Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Dream

I rarely dream about horses or riding, maybe because I spend so much time with my horses almost every day.  But last night I had a dream about horses . . .

The dream had several parts.  First, I was riding Pie around inside my house - the ceilings and rooms had expanded to accommodate us.  I was steering him using only a pinch of mane - it was pretty magical.  Later in the dream, I was riding him at the barn and doing the same thing - although I had his bridle on, I wasn't using the reins and was using the pinch of mane.  Same magical feeling.

Then there was another part to the dream.  I was out in a pasture with lots of horses, and going from one pasture to the next.  I was looking at and motioning to the horses to follow along with me, and they did.  Also magical.  Then there was an odd bit, as often happens in dreams.  A fancy car drove up around and through the horses - there was a driveway or pavement now - and turned in through a fancy, chateau-type gate.  One horse slipped through the gate with the car, and I knew I would have to go back later to get the horse, since the driver of the car didn't know anything about horses.  And there the dream ended.

Today it was finally up to about 25F in the indoor arena, and I could ride - the past several days it's made it up into the teens at best.  Wind chills hovered around zero all day outside, but the sun seems to have made a difference.

Dawn and I had a short lungeing session so she could stretch her legs - she'd come in a bit early today - when I went to get her in the pasture she was at the gate, huddled up with her eyes squinted.  She did some bucking and kicking, and was pretty high energy for a bit, but then she just didn't want to lunge.  This is a new thing for her - she used to go around pretty much on automatic, but now she's looking for a signal that she can stop, and she disengages and turns to face me.  I made sure that she went back out and that we got a stop that I had requested, but I didn't ask her to do a lot more.  She calmed down pretty quickly, and my rule with her is that if you're calm, you don't have to do more.  I also expect that she's a bit sore in the hocks, so the tight circle of lungeing may be uncomfortable.  Tomorrow I'm hoping to ride her - she's had four days off.

Red had had two days off, but he was as good as gold - maybe even better.  He was soft and responsive and relaxed from the get-go.  We did a proper 15-minute walk warm up with lots of turns and also some lateral work.  And here's the really outstanding part - he did perfect walk/trot transitions from the first ask - this has been an issue for us as he tends to leap into canter.  I think my postural improvements made a difference, and I was also keeping my contact very soft.  He did some very nice sustained trot work.  We do need to work on getting him to stretch down and relax in the top line - he's still being careful about how he moves and tends to stay fairly upright, although soft.

And, guess what?  The pinch of mane thing worked pretty darn well with Red - he's so responsive and sensitive that he's always trying to figure out what you might be asking.  We did circles, turns and figures at the walk, using just the pinch of mane - although I was still doing my stepping to the outside and turning the way I was going, and he may have been reading that as well.  It was pretty neat.

Pie and I also had a really excellent walk/trot/canter ride - he'd had three days off - with good bend, softness and forward - every time my eyes came down he could lose his straightness or bend, and as soon as I looked up and opened my posture, the straightness and bend came back.  He did slip once cantering around a corner - he's still figuring out how to carry himself in our tight arena.  Pie wasn't too sure about the mane-pinch steering thing, but he did something else for me that was special.

When I'm done riding Pie, I often get off Pie and have him stand in the middle of the arena while I put things away - cones or poles.  Today I was putting cones away, and he stood there like a champ while I collected and put away cones.  But then all I have to do is to motion to him and he starts following me around as I put away the rest of the cones.  It's really very sweet, and is just like the horses in the pasture in my dream.

What dreams have you had about horses, and have the dreams come true?

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