Yeah, I’m gonna talk about mushrooms. Because my coach brought up mushrooms in my lesson last Friday a couple of weeks ago But really it won’t last for long.
I made a correction, albeit a few seconds late, to a fairly small evasion beginning the talk about evasions and how if you let them keep happening, they just keep getting bigger and bigger. “You need to shut it down before it takes off like … a wild ring of mushrooms”. Insert giggles because it was funny. BUT she does have a point, and it is true.
Luna is the Queen of subtility. She can just pop her ribcage a little to the left, just slight enough that sometimes I don’t know, or question whether or not she is doing it, and then the thought goes through her mind – Well I got away with that, let me try something a bit bigger. Which if left unchecked, turns into bigger and bigger evasions, making for a harder ride and an incorrect way of going. We don’t want that.
Much like what mushrooms do when they are left unchecked. They just grow, and grow…..and grow.
Each ride since, I have worked on feeling the evasions that are oh so easy for her and trying to correct them a bit quicker. It’s been hard. Her fitness level is coming back much quicker than mine is so she can push me around so easily. It’s not fun. I feel like I don’t know how to ride anymore.
With all of the time off that Luna had, which really wasn’t that long at all, she ended up losing ALL of her topline and muscle that we had worked so hard to develop. It was to be expected, just maybe not to this level.
Most horses would be fine going back to work. Put a half pad on if they need it for a bit and off you go. But things are never really that easy with Luna. #baymareproblems I swear. The red-head never caused me so much grief LOL.
So I needed to come up with a different plan once she decided things were not up to her high standards. Because when you give your horse the best, they expect nothing less!
I’ve always wanted learn how to long-line/ground drive/whatever you would like to call it, but at home, no one ever did it much and I haven’t really “had the need” really to learn how. Even though it really is something that everyone should learn at some point. Although lots of people don’t really know how to lunge either so we all have to start somewhere.
The article that belongs with that picture – which you can find here – was probably the first, and one of the only ones that I read. I mostly got stuck at how cute that mini is because how could you not. It (and the videos attached) gave me enough of a basis on where to start with Luna before I had a proper lesson with my trainer.
The first day I did it, I realized quite quickly I had no idea what I was doing. Of course Luna was amazing, because when is she not, but my god handling two lines while trying to keep up with her and not confuse her or fall on my face was really hard.
When I met up with my trainer, she made a few changes that made both of our lives quite a bit easier. Moving the lines from being on the high side, to being on the bottom rings made it much easier to control her for one. And being closer to her made corrections so much easier.
Learning the feel was a bit difficult. But I have the same problems while I am riding her too, which was super interesting to see how it affected her in real life vs on a video and being able to correct it at that time vs during an other ride.
I can foresee training the lateral work being a bit of an issue in the future. We practiced a bit leg yielding. It hurt both of our brains, no doubt about that. But the feeling that I got in the lines is something that I need to work on getting while I am on her back. And seeing how she reacted to different things while I was doing this was a bit of an eye opener that I need to take over to my under-saddle work !
One of the aspirations I wrote about for 2019 was to continue learning whatever I could – I’d say I am off to a good start and we are only a couple of weeks into the new year!
That’s what it’s been like to ride my horse lately.
Yeah, she’s coming back, I get that, it is just sort of disappointing as she was going soooo well. I know it will take the time to come back to where she was. But I did enough rehab with Calika, that this time around I am feeling super rushed to get her back to work.
I just want to do all of the things again!
I figured that I would try her in the Pelham on Sunday’s ride to see if she needed a bit of a reminder about what life was about now that we are doing things again and not on vacation. It didn’t work as I had hope.
We’ve only cantered 2, maybe 3 times in the last …. what, 2 weeks? I can’t even remember how long she has been back under saddle already. But I have been taking it really slow. Lot’s of transitions, circles, bending etc. But my god, the weight in my hands is a killer. And in the canter she feels like a wild banshee taking me for a ride. The Pelham did help with that a wee bit on Sunday’s ride. As in there was some steering and not as much exuberance.
