Thursday, August 20, 2015

Blessi and the Garrocha

Over the weekend I went to an Alice Trindle clinic to learn how to ride with a garrocha, the 14-foot pole used in Spain to herd the fighting bulls.  The clinic also covered how to perform classic dressage in-hand exercises for suppling and strength building.  Poor Blessi, I was very bad at it. Alice good humoredly called my efforts "whalespeak."  In this type of communication with your horse, yooouu aarree sppeeakkiiingg sooooo sllooowwwllly thhaaat yoouour hoorsee reesppooondds iiinn annnn eexxtrreemellyyy duuulll maannneeer."  My cues were so fuzzy and slow that Blessi had no chance to express his brilliance and do what Alice called "showing off."

I have kind of a grumpy face.   Perhaps because
I kept losing track of the pole and knocking my
helmet down over my eyes.
Alice borrowed Blessi to give a demo of garrocha riding.  Because of his medieval games experience, he was able to do just about everything with the pole at a walk.  Ride under and in a circle, do spiral in and out, carry the pole, take the pole and rotate it end over end, kind of sort of back up with it.  But Alice is an exceptional rider and can get brilliance and collection in horse new to her.  Alice then picked up a stick with a flag on the end of it and rode Blessi in a game of "chase the tail."  She rode up to each horse/rider combo and they had to trot and chase each other's tail in a tight circle.  This was good practice for the next day's work with the garrocha and let the horses build a herd mentality.   

At the end of the demo, Alice said Blessi was "a fine riding horse" which I
think is quite the compliment.  She also said that Blessi chuckles at people a lot.  He is quite the jokester.  She also liked his powerful butt and how he can use it.  Blessi really did a nice job representing Icelandics over the weekend; me, perhaps, not so much.

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