Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Waking up on the wrong side of the bed

Ha ha. Dan was a grumpy grumpy pants today!! He must not have slept well. ;)

But we had a great lesson. Cindy said it wasn't a lot of "stuff" but we got a lot of mental work today and at one point she was so pleased with my "training" and altering Dan with my body not just my hands she said she got goosebumps :)

We worked on cantering off my hips, not digging my spur into him. And it took a few tries, but he became much more reactive than I thought. Yahoo. REMEMBER THAT Holly. :)

We also worked on counter canter again, along the long and short sides vs the loops. I visualized the wall again and had another very helpful thought from Cindy. She told me to think about halfpassing him to hold the counter canter. It helped me from crossing over his neck with the reins (Which does NOTHING GOOD by the way Holly!) and helped me maintain my hip momentum, which helped him maintain the counter canter. :) Sweet!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Poplar Show!

Danny and I had a fun two days. :) We hauled up by ourselves to go show at Poplar. Luckily, Anne and Arlen were showing too so we had someone to XC school with. Otherwise it was going to be Mike who got dragged along with me. :)

I was running a bit behind on Friday (per usual) but managed to only leave about an hour later than I had anticipated. However, shortly after getting onto the interstate my "check engine gauge" light came on. Huh?! So.... I thought well.... I'll slow down some. But I was already going fairly slow for the interstate. It helped but not much and it kept going close to the red again. So then I thought, well... maybe I need to turn the heat on. Maybe it's overheating. So... okay.... I've got the windows down, but holy heck it was hot. It was like...95 degrees outside.... I had the heat on... and despite turning the vents away from me... I was started to really get miserable. My cracked leather seats are NOT comfy when you're sticking to them. So then I checked and it still wasn't really helping. It was better, but still not cooling down like I wanted. So then I had the epiphany that maybe I shouldn't be hauling in two mode since the RPM's were pretty high. So... I took it off (Ie...turned overdrive back on) and my RPM's dropped way down, not almost in the red like it had been and lo and behold.. the truck engine temp dropped dramatically. I was able to turn the a/c back on. And then the rest of the trip went fine. DUH!!  But.. cut me some slack. My chevy had a tow mode.... and it hauled all the time with it on the entire way, even on the interstate. (I think.. maybe I did take it off some???) But Bart never overheated on me. And Sally is a 3500!! But maybe cause she's diesel? And my trailer is now substantially bigger and heavier. And I was on the interstate going 65 to 70.  And in my mind... I was afraid to tow that big trailer without tow mode, but... now I know. :) And by the way, I was able to get up to 75 mph now. Doh..  Oh well. Lesson learned.

Anyways... we finally got there and I got the trailer hooked up (yay me!) and we finally got tacked up and headed out to school XC. Danny was super and we had a blast. He jumped a good chunk of the novice course but not all over it. I waffled between "putting money in the bank" and "cheating" but decided to jump the tricky stuff, leave the simple stuff, and then we jumped a few of the training options instead of the novice ones. And a few extra training fences. I was so proud of him. He was literally becoming quite point and shoot!!! They even had an uphill bank with a short bendy line (maybe 5 strides) to a fake corner! On Novice!!! (Okay... so it was a wedge, but on a bendy line after an up bank!) I didn't ride quite forward enough so Dan had to pop in a chip before the fake corner but he just lopped on over. :)  We had a blast!!!  We also did this fun thing, which doesn't look so bad on camera, but... was kind of impressive in person. It was skinny.... a log on top of the bank...  He just trotted up to it, picked up the canter and hopped off. So I did it again and made Anne video. :) Of course I got cocky. We walked over the ditch and he was game so we trotted and then cantered it. So then we went down to the big ditch with all the things and the novice line was a coop with a turn to the ditch. The training line was a coffin. I thought.. meh, we'll be fine... and went for the training line. As we were approaching I thought... perhaps I should just do the second half of the coffin to be fair... and good thing. As we got close to the ditch Dan slowed way down and tried to run out almost, but we basically ran to the left and jumped the ditch (without stopping or even coming to a walk, but we did come to a trot) on the novice side instead of the training side. BUT... he did it despite giving it the hairy eyeball. So rather than push the issue, we just came through the training line and carried on. Then at the top of the hill we did the training fence after the up bank to make us feel big and brave again. And then... I saw it. The heeby jeeby fence. It was the ramped log stack thing but open in between. It was set on the hill so it was a ramp up off the top of the hill with a fairly substantial drop. It was marked as training. I decided to do it since he had already done the bank thing drop.... I came to it and then circled.. chickening out. Then I kept going and we went to it and he just popped right over it like it was nothing!!! Wheeee!!!!  We did a few more fences and then finished at the water complex. The last time we were there they didn't have any water in it other than the trickle on the edge of the bank and Dan freaked out! I had to get off and I still couldn't get him up the bank. Down was fine-ish... So this time.. there was water. And we were able to go up and down and up and down. :) Yay!!!

