Friday, September 28, 2018

Jump Lesson: Counter bend to fix the shoulder

Today was jump lesson day with Beth. She had the wheel of Death set up. It was fun. ;) Even with me being directionally challenged. So the wheel of death is one center standard with four fences set off from it, one at noon, one at 3, one at 6 and one at 9.  However, before we started she had me trot and then canter the cross rail but four strides out, soften the reins. She wanted me to almost let go so that he had to think about it himself. It was hard and it took us both a few tries to get the hang of it. Beth pointed out that this was not an all the time thing. This was very much ONLY to be used for some homework...when I was just popping over small stuff. Just to help him figure out how to use his body on his own without me.

So then we started on the wheel of death and I was told to keep the contact now. :) The main point was to KEEP HIM ROUND and KEEP HIM counterbent all the way to the fence on the left lead. He wants to throw that right shoulder out sooooo bad... and counter bending keeps him straight. However, at some point my brain blew up and I was counter bending him the wrong way for the turn. We added in some fences in a line after the wheel of death and coming to the one fence, I was on the right lead, so I was counter bending left. But then we had to do a sharp turn to the right and I kept counter bending left.... Which was correct... BUT... I had to make the turn, so I had to actually get him to bend right. Duh. I figured it out and we got it and we ended on a good note. :)

Thursday, September 27, 2018


Was supposed to have the day off.... yet again was too nice and put people in... which meant my only window to ride was when major storms were supposed to hit. But.. it was 3:45 when I got home and the storms weren't supposed to hit til 5:15 so I made a mad dash for it.

Got to Ashland and put my boots on, my helmet on, and brushed Dan's saddle spot.... put his pad on. And it started raining... heavily. But it was a little passing shower so we ran back in the trailer for 3 minutes. Then it stopped so I tossed on tack and away we went. He was actually super good and felt great. We got about 15 minutes into the ride and it started raining... fairly heavily.... and then much heavier. But... at that point my new saddle was already wet (sobs!) and so I just kept going. It stopped in about 8 minutes so we carried on. Finally I looked and saw the dark clouds were now really dark and we started to hear some thunder rumbles so.... we did a quick trot to the XC field to look and cool down.... and then saw the clouds and some lightning so we ended up trotting back to the trailer.. i tossed his tack in the car, tossed him in the trailer and we high tailed it out of there. By the time we were untacking, the wind was whipping and howling. By the time we pulled out of ashland my wipers were on high speed!

But.. he was good and we had some AMAZING counter canter serpentines... and we nailed almost all of canter transitions.... the correct lead AND not too inverted. We did miss one from the walk but it was totally my fault and I felt myself fall out of place.

And we figured out the leg yield from the rail thanks to a trick Kelli gave me. Not sure it's what she meant by it, and not sure it's actually a smart thing to do, but it seemed to work...

On the short side ride shoulder fore... then as we make the turn in the corner, haunches to the rail (Renvers.. travers.. i have no idea), which.. is counter-intuitive, but I think it puts him in the right rein (the new outside rein) so then I can close my leg and push him into the right leg yield. And then we have a fairly nice leg yield, and believe it or not.. no haunches trailing. :) Of course I also had to get him a little hot to my leg aids first, but... still :)

So... at least I got to ride...

New Friends

Today was a fun day! I got up early and did some dressage with Dan before meeting up with Kelli and Amber and some of the other Simply Dressage people. Dan and I hung out while Kelli rode some dressage and then we all went for a trail ride. It was a pretty day and we got a nice long walk in. At the end we were in the XC field and I asked them if they had done the canter poles ever. They all said no and dared me to do them, so we did. ;) Ha! It's a little harder in a dressage saddle. But yep.. fun group!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Full Gallop Practice Run

Today was a fun day! A long day, but a fun one. :) 

It was a good run before the Southeast Schooling Show. We got up super early and hauled to Full Gallop for a Novice 3 phase. 

I was a little bit later than I wanted, so I didn't get to walk XC or stadium before my dressage ride. I had plenty of time to warm up though. He was odd. I really felt like he was lame... doing that shoulder thing again. But we powered through and had a nice test. Not our best and at one point I really felt the uneveness. But I guess it was not as bad as I thought because we scored nicely. We were in second with a 26.2! Out of 12. So that was exciting. 

So then I untacked him and rinsed him off. Even with clipping him, it was sooooo humid. While he chilled and ate his hay, I went and walked stadium and cross country. They looked like fun courses. Then I had to rush and get him tacked up for stadium. We went in to warm up and... he lost his mind!!! He was fine for about 4 minutes and then we jumped the cross rail. I think that we got to that funky distance so I held and he was pissed. So then he wanted to bolt and was all balled up and basically running at the fences. So I would try to hold him and he'd get under the fence and really had to use himself. And then he would buck and rear and try to bolt. It got a little bit out of control for a minute. He even broke my spur strap! I debated getting off in case he was reacting because he was painful, but...  I finally just decided to go in and ride and hope for the best. And of course... he was fine. He didn't even get upset when I held too much to one fence and he had to get in deep. BUT.... remember how I said I was a little rushed walking the course?! Well... we did our 9 fences and I pulled him back to the trot and was just... meandering home.. thinking... why am I so far away from the out gate when I heard " FINISH!!!..... JUMP 10!). Oh man!!! There's a jump 10?! Dangit... of course by the time I realized where it was.... we had circled, so... our 2nd place score now had 34 points of time and 4 points for our "refusal". Well... there goes that. :) Oh well. The good news is ...he was ridable and it was a pretty decent course. 

