Well hello there. It’s been quite a while.
Maintaining a blog sure does take effort, doesn’t it? In the last post I wrote (on July 31, 2013), it was closing day on my first home. I talked about some notes I wrote before officially moving into my grandparents home. I still have those stories, jotted down in the notebook I held that day. I really would like to share them with you all one day.
My life has not slowed down a bit since that last post, I’d say events have even accelerated. But that’s what happens in a year of life, right?
After closing on the house, it was moving in. Then my sweet Sebastian had a major accident and had to be out of work for quite some time – I count my blessings he’s alive today. Then the crazy few weeks of CHERRY BATCH in September, which means nothing except to those few who were a part of it. Then the holidays. Then my beautiful grandmother passed away in March. And on, and on, and on. So many things. So many reasons to not have time to write.
There was always a reason to wait. I was going to post on the one year anniversary of my last post, but then I just…didn’t. I’ve wanted to post many times after but thought, “I’ll wait until things settle down.” Yeah, I know now that it’s not going to happen. If I’m going to write, and practice the skill of forming words into sentences, I need to make an effort. Just like I put the practice into riding, I need to put the practice into writing.
I hope you’ll welcome me back! As always read as you’d like, I hope you enjoy, but (selfishly) I’m pretty much doing this for me.
A girl’s gotta be selfish every once and awhile. 🙂
Now! Off to the main goal!
I’ll write more later about the summer shows, but the gist of it is: I TRIED SECOND LEVEL! I’m so proud we were even able to enter shows at that level, and I’m counting this summer as a great learning experience. We broke 60% once at a schooling show, then got two 58%’s at our summer recognized show. I had really been hoping to get the two 2nd level bronze scores, but it wasn’t to be. I’m ok with it. Turns out that second level is HARD.
But we’re going to try and nail it next year. To accomplish that goal, my trainer and I devised a plan: she’ll put a training ride on my horse every Monday, which I’ll watch, and every Tuesday I’ll take a lesson to try and re-create the experience. This way Sebastian (who’s really never done these movements before) doesn’t have me (who’s really never done these movements before) trying to teach him. He’ll learn the correct feel and I’ll start to learn that correct feel. We’re going to see how this goes and I’m going to make it a personal goal to digest the lesson every Tuesday night by writing about it. So here goes for tonight’s lesson.
Tonight was my first time on Sebastian since September 9th. My trainer has been able to put three training rides on him and I was able to watch yesterday’s. The first thing I felt was that he was ready to GO! Adult amateurs: know that feeling you get jumping on your horse shortly after they’ve had a session with THE TRAINER? Ha! He was ready to get to business.
We started working on a 20m circle, pushing him out on a leg yield, getting an instant reaction. Once that was down, I added outside leg to get him to do haunches in on the circle, working on wrapping him around my inside leg.
You see, I’ve realized that when asking for Travers, I’ve neglected the inside leg. Instead of applying that steady pressure for him to wrap around, I’ve been just using outside leg to move his haunches over, and he moves them, but at the expense of the bend. He has a hard time moving his haunches over AND bending.
Now, we must have hit a magic spot sometimes in the tests, because I know I got at least one 7 on that movement. So I know we’ve got it in us, we just have to work on the consistency.
Went pretty well tonight, good to the left at first, tough at the right, but then we tried to do a turn on the haunches and it was great at the right, tough on the left. Go figure. He gets a little claustrophobic, so we’re also working hard to make sure he does not feel trapped. The “Travers Saga” will continue, I’m sure 🙂
Then we did some trot, which is coming along nicely. He’s very light in the bridle, so we’re working on building that connection. My trainer had a great analogy that the connection was like a phone call. Get a steady connection and you can have a great, clear conversation. Have a connection that comes and goes and it really can be frustrating for both parties.
Next lesson I’m going to ask Sebastian: “Can you hear me now?”
Bad joke, let’s move on.
The last thing we worked on was counter canter. Now, this was a horse who would NEVER counter canter. Flip leads, brake, lose balance, everything was hard about the counter canter. Mostly, he was just convinced what we were asking him was WRONG. “That is the WRONG LEAD, guys! What the hell are you asking me to do?”
I think the major achievement of the winter was our counter canter. He’s now strong enough to do a pretty darn good three loop serpentine, and tonight, for the first time, we did two LAPS around the arena in counter canter! The left-lead-tracking-right felt amazing, balanced and perfect. The right-lead-tracking-left was a bit tougher, he broke twice, but the second time, instead of turning him around to pick up the right, to do a diagonal to track left, we were able to just pick up the right lead on the rail! That is just something that this horse, who I imagine had correct leads ingrained in him during his life as a jumper, would just never do.
Great success for the night.
Things to fix: he’s getting a little spooky at the “scary end” of the arena, and being a sissy, it’s a little intimidating for me. Granted, he’s not been in constant work for a few weeks and this is is first time back in the indoor for most of the summer, but I’m going to try to make it a goal to get him moving at the far end, maybe bringing a friend out so he can get used to people watching him from the chairs on that end. We had him going pretty good over the winter so hopefully he’ll adjust soon.
And I’m sure there’s more, but this is getting long and I need to start thinking about going to sleep.
I’m going to try and put 1-2 rides in before his ride with my trainer Monday, then have my lesson Tuesday, then I’ll tell you all about it Tuesday night.
For now, I’m going just hit that big, scary blue “Publish” button without revisions. So please ignore what is sure to be many mistakes.