Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

It's amazing the things you learn when you let your horse teach...

Yeah so decided since we had reasonable temps today I should actually *ride* my horse (as opposed to hack around the xc course having fun pretending to be productive :). Now my number one riding concern with this mare is my inability to rate her gaits. Sometimes I can, but not reliably enough to safely compete her. So I thought we'd test a bit and get at least a baseline for where we are, so that as I school it I can see whether or not we're improving.

Ok so I set two poles on the ground at 50'. Zero height, literally poles on the ground. Now the gymnastics text book will tell you this should be an easy 5, and you should be able to collect to 6, or push for the 4. No problem right? With most of the zippy little horses I like to ride I'd be able to get anywhere from 4-8. So thought I'd see what I ended up with with Athena.

Usually I just let them do their thing the first round to see what we've got, but for some reason I decided to ride it from the beginning and picked the middle ground of 5 for a starting place. And she did it perfectly. The problem? It was the most collected canter I've ever managed on her *sigh*. Let her do it at her pace (sleepy cause this was nearing the end of our ride) and it was an easy 4. Put my leg on a little and cleared the 50' in 3 strides. hahaha might've taken me a lap and a half after that to bring her back again, which we did - next round in 5, but even still...

So it turns out that it's not that I can't actually rate this horse, it's that her stride length is so insanely much longer than I'm used to that I'm misjudging everything. For the non horse people out there -- basically I'm used to horses with gears 2-5, this one has 4-6! So we'll have to spend some time installing the lower gears, cause much as they're not a ton of fun they are *really* useful sometimes! hahaha but baseline has at least been established and now I have a better understanding of what our issue truly is. And thankfully a lot of it will get better as she gets stronger -- she simply doesn't have the strength to sit and tuck her hind end under her right now.

Now off to ride Lis who *only* has gear 4 and work on putting in 3 and 5... :)


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