On a real schedule

So this wild thing has been happening as I have started working at TBS. I actually ride on a schedule, almost every day. Its crazy. In the last two weeks, I have ridden Vinny four times and Knots six times. Wild. I actually ride more than I have time to write about riding…

I’ve been having one jump school each week for each horse and then flatting the other rides. We have worked on courses the last two weeks, I have a hard time thinking during the courses. Practicing having my brain engaged through the entire process is key. Practicing over all the jumps in the courses is also great for focusing on my position. I still need to sink further in my heels over the jumps and relax a bit. I still look tense in the air.

Knots is sooooooo much more relaxed. While he has a lot of impulsion, he isn’t rushing to the base of the fences, he’s waiting for them to come to him. I can actually half-halt, and I’m just using the snaffle at home. He is much more confident over height, and as we keep working, he is starting to jump a bit rounder.

No pictures of flat work unfortunately. Its apparently too boring for people to watch or take pictures of :(.

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On the flat, Knots and I have moved back into side reins and we are trying to build up a bit of strength in the canter. Oh and keep trying not to be tense. And actually maintaining contact on the outside rein. I suppose the first point is what I want to be working on, but the second and third points are what I end up doing.

Vinny and I have been working on the right lead canter departs and building enough strength to hold the canter in the dressage arena. The Intro C test requires less than three quarters of a 20 m canter circle, but one has to actually pick up the canter and hold the correct lead. Preferably without pulling my arms out of the sockets.

The campers helped set up the dressage arena last week, so I’m hoping to move the flat rides into the arena and work on some of the test movements.

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As a bonus, last weekend we were able to do some conditioning out at Indian Spirit Springs. Knots and I trotted a lot, up and down some hills, and then we cantered up a couple of hills. His breathing was really good, and (as usual) he still has lots of energy up until the end. This makes me feel better about BN in a couple of weeks. It’s going to be terribly hot.

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After the show, I’m looking forward to fitting in rides on Gracie and Jellybean. #goals

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Riding all the ponies

My abs hurt. I actually rode two horses Saturday. I can’t even remember the last time that actually happened.

Saturday morning I headed out to the barn to take of the horse’s blankets and enjoy the sunshine. I pulled Jellybean and Knots out, figuring if they were at least in the tack up area I couldn’t talk myself out of riding both of them.

In the meantime, I was also hatching a plan to get some kids together and jump the ponies a little bit before some of our younger kids go cross country schooling next weekend. While I didn’t plan this early enough to get all of them, I had a couple of stragglers and a bonus person.

After lunch, I finished tacking Jellybean up and went into the arena to work on the basics of moving off the leg. We are far beyond just circles where we practice gaits, and so I have been trying to get her to stop leaning. Work in progress. She hates the spur and pins her ears and swishes her tail, but sometimes she moves. We just have to keep building on those small moments.

She is much better to the left to the right, and I have to not get sucked in. She isn’t consistently relaxing on the bit, I think side reins are in the future so she can relax on the bit without worrying about balancing under me. I don’t think I’m really causing her a lot of trouble, but it might be an easy simplification.

As we were riding, the people I convinced to jump the ponies were getting done riding their first horse and collecting the ponies for the cross country field. I decided to take Jellybean out and try jumping over the roll top, so we took a break.

Little Cowboy and Ginger got the bonus rides, and we warmed up in the arena before heading out to the jump field. I also warmed Jellybean up over the practice jump. We even jumped the two foot jump!

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I was really pleased that she was jumping so well! She seemed eager too; she locked on and then I could feel her thinking about where to put her feet. After everyone else got warmed up, we headed out to the field with our handsome videographer (Rob is always such a sport).

Jellybean easily conquered the log a few times back and forth, and then we went for the rolltop. She cleared it like a champ! Unfortunately I didn’t make my intentions known early enough, and no video. I made a fuss over her and took a little break before deciding to try again. Here’s the lesson folks: sometimes you should be happy with what you get and leave it.

I came back around with a weak position and she stopped right in front of it. And again with a stronger position. We trotted over the log a couple more times. Then back to the rolltop with a very strong position. Nope. Over the log, again and done. Maggie and I decided that she might have scared herself over the rolltop, and maybe she’s being a little overfaced. Reasonable, since we have jumped two feet exactly zero times before this day, and the rolltop is solidly 2’3″. Oh well.

We hung out and enjoyed the other riders schooling Little Cowboy and Ginger. LC was really good all day; normally he gets a little bit fussy as he works harder, but between the good riding of his person and his training progression, he didn’t throw any fits. Ginger was being good, she was trying really hard to please. I’ll call it a win. Hopefully the horses will be feeling a little bit more confident next weekend. I want the little kids to have fun.

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But that’s not all!

After Jellybean was done, I tacked up Knots and tried to do a dressage school in the new saddle. Not loving it. The stirrup leather comes out a hair too forward for my leg to be in the right place for flat work. Drawing board here we come. I should be able to save up for a saddle relatively quickly, there are some bonuses coming my way in the next little bit. Stay tuned.

Our dressage ride was typical for the “not-in-work” life. He was leaning hard, and tense. I just need to ride him a little more. And clip his poor hairy self. That’s on the agenda too. Because he has yak hair and a sweating problem. I guess blanketing is inescapable.

Finally, I did something crazy y’all. I scheduled a weekly dressage lesson. I don’t even know what has gotten into me. I’ll keep you posted about my pending insanity.