Welcoming a new horse

Yep. Title doesn’t lie. We now own three magical money pits. Who’s the new third horse? Knots! Maggie and I worked out a deal, and now he’s mine-all-mine!

 

With that awesome news out of the way, we had a dressage lesson this morning. The sky was pretty ominous, but we went for it. Then S texted us when we were halfway there saying that we shouldn’t come if we aren’t already on the way. That’s always a good sign.

Anyways, we got there and it hadn’t started raining yet. I tacked Knots up and we got right to work, no slow-mo bs when the rains are coming. Warm-up was walk/trot transitions and working on keeping the outside rein connection. I’ve been dropping him as soon as he tries to take up the contact, and that silliness needs to stop. He warmed up really quietly. No tossing of the head and limited stumbles. Just ambling along at the same pace.

We went to the canter and mostly the same thing: balanced, even pace and accepting contact. And me not throwing away the outside rein. We cantered in the other direction and then took a mini-break while Maggie worked with Bear.

Then crazy things happened! S suggested we work on leg yields. Apparently I’ve been thinking about the leg yield wrong this entire time… we needed to be straight, not bent around the inside leg. Knots has no problem moving off the leg, but he wants to be bent. Moving off the right leg was better. To the left I wasn’t giving enough outside aids to make him stay straight, and so he was just bending and then moving. Not a leg yield. We did some circles to re-establish that he had to listen to my outside rein and that helped a lot.

About that time, the weather took a nasty turn. It started raining steadily about the time we started cantering. When we were finishing up the leg yields, the sky started throwing down lightning bolts. We got off at that point and finished up.

All in all, it was a nice morning to reflect on how far we have come. I’ve been riding Knots for three just over three years, and taking dressage lessons for two. We have learned so much, and I had a horse that was immediately relaxed and trying to figure out what I wanted, instead of our initial bracing and running. Good things ahead đŸ™‚

 

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Just another day in the life

Today was an average Tuesday. I worked in lab this morning, went to my internship this afternoon, and then headed out to the barn. I taught two lessons, made it home for dinner, and then started plotting my next task.

During my lessons, I helped one rider conquer their fear of cantering out, taught one rider how to follow the horse over a jump, and helped another rider learn to use tact to express their concerns about another rider. I laughed with one student about their lazy pony and tried to help another rider wake up their brain after a long day at school. I talked about being friendly to new students and boarders with some of the old guard. I discussed a life lesson with a parent, while I talked about competition opportunities with other parents. I talked to a little girl about encouraging her little sister to ride how she wants, even if it isn’t barrels like grandma, and heard how a rider was doing after a fall the day before.

I stood in the arena for two and a half  hours, and I feel like I’m making a difference in these kids lives. Perseverance, respect, joy, kindness, confidence, all the important things kids need to learn, and I help. Sometimes I reflect on this and wonder how I could ever stop teaching riding lessons.

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