Play Date March 2009

IMG_3685We just finished another lovely play date.  The weather was nice enough to play in shirt sleeves in the outdoor arena.  The horses were all left brained and horses and humans were all in a partnership frame of mind.  We started off playing with the horses on line, did some liberty, broke for a potluck lunch and then rode in the afternoon.

Baby and Namaste tied for being the bravest horses – Baby for letting Dad put the ball on her back; Namaste for walking through the inner tube twice in a row. Many thanks to Mark for bringing the inner tube for us to play with.

I think Baby also did the squarest sideways toward, though Onyx did it very well too.  The trick, from watching Sheral and Della, is to use the stick and string over the back to ask the butt to come toward you.

Mystic was awesome at stick to me at liberty in the arena, pushing the big ball down the arena and doing a flying lead change as we switched directions at the canter, came down to a trot, walk, whoa and back up, even sideways away and toward.  Changing directions when he broke gait from a canter to a trot worked wonders with Mystic.  He became more animated and attached to me, rather than feeling intimidated by me using a higher phase to correct him.

Alice was the cantering queen, picking up left and right leads easily, doing a couple of flying lead changes and counter cantering. Onyx and Mystic also picked up correct leads going to the left and right. We did some riding with the string around the neck before Della and I played with some finesse, doing shoulders in and haunches in and leg yields and half passes.  I forgot my bridle, but Mystic was willing to collect up anyway.

Linda rode her Paso Fino, Shadow, for the first time in two years and is rediscovering the joy of spending quality time playing with her boy.  She’ll be back for more play dates!  Donna came to watch, but ended up riding Baby and Mystic.  While you might think they are a study in contrasts, both horses have very good accelerators, brakes and smooth gaits!

The potluck lunch was delicious, the company supportive, the conversation about how wonderful our horses are – in short, a perfect day. In Della’s words “What a wonderful time, inspiring, creative and at moments thrilling!” I am looking forward to our next play date on April 11 from 10 to 3 at Mystic Ranch – weather permitting.  Hope to see you at the ranch.

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