Saturday, March 16, 2013

Seventeenth Lesson ~ One-Handed Reining!

Interesting ride today. While not great, it was pretty knowledgeable and I'm happy. We got off to a great start. Rode Ruby again and got Badal as a trainer. He took on 2 other riders who were only riding for 30 mins. Went to the main arena again. And for the first time ever, Ruby lead the group! :o I was the leader, woot! He taught us the differences between 60, 15 and 10 metre circles. And he told us the names of the 4 different walk types. Didn't teach us how to do those 4 walks though lol. We did a few rising and sitting trots. I improved my steering using not the reins, but body language! My balance certainly improved loads. I could just tilt to the side and Ruby turns! I tried using my eyes and thought silently where I wanted to go and Ruby actually followed. Damn! If you told me that I would be silently communicating with a horse back when I first started riding, I would've called you insane.

Oh oh! I can also mount Ruby from ground up EASILY now :D Last week, I had a whole lot of difficulties. Ruby is slightly taller than D'Alonzo and Siti Mas and with those two, I already had difficulties pulling myself up. Just that slight inch of difference in height was enough to make me give up and look for a stand XD Today, I didn't even really try pulling myself up. I just got up. Easily. Damnit, I'm getting good at this B) And best of all, it was not once, but twice. (Badal wanted to check something about Ruby, so I had to dismount and mount again) So proud of myself. This simple accomplishment is HUGE for me. Climbing a horse using a stand makes me feel embarrassed for some reason. It's as if I'm telling the horse that I'm not good enough to ride it.

So during that 30 mins, Badal concentrated on the other two riders. The comments I got were all 'Wrong diagonal' and 'Stay on the track'. More compliments that I can ride without as much supervision as I used to need. All in all, I handled myself and rode Ruby very well. Then the 30 mins were up and the other two riders dismounted. Ruby and I continued... that is, until the gate opened to let the other two riders out. Ruby charged to the gate (canter) XD Silly mare. That's another problem with group lessons, me thinks. Because the other horse is done in 30 mins, the horse I'm riding tends to think it's session is over too. That's when Ruby just flipped out like last week. My gosh, she can be really stubborn haha. Just like me! What a bitch :D

Badal didn't want me wasting too much time trying to get Ruby under control again, so he took us to the O-ring (that's what he called it). On the way there, I asked if Ruby was a one-rein horse. He confirmed it and I asked how to use one-rein. Yep, it's exactly like neck reining, except that apparently, I have to maintain full contact. The reins still had to be taut and in 'sort of' a straight line to my elbow (since my hand now has to be right above her withers). It was pretty weird. I asked if it was like neck rein and Badal got confused LOL! Oh dear. Guess I'll ask Mazlan or Zoffer next time. Looks like Badal didn't learn all the terms haha. He told me to 'push' the reins to the right is I wanted to go to the right and vice versa for left. I didn't control Ruby that way very well. I think due to my inexperience and my confusion. My confusion is that if theres still contact, wouldn't pushing the reins to the right pull on the left side of the bit and tell Ruby to go to the left instead? Weird. I really do want to ride her on my own to test this out. Having a trainer around isn't always the best way to experiment, since he'd be wondering what the hell you're doing and then give you all sorts of other directions (like 'Shorten the reins!') =/

Well anyway, I practised two-point again. He made me stay away from touching Ruby's neck, so I learned even more about balance. Standing in the stirrups without any other support was a bit wobbly lol. I got tired from the effort and we walked to calm down. I practised the one-rein here. I didn't really know if I did it correctly =/ The O-ring only had one direction, one track. And I'm now using my body language more. Along with the confusion I mentioned above, one-rein is gonna take me a while to learn.

