Horsemanship cannot be separated from your life - it's all the same thing - and you can't be and act and hold yourself differently in only your horsemanship and expect it to be effective.
If you build it into your whole life, it'll then be there and available in your horsemanship without your even having to think about it."
Apologies - for the long post + photo spam. I've had little time to blog. It's taken me days to finish this.
So I looked up from the grindstone to see that half of 2012 is already gone. A good time to assess, and revisit the game plan... (was there ever a game plan - my head is spinning)
There have been many ups and downs for Val and I so far this year:
Tangible progress over the winter - establishing connection and contact. Followed by saddle fit issues which stopped forward in it's tracks. Then months of bareback rides while I played the saddle search game. More improvement! Saddle success - new saddle bliss carries us into experimenting with the canter. (!) Gradually we find ourselves in all canter / all the time mode... aaaaand it's just a matter of time before I hit the dirt. (insert needle scratches the record sound effect here)
I know that my dressage struggles go deeper than physical limitations, constant delays in setting up our new arena and lack of
Riding well / being a good horseman is something I want to achieve more than
Val and I have worked four times this week.
One ride, which started off with a 180 spinning spook. Stayed with him, ignored the scary area, and continued the ride. Position - sitting in the saddle and loosening my hips, steering - not with the inside rein, and contact - more and consistent, were the focus. Val came back to me, even clowning around picking up and swinging the cones when we halted at them. It ended up as a productive ride.
We also lunged for the first time in ages. Not traditional lunging standing still in the middle of a circle, but lunging where I moved with Val. He was very attentive, gave me some lovely big walk and volunteered the trot work. Glad I tried this method. Very satisfying.
Finally, we went on two trail walks off property. Down the road to the woods trail, and then over next door where there is some good grazing as a reward for bravery.
The first walk went very well, just a little looky. Yesterday though, we had to have a come to jesus meeting on our way out the front gate. My dog Sweetpea jumped up suddenly as we passed by the trailer, and Val overreacted, stomping on the back of my barn shoe, tearing it, and glancing off of my foot. He needs to be aware of my location in every situation - no excuses.
Val still isn't 100% about my leadership. He still doesn't trust me completely when the chips are down. Death dealing noises from next door... geriatric dog behind a sturdy gate... leaving your buddy in the next door paddock for any reason at all...
The quote above is from Kate's blog A Year with Horses. She recently attended another clinic with Mark Rashid. I don't know how she manages to ride two horses in a clinic, and finds the time to capture the essence of the experience and share it, but she does. Thank you Kate.
I believe it pretty much sums up what is lacking in my dressage efforts, and is also a road map to my goals.
And now on to the photo dump...
|They are well overhead now, a few days later. Yep - I planted way to close together. I will never learn.|
|First full sized tomato. What does it remind you of?|
|Porch garden is in full bloom|
|Sweetpea eats a sweetpea|
|Maybe I see why Val was scared...|
|The land of plenty...|