is a good time to do this, now sitting quietly, horses in the pen to my right, including Spiderman and Superman. The sun’s shining brightly, it’s breezy. It’s not too hot. Birds are chirping.
Today I rode Katina, a small, very solid Icelandic mare – and I quickly realized all I didn’t know about gaits and gaiting. I guess this is good for future reference.
Katina tolts. I quickly realized that this is her primary gait – tolts and now and then throws in pace for good measure. I was (at least) able to differentiate between the two. There was a time when I was not able to do this.
Elaine directed Katina and me in an exercise in which we who were in this particular lesson to determine which leg was moving forward and which one was not. We were to do this following one another in a circle. I got this. We were then to all reverse direction. Got that. We were then to determine what leg was moving. Got that. We were then to do this at the trot. Here’s where things began falling apart on me. Katina was tolting, not trotting. So I wasn’t sure how this related to hind leg movement. I also wasn’t sure how to get her to trot – I had some ideas, but due to a lack of time and space I was unable to sort this out. I continued on, tolting as others trotting, just enjoying the sunny afternoon.
After a bit Elaine asked us to do canter departs; this was based upon what we had learned about our horses’ rear leg footfalls and leg position. Right then I began feeling as though I was heading one way down a road and everyone else was heading down another road. I right then determined to just keep working on tolt. I was okay with this, and so was Katina. I glanced over at her owner Lee, and she had a smile on her face, so I figured that she was okay with this too.
Elaine then told us to go out and practice what we’d just learned. Suddenly, horses and riders were everywhere. I gravitated in the direction of cones and poles, and worked Katina around and over these obstacles.
There was no closure for me in this particular lesson because I was not able to do the exercise as given. Elaine deals exclusively with three-gaited horses. So after, I went and talked with Susan, first asking her, what did you see? She told me that I did well in working Katina over the obstacles, that this made her tolt more consistent.
I later watched another clinic member, Cheryl, work with Lee. It was a tough lesson for Cheryl for sure. Lee is an analytical thinker who is not one for letting go and thinking in images. For the longest time, Cheryl worked with her on her breathing. Lee wanted to be able to work with one set of set specific. We were all getting nowhere until Susan came over and talked to Lee about breathing. I think Lee listened best to Susan because Susan is the one in charge. Don’t know. What I do know is that I learned from all this to be patient and remain focused when people don’t quite get what someone is attempting to teach them.
After, there was a lesson in which I was to instruct Holly and her horse Belle, with Elaine watching. A tough life lesson for me because Elaine considered herself to be the one in charge. So I let her do as she wished, which was to move Belle around, using rope in hand.
What I understand is this – this is a natural horsemanship method, and it works well with horses like this Arab who wear their heart on their sleeves. It does not work as well for more staid and stoic Icelandic horses.
After Elaine’s lesson, I worked with Holly on some basic techniques that I hope will serve her in good stead when she’s doing new things with her horse. So again, I did what I could, drawing upon what it is that I know.
More to come. One more clinic day to follow. Such events can’t go on forever. This makes me appreciate them all that much more.
Next: 137. 5/25/15: Day Four: Final Day of Centered Riding Instructor Clinic