Wednesday, 24 May 2017

A Fun Lesson

I know I keep saying I'm going to take all the jumping lessons, but my resolve is weakening with every fantastic dressage lesson we have. It's not that the jump lessons aren't good, it's just we both find dressage a bit easier, I think.

Last night, we started with trot/halt/trot transitions. Pretty simple concept, Midge just needs to come back and go forward when asked, also stay straight and keep her hind end under her. This particular exercise is krytonite for her, and a great way to check in and see what sort of evasion is the go to for the day. Last night. B was NOT impressed about not being able to suck back, wiggle,  plow through my aids, or just generally not being allowed to llama. So basically, she just couldn't horse at all. Yay :) On the plus side, after 2 years of these shenanigans in various forms, I feel like I have a ton of tools in the toolbox and can be patient and ride the horse I want until B decides that she can be that horse and meet me half way.

As promised, more subpar pics that have nothing to do with today's content

Sure enough, in about 15min or so, the good Midge appeared. Once the transitions became light and reliable, we added in some more work on our walk pirouettes. Right now, we just do half turns usually, essentially turning until just before I feel like I'll lose the bend, then we walk out and repeat.  This worked well with the trot/halt/trot exercise because it got her thinking straighter through her shoulders and also using that pesky inside hind to step up under a bit more. So fun - I know it's been years in the making, but seriously, it's still a novelty to me that Midge can and will move all those body parts where we ask, when we ask.

Building on that, we moved up to canter/walk/canter transitions. Since B isn't legit strong or experienced enough to do these correctly if we ask straight up, what we do is spiral the canter in until it's as tiny as I can make it, then pop down into a collected walk. So, essentially using the exercise to keep her balanced enough to make the nice walk transition possible.  Then, spiral back out and canter, using as few collected walk steps as possible...the walk is there to rebalance her and give us the good transition/good canter we need.
One of the few pics where I'm not headless, at least

I'm excited, because we actually pulled this off a few times in each direction and it felt easy! We finished with some 20m canter circles playing with shoulder and haunches in. This, of course, was harder for us both, but still, the pony is starting to feel pretty maneuverable in canter. We've made huge progress in building a canter on my little trotting cart pony, and there are whole minutes now of a big, bouncy, dressage worthy canter. While I have to say if I could go back in time I'd probably save myself a ton of work and start with a horse that can canter, I'm lucky in that B actually had a decent canter hiding in there...she just needed to learn to use it and I needed to learn how to teach her.
Another flying potato pony picture. I look like perhaps I didn't quite have faith the potato would leave the ground ;)

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Long Weekend Recap

In which we spend the entire weekend loving life at the barn, and discover my phone camera is actually incapable of taking a decent picture.
It's a picture of us! Sort of...

I was having a slight pity party for myself last week, as pretty much everyone else in the barn was headed to Mustang Powder/Chase Creek for their back to back horse trials. Essentially, 2 events run back to back over 4 days. The idea might sound a little weird for those of you with a regular event calendar, but given the distances we travel to show, the chance to compete twice in one trip actually makes a lot of sense here. I was having a bit of a pity party because:

1. The event only offers divisions at Entry (I think that equates to somewhere around US Novice level) and above. I'm pretty much the only person in the barn not yet competing at that level. Go, me.

2. Barn rates are going up, making me reconsider whether I could afford to attend such events anyway. My spending priority in attempting to be a better rider remains lessons > than competitions. But competitions are such a fun thing to go to with my barn :(
Fuzzy pics > no pics. We jumped Saturday and it was fun :)

Anyway, I showed up to feed the horses Friday morning and it took me all of 5 minutes to realize I was more than happy to be home with the horses. There's nothing better than a nice quiet morning at the barn, particularly when the sun is shining! Our barn is so busy and competitive that it's easy to get a bit caught up in it all. This weekend of being there early to feed and having the place pretty much to myself was a great reminder of where I find the most joy in this whole crazy horse thing. I'm happiest when I'm more involved in their day to day care, when I have a nice quiet arena to ride in, and very little in the way of a schedule to follow. Don't get me wrong, I love the lessons and chance to compete too, but not on the same level as the rest of it. I'm very driven to always be better as a rider and horseperson, so the lessons and competitions are more the means to that end rather than my reason for owning a horse :)
We dressaged a little on Sunday, also fun.

This weekend, I was on a mission to get tons of media. And...I did. However, the vast majority of it stinks. I set up my phone and tablet cameras in hopes of getting video, and back up video. Video #1 deleted itself before I could even watch it. Video #2 was not at the best angle, and was fuzzy and grainy despite my setting it to max resolution, and 'sport' mode. No problem, though, because G stopped by to say hi on Sunday, so I put him to work taking actual pics. But, I forgot that he's the worst at taking pictures. I love him, and love that he tried, but yeah, fuzzy zoomed in pics of our (large) bottoms are not being posted here. Also, it seems even a beautiful sunny day is not enough to make either camera take overly clear images. I've been cursing the lighting all winter, seems the issue is actually the iPhone and Galaxy tablet cameras are not up to the task of taking pictures of moving objects. I know what I'm asking for for my birthday! Until then, I've got 100 or so not so good pictures from this weekend. And, fair warning,  I plan to use them here until a new camera finds its way to me.
Bridget is ashamed for me

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Week 8

Sorry, Midge. Your booty is still a little too large.