I’ve also been feeling like I no long know how to ride. I put my left leg on and somehow I am out to the right with my upper body. She has a mini spook and I swear I am falling off backwards at a freaking walk. We get fancy prancy because the poles and standards at the far end of the arena are going to eat us and I just…do weird things.
None of this is helping the million pounds in my hands. I feel like I am kind of doing an okay-ish job of staying out of her way when we are moving around but I know that she is a mirror of me. I am also not scheduled to start lessons until January so I am on my own.
In the meantime, while I try to remember how to ride my horse, I am going to go grab some cookies and contemplate getting in riding shape again.
Ps – In the above picture….if you look really hard at that plastic bag, you can see the weights I bought this weekend to help with my exercise program that I am supposed to be doing….wishful thinking on my behalf? lololol.
To add to the post from the other week about the 5 Things That Didn’t Work For Me, I should add some positivity up in here and write about 5 Things I absolutely LOVE!
1- SSG Technical Gloves
Yes, these gloves aren’t the “prettiest”, but I really don’t care. The gloves aren’t the most important part of the outfit anyways! I think they look kind of neat personally.
The most important thing about these gloves is that they LAST. I have had the same pair for probably 4 years, and other than the fact that I lost one, I would still be using them. A couple of my fingers have popped through, but for schooling it doesn’t really concern me. I can just throw these in the wash and call it good.
SSG has definitely been my favorite brand of gloves because they fit my hands well, which is why they last so long. I have tried at least 3-4 other brands and none of them last. The ones that people always rave about? They died in 4-6 months which was not okay by me.
2 – Kask Helmets
My head is giant. HUGE. Literally the biggest sizes that most helmet makers even make…IF they make them that big! Finding a helmet has always been a giant pain in the rear. So when a different helmet pops up on my radar and comes in my size I am instantly interested.
I first came across this 1-2 years ago when they started popping up on Instagram and Facebook and was instantly in love with them. The problem was finding one to try on without having to buy one and return it because I am cheap and not buying things at full price…
When the boss decided to finally bring them in I put my name down for one in my massively huge size and thank god it fit.
Their “self-adapting adjusting system” in the back of the helmet gives a more secure feeling to the overall fit of the helmet unlike a “normal” helmet system. I’ve yet to have any compression of the foam in the inside and after several months of wearing it, the liner still isn’t gross or anything. I will be real here – the liner is a bonus but I cannot ever remember to take it home, clean it and then remember to bring it back to the barn!
3 – Freejump Stirrups
Safety stirrups that aren’t the gross old metal irons with the rubber band on the outer branch? Yes please !
Again, I spend WAY too much time on the interwebz looking at stuff….which is bad for my wallet. When I saw these, I knew I needed them. They looked neat, they had great tread, the foot bed was wide and the added safety branch was neat.
So of course I ordered them. And got a hella good deal on them through Divoza.
They’ve made a world of difference in the knee/ankle pain that I used to get while riding, primarily in just my right leg. I can’t remember the last time I had any pain since I switched to these babies. They are also the grippiest stirrups I have ever used/seen in my life which I like. Not so much of a big deal anymore now that I’m not really jumping, but when someone wants to bronc, it does come in handy.
4 – Romfh Isabella Breeches
Switching to primarily Dressage, while boring at times, has meant that I needed to shop for new EVERYTHING. YAY! More shopping ! I quickly found out that getting away with only having knee patch breeches just was NOT going to work.
Before I got these, I think I tried on EVERY SINGLE pair of full seats we had in the store…that was a lot of work. The waist bands were too thin, they sat funny, I couldn’t swing my leg over a saddle in them, they looked terrible. These were the last ones to be tried on because they were also some of the most expensive ones in the store – of course. Which also means that they were the ones that fit the best 🙄
I really like the silicone “full seat”. I didn’t like the pattern on it to start but it definitely grew on me and I’m glad for the pattern because it keeps the silicone from being too grippy.
These have also been wearing like iron so for the price they are well worth it.
