Since our last ride included several sub-optimal draconic episodes,* (*understatement)
|Today: ready for goodness.|
today's objective was a long ride with maximum cooperation.
We headed out solo.
|The mossy log on the left (about 100 yards from the parking lot) was|
the subject of very close scrutiny: intense ears and a few fizzy steps to get past it.
This is always the best way to clarify our communication:
|I'm not feeding her fizziness. I required continuous forward motion,|
but didn't demand a particular speed or gait most of the time.
we can focus on each other without being distracted by whatever the other people and horses are doing.
|Total time spent fizzing: about 10 minutes. |
After that, she gave up and put her attention on the trail.
|She gave this nasty hole in the trail a very careful examination. |
The ground around the hole is untrustworthy and prone to collapse
because of all the rain we've gotten this week, so I dismounted and led her past it.
Fiddle is a very savvy trail horse--she knows how to navigate on slick, overgrown trails, and she does it very well.
This route through bad terrain gave Fiddle an opportunity to be Right (using her trail-skills to the best of her ability), while simultaneously being Good (doing what I ask her to do without fussing).
We ended up on a wide, flat, mostly-unused logging road that we haven't been on for months. We were listening to each other, and we were cooperating, so I decided to ask for More:
Okay Fiddle. Put the blade down and go!
"Putting the blade down" is a phrase I learned from Dennis Summers' book 4th Gear: Power Up Your Endurance Horse.
It refers to the thing that happens when the horse's whole being is focused on moving FORWARD: the head goes down, the back raises up, the nostrils open wide, and the rear end propels the entire machine down the trail.
Fiddle's "blade-down" trot is awesome to ride. We haven't done much of it recently because I want to be careful to stretch but not over-stress the area affected by the surgery.
|At the trailer: "fit to continue".|
|Right side surgery incision site: Spay Day + 5 weeks|
|Left side surgery incision site: Spay Day + 5 weeks|
Distance: 14.25 miles
Average speed: 5.5 mph
Weather: heavy clouds, some rain
An awesome ride on a cooperative Dragon: priceless.