Friday, March 14, 2014

Back to Basics

After my schooling show last weekend, I realized rather quickly I was missing out on a few riding basics- e.g.; the sitting trot. We were asked to do that during the judging and well…I never properly learned how to! Despite the fact that I’ve never done it with formal instruction, I did decent but it probably didn’t look pretty at all.

Rori was kind enough to indulge me in my first "airplane" ride.

I had my second lesson with Rori last night and specifically asked Christy if we could work on certain things. The whole session was pretty much all firsts for me and I soaked it up like a sponge. I first learned how to counterbend and did the spiral in and spiral out exercises. It gave my brain a thorough workout- need to develop those independent aids. I wanted to do more cantering but Rori was having an off-night- she’d zoom around in super fast trotting circles, canter a few steps, and go back to zooming so we opted focus on stirrup-less work and work on my sitting trot with the “ride a buck” game/exercise. We used a piece of paper instead of money and I actually forgot it was there most of the time and only dropped it twice during the whole lesson. After a good solid 30-45 minutes with minimal walk breaks, I was feeling the burn.

I had a really hard time getting up this morning and my body is protesting any movement involving my abs and thighs (…if anyone ever tells me that riding is easy, they are going to meet my foot and/or fist). Discomfort aside, it feels great working all those riding muscle groups properly and tangible proof I was “really riding” vs. going for a ride. And of course this is all towards continually developing that good solid seat. I'm really pleased with Rori's energy level at the end of the lesson; after an hour she was still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I think our trail rides have definitely gotten her (and me) into leaner shape.

Stirrup-less riding with the "buck"

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Weekend of Firsts

I had my very first schooling show this past Saturday- all things considered, it went pretty well. The other divisions were categorized by skill level for the younger riders but the only division I could compete in was set up by age (18 & older)- consequently I was up against some very tough competition who were all literally jumping and cantering circles around me. Poor Dylan had already done about 4-5 divisions with other riders that day so he was not looking his best either. Suffice to say with the knowledge and skills gap I didn’t get in the ribbons. Of course it would have been amazing to bring home a ribbon but it’s the experience that mattered in this case, and it definitely gave me fuel to keep getting better and work even harder to improve.

Rori and I had a lesson together yesterday with Christy and it addressed some questions that had come up during the past month. Christy hopped on her for a moment and I was slightly relived that the little hiccups that I noticed with her trotting consistently and the occasional head tossing weren’t completely because of me. I got back on her and got to work on my canter seat with Rori on the lunge line. She’s given me a few canter steps while we were out on the trail but they were sporadic and hesitant. Walk , trot, and canterrrrr. And there it was, I felt it! We were cantering! I had the biggest smile on my face. Christy let me go for a few more times around before stopping Rori to give me a high-five. She could no longer contain the silent applause in her head and had to heap praise on both of us. I was grinning from ear to ear the rest of the afternoon.

We finished off the lesson with a little trotting and I got to feel Rori do her pacey trot and it was actually super comfortable to sit. I’m half wondering if this is something I could get her to consistently do out on the trail because I could probably ride that for hours if she had the go power to keep it up. Our first real event together will be a 6-8 mile hunter pace the first week of April. Thanks to daylight savings and the longer days, Rori and I got a lot more trail mileage in last week. Hopefully this keeps up!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Horse World Expo 2014

What a weekend! My friend and I made it home with roads free from the anticipated snow we were supposed to get tonight. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

Long story short, the Horse World Expo was great. My friend and I stayed at a hotel in the area so it was a convenient and quick drive each morning. We picked out the things we wanted to see and do in advance and got to attend lots of demonstrations. My favorite events were the Thoroughbred Makeover Challenge and the trail challenge competition. I came away with tons of food for thought and ideas for things work on and keep improving. And the shopping! I came home with a decent haul:

Gotta stick with my current color theme
Not pictured is my new (first!) schooling jacket and an awesome fitted t-shirt with my donation at the New Vocations' booth. I also got horsey souvenirs for the family. I made sure to try out some saddles too- namely the Tucker endurance and Wintec. I talked to a sales rep and got fitted so now I actually have a better idea of what my butt size is and which saddles I like. My books came in the mail as well so now I have Beyond the Track and Countdown to Broke in my arsenal of reading material to work through. Slowly building up my equine reference library!