Sunday, November 30, 2008

Which Comes First the Puller or the Pullee? and Weekly Update

First of all, the publishing industry like everything else is in dire straits. Please consider giving books for Christmas. There are tons of great horse books out there for your horsey friends or yourself. In fact, I'm going to start a post next weekend which lists great horse books to give as gifts. I'd like all of you to post a comment with at least one suggestion. So be thinking about it.

Oh, man, I am not doing well in the weight loss department. I know I've put on a few pounds this week. Maybe I should be grateful it's only a few. I'm going to continue in the New Year because I'm determined to get this fat off.

In the riding department, I also sucked this week. I only rode once and that was in a lesson, though I had the return of an epiphany. It was the best ride I've had on that horse in a long time. The shying is pretty much gone, and I can now concentrate on my riding again rather than getting her in the corner.

In the writing department, I finished a first draft of Fourth and Goal by writing 16,000 words this week!!! Yahoo!!! The writing is why I haven't reached my other two goals. I've been sitting on my butt trying the finish the darn book.

Now about my revelation. I am a puller. My horse is a puller. My trainer says the mare was inherently predispositioned to be a puller so it isn't entirely on me. Unfortunately, I, too, am instinctually a puller. Since I've been concentrating on the shying for the past two months, all my bad riding habits have returned full-force. I'm guessing because I've been in reactionary mode. For one, I'm hauling on the left rein when going to the right so hard that my poor horse can't turn a circle. Worst of all, I'm pulling and Gailey's pulling.

I've been so frustrated with all of it, that I truly considered retiring the horse and myself from dressage, but I'm not a quitter. So I kept at it, often dreading getting on her back. In my last lesson, we worked on my pulling. I wasn't allowed to pull. At first, that was Gailey's cue to fall on her forehand and go faster, her favorite evasion (even more than shying). So we did leg yeilds, haunches-in, shoulder-in, transitions, and half-passes everywhere in the arena. When I'm doing that stuff, I ride better. I acutally ride both sides of the horse and use my legs, seat, and hands; instead of just hands. After about 20 minutes of this, the first ten being very frustrating, I felt a connection. Tenuous, it came and went, but it was there.



And when it was there, it was the greatest feeling on earth. To have a horse light and listening and totally connected to its rider is the reason I do dressage. I'm so glad that I had a little reminder that all is not lost, and I can do this despite the setbacks.

So happy winter riding everyone! And next week, I'm back in the saddle.


Joy said...

Sally Swift's Centered Riding was a very helpful book for me. I think just about any rider could get useful information from it.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading or re-reading Smoky the Cowhorse, by Will James. Its a book I've always loved. If anyone hasn't read this, it is just about the best horse story that ever was. A great present for a kid. But at 51, I still love it.

And Jami, what a great description of your trials and successes with your mare. I laughed. I'm essentially a lazy rider, prone to do nothing, unless the horse really needs a correction. But this gets me in trouble, too--they develope all kinds of bad habits. So we all have our little faults--and their consequences.

Shanster said...

Well, I like to tell myself when I am frustrated that "if it were easy, everyone would be doing it" it's my mantra sometimes... I was in a clinic Saturday and am struggling with some things myself! However, you are so right...when it comes together, there isn't anything in the world like it! Congrats on your book! Congrats on your mare - if it was for a moment - at least it was a moment! And weight? Eh - I think we are all so hard on ourselves... it will come. Holidays are hard for that area!! Cheers! Shannon

Linda said...

The Hearts of Horses--by Molly Gloss and my all time fave non-fiction--Getting in TTouch--which really gives you insight into horse conformation and what they're feeling and thinking. I LOVE that book.

Linda said...

Oh, and I wanted to encourage you about the weight loss--I gained weight during Thanksgiving, too--I'm optimistic these are "temporary pounds" and will come right off with a little work! (ie. cleaning stalls) Good luck!