Anyways... I tried to ice Dan that night, but.... I didn't have much ice left and then I realized I didn't have a hose where I was going to do it... and then I tried with my kitty litter water containers and he stepped out of it and tipped it over when I got the first boot on so I gave up and just linimented him. After feeding him and wrapping him, I let him eat some hay while I cleaned tack. It was actually a fairly nice night out so it was pleasant. So then I used Poplar's shower so I didn't have to rearrange my abode and... then when I was finished I planned to take Dan for a walk. What perfect timing!! God must have made it happen just so... so that it all fell into place. It was a super moon night.. or maybe a harvest moon night... some kind of special moon night. And I just happened to take Dan for his walk as it was rising! It was amazing!!!



Saturday was a beautiful morning too! God is so amazing!

I tried not to get on too early as it was hot and Dan and I had a full day, but.. I did. Oh well. We warmed up and both of us were feeling a bit sluggish and almost blase about things. At least it seemed like it. I was trying to get more swing from Dan but... in some ways he felt too loose and just.... sloppy??? Maybe.. I don't know. It didn't feel like it was going to be super awesome. Maybe it's because it was Kelly judging us and I wanted to be superstars!!  We did our test and during one of the canters, Dan broke to the trot. I thought it was lackluster but obedient (Minus the break... but my fault for not keeping my leg on). Apparently it wasn't that bad. I know Kelly can be generous, but... we scored a 30.95!! Which put us a very close second to the only other girl in our class. Hee hee... Close enough that I think we may have beaten her had Dan and I not broken in the canter. But maybe not. Anyways... after the show I ran into Kelly and she said she was pleased with how much more forward in general Dan was, especially at the walk and trot. She said he was energetic, but that the canter still needed more. ha ha.. You think?!? :)

Anyways... we headed to stadium after a short little break. I knew I wouldn't need much warm up. We were still a little early and Dan felt pretty good. He wasn't crazy but wasn't a slug. We did a bit... then rested.. then did a bit more... and then we finally got to go. I was watching the girl before me and the ring steward warned us to be careful with fence 2 and 7 as they had been coming down all day. Hopefully our lucky no rails streak would continue. And yep!! It did. She couldn't jinx us. :) Dan was super. It was actually a really lovely round. He was soft and flowy and not packaged as much as we had been working on in lessons, but.. he was able to move up when I ask and wait when I asked and we jumped clean. :) I was quite proud of that ride.  Sadly for the girl in first, she had one rail, so we moved ahead of her.  I was also quite proud of my position in the photos too!! Yay!!! And Dan was using his shoulders quite well too. YAY!!!!


Then we had a short rest and it was time for XC!! We did very little... because he had already really warmed up and it was hot. So we did a little bit of w/t/c and jumped two fences I think and then off we went!!  He was super!!! Aside from cross cantering over the first two fences (terrain issues...) he was super!! He was point and shoot and looking for the next fence. He didn't bat an eye at anything (which.. to be fair... we had already done most of it the day before). But he was super!! He was rideable! And he was just point and shoot and looking for the next fence. It was SOOOOO much fun. I think we came in right at optimum despite trotting a tiny bit down the steep hill in the back side and not trying to cut any corners.  The other girl went clean too, but we stayed in First. Yay!!! 


Pony Therapy Time

Ahhh...... After a fairly aggravating/frustrating/stressful day....  Mike was smart and sent me to go ride :)

We just went for a fun hack. And we had a blast!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018


Yay!!! It makes sense again! At least in my brain... for the moment. Now to just hope that I can maintain that! 

(And I found this photo which illustrates it!! The scapulas!!! 

Before I started my lesson Cindy talked me through my issues. Basically.... her and Beth were saying almost the same thing. (Which is super nice). I think that I just got way too in my head the other day. Or maybe the way Cindy explained it today happened to resonate differently/better.... Or maybe... I don't know. Thought tornadoes about the thought tornados, so... stopping now. :) 

