Thursday, January 31, 2019

Big Ribbons!

So.... I didn't go to the Gala, because... well... people... fancy clothes.... fancy food.... 

BUT.... Guess which rugrat won the schooling show first level division AND the schooling show Novice Eventing division?? THIS GUY!!! Whoo hoo! Way to go Dan :) 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Snow Day..... ha ha ha.....

So... today was a potential snow day. The weather channel said it would rain in the morning but be in the low 40's but then by 11 or so the rain would stop but the temperatures would drop. I was a teeny bit worried about the driving home. But I figured I'd see how things went in the morning and then decide. And... yeah... it was just a regular rainy day. Cold... but not cold enough quick enough to make the roads bad. So I'm glad I went to ride. 

Danny was a pretty good boy and so much more forward than he has been. We worked on cadence and me keeping my sternum up and not collapsing in my core. We also worked on Dan's balance. I was getting the feel for when he was crooked, but not quite going about it the right way. Cindy suggested that when we're tracking left and I feel the need to pull the left rein across his neck to straighten him, INSTEAD think about riding shoulder in to the left. Which will straighten him. And then I can get to the point where we don't have to do the actual shoulder in, just ride a shoulder fore for a second. So... I tried that. And it helped a lot but I'm still not good enough with my balancing aids quick enough, so.. it was a struggle still. We had some good work doing shoulder in and renvers (or travers.. whatever one it it is). We also worked on the canter and me keeping my legs draped down, not pinching up. And... interestingly, when I drape more, despite a minute or two of my butt jumping up and down, it then settles. But I have to remember to keep my leg on because Dan uses that as an excuse to drop out of the canter. But it was lovely when we had it. 

So yep... making progress!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Jumping Lesson: Man we needed that!!!

Oh man.... We're so rusty in jumping. Ugh... I told Beth that I needed to not cry today and have a good ride. And well, it didn't start out great. I basically had to tell myself to suck it up and not cry and just listen and learn and do better. And it worked. I focused on riding better and it got better. And then at the end of the lesson I told Beth that I was embarassed to admit it, but... it just not kind of dawned on me that in most of my jump lessons it takes about 2/3 of the way through for us to get it together. And in my mind, it was because Dan was behind my leg and sluggish and wasn't really game and into it until about 2/3 of the way through. It was like he suddenly woke up and realized we were jumping and got energized. And sadly, I just NOW realized... it's not Dan. DUH. It's ME!!! Beth laughed and before I said that I realized it was me, she was like "are you sure you want me to respond to that?!". Ha ha.. Nope. I get it now. I wasn't creating the right canter until 2/3 through my lessons. Ugh... 

So okay... how do I get that canter? Remember that lesson where I get Dan to lengthen at the canter but into a shorter neck (which really means proper connection/on the bit/whatever term gets me to actually ride a proper canter). Basically Beth told me to ride my second level medium canter. Ah.... And maybe not exactly that canter, but... the uphill canter, the upper level canter I see in Rusty when he's galloping on XC, the hind legs coming up and underneath and reaching canter, (not the canter where his hind end is trailing behind him), the canter where he's reaching into the bit and a bit ahead of the vertical but not braced in his neck, THAT Canter.... And shockingly (sarcasm there!) it creates a much easier line and jump and course. Oh, and THAT CANTER... MUST BE STRAIGHT!! In other words, his nose needs to stay between his shoulders. And in the beginning, before I had that canter... I was all over the place. I was riding backwards, I was holding, I was abandoning when I needed to hold, I was tipping forward onto my knee, I was ... a hot mess. But when I managed to get that canter, it was easier for me to stay with Dan and not get ahead or behind and it was easier to keep my landing gear in front of me. Sigh... so now.. I just need to get myself in gear in the beginning so that we don't have to do the whole disaster of the first 2/3 of my lessons from now on. 

However, we still have that pesky right drift. 

But at least we redeemed ourselves. 

