Friday, December 27, 2013

Boot Camp!!

And boy do I need it!! 

Beth met me at Ashland today and I had a jump lesson on Fleck. Then I took Tucker out to the XC field and rode him out there. It was maybe his first time out there so we weren't sure what he was going to do. He was great, but more on him later. Fleck first :)

I got tacked up and we headed up to the jump ring. We started off and it was a disaster! I just couldn't get it together. I felt like I was taking away from the bank with every step and Fleck was about 2 jumps away from quitting and telling me to "shove my head someplace unpleasant"! And he had every right to feel that way. I was frustrated. And exhausted!! Seriously.. I'm suddenly SOOOOO out of shape! I was huffing and puffing. So, yep.. must get back to running. (And as I'm typing this I have just finished stuff my face with peppermint cookie dough... but it's PEPPERMINT!!!... argh.. I'm doomed!). I just can't find the balance between a slow tempo and consistent rhythm but with enough power. I close my leg and let him run, or I take my leg off and he's "soft" but underpowered. Sigh... I was getting the hang of getting him supple through his topline and soft but just wouldn't close my leg. So then I'd gun him at it and would close my leg but wouldn't get the suppleness. So poor Fleck was forced to take giant flyers or chip in and heave himself over. Argh... Towards the end of our ride, I started to get it. I literally had to sing "Lovely Rita, Meter Maid" to help get my rhythm and had to pop him a few times with the whip because I just couldn't convince my legs to move apparently. Sigh... Beth was more pleased than me and set the jumps up. Argh.... I did forewarn her that I was getting the urge to get more pace and she told me NO! ;) 

I finally remembered to put my helmet camera on and... lo and behold, I suddenly learned how to ride! I was able to sit down, close my leg, and ride him into my soft hand, while maintaining the rhythm and keeping him supple. Thank God!!! He was that close to giving up on me. So yay!!! And then we went again and I had a bit of a haphazard line but he was getting tired. We're both out of shape I guess. I wanted to finish on a nice positive forward line, so we went one more time. And it was good. We landed nicely after the first jump and so I kicked on a bit to go for the five. Only, he landed nicely.. not gunning, so we had to make a large stretch for the five. But he did it. My brain was thinking that it wasn't the chip, so the 6 was going to be too short. Doh. So we came one last time ( ;) ) and did it in 6... nicely! :) yay!!!

Link to helmet cam of a course! 

Link to the line

Still working on keeping my right shoulder up and back, my right knee in a bit, and keeping his canter soft and supple. He doesn't have to be "on the bit" but he has to not be inverted. So yay... finally a good day. We finished on a good note and we both got a bit more confidence back.

So then he got to hang out at the trailer in his ice while I took Tucker out for a XC spin. I think he's done it before ;) He really is a cool horse. He reminds me a lot of Fleck. He's almost a packer, bomb proof, stoic guy. You can tack him up and he doesn't move, sit on him with no reins, no stirrups, and remove your jacket, and he doesn't move. He doesn't care. But you put your leg on and he's off! He's a safe sane guy but a whole lot of fun! He's got a good go button. He's still needing some retraining which is great. He rides a lot like Fleck but he tells on me. So when I start hanging... his nose goes straight up in the air. He throws that right shoulder out and veers, and if I try to correct it the wrong way...he veers harder! So we worked on riding the shoulders, half halt and RELEASE but keeping the connection and not throwing it away, keeping my right shoulder up and back, and all the other things I'm working on. It took me a few times, but once I sat down and RODE, we got it. I think I've got him figured out. He walked over the ditch like it was nothing. He walked up and down the back like it was nothing. Heck, he even trotted the up and down banks like they were nothing. Cantered into the water without skipping a beat! But he locks onto the jumps and gets a little carried away. Which is where I fall apart. But like I said, we fixed it mostly. And we even finished with a nice huntery canter to the water, through and back to Beth. :) 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas to All!!!!

I had a good day. I didn't get to ride because work wore me out and I had to nap. But that's okay. I got pony snuggles! And plan to ride the next 6 out of 7 days!

I'm so blessed to have such a wonderful life... wonderful ponies, wonderful husband, wonderful family, wonderful friends.... 

 And I can't forget this girl.... 21 years together! I still remember that Christmas like it was yesterday... "Shhhh Roany... you'll ruin the surprise"! Oh, my poor Dad... 


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Sore day!

So... after yesterdays lesson, today I hauled Fleck up to Beths. I had a lesson on him and a lesson on one of her new horses and then was going to do some chiropractoring on the barn horses. I was already sore from the day before, especially my thighs.

