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 ?
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.
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!
After nearly a YEAR without having a dressage lesson with my dressage coach… IT FINALLY HAPPENED! And it was glorious!
I was doing a lesson every other week at the old barn with her and the second last lesson I was supposed to have, Luna decided to run around her paddock like a Luna-tic (get it? haha) after they brought her sister in for the night and fell over slicing up her leg! Then the day before the next lesson (2 weeks later) I brought her in and her face was HUGE!
I had been there less then 24 hours before and she DID NOT look like that! Vet came out the next day and without seeing her she said “Oh it could be a broken jaw” …… Well it wasn’t. Appeared to be a fracture in one of her teeth. 3-4 weeks of antibiotics later and it went away and hasn’t come back since. Phew! BUT that did give us more then a month off by the time it was all over with. And by the time she was fit enough to make it through a whole lesson my coach was off to Florida for the winter 😦
Fast forward to when she was on her way home, I had moved to my new “winter barn” and started jumping more. Of course this barn was on the OTHER side of the city and I was the only one that was lessoning with her there. That and she was on baby watch. And then I moved to Luna’s “summer home”.
But FINALLY we could get together for a lesson last night! Of course I was running late and got there AFTER she did but I got ready in record time! Luna was awesome. The weather was iffy, windy and kind of chilly but she warmed up well and after the ride the night before I was extremely happy.
We worked on our crookedness, and she gave me some great exercises to work on. As well as fixing my over active seat in the canter. Which has been a part of our issue over fences. The difference it made was awesome. Hellooooo dressage pony! The Freestyle in her definitely came out to play last night!
Here is an obligatory Luna picture! I love this picture of her and her mama. They are both so full of ‘tude.