Sunday, October 13, 2019

Dressage Fancy Pants

Wouldn't get out of bed this morning. ;)

Then God had mercy on me and saved us from disaster.. foot hung in hay net again on trailer. (Seriously Holly... how dumb are you?!)

Sit up

Sit back

get the bend in the right rib cage... and once we get it, he likes it

half pass work: walk, trot and canter...

exercise: 10 meter circle at corner, then half pass to X, then leg yield back to rail.

Lots of fun

Lucinda Clinic Day 2

XC day

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Trail Riding Hooky Day

So... this week has been pleasantly lovely! I've worked long days, but also had some nice free time to ride. Today I was supposed to be at one barn all day but they cancelled, so I decided to ride!! And it was a great choice!

The weather was gorgeous. Well, it was overcast and cool and almost looked like it might rain, but it didn't, and that meant the weather was fairly cool. We ended up picking up Kelli and Arwyn and headed to Watson Mill. What a great place to ride. I will definitely go back. Especially now that I know how to get there. We found the park, but were on the wrong side of the covered bridge for the equestrian trails. So we took a 15 minute detour and found the equestrian trails, but not the check in/registration place. So we went to try and find it and couldn't. So... we decided to go back and just ride because... we had no clue where to go. But on the way back we saw a little calf on the wrong side of the fence. So I stopped to rescue it. Luckily it jumped back through the fence (while getting shocked repeatedly... oops, sorry little buddy) and was fine. 

So then we finally got to the trail head and headed out. The map was a little confusing but Kelli did a great job reading it. The only down side was that we probably should have gone the opposite direction. We started on the perimeter trail and it was great! Nice and wide and fairly straight. (Ie... great for trotting and cantering). Then we ended up doing the middle part of the trail which was twistier (and prettier) but harder to trot and canter on. We kept to a walk in the beginning to let Arwyn breathe. Dan was in power walk mode but brave and good. Towards the end, where it got twistier, we ended up trotting some. I tried my best to keep Dan to a super small trot and Arwyn did okay, but after a little bit we switched so Kelli could lead. Dan was super good and tried very hard to be a good boy. He started out okay but she was just so slow and he kept having to go sideways to avoid running her over. He did about 5 minutes without much shenanigans but then he started to get frustrated. It also didn't help that the terrain kept changing so Arwyn kept slowing down or falling down to walk because of it, so neither of them could get in stride. She finally cantered a bit and then Dan really got frustrated because he really couldn't slow himself down enough. So then, he started to get bouncy. It started as a simple bowing up and bouncing. Which was fun and made me giggle. But then it escalated and he started flinging his head around and pulling the reins out of my hands and bucking. Finally though, Arwyn busted out into a power trot and was going fast enough that Dan could ball himself up into a tight little collected canter and at least stay in the canter, so that made him happier. :) And then we kind of ran out of trail. She offered to let us go back and have a gallop, but... we were running out of time and I didn't know the trail enough. And he had settled again. We explored the campground area and it's nice. 
After we dropped her off I let him have a little bit of alone time to chill and decompress and then I gave him a quick bath and then I fed him. I lfet him with a little bit of hay, ate my dinner, and then went and clipped him. Man is he SHINY!!! So shiny!! I think he'll feel better now too. It's getting chillier but it's still warm and his coat was coming in. 


Today was a nice day. It's nice to be able to breathe....  The weather was gorgeous and Dan and I just took it easy and went for a nice long relaxing hack. :)

Sunday, October 6, 2019

SOOOOO much fun!!

Ahhhhhhhhh..... Life is good. This oppressive heat is over. My house went from 84 degrees to 64 degrees in about 24 hours. I slept amazing under all my covers with the windows open. I actually felt like I could have slept for a whole day longer, but.. that's okay. I actually slept well last night and didn't get up 8 times or toss and turn. And the fact that I'm not sweating and having sweat literally drip down my back into my crack and between my boobs is the most amazing feeling in the world!!! Dry underwear and bra!!!! It's like.. the best!! But I digress.. can you tell I'm soooooo over Summer. ... where was I going with this... ??? Oh... so anyways, Dan and I had a lesson with Kelly today and despite his winter coat coming in and making him oh so gorgeous, the weather was cooperative so we didn't die. 

