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Monday, October 4, 2010

Back in the Saddle

My crazy work schedule is finally starting to slow down! Thank goodness, because I don't think I could take much more time sitting in a car instead of in a saddle. Had a lesson with Ryan on Thursday, which was pretty bad... not because of Ryan, but because of my lack of being in the saddle. Gram and I were both stiff. I am not sure who started what, but I had that horrible feeling when I got off. Like all the wind was taken our of my sails, how can I get that bad that quickly. So I tried to shake it off. I spent the weekend with my BFF and bright and early Saturday morning we started our joint horsey journey. First her barn. I got to yell at her from the ground, which I am not going to lie made me feel so alive with riding. When I first graduated from college, I had thought I wanted to be a trainer. I gave lessons back home in Michigan, and even had a couple of students actually show. My family and I were serious about buying a barn or the land to build a barn, but at the last second I scared myself to death. But then I thought about being in a barn all day every day and dealing with people- I mean let's be truthful here, we aren't called "Dressage Divas" on accident! Most dressage people have a bad reputation outside of our dressage bubble. There is a group of dressage riders specifically adult amateurs that only ride inside, complain about even the best footing, care, food... just about any excuse to say that their horse is bad because it is someone or something else's fault. We all know at least one Dressage Diva (DD) in our network. So I thought that making money in an office and pursuing my horsey passion as a hobby was a better fit for me in the right here and right now. Sometimes I regret that decision (like when I have a horrible ride on Thursday) and then there are other times when I am perfectly happy in my well rounded, every hour of every day booked life. At any rate, helping my friend from the ground, made me happier than a lark. Then we went to my barn and GRam was really good. Just when I think she is a different horse from a year ago, she reminds me that mares don't trust immediately, it is earned. I had my friend jump on her, and immediately remembered just how quirky my mare can be. Hand must be just right, legs must not get after her too much. In a way, I realized that just when I think I am training her, perhaps she is training me too. Like I wonder if some days she is like, "here we go again with that left rein- I told you last week you were suppling me all wrong and now you are doing it again- when will you learn silly human!" and at the same time I am thinking "Here we go again with that locking on the left rein- just when I thought we were communicating you lock up again!" Eventually though I realize that I change the way that I am asking to get a better result... so who is training who now? :)

Sunday we had the best lesson I could have asked for after not really consistently riding for a month. We worked on not locking. We worked on circles, because Gram and I start to brace. We worked on a rocking back trot, without me using the reins all from my seat and leg. Now as I type this it seems like I should know that is what I am supposed to do, but riding a green baby horse really takes it toll on your skills as a rider you must be able to turn things off and on and realize that they are maturing so you don't have to ride them like you did when they were 4 anymore. Things I wouldn't have done on Willy or Rushonne I do to Gram. Humph! Anyways, we worked our baby half-passes at the trot and canter. I need to remember in the half pass right to now lock my seat. We worked on our walk canters, and then canter trots. Big mare has a lot of moving parts it is easier for her to fall down, than sit down! We also worked on the canter activity. We are going to venture down the flying changes, so we are doing more counter canter, to really balance her and make that hind end stronger to support the act of a flying change. In a couple more weeks I am hoping to have them at least well on their way to being clean.

As we prepare for the Kathy Connelly clinic I am sure I will have more tips to remember and document. I hope to have my lesson videos posted shortly after the clinic. I am also working on my old archive of videos from back in my lessons with Conrad Schumacher... I am determined to get those videos up before the end of the year because if nothing else, that was one of the coolest opportunities I had as a young rider!

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