Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Some things never change ...

 Yesterday was spent at A Bit Better Farm for another Stephen Bradley clinic.  The plan was to ride outside and do a "cross country position and skills" lesson in the bottom field.  But of course the weather had other plans, so back to the indoor we went.

Lissell started a series of pentosan a few weeks ago, and it's been interested to see her change.  She's officially 19 years old now, and I thought that some extra joint support would make a great birthday present.  Since we started, Lissell's flatwork is just getting better and better.  Yay Lissell!

So back to our lesson yesterday.  I was riding with Mary Macklin on her lovely young horse California Comet (related to the great Courageous Comet).  Both Lissell and Callie has been going Beginner Novice with an eye on Novice.  Well after the lesson, we concluded that the two mares skipped Novice and went right to Training.  It's been a while since I jumped a 3' square oxer, and I think my eyes got a little big looking at it.  But Lissell is Lissell, and jumping is her thing, and she's just awesome at it.  She may be older now, but she still loves the sport.  It's SO incredibly amazing to ride a horse that you don't have to worry about, you can just concentrate on learning.  Since our little tumble in the water, I've been struggling with a few positional issues, and it's so cool to be able to concentrate 110% on your own riding and position because you have 110% faith in your horse to get the job done.

Then it came time to work on Lissell.  We were supposed to quietly canter into a simple 1-stride to 1-stride and Stephen wanted me to compress Lissell's stride.  This caused a bit of a meltdown for Lissell, as she was pretty sure that I was completely out of line to ask this of her.  After a few circles, we came to a compromise and she was good (not great).  Stephen and I talk about it a little, and he stresses that at 19 we're not going to change Lissell, so we have to finesse her and meet her in the middle.

As Mary and I were cooling down our horses in the wash rack, she made a comment about how it's interesting to watch a horse like Lissell over a period of time, because some horses never change.  It made me laugh, because she's right.  Lissell is who she is.  Is she dramatic? Yes.  Is she difficult to ride? Yes.  Does she take care of me? Yes.  So while Lissell may never change, I definitely can.  I can learn to ride her better, and soak up every lesson that she has to teach me.

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