Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Feeling Fresh

Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Maggie's feet have been trimmed, she's had two days off, and she's dropped about 40 pounds in the last 6 weeks. She's feeling good- almost too good.

Another sunny day, another schooling session with Maggie. She's her usual lackadaisical self as I groom her and tack her up. Down at the ring, for the first time, she stands perfectly still while I mount. But the moment we start moving, I notice there's a spring to her step.

Normally her walk is painfully slow, and I have to urge her to keep going every step of the way. Not today. Today, Maggie's walk is forward and purposeful. So is her trot. As we warm up, she even breaks into a quiet canter as if to show me that she remembers what we worked on during her last lesson. I'm encouraged by her energy, but I'm not sure how long it will last, so we get down to business.

We circle and serpentine across the sandy ring leaving dark hoof prints in our wake. Maggie's balance and flexibility improves with each turn we make, and she doesn't seem to be tiring. Finally, it's time to canter. I ask, and she responds to the cue instantly, even ending up on the correct lead. As we turn down the long side, I feel her picking up speed. I'm pleased for her, she's finally starting to be comfortable at the canter. Then, I feel it: as we pick up momentum her back starts to round, she tucks in her head, and lets out her characteristic squeal. In an instant, just as we're turning the corner, we're air born.

Thankfully, years of riding hot-head horses like Murray have given me a good seat, and as Maggie bucks, I manage to keep my behind firmly planted in the saddle. Even more thankfully, Maggie's not actually trying to get me off. She certainly hasn't put the full power of her ample hind end into her buck, and she doesn't follow up with anymore. It's the kind of buck that clearly says "I'm feeling GREAT".

Of course, seconds after her feet come back to earth, she wheels sideways as the dog streaks across the field in front of us in hot pursuit of some kind of scent. I rebalance myself, then decide that I'd better make use of this mare's energy before she finds another outlet for it.

Our canter on the other rein is comparatively uneventful. We head down the road to cool out. For the first time, Maggie tests me, making a few half-hearted attempts to turn around and go back to the barn. I press her into a trot instead, and by the time we're halfway up the hill, she's finally tired. Her energy evaporates, and she plods along pleasantly the rest of the way.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds as if that horse needs you. Good work. (says the guy who has never been on a horse)