Midwestern Spring

The first weekend that dawns sunny and warm(ish) is always one of my favorites – like a sign we’ve (almost) done it, almost survived another midwestern winter. I saw almost because, inevitably, we will have one more miserable cold snowy spell. My first winter here it happened March 31st and I nearly revolted.

The truth pains me a little

This weekend was that weekend though – sunny, perfect, high 50s (even hit 60 on Sunday) and everyone at the barn had the same giddiness about them. (Side note, once upon a time I would have absolutely mocked anyone who told me high 50s was ‘warm’ or ‘nice out’, but this is what the midwest does to you I guess…) I had a lesson on Saturday, where we finally (!) got to jump some.

Spoiler alert: my pony is perfect. Also, so much fun. He even got elusive compliments from my trainer. We kept it low and simple since we still don’t know each other well and he’s still pretty out of shape. We’re getting there though – a few weeks ago he couldn’t hold his back lead around any corners, but this weekend he only lost it a few times when things got hard and he got tired. Or, uh, I pulled him off it. Mostly I couldn’t stop giggling because he’s just so much fun to ride. Our lesson was mainly focused on overcoming my natural tendency to stick my hands in my crotch and curl forward when I don’t see something/he gets quick/literally anything happens. Which is… not helpful. And then I promptly jump up his neck, which being literally pony sized means I’m at his ears. Instead I think I’m going to be hearing to push myself back, lift my chest, pick up my hands, and stop leaning for the foreseeable future.

This is my barn, pinch me!

Sunday was seriously even nicer out. It wasn’t quite bath temperatures, but I wasn’t able to resist washing legs. I figure if they walk through snow and cold mud in turnout, some cold water isn’t going to hurt them. Even that much was a drastic improvement.

Me, when anyone compliments any of my tack

The barn was absolutely hoppin’ and it was so much fun. I’m at a different barn than Doc was at and it’s 100% eventers and, with the exception of one junior, all amateurs. We have a few other juniors and pros who haul in for lessons, but the boarders are all a super fun solid group of ammies. Everyone was pumped to ride outside and we spent a long time in the outdoor meandering, chatting and goofing off before getting down to work. The ground wasn’t quite dry enough to hack on the cross country course, but even being in the outdoor is an upgrade and I’ll take it. We had an awesome dressage ride and Iggy was downright sweaty at the end of it. He’s apparently set a goal to be the very last horse in the barn to shed out and hasn’t lost a single strand of hair, I’m convinced.

“Bad at the standing still game”: a series

SweatyPants got a looooonng grooming session with all the new products and things I’m trying out after that – all the EquiFuse things, some Pure Sole Hoof Mud for his soft feet, cookies, liniment, BOT and then stuffed full of apples and carrots for being the best boy. I ended up staying to clean tack while chatting and not getting home until close to 7pm and it was honestly just the perfect weekend I needed.

THIS THOUGH!

T-minus two weeks until our (schooling) show debut and three until we get to ride with Sharon White!

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Lessons at a walk

I had already paid up and scheduled my lessons last weekend and was so looking forward to some one on one instruction with Iggs. Until, of course, I got on Saturday morning to find him off at the trot. Like, WHY HORSES WHY.

Well, why is because we are in the middle of switching joint care (Equioxx to Adequan) and his delicate tootsies need front shoes. Good, no acute injuries, but now I had two paid for lessons and a horse who wasn’t going to go do all the things.

Spent most of his theraplate time mugging me for cookies

So, I had a dressage lesson at the walk. Sounds nice and easy, right? WRONG. It was stupidly hard because everything happens in slow motion and it let Kira focus on every tiny thing my body and leg was doing. We did a lot of change of pace within the walk, bending, and working on the transition between the medium walk-free walk-medium walk. The latter being a place that is so easy to give away points in a test. It was actually a great lesson, especially with riding such a new horse. It gave us a chance to slow everything down and figure each other out. There’s no reason (well, rider error) this horse shouldn’t be pulling in 8s and 9s on his walk work this year.

Kira also worked a lot on my leg – within 45 seconds she’d picked out my ongoing issues. Raising my heel to use my leg and turning my toe out: these shouldn’t sound new, because they aren’t. Did we magically solve them? Hah, no. BUT I did come away with a really good new way of thinking about the first one. Essentially, she explained to me that my raising my heel to use my leg is a result of my horse not being reactive enough to my aids. I’m having to raise it to add leg because he’s not listening to my “whisper”. And if I keep doing it, I’m essentially going to untrain my horse to notice that whisper and he’ll only listen to me raising my voice. Lightbulb moment.