Stadium Helmet Cam

So then we headed over to XC and of course, he was perfectly fine and content. We had a pretty good run. He was great over the first few fences. My plan was to come back to a trot before the ditch, but he didn't want to so we just cantered over it. And he didn't even look! But then he bolted after (for fun) and it was right before the sharp 90 degree turn downhill to the cabin, so I had to get him back under control. We power trotted a few steps and then cantered down the hill. Then he spooked at the giant terrifying old ditch and ran me through some branches. But we managed to carry on. He was great for the whole rest of the course. And... maybe at the end we just cruised around a little... I wasn't riding for time as I didn't have my watch and since I had already blown it in stadium, we just had fun. Turns out we were too slow by a bit, so we added even more time to our score. Doh. ;) But oh well. He felt good and it was a good run. 

XC Helmet Cam

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Jumping and Riding with Missy

Today was a fun day! I ended up meeting Missy for a ride. However, I was so tempted to jump a little bit first, so... I got there a smidge early and went and hopped over some fences. He was a good boy and we were able to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish quickly. So yay! Then we went and found Missy and Indy and had a fun trail ride. We had to rescue Indy's boots when he splashed them right off. hee hee. 

They have so much fun together! 

Dressaging on our own

We had a fun ride today... We did some dressage and then went for a cool down hack. :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Soooooo MUCH Fun!!!

Today was a great lesson!! It was challenging and tough and my poor little brain was just a-churning away into overdrive. But it was so helpful!!! And I feel like we've suddenly upped the game and both Dan and I are stepping up to the plate. :) We're struggling, but we're trying and we're getting there. :) 

Basically we worked on our trot and my position. Cindy said that my stirrups were actually looking a hair long. And I kind of agree. Although in some ways they feel too short too. It's odd in that saddle. She said if I was finding myself reaching for them then I need to shorten them. And also not to work so hard cramming my heels down. Which.... threw my brain into overdrive because I feel like my problem is that I'm standing on my toes. And NOT sinking my weight into my heels. My conclusion was that in an effort to compensate, I overdid it again. :) I think that trying to avoid standing on my toe is creating me jamming my heels down. So... I tried to fix it by focusing more on my upper thighs turning in and my toes turning in. And by sinking my weight into my heels but not jamming them. I think it worked. Of course at the canter, every time I did that Dan would break. Which.. I think was a good thing. I mean, I think it meant that he felt the change and I just need to get him used to that amount of seat and close my leg (without digging my spur into him). 

We got some pretty nice trot work out of him. He was still wanting to not contract that right side of his body, but we got some good stuff and worked through it. I felt like I was riding better today and doing things trying to fix it rather than just crossing the rein over his neck. Although Cindy did say that I was recognizing the problem, but my reaction on how to fix it needed to be changed. ooops. Oh well. Some of the things I got right. I think. :) 

We also worked on walk to canters and keeping him connected on the right rein. He's not allowed to throw himself to the left. He MUST shorten and collect the right side. It was hard but it got better. Mostly it's just me making sure that I don't give up the right rein. And then Cindy upped the ante! Holy moly! She had us walk to canter... then 10 meter canter circle and then as we came back to the rail, walk..then walk to counter canter! Oh my gosh!! It was hard. We managed to circles but it was tough at first. Then we managed to do a somewhat fairly respectable walk to canter to walk for our first few tries. I mean.. respectable for our first try, not respectable as a legit transition. :) And the counter canter to the right lead wasn't bad. But the left lead counter canter was darn near impossible!!! But it brought something to light! That is hard for a reason!!! The exact reason eludes me at the moment, but I think it's because Dan wants to lengthen the right side and throw himself left... (wait... thought tornado!!!! I thought that was our easier lead.. it's the right lead he hates and wants to give me the left all the time.???? I'm so confused!). I have no idea.. but trying to get him to give me the left lead, while tracking right, from the walk... was REALLY REALLY HARD!! It took multiple attempts. And then once we started to get the hang of it... I couldn't keep it. The trick was that I had to ride shoulder in and make sure to keep my outside leg back, but not digging my spur into him. And I had to lift his left rib cage with my left toe so that he could wrap himself around it and canter. And Dan keeps throwing me off his right side, so it's not just me asking wrong. So... IF I kept my right hip back.... not just my right leg back.. my right hip back and lifted my left hip forward and up, and kept my toe in his left sternum... we got it. 

