Friday, February 23, 2024

Back to Work

Between getting Emmy's fitness ramped back up now that I have enough daylight for quick trail rides after work, I'm also putting time into Cinna - if she's going to be marketable, she needs to ride like the semi-trained horse that she is 不

There are nice moments in between the... Llama moments lol. 

She is....rotund and unfit at the moment, so the rides are not long, just making sure we can w/t/c appropriately with a minimum of bolting. She's been out twice this week and hopefully will also get ridden this weekend. Hard to have three in regular work with a job and a commute! 

Riding in the dark with a friend last night. 

Tack choices are hard - I gave away the dressage saddle I used to ride her in, because I had mostly switched to riding her in my flex tree endurance saddle, but I wanted to go back to dressage. Currently she's sporting the WOW I have on loan from a friend (originally for Emmy) and it doesn't seem to be an egregiously awful fit, although she is an actual BARREL so sometimes it just sort of wants to... Roll off to one side, lol. She had been going in a nathe before, but I'm currently trying her in an eggbutt titanium Lorenzini I picked up at the tack swap last fall. She has moments of "OMG NO THNK U" and then moments where she's fine, so I'll keep plugging away at it. 

My goal was conformation photos and instead DH makes her look like a whole ass pony 不 and she's not! She is a perfectly normal height and takes up the leg nicely lol. 

We'll see how things go this year!

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Double Trouble

J/k it's not trouble, but I took my first lesson in the double last weekend!

Last night's ride 

Around a year ago, while I waited for Emmy to ship to me, a friend sent me a link to some super clearances bridles from Artemis Equine, including some double bridles. She knew I had a horse coming who had been ridden in one before, so thought I might be interested in picking one up. Despite thinking I would probably never need it, my little squirrel hoarder brain couldn't pass up a $50 bridle. So I bought it. And it sat in my tack room. 

After our lesson, taking a picture of the port on the Weymouth to use as a reference for shopping for something smaller. Ordered a new one from Fager that I hope she likes! 

Sometime last summer, I was cleaning out the tack shed, stumbled across it, and put it together for shits and giggles. I had a bridoon and a Weymouth that I picked up cheap from #notRolex at some point, so I set it all up and fitted it as best I could to Emmy, using Internet tutorials and my patient friends who know more than me 不 and then it sat. Once or twice I pulled it out and trail rode her in it, mostly trying to get myself used to all the reins. About a week before the show I was thinking about it, so I did a light schooling ride in it, and she felt SO MUCH BETTER in the contact than she had been in the snaffle, which I mentioned to TrainerB at the show. Obviously showing 2nd, I didn't take it with me, but she told me to bring it out sometime. So last weekend I did (along with two other bridles, because I wasn't sure she was serious lol). 

Random non cropped screenshot

TrainerB commented on how nice the bridle was (incidentally between when I bought it and now, she got sponsored by Artemis and now basically all the horses in the barn have their bridles, haha), and that my fitting job wasn't half bad! She adjusted the curb chain, told me the Weymouth was a quarter inch too wide (but fine for the moment), and we had a lesson!

Emmy was great - it was not my imagination, she is in fact much better in the contact in the double than a regular snaffle, despite me rotating through my fairly extensive collection of dressage legal snaffles trying to find something she liked. Honestly the decade she spent being ridden pretty exclusively in leverage bits before I got her probably just means she's always going to be more comfortable in them, I just need to adapt to what makes her happy. I did learn a more effective way to hold the reins, because figuring things out on my own didn't work, which is why I pay for regular, good instruction 不 

The goal remains to snag my 2nd level bronze scores as quickly as possible with Emmy, move her to 3rd (since she has a change and thinks counter canter is incredibly stupid lolol), and then hang out at 2nd with Ruby so I get more confirmed in not just riding it, but training it. I am tentatively aiming at shows in April, May, June, and August - assuming finances allow and the stars align! 

