Today I took a quick ride through some of my freestyles since I'm still not sure what the plan is for tomorrow's sidesaddle demonstration. I don't know what to expect from the facility, nor even if there is any sort of sound system so I have to be prepared for anything. And since I haven't yet decided on the music I haven't committed to a habit either because I like the habit to tie in with the time period and theme. Most likely it will be my brown Victorian habit, and I'd better decide soon so I can start packing! But Barb and I are pretty good at winging it, and we manage to have a good time in the process.
I had hoped to keep today's ride short and sweet so Owen will be fresh tomorrow and initially things went according to plan...but as we were hacking back toward the barn along the fields I decided to put Owen into a boisterous canter for some cardiovascular work. The next thing I knew Owen was hurtling toward the house at a ground breaking pace, snorting fire like a dragon and ignoring all of my aids. The cool thing was that he was totally out of control I wasn't the slightest bit concerned and as he came thundering toward the driveway I was able to pulley rein him on a nice arc to the left, across the drive, slightly up onto the lawn, and right around into the arena down center line! As soon as he found himself firstly in the ring, and secondly, headed away from the barn, he sat down on his hocks and resumed his nice collected canter. We did a few changes and a bit more canter work before I let him canter back toward the barn with him maintaining his collection on a loose rein. As I said, I'd planned an easy ride but now Owen was lathered up which shows how impossible it is to try to structure your training schedule when your equine partner suffers from both bipolar disorder and a napoleon complex.
I would also like to point out that my slow careful work astride has really paid off in spades when I ride aside. I can't stress enough how helpful weight aids are aside, and training Owen to pick up his leads or change his bend with just a shift of seat adds a whole new level of delight to my sidesaddle riding. Given, Owen is an advanced horse, but any horse of any training level in any discipline can be made into a more lovely ride if schooled to accept lighter aids. There is a lot of talk given to good hands, and I'll never disagree with their importance, but the seat is the foundation for all riding and you can't have good hands if you're jostling around in the saddle.