Saturday: Best barn rat took her for a hack

Sunday: B's day off

Monday: Best jump lesson

Tuesday: Vaulting

Wednesday: Flatwork plus a fitness hack. The hills are getting easier for her!

I legit tried to get media...but forgot to up the resolution enough for how far away I need to put the camera. Sorry, fuzzy pics for you
Thursday: Another day off. No excuses, I felt lazy and knew we'd be busy all weekend 

Friday: Flatwork with cross poles...working on our lesson homework and finding our consistent pace through related distances. 

Looking forward: It's a long weekend! Had a great ride this morning, planning a long trail ride tomorrow and a jump school Monday. Our rotten wet spring just forced the cancellation of our event on the first weekend of June. They're doing a combined test with a derby course instead. I'm still tempted, but really there's only so much money to go around and the travel costs are at least $250 every time we go. Hard to justify when they hold combined tests all winter and the novelty isn't really there. There's a local show mid June, but I'm still holding a grudge, apparently I am more PO'd than I originally thought. Im turning into an old grump :) There's a dressage % day that might tempt me, but really, besides lessons, our calendar is looking pretty empty for the next month or so.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Saddle Saga Update

We still haven't found a jump saddle, so I thought I'd put together a list of everything we've tried that worked or didn't and why. I'd like to think we've been exceptionally unlucky (3 of the 4 used saddles I've had shipped to me have had twisted trees, 2 of them to the point they probably shouldn't be common is that really?) On the flip side, we've been super lucky in that all my long distance dealings have been good and my money has been refunded promptly, The vast majority of these saddles were lent by friends in an effort to try as many saddles as we could, I'm very lucky to have such a great barn family! Anyway, here's a list, in no particular order. Enjoy :)

17" Jeffries Elite W
Me: would have liked a 17.5" in this one, but would have made do. The overall well used condition of it killed the sale.
Bridget: slightly too narrow. but adjustable by saddler.
Other: website says you can purchase new in an XW. Repeated inquiries to the manufacturer and dealer have gone unanswered. This makes me nervous - if they're not motivated to make a sale, then how motivated will they be to provide customer service if anything goes wrong?

17.5" County Sensation MW
Me: Love. So much love. We're using this one while we search for 'our' saddle.
Bridget: Too narrow, but shape is good and the shoulders are gusseted, so she's happy enough.
Other: Cannot find this used in a  W/XW anywhere on earth. Can't afford the 6k for a new custom one.

18" HDR Rivella rotate to fit
Me: This rode really small. Like, too small for me.
Bridget: Thought it was fine.
Other. The way the tree adjusts makes me nervous, quality seemed a bit off...this one was almost new and the tree was twisted.

17" Antares Spooner W
Me: Love the open seat and nice sticky leather. Also, the flaps are an appropriate size for my short legs. Want.
Bridget: Way too narrow.

17" Stubben Roxane XW

Me: Had hopes because I loved my Juventus S, But nope, nothing about this worked for me.
Bridget: This tree is bananas! So curvy for my flat backed pony, although the width worked.

17.5" County Innovation W

Me: Don't love as much as the Sensation, but I'd settle.
Bridget: the panels are slightly the wrong shape, too angled. The Sensation fits her shape better, so we'll say the Innovation is a no go.
Other: This is a barn mate's saddle, so not for sale anyways.

Thorowgood/Kent & Masters:
Didn't even bother trying, check out how much wider B is than their XXW gullet:
the top pencil line is her. they would need to make a gullet 2 sizes larger than the XXW

18" County Stabilizer W

Me: too big for me, and the forward flap is too forward. Would like in a smaller size.
B: Slightly narrow, but OK. The length of it is the bigger problem for her.
Other: This could work in a smaller seat size. This is the other saddle we regularly borrow and ebay search while we look for our own.

Bates jump saddle/Wintec jump saddle:

Don't know the details on these, they were forgotten in the tack room by someone long ago, I just know the wide gullet wasn't wide enough and we put them on B and she was NOT a fan of the CAIR panels,
tabletop, now with dapples.

HDR 17.5 "Advantage W

Me: Ick. The flaps were SO long and weird.
B: Bucked me off 2 times. We borrowed this last minute for a XC clinic, after my saddle was deemed unusable. I knew this one didn't fit the best, so I deserved it.

17" Pessoa A/O W
Me: Meh. Would like a more forward flap and/or a 17.5" seat
B: Too narrow.
Other: these come in an adjustable tree, but I have a feeling even the XW plate won't be wide enough.