So then.. how to keep it. Especially on the short side. I couldn't figure it out. I honestly couldn't figure out how to turn right while keeping him flexed left. I KNOW I know how to do it as we do the counter canter serpentine but my brain just was... flabberghasted at that point. So I stopped and Cindy talked me through it. I had to almost ride half pass or leg yield to the rail (so... leg yield or half pass to the left.. into the rail) and I also had to KEEP MY LEFT TOE FORWARD and my right hip back. We got it. Barely. And it was tough. And unfortunately both times it was really bad timing with where the other riders ended up in the arena so I had to abandon ship a bit early to avoid ruining it. But.. he did it. And Cindy pointed out that while it was a struggle... the canter we had for a little bit of the straight line was AMAZING!! :) :) :) And it really helped my brain realize things. 

So yep... a really good lesson. I know it sounds like it was frustrating and difficult and it was.. but it was also fun. I could FEEL THE GOODNESS coming out of it. :) Oh, and we also got one really nice On the Aids flying change! Granted it was the hard side to his easy side. And I didn't ask on purpose. But Cindy said that I distinctively swapped my seat aids and he answered. Ooops. :) Not yet Daniel! Not yet! :) 

So yep... A whole lot of fun today. I can't wait to play with it more. But poor me and poor Dan. We sort of are still struggling with the true lead transitions and now we're throwing this into the mix. But.. it'll be a good thing. It'll make my be more aware of my body position and the effects it's having. :)

Phew... I'm tired again. My core was a bit winded. :) 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Glorious Day!! And glorious baby horse!

So okay.. he's not really a baby horse anymore. But seriously.. he was SOOOOOO good today!

It was supposed to be a Mike Day. We slept in a little and I got the ponies fed and we decided to go to the lake. Mike had said I could ride if I wanted in the morning but I woke up groggy from my migraine pill and it was cool when I woke up but getting hot by the time I was functioning. So we decided on the lake. Except... as we were leaving the house... there was a glorious breeze that had picked up and the horses were being frisky. Sigh.... And the skies were beautiful. I said something to Mike and he told me to go ride. I felt kind of bad but I'm so glad I did it! It was just such a beautiful perfect day for riding! 

I changed clothes and grabbed Dan and decided I wanted a change of scenery. We headed to the horse park. I was debating where to ride as I knew there was a h/j show. I wasn't sure how crowded the steeplechase was going to be. So at the red light I checked the website and apparently the steeplechase fields and trails were closed because of a high school XC meet. Oops. Well drats. So I pulled into Ashland. But... then I thought... well they didn't say all of the trails were closed.. just the steeplechase. So I figured I'd head to the Olympic Rings and see. Sure enough.. they were open. BUT... there was two guys with a giant parasail/hang glider thing in the front field right by the parking lot. They would fluff it up and then bring it back down. I watched for a minute and was about to turn around and leave but then the one guy starting walking towards me. I thought.. maybe they're done?! Nope.. but he was super nice and offered to let me get on my horse and get past them before they messed with it. I said "yes please!" because I really didn't want to go ride at Ashland. (Don't get me wrong, Ashland is amazing..but I wanted a change of pace). So... I was super grateful and told them how awesome they were and that I would be quick. I was a little afraid that Dan would freak out at the trailer and take off, especially as frisky as he was that morning. But he was super!! He watched it and was on high alert but didn't seem panicked or scared. Just... curious. I tacked up quick. And they were fluffing it a little it the whole time, but not bad. So then they stopped while we headed out to the fields and we were on our way. 

We had a great ride. We did a little bit of cantering, some fast cantering, some trotting, etc. Of course Dan was a goober about going through the covered bridge again. He was more afraid of that than the parasail! Seriously dan?!?! But we got through it fairly quickly and had a great ride. It was intense though. The footing in the woods is rough because of all the wash out and root systems. I felt bad as a few times he really had to be quick on his feet. We came back to the parking area and I was planning to go on the back side and go through the other bridges and such but he saw the parasail in the distance and freaked out a little. Goober... we just saw it!!!! But I humored him so we circled around and did another loop or two in the hilly area and then came back to the parasail from where we left it. He was still on high alert but not spinning and bolting. Then the guys saw me and stopped moving it too. Of course the one guy laid down on the ground next to it and then Danny was convinced that it did in fact, kill the guy and was dangerous. Ha ha. But we were able to walk past it. Well then Dan say a guy loading his bike into the back of his truck and he was more concerned about that than the parasail.... Good grief. Hee hee. But seriously... overall, he was SUPER!! 

We had a great ride and got some good fitness work in. No real gallops in the sense that he didn't hit the other gear, but we had some fun runs. I rinsed him real quick with a sponge and then once we got home he got a proper hosing, a magnesium back bath, and I iced his front legs. He was cracking me up because although I offered him water and he refused... repeatedly... while icing him, he kept sticking his nose in the ice boots like he wanted to drink the water. Hee hee.. Such a goober. 

 So..yeah, I dropped my phone TWICE... so TWICE I had to get off and get back on. Hence he selfies :)