The Taming of the Shrew
Friday, 24 November 2000
See if you can guess who did I rode today! I'll give you two clues: I could barely stop myself jumping of joy, and I was "high" for the duration of the class. If you can't guess right, you have not been paying attention! Of course it was Juby, the horse that is a (good) step closer to the stars .
I'm sure the happy feelings were not mutual, though. Jubileu had not worked yet today, so I guess he was not pleased that his holyday had been disturbed at the last possible moment. It seems he is a horse that gets lazy if he is worked less than usual, so tonight I had a "legfull" with him.
André joined us in the arena with Asterix. A couple that have a horse at the barn were the remaining elements of the class (she ridding their horse, he on Cantrera).
Once again I was in front. I have to start making an effort to go first - maybe then I'll end up second . After a bit of walk to oil the eight of us we went into rising trot. Most of the time I was second, which for once didn't help much. Juby was really not in a mood to work fast, so he was determined to follow the other horse's bum across the shortest path.
While trying to keep as close to the corners as possible I had to curve him outside and use the inside leg to exertion, with little results. Short of getting both feet in the outside stirrup and make believe he was a catamaran, I just couldn't get him to listen to me. Getting him to keep up with the other horse was no small task either. I gave up on insisting much in the turns, and concentrated on keeping him moving. Clicking with my tongue when he slowed down, or rhythmically as I pushed him forward seemed to help. He would turn a ear towards me and be a little more focused.
Getting him to make circles in this state of mind was humiliating. We're no longer talking radishes here! These were definitely shrivelled prunes . All in all he was forcing me to work so much I was sweating a lot more than he was...
We had a couple of thrilling moments when Cantrera shied at nothing in particular and spooked the other horses, like she had done with me (I've got her number now). She did this exactly when we were more bunched up, and the horses just scattered like shrapnel. It was nothing much, all we had to do was stop the horses and get them in line, but it certainly was disruptive.
The rest of the lesson was taken with canter. I'm getting better at it, and Juby helped. Although he was not keen on speeding the trot, he presented no objection about cantering. Getting him to canter was not as smooth as I'd like it to be, for my own fault. But as soon as we were there, things were rather smooth. I'm still so much "behind" that I'm there for little more than the ride. The good thing was that Juby didn't take advantage of the usual excuses to stop, so we were able to put up a bit of exercise.
We were able to pass in front of other horses that had slowed down, keep on straight while others circled, circle while others carried on. He was still obsessed with tightening the circles as much as possible, and at canter it was really impressive. That b****** (a lovely one still ) can turn on a dime (pence, escudo, whatever) and give you back change. We did a change of rein, which presented me with a all new problem - change of lead. Juby did a couple of steps inverted, and just as I was thinking of going back to trot and start again, he did a little shuffle and carried on with the right lead.
I was really pleased with him for the second half of the lesson. Even if he was not helpful during the first half, he more than made up during this second one. Not only did I patted and scratched him extra good, I made sure he got a slightly bigger ration of hay (under Francisco's supervision...).
After the lesson and after we had "parked" our companions I stayed to watch Francisco and another instructor ride their horses. A free and inspiring lesson.
When they were finished, they started to joke about the horse's "willingness" towards the gate. They let both mares free and they went straight for it. Unknowingly both instructors acted the final scene of "The Taming of the shrew". Each began to claim that the other's mare was not as obedient as his. They decided to try it out, each calling for his mare to come to him. It seemed that the better tamed shrew was Francisco's, so she gets the Katherina Award. The other one only came to her owner after he tossed a glove at her to call her attention (cheater!), so she gets the Bianca Award.
They took care of their horses, in the midst of a shower of bawdy jokes. Then we went feed everyone and close things for the night. Afterwards I still stayed a bit longer chatting before finally going home. For a 55 minute lesson, I stayed three hours, that's what I call getting your money's worth ! One of this days they'll be chasing me out with a broom!