Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Friday, October 14, 2011

From the Farmette #7 - Getting there...

First of all - we have a road again!!! I may never have longed for an inanimate object this much before... welllll, possibly a vintage County saddle ;)

Temporary Bridge
Truck crossing temporary bridge on hopefully permanent road

Taking a super quick break from sorting through my belongings, divvying out my belongings, throwing away my belongings and carting around my belongings.... why must there be so many?

The Shimmy Shack is up and running - all utilities on board (for the most part). I've spent the last week dodging thunderstorms, finishing the new deck, which more than doubles my square footage (!) Dad and I spent two whole weekends on the project, and maybe two perfectionosts is not alwayts better than one, but it turned out fantastic. Dad - words cannot express how awesome you are! Also getting the new building settled in - this was a bit of a nightmare - the baby faced delivery boy apparently needed more practice as he damaged some expensive lumber (and promptly lost my check) due to extreme incompetence.

I had a very nice ride last Friday before the moving craziness began in earnest. We did a good bit of trotting, but didn't drill anything for too long, and utilized the cones, finishing up with some work on the buckle. I think Val may be one of those horses that prefers warming up at a faster gait, and focusing on the walk later on. He really seemed like he enjoyed it. (which is good, because there's more coming where that came from mister man!!)

My recent photos are still on the camera at my other house, where the dogs are convinced that I'm abandoning them each time I walk out the door with a box - and there is no longer internet. Will edit post with some visuals asap. :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

In the Arena #86 - We are stardust, we are golden + award!

Just in case anyone thought I was exaggerating about the veritable plague of mosquitoes we were having, check this out... caught by the Park Service in a trap, not too far from my farmette last week. 24,000 in 12 hours... (disgusting - right?!)


Val and I had a very satisfying ride Tuesday evening, although it didn't start out so promising. First, I had to follow Val around the paddock with his halter for a while before I could catch him - unusual. And then he developed a major case of ants in his pants during tacking up. He didn't seem super enthused about the prospect of working after sooooo long. Plus it was technically dinner time. Some firm, gentle persuasion got us on the right track. The ride starts on the ground...

Our warm-up at the walk was uncharacteristically energetic - I'm chalking that up to the lovely cool weather. It did take some work revving up into trot mode however. After a few d-r-a-w-n out attempts on the long sides, we got into gear. Val began responding to my leg immediately. He was very relaxed, snorting and blowing. During our walk breaks, we did a number of correct turns on the forehand, and a few rein backs as well. I'm relieved. It won't take too long to get back to where we were before our extended break from working. 

It's funny how sometimes the things you resist are in reality just what you need. It's been really stressful to me not riding for these many weeks... my horse lost fitness... I lost my fitness (sore sore thighs yesterday!). And even more so not having had regular instruction for so long. 

The reality is - it's time to put my big girl britches on. I'm officially 100% responsible for my riding at the moment, and may be for some time to come. No more relying on someone else's feedback - I must develop the feel for what is right under saddle.

My plan of action moving forward is:

Regular work schedule. Check. I'll be living full time at the farmette by next weekend so riding time will be optimized. Four days a week would be ideal.

Balance my dressage goals with my riding goals. Time to regroup. I've spent too many sessions getting hung up, sometimes arguing with my horse and I guess letting my reach exceed my grasp. Time to go back to basics. From here on out, my plan is to get Val moving forward at the trot. Lots of long and low, reaching and stretching. We'll concentrate on the walk after warming up at the trot. My job will be to keep him moving, do tons of two point and no stirrup work, and perfect my posting. Loose flexible ankle, legs long and draped, and open hips. My position is important, but not at the expense of impulsion and cooperation from my horse.

Future trainer search.  I'd like to take lessons school horses for a while once I do find a trainer prospect. I want lunge lessons - my seat needs the work. Once I've found the right trainer we'll see about putting Val (and me) through all of the work, stress and expense of trailering several hours away and getting used to a new farm. And - I would like to find a trainer who focuses on biomechanics. Who sends me home with exercises to work on, in and out of the saddle. I feel that my intellectual understanding of dressage is competent, but my body fails me, which leads to frustration.


Annette over at News From Aspen Meadows kindly bestowed an award on our blog... the One Lovely Blog Award. I say - it takes one to know one Annette. She regularly fills her blog with beautiful photos, good training and horse keeping info and fun stories about all of the darling inhabitants of her ranch. If you haven't visited her - do :)

So a stipulation of receiving this award is recommending fifteen blogs and sharing this award with them. Due to many of my choices already having been recognized by Annette and Grey Horse Matters, my list will be limited to these eleven - which amounts to much of my blogroll minus Annette and GHM's lists. ;) I have been remiss in searching out new blogs, as well as posting and commenting lately - as soon as I have completed my move to the farmette, I plan to spread my blog wings again.

In no particular order... every one of these blogs is heartfelt, horse loving, informative and lovely:

The other stipulation of this award is to share seven things about myself, so here goes...

1. I studied classical piano, classical ballet and Latin when I was younger - and now classical dressage. This pattern will be explored in a future post, and possibly in therapy lol.

2. I studied graphic design in art school - the equivalent of six years - no degree. Ran out of money or I might have stayed forever...

3. I've never owned a vehicle with automatic transmission. Neither have I trashed a clutch. I'm inordinately proud of that fact ;)

4. I've been a vegetarian (lacto-ovo-pesco) for almost thirty years. Longest commitment in my life.

5. I worked as a sous chef in NYC for several years. Great learning experience but sooooo underpaid!

6. I've broken six bones... none from a riding incident. Best one was (as a four year old) falling out of a the bottom bunk while having a super active dream.

7. I've had four concussions where I lost consciousness... only one from a riding incident. (Tell the truth... are you thinking "that explains it"?!)

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