Over the holiday I most definitely ate way too many cookies and delicious dinners with family and friends, but I don’t regret it. Life is too short to miss eating holiday cookies with family. A few sugar coma days are okay, but perhaps it is time to bring out my former Weight Watcher member knowledge to re-group. I don’t dare weigh myself. No doubt my body is quite skilled at processing cookies into more fat.
My visiting brother isn’t a horse person, but enjoys hiking. We went out for a mid-winter hike along a nearby trail that runs beside a lake. The drought has the lake lower than we’ve ever seen it. My brother led Bangsi. I led Twistur, who was feeling spunky being out on such a beautiful Spring-like day. Twistur became a bit excited watching some other horses being cantered up a hill. I was unsure whether I could handle even that level of enthusiasm, if was up on his back. Behavior on the ground will translate to under saddle, so gently reminded Twistur that his job was staying with me. No, Twistur… we were not going running after other horses. Moved his feet (not yanking on head) by driving him around me in each direction in a few small circles. This provided a “Yes, Ma’am” thinking shift and we proceeded down our path.
We met a family with 2 kids and a dog later on the trail. When leading we will often stop and give kids the opportunity to pet a horse. Our horses seem to enjoy the attention particularly from children. They always are very gentle and stand quite still. Later met the family at the trail head before loading up and the kids really enjoyed having more time to pet the horses. Our horses are sweet and adorable after all!
The day was shirt sleeves weather. Bangsi and Twistur in their Icelandic coats were sweating, even at our leisurely pace. Bangsi wanted to go slower and slower on the return loop. My brother got Bangsi tolting along beside him (definitely not a trot) to catch back up. That was neat! We had saddled Twistur to have option to ride. The plan was that I could ride being led by my husband giving me a chance to concentrate on my balance and relaxing into the feel of movement.
I’ve taught Twistur to “sidle up” beside me when standing on a step-ladder or spot on trail for mounting. There was a large downed tree by the trail. I put on my riding helmet and managed to climb up and balance on the tree. I asked Twistur to come along side and he was quite happy to do so. He stood like a rock for me to mount ungracefully and wiggle around searching for my stirrups. He’s such a good horse! We gave him a treat for being patient.
I am not confident and don’t feel secure in riding, so I sang “Oklahoma” by Rodgers & Hammerstein to help me breathe and relax. Twistur didn’t seem to mind me being up on his back. Had a bit of unexpected “touching toes” riding exercise when my hubby failed to realize that even sitting on a 13.2 hand horse that some branches were overhanging a bit low.
Here is an exercise that can help you become limber. You learn to sink into your joints, keeping your balance and improving your leg position. Take the reins in your right hand. Reach down and briefly touch your toes on the left side with your left hand…
Figure 17.17 A-D
– Sally Swift in “Centered Riding 2: Further Exploration”
Unlike from the yoga practice, I didn’t get sore from the riding session. That surprised me, so maybe that meant I wasn’t clinching or straining to sit in the saddle.
We’ve gotten out only twice more, but hope to get out for more horse hikes and rides.