January 19th Lesson Recap

I have been looking forward to this week’s lesson all week. Having a saddle that fits, and let’s Luna move with more freedom has made her into a horse I don’t quite know how to handle. She is moving so much bigger and is so much stronger…I can’t exactly control it completely !

She has also became a bit…wild. Not crazy, running and bucking and spooking wild though. Just “I’m gonna explode at any second without actually doing it” kind of wild. Don’t get me wrong, she feel’s great! But she just wants to GO AND DO THE THINGS when we aren’t ready to GO AND DO THE THINGS at every second of every ride.

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this face explains how she feels

As soon as I started to pick her up last night, she got “dancey”. Coach has us doing LOTS of leg yielding when we are “dancey” to help to flatten out and slow down the walk. And right now we are only allowed to leg yield off of the wall so that she understands that she needs to do what I ask her, not just fall out towards the wall.

Our canter has improved soooo much. We don’t start with the weird rushy/choppy canter to the right anymore ! It is actually our better way. Smooth, controlled and wonderful. We have to work on the straightness more this way but the gait quality is far better! The left is the way we struggle with the quality canter. She wants to “bump” me out of keeping my seat smooth so that she doesn’t have to work so hard with her left hind. That damn left hind is lazy !

Leg yielding off the wall became a fight at the end of the wall going to the right. Again, that left hind doesn’t want to step all the way through and she just wants to rush through my aids and control the ride. This mare is strong a freight-train. So when she decides she wants to take control, it is realllly hard to change her mind right now.

We have loads to work on, like getting that left hind activated, leg yielding off the wall and getting her in front of my leg. I feel like now that she can move, and have more freedom, it will show the holes in her training. Which I have trained into her. But I am okay with that.

Again I have no media. It’s hard to get someone to get video of my lessons since no one actually watches them! Maybe I can convince my husband to come out next time….

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Lesson recap : the big change.

Now that the excitement about my new saddle has died down a bit, and I don’t have heart eyes constantly about how pretty she is, I have the mental space to think about my lesson that day.

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how i felt getting the saddle

I ain’t gonna lie, it was hard.

New saddle that is completely different then what I am used to, in a lesson, with a horse that has had a few days off does not sound like a fun time. Specially not on Luna. There is a reason she sometimes gets called Looney Toones!

Finding out how not correct we had been going before having a saddle that fit was a bit of a shocker. She always felt pretty good before! She would fight a bit when we were trying to make her do something when she didn’t want to, but what horse doesn’t?

Straightness is not a word we knew in canter-trot transitions to the right. Or on any circle to the right. Which stems from her weakness in her left hind. I could really feel it being in a more upright position. And fixing it is going to be a process….

I also realized how weak I am through my core. Holy smokes. Weak sauce is my middle name! I wanted to cry not even half way through cantering the first way! Slowing my seat, staying upright, not tensing up…clearly I never did any of these things in my jump saddle!

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how i feel, and look

The conclusion was that there is a lot f*ck ton to work on. More then I thought…a lot more. But I think now that we have a saddle that fits, the journey will be easier then expected. Luna may be sassy, but once she is told how to do something, and how to do it properly, she gets it and then whatever it is is easy.

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bc i have no new media

PS – Best husband ever. As I sat here writing this, waiting for supper to cook, he brought me my glass of wine ❤

New saddle day!

Originally my fitter was going to bring by the new saddle on Saturday, the day AFTER my lesson, but asked if I wanted it Friday instead…DUH. How could I say no to that?! Specially to have it in time for my dressage lesson!

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me all week

Fitter originally came out in September-ish to fit my Adam Ellis since I was having some mega issues with it and it had not been looked at since I bought it at Easter time of 2017. September-ish was also when I kind of decided I was going to take a step back from jumping. Perfect timing I suppose, because she told me that it didn’t exactly fit that great – yippee. I had half guessed that myself, just did not want to hear it.

The dressage saddle hunt did not commence for a few more weeks due to many things. Funds, timing, indecisiveness etc. There was definitely no money to go the custom route at that time either.

Have I mentioned how much I hate saddle shopping?

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It didn’t last long before I decided I didn’t want to deal with trying to trial people’s saddles and decided to order in a custom Ryder Zara.

And it finally got here!!

I ordered this without riding in it….which was maybe a slightly dumb idea, but I did it anyways. Fitter and I talked for ages about what I wanted, and looked at about a billion different saddles before we ordered this. I gotta admit, I was slightly skeptical I would LOVE it. I put all my faith in fitter. She did not do me wrong.

I LUUURRRVEEE IT!!! Pony loves it so far. I could not be happier with it!

Shout out to my fitter Kelsey !

I can’t wait to see how things progress now that I have the right saddle for the work that we are doing !

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Dressage pony now

Today is THE Day!

My new saddle is arriving tonight! Kelsey with Four Winds Saddle Services  is delivering it tonight, just in time for my dressage lesson!

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No more dressaging in a jump saddle!

I haven’t really had a great fitting saddle in several months now. I’ve had a saddle, but it wasn’t ideal, so I was doing lots of riding bareback. Which is great for my seat and legs….but also not that fun when your mare has “Wild Mare Syndrome” !

 

I. CANNOT. WAIT!!!!!!

2017 Goals : Recap

Back at the end of 2016, I wrote about all of the things I wanted to get done this year. I had high hopes for this year. I wanted to do all the things and go do all the shows. Well…..let’s just say….we did none of the things and went to none of the shows.

The only time went out this year

Pony Goals

  • Go to an event : Did not happen.
  • Go to an A level jumper show : Did not happen.
  • Have a show season : Definietely did not happen.
  • Get more comfortable with height and oxers : Almost sort of happened?