And after our lesson Dan took a snooze while he was getting bemered. ;) ha ha... The beast sleeps!!!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Nice Day, Nice Ride

Today was a decent day! I woke up with a migraine at who knows what time and had to take a pill, so.. when I woke up at 8ish, I was in a fog. Kelly texted me about a lesson but my brain was just not working. So... we ended up not doing a lesson. Which was fine. My brain was seriously in a fog. So I took a nap and then I went to go ride. 

It was a good ride. We had a nice dressage school, focusing on the basics in w/t/c at first. Then we did some practice and then we ran the tests. Not too shabby. We had a really nice counter canter serpentine one way and a REALLY nice legit medium trot across most of the diagonal.... only then I lost it and couldn't sit it, so I messed Dan up. Oops. But it was fun. Then we went for a little hack and ran into a few friends. :)

Friday, January 25, 2019

Not Fair Weather Riding....

BRRRRRRR!!! It was so COLD and so WINDY today!! Mike got up and went to check on his car and then got us a membership at the gym so we could use their shower. So... I figured it might be easier to go shower with him rather than make Dan sit in the trailer after my lesson while I worked on Atlas and Josie and then went to High Point to shower. So I went with Mike. BAD IDEA!! The gym shower was TERRIBLE!! It was sooooo cold. The water was warm... in the sense that it wasn't cold, but.. just barely. I mean, it felt sort of warm but by the time you got in, it was downright chilly. I was shivering so hard I almost couldn't shower. And the water pressure was terrible too. Sigh... But.. we went and had lunch. When I got home it was just about time to go for my lesson so I sent Beth a text asking because.. it was really cold. And really windy. Like... I was tempted to not ride today. So... The truck was started and Fleck was munching on hay, so I loaded Dan up. About the time I shut the ramp, Beth texted back "We can... but it's pretty miserable!". Ha ha.. I asked if the ring was jumpable because that would be worth it. She said nope, so.. I decided to cancel. I debated just unloading Dan and spending the next two hours in the house. BUT... I needed to go get gas and... he was already in the trailer.. and I was already dressed to ride... So I just took him to get gas. And while it was bitter cold outside... in my car it was warm and toasty, so... I decided to just go ahead and go to Ashland. If I went home I would have to do paperwork and I didn't want to do that. ;) ha! So we hauled to Ashland. The arena's and XC fields were closed so I tacked up, put the quarter sheet on, and off we went. We did a nice hack in the woods and fields, a little bit of trotting and even a small bit of canter. It was fun. And despite wearing wool socks, winter boots, fleecey breeches, a long underwear shirt, a fleece, a heat reflective vest, a jacket, and my ear cover up thing on my head... I didn't get warm enough to take my jacket off until the very end. But it was pleasant. I wasn't cold..  We had fun. 

Then I was a little irritated because I realized that now I wouldn't have Dan in the trailer when I went to work on Atlas and Josie, so I could have easily showered at High Point, but oh well. Hopefully the water will be fixed tomorrow. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Improving!!!! And God is Good

So... today started icky. We still have no water.... Apparently the busted pipe was an old pipe and it appears that the break is under the house. So... the plumber didn't know how to fix it and suggested we get a diagnostician in to help pinpoint the leak. Which they won't be able to come until Thursday morning. So another day with no water. Which means the dishes are piling up, the laundry is piling up... going to the bathroom is annoying. No shower...  And today is my birthday and I woke up kind of cranky and then Mike was a butt head and grumpy. And I get it.. he's annoyed with the lack of water too. But so I was in a foul mood. And I was hoping to sleep in but since I haven't been able to shower I decided to drive to Athens and use the shower at High Point. Which I'm super grateful for! It felt amazing!!! So then I went for my chiropractic appointment, which I was actually early for. The original plan for the day was to do that, ride, then go get oysters at the Optimist for Happy Hour!! But Mike said that because of the water issue (finances, and being dirty and gross) that we weren't going to go today and would go another day. So then Kelly Eaton said she could teach me today, so since we weren't going to the Optimist, yay! So anyways, I get to my 10:45 chiro appt at 10:20. At 11:35 they still hadn't called me. I was getting really irritated as I needed to leave for my lesson at 12:15 to make it on time. And at this point, getting home by 12:15 was looking slim and I still had to change clothes and grab the horse. So finally they called me back at 11:40 and put me in the massaging chair. And then it ended.. and I sat there... and sat there. So finally at like noon, I opened the door and politely told them that I had a meeting to get to and I may have to leave. They said they would bump me in front of the one person ahead of me (Sorry to that person!!) and he would see me in just a minute. And he did. And thank goodness because I was so crooked. I had messaged Kelly and she asked if it would be easier to do 2:30 at Silverthorn instead of 1:45 at Shakerag... so I said YES PLEASE!!! And then realized multiple things... I'd have time to make myself a quick lunch... Caroline has a washer and dryer at her farm.... and she said I could use it, so.. yay!! Because the chiropractor took forever, I was able to have my lesson at an easier time, a closer drive, a cheaper lesson (no ring fee) AND get a load of laundry done!! Whoo hoo! And see Caroline! so Yay. I thanked God for that and it helped my day get better. Then when I got home it was gorgeous out. Like.. sunny and warm! I almost put a t-shirt on to go for my lesson but had already put on my nice thin fancy riding shirt so I kept that on. I ate a quick lunch, grabbed a load of the more important items of laundry and grabbed Dan. 

