Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Trainable Horses and Narcisstic Appendages

So much to blog about, so little time! Yesterday was my and Ruby's second lesson with our new instructor, and it was equally as productive as the first one -- very exciting! The instructor will be out of town for the next two weeks so we won't have another lesson until the end of June, which will hopefully give us some more time to work on the concepts on our own, and hopefully be a little better prepared. I only got a chance to ride once between the first two lessons, and it was a trail ride, so not quite as productive as working in the arena (although probably more fun for Ruby... and me too, come to think of it!).

Some lesson highlights -- I really felt a kinship with two of the bloggers who I have been obsessively following for the last 6+ months (who also inspired me to start this blog!): JourneyWithADancingHorse and SprinklerBandits. The first is a woman who also has a strong-willed Iberian mare, so I immediately felt a connection with many of her struggles. The one I really identified with last night was her overcoming her mare's terror of the "troll corner" in her arena. The arena I lesson in is much bigger than Ruby is used to, with tons of potentially terrifying objects. One corner in particular obviously has some sort of horse-eating monster inhabiting it, and we had several "discussions" about working through it at the same pace we work the rest of the arena (as opposed to escaping the area as quickly as possible). It's definitely not 100% fixed yet, but I feel like every lesson we make progress.
Not participating on this short side, thanks anyway.
The other issue that was identified in my lesson last night is that my left hand is "narcissistic" (yes, that's a direct quote from the instructor, haha). Many of my issues with right bend are probably intensified because my left hand won't give her enough rein to do what my right rein is asking for -- poor Ruby! And then to the left I tend to overbend because my left hand is just off doing it's own thing. Last night for the second half of my ride I spent mumbling under my breath "left hand forward" about every 3rd stride -- that's going to take some getting used to! It also made me laugh thinking about one of my favorite SprinklerBandit posts about her "demon hand" (although it's her right, not her left!). Kind of fun to know these bloggers who I've never even met share some of the (obviously common) issues that I'll be working on myself!
Left hand, Ruby could bend better if you would get on the same page!

OK now for some of the FUN stuff from my lesson -- we worked some canter last night (didn't get around to it the first lesson, so many things to fix at the walk and trot!) and while parts of it felt like a trainwreck (I'm looking at you right lead), some of it was very nice! The arena we lesson in is wayyyyyy bigger than ACS, so at first Ruby was like "OMG THE SPACE I MUST RUN" but she did settle down and give me some nice moments. I'm hoping with more work there will be less runaway locomotive and more fun springy canter that I get on the trails. Our instructor said that while obviously it's still a baby canter, that there is lots to work with, I just have to, you know, ride it. She also had very nice things to say about Ruby's trainability, so at least I haven't totally fucked that up (what a relief!).
First canter, left lead.
A little more left lead canter.

Final trotwork to end the lesson (vastly better than the beginning!)

I have a clip of some of the right lead canter, but I had to trim the video (because God knows I am not going subject any of you to 4+ minutes of me struggling to get and maintain right lead canter, but YouTube is being super slow about processing it, so it will have to wait until another blog!

Today was actually my birthday, so I took the day off work to be a lazy bum and play with ponies. Ruby and I took a lengthy trail ride and saw some fun wildlife including a beautiful fox, several deer, and lots of bunnies! Ruby decided she was absolutely not participating anymore when one of the deer went crashing through the woods next to us, but I stuck it out and after I regained her attention, we still got some nice work done.

Now that I've stayed up wayyyyy too late blogging and obsessing over video, off to bed! It's going to be wicked hot this weekend, so I can't promise that I'll be an attentive blogger, but I will try to get blogs up for tomorrow and Friday at least! Any requests for #TackReviewThursday?


  1. Ruby is a beautiful horse. Funnily enough we have the same left hand. :D I wonder how that happened????

    Happy Birthday! And thanks for the mention of my blog. :)

    1. Thank you! She is 3/4 Andalusian and 1/4 QH - I bought her as a gawky yearling and she has matured into a beautiful swan :) that's so funny that we share a left hand along with our love of Iberian horses!

      Thank you! I've been following your blog ever since you were horse hunting (and ended up with Carmen) and between you, SprinklerBandits, and the $900 FB Pony, I decided to give this a go! I work in communications so it's a natural outlet for me, and hopefully someday it will be nice to look back at how far we've come! (providing we ever get better lol)

  2. aw she looks like she's really trying! my hands to weird things too... hard to tell why, really, but it just is what it is haha

    1. Thank you!! She tries so hard for me, God bless her. She deserves an owner who isn't such a hot mess, but I'm all she's got, so we'll muddle along! :)