I’ve never had a horse react more strongly to BOT products. It’s like sedation for this horse.

Not in that I’m untraining him, but in that I was able to catch myself doing it so much faster. Instead of leg-raise heel-nag, it was ask quietly-ASK LOUDLY-get reaction.

We didn’t have quite the same breakthrough on my toes outward turn, but that’s no surprise. Caroline (Doc’s owner, old trainer) figured out years ago that comes from my hip flexors being tight. The only thing that’s going to solve that issue is stretching and long-term consistent work. It’s definitely gotten better, and hopefully will just continue to.

Old photo, hilarious photo, but plz look at toes 90 degrees to horse

A super interesting thing was also not noticed with my leg (yes, I know that phrase makes no sense but hang with me here). For years, my lower leg has been too far back. “Push your leg forward, Holly” is a refrain I hear in my sleep.

What’s that? My leg two counties away?

Now if you’ll remember, I got my dressage saddle about four days before we retired Doc and my monoflap jump saddle is brand new (and potentially going to work this is an entire other post oh my god I cannot even anymore). And in talking to Kira, we realized that in both saddles… my leg was never out of place. At least in the sense of going too far back. Fascinating stuff.

Which leads me to wondering if my “perfect fit for me” County Conquest was actually somehow shoving my leg out behind me.

It’s long sold and off to a great new home, but it’s definitely left me thinking – did I spend two years fighting my saddle without even realizing it?

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Peer Pressure

Did I get scolded by Emma and told to blog? Maybeeeee. Am I doing it? Here I am, so… yes. Peer pressure works guys!

That to say – I really want to write a longer version piece of this, but I truly don’t know how balancing being an amateur with competitive goals is a sustainable life. I feel like I’m burning the candle at both ends and then some trying to get everything done. Work has been unbelievably insane the last month (I… can’t even get into it, but when I say insane, so much more than I’ve been through before), plus I’m trying to figure out some long term goals there – and what moves I need to make to get there. Nothing like some fun 75 hour weeks to throw you off your game a bit.

Add in riding. Lessons, schooling, trying to keep Doc conditioned to go run at KHP in October (!!!). Attempting to get to the gym so I don’t die on the XC course.

We got out on the cross country course at the HHP a month ago (omg, I really am behind) which was the final catalyst to send in entries for Midsouth Team Challenge. Emily touched on it recently, but it’s known for being a maxed out for the level, challenging course so I really wanted to make sure it was something we were prepared to handle.

Good news, left drift still going strong

Per usual with Doc… needed have not worried. We played with the water, banks, ditches and strung a whole bunch of things together. The best part? All the BN stuff looked totally do-able and even… small. We spent most of the afternoon jumping around Novice stuff. Stuff I wouldn’t have dreamt of jumping a year ago.

Like this ditch to N rolltop combo
This water was the nastiest water ever haha, but drop into water was a blast

My trainer strung together this bank-ditch-rolltop-sled-coop-hanging log-trakehner course (omg I’m tired reading that) and I’m not gonna lie – that trakehner is a full N/T jump and it made me want to pee my pants a little. Peer pressure hits again? Totally worth it because the best feeling in the world was coming over it after he jumped like a rockstar – felt like I could go conquer the world.

Best combo of the day

Kentucky here we come!

If you’ll be there, come hang out with us – we’ll have food and drinks and ponies aplenty!

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Directions are hard: Event Camp Day 2

How far behind at life am I? Well, this post is a month late. Yeah, we went to event camp a month ago and I’m just now getting around to part two. Which means… details are fuzzier. So you might be just getting bullet points (be happy you’re not getting an Excel spreadsheet, since that’s where my brain lives 99.8% of the time).

Days two and three were all about the jompies. We started out with a XC lesson with Courtney Cooper on Tuesday morning, who was great to ride with and I definitely would again. We worked over the trifecta (ditches, banks, water) where she really emphasized you can’t overdo teaching the footwork – walking in/out, up/down, over – or as she put it “dribbling” through them. I’ve totally taken it to heart and we’ve continued to use that in practicing over the last month. She talked us through riding a ditchy horse (lolz, mine is not), a water-averse horse (lolz, mine thinks he’s at the waterpark), and the unsure-about-banks-one (loz, mine thinks they are a playground). Great lessons, albeit ones I’ll be saving for future horses because mine is a real life unicorn. It’s cool. She also gave me my favorite takeaway from camp: she never counts 1-2 to a jump because you’ll literally change your rhythm to leave on 2. Instead, she counts 1-2-3-4 and I don’t know why it works but IT DOES. MAGIC. (Simple magic, but magic)

We moved on to jumping some combos including a half coffin, some stuff in and out of the water, the rolltop in the water (our first time!), and a handful of fun technical questions. Including where I nearly fell off, twice, cause that’s how I do it.

