I have been away. Duty called, and I winged my way across these United States for several days in the D.C. area. I spent those days learning things for my job. I would rather have been riding and learning horsey things – but I love learning in any form. Besides, the conference was in one of the most amazing hotels I’ve ever seen … well beyond my own tax bracket! What’s to complain about that?
Of course, this trip meant time away from my four legged kids. They were well cared for by their “grandma”, with help from a family friend; but all training was put on hold. Of course, I missed the nose-kisses!
All of the travel time did allow for catching up on some of the “old masters”. At home, I’ve been slogging through Seunig for some time. I like his philosophies, but it is not light reading. On the trip I turned to Baucher and Steinbrecht, both conveniently loaded on my tablet. (Okay, so I did fit in a little horsey learning, after all!)
I confess that the more I read Baucher, the less I understand his appeal. His whole hypothesis is that you simply need to shape the neck to the right form (most of it done at the halt), and the rest of the horse will follow. As the owner of a mare with a flawless neck, I can tell you that is an extremely backward approach. Yes, it is very easy to get Tally to shape her neck exactly as desired in the Dressage arena. However, that is rather like trying to shift a plank by using a hose attached to one end. The cervical spine is attached low, and is the most mobile part of the horse – so you can manipulate it all you want, with absolutely no affect on the much more massive, much less mobile trunk. Watching today’s top level competition, I guess I can see the appeal of using Baucher as a justification for rollkur and LDR – but that doesn’t make it any more correct. It just makes no biomechanical sense. Many of the other masters I have read soundly denounce Baucher. So, I will read his work all the way through, in order to be fully informed – but I will not use him as a model.
But I have taken a tangent. The downside of my trip was time away from my horses, but it also had a bonus: I was finally able to meet
the wonderful woman who gifted me the lovely red-headed Noble! Her farm is only forty five minutes from the Baltimore airport, so on Sunday I rented a car and hit the road. It was so nice to finally thank her in person for such a great gift, given to a complete stranger! I toured the farm and met its residents. Unfortunately, the wind was high and very cold, so we did not linger outside for long. But we had a nice brunch, and then went shopping at the Dover Saddlery store (finally, to see in person what I’ve been ordering from all these years!). It was a lovely visit … one I could not have afforded without the work reason for the trip.
So, now it is back to working with “the kids”. I received a warm greeting from the barn, upon my return. I’ve had Tally out once and, bless her generous soul, you would not know that it had been over a week since she last worked! I am starting Spring with renewed optimism for the horsey future. Now … out to the barn!
Be good to your horses!