Happy, Healthy, & Horsey: Speaking of Bend…

It’s Kaliwohi’s turn!

Some weeks my life is flat-out insane, and this past week was wild, indeed. Fortunately, my friend and phenomenal USDF/USEF Adult Amateur rider, Dara Lindner (Bronze and Silver medals in the bag; working towards Gold and making it look oh-so-easy!) came over this week to help Kaliwohi work on his own bendability!

All photos by me (Esther Roberts).

Strung out during warm-up.

On this¬†almost-too-hot-to-ride Southern afternoon, Kaliwohi would have much preferred to nap in his cool barn. During warm-up, his sluggish self was strung out and not at all engaged, at least, at first. Dara has amazing flexibility in her core; her ability to “go with the horse” is among the best I’ve ever seen. She gently and consistently encouraged Kaliwohi to engage behind and reach for the contact up front, thus gradually creating the “energy loop” from rear to front that we strive for.

Starting to engage behind/reaching for contact.

As Kaliwohi continued to focus on the job at hand, Dara was able to ask for engagement and thoroughness from the inside hind. ¬†This balances Kaliwohi laterally so he can bend his barrel around her leg. He is listening and attentive and loving Dara’s soft, giving contact.

True engagement and such a lovely relaxed contact!

Dara gave Kaliwohi plenty of time to warm up and engage at the walk. Then, when she asked for the trot, he maintained his engagement, thoroughness, and contact, like, “no big deal.” It was lovely to watch! (So much so, in fact, that I failed to get trot photos going the other direction – oops!)

Kiwi maintaining engagement and throughness in the trot – woo hoo!

This mustang mama was delighted to watch Kaliwohi be so willing and responsive to a rider other-than-mom. Of course, Dara’s excellence as a rider gave Kiwi tons of confidence and trust. All in all, while my week may have been a train wreck in other areas, when it came to working on Kaliwohi’s fitness and bendability, this was a “gold star” week, for sure!

Thanks, Dara!


Go Riding!

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