Friday, 23 November 2012

Lesson # 18 Straightness + Halt

Last night i had a new girl join me in our lesson with her spunky little mare that used to be a reining horse, so this mare was doing lots of spins and FAST... the rider thought that would be a good way to get her attention back on the task.... it wasnt overly productive but it was pretty neat watching how fast this little mare could spin.

Anyways last night i got on G and he was a bit of a brat, not listening to my leg or my seat or my hands... or anything... as my coach said he was being a "tourist" looking at everything and completely ignoring me. It took some serpentines and some 20m circles with a bend to get him focused on the task at hand, all and all about 5 minutes for his brain to get into a "time to work" mode.

My coach wanted to work on staying off the track to force me to learn to use my legs to keep him straight and how to properly get to the wall. Usually when G and i come up to a wall i would use the wall to force him to turn which is VERY lazy of me but it is an effective way of turning a large animal *ha ha*. So we worked on a few serpentines with a pole on the ground the goal was to try to keep G nice and straight while coming accross the arena and before i hit the end of the pole (which was just before the track) to have him bent around my leg starting the turn so i could then push him over with my inside leg to the wall, sounds simple huh?

Once the other girl was ready to join the lesson we worked on getting a steady rhythem and getting a nice bend on a circle while maintaining a circle... not a Squoval... believe me.. G and i are the champions of the Squoval... if there was a squoval competition we would win the olympics... just saying...

We also worked on going up and down the quarter line focusing on straightness and again turning just before the wall and pushing the horses over. My Dressage coach has completely changed my riding position so for me i also had to work on keeping my legs back a little more (i have a tendancy to push my legs forward like im riding downhill constantly) and slow my posting as well as the amount im posting.

Then we worked on the halt down the quarter line, typically i will ask for a halt and it goes like this

ask--ask----G continues to walk forward---i ask again---he takes 2 more steps----he turns --- stops for a second ---walks off without me asking him

Last night it was like this

Ask--halt...... ask to walk on---walk on

He was even squared up and everything.... needless to say G got tons of hugs and kisses and face scratches and loving, he was perfect.

Friday- off
Saturday- ride deworm
Sunday - hoping for another ride

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Basically a true story

Have a great thanksgiving everyone i am about to leave work for my lesson!

Be sure to stuff your face for me.... im on a diet :(

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Learning about...

Splurge or save:
1. saddle
2. board save as much as I can w/o compromising his care
3. halter save
4. bit  what ever is recommended
5. bridle im saving up to splurge lol
6. saddle pad  save
7. trailer NOT even an option any time soon lol but it would be splurge

First thing that comes to mind: 
1. Haflinger  sounds complicated
2. Quarter Horse sounds boring
3. Thoroughbred sounds fast
4. Warmblood sounds big
5. Welsh Cob small and adorable want one for my son <3

This or That:
1. English or Western
2. tall or short
3. trail ride or beach ride (never dont it)
4. long mane or short mane 
5. hunters or jumpers
6. XC or barrel racing
7. outdoor arena or indoor arena i live in Canada ill take my indoor for the 8 months of winter
8. trot or canter 
9. canter or gallop
10. paddock boots, tall boots, or cowboy boots
11horse shoes or barefoot
12saddle or bareback

About you: 
1. How long have you been riding? training and taking lessons for 1.5 years, rode here and there when i was younger
2. Do you own or lease a horse? own
3. Breed? Age? Height? Name? (if you don’t own or lease, you could talk about your lesson horse) Trakehner 6 years old 16.1hh Gjonstone HR
4. Do you have any other pets?   Crixus (pitbull black lab X) Mortimer (Rabbit)
5. If your horse was a person, what kind of voice would they have (you can use a celebrity for an example) He would be snarky and sarcastic a bit of a rebel but all in all have a big heart.
6. Does your horse have a “color”? If so, what is it, and what do you have in that color? He looks flashy in red and white
7. Does your horse do any tricks? He enjoys knocking things over and will do it while you are watching he also thinks its funny to do all the things he isnt suppose too.. like nip... he will try to nip my pockets while i am bent over cleaning his feet
8. Have you ever dressed your horse up for Halloween? Nope

1. Breed? Trakehners (personality wise) Dutch Warmblooks (appearance)
 2. Discipline? Dressage
3. Coat color? I love Greys
4. Famous horse? Bold Ruler
5. Horse race/competition? Love watching Masters at Spruce Meadows
6. Brand of tack? I have a bit of Mondega stuff currently
7. Thing to do with your horse? I love hacking out with him listening to music and being calm relaxed and at peace with each other... no fighting no stress just calm.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Lesson #17 Dressage

I look forward to my Dressage lessons more than anything else because i feel like i am doing more than just riding and i can tell after my ride just by how my horse looks that i worked his mind as well as his body. (i was going to post pictures but i cant get them to rotate...)

