Tuesday, March 11, 2008
A horseback riding friend of mine sent this to me with the caption of "Almost as good as you and me." I wish.......
If you're not a rider I need to tell you that this kind of riding is pretty amazing and takes a lot of skill, patience, practice and communication between horse and rider.
Here's a few things to look for while you watch. You'll see the horse licking his lips. This is usually a sign of receptivity and relaxation in a horse. If you're working with a horse whose head is way up, is not looking at you but looking all around they are not generally ready to work well. A horse with a lowered head, an eye toward you, ears flicked toward you and/or licking lips is a relaxed horse and a horse that is willing to work with you and not against you.
After she spins her horse in both directions, she settles both of them and starts a series of figure eights at the canter (or lope). If you look closely you'll see that when they are going clockwise the horse's right foreleg extends further forward than the left foreleg. This is called being on the "right lead." Look closely again and you'll see that when they come down the center of the arena, right before turning in a counter-clockwise direction she signals the horse to change leads. This time you'll see his left foreleg extend further forward. This is called a "flying lead change" because it's done with the horse at a full canter.