Saturday, January 28, 2017

Time for a Lesson

Last week Razz and I had our first lesson in forever. We hadn't lessoned since October. Yikes. 

That doesn't mean we haven't been working on proper riding. I'd had him in the ring every other day for a couple weeks and, surprisingly, been getting a few things correct on my own. For the lesson, I tacked my pony up in his new stuff. He received a figure 8 bridle and a new half pad for the holidays. The bridle is covered in silver clinchers and looks as if it was made for parades or other fancy events. And if you've ever ridden in a truck with air brakes, then you know what it feels like to ride in this half pad. It works like a riser pad but without the awful look of a riser. Vet recommended a riser to address my concerns about sitting deep in the canter on the old man's spine. Now it's like riding on a cloud. 

I have no media from the actual lesson. Riding instructor A said we looked nice even during our warm up. It certainly doesn't feel nice during warm up. My horse requires an extreme amount of leg which can compromise my position. Leg on while posting is not my forte. I need to do a serious amount of no stirrup work and get my lower leg stronger. Instructor A got on for about five minutes to get a feel for Razz and I felt better about things after seeing her lower leg working overtime just like mine. 

We worked for the next hour and a half. Razz was finding his stretchy trot rather easily on the long side. He anticipates, falls in and hollows in the corners and short side. More leg. More leg. Mold him into the turn and support thru the short side and back out the other turn. He responded well and on our walk break, while A was setting jumps, I couldn't help but think about what kind of horse I would have underneath me were I a well educated rider. If I knew exactly what to ask for and how to ask for it, and had been doing so over the four years I've owned him.

Moving on to the sticks, A initially turned one of my 2' verticals into the tiniest crossrail the standards would allow. We trotted the crossrail several times. I know these excersices are good but damn I hate them. The jumping effort is so small, almost non existant, and I have trouble finding the correct position over that tiny, quick effort. I basically just go into two point and my hands follow with an appropriate release (which isn't much). Then A threw in a one stride to a tiny vertical. My super lazy horse gets hot once the jumping commences and we're just trying to make him slow down and think with these tiny jumps. We worked on this, raising the poles occasionally. The lesson finished with her turning me loose to jump anything in the ring. I had five jumps set up in total- a couple more random two foot verticals, some barrels laid over on their side, and a Swedish triple bar that was 2'3". I also made sure to put our flying changes on display. Instructor A can't belive he has the changes installed. Back when he was a lesson horse his changes weren't that great and many times he just didn't bother to change at all. Before I got him two other people tried Razz out (to buy) and refused him solely because of the issue with changes. Even though I am getting the changes from him consistently, about 20% of the time he will cross fire a stride or two. Instructor A thinks he's just so long, conformation-wise, that it takes a moment for him to get the front and hind in sync. Sometimes this same issue creeps in to the trot and canter and messes with our tempo. But that's ok. It teaches me to be a better rider. And I suppose in a way it also reaffirms why we need to work on those tiny fucking crossrails. 

The lesson lasted for an hour and a half. Pretty certain I was the most tired I'd ever been after a lesson, and so was Razz. We took plenty of walk breaks. But I used more consistent leg on him than I ever have before and it kicked my ass. 

I gave Razz two days off after that ass kickin', and our next ride was very low key in the bareback pad. He spooked twice during that ride. Both times at the sound of nutrea rats scurrying and jumping into the stream beside us. I also spotted a huge pileated woodpecker and snapped a pic of the resident red tail hawk. 

super crappy pic, sorry folks
This hawk has been living around the barn since summer and I see him every time I go. Literally every time I go to the barn. He hangs out really close to people with no problem. He has swooped low over the arena a few times while I was in there riding. I have watched him dive at a retention pond but come up empty handed. Hubby tried to tell me red tailed hawks don't hunt over water but I know what I saw. The mockingbirds like to give the poor hawk a hard time and dive bomb him every chance they get. Hawk doesn't care one bit though. He doesn't even acknowledge their presence.

The weekend holds plans for a Croatan ride and more schooling. The weather is a little chilly but no rain. Next week I have plans to ride my first warmblood ever, and I'm super excited for the opportunity. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

One Year on Blogger

Alright. It's really been 14 months but who's counting? 

With everyone else posting a year in review of course I took a moment to reflect on my own 2016 experience. Blogging was totally new to me. I started this page to connect and share with other horse gals. Things would be much more interesting if I were in a program full time, or hauling off to shows and fun trails all over the state. Reality is I spent the majority of my year focused on mom duties & there are absolutely no apologies for this. Most pony time was spent on Croatan trails. I did quite a bit of arena work in the spring and got Razz fit enough to comfortably jump three feet. Then it proceeded to get so humid all I did was tool around bareback with sandals on. Once it was un-humid enough to go back to work I began to seriously look for an instructor and hooked up with the WS from my old barn, who's gone on to start her own boarding\lesson facility. With her help we worked on basics like softening and tempo, and eventually srarted grid work. Then marching band season and the college search had to take schedule priority, and due to a lack of consistency riding quickly went from the arena back to the trails. 

That's the blog and my 2016 horse world in a nutshell. 

Reading your blogs have taught me so much about both riding and blogging. Bight to the right? I had no idea it was referred to as bight, or that it's supposed to fall on the right side of the neck. I've been taught it falls on the same side as the mane. In addition to little factoids like that, I love getting an inside look at other riders' horses, barns, towns, show experiences, etc. I've also been observing blogging habits and patterns from those of you who've been in the game a while. I wish it came easier to me, but still have the urge to write. Admittedly I do enjoy reading blogs more than writing my own. 

2017 will bring some big changes with it. I'm both excited and nervous about things to come. We're planning a move back to the mountains after fifteen years of living on the coast. I hope to grow my small botanical business, expand the product line, and once I'm good and comfortable in my new life would love to add something slightly fancy to my herd. Then hopefully my blog won't be quite so boring. 

To my handful of readers and followers, thanks so much for hanging around. Your comments mean more than you realize to third tier bloggers like me :) 

Here's to making the most of 2017!!!