Friday, April 20, 2012

Jaipur Horseplay .. Contd.

Its been about a month in Jaipur now. Time to leave perhaps. May be explore a new place, try some new adventure. Still a few days before the climbing season begins. So I am putting this time to full use. The past month has been demanding physically.  Cycling and riding in the mornings and evenings, in the Jaipur heat could be tough at times. The Riding was interesting up until now. However, recently the rides were getting more and more challenging. Vishal had trained me on a few jumps earlier in the month. But to expect him to train me all the time would be unfair. Rajesh, who would work with me on my riding in the absence of Vishal, had to leave in order to take care of his family. Just when I was beginning to feel dejected, I met with Ajay. An excellent horseman, from Indore in MP. If Rajesh was good, this guy was brilliant.

Ajay and I hit it off rightaway. I was eager to learn as much in as little time as possible and he was willing to oblige. He would plan elaborate training sessions for me. Jumps, controlled canter, gallops and finer nuances of horsemanship like footwork and posture. Oftentimes the sessions were extremely demanding. Before Ajay arrived, I rode on Astro a lot and I was getting used to him which is not necessarily a good thing. Vishal often says that a good horseman should be able to ride (comfortably) on any given horse and he should be able to make minor adjustments if required. Ajay shared the same opinion and I was not complaining. So I said goodbye to Astro for the time being and began riiding on Ashwath and Badal. Ashwath is the only stallion in the lot and he likes to show it too. He is burly and extremely strong. One needs strong and preferably long legs to be in command while on Ashwath. Although I was found wanting in the length department, climbing and cycling certainly  do strengthen ones legs and that is why I was able to ride well (or so I would like to believe) on Ashwath.

Towards the end of the 3rd week Ashwath and I were a team to reckon with. I worked with him on correcting my diagonals and improved my right lead canter which was miserable at best. Ajay also helped me with the "simple change" technique and told me that with a little more practice I could even do the flying change soon. Ashwath feels extremely smooth in his canter. So I was once able to push him to gallop speeds. The arena is a medium sized facility, and so the beast can only speed up in a rectangular route which is about 80 yd X 40 yd. With his strength and burlesque build, Ashwath felt controlled even in a gallop. I say this because Badal, an equally good horse, felt quite green when I got him to gallop. I was able to Jump about 3ft with Ashwath, Badal and Astro. Badal and Astro especially felt the heat on the last couple of days since I was out to prove a point; just to myself that the last month was not wasted. Ajay and I put them (and me of course) through a rigorous routine. Warming up with brisk trots, turns, cirles, diagonals and sitting the trots. Canters in alternate leads followed by jumps and gallop. The beasts were equally competent.

When it was time to go, I really didnt want to leave the horses. A month ago, they were no more than a four legged beast to me. But now I KNOW, that among all the animals, horses are especially loyal and subservient. After they have served you, all they look forward to is a pat and a little freedom. I somewhat felt that the 8th Psalm was partially fulfilled for me in this last month. "He has put all things in subjection under his feet; the ox the sheep and the beasts of the field". I thank God that one day in Jesus Christ, this scripture will be fulfilled perfectly. Amen.

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