Let's see... I spent two afternoons pulling Val's mane. I had tried to simulate the proper look with my trimmer a few weeks back, but ended up with a raggedy mess and several hair chunks missing from his neck. Time to bite the bullet. Val calmly munched on hay while I went to town. It's still not as short as I know my trainer would like, but I think it's a good compromise - no more yes I cut this mane with scissors / three stooges blunt cut anyway. Still working on it when I took these pictures....
|Oops, forgot my barn shoes...|
Apparently Val and I have exactly the same color hair - mane and head... (the dentist pointed this out after her session with Val when I was giving him a ton of kisses that he couldn't resist due to sedation) ;)
We got a decent ride in on Friday. Started off struggling with basics. Once again, the next door neighbors were an issue... plenty of hollering (cursing), dogs crashing through the woods, and super loud radio blaring yards away from the arena. This required some remedial desensitizing, but we got it done. We ended up with some good trot work, and Val's attention back on me for the most part. Finished on a good note and celebrated with a cookie fest in the most scariest spot where the dogs invaded from. Cookies make everything better!
|Did someone say cookies?!|
Saturday - we finally got our breakthrough! We were forward, we had nice bend and we were riding through, not cutting, our corners. We achieved flow. No bogging down in the changes of rein or the corners. Beautiful figure eights. One really nice square halt. What a blast! Val was on the bit. He totally enjoyed himself, was salivating to beat the band, and carried himself for a good part of the ride.
What I figured out (re-learned, forgot, need to remind myself of....)
- My stirrups were still too long...
- I have the weirdest bad habit of swinging my right leg back too far behind the girth. This has certainly worsened my turning issues, if not outright created them. Thinking it might have to do with my wonky hip...
- It is prudent to skip a lengthy warm-up if we start off in sticky-land (where many arguments begin). Move on trot work asap. Trot, trot, trot! Forward solves most problems. Go back to slower work, straightness and transitions after getting forward.
- Don't forget the resting part of posting... like a tiny half halt. Use leg on the up phase...
- Val has been bored. Seriously. And not worked hard enough in a long while... A bored horse looks for ways to relieve his boredom, and getting over on me is one of those ways. I have been aware of this for a while. No more arguing. Now I have the tools, mostly the confidence, to address this boredom / resistance.
- Leg - leg - leg!!! If he ain't reachin', you ain't drivin'!!!
- After using my legs to drive, I MUST give Val somewhere to reach to... soft, even, continuous, elastic contact.
- Outside rein, outside rein, outside rein!
My game plan for the next month or six weeks is simple. Major trot work. Wet saddle pads. I will change rein and school figures often, and keep us moving forward. I will focus on my leg, position and use of for driving, as well as providing reliable, trustworthy contact for Val. We will both build endurance and stamina, as well as more muscles. :) If yesterday is any indication, I should probably stock up on epsom salts. Very sore today - in a good way.
My boarders' mom kindly took some photos for me. Pardon the fuzziness that not even photoshop could cure - a fingerprint got on the lens at some point - but there were a couple that aren't too bad. (I was losing my stirrup in the shot where my heel is so not down) ;)
Val got to finish off the day with a lovely scrubby bath, including his "area' which was disgustingly filthy and full of beans. I realized, thankfully at the end of the bath, that the well pump was on the fritz. Several hours later Dad and I had it fixed up. It was such a beautiful day, and my ride was so rewarding, that I didn't even care.
Day off for both of us today. I did remove last years stall fan and put a new one up. If anyone out there uses Lasko box fans, there has been a recall!! Val was very helpful, inspecting the ladder and snuffling on my legs while I was up on the ladder. He loves his fan! Happy Easter everyone!
|I'll catch you... if I'm not alseep|