(warning - long catch-up post ahead)
I am so not
good with control issues. No - really. Not good. Another in your face horsemanship lesson. Lame horse + lame weather really got me down. I couldn't fix Val - I couldn't pinpoint what was wrong - and I was mostly stuck in the Shimmy Shack worrying - for a flipping month. There certainly was plenty of time for blogging, but my heart was not in it. All better now.
During the incarceration, there was also plenty of time to review video of our last few rides before Val went off. Who knew you could
look at video frame by frame? I should have explored my editing software a long time ago. Initially there was the lure of lifting stills, but soon I realized how the technology could fill the gap of my current lack of instructor.
Biggest revelation *eye roll* - my contact was not steady... not consistent. The tension on the reins came and went. Bouncy. At times I had so much contact on the outside rein that I pulled the bit through Val's mouth. This tells me that in my efforts not to pull him around, I am (still) abdicating contact on the inside rein. Classic over-compensator. Not a new issue for me, but one I must
figure out how to conquer.
A good thing - the absolute instant that I looked up, asked for more energy and felt the reins through my bent, point, heavy elbows Val's back came up and he reached into the contact. The bad thing - it literally only happened for an instant at a time. (at least I'm not totally imagining it lol)
|Slack in reins, sticking out butt and leg turned out|
|Chair seat, piano hands|
|Better, but leg too far back|
|New header pic!|
It is really helpful to be able to isolate moments in time and then have continuity also. I usually know what I should be doing, but have struggled with position issues that are hard to nail down without eyes on the ground. I think I am asking one thing, but my pesky body puts it's two cents in. Poor Val. Now I am hopeful that I can close the feedback loop occasionally.
We've begun a rehab program consisting of weekly mini trims (by me) and working on the nearby paved road to ramp up the circulation in Val's feet. Life in the sand paddock + arena hasn't done him any favors. I want the landing toe first business to end. The beginning of the walk is over some gravel, and on our first trip he buckled when we hit that stretch. Definitely ouchy. This week he seems more comfortable, and very happy to be out and about. Licking and chewing while clip clopping alongside of me. The occasional patch of tasty greens doesn't hurt either.
On the training front, there is some hopeful news. My
friend N (we studied with the same trainer for years) has found a woman who
teaches in the style of Mary Wanless - biomechanics and position
oriented. My plans to try her out were foiled this month, so we'll try
again in April. It's a bit of a road trip, but should be fun with
company, and doable on a monthly basis. Fingers crossed...
We've had a few decent rides despite the weather and Val's feet. One was a bareback in the halter with exceptional steerablilty - first time that's happened. And yesterday we had a full length schooling session, bareback again. I focused on being consistent with the contact, and ended up working on no stirrup posting. (sore today) The solid month of no work has done a number on Val's topline, affecting his comfort under saddle, so for the time being we'll be barebacking. Fine with me - my seat is so much better without the saddle.
|Spring is here :D|
*Thanks to our new followers - there have been a number of you lately. I have tried to locate and visit everyone whose blog I can find. If I haven't found your blog, please leave a link in the comments. :D