Thursday, March 31, 2022

Lesson/Chiro Recap: Voodoo Magic

At the risk of getting so far behind because of show prep that I forget to post about this entirely, I figured I could come throw together a few thoughts. Because of when the chiro was scheduled to come to the barn, I took a half day from work last Friday so I could haul in for a lesson and then have Ruby adjusted after. It would have to replace my normal weekend lesson, with gas prices continuing to remain sky high. 

Red noodles take their job of helping me pack the trailer V V SERIOUSLY

TrainerB knew I needed some solid work on the elements of the test before the show, but she also knew asking for any significant work tracking right would probably be an issue. She super skillfully navigated that by having me do the majority of work tracking left with the work to the right done on the long side (so less bend required) and I walked the short sides any time we were trotting to the right - we didn't even attempt to canter to the right because there was zero point in setting Ruby off when she had been so clear with us the week before something was going on.

Princess Goatbeard lol

Amazingly enough, we got decent leg yields off the bat both directions when we worked on them, so we didn't dally there too long. I aimed (but was not terribly successful) at more consistency in the left lead canter - Ruby will have a few nice uphill strides and then just dive heavily on the forehand. Not having the best core strength (it's a work in progress), this can cause me to be yanked forward and then once she's plowing along like that it's hard for both of us to recollect the balance and move it to the hind end again. I also still have that narcissistic left hand so my tendency is to clutch and cause too much neck bend, which then leaves the right hind leg just trailing behind us on its own little trajectory. I was more successful this lesson at maintaining more appropriate bend and even working some counterflexion to help with overall straightness. We did end up with some decent quality work so I felt about as okay at the end of the lesson as I possibly could under the circumstances.

Snapped this to send to TrainerB that night to prove I addressed the goat beard before the show lol. 

The chiro was working on another horse when I finished, so Ruby got to hang in an empty stall (she would happily live at this barn full time if I wasn't a poor peasant lol). Once it was our turn, the chiro started out asking us some questions about the issues, and luckily TrainerB was walking by between lessons and was able to be a bit more articulate than I was about the issues. The chiro started on her left side and aside from some tightness in her lumbar, there wasn't a ton going on. Right side was a mess though, yikes! 

Ruby hasn't been adjusted in... a minute, so she started off a little suspicious about what this lady was doing, but she settled in to enjoy it pretty quickly! She was a little too "helpful" when the chiro was working on her legs - she wanted Ruby to just stand with her leg relaxed and Ruby was like HERE I CAN PULL IT ALL THE WAY UP, SEE, I'M HALPING. Definitely some ribs out on the right (which was TrainerB's initial guess). Also some stuff going on in her pelvis/sacrum and I believe her.... elbow? It's been almost a week now so my memory is fuzzy, lol. 

After her adjustment I headed home and turned her out - the chiro didn't have any particular limitations on what I could do, but I wasn't sure how much riding I would get done last weekend because of the rain we had late last week... of course after a long wet winter where my base was frozen rendering the arena unusable for large chunks of time, I forget how fast it drains and dries out the rest of the year, so DH actually dragged it Friday night and I was able to get plenty of work done over the weekend!

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

WW: Fabulous Five

Went to my local GMO meeting on Monday and voila!

This is my fifth plaque from USDF, I am running out of wall space 😂

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Lesson Recap: Canter Poles

I went to Sunday's lesson solo, so limited media - sorry! Definitely getting down to the nitty gritty since we have limited time left before the show. When TrainerB asked what I wanted to work on, I really wanted to hit the 15m canter circles and the leg yields - I feel like in the canter circles, to the right particularly, she can have a tendency of blowing through the outside aids which then makes my geometry... Awful 😂 a significant portion of it is also me sort of just sitting up there being a passenger going "la la la oh shit we should be turning ahhhhhh", so I also need to be better about riding ever stride not just carrying on on autopilot. 

Sunday morning shenanigans

She was PLASTERED IN MUD when I went out to get her so she got hosed off before I put her on the trailer - she was very unamused. 

We started off cantering to the left and Jesus Christ it's gotten SOOOOO nice. Ruby was actually really adjustable and the 15m circles were not nearly as difficult as they are at home. We worked on keeping her chest up a little more by raising my hands slightly (up, not back) for a stride or two, and then seeing how long she could carry that balance before she needed a reminder to rebalance. This is the portion of the lesson I'm super sad not to have video of, it felt amazing 😭 Things devolved a little to the right (as they've been doing with more regularity this calendar year), so eventually we took a walk break to talk through what TrainerB was seeing/what I was feeling. The consensus was that this isn't really normal behavior for Ruby - we were hoping that her dental checkup/float might address some of the head flinging, but it doesn't seem to have made a difference. Next guess was something else in the body - TrainerB said she has a horse in the barn who behaves similarly when they need a chiropractic adjustment/have a rib out of place, and conveniently enough the barn already has a chiropractor scheduled this week to make sure everyone is feeling their best before the show, so I was able to get Ruby on the list.

Literally living the dream. Had to stop and snap this pic to remind 30-whatever year old me that fifteen year old me would have DIED of happiness to know that my weekend consisted of packing up my very own rig and nonchalantly hauling out for a dressage lesson on my talented horse with an amazing trainer, you know, like I do every week. Preparing for a show ðŸĪŠðŸĪŠ

We also did a little bit of work over a ground pole and I warned TrainerB that she hadn't met "enthusiastic jumping" Ruby but that she was about to 😂😂 true to form, Ruby LEAPED over the pole the first few attempts before chilling out enough to walk/trot/canter over it quietly. So obviously that got added to our homework, lol. I told TrainerB I had poles previously but DH absconded with all of them for landscaping projects and I hadn't gotten around to replacing them before lumber costs skyrocketed. I did pick up two more landscape timbers a few weeks ago to hang the second mirror, but looks like I'll be using them for schooling for the moment! 

