NO MORE THOUGHT TORNADOES!!!!
Seriously.... Keep it simple Stupid... and by Stupid, I mean HOLLY!!! Argh... yet again I have twisted myself into a crazyness beyond belief.
And not just in the saddle.. Oh no.. yesterday I was all sorts of chaotic! Ugh... But on the plus side.... I tried the new county saddle. Which is also the down side. Because I really liked it. :)
So... I had a lesson with Beth at Morning Run. I meant to get there early and ride some in the field first but I was a bit behind and then I ended up helping them scope Josie, which was awesome to see, so... I was actually late. Doh! But so was Beth. Cindy had brought out the new County Epiphany to try. I debating NOT trying it, but... figured, why not? Ugh.. cause you'll really like it and need to buy one, that's why! Anyways... we started out with the medium narrow, which fit Dan but was a bit too tight for him. He felt a little bit restricted so we had an okay ride to start. However, I really liked the saddle. It felt like I was riding bareback. And it's actually a dual flap. But it's so light. And my legs just hung naturally where they were supposed to, with my toes pointed forward. AHHHHHH!!! It was awesome. And I felt like my butt stayed in the saddle when we cantered instead of popping out of the tack every stride. It didn't fix my leg from creeping up but when I focused on closing my leg at the inside of my thigh instead of the back of my thigh, it was much better. So then we switched to the medium wide with the half pad, which I hated. So we took the half pad out. The medium wide had a more forward flap. And.. I really didn't like it. My leg swung around too much. I felt like I was swimming in it. But Dan moved much better in the medium wide. I still think he needs the medium. The MW was a bit too low on his withers and I don't want to use a half-pad with it. It eliminates the feeling of closeness. But he seemed to be very happy in it.
Anyways... back to the lesson part. I still feel the uneveness, which makes me nervous, but... it goes away. We did a fun pole lesson. Beth had set up three sets of trot poles in a serpentine. The poles in each set were set in a tight circle, so.. you had to ride in on the left rein, do a partial circle, then spiral to the other rein, do a partial circle, then spiral to the other rein and do another partial circle. The goal was to keep the trot small and collected and get him to sit and use himself. She had me sit the trot. It was hard to keep him small and collected but also engaged. And... when we started she said that I was using way too much inside leg to the right and overbending him and to relax my inside leg a little and let him bend rather than forcing the bend. And he was much nicer through there. So then I asked her about the whole right bend, lifting the rib cage up and over vs me just counterflexing, etc. She said "KISS".... She said that I needed to quit overthinking it and architecting every single foot fall and analyzing and then rearranging myself to create something in him. Instead.. just put myself in the correct position and allow him to come to me and be correct. If he gets fussy, just stay where I need to be and allow him to settle back to me. Then she said that I am collapsing in my right core, which is creating a lean to the right. So... instead of thinking maybe about throwing my weight to the outside... think of lifting my right shoulder to my ear (NOT dropping my ear to my shoulder). That would lift my right side (and thus kind of weight my outside) and help lift Dan's right rib cage. And perhaps that would create more of the lift in my right leg rather than just the kicking of his right barrel. So we tried that and it was hard but it helped a lot. And it made me a lot more still in my body rather than doing 80 things to finesse/finagle him. So... yeah.. So then we added the canter poles in. After we did the trot serpentine, we picked up the canter and went to the other long side and did 3 canter poles. The goal was to keep him round and over his topline through the poles instead of letting him invert and run. It was hard. And it was hard to get the striding. I let him get too long and then I dropped him and then I ran him at them. But really, when I got him collected and round and over his back and then closed my leg but kept the connection, he stayed quite nice over them. :)
I think this is the right link to the video
So then we headed home. And then I had a minor meltdown because I realized that I was so caught up on how he was doing and why I couldn't get him to do this or that and how frustrated I was with my position and my thought tornado's and... I forgot that he was trying hard for me. He is not a baby anymore, but he's also not a finished horse. Especially since I'm the one finishing him. He's TRYING though... and I need to be a better mom. I need to reward his try rather than being annoyed that we aren't doing better. He's a really good kid. And we're having fun, but I need to remember that. And then I got sad that I needed to remind myself of that. Sigh.. I didn't use to be this person. I want my joy back. I want to stop comparing and obsessing and nitpicking. I just want to go back to being super proud of my awesome baby horse. I want to go back to having fun and enjoying the journey. I need to stop comparing myself and him to others. I need to stop having a time line or a time frame for goals. Yes.. I like goals and I like competing and I like progressing, but.. he's 6. And yes.. .just because other 6 year olds are doing whatever... it's OUR TIME FRAME.
So... yeah... we got home and I unloaded him and gave him a big hug and told him how great he was and how much I loved him. And I hope and pray that Saturday... (or Sunday if it rains all day Saturday) when I ride.. I remember that. And I encourage him and reward him rather than just asking for more and treating him like I treat myself.