Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Baby Steps

So.... the weather has been icky today and looked like it was going to be tough to get in a ride. BUT.... I woke up and there was no rain and it looked like it wouldn't hit til 11:30 or so... and then would be pretty much all day. So... I texted Marian and she replied with "Come on"!, so... I did. We beat the rain! Mostly. ;) We got a tiny bit wet at the end and it downpoured while we were driving home, but... we got in a ride. :) 

It was a pretty good ride. Nothing earth shattering and nothing too big or impressive, but... still... progress. Baby steps. I'm trying VERY HARD to embrace the taking a step back and fixing the holes. And there are so many holes! 

We started off with a tiny bit of flat work... shoulder in.... more shoulder in.. and more shoulder in. Which is hard. And it's hard to keep him straight in the mouth... not turn it into a renvers... keep him square in the shoulders... We also did lots of transitions. Walk to trot to walk to trot to walk to trot to canter to trot to canter to trot, etc. Marian made a good point. He NEEDS to be soft and connected through the transitions. (And yes... I realize that I have had multiple people tell me this and multiple times I have done this... you would THINK I would have burned this into my brain by now... but clearly I'm a super slow learner... or a not at all learner... sigh). But her point was that I'm either training or untraining him. Which, again, duh... But yeah... so no more transitions without him being on the bit and staying supple. This means I may have to squeeze the rains. NOT seesaw or wiggle or KNIT. ;) But using my hands on the reins in a "fist" creates soft elbows but uses my triceps muscles. So yeah... there's that to work on...

Then we started jumping. She set up a very small cross rail and had us trot it. But we were working on straightness, so... she put up four cones and had us jump between the two cones in, and land between the two cones out. It started out awful! I mean, we were straight... but barely. And.. for some reason he was tripping... and couldn't get his distance and was lurching at the fence. I was throwing myself at it because it felt like he was going to take off and then he would chip. Ugh... We finally managed to get in sync a little bit better. Then Marian had us do different lines... as we came around the turn she would say "go to the left of the orange cone and land to the right of the yellow"... Or "go straight and land to the left of the blue". It's hard man!! And hard to concentrate on that along with keeping my heels down and keeping my hands down and keeping my back up... But.. it got a smidge better. Then she set it up to a vertical and let us canter it. Which made it WAY easier. But then he was getting really on the forehand so I had to do some transitions and rock him back. Ride the corner like my dressage corners. Use it to set him up and rock him back, then ride forward through the turn. (Again, I've heard all this before... WHY CAN I NOT RETAIN!?!?!? sigh...). So that helped a lot. 

Then we did a grid, which was bounce, bounce, vertical, bounce, bounce. I think. It started out with us getting it, but being a little wiggly and him having to reach towards the last fence. They were sooo small too. So.. I got him a little more fired up and I think he actually figured out on his own that it was easier to do this grid if he was more forward and opened up his stride. Which.. is awesome that he's figuring it out on his own some! And sure, I'm helping, but not a ton. :) So we had a few tries over that and finished with two really good goes. And... I upped my stirrups two holes and it seemed to make it a little better/easier for me. :) YAY. I also managed to keep my hands down. Phew!

Marian said she thought we had made a lot of good positive progress in a short time, so that was helpful. :)

Then Dan got a massage/fascial work from Amanda. :) He was goofy. Afterwards we were talking and he was in his stall. He hung his head out and was lipping my face... giving me kisses. No teeth!! I love him!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sunday Funday!

Today was a nice Sunday. It was gorgeous weather! Like... amazing, wish it could be like this year round, weather. We slept in a little bit as I woke up with a migraine, again. Then I fed the ponies and Fleck was soooo dirty. But also acting slightly funky, so I was a little afraid that he was not feeling well. So we stuck around for an hour or so to make sure he was okay. I listened to Church and then when I went to check on Fleck again, he seemed fine. So.. Mike and I went to the lake. We had fun. It was a great day to sail. Great wind! When we got home, it was still light out, so.. I ate dinner and then grabbed Daniel and off we went. :) 

We did a warm up hack to the XC field and then by the jump field and then back to the arena's. We worked on what we did in my lesson... And... It's still so hard for me to not hold that outside rein. Partly because it seems to work. Sigh. BUT... I did make some progress. I think I also have to turn my right shoulder back and push my left shoulder forward and use my outside thigh to keep his shoulder from flinging too hard. BUT... at least I'm using my body and leg instead of my hand. And I still have to keep my outside rein in connection but soften the inside rein and slightly soften the outside rein so that he softens. Otherwise, he braces right back on me. So.. we made some progress. Then we did some shoulder in, during which he kept his momentum nicely, which was good! Then we did some half pass. Hard to say how it went, but.. seemed to be okay. Not great, but ... okay. Then we did some canter. We started on the right and it was a lovely canter and we ALMOST held the 3 loop the whole way. I got greedy and over-reacted and shifted and messed him up. Then we couldn't get it for awhile... but did get the shallow one. We also got some nice canter in general and got the left lead 3 loop. We also worked on the canter to walk to canter and got some really nice ones! So then we cantered down centerline, changed to trot and trot lengthened to a halt. :) Then we went for a cool down hack. 