It ended up being quite cold and windy at Silverthorn so I was really glad for my long sleeves and then Kelli had given me a jacket over the weekend as a hand me down. But it was super cute and it was perfect for todays weather, so yay! I was warm and comfy. 

So... Kelly got on first and did some warming up. She walked, trotted and cantered. And even she had him sneak into the right lead the first time she asked for the left. Dangit! So yep. We determined that when he tracks right, he dumps right. When we track left, he dumps right. But.. she was super excited about how much more consistent he was in the contact from even a few days ago. He did have a few strides of that rein lameness with her too, but it went away really quickly. She played with some leg yielding in and out at the canter with him to help get him straight. 

Then it was my turn. We talked about how last time when I said it wasn't even so much the shoulder as the ribs that Kelly agreed. And it's not the ribcage yielding to my leg.. he goes sideways well. But he goes sideways like a plank. He needs to bend his ribcage... lift and contract the inside and stretch the outside (What Cindy has been saying). And it has to come from my leg. So.. we did the same thing as the last lesson. Keep the contact and ride the triangle with his shoulders being straight between my hands and his nose being straight between his shoulder blades. Going to the right I had to keep him bent right and off my inside leg. And I had to encourage the inside bend with the reins a bit more when we cantered, but the goal was to soften as often as I could so I didn't end up hanging. And it did get better. It started as a bit of "manhandling" but then I was able to soften and he was actually starting to bend that ribcage. And because he likes to hang on the right rein, I had to be very cognizant about giving that inside rein and encouraging him to drift out into the left rein. But tracking to the left, I had to almost ride him to the inside... almost ride outside leg to inside rein. Which became very evident in the 10 meter canter circle. And tracking right.. it was all inside leg!! Duh... Tracking left, It was still right leg...And while I'm riding outside leg to inside rein there is also very much still a supporting outside rein. So
... yeah! Very fun ride and he definitely felt much straighter at times. We're still a little wiggly as I'm figuring out the aids and he's figuring out his balance but... it's just about the straightness. 

Oh, and we did play with shoulder in. It was pretty cool. Kelly painted a nice easy picture... (and again, I know this... but having it spelled out to me in the heat of the moment was helpful). When we are doing our shoulder in right, it's harder. Because he doesn't want to go into the outside (left) rein. So I should feel that he becomes heavier in the contact in the left rein if I'm doing it right. And focus on his shoulders. Again, it's not neck in, it's shoulders and even some barrel in. It was very unsteady but man.. when we got a few steps of true shoulder in... I could definitely feel the left rein contact get better and I could soften the inside rein. And again, it's a rhythmical asking of the right leg in his barrel, not just nagging and flailing at him. Ask when I can influence it the best. Then tracking to the left, it was easy because he wants to go into that outside rein. But I had to still be careful to not get too handsy with the left rein. It needed to be active but not too active. 

So yep. Very fun ride. :) We're making progress! And now I'm feeling much more confident for the recognized show in February!!! 