My goals

  • Get healthy: HA.
  • Budget better : Meh. Kinda not really.
  • Buy a horse trailer : Did not happen. At all.

Some of my goals may have been a bit extravagant, I do admit that. Try and go big or go home, right ?

The last third of my year had been a write off for getting anything done. Since my car accident in August I’ve been to more appointments then the rest of my 27 Years ! Physio twice a week, dentist, doctor, you name it and I’ve probably been there. Which means little riding time.

Our jump coach “broke up” with us to take on a much better opportunity this fall. At almost the perfect time for us too. Luna had been telling me for a while things needed to change. And we are finally making that change.

My goals for 2018 are definitely going to be a bit more attainable and affordable. But thats for an other post !

Lesson recap : starting point.

In my last post, I talked about our switch from jumping to dressage, so I figured that I should post our “starting point” in that journey.

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I grew up jumping one week, dressaging the next, but on Luna, lessons have always been kind of inconsistent. Specially during the summer. The last few years we’ve jumped all winter, with occasional dressage lessons thrown in, and then pretty much nothing all summer. This last summer was the only summer we lessoned every week.

Our dressage lessons continue to be fairly scarce, at only one every other week, but I am learning so much from our coach ! She makes little tweaks and I can feel the change instantly. Plus this horse is a bit ridiculous with how fast she catches on…..even when she likes to fight things. And sometimes she reallllly likes to make things difficult.

Lots of boring stuff was worked on.  Canter to the right is not a great thing right now. And I think we got it pinned down to my shoulders. As soon as we fixed my shoulders, everything got easier. I pulled less, she resisted less, there was less up and down and more forward. The light bulb definitely went off last night!

 

Things to work on :

  • More forward in the canter, less up and down.
  • Let me biceps relax and half halt with my shoulders/back
  • Less bend in the neck in shoulder in.

Have I mentioned how hard dressaging is in a jump saddle? Sitting back and deep is hard when the saddle wants you forward! Although I think I almost have it mastered….just in time for my dressage saddle to come in!

Change.

It is inevitable, and does not always come in the ways you want or that you expected. Horses like to do that to you.

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This summer has been full up up’s and down’s. Between Luna not loving life, my car accident and not really being able to do much the last 3 month’s, we haven’t been able to do much. It started with her scratches in the spring, which seemed to take forever to get rid of, and stayed kind of blah all summer.

Luna was letting me know, in more than one way, that she wasn’t happy. She wasn’t lame, just….unhappy. I’ve known her since she was just a few hours old, and have owned her since just before she turned 3 – I know when something isn’t “right”

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Precious baby Luna

So when she started to say no, in her odd way, I started to listen. She was always fine on the flat, but over fences she did not seem happy. This horse is weird. There is no other way to explain her. She is just straight up weird.  And the weird doesn’t always show well on the outside to other people, but being on her you would understand the weird. So I contemplated what to do next…

I made the decision to cut back on the jumping lessons. Great, cool, whatever. But then our coach got a job offer she just could NOT refuse at a local A-level barn…and well, she had to say good-bye! This fast forwarded the plan to switch strictly to ……. dressage !

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I’m bummed, excited and worried all rolled into one.

I want to keep jumping, and we will, just for fun though. I think she will excel at dressage, and I think we will get farther with her being happier then she would have staying over fences. But I also worry about what if she doesn’t stay happy doing this either?! Who knows. Only time will tell.

And only time will tell me if I want to shoot myself in the long run. So it’s time to get moving forward! Now just to wait for my saddle to get here….

It’s Amazing.

Isn’t it amazing how much you can learn when you take a step back from things?

We are taking August off from jumping since I needed a break (financially and mentally) so I have been trying to do more low key type of stuff lately. Trail rides, road riding, just getting out of the sand box as much as possible.

It rained yesterday afternoon so it was too soft to go out anywhere. So I hopped on bareback with a rope halter instead in the arena.

You would think after being told to sit left by my dressage coach, that you know, I would understand that, but that is NOT how my brain works apparently! Getting on bareback and ACTUALLY sitting more on my left side and feeling the different in Luna finally made me realize what I was doing!

It’s the little things that make you see the big picture! Even if they have been staring at you for a loooong time!

Tuesday Recap:

I skipped last weeks (June 27th) lesson recap because it clearly was not memorable and I did not have any time to write about it. I feel like I more then likely pulled lots and didn’t have any great moments in it!

This past Tuesday went kind of the same way. We had one strides set up on a circle which I thought wasn’t going to go well, but we have really been working on opening the stride up and we got ALL of the one strides! I was so proud of little mare!

There were was also an oxer set up right on the wall, 5 strides from the circle exercise. My coach is awesome, and is understanding of my fear of oxers so she set it up REALLY small so that I could work on it without getting flustered. The first time through I didn’t open her up enough. I learned my lesson and the next two times through were awesome.

After we went through those a few times, we worked on the bending lines. Going from the left rein, bending to the right after the first jump is definitely our easy way.  From the right rein, bending to the left is not easy.

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Couple holes lower and that’s what we were doing

Seeing as I always seem to drop my eye to the left, and my left leg is weaker, I have a harder time pushing her over to the right and hitting the center of the jump. Granted, I am fairly certain that I really was just trying to get the both of them on an angle, and not truly riding a bending line. Oops !

Best moment of my lesson : Nailing the oxer on the wall. We put it up just a bit, and made it slightly wider and we cantered right up and over and it felt great!

I really need to get out of my own head. I worry too much and pick, pick, PICK to everything. I do this in all aspects of life, I really should stop !

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Nice butt Luna