Double dipping

Today was fun... despite the frustrations too. 

I had a lesson with Kelly. She got on Dan first and got him started. She said he was really starting to try and she explained a little what she was doing. She was making sure that he really moved his barrel over (his ribcage) and changed the bend in his body before she changed directions. This allowed him to balance himself better and not fling himself. She really was working on straightness and that right hind coming up and under himself. 

So then I got on. Sigh.... so many years of bad habits and body memories... So.. here's the biggest struggle. I still feel, that when we are tracking right, that his left shoulder is slinging out to timbucktoo. My brain feels him flinging out, so I immediately shut it down with my left rein. I think I'm correct in some ways, because... I feel like he's leaning and I need to straighten him. Which I accomplish by almost counter bending him and pushing his outside shoulder in, to create a straightness in his shoulders. And that is what I've done for years... evne with Fleck. But... it's wrong. Sigh... I'm blocking that right hind from stepping up and under that way. So what Kelly wants me to do is to get more bend/flexion with his body... by really asking that right hind to come up and under, almost riding haunches out (which I can understand... that makes my brain happy), almost pulling his nose in to the inside but with a wide hand, near my knee, and allowing that outside rein. Softening and allowing but maintaining a connection. And that's where my body rebels. I just can't stop myself from locking that left rein down. It's so frustrating because I think we got a little bit where he felt amazing and wonderful and it was ... almost there, and then I softened, and he dropped into this beautiful trot. And then he loses his balance, and I panic and grab and then start trying to create it by a tight locked, even lifted, left rein. Sigh. Basically, I just need to not be so handsy on the left rein and rely more on my leg. 

But... Kelly pointed out. It's not going to change just because I will it to. I'm fighting a fight that has been going on for years. YEARS!!! I've done this with Dan when he was a baby.. I've done it with Fleck. So... trying to train my brain and body is going to be hard. Add in the fact that it's Dan's weaker side and harder for him, and... it's gonna take awhile. So... she tried to make me feel happy with our lesson and the progress. And... I am. She's right. I'm just itching to get back on and get to fixing it. 

So then, since I hadn't been able to jump in a bit, and I've been wanting to see Missy.... she invited me to jump with her and Kelly Rousey, so.. we hauled from Athens to Halfshire and jumped with them. It was fun. Nothing too exciiting or big. And... unfortunately, I started out with him behind my leg and chipping in. Repeatedly. BUT... I finally took a breath and pushed and we got some decent jumps. Nothing amazing... but we finished on a good note and it was nice to get out and jump. We took a short cool down hack and... then we came home. :) 

 (The badness).....

(the goodness!)

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Showing off

Kelly lesson... she rode...

Dan is smart. Dan likes to show off :)

Pedicures, Dentals, and long hacks

What an absolutely beautiful day!!! It was gorgeous! The sun was shining and warm. It wasn't humid. The sky was beautiful blue with fluffy clouds. The grass is so incredibly green. There was a gentle breeze (that was gently tossing the pollen to and fro!). It was simply a perfect weather day!

Our day started with the boys getting their pedicures. Then Dan and I went to Ashland and met up with Kelli and Arwyn. Everything was still super soggy so we went for a long hack. It was great! Both horses were super and relaxed and we had a blast. 

Then we headed back to my place and made it just in time to meet Dr. Diane for their dentals. Fleck and Dan were so cute... they were thrilled to have their girlfriend at their house. Even Fleck seemed very happy and not angry at all. (Which gives me hope for future spotty girl!). 


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Foggy Fitness and Getting Soaked

So... the weather yesterday sucked. It rained most of the day. Today was supposed to be more of the same. So I didn't message Marian about a lesson because.. rain. BUT... when I woke up (kind of late because Mike and I slept in, and then I hung out with him for a bit) it wasn't raining, so.... I thought maybe... My phone radar said that it would start raining around 11, but it was only a 45% chance... and 65% chance at noon, but I had to be home by 12ish anyways, so... I ran out and fed and threw Dan in the trailer and off we went! The arena's were soupy, so I decided to hit the trails and work on my fitness. It was so foggy and pretty. We mostly walked and I did two point. We trotted a little... cantered a tiny bit. But mostly just walked as it was slick. 

So... we got to the hill going up to the XC fields and I started to hear some thunder. Oops! We headed up the hill and back to the arenas. I wanted to check them out so I could update Lucy.... so we went into the jump arena. They were set low, so we hopped over two. :) Forward! And out of stride. Yay! The footing was actually fairly nice in the front part but the back quarter was a bit wet and heavy. So then we heard more thunder and the sprinkles that had started just when we got up there started turning to rain. So we trotted down to the upper dressage arena.... went in... and check it out. I trotted one circle and it was pretty deep and heavy in the corners but not terrible. Then we leg yielded out of that arena and were about to go check the lower arena when I saw lightning and then 2 seconds later heard thunder. Peace out! We headed back to the trailer and then it started pouring!!! I untacked as quick as we could and we headed home. Of course it poured the whole way but once we got home... the rain stopped. Doh! Oh well. It rained on and off some more during the day, and I probably could have ridden that afternoon after I saw two patients, but... I'm glad I got it in at least. :) It was quite pretty out.