After my lesson I swapped my clothes to the dryer and then Dan and I went for a short hack. :) It's so pretty there!


CHEEEEEESSSSE DIP!!! And a great lesson!

So.. things are looking up. :) 

Today Mike said he would dig and let me go play. Plus it was too cold and the ground was frozen in the morning anyways. So.. I loaded up and headed out for my lesson. I got on early to warm up and practice the Kelly stuff but didn't get on as early as I hoped. But it didn't matter. We had an AWESOME lesson!!!

Cindy was so pleased and said that it was so great to see my body making changes. Like.. there is still some body habits but she could tell that I was starting to be more aware of them and correct them. So Yay!! Progress!!! And Danny felt pretty darn good!! We had moments of spazzyness and me falling into old patterns, but plenty of good moments too. The biggest take away today was that I needed to keep my elbows at my side. To the point of me joking that I needed a bungee cord to keep them at my side. It's part body habit and part Danny sneakily pulling my arm forward in an effort to allow him to elongate and not stay contracted on his tough side. And she noticed that I was being better with my right leg and he was being better about wrapping/bending around it too. Yay!!! 

We worked on the trot and canter lengthens (mediums I guess... I'm a big girl now!). She said that this isn't eventing... we're not "building" in the medium. They start judging at the letter and I should be in a medium at the letter. SO.... to help facilitate that I need to ride the corner. RIDE THE CORNER!! For the people in the back.. RIDE THE CORNERS!! I need to prep him in the corners so we can BAM... MEDIUM right out of the corner. And then as was more evident in the medium canter... we need to go for UP!! Not forward, but UP! And round, but mostly focus on the UP. And then when we ask for the downward transition, I need to be quick, quick, quick.... It's not a slower tempo, it's a shorter stride. But the same speed. So I need to be quick, quick, quick coming down from the transition. WHICH... requires so much more leg than I think. And same thing for the trot, but it's a bit more obvious to me in the canter. So ride my trot medium like the canter medium. 

So yep.. It was a great lesson! Danny felt pretty darn great! After my lesson it was so lovely out I wanted to hack around, but I had gifted Kelli a seat lesson with Cindy and she was riding soon and I needed to lunge her, so I did a quick spin and then untacked Dan and then went and lunged Arwyn. It was pretty helpful watching. It was neat the see the difference in thinking up, up, up and forward with your seat instead of side to side with your seat. And the difference in Arywns back with that too. And then a lot of the same stuff I hear...  The inside bend is from the leg... and we are so tempted to correct it with the rein, but it really has to come mostly from our leg and our bodies. 

Then we took the ponies to La Parilla with us and Peri came and Sue and Karen met us. We had a great lunch. I decided since it was the day before my birthday I would eat cheese dip! ALL THE CHEESE DIP!! I told them to back off cause this was my bowl and they needed to get their own.  :) Ha ha. It was soooo good!! Hopefully I won't get a migraine or a headache from it. :) But yep, so much fun. Then I went home and worked on two doggies. :) 


Today was a gorgeous day!!! I had a bunch of horses to do in Winterville, or so I thought. Turns out there was only 5 and I finished quicker than normal. So yay! I rushed home to try to sneak in a ride. And found out that Mike was working on the leaking pipe and it had progressed to a broken gushing pipe so that we had no water in the house. Mike was taking a break to let the water drain so he told me to go ride. So...despite it being a gorgeous day and me being SOOOOOO tempted to just hack and hack forever and take Fleck out for a spin too.... I was a good girl and tried to be quick. I did a 20 minute dressage ride doing my best to practice what we had worked on with Kelly. I did a lot of walking and then some trotting. And then I couldn't help myself and did a little bit of cantering, but only focusing on what we had worked on. Partly because I know it was helpful and partly because I needed to break the pattern with getting frustrated with Dan. So then we went for a short hack just to reward us both. And then I went home and helped Mike dig. And dig.... and we finally found the busted pipe but it was exploded and we couldn't find the other end. So then we gave up for the night as it was dark.

 It was REALLY windy the day before. :) I had to move 16 pieces back in line before I could ride. :)