One of my goals for 2017 (though you don’t know it yet as I haven’t pushed the goals post) is to write more ride recaps. They are really helpful, and since I don’t jot things down in my ride journal consistently any more, it’s good to have information preserved here.
When I got back from Thanksgiving last year I launched right into riding and Murray was Not Into It. I stuck it out because I didn’t want to get off and lunge him simply for the sake of lunging and letting him “win”, but… better choices have been made. Another of my general goals (for this year and forever) is to set both Murray and I up for more successes (success = confidence = more success = more confidence = NOTHING BUT A CIRCLE OF AWESOME). So after 17 days off and very limited turnout, I threw Murray on the lunge line to start off our ride.
Murray is typically less reactive to the long girth (setting up for success!), so I put on his jump saddle and brought the lunging equipment out to the arena. I haven’t lunged Murray without some kind of dressagery-contraption on him (side reins, chambon, etc.) and boy does he look funny with his head all poking up in the air. After his mini vacation Murray had the steering and go button of a lesson pony — it was adorable. He got a couple of wiggles out, shook his head a few times, tried to pretend that he didn’t know what to do when poles SUDDENLY APPEARED in front of him, and then we got to work. He struggled a little to hold the canter going right, which was odd, but I figured that he’s allowed to be a little stiff after so much time in his stall.
After getting on I tried to stick to my principles of making things go right from the beginning, asked Murray to soften into the bridle and keep marching forward (weirdly, he was capable of this), and then move into the trot with minimal fuss. Since I was in the jump saddle I practiced a little two point, but felt weirdly slippery and insecure in the tack. I guess that’s what I get for not riding for two weeks? I let him stretch out at the canter and blessedly (thank you, pony gods) he did not buck or kick me out of the tack.
Murray got a little tense in the corners of the arena that had stuff in them, but he did pretty well when I pushed him off my inside leg to ask for more bend and more give. He was falling over his right shoulder also, but that’s nothing new. I focused on twisting my body along with his bend to help control his right shoulder, and while it wasn’t perfect, it helped. Cantering right he kept breaking into the trot when I asked him to sit a little more on his hocks, so I didn’t ask too much.
We were sharing the arena with one baby horse, who was being pretty good but had one minor meltdown when she kicked a clod of dirt against the wall. Murray scooted and shuffled after the baby’s freakout, but got his ish back together really well. I did one spiral in-out in each direction trying really, really hard and failing to keep Murray straight while we did it. I just want the neck bend, let me have the neck bend! PLEASE. I am an inside rein addict. Ah well – just another thing to work on!
Since it was already 37 when I got back to the barn, I put Murray’s medium weight purple blanket on. Okay, that’s a lie. I put it on to admire the purpleness. It looks kinda weird but I think it was the right choice (also, hopefully it will not rub his shoulders, but looking at the picture I think it will rub his hips goddamnit).