Friday, October 15, 2021

Better and Better

I know this isn't a revelation to any of you out there reading this but like.... lessons make you ride better.... even when you're not IN the lesson. SORCERY. As a result, we have been having THE BEST rides lately! They're not perfect -- Ruby still wants to occasionally act like right bend is fake news and that any application of leg means GO FAST NOW, but I've got the tools to deal with it, and the key -- I know what good should feel like for us at this moment. Is good a moving bar? Yes, I don't want to stagnate forever, but for THIS MOMENT, I know what kind of work Ruby is capable of, and generally how to get that work out of her. And if we're struggling, I know the problem areas of my body to check and make sure I'm not impeding things. 

Unamused that I have her number and that her old evasions don't get the same results. 

This ride, she was SO SO GOOD in everything I asked her to do in the first 20 minutes that I called it quits and we just wandered around the yard and woods for a while. 


'Tis the season

I finally broke out my Fleck whip! And remembered why I don't usually carry a whip - I am NOT COORDINATED.... lol. 

Cinna wondering when its her turn to go back to work. 

"Ride me, plz?"

No thanks you filthy Iberian hippo!

Me hosing Ruby off after my ride and hoping she was still clean the next time I got her out. 

NOPE. Sigh. I hate this time of year. Last week it was still too warm to leave her rainsheet on but her hair is long enough that it is a total PITA when she gets muddy. Which she does. Frequently. 

Oh hey look, I cleaned up the Iberian hippo!

The day I got Cinna out to ride I was SO STOKED - and then while I was tacking her up, the neighbor decided to mow the fenceline in a bright orange shirt and start popping in and out of her line of sight (which is usually enough to melt her brain). She hadn't been ridden in like... 6 weeks? (oh look, if it isn't the consequences of my own stupid actions, sigh). I told my friends to pray for me... and then Cinna made me eat my words by being terrifyingly well behaved. She spooked once at a branch crashing in the woods (fair, it startled me too), and she scooted once when my phone changed songs from something soft to something a little more scream-o (lol fine Cinna, you don't like Fall Out Boy, duly noted). Aside from that she spent the first half of the ride doing her llama impression (again, not a big deal, she's been off), and then she spent the last 20 minutes giving me nice, soft, adjustable trot, including trotting on the buckle through the corner of the arena that she's normally convinced is full of dead people. 

<3 <3 <3

After I finished up with Cinna, I threw the bareback pad on Ruby. 

And sweet-talked DH into a short bareback ramble

We did swing through the arena to work on a few canter departs. 

Best part about being an AA? Rainbow glitter and spikes, naturally. 

This was from a ride the day after my lesson. Not to be a broken record, but she was GOOD.

Even though it was shitty hot and we both got drenched in sweat. It should not be 90 degrees in mid-October. Of course, mother nature swung too far the other way and the following day was 60 and shitty rainy all day. 

I freshened up her roach. 

And lamented how clean and shiny she was and would not stay, because rain was in the forecast. SOB. 

That mostly catches us up through last weekend, but spoiler alert, I am in Indiana RIGHT NOW with Jen so hopefully I have fun stories to tell you next week about the cob show!

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Lesson Recap: Consistency is Key

Last Saturday, I was up and at 'em bright and early for my lesson! DH decided to accompany me, so plenty of media, hooray! 

Ruby being the best girl, as she does. 

I know I'm a broken record but I love love LOVE being able to ride with new trainer (almost) every week, I can just give her a quick high level overview of what's happened between lessons and then we jump right in! I continue to be baffled by how much better Ruby goes in the lessons (unless it's really just that I ride that much better when she's watching me? I DON'T KNOW). Our previous lesson homework had been to keep chipping away at our right bend consistency issues, and I didn't feel like I had made that much progress, and then in this lesson Ruby was like "bend right? okay yes ma'am!" -- it still needs work and definitely isn't as consistently reliable as tracking left, but it was worlds better than the work I felt like we were doing at home. 

Still have a long way to go towards making her as supple in the right rein as she is in the left rein, but that's 100% a ME problem since both my horses are that way. We've discussed the narcissistic left hand on the blog ad nauseum, but in this lesson new trainer also identified that my left elbow wants to lock and pull instead of being elastic. Add another thing to the neverending mental list I go through when my horse isn't going well and I know I'm doing something wrong :)

DH also got quite a bit of video footage and WOW she is getting so consistently good tracking left <3

Right lead canter is very nice once I can get her into it and remind Ruby that we stay supple on both reins throughout, lol. 

These were in the far corner and so dark I initially thought they weren't salvageable - I was able to lighten them up enough to see but it blew out pretty much all the color. Ah well. 

This one looks really vintage lol

He also got some useful video clips, both on his phone and from the DLSR, so I'll toss a few of those down below (although half the time it seems like they don't show up on the actual blog but they show up in feedly? Idk I don't have the energy to fuck with blogger any more this week lol). 

