Thursday, February 11, 2010

Second Lesson, still enthralled!

Had my second lesson tonight. My instructor started teaching me what's known as "ground work", which is working the horse while, you guessed it, you stand on the ground. It's helpful because you can direct the horse without having to be on them, which can be safer, but also helps to strengthen the stuff you're teaching them so when you are on them, it's alot more pleasant for both of you.

It was really weird to command a horse with mostly body language- it really makes you focus on your own corporal self- I think in the long run it could help the human become more aware of their own body, it's position and posture, and how they're presenting themselves to the rest of the world. So I guess you could say it's training for humans too.

My teacher taught me how to direct the horse with hand gestures (no, not that kind!) and voice/noise commands. With a pointed finger and a cluck, the horse began to move around the ring. If I moved my body to a certain side, the horse would either speed up or stop. I guess it's all about herd mentality, and being a prey animal makes you pretty aware of subtle changes in the human in the center of the ring. By backing up after stopping them, they would move towards me, which is useful for catching them to halter them. I really need to become more aware, because more often than not, the horse would stop because I stepped the wrong way- I'm sure the horse was confused as to why I was issuing conflicting commands!

Next up, Rain was saddled and waiting for me- I still have issues heaving myself up and over the horse without feeling like the horse is going to splat underneath me from a broken back. I did feel more comfortable tonight in the saddle than I did last time- my hands landed right on my thighs and it didn't feel out of place. My teacher led Rain around a few times, then gave me instructions on how to hold the reins properly and how to use them to tell the horse what I wanted. Then she had me run through all of the directions until she was sure I grasped the basic concept. Rain was a little lazy, which is good for a beginner like me- I never felt uneasy or unsure of being on her, and if I stopped focusing on what I was doing, she would stop, and that would snap me back into focus.

Before I knew it, time was up, and I dismounted ever so gracefully (if you call fumbling about with your legs and dangling with your butt in the air graceful, that is) and we led her to the cross tie area to take off her tack.

There's something that's comfortable about a barn full of horses at night, with the arena lights on, cool air blowing in, and the calm of dark outside....maybe I'm destined to be a night rider?

(photo from

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