Tuesday, March 6, 2012

patient practice

I decided to just go out for a quick ride with a small goal: work on hills, and work on quietness. I thought I'd try using Major's natural calmness to get us there.

Major knew something was up. No dragging down the lane, he stepped out (though tried to convince me that he had to have grass right now or he'd starve!)

We walked. Up the big butt burner hill. And kept walking, down the hill. Then back up. Then around the pasture some, I asked for a trot up the road. It was a nice controlled trot, and we were doing good, so I asked canter. And got a nice, collected canter not the strung-out crazy fast thing I dealt with last week.

He was up after that, so we walked, till he calmed down (which was quickly). Then down the hill, and every time he'd get excited, we'd stop for a photo op.

sacrifice rock
The bottom of this trail is usually a swampy morass this time of year, this year there is barely some dampness. At the bottom of the hill Major thought we were going home, so we stopped and I took a nice photo of the cool oak.

Heading towards home (but not going home) then back up another big hill, walking again. Major was quite confused by now, seeing as we were weaving all over the forest like drunkards. Each time he anticipated and thought we were going home, we'd turn the other way. You could almost hear the little thoughts clicking in his head. 

Heading back out to the rock my friend saw the cougar at last year (always on alert here), we stopped and watched the sunset. Then went down the sketchy rock area, and did some trotting, and listening. And continued on. 

giant rock, but small trail on the left, right is more big rock!
We were actually headed home this time, but without a crazy sense of urgency. We trotted to the top of Red Dirt hill, where apparently an owl had exploded. That is what the feathers looked like. Did something catch it? Or an illegal hunter? The feathers were soft and gorgeous.

I felt a small sense of accomplishment. I actually got some medium trot on a loose rein going towards home! It wasn't much, just a few steps, but I'll pull him back and he'd respond. Not much for most people, but since he'd been extra silly lately, I thought it was pretty good. Sometimes pretty good is a perfect ride.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less travelled by,
and that has made all the difference.
—Robert Frost

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