Then we cantered. Badal taught me even more about balance here. He made me sit straight up, since I had the tendency to lean back so that I don't bounce so much. I definitely need more practice here. And I need to find out how one-rein works with canter LOL! We didn't canter much. I changed direction and we found out that Ruby is pretty naughty hehe. The gate to the O-ring is near one of the corners. When we turn that corner, the first thing a horse sees is the gate. So when cantering, Ruby has the habit of riding straight into the gate because she wanted to go back to her stall XD This was where Badal wanted to check if it was me or it was Ruby. After cantering on her a bit, he confirmed that it was silly Ruby. Another volunteer trainer came by and saw. He told me that it wasn't my fault and that Ruby is just either uncomfortable on that side or just wanna go back to the stables. He also said that if I managed to nudge her with my right heel while cantering  round that corner and got her to stay on the inner side of the track, I'd be a very good rider. Hmm. Must try again. :D I'm finding it slightly difficult to use only one leg when cantering. Bad enough that I can't really nudge her with both legs, since they're kinda moving all over the place D:

Ruby also stumbled once mid-canter. I nearly got thrown again. Kept my seat and she recovered. Badal says it was because Ruby got confused with my steering. Maybe, maybe not. She could just have lost her balance. I dunno. We went back, untacked her and then Badal told me that perhaps Ruby is a bit angry/grumpy today because she didn't get to go grazing o.o Gosh, she has a temper too, just like me! We are way too much alike! >.< So I took a halter and lead rope then led her out to graze. That favourite patch of weeds mum and I found? It grew back with MORE weeds! XD Wow, they're fast growing grass. Ruby chomped like crazy. I didn't pay much attention to her chomping as I usually did, but paid attention to her body. I dunno, but suddenly I was interested in watching her muscles, her wound on her withers, her long neck, her hooves... wait a sec... is that blood on her fetlock? YIKES! She was freshly bleeding on her right hind fetlock. Poor thing must've hurt herself. She stumbled more than a couple of times while grazing too. She didn't lift her front legs as high as she should've. I hope her muscles are okay...

I didn't walk her too much due to the fetlock wound. Let her chomp until she was no longer craving for grass, then took her back for a bath. Today's bath, I learned that you should actually scrub her hard. Badal called it 'massage' lol. I thought all that flinching and shuddering was that she didn't like it, but according to Badal, it's just that the horse hurts from the rider bumping into the saddle all the time. That made sense, so I watched him scrub her again, hard. She was flinching all over lol. Kept moving away from him. He wiped her down and then applied meds on her fetlock and withers. The wound on her withers is DEFINITELY smaller. I'm so happy. They were HUGE just a couple of weeks ago and now they look SO on the mend! Yay! ^_^ Soon, I'd be able to scrub her withers too!

Badal gave me oil to rub into Ruby's mane and tail. He says the oil helps encourage the hair to grow longer. She has a really pretty mane, which I combed very nicely. Then I rubbed the oil into her tail and combed that too. The story of how Ruby's tail got so short came out. Badal says her tail wasn't combed and untangled properly, so the hairs tangled at the tip of her tail, cutting off circulation and causing the hairs there to tear off :( I looked closer at the knob and it was quite scary. It was white, smooth and REALLY bald. Didn't look like anything would ever grow back on there. I'm gonna try though. Ruby has become my favourite horse and I'm gonna do my best to help fatten her, heal her wounds and get her tail back! Of course, I won't be able to do much, due to not going to the club often, but I can try my best everytime I'm there!

Oh! I also found out that Ruby is 11 years old! :D She's pretty young! Next question would be if she's an ex-racer hehe. I put her back in her stall, fed her carrots, went on my rounds and finished the rest on her. She is SO pampered on the treats! I also, for the first time ever, saw her bob her head when I approached! :o She's actually been pretty... unemotional like. Dad described her as a painting where the eyes just followed you. But today, she's just proved that she can be expressive too! I also came back to a messed up mane... >.< Bad Ruby! Must've rolled about. Silly horses. Always rolling about after a bath >.<

Sorry about the lack of videos. The camera is not functioning right anymore. The display goes black often. Don't know if we're ever gonna get it fixed or buy a new camera... Hopefully, we get a new cam and it'll be mine ._. I SO want that Panasonic dual screen cam! As soon as I can, I'll try to take more vids/pics.

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