Was my horse misbehaving? Nope. Take a bad spot? Not really. Did I completely abandon steering, leaving my horse to jump over the side of a novice table? YUP. Yeah, I probably deserved to fall off, but once again, Doc the Saint saved my amateur ass and waited for me to put myself back into the saddle before continuing on.

Let’s focus on the fun part of that paragraph though: Novice. Table.

YUP. We jumped all kinds of novice questions at camp, including the (giant to me) blue box out of the water, the half coffin, the hogsback and the picture frame. And all of it was So Much Fun.

(After I got over wanting to pee my pants, but turns out peer pressure in a group is a solid motivator)

The rest of my takeaways I’m putting into a list so I will publish this for once and for all:

  • Keep a record of lessons/shows – we don’t recall a good % of things, but if you write them down, your memory increases substantially. Even if it’s just highlights from how things went, what went well and what didn’t, etc.
  • Count to 4 on approach vs 1-2
  • Keep your upper body back HOLLY
  • Can’t overdo the footwork on XC
  • Ditchy horse – hands wide and low, stay in the backseat, tap behind leg
  • Banks – let them come up and it’s ok if they need a second to think

The afternoon on Tuesday was a stadium lesson with Leslie. My notes conveniently disappeared into the disaster that is my tack trunk, but the theme of this lesson was “wtf is wrong with your leg Holly?” which is a million dollar question. We started off warming up where he wanted us doing a transition every 6-10 seconds – which is hard! But damn, once I had him off my leg and tuned in like that, the adjustability came so much easier. We did a lot of work on adjusting the stride down a line – doing it in 5, 6, 7 and the line on the other side – doing it in 7, 8, 9, practicing feeling what our horses did if we just naturally let them find the distance themselves versus collecting up or pushing for the fewer strides. It was really about getting the rhythm and then sitting still – not continually messing with your horse all the way to the base (cough, I don’t know anyone who does THAT).

Later, we worked on coming off an oxer coming across the middle and making turns either direction – without throwing our body around. Weird, what a concept. This turned into a semi-figure 8 exercise where, as it turns out, you can just use your eyes and a slightly open rein and magically your horse knows where you’re going!! CRAZY. Eventually it turned into a short course that included a fun bending line each direction that I only managed to get lost in the middle of uh, twice?

Because if you don’t leave a lesson with Leslie Law telling your group of amateurs that you’re why he doesn’t get paid enough and that your homework is to learn your left from right, well… did you even go to event camp?

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Spoiler: I’m the Grinch?

Well, December is here… finally. I’m pretty much over 2018 at this point and ready for it to be over. What a festive spirit for the holidays, right? 

This is the kind of content you come here for

In all seriousness, my riding has been blah for a smorgasbord of reasons. Cold doesn’t motivate me to do much except hibernate in my slippers, my saddle needed adjusting, I didn’t have it in me to put the work in to do much more than just bareback walks. So, we did those. And then gradually I started actually tacking up my horse again. Rode in the dressage saddle (because really ‘my saddle needs adjusting’ is not an excuse when you have 2). Finally took a lesson. Took that momentum and had some really good rides.

Saddle just needed to be picked up in the back, which made a world of difference for feeling like I was actually on top of my horse vs on an entirely different plane. That balance back gave me some of my bravery to actually, uh, make Doc go do something. Like, not trot like a llama maybe. 

I love this sport, I love this sport, I love…

This fall, but the beginning of all my rides was a fight. Moving into the indoor for winter didn’t exactly improve things. Smaller arena + lower ceiling = lizard brain thinks I’m going to DIE everytime my horse hops in the air.. Cool. Finally, last week I pulled out our BOT quarter sheet and happened to get to the barn early for my lesson and spent a good 20-30 minutes walking to warm up, not asking for much/anything. And then when I asked him to go forward… I got some angry ears, but no fight. No fit. No tantrum. Huh. And then we had a great lesson.

Dirty mirrors and Starbucks

So I repeated the experiment again during the week. And… magic. It worked there too. What a thought – my horse needs a longer walk to warm up before going forward? In the cold? Groundbreaking.