The weather was beautiful and I was home early enough for some golf cart/noodle adventures! Cici is so endlessly over my shit 😂

The weather is rainy and gross most of this week, so I don't anticipate getting much done - I'm trying to be zen about that, because working her if something is out of whack in her body won't be productive anyway. Here's hoping the chiro helps her feel better Friday and then we'll be nose to the grindstone in the last week before the show 😎😎😎

Friday, March 18, 2022

TGIF Y'all!

I guess I really do need to try selecting the photos backwards to see if blogger will input them in the right order ðŸĪĶ‍♀️ enjoy a backward pictorial journey of this week's rides lol. 

New washrack works great! Although this hose (which DH bought on clearance on a whim because you can never have too many flexi hoses lol) totally sucks and I need to buy a different one ðŸĪ·‍♀️ I also need new cross ties that actually attach to the post which is going to require me remembering to measure that space lol.

She got a little sweaty. We had to have a discussion about what my right leg means (hint, it's not always canter)

But we also had a nice ride out on the trail loop!

Things are sloooooowly starting to green up! 

Cici spectated my ride on Cinna Wednesday

Cinna had some concerns about them sitting there but she got over them quickly. 

Still rocking the "drendurance" look lol. 

Tuesday's ride (yes I was lazy Wednesday and rewore the same breeches and sunshirt 😂 nobody sees me so why not!)

Jack being a total creeper while I tacked. 

Monday everyone has the day off after their dentals, but we sure made the most of the rest of the nice weather this week! Today it's raining, but we need the moisture, so I'm trying not to complain :) looking forward to another lesson Sunday! 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Lesson Recap: Leg Yields, Leg Yields, Leg Yields!

Sunday's lesson kicked my butt in the best way :) really getting into the nitty gritty of not just passably getting through the movements, but breaking them down and making them better and better and expecting more quality work. We're both capable we just need the accountability of the experienced eyes on the ground (and an impending show lol). I put Ruby back in the nathe since she seemed really offended by the Verbindend last week, and she was great for about 80% of the lesson - she did have sort of a meltdown towards the end about some 10m circles to the right. We did eventually manage to break through the resistance and end on a good note, but Christ I was exhausted. TrainerB even commented at one point that she wished Ruby would give me the right answer so *I* could have a break, lol, but we got through it. 

It's so awesome that she now starts with the trot we used to work most of a lesson to get :) the quality of work is just vastly improved, I'm so excited!

Still exceptionally obsessed with these boots <3 they look SO GOOD with the petrol piping and sheepskin on this Mattes pad. Now if only I had a summer top that was a better match lol. 

She wasn't nearly as fussy about going to the right earlier in the lesson so I'm not sure what tripped her switch in the second half but I'm glad it happened in a lesson so we could work through it!

The leg yields to the right (off my left leg) are actually pretty decent, occasionally even great. The leg yields to the left (off my right leg) we are sort of on the struggle bus with. A significant portion of the issue is that I struggle to the right and create issues that direction with my horses, particularly in the contact (possibly as a result of my narcissistic left hand and rogue right shoulder? who knows, but we're working on it). So the leg yields to the left I struggle to keep the neck straight and then they get very... messy. So messy. Lord. Instead of trying to do them off centerline, we switched to riding a 20m circle in the middle of the arena, spiraling in to 10 meters, and then back out to 20m. She was able to make the connection much better in that exercise, whereas on the centerline she just kept expecting any application of leg to be an upwards transition.... so, definitely something to practice as much as possible before the show! 

Leg yielding 

Can I get a dressage test where I only do things on the left rein? We would be amazing at it hahahaha. 

Focusing so hard my brain felt like it was coming out of my ears lol. 

The canter departs stayed trending in a good direction, and we were able to have a few more organized downwards, instead of all the "splat" ones. We talked about the lengthened canter in 1-1 and 1-2 and decided that especially for the first show, I wouldn't really encourage anything extravagant, just sort of let it happen and hope I can keep a lid on it so we don't bomb through the 15m circles at the end, lol. Honestly our biggest issue was trying for the canter to trot transition at X, I was concentrating so hard on keeping a lid on the tempo that I was shutting her down and we kept having the downward transition too early. 

TrainerB: "oh good, trot lengthenings aren't an issue"

Finishing up on a good note with some nice soft trot to the right once we FINALLY broke through the tension. 

If you read this far, enjoy a blooper that didn't make the social media highlights lol. One of our particularly messy flailing leg yields. 

We were both tired and sweaty at the end, but it was a good lesson! She was definitely fresh and had some opinions, but I still think we're on track for the show not to be a complete and utter disaster lol (I know I know, I'm such a pessimist haha). 

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

WW: Best Lesson Dog

Penny is turning into the most wonderful little traveler and lesson dog! I'm hoping that will easily translate into being a good horse show dog, which we will hopefully test in a few weeks ;)  

One of the nice ladies at the barn was hanging out watching my lesson and she was more than happy so snuggle Penny so DH could photograph. Penny spent most of the lesson intently watching haha. 

And then pretty much immediately PTFO for the ride home (Blogger is doing the photos from my phone backwards again, SIGH)

Yes I'm *that* dog mom and bought her a little carseat haha. I figured it will be great when I'm driving somewhere alone and can clip her in. 

She would wake up periodically to reposition, but spent 99% of the drive snoozin' haha. 

On the way there she was a bit more alert!

She loves her daddy <3

Adventure time!

"Why would you clip me in this basket? Why?"
She decided it wasn't so bad after I fed her some treats haha. 

If there is anything prettier than the sun lighting up this copper penny red noodle dog, I haven't seen it <3