Anyways i was running late so i had to ride my dressage lesson in my all purpose saddle. Everything started out great he stood perfect at the mounting block (both times) because i forgot my helmet the first time. I started warming him up and he was very fiesty he wanted to go and wanted to work i loved that, i loved feeling like i needed to bring him back to me as opposed to pushing him forward.

We worked on flexion on a circle making the circle bigger and smaller, when my coach noticed that G was fighting the bend to the right she wanted to work on that during the lesson. (she also corrected my possition i tend to ride with my legs to far forward and again my posting is awful).

We started down the long wall doing a leg yeild with his nose facing the wall at a walk he didnt want to move off my leg as usual so we tried it at the trot and he was much more responsive but i had a hard time keeping a rhythem and stop him from running away with me we did it quite a few times around the arena then we started on single bending lines.

Single bending lines go from one letter to x back to the same wall at the last letter G did very well with this exercise 2 weeks ago but my coach wanted to incorperate the canter so we could work on our canter to trot transitions. So the idea was to canter the short wall and do a single bending line at a sitting trot down the long wall to pick up the canter again at the end and repeat.... it didnt work out quite that way...

As i mentioned previously G has decided that kicking out and bucking is a really fun way to try and intimidate me and help us change up the exercise it didnt work in his favor because we pushed through the kicks and the bucks and even though it wasnt pretty it improved greatly by the end... anyways it usually went like this

ask for canter-buck kick---canter---ask for trot---ignored still cantering to x----ask for trot again----get some head tossing then trot--- and repeat....

Again this is not an injury thing or a soreness thing because when you push him through it a few times he gives up... also my dressage coach is a myofacial... something or other (equine massage therapist) so please dont think it is a soreness issue because he is completely sound believe me that and saddle fit was the first things i looked at.

I am quite proud of myself that this did not intimidate me and we were able to ride past it but my back has been sore the last few days as well as my inner thighs from the change in position and the balanceing a horse off my hands.

This week is going to be really busy but i am hoping it will look like this...

Tuesday- Off
Wednesday- Off
Thursday- Lesson with Nat
Saturday- ride
Sunday- ride

Lesson #16 More Canter

Sorry i have been a little tardy lately with my posts, we have had some really bad weather so i havnt been getting out to the barn as much as i would have liked due to the really bad road conditions over two days we had something like 400 reported accidents in my city alone.

Anyways im back on having my regular lessons so i have a few to post about now. I keep getting told about how much progress G and i are making... i have a video but i have to 1 build up the courage to post it and 2 find a video of me riding worse so that there is something to compare too... that will be later this week im hoping.

Anyways G and i had a lesson with Nat on Thursday it was great G was forward and ready to work however he has now decided that in the canter transition he would like to buck and kick out, he does this almost every time now and i have had people watch him move to make sure that it is not a soreness issue all the coaches and other riders at my barn even the equine massage therapist says it is him testing me. So we have backed off the canter a little bit for the time being.

Trot poles are greatly improving i no longer hold my breath while going over them and i am able to go through with a posting trot as well as a sitting trot. MY biggest challenge is trying to fix my posting trot... if i get up the nerve to post the videos you will see i post like a a crazy person and thats why i have such a hard time with controling our rhythem and pace... as well as why i feel like he is running away with me all the time.

Thats my biggest challenge right now trying to fix my posting.