So naturally, as soon as I have this breakthrough and have some great rides, I get bronchitis. Because, 2018.

I’ve spent the last 5 days in bed, trying to entertain a Jack Russell while not dying. Today I rejoined the living just in time to… pack and get on an airplane. I sincerely apologize to anyone near me this week, I promise not to breathe on you. 

So here’s my Christmas tree

At this point, I’ve thrown in the towel on 2018. Here’s to a better 2019!

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In which water takes a defining role

The end of summer brought some low key weeks with it (as if all summer hasn’t been low key, but…) around here. Doc and I went on a nice long trail ride with a friend a few weeks ago (where we played in the water), then Finny the Dog and I packed up and spent a week with my parents at their house in Florida (next to the water) where we did a lot of iguana stalking, crab chasing and reading. I’ll let you guess who did which.

We got home just in time for football season to kick off with a big Auburn win (yes, this is not horse related, I do not care, it’s my blog). And then for it to start raining (water from the sky).

#CFB

And basically never stop. I was pretty sure I needed to trade my car in for a boat this weekend. Instead, I lessoned Saturday morning, came home and drank pumpkin spice chai while watching college football all day. Not a bad way to spend a gloomy Saturday.

Lesson itself was good, but not great. We were just figure-8-ing over a cavaletti in the middle and I just could not. At the trot my body decided I was a walk-trot beginner. I tried (in no particular order): throwing myself and horse at the pole, getting behind the motion, acting like we were jumping 3’6″, falling on his neck and bouncing around like a disaster in motion. Cool, cool.

I love that this dork of a horse so much

I earned myself a lunge line lesson for that one. Yup. Reins taken away, two point on a circle, stand up, back to two point, figure out how to actually, you know, carry your own body. Weird idea.

So I’m like, cool, got this now. An exercise that most 11 year olds can do, but whatever. We’re cruisin now. Let’s canter!

HAHAHA.

Off the right lead? Great. I can do this. Look left, come around the circle, remember to sit up… and miss the cavaletti. Veer right.

Repeat 509349534 times. (No, literally it felt like that many times). FINALLY, I manage to not dive at it, sit in my right seatbone, keep my outside leg on and tap on the right shoulder and we, you know, canter over a 12″ cavaletti. Big accomplishment here guys!

By this time, by back is done. While it’s healed and I’m medically allowed to do whatever I want, I’m still so weak through my core that I can feel it get tired much easier/faster than it used to. A year ago, I would have pushed through it, but these days I’ve had to accept that it means it’s time to cool out. Riding through it either leaves me hurting for days after or just becomes unproductive. No point in really continuing to practice doing things wrong. So Doc got lunged over it to the left to prove to him that uh, he could do it, it’s just his uncoordinated minion who can’t.

The river was so high and moving so fast that day!

It finally stopped raining (insert hallelujah hands here) and was sunny and beautiful today. I’m (hopefully!) in my last week or two of funemployment, so I’m trying to take advantage of all the gorgeous fall weather we’re supposed to get here. Wouldn’t you know, I had an amazing flat ride. So much power and roundness from his hind end, really good canter work and some lovely transitions. I guess someone was as happy to have sunshine as I was.

I’ll be out of town for a bachelorette party the last XC schooling date in September here, but the tentative plan has us doing a CT and (finally) a HT in October, so I’m ridiculously excited and hoping things can fall into place. It’s been a non-existent show season and I’d love the chance to at least get out once before winter sets in and I have to hibernate.

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Riding a dolphin

There are two Docs: five-minute Doc and two hour Doc. They follow the 80/20 rule – so 80% of the time, I have five minute Doc who comes out ready to play ball and happily carts my butt around. But 20% of the time… I get two hour Doc. Doc who does not remember he is 17. Who thinks I am his minion and my input is unnecessary. Getting two hour Doc at home just means we work – a lot.

Last weekend weekend, though, we had the perfect storm of circumstances that meant I got 2 hour Doc… going XC schooling.

Even WTForecast decided to mock me…

It started when he pulled his shoe last Saturday and didn’t get it back on until Thursday afternoon. Nothing like a little five day vacay. Then, he got turned out Friday night without his grazing muzzle – and promptly gorged himself on grass all night long.