Speaking of stars aligning - I am down 20 lbs since Christmas and these brand new, unstretched Eq Lusso boots ZIPPED UP last night over leggings. Getting real close to being able to wear them over breeches! And my old pair is having the zipper replaced with something both wider and heavier duty 戊

I'm using a combo of mobile blogger (for text) and the blogger app (for photos), so apologies for any weird formatting, I'm doing the best I can!

Friday, February 16, 2024

Second Level Shenanigans

Long time no post! I would apologize for that but it's mostly because Blogger sucks and that's not something in my control soooooooo. 

Anyway, lots going on since my last post in *checks notes* December. Oops! Soooooo much has happened since then, including Emmy and I making our 2nd level debut at a schooling show last weekend! It was a delightfully low key weekend, and I was lucky enough to be able to spend time with ladies from both of my "barn families" - TrainerB and TrainerK were both there showing (and everyone from both barns did great!). 

The plan (as it is, you know what horses do to plans lol) is to really focus on Emmy this year and see if we can snag 2nd level bronze scores and then.... *Shocked gasp* maybe move on to 3rd? Emmy has changes and half pass and a working pirouette so really feeling like the sky is the limit right now - she is teaching me so damn much. Ruby and I will keep chipping away at 2nd at home, especially since now I have a reference point of how it *should* feel lol. Trigger continues to be fat and sassy in retirement. And Cinna... Sigh. Realistically I need to put some solid work into Cinna this spring and put her on the market. There is not enough of me to go around for 3 horses in full (or even partial) work right now. So if you know anyone who would enjoy a quirky but fun dramatic Spanish mare that could be had very reasonably considering the current horse market........ 

Anyway - about to kick off another 3 day weekend with a lesson Tomorrow (with friends, yay!), a Mastering Rider Mindfulness seminar on Sunday, and then maybe a trail ride on Monday if the weather is cooperative? Poor DH is on the equine equivalent of stall rest following his third spinal surgery in the last 15 years....sigh. But, he did get another massive promotion in December so I continue to fall behind Mr. Big Shot in terms of career advancement 不 I think that should cover the highlights from the last 8 weeks! 

Friday, December 15, 2023

Lesson Recap: Tempis, Tempis Everywhere

Well, things were rolling along well until the workaround I discovered to let me put in photos stopped working again... Sigh. So I went back to the Blogger app AGAIN and it actually sort of works now, despite making me add photos one at a time instead of clicking several, but I guess I'll have to live with it. So frustrating. 

Anyway. I missed recapping an entire lesson with Ruby (that I do have photos from), but in the interest of not getting so far behind that I can't catch up, I'm going to focus on Emmy's lesson from last week. 

Pretty girl!

Apparently I can't left align text between photos in the app. Fun. Ignore the formatting disaster portions of this post I guess. I'm doing my best. 

Freshly dragged arena <3

The only time TrainerB had that worked with my schedule last weekend was a 9 am lesson. Pros, first ride on a freshly dragged arena! Cons, I had to get up way earlier than I wanted on a Saturday morning and my new meds made me so foggy I grabbed Ruby's bridle instead of Emmy's...whoops! She was a reasonably good sport about it although she hates any bit that isn't her Myler.

Post lesson cool down

Truck seems to be all fixed after the weird fuel computer issues we were having, so that's also good news. Aside from forgetting her bridle, the lesson was great! I ended up also riding her in Ruby's saddle (possibly the reason my subconscious reached for the wrong bridle lol) because I have my suspicions that Emmy muscling up and actually developing topline are causing our borrowed wow to tilt and change the balance, making it borderline impossible for me to keep my leg under me in the canter (contributing towards our inability to stop throwing tempis on the right lead canter haha). So the ride before this lesson and in this lesson, I used Ruby's saddle, and felt like my leg was much more stable. I still need to try shimming a half pad under the wow, but at least I have something I can make work either way. 

When I first took Emmy to a lesson earlier this summer, the trot was very QH-ey, with short, choppy strides. Over time, we've definitely improved into something with more swing - she's never going to move like a WB, but at least now it doesn't immediately scream "STOCK HORSE"! We touched on a nice, swingy trot to begin with, and did lots of serpentines, with me focusing on her not letting the haunches drift out. The photos inserted backwards (of course they did lol), so the following ones are from the last 10 minutes of the lesson. 

