Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thursday Lesson on Barney

I got to ride another pony today, but he was super-cute. His name was Barney, and he almost looked like a fat little Icelandic pony. Laura suggested that to me, and I definitely agree. 
I know I complained about the saddle being too small on Tuesday, but today's saddle was at least a size 17. It was hard, but it didn't bother me. I liked the fact that the seat was deeper than the last saddle I rode in, and I actually appreciated the saddle being too big. The one thing I was scared about, though, was the width of my stirrup irons. I almost didn't get on, and, looking back now, I probably should've gone back for different leathers. They were only slightly wider than my boot, which is EXTREMELY dangerous. I normally drop my stirrups if I think I'm falling off, but I think I probably would have been dragged had something gone wrong... 
Of course, Barney didn't do anything that would have caused me to fall, let alone become unseated at all. (Uh, there was one thing, but I'll talk about that later.) I hopped on and walked him around the ring. He really didn't want to stand for mounting, but I jumped on anyway and made him walk in a really tight circle until he decided to wait for me. When he halted, we sat for a minute before I asked him to walk off. I made an assumption that Barney was going to want to go, go, go. Oh, man, I was so wrong. 
As we walked, I found myself having to urge him on to keep him at a snail's pace. He also liked cutting corners, which I quickly taught him not to do. Teresa asked us to go into a posting trot, and I found it extremely difficult to rise with him. I thought my shoulders felt a little rounded, but Teresa never mentioned it to me. We did a sitting trot, which was very easy to do on Barney. Eventually I had to get a crop. Barney was making a joke of me, and he just needed a tap or two behind my leg before he went along properly. We also did a trot while in two-point, and I thought it felt pretty good. I think my back is flattening out, which is excellent. We did a posting trot over the poles a couple of times, and as I passed, Teresa said "Oh, wow, Barney actually went through." I'm not quite sure what she meant by that, because later she said that "Barney loves jumping." 
Trying to get Barney to canter was ridiculous. Teresa divided us into two groups for cantering, and I was in the first group. I set Barney up, asked for the canter, and got...a very crazy trot. I tried again with the crop behind my leg and eventually got him back into the trot. At home, if Stella doesn't take an upward transition in a reasonable amount of time, I stop her and try again. Therefore, that's exactly what I kept on doing. I did eventually get him to canter, but it was on the wrong lead and I pulled him back just as Teresa decided to switch groups. 
The other lead was a little better. I asked Teresa, and evidently she wants me to keep going in the terrible trot until he decides he ought to canter. I would be told to get off the horse if I did that at home, but I'll do things their way at this barn. Instead of kicking Barney into the canter, I whopped his little butt a few times and got him to do a little bit of the canter. He actually got the right lead, which earned him a pat. I also liked how he didn't use his head for balance nearly as much as the other two ponies that I've been on at this barn. 
When we went back into the trot, Barney and I had to pass a jump that was near the rail. Because "Barney loves jumping," he thought he might try to jump over the jump instead of passing it. I pushed him back on the rail, but it was a tad too little, too late. My knee hit the standard and knocked the pole down; I almost thought I was going to take the entire standard out--that, or get pulled off (But, really, how could I manage that? Pants/boot getting caught aside.). It hurt a lot, and the pain was magnified because it was the knee that was already hurting for some reason. I do applaud Barney for not spooking, which is exactly what would have happened with Stella. Stella finally realizes that the stationary standards aren't going to bite or trap her, but I don't think she understands that the poles and standards can move without the world coming to an end. Barney tried to go through the poles once right before the lesson was over, but I made him stay on the rail and stay away from the standard.
I think I've decided that I prefer silly horses to remarkably lethargic ones. 

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