Monday, November 30, 2009
Possum has also been doing pretty well lately. We had visiting hrs here on Friday for 5 hrs and I couldn't come back home until after 8p. It was a yucky and rainy day and the dogs and I spent most of it huddled in the tack room of the barn staying dry and warm. I did manage to run down to the indoor with Possum and just rode around bareback not working on anything in particular. Yesterday was a gorgeous late fall day with the temps maybe touching 50. It was bright and all the rain we got on Friday was starting to dry up. The barn was busy and I took my time getting Possum ready. I let him pick scraps of hay outside of his paddock while I brushed him. Because it was so busy in the outdoor ring I warmed up out there and then went down to the indoor to work. We started jumping in the indoor just trotting and then cantering low fences and gradually making them higher. Then I got down to the meat of the workout. I set up two fences at about 3 ft with two strides in between. My goal was to 1. get good distances to the first fence, and 2. get him so that right after he lands to then pick himself back up and prepare for the next fence. My goal for the next ride is to then turn it into a one stride.
Possum did pretty well and I was able to navigate him to pretty good spots for the most part. I did notice as we went to the right that he was drifting towards the rail and kind of twisting in mid air. The next time around I made sure to have a strong left leg and also making sure that I had equal weight in both stirrups since the left is my weaker leg. It got a lot better after that. Then we cooled down and went for a walk around the farm and watched the end of a jumping lesson that was going on in the outdoor ring. So my goal for the next ride is to turn that line into a one stride to get him to really lift himself up on the landing of the first jump and then get ready for the next, especially with it being of good height at 3ft.
I've still been running and walking. This past week obviously was hard because of the holiday weekend, but I did manage to ride my horse twice and then run/walk 3 times. This week I hope to get back in the swing of things again. The weather has turned rainy and raw again and I hope that by tonight it lets up so I can go for my run. I'm not really sure what I'm going to do in the winter. I've even thought of going to the barn and running in the indoor at night which could work. The college I work at obviously has a gym and fitness center and I'm hoping that I can talk to the dean and have access to the facilities so that I can continue to work out and stay in shape. The trust of the matter is that even though I hate running and working out, it does make me feel better after I do it so I just need to suck it up.
Well I think that's about it. Just trying to budget now and save money and pay bills and with Christmas seson coming. I've been saving money by cooking more and eating out less which is a huge savings, but it seems that whenever I seem to get ahead on bills other things come up, like our rent just increased by $100, I just paid car insurance, Possum gets his winter shoes on this week which is over $200 and I also need to get my winter tires and an oil change on my car. Again, these are all issues that everyone deals with, but man it just makes me want to be a kid again for a few days.... OK, promise, the next post will be the book review that I have been talking about for a while now. Have a great day!
P.S.- Minnesota dude is good. We still talk on a daily basis and he is also working on things in his own life. We hope to have a visit planned for January, I'm crossing my fingers, I really wanna see him!!!!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
This added weight can put the horse off balace and make it even harder to have a nice jump over a fence. Now, in hunters jumping the fences shouldn't be a huge strain for them since it is not about height but about manners and way of going, but still it makes the horses job that much harder. A lot of riders say that with a riding a hunter it's harder to keep proper equitation because the horse has such a big and rounded jump. I don't believe this is true. I think that too many riders in the hunt and even in the eq ring are trying too hard. I know I am also guilty of this. I find myself jumping for myself instead of just sitting "chilly" and letting the horses motion fold my hips and following with my hand. Many times I will force myself to ride fences as of late and just keep a steady rhythm and pace and let the jump come to me instead of calculating take offs etc. When you let go of many of the technical things it suprised me of how it just happends naturally.
Stay tuned, I am re-reading a good book that I wanted to do a post on , it's called Renegade Champion, the unlikely rise of Fizrada, written by Richard R. Rust. It's a wonderful book written about his mother Jane Pohl who rode on the show circuit with her runt of a TB gelding in the hunters and jumpers classes of the 40's and 50's and breaking gender barriers along the way. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Through the eight years that I rode dressage I feel like I have gained a lot. I first learned to ride in a dressage saddle. I remember holding onto the grab strap when I trotted for the first time in the old County saddle. That was a thrill. I learned to have an independent seat. To not only figure out where my seat bones were but to use them as an aid as well. I learned how to make a horse soften to your hands and push up through the bridle and really engage their hind end while slowly shifting weight from their forehand to the hind. But most importantly I learned to feel. I was able to open the line of communication from horse to rider through just feeling.
My opinion is that dressage basics are the foundation of all kinds of riding; be that western pleasure, saddle seat, hunters and equitation, and any other kinds you can think of. Dressage is based on control and balance and strength. Being able to have the horse move in any direction at any speed at any moment. Isn't this the ultimate form of riding? I think so. If your moving cows or running barrels you need clean flying changes based on balance. If your jumping a course you certainly need the basics of dressage. The horse needs to be listening to all of your aids, you need to be able to shorten and lengthen strides, collect and just about everything else you can think of. Even if your just a trail rider it's important that your horse has proper balance and can move off your seat and legs. You need a horse that has good transitions, what if you are cantering along and all of a sudden the foot drops out and you need to stop short??
So I just wanted this post to pay tribute to the great art of riding that is dressage. I am super grateful for the fundamentals and basics that I have learned with having regular dressage lessons. I was showing first level and schooling second level movements when I decided that I really needed to either get serious about it or branch off into another area of riding. It was then that I went to college and was able to have my first instruction in jumping and all I can say is man I'm glad I had my dressage background! I think every rider should be able to ride a training or even first level test with their horse. Dressage is great for the horse. When done correctly it creates a nice top line, strengthens your horse, gets them used to using the powerhouse that is their hind end and increases communication between the rider. It's kinda like stretching every morning before you work out or even start your day, it's good for everyone involved. Remember, it's like eating your vegetables, It's good for you!!!