Thursday, August 29, 2019

Why all the feels today??

Maybe because today I was expecting to be trotting down centerline at the Kentucky Horse Park. And I understand.. it's not a given. And it's not the end of the world that we're not there. And obviously, we couldn't get our crap together to get there, so it's for the best that we're not there. It's just... I've been sort of aiming for this since we got injured two weeks before the AEC's a few years ago. We didn't get to go then. And then we spent the next 7 months recovering so we weren't qualified and ready that year. And then they were in Colorado. So now, they're finally in Kentucky... and in November we ran our first two novices and qualified score wise. We just needed one clean cross country run. It shouldn't have been that hard. But... clearly it was. You would think with two attempts.. and two attempts at the same venue.. with almost the exact same course (that wasn't planned on my end, but... life happens...). So yeah. Maybe that's why all the feelings? Maybe add in stress from putting the house up for sale (and where the heck are we gonna go and how can we afford to get what I want for what we want to decrease our budget to?), stress from Mike problems, and stress from just.... life.. Add in the fact that I feel like we've accomplished nothing this year. No AEC's, no South East Schooling Show Championships, and not even qualified for year end awards with GDCTA. I feel like we haven't gotten anywhere. Although, we did get our second level score towards our bronze medal, so there is that. Maybe I'm just tired and need a nap. But I ended up crying on my way to my lesson. Which is just stupid. It's a beautiful day... I have a very blessed life... I"m going to a lesson on my wonderful horse... So.. God and I talked a bit and I felt better. He's my best friend. I can tell him anything and everything, so I purged a little bit and sang some songs at the top of my lungs. And then we had a good ride. 

 (But seriously.... HOW could one be blue with this view?? What's wrong with me?)

I got there a little early because someone was coming to look at the house today so I had to get out of the way. But it was great because I had time to tack up and then we went for a short hack. And saw Kota too (Chelsea's appaloosa who retired to Silverthorn). Although trotting through the field I swear I felt a lameness. Sigh... Really?? Maybe that's another part of the feeling fest. 

We were jumping today so I got in the arena and he felt great at the trot and then we cantered to warm up and then we put the right sided german martingale (or whatever it's called) on to help me keep him straight. I definitely needed it today again still. We started off fairly small and he was still trying to drift to the right. However, he felt the martingale and then backed off. But if it hadn't been there, he probably would have drifted. I was much better about my hands (mostly!... once I raised them and inverted him pretty bad. Oops!). And we started to string together some fences and it wasn't too bad. He stayed fairly straight for the most part without me having to encourage too much and it was good. Except the butterfly fence. He actually jumped it fairly straight, I just couldn't get the right line so we kept angling it. But he was jumping straight through the aids. Kelly was quite pleased and said that jumping straight through the aids was the goal. And I just had to ride that line better. And I did. And it did get a bit better. So then we set the jumps up a little higher and... then stuff started to go downhill. But we fixed it. It was just that going straight is hard work... and it sucks the energy out. So he had enough forward for the little stuff, but not quite for the bigger stuff. It wasn't terrible. We just kept chipping in and adding a puke stride. I didn't quite ask for a better stride/canter and we felt it. So then Kelly got out the encouragement dressage whip and just waved it around a bit and Dan decided that "oh yeah, Kelly makes me go forward" so he was more forward and it got better again. We finished by adding a big vertical on the short side and man alive.... it showed up the giant hole! He STILL wants to drift hard right. Especially when it's a tight line and he knows he's turning right after anyways. And for some reason I couldn't quite get the distance right to that fence so when it's awkward, the right drift becomes much more obvious. So we took that fence down to a cross rail and fixed the straight. Then we raised it again and kept the straight and the forward and it was good. But it took a lot of attempts. And we felt like we challenged his brain and his body to make him stay straight. So to finish, we let him jump the two easy fences and as long as he was straight and forward we got to quit. It only took two tries. :) 

So yay! Right?!?? You'd think. I mean.. it was a good lesson. We made a ton of progress in a short time. I wasn't getting nervous or scared and for the most part, he was going straight or responding to my aids. At one point, he almost started drifting left. ;) So I should have been super happy. And I was pretty pleased. But then... I got home and all the bad thoughts crept back in. And then I watched my video, that Caroline was polite enough to take. And... I'm still tipped forward onto his neck/withers instead of staying behind. I'm still pinching in the knee and losing my landing gear. He still is jumping over his shoulder instead of really picking his feet up. Why do we still look like crap?? I know it's a process and a journey but today I'm just really frustrated that we seem to be stuck in this awful icky place. And I'm losing faith that we'll get somewhere and be pretty. And I know a lot of it is because I"m looking at all my friends and their horses who are running training level, at the aec's, and looking good. And I can't compare. I know that. It's just hard not to. And now I feel like a terrible mom for not believing in my horse and knowing that he's going to be awesome some day. 

And... looking back at the video.. it's not all bad. There's some good stuff. There's some good still shots. So... I guess I just need to quit my bitchin'.

Here's some videos.... 

Okay.. here's one clearly showing the right drift..

