Jan 30th Lesson Recap

Usually my lessons are every other Friday, but the forecast for this Friday is COLD and SNOWY. The snow is a big enough deterrent because of where I work compared to where my barn is – if there was one delay anywhere I would not make my lesson. So I managed to tag on to the end of lessons on Tuesday!

blizzard
me in this weather

We changed things up a little bit to warm up, and instead of starting off with leg yields during our warm up, we started with shoulder in to settle her in the walk and get her bending. She immediately relaxed and went straight to work.

Our coach immediately commented on how much less “dance-y” she is in the walk, she has more swing and has a softer looking eye. All thanks to our new saddle I would say ! What a difference a well-fitting saddle can make!

We are always working on straightness. That was a big part of our whole ride. Luna likes to travel with her haunches to the left and is good at pushing me around on her back, specially at the canter, so that they can travel crooked and not work so hard.

Well little mare, I think we have you figured out! Coach had me sitting down more and within 2 seconds Luna straightened up and sat more on her hind end and went to work! And everything after that was so easy. She stayed straight, I could move her shoulders where I wanted them, she was working through, she much less argumentative.

vkgv9
how i felt during my lesson

Everything is really starting to come together now. We have our challenges ahead of us still, but having a proper fitting saddle now is making such a world of difference. It has taken much longer then I wanted it to, to find the right saddle, but I am glad I stuck to my guns and finally found something right for her.  Never stop trying to find the right thing!

img_0669
navy isn’t actually my fav color but it looks like it is
Advertisements

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.

cropped-img_04092.jpg
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….

Sensitive Pony Problems.

Luna has ’em. ALL of them. And I am not quite sure where they came from or why they decided to show up at this point in her life !

img_0593-1
who me?

These sensitivities seem to have started around when she had a mysterious swelling in front of her udders….that still hasn’t been solved. The vet has looked at her 2-3 times now and she appears to be completely normal to them. Maybe just chunky. I am really starting to think something is going on. But at the same time, I think it would be showing up in other ways if she was unhealthy ! The vets been out more than once to see her and we have ultrasound-ed and found nada.

img_0530

Saddle fit has always been an off an on issue, and I think we finally have that fixed. But then last spring we had the scratches which was new. Then her bridle was rubbing her face. THEN she did not like my girth anymore. THEN she had face warts NOW the Back on Track saddle pad is rubbing her AND the boots I bought seem to also be rubbing her legs. There is no winning with this horse.

So now we are on the hunt for MORE new things to buy to appease Ms. Sensitive Pants and her sensitivity !

The saddle pads are covered – I usually ride in Ogilvy saddle pads, but wanted the BOT one for when it is really cold. Back to strictly Ogilvy I go.

14718854_10154466006801628_68907606758008594_n
half of my collection

The bridle is proving to be a not so easy fix. When you have giant moose ears, a bone-y face and weird measurements, finding something already made is hard. She used to like her Micklem, and it never seemed to cause any issues. But then it started to bother her. If I could keep the minimalistic overall feel of the Micklem, without having a flash type piece I could keep her happy….I think?

Girths are the other big issue. There aren’t many boarders at my barn, and even less that have dressage saddles. She had a forward girth groove, and if I don’t have a shaped girth on her, it pulls the saddle forward. Well The TSF girth makes her SO girthy because of its uneven pressure. The Jaguar girth doesn’t seemed to be shaped enough. My old one just rubs her. I recently ordered a  Collegiate Anatomic Dressage Girth from Rideawaythat I have only had 2 rides in and am unsure of….hopefully it works out.

giphy
how am i beginning to feel

But if that doesn’t work out, do I go to a fleece/sheepskin girth? What if it is slippy? Then I am stuck with a girth my horse hates and I have to continue the money spending. I also do NOT want to spend $400+ on a girth. This Stubben girth looks and sounds like it might solve the problem a bit – but no way I am spending that much money on it ! Why are these things so expensive jk horses.

I got rid of the boots already.  I have my eyes set on the Majyk Equipe Dressage Boots , in purple of course. But before I order those, I definitely want to measure her up to see what size she needs. And hopefully that ends boot shopping. But knowing our luck…..I doubt it.

94449c8105c226a789b9c8cb873bcbfe-horse-humor-funny-horse-jokes

Spending money….I am realllllllly good at it, are you!?

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.

tenor1
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!

tenor2
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.

img_0106-1
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!

tenor
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?

rqififj

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 !

img_0528
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!

img_0297
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.

img_0301

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.

giphy

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”

983836_10152877172416628_980199457604793186_n
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 !

524540_4342293321600_1670499975_n

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….