New trainer and I talked again about the schooling show at the end of the month (and another one more local to new trainer in mid-November) -- we ran through several of the pieces from 1-1 and 1-2 in the lesson, and I think they're all doable, so I think I'm gonna bite the bullet and just do it. What's the worst that can happen? (don't tell me, I've already imagined it in excruciating detail lol). I am a little bummed I probably won't get to take another lesson before the show - this weekend I'll be in Indiana hanging out with Jen, the weekend after that new trainer will be gone, and the weekend after that is the show -- unless I can make it up there one evening after work? If I had everything prepped so all I had to do was run home, change clothes, and throw Ruby in the trailer, I could possibly make it work. We'll see!

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Arts and Crafts, Part 2

When we left off last week, I had all the pieces I needed to get new dressage letters made, I just needed to carve out some time to actually do it! Saturday after we got home from my lesson, DH and I broke out the spray paint and got to work.  

Originally I had made a paper template to lay over the letter to try to prevent overspray, but as you can see on our first attempt above... that did not work. At all. Luckily we still have a shit ton of construction and renovation supplies left over from building the house, so it wasn't hard to find a roll of thick painters tape to protect the edges, so we didn't make that mistake again. 

We use the car lift for a lot more than just lifting vehicles hahaha. 

Also, you can clean up spray paint overspray with carb cleaner. WHO KNEW?!
(that's a joke, DH knew, obviously, lol). 


I left them in the garage to dry overnight, and then didn't actually find time to get back to them until Monday. I had some clear coat spray paint so I figured it wouldn't hurt to top dress them for a little extra protection from the elements. 

Although in retrospect, it seemed to react a little with the black paint and some of the letters went from very crisp and clear to a little smudgey looking? Oh well. Doesn't have to be perfect, I'm literally the only one who has to look at them. Next up, mounting them in the arena!

Monday, October 11, 2021

Ta-Da! Blog Rebrand is Live!

After planning this for upwards of THREE YEARS (I know, I'm the worst about procrastinating), I finally got the blog refresh live! I was joking with some friends about the blog name a while back (seriously, in 2018), and we all sort of unanimously agreed that Confessions of a Dressage Barbie didn't fit (even though it was meant as tongue-in-cheek from the get go), After some brainstorming, I referred to myself as a trainwreck, and someone else shot back "yeah, a trainwreck in teal".... Light bulb moment! That's definitely more fitting than a dressage barbie ;) 

Ruby agrees, trainwreck is a far more apt description for me than a barbie. She would know, considering I love to dress her up in rainbow glitter and spikes, haha. 

I bought the custom domain in October of 2018, but I had just started a new job, and didn't really feel up to trying to deal with the headache of making the switch then. Then in 2019, we were so caught up with building the house, 2020 was *waves hands around*, and now here we are in 2021, and I finally mustered up the energy to make the switch. Honestly it took like 30 minutes of fooling around with the computer, the longest part was picking out which photos I wanted in my header image!

Cici is miffed she didn't make the cut for the header, considering how many photos there are of her on this blog. 

Speaking of header images, check out the new one courtesy of a lovely lady at the barn where I take lessons! She is the owner of the gorgeous Friesian/QH I mentioned back in August when I spectated that show, and she was kind enough to take my jumble of photos and probably not super helpful directions and come up with this gorgeous image! Photo on the right is from last spring by my barn friend down the road, and the one on the left was taken by DH at one of my early lessons. It may not be the most technically correct photo in the world, but I love the sheer joy you can see on my face. 

I had another lesson over the weekend, and have some other ride recaps to catch up on (plus step two of my arts and crafts project!) so stay tuned for updates on those later this week!

Friday, October 8, 2021

Arts & Crafts, Part 1

So in my prep for POSSIBLY entering a schooling show at 1st, I reacquainted myself with the current tests. And remembered that many moons ago when I DIY'd my existing arena letters, I only did ones for a short court (because at the time I was happily bopping around intro/training on the first of several green horses I started from scratch, sigh). And I wanted them easy to move and store, because at the time I didn't have an arena at home, and then boarded somewhere where I couldn't leave a court set up all the time.

FB searching for this photo tells me I made these in 2013 😳

A few years ago (hahaha I did the math I mean like 6 years ago Christ) when I was schooling a lot of the pieces of 1st with Topaz, I did buy more of the trash cans I used to make my original letters, but never got around to painting them, and they gradually got absorbed into my life for other functions/misplaced. No matter, I thought to myself, my Walmart has carried that $1.97 white plastic trash can for YEARS, I'll just go grab more. Jokes on me. Our Walmart recently underwent a massive renovation and apparently is now too bougie to carry things like cheap plastic trash cans 😭😭😭

You know what they do carry? These heavy duty plastic plates. For $.50.

So. I improvised! I bought all of the plastic plates they had in that color, and a can of heavy duty spray paint/primer/all in one. A few minutes on Amazon Prime produced a set of plastic letter stencils. And I explained my weird idea to DH (who is more than used to them at this point), so he'll sort out some way to permanently hang them in the arena. Considering I've had the arena for....5? 6? years?... At this point, it's probably time for a permanent solution lol. 

I was hoping this update would include photos of them painted and actually HUNG but DH and I are both struggling to get back in the work groove after a nice vacay (#firstworldproblems, amirite?), so it's been everything I can do to fit in a ride before I collapse on the couch in the evenings. No matter, three day weekend kicks off tonight and Mondays weather looks garbage so maybe we'll have a painting party! 😁