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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Back in the saddle

It sure has been a long time! After a difficult pregnancy and child birth, followed by health problems, I am finally back in the saddle and back to work. I am thankful to have a wonderful trainer, Ryan Yap, that kept my horses in training all summer while I was unable to get my giant belly up on a horse. He got both of them starting in the double bridle! I also had help from a new friend, Iga. Without the two of them, my horses would have turned into giant lawn ornaments this summer.
I am back to riding, and really working on getting my feel back. I had a couple of Ryan lessons to try to get my body back into shape this is a lot more difficult than I expected! My first lesson only lasted about 10 minutes. I realized quickly how stretched out my muscles were and how ineffective I am in the saddle as a result. So Gram and Zion now have the "Julie frame" and then the more uphill "Ryan frame". I hate to admit it, but I am weak. I also started back to work this week. I really enjoyed my time with my son, but the whole not riding thing was killing me. I am excited to start a routine. This week I am focusing on getting back to my "real" job aka the one I get paid for, and I will try to start the balancing act of working, being a mom and riding my horses. Thinking about the many tasks is honestly making me wish for more hours in the day, or to strike it rich in the lotto :)! I wanted to re-start my blog with a reflection especially after reading a thread in a forum about dressage. So many people get hung up on classical/modern dressage. My thoughts on the subject are quite simple. Not every horse can be ridden the same way. I have had the pleasure of riding a school master and training on a horse under the tutelage of some fantastic trainers up to I-1. I will say both were very different rides. And now, with Gram and Zion, very different rides. Since Gram has been my project from just out of being broken by a western rider, she goes in a way that works for both of us. Every ride we work on our basics: nice clean transitions, suppleness, responsive to the aids. I consider her classically trained. Zion works on the same things. The difference is in the way I ride them. Zion needs a little chasing after as he is a typical gelding and gets lazy. Gram is a hot mare, ready for a fight. Zion would be thrilled if I just let go of the reins and he curled his neck in. An inexperienced rider would think that he was the perfect horse because of his ability to fake throughness. Gram won't give you an inch, you must ride every stride to help her balance. Anyways, this forum made a big deal about natural horsemanship, dressage, and western. My thoughts on the subject is really who cares! Ride in a way that works best for that horse and rider combination. I have many different schools of thought as far as dressage training goes. I have taken little bits from each person I have ridden with over the years. In my mind this makes me a well rounded horse person (although jumping over 3ft scares the life out of me!). My next rant is over trainers... Do your research a trainer that has done nothing, will not be able to accurately teach or train. Simply printing out business cards seems to be all it takes to be a trainer, which is what I blame for all of the stupid discussions I see in dressage forums and bad riding/training I see. I actually stumbled on a website for a local trainer that had zero accomplishments listed, but did have prices listed. I was in shock at how much someone who has never ridden over 3rd level can charge for "training". Seems like a rip off to me! Bottom line: stop taking lessons from people that are just a little better than you... train with the best person in your area! Then you will not get hung up on discussions about classical vs modern dressage and will instead learn to ride. Like it or not, showing is how you get accomplishments. Say what you will about what is wrong with dressage judging- you will actually learn something from showing. You might not always agree with what the judge saw and what you felt... but if you read your tests and the comments, you will have homework that will in the end give you a better understanding of dressage and how to make your horse work better and happier. I am going to stop typing and try to ride tonight :)


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  2. My trainer, a man, is riding the horses in these pictures.