Sunday, November 4, 2007

Life Lessons of a Ranch Horse by Mark Rashid

First I have to start with a brag. I weighed this evening when I got home and I was 199, so I am now under the 200 pound mark. Only 7 pounds to go to be where I was when I had my 6 week check up after giving birth to Maggie. Of course, this isn't my official weighing day...that's on Wednesday, but it was still good to see. I find that I am puzzled, yet thankful, for my continued weight loss. I never felt like I did anything abnormal that made me fat, and I don't' feel like I am doing anything extraordinary to get thin either. I'm just praising God that the weight is coming off!

I got to ride Liberty again today and he was just a bit of a turkey. Nothing major, but he was ornery not wanting me to pick up his head from the grass. I swear that little horse lives to eat! I taught a lesson while I was on him and made him do a couple of leg yields. It was really, really exciting to have him move sideways off my leg that way. It's so cool to work with a horse who is a blank slate. He tries so hard and he's such a dear. I know he's eventually going to be Maggie's, but in the mean time I"m having her ride Freeley. She needs to learn from him, and I want to ride this sweet little horse before I have to give him up.

What I wasn't happy about today was the way I taught part of my lesson. I wasn't very successful at explaining the leg yield to my adult student or the daughter. The daughter did it better mainly b/c she is looser, but I feel like I failed the dad. He is very concrete and is looking for black and white answers. Riding isn't black and white. IN the beginning you pull a rein and use a leg and it's sloppy, but the horse goes. As you go along things are more complex. The leg and the hands are static, they are on a continuum. They are elastic. After having given one instruction in the beginning to ride a certain way, I'm trying to get him out of that mold to move a different way. I'm going to consult a couple books and some other instructors to help me find the words to teach this maneuver better. They did walk/trot/canter and they looked good. They are in more control and they are handling whatever horse I put them on so much better, but to me it's superficial. I want to teach them more than the basics. I want to teach them about circling and reversing. I want to teach dressage even though they have western saddles on the horses. I know they are probably just coming to ride, but I have hit a wall and I want to go beyond the wall.

Enough rambling for the night. Mark Rashid's book Life Lessons of a Ranch horse is calling. The title has a link to his web page.

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