But basically.... Dan travels with his right shoulder to the right and his haunches in to the left, and his nose in to the left. But the important part (the part that I think I'm missing) is that it's not just his shoulders thrown to the right... his front feet are also flinging out to the outside, as are his shoulder blades. So... in essence (and I hope I'm getting this right... If not, it's not Cindy or Beth's fault.. it's my darn brain, and... while it might be wrong in my head, I at least got it right in my body today).... I need to align his scapulas. Ultimately that seems to be the piece that gets my brain and body to cooperate. I need to realign his body but lifting his left/inside rib cage, engaging those muscles, and lifting him, while aso turning his scapulas to the inside and somewhat swinging his haunches to the outside. And at this point, it's not about bend.. it's about alignment. Cindy was saying that he's falling in with the nose and haunches and flinging out with the front end/shoulder. So... it's easier to basically ride haunches out, to get his body lined back up (essentially falling out of the circle) and then I can realign and ride forward... vs trying to pull his shoulders back into the circle. That just worsens the situation because of how I react to get it done. So.... in MY BRAIN.... I thought of lifting my inside (left) seat and shoulders and thus lifting his rib cage up and out, which then pushed him into the outside rein, which I had to SUPPLE (not hold... not hang...) and realign his scapulas. If his scapulas are pointing to the rail... that's where he's flinging. If they are rolled and lifted and pointed in... he'll continue on the circle. I also needed to make sure that I wasn't using too much outside leg because while I thought I was blocking the fling.... I was ultimately asking for haunches in.... rather than allowing the haunches out. I am allowed to use my outside leg if I move it forward and poke him in the shoulder with my toe, to push those shoulders in a bit, but... even by using it at the girth (which... may not be true, but for me it ends up this way) I'm asking for haunches in. So... inside leg to outside rein (Duh!) but think of lifting and turning the scapulas to left, rather than the right. I didn't have to think about whether my right hip was forward or my left hip was forward.. because that's too much thinking. And I suppose that my left hip does come forward when I am thinking of riding the scapulas correctly but... again, not going there. 

So phew.... We got some really nice work doing that. AND.... what is awesome is that when he was lined up properly, he was forward. I wasn't having to constantly kick or get him in front of my leg because.. he wasn't in his own way. And I wasn't blocking him. So.... like Beth pointed out... perhaps the lack of forward (assuming I've asked politely a few times..) isn't so much lazyness as me blocking him. She did point out that once you ask him a few times, he usually gives up the ghost and obliges. So... that makes sense. I think that Beth was able to get him lined up and thus he was able to be forward. I enjoyed that for a few rides but... after awhile.. I lost it. And I also lost the forward. So... now I need to remember that if he's behind my leg for a lot of my lesson, perhaps he's not aligned up. 

We also worked on canter transitions because I mentioned to Cindy that I was convinced I was asking wrong. So.... turns out, yay... not exactly. :) It's not entirely me asking wrong... but when his body is lined up with that right front leg going strong and to the outside.. of course he's going to have to struggle to pick up the left lead. So... if I line up those scapulas, ride a little shoulder in.... he gets it. Fairly easily too. Cindy also mentioned that when sitting the trot... Or posting.. .the down beat was the preparation beat and the up beat was the swing of the hips and transition beat. Which.. I should know. And I think I knew at one point... but I"ve gotten in my head. Good grief... this is a common trend. But.. it helped a lot. We had some decent transitions... and some that... were there but we didn't quite trust it. But it seemed like we were getting it. :) Yahooo!

So yay.... A good ride. I felt much better about the whole thought tornado panic and HOPEFULLY I can keep that stuck in my brain and more importantly, my body.. and we can get this bad habit broken for good!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

We Will Have Fun!

Today I went for a fun hack with Nikki! I got there early and took Dan out thinking we could do some fitness as the weather was unbelievably gorgeous!! It was a bit windy with a slightly cooler breeze than usual and the temperature wasn't insane. And the humidity wasn't bad when we started but it did creep up. In other words, it was perfect fitness weather for late July. 

And as usual.... Danny was a lazy bum when he should have been a roaring dragon. Oh well. Can't complain. We did a bit of hill work and then Nikki joined us. So we did a little bit of w/t/c and then jumped some things. Danny was ho hum about it so we just popped over some stuff. But I did do both the ramps... the little BN one and then the "training" one set on the top of the hill which made it a smidge more challenging. He was good for both. Then I wanted to do a little bit more so I braved up and did the trakehner again. I let him look at it at first and we warmed up to it by doing the little baby hanging log and then the bigger hanging log/faux trakehner. He was super though! He jumped it and was good. So then we did it two more times and then I took him to the ditch and wall and he popped right over that. :)

So then we took a quick trail ride and then Danny got a nice massage from Nikki. It was a good day. :) 

I definitely need to get back to our hacking and fitness work though. Danny and I are both getting lazy!

 This wasn't actually supposed to be a photo of the trakenher we jumped... there was a giant hawk in the tree. But I missed the hawk in the photo. Or you can't see it in the trees.