5 – Ogilvy Saddle Pads
I may not like their half pads, but I have a slight obsession with their saddles pads. Add in that they are made in Canada and I am an even bigger fan.
Luna has huge, long withers, and most pads, specially dressage pads, do not have enough wither relief. Most dressage pads actually don’t have any shape to them really. There are some that have a little bit of shape, but not nearly enough for my needs. But the Ogilvy’s have so much shape to them.
They also come in pretty colors and I always order myself a new one when I do an order at work. Pony likes them, I like them, they don’t do anything word so A+.
I have too many things, and really like those too many things, so writing this post was actually harder than I thought it would be. Like way harder. Which is why its taken me a couple of weeks to write. That and I have had zero time to do anything!
That’s how I’ve been feeling in the saddle lately.
We haven’t stopped training this summer, even though I obviously stopped blogging….oops! But the monster (in a good way) of a horse I have now is getting very difficult for me to keep up to! The work is getting hard, she’s getting stronger and I’m not keeping up.
I am getting more fit – just not at the same level as Luna. She totally knows my weaknesses and sure knows how to use them to her advantages. Mares, they are smart, specially when they want to be lazy !
I have never actually ridden a horse quite like this before. Specially not one that I did all the training on. She outsmarts me left, right and centre some days. I’m feeling a little stiff in my right side? Lemme just pull in just the right away that you are ineffective she says. You ate too many taco’s and can’t engage your core because you feel like a bloated baboon – hang on and lemme do my thang!
Since I started writing this post, my saddle fitter has been out….and some of the problems I have been having in the saddle have been slightly fixed. Yay for good saddle fitters! But pony dearest still knows how to play games and I am still not quite strong enough to keep up with them.
So maybe I can upgrade the name of this post from Jello to like Lava-cake – firm on the outside and soft on the inside.
We discussed it at the end of my lesson and my coach out-right said that I am too soft most of the time and that I need to ride more firmly, but not stiffly. This will be a learning curve.
How do the rest of you deal if you aren’t as fit as your horse ?
I haven’t done one of these in a while. Mostly because who wants to read about dressage lessons, but also because my last couple, while still good, have been full of struggles.
We’ve been asking for more and more correct work – both in her body and mine – and its made one hell of a difference. Did you know if you stay solid on BOTH sides of your body it really helps keep your horse straight and steady – who would have thought eh?
I’ve been having issues feeling like I was sitting even, and knew it was an issue with my right side, but my attempts to fix it on my own haven’t worked. I just ended up either leaning right or putting to much weight into my right stirrup which was actually just pushing me left more. It felt like I was on a teeter totter sometimes and that is not a fun feeling to have.
When we start the canter work is when I really start to notice it so on Friday I stopped and explained it and Coach came over and manipulated my body a bit and showed me where the issue really was and then explained how to fix it. Having that simple little explanation like that made a world of difference.
Did Luna like it?
No not really, because she couldn’t push me around and be able to go which ever way was easiest for her.
It was literally like night and day. What a change. I sat on my right side, and firmed up that whole side and the left canter departs were quicker and sharper. The canter improved in a huge way going both directions. The trot was rounder and bigger. Everything was so much better.
The few rides since last week’s lesson have been short and sweet since it has been so incredibly hot here, but she learns so quickly and already she isn’t trying to swing me around in the saddle and pull me to the left as badly.
We had an other lesson this Friday and one of the other ladies that rides with my coach was watching and she said it was so nice to watch a horse that gets it so quick. Proud horse-mom moment right there.
All these little changes are just a small part of the bigger picture, and with what Luna has shown me lately, I cannot wait for whats to come!
Biggest thing of all is this whole blogging thing.
I have all of these things that I want to write about, and no time to write anything. Being on the road for anywhere from 80-110 minutes a day, just to get to and from work, and then added time for the barn, there just isn’t much time!
I lessoned on Friday and of course Luna was fantastic. She is never “bad”, we may have some not as good rides, but its never “bad”.
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!
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.
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!
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 !
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.
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.
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.
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.
Spending money….I am realllllllly good at it, are you!?