This is what we finished on... 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Gorgeous day

Well... today was supposed to be a trail riding day at Watson Mill. And it would have been a glorious day! It got hot again but with an intermittent breeze. BUT... Kelli ended up working and I thought I might get a lesson and then I have too much to do for getting the house ready, so.... we just rode at Ashland. We did some dressage and then went for a hack. It was fun. Dan and I started out grumpy and not doing great, but we got in some good work. His shoulder in and haunches in were nice today. And we even got some practice at the half pass at the trot and got some fairly correct angles I think. We did some canter work and I can't quite figure out the aids again because now.. he's responding differently. But we did get it. And we had some nice trot and medium trot. So yeah... not too bad. I finished in the arena working on my left lead canter transition and got three decent ones with the final one being SUPER!!!! Like... it was correct, it was through, there was no hollowing or loss of connection, it was on the aids.. the only thing it lacked was confidence. It was a little hesitant because he wasn't quite sure how to coordinate all that. But it was lovely!

We had a nice great hack. It was just so pretty out. And then Kelli and I talked a little bit about how she loves my seat at the trot but at the canter I get a little too hula-y with my hips. So we played a tiny bit with me working on keeping my pelvis tucked, my core tight, and I thought about moving my hips up and forward with the canter. Kind of like how Cindy was always telling me to move my hips forward, NOT side to side, when I'm walking on the trails even with Fleck and Dan...  And it helped. A lot. I actually got a few really prompt canter transitions, especially to the right (The left was harder, but there) and the canter got quite nice too. :)

It was fun!

Beating the Rain.... kind of


a little blue... because we were planning on driving to Kentucky today...

lesson got rained out....

ended up hacking and doing fitness at Ashland... 20 min walk, 8 min trot, then the rest of the time trotting and cantering.... met with Kelli for a bit more walking..

Monday, August 26, 2019

Dressage Fun and Cool Weather

Woke up, house for sale and people coming so spent all morning cleaning...then went to visit Becky.. then home and decided to go ride since it was super cool and lovely out.

Dressage ride... played with canter pirouettes again.... worked on upward transition from walk to canter...  hold the outside rein, slight squeeze/rotation of outside hand, but keep my inside leg slightly back to correct the haunches coming in, and that prevents the diving right of the right shoulder.


Jumped... did the right draw rein...

Liz helped.. ride with my pelvis....

Friday morning ride

Got some free time so rode with Kelli.. did some dressage!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Addressing the Drift

Today we got back to jumping. Granted, we jumped a little log in the field that Tuesday after the show, but... not any real jumping until today. Mostly because I didn't have anyone around. And he was fine! Of course. Sigh... But you know.. I'm going to stick with the fact that God knows best and.. in hindsight, I will understand. But I digress..

Anyways... today was lesson day with Kelly at Silverthorn. It's sooooo pretty there! We had a group lesson with Caroline, which was fun. And helpful because she's so nice and quiet it was easy to see her subtle changes. We ended up diverging in our lesson... she did one thing and Dan and I did another because at the beginning... the right drift was intense. To the point of Dan stopped once because he basically ran into the giant plank wing. And Kelly was watching and despite me opening the left rein, blocking the right by moving my right hand to the withers, and digging my right spur into him.. he was still throwing his shoulder out. And it seemed to start farther back. So... we got creative and I got "weaponry". :) Because... to be honest... dan wins unless I have weaponry. Sigh.. I wish it wasn't the case... I wish that our relationship was more ... I don't know the right word... I wish I didn't have to resort to such stuff but quite frankly... I trained him and I created this and I'm going to have to fix it. And because *I* want to fix it.... *I* have to give myself little advantages. So... we took off his running martingale and replaced it with a draw rein/running rein. But only on the right. So we attached a long line from the girth to the bit ring, and back to my hands. Just an extra rein. That gave me some leverage. So... we set the jumps down to a cross rail and trotted over it. Ooooohhhhh... this is a nice tool! He went straight!! And I didn't have to change my ride at all. Just rode the same way as I did before. So we did a few times over the cross rail, moving up to the canter. And we also noticed that if I lifted my hands (Why??? WHY do I do that?!?!) it would make me ride his face instead of his shoulder, so... he was able to throw that shoulder and drift. But if I kept my hands low...  So then.... to make *me* behave... I had to grab my martingale strap so that I couldn't lift my hands. Good grief!! We're two peas in a pod. But it worked lovely! We did a few more jumps, all set low, although one was a vertical to see what would happen if we challenged him. And it was helpful. In fact, it almost made him too responsive and I over-corrected once and we almost hit the left standard. ha ha!! So yep... Very helpful. We finished the ride with the "weapon" off and put his martingale back on, with the right side shortened up a bit. And he was still pretty good but by the third fence he was starting to drift again. So... the plan is to ride him a few more rides, over small fences, with the draw rein on the right side to let him marinate. This will get him jumping straight and also help him strengthen himself so that if it is a weakness thing, he will actually strengthen. (It waill also remind me to marinate on keeping my hands low). Kelly said he was jumping straight and square and didn't seem to be too resistant. We are keeping in mind though that if it is a soundness thing... he will start to fight me more and become lamer, so... we're going to be careful. BUT.. my gut feeling is it's a little bit behind the leg causing it and a little bit of scar tissue and that hopefully this will help strengthen that weak right hind and fix some of our issues and we'll get back to rocking and rolling. :) #onwardandupward #exceptformyhandskeepthosedown. :)  Oh, and..