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Sat Sep 1, 2012, 01:38 PM

 

a moment of bliss

For weeks now I've been trying to restore my good posture, and the good feelings that come with it, to be better able to get Dahli started under saddle. I seem to alternate between slumped depression and forced shoulders back, pseudo-military, unable to find that sweet spot where you are lifted from the thymus area with shoulders falling naturally back. This past Wednesday I finally found that sweet spot and have felt the difference in my walk both at home and at work. It's been fading, and the feeling barely remained this morning. But I'm not worried.

Last Wednesday, I had my 8th ride on Dahli. Until now, we've been confined to the small pasture behind the barn. I chose that spot to start her initially because it is close to the barn, so feels safe to her. And it is well grazed and by the road, so tended to have much fewer biting flies around. We ended up trapped there for the first 7 rides because every time I tried to take her out to the larger pasture, we were inundated with a swarm of deer flies.

Last Wednesday, for the first time, I was able to ride her in the arena area. I started out with ground work, dressed to ride but also prepared to stick to ground work if it was too buggy or if she seemed to excitable from the breeze.

It was neither, and after walking and trotting in both directions on the longe-line, everything felt "right" so I removed her halter and the line. I used our little hay jump as a mounting block, mounted and we started walking around.

First we walked around our lunge circle in each direction, to reprise our familiar ground work. Then I asked her to "go large" walking around the entire arena area in each direction, adding in a large circle at each end and in the middle where we longe.

Then we did serpentines -- large esses from one end of the arena to the other -- to practice steering and reprise the exercise we had done when "ground driving" last spring before the bugs. We serpentined down the arena in one direction and then I introduced her to "broken lines" a schooling exercise like the serpentine, but with flatter arcs along one long side. Then we serpentined again and started to serpentine back the other way.

And that was when it happened. Until now, everything has been fits and starts, with her sometimes very responsive to steering and other times reverting to very obvious steering aids with me leading her nose by the rein in the direction I want her to go. With her sometimes unexpectedly stopping, or hesistant, or unsure.

On our second to last serpentine loop, suddenly she came "on the aids." "On the aids" is what we seek in dressage. She let go and relaxed. Her forward movement became steady and rhythmic, her walk a clear 4 beats with no hint of hesitation or uncertainty. Until now, I've held a light contact with the bit, as steady as possible. Now she stretched to meet the bit, positively reaching into it, chewing lightly in anticipation.

I felt totally connected, from my hands to my tan-tien. That is what we seek; riding from the center. Dahli felt ready to go in any direction, at any gait, attentive, awaiting the request or maybe the permission. In that moment, it was so tempting to ask her for her first trot and feel the first surge of her power. I chose not to for several reasons: mostly we had done as much "work" for the day as I intended. She had walked under saddle for a good 15 if not 20 minutes, longer than the 5-10 minute rides we'd had until then. So I didn't want to push it. If the trot didn't go off well, we'd either have to work through it or end on a sour note. Also, I wanted her to wallow in the feeling, to memorize it, to understand this is where we are headed without diluting it by introducing a new experience. There is time. Arabians are so smart, she will have incorporated this experience and connected it to all experiences leading up to it by the time I sit on her again.

When I dismounted, I realized I was finally lifted from my thymus with my shoulders falling into position. This is part of riding from the center. Posture becomes naturally erect and light, perfectly balanced and able to follow your horse's every move from the center. I felt truly centered for the first time in ages. The feeling has faded, but now I know I can get it back and I know how, with Dahli to help.

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Reply a moment of bliss (Original post)
magical thyme Sep 2012 OP
BanzaiBonnie Sep 2012 #1
magical thyme Sep 2012 #2
Tumbulu Sep 2012 #3

Response to magical thyme (Original post)

Sat Sep 1, 2012, 02:25 PM

1. What a moment of bliss that was!

That moment in which you and the horse are truly one. She's going to be fine and so are you.

Is Dahli an Arabian? I must have missed that somewhere along the line. Now her personality makes sense.


How many hands is she? I've gotten the impression that she's not a very big girl.

What a wonderful description you've written.

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Response to BanzaiBonnie (Reply #1)

Sat Sep 1, 2012, 02:48 PM

2. she is an arabian

 

She's 14.3 hands and an old style arabian. If she didn't have Bask in her sire line, she'd qualify as "early American" and possibly CMK. Don't know how much you know about arabs, but her mother is mostly Crabbet and Davenport, and her sire is the same, except with 2 crosses to Hillany Mistanny and 2 crosses to Bask. She also has 2 crosses to Nejdme (#1 registry number in the International Registry) so she has some lines to the 1893 Hamidie importation.

Even with the 2 Egyptian and 2 Polish crosses, I believe she is the true Bedouin type. Tough, athletic, but in your tent personality. The most prized mares did literally sleep in the tent with their human.

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Response to magical thyme (Original post)

Mon Sep 3, 2012, 11:12 PM

3. Thanks so much for sharing this with us

I feel so happy reading it- wow, what a wonderful very long "moment of bliss".

Congratulations!

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