Monday, November 28, 2016

Monday learning day

I jumped judged yesterday so I didn't get to ride. Today I was supposed to have my lesson with Beth but she had to cancel. Rather than see patients, I decided to enjoy my free day. :) Besides, I'm technically still "sick". :) I met Kelli and we had a fun day. 

She wanted to do some flat work and I thought Danny may need a gallop so I went to do some hills and gallops while she did some dressage. Danny was a lazy bum so we didn't gallop. But we did do some trotting and hill work. We did 5 minutes of hills at the trot. And then we did some flat work in the field. And then I decided to jump a little log to work on my position. I'm happier with it, but I still feel like I get a little too far out of the saddle and a little too far ahead of the saddle/motion. So I wanted to work on sliding my butt back and see if that helped my position. 

So we started to jump. I don't know what the problem was but I could NOT get it together. We had like 8 funky jumps in a row. I couldn't get the right canter, I couldn't see a distance to save my life, and we kept chipping or taking flyers. Luckily Dan didn't seem to mind and just kept coming around. Kelli showed up and I told her I needed help! She said to get my canter first, and I told her I had been. I had been focusing on the canter and even made sure that I had forward available to me. But it was working. So then she said to start with a different jump to break up the mental part. I think I was embarassed because Danny and I started off and he went when I closed my leg but then as we got close to the fence he got really lazy and sucked back, so... I went for shock and awe! And he scooted and we had to circle. But it worked. I actually got him in front of my leg and then we had some lovely fences. :) 

We headed back up to the arena where the footing was better (No rain for at least 2 months!!! the ground was hard!) and continued to work on my position. Kelli said that maybe instead of thinking of pushing my butt back in the saddle, which ended up making me collapse in my core, drop my shoulers, and push my legs forward (the clam), I should think of it differently. I should think of closing the angle in my knee by reaching with my seat or slightly dropping my seat down, rather than shoving it back. We stood in our stirrups and worked on the difference. In my brain, I still thought about pushing my butt back in the saddle but because I had practiced the motion while in the saddle, it felt a little different and I was able to just drop my seat a bit rather than do the clam.

We started out again and it was awful again. He was sucked back behind my leg. But then we got our act together and strung a few fences together and got some pretty nice work. By the end, our course was fantastic!!! Kelli was trying to take video and watch and yell out reminders, so unfortunately most of the good fences are not in the camera screen. But these are the ones we did get. She said that I was even better in the ones we didn't get. She said by the end the course was fabulous!!! That he was rocked back and balanced and picking up his shoulders and that I was tight in the tack, with the motion of the horse, and perfectly balanced over the saddle with all of the right angles. I hope so!! It did feel pretty good. 

In the photos I still want to be a little less out of the saddle and a little bit more behind. But I'm happy with what I did get. It's a work in progress. And our course felt pretty darn fantastic! We even jumped the crossrail a little long and instead of being spazzy, I just sat up, closed my leg, settled Dan and waited and our out fence was AWESOME. ) 

Then we went for a little hack. :) So yep.. Fun day! 

Sick day

I was sort of suspicious I was going to be sick. I wasn't feeling great Wednesday evening and Thursday was okay, but I was starting to get a little chesty feeling. Then Friday was okay but by the end of the day I felt pretty cruddy. Ugh. I felt like I was getting the flu. I ended up sleeping a good bit and felt pretty cruddy in the morning, but by noonish I felt like I could go for a ride. :) So I did! I met Liz at Harbins and we went for what was supposed to be a fairly leisurely ride. Ha!

Danny was a little hot and we had to have a moment of Zero Tolerance again. He started another spin but only got one or two in before he stopped himself. After that he was pretty good. We ended up walking and trotting some and the boys were both good. We even passed two beautiful mules!! Liz let us have a few little canters up some hills so that helped too. Towards the end we cantered and it got a little chaotic! Danny got all riled up with Forrest behind him maybe, or maybe he was just ready to go, but he kept putting little bursts of speed and bolting. I tried to rein him in but he was on the muscle! It was fun, but a little crazy, running through the woods. My half halts kept creating pogo-y effects. Good grief Dan! He settled pretty quickly though and then we had another polite canter later.:)

I was glad because I didn't feel as bad as I thought I might. And I got to ride. And ride with Liz!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Today was a great ending to my day! You know, I had been a little blue and frustrated lately. I want to be the best in everything I do... well, not the best, but the top 5% in my class (and by class I mean... my "level", my "class", my "peers", etc). And I was feeling blue that I wasn't.. that I'm sucking at life... that I'm busy and don't have time to do hardly anything but work. And if I have a little bit of time, I have to sacrifice something 
for something else. I have to ride OR grocery shop OR spend time with Mike. 

