Monday, January 11, 2010

Alone in the Dark

Ok, it wasn't that dark.

Izzy and I braved the Bubble of Doom alone this morning. It was our first time trying that since our lesson several weeks ago. To my surprise, Izzy was quite good. She was a little more worried than normal, but not nearly as worried as I expected her to be without another horse in there.

She actually settled in rather rapidly and we did a lot of spiral in/spiral outs, figure eights, and even introduced some basic leg yielding. Because we were alone, I was able to take her down the long side of the arena and work on straightness a little bit, too. I tried to really focus on what I was doing and how it was affecting her. When she was stiff, I loosened up my shoulders and bent in and out, both with my body and hers. I paid attention to where my seat bones were and how they changed her balance. I tried to keep my shoulders back and my chest open. I was more deliberate about where I was going. I've realized that I spend entirely too much time letting her bounce off the wall and not directing where she's going.

As Mark Rashid says, I need to take responsibility for speed, direction, and something else... Kate would know.

All in all, it was an excellent ride. I really felt like we made progress. The more aware I am of what I'm doing, the better Izzy responds.

ETA: Did I mention that I re-measured Izzy last week, and she grew an inch? That's right. She's 16.0 hands now instead of 15.3. Who would have thought? Also, she was just stocking up. There was no swelling at all after our ride this morning.


  1. Speed, direction and destination (focus point).

    Sounds like excellent progress!

  2. She and Denali are the same size now!! (Althought I haven't measured D in a while now)

  3. I would love to see a picture of the 'bubble of doom' - I wonder if it looks anything like I imagine? LOL

  4. Good for you, conquering the bubble all by yourselves! Way to go, Izzy!

    It is amazing how much how we sit and use out body can affect a 1200 pound horse underneath us. But it's true. Sounds is if you are 100% on the right track....and not wiggling off it too much anymore...*G*

  5. I second the request for a Bubble of Doom visual!

    I like your description of the mirroring of position/balance/relaxation that Izzy provided you, and I love horses that do that (usually ones that are well trained to be really "in tune' with their rider).

    My old guy was very good at letting you know if you were not balanced, because that was where he would be out of balance. I watched the girl I sold him to taking a lesson on him, and the trainer LOVED him because it made her job easy. "You're dropping your shoulder!" Sure enough, Cappy would stop falling in on it as soon as the rider corrected her position.

    I even have video of us in a dressage test, when I did my salute, he dropped his head and stepped back a smidge matching the arm I saluted with... too funny!

  6. I can't even imagine a blow-up arena myself. I've been in a blow-up movie theater at a film festival once, but I'm sure that it would be very freaky to most horses!
    Down here in Miami, nobody even has a covered arena, so no riding when it rains -- total bummer! I grew up in Chicago, and of course we had an indoor. I was spoiled. :-D


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