It was almost chilly out!!! And we had the best lesson. He was super forward and responsive to my aids after a little warm up. We started over some lower fences and just saw what we had. Kelly said that she was pleased but she wanted me to be a bit bossier.. okay, a LOT bossier, in the beginning. So she wanted me to "Dab" excessively in the beginning so that it reiterated the plan to Dan and that it didn't have to get ugly in the show arena. In other words... warm him up with the high volume aids to keep his body from drifting right.... place my right hand at the withers and push left.. open my left rein, close my right leg and right thigh and think about making him go left in the air. Not on landing, and not on takeoff, but in the air. At least for the first few small fences. THEN... if that was good.. I could go back to being soft. The thought is that if I do that in warm up... he'll realize I mean business and then in the arena, I can ride soft and effectively and it will be a pretty ride. :) And that's pretty much how it worked! I was then able to be soft and ask politely and he responded politely! It was great. The only thing that happened is that a few times, he was a hair bit behind my leg and/or we just didn't get good striding, so I jumped up his neck. Kelly told me to get in 2 point or a light 3 point until I got to the line. Then when I was straight, to sit in a light three point or heavier 3 point and that way I wouldn't be likely to jump up his neck. It did help a lot!!  And I just sort of hunkered down in the saddle, which meant that I was much prettier in my position and my balance was much more centered and with him. It also kept my hands lower (well, that and thinking of adjusting his withers). So yeah!!! She even raised the fences to solid novice if not low training and I only panicked on one and it was a subtle panic that we rode through just fine. Yay!!

And.. while that is the mechanics of the ride.... there was magic in todays ride. It just felt.... like we were clicking. Like Dan suddenly understood his job and I stayed out of his way and we were able to be awesome together!! He was back to attacking the fences but not in a downhill way... he felt like he was jumping from the base and basculing and using his knees and it felt amazing!!!! And Kelly said he was jumping so much nicer and properly, so we're going to go with that. :) He was cracking me up to because he was being a little dramatic today. Like... he was grunting and whuffling some today in response to things. Not in a whiny way or even a complaining way. Just... a dramatic way. And a few times when I closed my leg he Zoomed!!! Not just a nice surge forward, it was a dramatic zoom!! But in a good way. :) I don't know.. it just ... the whole ride made me giggle! It felt so good and so nice and so fun. :) :) :) :)  You can't beat that!

Fitness Day!

So... I had a feeling Dan needed to burn out a few miles.... The horse park was closed and Ashland was closing early for Ann's celebration of life, so we opted for Harbins. We were in the mood for a change of scenery anyways. I thought about joining friends for a ride... or inviting friends, but.... I figured that Dan would be happier being able to just go at his pace. So we set off. Turns out it was pretty quiet considering it was beautiful cooler temps and a weekend. I guess the cloudyness turned a few people off??? 

So we had a blast!! We started out on the 6 mile loop and Dan was funny. We kept trying to find places to trot and canter and we'd get rolling and have to come to a walk because the footing was rocky or had washed out or it got too bendy/twisty/turny. You could just feel his frustrations. He'd get a nice canter... then he'd start to lengthen and... hold up... back to trot. Poor guy. We tried our best... I just don't know those paths well enough yet. So then we got back to the start and we were kind of like... "we could do another 4 miles", so we did. And turns out... doing the 4 mile loop is WAY better if you do it the other way. We were going downhill most of the way. The only downside is that the best galloping stretch is at the very beginning if you do it that way. Which.. maybe is better than doing it right before you finish?? So.. we ended up with lots of downhill work and not as much uphill, but oh well. We got in as much trotting and cantering as we could and we had fun. :) 

And when we finished, Liz and Matt were there getting ready to ride so it was fun to say hi to them. :) And I think that was exactly what Dan needed. He wasn't fresh.. he was just obviously wanting to go. :)