Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Cure for What Ails Ya'

My stomach hurt when I got home from work and I didn’t feel like riding, but I forced myself, trudging up to the barn with Hudson’s extra-wide Thornton and her black dressage bridle with the flash nose band removed (and long gone).

Oddly, Hudson’s seemed a little cranky tonight, too.  So I promised her a short ride and off we went up the hill.
Karen O'Connor in galloping position on Mandiba (from "Finding my Way" blog).

I had just read an article about the five cross country riding positions that every eventer must practice.  It was in the May, 2011 Practical Horseman and written by Jennie Brannigan.  One of them, “galloping position,” rang a dim little tinkle in my brain, from my Pony Club days.  I remembered charging around an arena with the other riders, standing in galloping position.

I had to try that again!  So, on the way to the 12-acre field, I got into galloping position as Hudson galumphed up the hill.  It was a challenge to stand that tall with my feet flat in the stirrups, without dropping my heels.  Then we trotted into the field and I was balancing pretty well.  This was proven when we scared up three deer and Hudson swerved widely and went into her own version of galloping position.  That would be, galloping.  It was a blast, galloping through the long grass up the hill.

It was a fun, short ride, as promised, and I think we both felt better afterward. 

Then I worked with Starlight, doing some longeing and ground driving before getting on her for the first time since Dee tossed me off a couple weeks back.  I’m still sore on both my shoulder and tail bone, but Starlight has been an honest girl so far, and I decided it was time to get back at it.

I’m glad I did!  While we were riding up the hill in the hay field by the house, through grass as high as her face, she decided it would be easier to get through it if she cantered.  I did not ask for the canter, but I didn’t stop her either and she bounded like a carousel pony up the hill, taking big high strides over the long grass.  It was fun, as I just stayed with her, both enjoying it and also watching for the telltale sign of a pre-buck head drop.  But she didn’t even seem to think of a buck.  She just gave me a fun pony ride, for which I thanked her.

This just goes to show you that horseback riding is a great cure for a stomach ache.

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