We started with Tucker and I did a jump lesson on him. I thought I had him figured out working on the flat, but then it sort of went downhill. To the point of me almost in tears. But they were tears of frustration at myself. It was a wonderful lesson because it really helped me figure out the root of some of my issues. Tucker is used to people hanging on his face so he locks his jaw and braces and runs. And throws his shoulder out. A LOT like Fleck. Only because Fleck and I have been together so long, he's sort of sneaky about it. And because of that too, he is sort of tolerant to my bad habits. However, riding Tucker, who is not tolerant of me, made it blatantly clear what I was doing wrong. I was collapsing on the right, dropping my right shoulder and then resorting to lifting my hands high in the air. This was because I couldn't effectively half halt on the right rein. By collapsing my right side, I ended up with a straight elbow. And I can't effectively pull straight back and down that way. So my response was to lift my hands. BUT... if I instead lifted my shoulder, that allowed my elbow to bend and then I could half halt effectively. It took some SERIOUS brain power to talk my body into doing it. And by the time I did, my shoulder was so sore and tired. But we got it finally. Tucker was thrilled that I finally got it too. :)

So then it was Fleck's turn. We opted to flat him and I got on. He was funny. He was full of energy and spooking when the wind blew. I, on the other hand, was exhausted! I was jelly! I didn't manage to ride very long because I was so weak it was ineffective and I didn't want to ruin things, but I did accomplish some really nice work. If I really thought about lifting my right shoulder, Fleck's response was amazing! He was straight and holy smokes... his wither and back lifted and it was LOVELY!!!! So exciting! We got a very nice trot and a very nice canter and even better lengthenings. Beth said he was much more even behind in his lengthens when I thought about lifting my shoulder.

Whooo hooo!!! So worth it. And then I had to do chiropractic adjustments on four horses ;)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Jump lesson!!!

Whoo hooo! It seems like we haven't jumped in forever! And we haven't ridden in at least 6 days since I was in Kansas. Luckily it was warm and it was NOT raining, so whoo hooo!!! We met Beth at Ashland and tacked up. I still had my stirrups off as I was still trying to prolong no stirrup November. Beth saw me grab them and told me "you can leave those here!" ever so sweetly and innocently ;) ha!

We warmed up and Beth worked really hard on my position. I need to consciously pull/push my right leg forward to the girth. It always wants to slide back and that causes me to twist too. I also need to think about almost pinching with my knee on that side. Not that I want to be pinching with my knee, but I need to be rolling my calf in and not poking my toe out and getting Fleck with the spur non-stop. Then through out the course of the lesson, we also realized that I was collapsing on my right side and by thinking about picking my right shoulder up and back, and almost drawing my right knee up at the same time, I would straighten my core and my whole self and could ride more effectively. It also helped even out my hands because when I am collapsing on my right side, my right hand goes forward and gets too loose and giving.

Phew, that was hard work!! Then Beth made me really work on getting the correct canter. That was also hard work, but much easier when my position was correct. Its' the same old story. I had to get the canter and then keep the canter. I was not to allow him to lengthen to the base and thus get long and flat, but I wasn't wanting to shorten him either.

It was fun. And when I could put it all together, it was great :)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Getting our South Louisianna Cajun on!!

I have the most wonderful horse ever!!!!!! I decided that I wanted to ride Fleck in the Christmas Parade in town. I've wanted to for a few years and finally was able to do it. Missy and Zhar joined us which is a good thing because Fleck needed Zhar for support! It was so much fun!!!! And a lot... a LOT of waiting.

They wanted us there at 5:30 at the latest, even though the parade didn't start until 6:30. So we got ready and then got on. Fleck and Zhar were great at the trailer and then once we got on, they got antsy and wanted to go. So we lined up... and waited... and waited... and waited!!! They let the entire parade go through first I think. Fleck was not happy! He was dancy and jiggy and wanted to get the party started!! But he behaved himself as long as I let him dance around. Then finally at about 7:30, it as our turn! We walked out!! That is definitely an experience. I'm sure it was a small parade... but it was soooo cool. 

We walked out into a road with a wall of people on both sides. Lots of cheering and noise and "Horseeeeeee" coming from little girls. And lots of noise from the parade in front and behind us. It was serious sensory overload. But Fleck was awesome!!!! He kept his cool and was such a show off. Sure, he was crab walking some but I think that was because I was trying to hold him back so we weren't right at the exhaust of the WAG van. 

It was really fun. I'm so proud of him. It was nice to be able to feel like rock stars for those little girls. 

Another check for the bucket list! Another check for Fleck's resume :) 


Monday, December 2, 2013

More dressage

Fleck and I had another lesson with Sandy. She came out to Ashland and it was oh so convenient. :) It was another good ride. We're still working on the same stuff, but I do think perhaps we're getting somewhere!

I really need to focus on me! My right arm tends to creep forward and be way too giving. My left hand needs to shorten up the reins instead of puppy dogging. And I need to be aware of how uneven they are. When I feel like I'm riding with my hands even... my left hand is way behind my right hand. Fleck still needs me to really close and hold with that right hand and really not be so grabby with the left. I still feel like he's going to careen to the right when I don't hold onto the left rein. BUT... I can combat that with riding shoulder in, using my hips to push his shoulders over. And also closing my outside leg to keep him from drifting. I should ALWAYS be thinking shoulder in and leg yield or doing it. ;) 

Our canter was a bit better, but he tends to take over the tempo some. So I need to SIT and maintain the tempo, and really really hold with that outside (right) rein. Even going to the right... still hold the connection in the right rein. I also need to then push his haunches out a bit... so again, think shoulder in and a bit of leg yielding. This is accomplished by my hips turning in, my inside (left) leg pushing in, and my outside rein holding steady. Argh... so much to think about!!

But it was good. And Sandy said again how pleased she was with us. Now to get someone to video to prove to me how uneven my hands are. Or do what Beth made me do and ride with the whip in my hands. ;)