We worked quite a bit of SI/HI and baby half pass towards the end. It's a lot of work to corral all these body parts! 

Getting a feel for the correct amount of angle in the SI 

Baby half pass

More SI, focusing on not letting her fool me in to more neck bend than we actually need

....not a fan of Ruby's bit 不

Best girl ♥️

We spent a lot of time working on the canter - we started to the right, and sure enough, she started throwing flying change after flying change. I tried to sit chilly and just keep riding regardless of what she was doing underneath me, which did help a bit. TrainerB observed that Emmy mostly seemed to throw them when I was asking her to supple her neck, so we ended up going back down to the trot and then switched to left lead canter ... Where she was basically perfect, which I think we both found a little baffling. 

In case you were wondering how many bad flying changes someone can do in 3.5 minutes 打

Much more adjustable below, to the left. Didn't throw random flying changes every 4 (or less!) strides. 

After watching Emmy be easy to the left, TrainerB sent us back to the right, where we had a minor breakthrough - my right shoulder was sneaking forward, and when I made a concerted effort to keep it back (or you know, even with my left), we were able to maintain the right lead. 

It was a good lesson, if tiring! It still makes me laugh when people act like getting a schoolmaster is an "easy" way to go up the levels. I've been riding this horse for 9 months and still struggle to ride a single 20m circle on the correct lead without getting upper level movements I don't even realize I'm asking for 不 but I am learning so much and I love it! Even if we never show, she still has so much to teach me. 

Sorry again for the formatting and how disjointed this may seem, I have written it over the course of three days while simultaneously cussing both mobile blogger and the app .. sigh. I like being able to think through my lessons while watching the footage and writing about it helps me solidify concepts in my brain, but damn this platform is making it impossible

Friday, November 17, 2023

Lesson Recap: If it Can Go Wrong .....

Oh whoops I threw photos in a draft for a lesson post and then forgot it was there! Last Sunday I hauled down for a lesson with TrainerK - TrainerB was kicking butt in KY at finals so unavailable :) it's working out well to have both of them on speed dial and I am thrilled about all the lessons lately! The weather ended up being GORGEOUS and Emmy and I had a great lesson.

It didn't get off to an auspicious start - DH was working on the truck all day Saturday on something that should have been an easy fix but turned into a rabbit hole of "why the fuck is the truck doing this?" With LONGBOI down, I needed to find another option. There are A LOT of hills between here and TrainerK's, so I did not trust our small truck (a Chevy from a year with notoriously shitty brake lines that has had many issues over the years) and I reallllly didn't want to drive the diesel (it's a manual so MISERABLE for drives like that). The friend who was riding along offered to bring down her truck and trailer but I just felt guilty about that, so I kept brainstorming. I finally gave in and texted my mom to see if I could borrow her truck/trailer - she wanted DH to change the oil in her truck anyway so I figured everybody would win there 不 that ended up working so I got up at the ass crack of dawn Sunday morning to go pick up her rig. 

We ran through the 2nd level lateral work and it's super accessible, I just need to get more comfortable in it 

When the canter is good, it's great. When I move my hips at all, she starts throwing flying changes everywhere 不

Got home and got it packed, DH changed the oil and rotated the tires, and then somehow I managed to hit the hitch trying to get re-hooked and knocked it off the block. Awesome. Then when DH brought a jack out to help me pick it up, he pointed out the ball on my mom's truck was not the right size for the trailer 打 good thing I didn't lose the trailer between her house and mine, and that I hadn't put a horse in it yet got that sorted out, got Emmy loaded, and got on the road! Only to hit horrible traffic and be stuck at a standstill for like half an hour, eating up all the extra time I budgeted for the drive /getting tacked and putting me at TrainerK's farm AS the lesson was due to start. It ended up being okay, she had some crises of her own that day (when I texted her that I was stuck in traffic she said that's okay you should miss the fire department everyone was safe, thankfully!), so the delayed lesson worked out. 

