December 17, 2008

A ten metre circle and a birthday party


I rode a ten metre circle at the canter today.  I’m so chuffed I can hardly stand it.  Our canter work has never been as good as our trot work, which is to say I’m meatloaf, because it may have been the first time I saw Jenny ride Connie she did these like two and a half metre circles* and I said afterwards that Connie would be perfectly capable of pirouettes if Jenny wanted to ask her.  But I just never keep it all together well enough.  There’s too frelling much going on at the canter and I’m always about half a stride behind and thinking, wait, is it my left . . . uh . . . which body part?  And to do a ten metre circle–which is miniscule, for you non-horse people–you really do have to have the horse both together and under you–balanced under you, I mean, as opposed to not having shied twenty feet across the arena leaving you behind–all at the same time.  Feh.  I have noticed that our cantering is improving, and we’ve done ten metre circles at the trot a few times.  But when Jenny said today, make a twenty-metre circle and then spiral in to ten metres, I thought she was out of her tiny mind.  But we did it.  And we did it both directions too which is to say Connie’s stiff side as well as her easy side.**  I actually couldn’t believe it.  I kept waiting for it all to go horribly wrong.  Sometimes when you get better at something you know what you’ve done or how you’ve done it:  you know what changed.  Sometimes you don’t.  I know our canter work has got better–and it’s also got better when we’re on our own without Jenny keeping me organised–but I don’t really know why.  My body parts are catching on by their individual selves. ***  And I sure didn’t know it had got this much better.

            Of course on Saturday† we won’t be able to canter at all.

            . . . So, anyway, I didn’t cancel riding today.  And the high produced by those ten metre circles got me through most of the rest of the day . . . and then I crashed spectacularly at about the point that the birthday dinner began.  I was just putting my shoes on†† and thought . . . uh oh.  I’m now furthermore smashed ††† and I’m going to bed before (I hope) I merely curl up on the floor with the hellhounds.‡  The food was lovely and the conversation was excellent‡‡, and I stayed sitting up in my chair, what more do you want? 

But allow me to leave you with a link as lovely as riding a ten-metre circle.‡‡‡  Jodi sent it to me a few days ago.  The title tells you everything you need to know and your finger should be thumping the connect button before you finish reading this sen. . . .

 * * *

 * Joke 

** All horses have a stiffer and a softer side.  It’s pretty pronounced in Connie’s case, probably as a result of whatever it was left all the scars down the left side of her neck and foreleg.  I’ve mentioned this before:  I don’t in the least understand how she managed to get through whatever it was heart-whole, which she manifestly did:  she’s absolutely positive and willing on the flat or over fences.  Of course she’s afraid of butterflies, pigs, and cow parsley/Queen Anne’s lace, but that’s another issue. 

*** I find learning a physical skill is often like this.  Your hands do it, your legs do it.  You kind of go along because you’re attached

 †Because of course I am riding on Saturday 

†† One pair of those famous four-pairs-of-shoes-in-an-afternoon shoes, which appeared in this blog a few months ago.  So, not All Stars.  It does happen occasionally, the not All Stars. 

††† Everyone else went on to red wine thus forcing me to finish the champagne 

‡ There’s almost enough room in their bed, and I just swept it out and changed the blankets yesterday. . . . 

‡‡ No thanks to me

‡‡‡ Or surviving a birthday party


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