Add in some muggy swampy weather in there, a very spooky *empty* field next to the XC course…

I am v awkward

I spent the 2/3rd of my morning (sortof) reinstalling brakes. Including the one time we bolted clear across the entire back half of the course in some sort of Saddlebred American Pharoah impression that was independently decided upon without any input from the bipeds. I stayed on my the grace of Animo sticky breeches, God going, “well I guess one broken back is enough for a year,” and the willpower to know if I landed on the ground I was probably just going to send everyone on their way and lay there until I shrived up in the heat and died.

I had these grand plans after jump judging last weekend – we were going to school all the fun BN jumps! Maybe some smaller N stuff! Whee!

More like ‘canter through mud’ vs water but…

HAHAHAHA. We made it over approximately 4 starter jumps. The actual jumping? No problem. The landing and immediately deciding to go full tilt Training 450mpm? Not really on my to-do list. I have discovered muscles I did not know existed from the level of sore I am.

My water bottle was gone by the first hour and at one point I actually had to get off and stand in the shade, take off my vest and helmet and attempt not to throw up from being so hot. It was warm and muggy, but more, he’d managed to suck every bit of strength and energy out of me by then. I finally got to a point where I was confident I wouldn’t pass out off the side of my horse, got back on and we headed to the back side of the course (okay, front actually here, we went backwards). Where my saintly horse returned and was more than happy to go happily jump over anything and everything,

when snax appear at perfect height

Where were you an hour and a half ago?! By this time I was essentially out of steam and Doc was straight up drenched in foamy sweat, so even though we now had the hamsters back on the wheel to go do fun things, neither of us had much left to give.

Where was this horse all morning?!

We had a blast jumping around and through the water, did a baby bank into the water, jumped an inviting little BN jump finally and called it a day on that note. The second half felt successful, but the first half of the day was… not fun. At all.

Good for the stories, but I don’t need to experience 2 hour Doc for like… ever again.

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Pros and Cons of Lawn Darting

Pro: My horse is athletic enough to leave from like, the next county over and jump clean.

Con: I am not athletic enough to stay on when this happens.

 

Pro: Head didn’t hit the ground! Nothing broken!

Con: Back muscles are very, very angry with me.

From Friday, where I forgot breeches and had to ride in jeans and WHY DID WE ALL DO THIS VOLUNTARILY CIRCA 2008 GUYS

Pro: Horse stopped and did not step on me.

Con: Ended up on ground, not on top of horse.

 

Pro: I can’t get a pair of pants on. Which means I don’t have to wear pants.

Con: I still  have to get dressed and go to work.

But my new keychain is the cutttteesssttttt

Pro: Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen are great!

Con: Might not have kidneys by the time this is over*

 

Pro: Got to catch up on a ton of TV this weekend

Con: Might not have any brain cells left

 

Pro: Got my money back on my show entry for next weekend

Con: Not showing next weekend

 

Pro: Only ruined my shirt, not the Animo breeches I had on

Con: Pretty sure my shirt was an omen for Carolina basketball

Pro: Not on video as evidence like uh, all of my other falls

Con: You don’t get to watch me lawn dart through the air.

 

Happy March Madness y’all!

*  Don’t worry I’m carefully monitoring my dosages!
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Doing my job

We actually got to have a lesson outside last weekend! And jump! Miracles, I tell you.

Of course, it’s snowing again now. Staahhhhpppp Indy-anna.

Saddle adjustment seems to have fixed our go button issues, thank goodness, and  the weekend before we had a great dressage lesson. Wherein I got to ride my first half-pass (at a walk, but STILL). Of course, I also leaned so far over in my canter circle I almost fell off, but hey, I never claimed to be good at this stuff.

The fun thing is that my dressage lesson translated over into my jumping lesson really well (like, imagine that?!). A better canter making things easier? Who would have thought…

This lesson marked the first time we’ve really jumped since we got kicked into the indoor, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that 2’6″ didn’t feel big at all. My steering is undoubtedly rusty (um, we took out an entire crossrail and my foot nearly took out a standard), but the actual jumping felt great. (Minus one bad-ASS inside turn I pulled off like NBD) I still need to work on not leaning at my jumps, because what do you mean, lean at jump and land in a heap isn’t a reliable strategy? Idk.

My eye got better throughout the lesson, but will just need more repetitions (gonna be playing a lot of the ‘counting’ game) all spring. And you know, remembering that my horse has a lead change and on the occasion he isn’t automatic, like… asking for it? Not ‘panic, panic, where do I do, what is happening, why is the sky blue’. You know, what happened immediately after the video above stops.

And I didn’t kill anyone who was doing groundwork in the arena either!

