Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sunglasses Required

I rode outside in the front paddock yesterday!! It was about 12C (54F) and sunny for most of the day. Gem's turnout was not scheduled until later in the day, so when I arrived late morning he was raring to get outside. Not only that, but as I saddled him up, lunch was being served to the other horses. He did give me a snort when he saw the flake being put in his stall. I have to admit, I was expecting to have to deal with a very grumpy, perhaps obstinate, horse. I was pleasantly surprised!

Sunshine has an amazing affect on human and horse. You smile from the inside out. I think Gem was smiling, too. He did not rush me when I lead him out of the barn. As we walked to the front paddock, his ears went up.

Gem: Where are you leading me? We aren't going to the arena?
Me: No. We are going to enjoy the bright, beautiful sun.
Gem: You mean, OUTSIDE?? Where I can see grass and listen to birds?
Me: Yes. You are going to feel wet, cool sand under your feet.
Gem: I am OK with that!

Me: There may be M-U-D. Squishy mud.
Gem: Um......that's OK! Let's rock and roll!
Me: Hey hang on there a sec, Sparky...I have to put on my cool sunglasses.

He pranced into the paddock. He stood quietly while I mounted. We walked around, breathing in the smell of dirt and wet grass. We could hear other riders chatting as they tacked up in the barn, getting ready for the clinic. I could hear faint music coming from the radio at the barn door. The robins were out in force and singing. Canada geese could be heard honking in the distance. The sun was warming my face. As we walked around the paddock, I think we were both daydreaming a bit. Ah. It was terrific.

I have mentioned before that I think having a video done of yourself while riding is a great learning tool. Once I get over how unattractive and square sweatshirts make me look, I start analyzing the technical aspects of my ride. I happened to have my camera with me yesterday, and my riding buddy, CA, took some pics and video.

Here's me pitching forward as we transition down from a jog.

This would be me looking at handsome Gem instead of steering.

This would be me loping around a corner - reins are too long and dang! my heels aren't down!

Well, it's not all bad! As I reviewed the pictures and videos, I noted that at a lope, my butt was nicely dusting the saddle the whole time and despite my reins being long or my heels not being down consistently, I still managed to steer Gem around the big horse-eating squishy mud puddle with ease a number of times. I also saw how amazing our jog was. It was slow, even and easy and my butt didn't leave the saddle. And, you know what? My lack of technical skill did not put a damper on how great it was to be outside with my handsome boy. :-)

Here we are doing a lovely, smooth jog. :-)

As our ride was coming to an end, so was the sunshine. By the time I had untacked Gem, it was overcast. It's been pouring rain all day today. Doesn't matter, though. I just have to remember yesterday's ride and I start smiling from the inside. :-)


  1. May you have many many more days just like this one my blogger friend.

  2. Sounds like a lovely ride and great photos! That first ride outside in the sunshine is my favorite one of the year. Know just what you mean about smiling from the inside :)

  3. Great ride with your boy. What's better than a sunny day ride with a good horse. And you looked terrific!

  4. Yep, GHM is right. You both look great. What a pair you are!

  5. Pictures are GREAT learning tools. I use them, too, and have the same issues. But they sure help you cement the proper seat image in your mind, and you do take that with you into the future. That last picture of you is perfect. He is a handsome boy. I see why you like to look at him. Nice horse.

  6. Lucky! I want to ride outside! or just ride for that matter!

    Pictures and videos are such great learning tools, I need to have someone take them for me, I'm always the one behind the camera and have very few pictures!

  7. I just love looking at him! lol Especially that first pic.
    In your loping pic...you look amazing except for your heels, so that's good news!!!
    Sometimes I convince my non-horse friends to come and hang out at the barn...aka be my personal photographer/videographer for the duration of my ride. It works if you offer wine afterwards! :)

  8. Yippie for riding outside! You and Gem both look great, When do we get to see the videos? :)

  9. wilsonc - Thank you my blogger friend. :-)

    Marissa - It was awesome to be outside.

    GHM and Muddy K - your comments have me blushing. :-)

    Linda - I totally agree. I find video helps me understand what my instructor is trying to tell me.

    Good Time - When you get your boy home, you can ask hubby to video you when the two of your are riding around your new property. :-)

    Minus Pride - Thanks! :-) If wine is what it takes to get a video, then it sound like a good deal to me.

    JPS - I am not sure my confidence is solid enough for me to post videos...yet... :-) A year ago, I would even have posted pictures of me riding!

  10. Yay! Great ride and nice pix :) You two look really good. (My last pix have toes down / heels up recorded for all time as well lol).

    I would stare at Gem excessively too - he is super handsome.

  11. Thanks, Calm! Yes, there are a few pics out there that show a ballerina foot or my arms looking like I am a maestro conducting an orchestra. I guess the good news is that I recognize it as wrong! :-)

  12. You should be smiling over that ride. You two look GREAT in that last shot. I wish I had pictures of myself looking that balanced in the saddle.

  13. Shannon - I think we look pretty good in that last shot, too. :-) Thanks for your ongoing support.

  14. Don't you look the business in your cool shades ;o) It is so easy to end up admiring your ride, especially when he's as handsome as your boy!
    Fab pictures, especially like the last one :D And for someone whose foot is forever all over the place in canter, at least your foot was where it was supposed to be -- well done, you & thanks for sharing, o courageous one!

  15. These are great, you both look very relaxed....I keep meaning to get someone to do this for me. My husband was there the other night when I was riding and he sat reading a book....what I could have learned if he had taken a video instead!

  16. Joy - You crack me up! Congrats again on your canter!

    TCP - I am getting better at relaxing, thanks for noticing. Get hubby to take some pics or video! Is it so worth it.

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  19. Just found this video you might find helpful for giving Gem handfed treats. Note that she keeps her arm straight and away from her body when she gives the treat. She's also asking the horse to back up to receive the treat. This will be helpful since Gem's a bit mouthy.


  20. Hi, I just found your blog and basically spent my afternoon catching up on it :) Gem is so beautiful! I love Canadian horses, I haven't been fortunate enough to work with a full-blooded Canadian yet but we take care of a half Canadian mare and her son, and our two new foals have Canadian in them. I absolutely adore them so it's nice to be able to read about a Canadian horse. And I have to say, it was really nice to be able to read how much you've improved, it makes me look at myself to see if my riding has improved!

  21. Knight - Thanks, I'll check it out.

    Shannon - Thanks again for the link!!

    Cjay - Welcome! I have to admit that I didn't even know we had a national horse until I started my research! He's a handful, but I love him. Thanks for your encouragement and I look forward to reading about your new little girl.