Sunday, May 23, 2010

Millstones and Milestones

A day starts out well and then it says Not so fast. One of our Pathfinders croaked and is spending the night in a grocery store parking lot. They were great about letting us leave it there until it can be towed.

Money, and the never-enough of it, the pay-this, forget-that of it. Lately, I'm letting go of the worry of it all in favor of preserving my mental capital. I'll never get back to the days of my 20s when I shrugged off bills and paid them mostly when I felt like it, but I've come to understand things oscillate, no matter how tidy plans may be.

It wasn't enough to pull me away from Sunday School, which I had enjoyed so much only hours before.

Ground driving, second lesson. It was hot this morning, and Dar was moist here and there even before we began. It's always interesting to see how horses in training react to new variables, whether environmental or the task at hand. One thing that Dar seems to have realized is that school means school. He accepts that there is work to do and doesn't become distracted. Except, of course, for daydreaming his way into Whoa. Always working on that, now we say, "Dar. Dar. Dar. Whoa." He's not a forward horse, so his sluggish response is a little mystifying. My homework with Dar over the next two weeks is to work him on the lunge line, drilling the halt.

Maybe I'm wrong about this, but Dar is my second former joust horse, and I see a couple of critical similarities between him and Scout when it comes to training. They couldn't be more different in terms of temperament and nature, but they both display anxiety about learning, a sense of worry about figuring out what is being asked of them. Scout's reaction to that is to speed up and become incredibly tense. Dar reacts by checking with the trainer, asking Like this? Is this it? It isn't? Well, what is it, then? It's easy to know when to end a lesson with him. We stop before his brain fries.

This was a good lesson. Not just about the rein aids, it was also about bending and moving toward a specific target. Dar was listening to E's voice and the long reins. He's learned the ground version of leg aids -- really, he has them down -- so in a week or two, E will be up on his back for a lead-around with me.

What will it feel like when I get to sit on him for the first time? Will I be able to tell the difference between simple nervous excitement and the fear I found with Scout?

I don't know the answer, but I so want to get up on him.


Beth said...

Money does suck!! I totally agree!

Do you have plans for getting up on Dar? It looks like you are doing some wonderful things, ground driving the horse I eventually rode was so helpful for me. I really felt like I could control him.

Muddy K said...

Beth ~ First, I'll always follow the lead set by my exceptional trainer. Throughout Dar's training, we've also been working at the mounting block, hanging over his back, flapping the stirrups around, etc. When E gets on him, we'll work together, with me leading Dar at first. I think my first ride on him will be the same, just sitting on him while E leads him. That will be good enough for me. It's worth it to me to be patient if that gives Dar the best odds to be the right horse for me and me the best odds to be the best person for him. Thanks for the question.