Monday 10 May 2021

Who Has Seen the Wind

 My little boy is growing up!

Friday turned out to be a fairly blustery day. One of the joys of riding in a Cover-All arena is that when it's windy, the canvas gets pretty flappy. This arena also has an unused, exterior ventilation shaft in the scary end of the arena that gets pretty creaky in the breeze. There are quite a few people who don't like riding their experienced horses in the arena during a wind storm because it's so loud and spooky.

One of the benefits of owning a deaf horse - Phantom doesn't give a shit about a noisy, flappy arena. 

Phantom had her tail washed and released from its winter wrap. I banged it shorter than I normally do and really liked the result. 

Cisco, however, gives a lot of shits about being in a noisy arena. He's gotten much better about it, and I certainly don't shy away from it, but we often have to avoid the scary end of the ring on these days. I'll ride him in there, but I don't feel the need to die. 

Now, I totally admit that I timed my ride on Friday night so that I knew there would be someone else riding at the same time to reduce Cisco's stress about the flappy arena. I'm not stupid.

Cisco was initially a little suspicious of the scariest corner with the vent in it, but unlike in the past, there were no attempts to scoot coming out of the corners. He was helped because we can't ride right into that corner due to a temporary (I hope) round pen that is set up in the corner, but that hasn't stopped him in the past.

He had really good energy through the ride - up, but not in a llama way. And totally listening to me. Bending and moving off my leg without any issues. He wasn't super round and over his back, but if I was planning to jump I would have been really happy with the energy and focus. 

I liked the results of Phantom's tail so much that I did Cisco's tail too. But I might need to go shorter. Also note the mud - I expect the clean tails to last like two days. 

After trotting for a few minutes we took a walk break on a long rein. And Cisco marched me down into the scary end of the arena. No direction from me.

That's huge. A completely different mindset from him on how to react when things are loud and clangy.

He did it a couple more times through the ride so it wasn't a fluke. I was shocked but very pleased - I had anticipated a bit of a gong show of a ride and it didn't go that way at all.

We also nailed our sticky left lead canter transitions. I totally admit that I wasn't riding them very well - I kind of threw it at him and dug my heel into him and then unsurprisingly he'd drop his shoulder and would just trot fast. I've been trying to remember to ask with a quick, light aid, and expect to get a response from it (which is how I ride Phantom). On this ride, he gave me three immediate, mostly straight with no flailing shoulders trot/canter transitions from a swipe the leg back aid. With the first one it took me a couple of strides before I realized he was already cantering, it was that prompt. 

I even tested the transition after I feared I had broken it - I was asking him to do a walk/canter transition on a 15 m circle and then stay on that circle and not fall out - he was struggling with it (his tougher side) and I wasn't always getting a good walk/canter transition. So I thought I might have broken the trot version. Nope - he nailed it. And then nailed the turn that we had struggled with on the circle. He got huge scritches and I hopped off pretty quickly afterwards. 

Considering that I was expecting to have a tense, spooky ride, I was really pleased with my ride. It wasn't perfect, but Cisco did a lot of things right.

My Pixio parts return from their European vacation on Monday or Tuesday of this week so I should be able to get some video this week - I'm really eager to see Cisco go.

And a Pivo should be arriving with my name on it too. Oops. 

1 comment:

  1. oh man, a flappy arena sounds like zero fun -- glad Cisco was so grown up about it!