Don’t Forget to Enjoy Your Horse
By Catherine Madera
I have a dream…to do flying lead changes (on purpose). I’m no Martin Luther King Jr., but dreams are for horses, too.
My first attempts to teach flying changes occurred in a neighbor’s field when I was about 15. I selected my sister’s horse, Skeeter, to be “guinea pig.” An athletic little paint, Skeeter was a good loper and I thought it should be about as simple as practicing on a large figure 8. I got the mare going with plenty of energy and, in the middle of the figure, abruptly forced her to go the opposite direction. Skeeter did not appreciate my rude hustling of a lead change. It only took a couple of times around the figure for her to anticipate my moves (no matter how fast we were going) and begin bucking before I attempted to turn her. And that was the end of that.
With the help of my patient dressage instructor, Kim, I think the day is approaching when I will be ready to do flying changes (on purpose!). For now I am working on other, less impressive exercises and holding onto that dream.
What do flying changes have to do with an issue dedicated to recreational riding? Enjoy your horse. Goals are good, but simple enjoyment of a best friend is better. Recently I took Eli out of the arena where we’re practicing canter departures and went on a nice trail ride in the hills (see photo of a happy editor and her happy stallion).
This issue has plenty to share about recreation, including ways to get yourself and your best friend mentally and physically fit for the trail, a place so many of us go to enjoy our horses. And if you’re looking for happiness on horseback, get to know the Peruvian Horses of La Estancia Alegre, our cover story on page 6.
Love the Ride!
Published May 2012 Issue