The part not shown on video (not because I don’t want to, but because all the technology rebelled) is when we turn left after that jump, come around the end of the arena to jump two flower boxes + barrels set without standards. And miss them. Because riding all the way through the corner and keeping your inside leg on is too difficult for me to comprehend or something. While Doc may be a saintly creature who carts my butt around, it was a good reminder that I still have to sit up, ride and steer. That when jumps look like uh, not jumps, he still needs me to do my job and set him up right. Straightness, corners, not-leaning-around-turns-like-I-am-a-racecar.

Our dressage lesson also pointed out my extreme weakness when it comes to my inside rein. I just cannot let go of it. Trainer C actually had me pushing my arm/hand forward to an extreme – like 6″ forward for 2-3 strides at a time just to get a feel for it. My brain just can’t comprehend how I can be on a circle/have contact/have even reins/insert something here and not be on my inside rein. UGH. I keep practicing physically pushing that hand forward, trying to overcome my muscle memory, but it’s like my brain overtakes and yells at me “NO DON’T DO THAT.” Seriously, I’m at my wits end with myself over this issue – if anyone has ideas on this, please toss them out. It’s 100% a mental block at this point. I need to work on it though, because it’s only going to be a bigger issue as we progress. Halp.

Riding is hard, guys.

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Mental Walls (Literally)

Friday afternoon the sun shined and it was 60 degrees and it was GLORIOUS. Like, Vitamin D, yes please and ponies and seriously, I don’t think I realized how grumpy I’d been until suddenly I was seriously giddy happy. Sunshine, it’s a good thing. The arena footing was still a little more wet than I would have liked so we stuck to walk and trot work, but it’s not like we have any shortage of things to work on at those gaits.

I’m bad about my flatwork rides being the same old walk/trot/canter both directions so I spent some time on Friday morning reading up on ideas and other things to do and it paid off. I really focused on doing something every eight strides or so, trying not to go any length of the arena without doing something – transitions, shoulder-in, circles, leg yield, sitting trot, collecting/lengthening. It was awesome to feel the change. What started as a ride where Doc was behind my leg and pulled his nice ‘ears-pinned, kick at leg’ every time I asked for more turned into one of my favorite flat rides I’ve had on him.

By halfway through the ride, he was moving off my leg so nicely, working in a frame, really in the bridle in a way we struggle to get to. It wasn’t necessarily 100% consistent because #workinprogress, but it was a definite improvement over a lot of our rides this winter. The best part was the horse who refused to trot and only acquiesced with a sloth, legs dragging jog early on was light as could be off my aids and giving me awesome transitions. Definitely telling that I need to be doing more during my rides as opposed to just going around and around.

I saved you from having to listen to my baby voice, you’re welcome

Saturday morning was my usual lesson, although we were back in the indoor thanks to rain. Ugh. Still, I’ll take rain over snow and ice any day. Not quite as good of a warmup as yesterday, but neither of us likes riding indoors as much.

We worked on an exercise we also did last week with four poles/cavaletti.

To start, we rode through the bounce, picked a direction and went over both end poles in a sort of moon shape, and back out over the bounce. My biggest issues here are sitting up and keeping my collarbone up, surprise surprise. Once we got that done, we added a circle over the two end poles. I needed a lot more collection to get that done which is something that’s an ongoing work in progress too.

so far, so good

The last way we rode it was (is?) the most challenging for me: bounce, right pole, left pole, inside turn towards the wall, back over the right pole, left, out over the bounce. Theoretically, not awful. And most of it was fine, since we’d already ridden it two other ways. Until we added the inside turn.

An inside turn towards the rail in the outdoor? Fine. Don’t love it, but I can do it. Add an arena wall? Mental roadblock times 1000. Even though I know we’re capable of making the turn, I zero in on the wall, stare at it and convince myself we’re going to just, I don’t know, run into it? Crash and die? Looking past the wall and focusing on where we’re going helps, but there’s still that moment I see the wall as we start the turn and I lose my marbles.

DEFINITELY almost fall off your horse because you can’t SIT UP omg

I know it’s 100% mental because I managed to get it done today. It wasn’t pretty, but I sat up and wheeled that horse around like we were in a reining pattern and it felt good to end on a positive note.

That all being said, it definitely pointed out a mental weakness I need to work on. I’ve gotten over a lot of my fears and insecurities this last year, so it feels interesting to discover a new one, so to speak.

Also, SERIOUSLY STOP LEANING HOLLY this is why you eat dirt. Damn ground poles.

 

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