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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

In which Farley gets ridden

Farley looked a bit shocked as I pulled her out of pasture. Since she was doing a fine job of walking herself (with a little naughty “extra” movement here and there) I decided *I* didn’t need to do any more handwalking than what I happened to feel like on a daily basis. Usually once per week.

However, we still have a relationship. How can I tell? She let me worm her in the pen, with no halter, with a broken arm. After I ignored her the entire weekend. And then STILL nickered me when she saw me yesterday. I took that as a sign she was *probably* NOT going to kill me. Or rebreak my arm. Or break my other arm.

Week 10 and time to saddle up for a 15 min walk under saddle.

Have I mentioned lately that the wintec is saving my A$$ when it comes to riding? So light.

Off to the mounting block. Attempt to toss myself on. Mysteriously jam my elbow and (after carefully checking for human company) said a few choice cuss words. Also I find out that the ½ marathon last weekend has inflamed my left siattic nerve. So. Now mounting with my left hand and right leg only. With no left leg push. Finally got mounted. A miracle in itself.

I immediately notice two things. Number 1 – Farley is fat. Number 2 – I feel like her ears are in my lap. For two months I’ve been riding Zach – a beautiful, big, fancy, thoroughbred. I will admit not being able to steer for the first week on him. But now we get on beautifully. As I sat on Farley, the difference in the length of neck was so significant I felt myself actually getting a bit nauseous since I KNEW that my saddle was too far forward and I was PRACTICALLY SITTING ON HER NECK!!!

Big breath. The saddle is fine. The placement is fine. It’s NORMAL to feel like I could reach up and grab her too-big-for-an-arab-ears and chomp them off like chocolate easter bunny ears.

She feels so EVEN. Her walk cadence is really good. At first she was poised to do whatever transition I asked, and tried to take a few trot steps, but after I gently asked her to walk, she understood what I wanted and gave me a good walk forward.

We did some long and low, some bending and flexing and positioning.

I marveled at my precious pony, who could be super fit, off for 2 ½ months and still pack me around safely with one arm on a windy day. Am I lucky or what?

As I asked for some on the bit walk, I marveled at the differences in myself too. I don’t hang on the left rein now, she doesn’t pull on the left rein (how much of that was me anyways?). Going to the left she isn’t on my outside rein, but I know how to fix it now (and guess what? The fix is NOT to hang on the inside rein!). I have a following seat now, I can recognize when she’s behind my leg, and I’m not pulling as much either – I’m pushing her forward into the connection. I can feel when she falls behind the vertical and I know how to fix it. Farley has always been better after time off, and I feel so prepared to take advantage of it now – I’ve fixed a lot of MY bad habits and she’s presenting me with basically a clean slate to start over with. What a gift!

We ended the day at 15 minutes (which was about the time she started to get a bit fussy…..but not to the point where I had to do something about it). Most of it on a long rein just enjoying the scenery. We will be at a walk for at least a month, so plenty of time to work some walking dressage in – a bit more each day. I’m grateful I was able to let her move on her own in her paddock – although it was a risk in the beginning, it will help me now – our tye up risk is less, her energy level is more appropriate during the undersaddle rehab process, and I can have confidence that if her leg has looked great for 10 weeks with the amount of movement she’s doing in the paddock, the line I’m trying to ride between reinjury and rehab is a bit more forgiving now.

Farley – you are the best horse a girl could wish for, and I count myself blessed that I get to share my life with you. Good thing you aren’t a boy or Matt would be jealous. (insert smiley face)

Is it sad that my best girlfriend in the whole wide world is a horse?


  1. Awwww. That's not sad--that's excellent!

  2. Farley is such a nice girl. I love it when riding feels easy to do!


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