I also will be taking a few lessons with another coach at our barn before she goes away to compete in the states in January because she will be the one working with me in the summer since Nat will be leaving for ferrier school.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Lesson #15 - Dressage

At the new barn i take weekly lesson with one of the girl who is an experienced eventer, she is great she pushes me to try new things to not be a chicken and to just "get over it" and make my horse do it. She has been showing for a lot longer than me and i learn a ton from her every week but when i found out that my barn was going to bring in a dressage coash 1x a month i jumped on that as quickly as i could because i knew that she wasnt going to be taking on to many students and man am i glad that i did!! The best part is that today went so well that she is going to come in every second sunday!

I had my first lesson with this Dressage coach today and i was nervous because she is a judge and used to compete up to pretty high levels, not only that but the girl that was going to ride with me originally is much more advanced in her riding so i was worried that i would be holding her back or i would not be able to do what was being asked.... luckily the lessons were move around and the girl i train with on Thursdays was moved into my lesson with me... AND she called in sick so i got a private lesson for the cost of a semi private.

The lesson started out with the typical questions about where we are at what have we accomplished that type of thing. I brought out my dressage saddle so we have to lengthen my stirrups. G was still having a hard time with the far side of the arena and i dont blame him since the snow is melting right now and sliding off so we kept the lesson at the one end of the arena for the first half.

First thing the new coach pointed out to me is that i am putting weight on the inside of my foot while posting which is twisting my foot out, she wanted me to focus on putting the weight on my baby toe which will point my feet straight ahead as well a help me sink further into my heels and lower leg as well as keep my posting rhythmic and make my rise not as high. As soon as i started to focus on this our tempo was much better we kept a pace instead of him getting quick and my posting getting faster to match.

She also mentioned my head position, i guess i have a weird head tilt... which i wasnt aware of so trying to correct that is a little harder than correcting things you know you have been doing wrong. I also have a habit of looking at my horse and not straight ahead which is something i did now and am getting much better with.

I have also been having a hard time with G buging out and cutting corners as well as cutting accross the circle, the coaches biggest suggestion was to keep me hands closer together thumbs on top but ony about an inch of space in between my hands it was amazing how quickly this fixed my bulging problem.

Other than being lazy G was great we did lots of work on the circle making the circle bigger and smaller, we did some work riding from one corner to X then back to the same wall on both sides of the arena (ill look up the letters and fix this post later). We also practiced some turn on the forehand.

Did i mention that the entire lesson was at a trot.... a sitting trot because she liked my sitting trot better than my rising trot... every now and then she would throw in a rising trot but that was few and far between... G did amazing as always i am so proud of him and how much progress we have made.

He has earned his next couple days off, and i need to nurse my sore abs and legs before thursdays lesson. Sorry for the double post but i wanted to get this caught up before going to bed.

Mon-Wed- Days off
Thursday- Lesson W/ tr 1

Lesson #14

Sorry i have been bad and not getting on here as much as i should to update. I will be making up for that for sure because so much has happened!

As those of you who have been following me for a long time know i was terrified of the canter i would do everything and anything to get out of it... well that has changed... i love the canter i have found my balance in it so now its jut practice to get G's balance.

Thursday i had my lesson as usual we started with getting an inside bend at a walk and a trot around the arena but G was having very little of it so i kept him on a circle to avoid the spooking in the one area of the arena. I just didnt want to have that fight with him at that time, i wanted to work on stuff with my trainer there and get him focused mentally before pushing him into the corners again.

We did some riding in the 2 point position (which sucks royaly!) im starting to find this easier and easier as i spend more time in the saddle, i have also been practicing on my own a little bit since i knew it would be coming up in lessons.... was i ever right.

We did a little bit of canter the first time i asked i got a nice little buck out of G but a very nice canter on the correct lead, ever time after that we kept on getting the wrong lead so we moved onto something else (after he got it one last time of course).

Trot poles are something that i have never really done a lot of and G is not used to it either, the first 3 times we went through he felt the need to jump the first rail then managed to trip over the last one. My trainer quickly pointed out that i am looking down instead of straight ahead that i need to keep my head up after that small change we where getting through them much better he was picking his feet up... most likely because i was not preparing myself for him to trip and tensing up. After clearing the trot poles we were suppose to stop for 3 seconds then continue for another round.... we clearly need to work on our halts... G would do a 180 take a few steps, try to pull the reins out of my hand then finally decide that stopping would be acceptable.

Friday-no ride
Sunday- Dresssage lesson