Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In the Arena #91 - Farewell indian summer + better late than never...

Well.. it couldn't last forever. Shorts and flip flops still appropriate, windows open, no heat using, beach walking, horse riding weather for most of November. It was good for the soul. :)


Val and I got another ride in on Sunday. We worked for well over an hour, until both of us were good and sweaty. Lots of trotting - 15m circles and figure eights. Transitions and staying forward were my main focus. The upwards transitions are coming right along, although I'd like to continue to get lighter with my aides. We achieved some nice halt to trots. Also - contact is becoming more consistent with each ride. Val has many a foamy mouth lately. (loving it!!)

I also wanted to address getting prompt responses and more smoothness on the downward transitions. I  'filled my sail', corresponding to tightening my core and resting in the saddle, but also closing my legs and asking for some energy at the same time. Transitions always help Val to focus - I need to remember to work on them more often - especially if he comes to the arena distracted.

The rest of the ride I worked on posting and in two point. I'm continuing to improve my posting - my ankles are gaining flexibility. The best indicator is my horse. He blows, snorts, seeks contact and generally seems to be enjoying himself. Poor guy - he's had to wait far too long. Now I need to open the hips more so I get ears over hips over ankles...

So here's where I had a little epiphany. *eye roll* Sinking the weight down through my heels, which I (mistakenly) thought I was already doing, makes balancing in two point a piece of cake. Really, you say?! Yes indeedy :)  

Apparently, I've been bracing my ankles by jamming them down in the stirrups, thereby putting the weight on the ball of my foot, (and driving my lower leg too far forward in two point). Analogous to pulling a horse's head back into a fake frame. It may look on the surface like the proper posture, but it's actually produces the opposite of correct mechanics.

Hel-lo! How many times did my poor trainer have to remind me I wonder. I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm a visual / experiential learner, and decidedly not aural... :)


 Who knew that hay can be more dangerous than horses? I had another hay related accident. This time I fell between my tail gate and the doorway to my hay shed. Well, one leg fell between. The rest of me fell on the truck, doorway and under the bale of hay I was slinging when I slipped on some loose hay. My one leg smashed on the towing ball. I immediately felt sick to my stomach - said some bad words, and silently thought how much it would suck if I couldn't ride. Not if I couldn't work, pay my bills, drive or dress myself mind you... The knee is as big as a grapefruit but nothing is damaged on the inside that I can tell. Ibuprofren is my friend.

Oh yeah - this is my 200th post :)


  1. Hope the knee recovers well - have to watch those killer hay bales . . .

    I'm a big fan of transitions, too - they help to focus the equine - and human - mind.

  2. Ouch!! Hope it recovers quickly and that there is truly no lasting damage.

    Congratulations on your 200th post! I just got to my 50th and felt so satisfied, but I'm only 1/4 of the way to where you are ;)

  3. Be very careful with the knee! I once fell and hit my shin on a rock and it instantly ballooned to a gigantic size. I didn't know that there was such a thing as damaging a bone sheath, but apparently I managed to do that (didn't break the leg, thankfully). My entire lower leg turned blue and green--it was disgusting.

  4. Congratulations on your 200th post! Your transition and forward work sounds like you and Val are really coming together and having fun too. I also used to jam my heel down only to have my leg come forward, glad we both figured that one out.

    Hope that knee heals soon. Try some ice with the ibuprofen. It will help take the swelling down. Feel better.

  5. Sound like me when I get hurt - what if I can't ride?!?

    Transitions - you betcha they work as attention getters! I've been working on holding the contact through up and down transitions. I want to just throw it away and that's no good either.

    Our weather turned gross too.... rain for days and now snowing for the last 3 hours. I dislike midwest winters!

  6. Congrats on 200 posts! Wow!

    I hope your knee feels better soon so that you can keep your groove going in the saddle. Sounds like you have had some awesome lessons!

  7. I love reading your posts. I nod and smile the whole way through -- yup, yup, me too, yup. Be careful out there. No more hay bale injuries allowed.

  8. I'm with you - slinging hay is a dangerous pasttime! Be careful!

    You might also want to try some topical Arnica gel on your knee to speed healing. It makes a huge difference for me if I bruise myself!

  9. OWWWW!!! Ice that sucker!

    Interesting about your two-point epiphany, I figured out a while ago that I was keeping my knees too stiff and that was making it hard for me. Added some flex and it got much easier!

  10. I will certainly miss the warm weather. It was 70 degrees earlier this week! It's like the universe is trying to make up for the snow last month. Haha.

    Be careful with that hay! I've gotten some pretty nasty injuries from the stuff myself.

  11. Happy 200th post! Well, except for the grapefruit knee.

    As far as position goes, I have found Yoga especially helpful for finding these things. You may be able to half-ass it in the saddle, but if you don't engage the proper muscles in Yoga, you just fall down! That muscle memory helps you in the saddle. Transitions are the best thing for every horse, as you have discovered.

    Oh, and I have found that the life of a hermit suits me best. I'm not sure which comes first: the hermit or the farm. I suspect it's like the "chicken or egg" debate! Enjoy your happy hermitude!

  12. I'm interested to read of your heel epiphany. I know I do the same (jam my heel down and balance off the ball of my foot), but I can't honestly say that I have it fixed or have really internalized what 'right' feels like. I may have to try more two point.
    Sounds like you and Val are cooking - foaming mouth, halt to trot, .... Great!
    Congratulations on 200 posts! I think I've read most of them and enjoyed each one.

  13. I am late to this and all posts, but I hope you recovered quickly from the hay bale incident. Everything with horses seems dangerous and worth it!

    Glad the for the heel down epiphany.

    Congrats on the 200 post.

  14. Ouch!! Hope your knee heals quickly!


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