But... today was a good day! Today I can see the light. I was able to get a full days work in - I lasered and acupunctured a dog, lasered and checked a mini, checked another mini, and then adjusted 4 horses. And I managed to get home with just enough daylight to ride. And man.. did I need a trail ride. I thought I needed a gallop too, but... that wasn't in the cards. Danny was feeling a bit on the lazy side. We had a nice lovely hack through the fields, chasing the sunset. We got in a lot of trotting and cantering and hills even. :) 

We saw a bunch of deer, including a big buck. We saw a hawk perched in the trees watching us. And then.... we saw a coyote!!! It was dusk, but I'm pretty sure that it is what I saw. We had just cantered down the path by the creek and crossed the bridge to go to the other side. Danny had stopped to stare at something... and I was telling him that there was nothing to be scared of and to trust me. So he did and we carried on.. and then we saw the coyote. Oops. ;) Although in my defense it was on the left and he was staring to the right. ;) 


We had a great ride. And the view was phenomenal! 

I am so blessed. And so grateful! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Today was a fun day. Danny put on his big boy pants from the get go. He started out swinging and loose in his back. We worked on the usual and then we worked on the canter. Cindy said that it was time to start upping the ante. She wanted his depart to be round and for it to stay round. So we worked on it. And it was hilarious. Danny was so mad. He had his ears pinned. hee hee. Poor guy. But once he realized he had to stay round, he did. There was a moment or two of throwing his head up, but it was so much nicer than our previous ones. And then the canter... was LOVELY!! He was up and round and through. Ahhh. So nice!! I need to remember that because what I "think" is round, is not quite round enough. Ahhhh...

So yep, Hold the roundness in the outside rein for the canter depart and viola.... Amazing Canter!!!

Stephen Clinic XC Day!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Fall Stephen Bradley Clinic Day 1

Fun day!!

Danny got to stay out in the paddock which helped me out! He had the zoomies this morning so I think that it minimized the zoomies under saddle. :) Of course I also did some groundwork and we are still doing "Zero Tolerance" so that's helping too. It was really warm but really windy today. He wasn't too bad warming up! And he was great in our lesson. :)

 Of course while warming up with the rest of my group and all of the auditors and Stephen, Danny tripped and face plowed for about 4 strides on his nose and knees. No one else saw it!!! Seriously... don't know how they missed it, but they did. Luckily Dan kept on all his shoes and didn't hurt himself. 

We started with a grid. The goals were to keep them straight and balanced. I had to ride with a bigger connection to get Dan to stay in the trot without breaking to canter and without losing energy and impulsion. Basically, it's time to ride him like a big boy horse! I can remember that he's not strong enough yet and needs my support and I can remember that he's learning still, but... it's time for him to carry himself more and learn to compress that stride. And it worked beautifully! When I rode him with a connection and a bit more "on the bit" rather than the hunter floating contact, we kept the trot and got some nice jumps. I also need to work on keeping my shoulders from tipping forward, keep him from drifting to the right by closing my right leg and doing a little bit of an opening rein to the left and a blocking rein to the right. My leg was pretty cooperative today but I still am aggravated at my position. I want to be a bit more behind the motion. I think that's what Stephen was seeing when he said my shoulders were leading a bit. In my brain, it's because my butt is getting ahead of the saddle. So I think I need to focus on pushing my butt back.

Then we moved on to a line that was a four to a one. This showed me that I need to really keep that shorter stride. I need to Push him into the Shorter Stride. This will keep me from riding back to front and instead encourage connection and impulsion without speed or getting strung out. I was having troubles so then we moved onto another exercise which was really eye opening. It was the placing poles one stride out over a low oxer. Argh.. Yep! When we came in fast, flat, or just too long, it was awful. Dan got sucked down and under the fence and my shoulders followed and then he had to roll over his shoulder and I cannot seem to keep my knees down during this situation. BUT... when I get a nice bouncy slow but balanced canter, he can use his feet properly and get to a good distance. AHA!

So then we did a little course and I totally screwed it up! Stephen said I was trying to ride a distance rather than ride the canter. And sure enough, once I focused on my nice canter again, things fell into place.

So yep. Lots to learn and work on today. It was a good day! Danny behaved himself, we both learned, and Stephen said I was doing a good job with him and he was looking really nice :) :) :)