Changes Do Stick


Its only been 3 weeks since our last lesson since we adjusted the date to avoid the upcoming Father’s Day holiday. Being spring and early summer this is our busiest time of year. The weekend after our lesson was the Memorial Day Holiday and included a one day clinic and followed by a two day clinic that consumed the entire weekend, no riding time there. The next weekend sent us to VA to attend a clinic put on by a good friend of ours. Stayed overnight to break up the travel a bit, and didn’t get home until late. Laundry and cleaning were behind, no riding again. And then there was the heat. Sitting in an air conditioned office all day does not make it easy to handle the 95+ degree high humidity sauna for a couple hours.

So yeah, 3 weeks since our lesson and I hadn’t thrown a saddle over his back. I got him out and grooming was semi useless, he was already very sticky so a brush didn’t do much but rearrange the direction the hair was laying. I got him tacked up, and after fussing with the pads a little bit I left it alone and headed to the arena, getting Kirsten to check things before we got started. Before I even got a chance to ask, Kirsten asked me if I had checked on the saddle fit, and I said, no, I wanted her to look at it. Mary, the balance saddle fitter, was also around and took a look as well. Kirsten asked which pads I had under the saddle, and I told her that I had the 3 that we added back under the saddle again when we widened it at our last lesson. She told me to pull out the 1/2″ JB pad that I had on top of the other two, and Mary offered to loan me the thinner 1/4″ JB pad that she had, and so I slipped that in between and set the saddle back up in the correct position. The two of them looked at it again, and Kirsten shook her head, take out the 1/4″ JB.

Seriously?! I hadn’t ridden, I needed the 1/2″ the last time I rode…. and now I don’t. I didn’t DO anything. But he got WIDER. 1/2″ wider to be exact.

The reality of this is that when all of the steps that you devote together are all about quality, not the quantity, it sticks. Pure and simple. When you do your best to not allow the bad steps and the out of balance steps, then all that time is spent building new better habits. When it feels good, the horse wants to stay that way, and the old patterns disappear as more and more good steps are layered in on top. So while I see him out in the pasture running around with his head up, he knows the difference. So the old patterns aren’t as useful, and he is lighter and more agile, even if he’s not perfect when he’s romping and playing he’s experimenting with his own body on his own. And so he’s able to continue to improve, even when I couldn’t climb up myself. Which is positive since I might have struggled through the change if I hadn’t had someone to catch it before I climbed up. Quality is always better than quantity.

Ginny and Storm


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