After her husband got done making fun of my clip job (it is fairly bad 不), we got to work! I had previously told her I wanted to show Emmy 2nd next year, so we worked a lot on the individual pieces I need to be able to manage at 2nd. Sitting the trot is getting easier, although as always, definitely room to improve! Emmy is fabulous at shoulder in/haunches in, I just need more work on my clarity of aids and consistency. (She finds them boring, wants to know when I'll be ready for real half passes 不不)

The canter work was... Exciting 不 my friend hasn't seen me take a lesson on Emmy in a few months and she didn't know we are currently the flying change hot mess express lol. It's okay to the left (mostly), but to the right I struggle with my hips (as TrainerK identified in lesson one as the reason I have struggled with right lead canter for more than a decade now) and the more dressage work we do the sharper Emmy gets, and when I move my hips at all she says "change? YES MA'AM!" very enthusiastically lol. So. I will learn to keep my body parts under my control or die trying! Emmy was a bit stiff in the canter, although it got better and peaked, and then she got tired. At my last lesson with TrainerK/the obstacle clinic, both she and Tim commented that Emmy looked like her stifles were bothering her a bit - not in a "run out and inject this" way, but in a "be more mindful of her conditioning and fitness" way. Of course she was doing great all summer because we did a ton of riding up and down hills, and that's less of an option for the winter, but I have been working on her fitness as much as I can and TrainerK did note we had made some progress, so I'll just keep on keepin' on. The Pivo has been shit at tracking lately so the video of the changes isn't great and I have no idea how clean they were, but TrainerK was quite enthusiastic about them so I'll assume they were passable lol. 

We did jokingly discuss aiming Ruby at 2nd for my bronze scores and skipping Emmy to 3rd (since she's capable lol) but in the long run it'll be better for everyone if I can solidify the 2nd level stuff on Emmy (for me, she has zero problems lol). Then hopefully that will help me successfully get Ruby there eventually as well! 

Most of the Pivo screenshots are to the right because the Pivo sits in the left corner but I swear we track left in lessons as well 不

The lesson running behind meant we got back on the road later than I wanted (and the GPS took me a new a stupid way home, gross), so we got back after dark. Fucking time change man, I hate it. Blessedly, DH had gotten all the chores done so I just got to settle in for the evening and snuggle the doggos! 

And eat this delicious popcorn he noticed me eyeballing at Tractor Supply so he picked me up a bag 不

And he got my last two insulated bucket holders installed! 

So now all my occupied stalls have insulated buckets for the winter

With the truck being such a question mark right now, I'm not sure when my next lesson will be. But I have my homework - lots of SI/HI and ALLLLLLLL the hills to make sure we're keeping Emmy as fit as possible so the canter work is easier for her. 

Thursday, November 16, 2023

While the Weather Holds

We're having an unseasonably warm November (minus that weekend I froze at the obstacle clinic lol) and it's not going to last, but I'm trying to make the most of it while it does! 

One night I took Emmy out on the trails via headlamp. Probably not my smartest idea, but she was perfect. Natch. 

Another night a friend came over and rode Emmy while I rode Ruby. 

She's either really, really good, or sort of a fire-breathing dragon, not much in between. 

I don't mind the fire-breathing dragon though, it's funny 不

A few nights I've been able to get them both worked - Emmy in a bareback pad/bands on a quick trail walk... 

We're losing the light so fast

And then Ruby afterwards completely under the lights... Sigh. 

My mom came out and rode Emmy. She was worried about riding her bareback, but ended up merrily cantering around. 

While this one at least didn't scare anybody and worked on SI/HI and cantered politely NOT like a freight train. Good girl. 

The weather looks okay through the weekend and I'd love to haul out, buuuuuut unfortunately the truck is "in the shop" (I mean it's here, DH *is* the shop lol), and he's not sure when it'll be cleared to pull the trailer again, so it might be a quiet couple of weekends!