Back to

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cheers for Butt Foam

Only in the world of horses and specifically dressage horses is "butt sweat" AKA "butt foam" something to cheer about. Due to a crazy work week mixed with just not feeling 100%, last night was my first night out to the barn since the weekend. Not ideal since Ryan Yap is coming in from Florida to clinic us this weekend, but I have to pay the pony bills somehow! So I head to the barn last night, Gram at first looks at me like why have you left me for so long?? Quickly she got over it, and was super snuggly. She just wanted face pets and to be told how beautiful she is, we all have those days. So since she had four days off I thought stretching was of the utmost importance, plus I want to save her best for Ryan this weekend. I start my sessions with a good 5-10 minutes of just walking on the buckle. It gives us both time to loosen up and relax. My last horses were older FEI boys, so for them that walk time was needed... I feel like if it was good for them, it cannot hurt the young ones either. Plus it gives her the chance to not feel like all we do is work, work, work.

After our walk, and of course some chit chat with Jen, I pick up the trot. She is lazy... happens to us all after a vacation, that first day back is the hardest. So I grab a whip, immediately I have her attention and she is ready to work. We do our normal warm up, stretch at walk, trot and canter in both directions with circles and lots of changes in direction. We walk, yet again. Now we are both feeling loose and ready for a few minutes of serious work before we agree to call it a good first day on after 3 off. I pick her up again, and figured I would use the advise from the Blog of Catherine Haddad- play the accordion. If the horse wants to be down, ride them up; if the horse wants to be up, ride them down. She of course wanted to be down today. So my entire plan for the session was to ride her up, but just for a short period of time. She was wonderful. So as promised, it was a short work out. We rode up at trot and canter in both directions with just a few transitions (to make sure we didn't forget how to move after a halt, see first blog entry). We probably did serious work for a grand total of 6 minutes. Total time in saddle: 30 minutes. 10 minutes walking on buckle, 10 minutes warm-up stretch, 6 minutes riding up with transitions and an other 5 for cool down. I dismounted not expecting a whole lot in terms of sweat. Out of habit I always roll up one stirrup, walk around her back end, casually lifting her tail to check for "butt foam". To my pleasant surprise there was lots of "butt foam"!!!

"Butt Foam" tells me, in short, that we did something right! Non-dressage people would probably be offended by the happy dance we all do when we find butt foam. It normally entails a slow pull of the hand, or a fist pump variation. Without being too graphic, "butt foam" is a white lather that appears in the rear end between the cheeks. In theory, if you are riding your horse properly, every dressage rider should have the foam with every ride provided winters are not spent in the north! Living in Chicago, my foam sitings in the winter are limited, and I was shocked that we had it after only 16 minutes of actual work doing more than just walk. Sometimes it is the little things that make us happy. This is just one small clue that my path is headed in the right direction. To make me happy it just takes a good butt sweat! :)

1 comment:

  1. You are definitely not along in your fist-pumping. ;) My non-horsey girlfriend is learning to appreciate my enthusiasm, but the first few times I sent her closeup smartphone pictures of my horse's rear end, there were brief moments of awkwardness. lol Keep up the good work!