Sunday, January 17, 2016

Just a Passenger: The King's Breed

Today I rode a runaway Thoroughbred. Well, he thinks he ran away with me. Technically, he did. He was just very gentlemanly and kind about it. I am speaking of my horse friend, Dreamer.

My daughter and I brought our equines out to a field in front of the barn. It opens up to a nice hilltop, which leads down to a lower field.

First, my daughter and I did groundwork with the horses in rope halters. We had decided ahead of time that if all was going well, we would hop on the horses (helmets on) and just walk around the small field. The snow is only about 6" deep and crunchy with good footing.

When I got on Dreamport (Dreamer), he was not really sure how to read my signals from the rope halter. I will admit, I've never actually ridden him in one before. The reins attach to a knot under the chin. I forgot that I should have first done some one-rein riding with this set-up.

Dream wanted to explore. He did stop and respond for me in the rope halter, making turns, etc., but I could see his mind and his heart wanted to go to the rise at the top of the hill. So, I let him go. Therefore, in his mind, he was running away with me. At a walk.

When Dream got to the top of the rise, he just looked at the vast wasteland of white snow before him. I could sense his resignation: 'The snow is endless...there is no grass here, either.'

This is part of the hill. The lower field is along the Pines.
I let him survey, and could feel he wanted to proceed down the hill. It's easy to know when your horse wants to move. You are, after all, sitting atop his spine and back muscles. Our bodies register our thoughts long before our mind articulates them.

My daughter had caught up on her pony, so I suggested we dismount and lead the horses down. After first getting Dreamer's attention back on me, I dismounted. It was important that I at least end this runaway session with some leadership.

The remainder of our time was spent leading the horses in the lower field. They pawed the snow to graze a bit on the green blades underneath. There is a road alongside this field, but it's not very close by.

On the way back up the hill, to the upper field and the barn, Dream was quite sure he wanted to lead the way. He was not in a hurry to return home, but he did want to finish the adventure the way he'd started, which was leading his pony-friend, and not the other way around.

It may seem that our time was somehow a 'fail,' because we did not ride in circles in the field near the barn. Instead, we followed the horses a bit to see what was on their minds today. And who would not want to explore the snow-covered fields?

Changing plans and being flexible does not mean anything 'wrong' happened.

Ride the horse underneath you.

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