter around his neck, and today he decided to try to stick his head into Murphy’s stall. Not a brilliant idea. I managed to grab his head and get the bridle on, but in the slight rush, he got the noseband into his mouth too, so I had to pull it all off and start again. And then he decided he didn’t want the bit, so we had a bit of a disagreement about it.

Once down at the arena, he was very well-behaved, and he was unusually focused right from the start at the class. Which is a good thing, because when he isn’t he can be very skittish, which gives me that dreaded light, forward-tilted seat. As he seemed pretty calm, I focused on a heavy seat from the start, and it only took me about half the class this time around to get it more or less right. And then I had to start working on straightening up, without making my seat any lighter. Easier said than done when you have a somewhat hard-mouthed horse that likes to pull you forward. Still, I think my seat is improving.

Today’s exercises also went relatively well. We focused on alternating curved and straight paths, and on keeping our horses within a firm frame. Very good exercises for Malupin, who is a very clever little horse who spends most of the time thinking about how to avoid doing what you ask of him. So, once I had him caught within the frame I wanted, he started pacing instead of trotting. But now that I have had to deal with that a few times, I am starting to develop a good approach to getting him out of that by demanding more hindquarter action, more collection and not opening the frame up even oneteeny little bit. I didn’t get a great trot or a great collection (you usually need to work much more on curved paths to get that far with him), but I was happy about having been very consistent throughout the whole class and managed to keep him more or less right where I wanted him all the time.

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