Friday, November 15, 2013

Swift Like the Wind

"Hey, there's a wolf in your field..."
One of the benefits to living in part America's corn and soybean growing capital is having a lot of manicured space to ride in during the winter. Sure the summer is full of hacks through cooling forests, long trot sets through grassy field byways, and dodging horseflies the size of your helmet, but in the winter the fields open up and allow you freedom.

The picture above is from last Saturday. The morning was a just a touch chilly (40 degrees), but bright and clear. The bean field a half mile north of the barn was begging for Pig and I to go play. It's a long vista of clear and level footing. The field runs alongside the road, making it fairly safe from the deer hunters (out in force right now). I threw on Pig's tack, grabbed a sweater, and loosed the dogs.

What I love about this field is how easy it is to practice and fiddle. We started out the ride with some loosening stretchy trot, then I took more contact and asked for power and lengthening. Finally, we worked in a straight line, changing our bend without falling in to either side.

But Saturdays in the bean field aren't really all about dressage, and my whole crew knows it...

We leapt forward into a canter, and I crept up to hover low over Pig's withers. He tossed his head and changed leads, surging into a quicker pace. The dog's happy faces were bordered by ears slicked back with speed. Their eyes were slits against the wind. We were flying now.

I ran my hands another inch up Pig's neck, and closed my legs. He obliged my request with another blast of speed. The wind was whipping his mane into my eyes, and the dogs were starting to fall behind. A couple of snorts from Pig, and we passed them easily. Their frantic strides no match for his thoroughbred speed.

A tug on my little dog's leash pulled me out of my trance. It's so easy to get swept up in the speed and joy of a galloping ex-stakes horse. Another tug reminded me I still needed to slow the big red train chugging along beneath me; before long we'd be dragging the poor puppy.

I stood in the stirrups, and felt Pig start to slacken. Slowly we came back to a more reasonable pace. I sat, letting his stride pull me deep in the saddle, and asked for more jump and less speed. "Remember, you're a dressage horse now." I muttered.

He snorted derisively, but was obedient. He knows we'll gallop again soon.

2 comments:

  1. That's really cool, we always have to watch out for squirrel holes :(

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    1. Squirrels holes? Is that like when they dig in my garden?

      I'm really lucky with this field. It has two holes in it. Both are more like ditches, and can be jumped as if we were badass eventers.

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