On my radar:

Am getting someone to measure the Pessoa XW XCH plate to see if it's even worth trying. Done. She's so much wider it's ridiculous.
Am trying to get someone to look at Bridget's tracings vs an XW Stubben Portos...the tree looks flatter and I know their XW is wide enough.
Prestige supposedly sells wide enough, as does Harry Dabbs. Now, to just get my tracings to the right person, or at least find one in a suitable size that is available locally for a quick trial.
Black County. Should work, but no local/Canadian dealers I can find.

On my "buy it if I find it in my budget" list:

-Newer county anything in an XW tree, Preferably a Stablizer or Sensation. Consider a W tree if fitter agrees she can adjust it.
-Jeffries anything in an XW tree. Again, possibly a W if fitter is happy with condition and adjusting it.
-HDR RTF saddles, we know they fit B, so if I could find one dirt cheap that's usable I'd use it while we search for the perfect saddle and take my chances on it dying :)
That was exhausting.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

TBT: Green Pony

Once upon a time, I had a new pony named Bridget. And, once upon a time, I was much better about documenting my rides. I've been slowly transferring all the old pictures off my phone, and came across a few from a couple of years ago that part of me would like to delete. It was B's first winter under saddle, and B was not happy with having to work for a living. I was instructorless and making progress in the " I think that was a mistake I shall never repeat again" kind of way. I'm lucky she didn't buck or rear often a la the traditional idea of a green, naughty pony, but oh my goodness, the stuck, lazy, lack of work ethic thing just about defeated me more than once.  Where these moments used to form 50% or more of our rides, now they're a fairly rare event. And my sanity thanks the universe for that.

So, without further adieu, here are some photos documenting a small part of the adult ammy with a green pony mare struggle:

Turning, what's that? 
Look at me teaching her how to bulge through her shoulder. Go team ;)

Magnetic gate sucking us in

That shoulder again, and no clue what I think I'm doing about it.

Forward = so unfair!

What a lovely canter transition, but I was probably thrilled because at least it happened.

Increasing the difficulty by making it super crooked too. So much wow.

Can't even, competitive llama racing

Forward is hard, up is better

Can't even today.

I don't even know what this is. Angry trantering giraffe?

Game faces, doesn't B look happy to be cantering? ;)

"I hates you, cute cowboy. The answer remains NO! I did not sign up to work here"

Pro llama rider. This would have been a decent moment for us in the first month or so.

No idea what the context of this was, but sums up so many of our rides then.

Would I do it again?

Of course. I learned a ton, and B is a pretty solid lower level dressage and jumping pony now. But never again with the 'project pony for eventual resale' thing. The project has turned into years and work and will never leave :) Here's a couple of pics from the same era to illustrate part of the reason she stayed:
So cute..."I hate this cowboy, can we please go home now?" 

Potential to be cute under saddle too

Most important quality of all for a blog pony: ability to pose for photos.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Measurable Progress

I normally make a point of not measuring the jumps. Big = scary, small = easy, actual measurements of "big" and "small" probably vary widely on a daily basis. That's really all we need to know.

Bridget the pony and Cedar the poodle 'helping' set jumps last weekend,.

Curiosity got the better of me this morning and so I went out and measured the jumps from our lesson that I thought looked do-able, but big. The result? Belly button height! Most surprisingly, one of the fences I wasn't overly concerned about was actually taller that the one I was worried about. Weird.

I'm short, so belly button height actually equals exactly 1m, or 3'3". So, that not only means Bridget has more hops than I give her credit for, it also means that when I've been saying I've been jumping 2'6" courses as the current upper end of my comfort zone, I actually meant 3'. When I said we haven't been progressing, well, I lied. No wonder the course at the show a few weeks ago seemed so small and friendly LOL

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Love/Hate Thing

The past few months, I've been so close to forgetting the jump lessons altogether and just focusing on dressage. We can hop around 2'3" -2'6"ish on our own just fine, no stress, no worries, life is please tell me more about half pass and extended trot, I'm gonna be a dressage queen now, please and thank you!

Sounds reasonable, right? Ha, not so much. My actual reasons for not wanting to persevere with jumping lessons:

1. It's hard. Like, so hard. As an adult learning how, it's frustrating when my body just doesn't do what I ask. Dressage is just so much easier, and progress and results seem more easily obtained. I can feel what's right and what's wrong...whereas jumping just always feels a bit weird and not nearly so intuitive.

2. I'm (wisely) not as confident jumping as anything else. I know it's my weakest link, and I easily fall into thinking I just can't go higher, and/or I'll never improve, so why bother.

3. Pony. This is the lamest excuse of all, because Bridget is game. But, seriously, anything over 2'6" or so on a pony just feels and looks BIG.

4. We're in a good spot right now. As mentioned, we can jump small courses happily and confidently. Why  potentially push further and mess that up?

I'm such a head case.

Last night went like this:

EC: "Tack up in my jump saddle"
Me: "Oh shite"

Me: "The weather sucks. I'm cold. I'm still sick. I hope we're not jumping THAT course. Bridget is probably tired." Side note: B filled in on an emergency basis for one of the lesson ponies last night, and very carefully carted around a tiny child prior to my lesson. It was about the cutest thing I've ever seen, but B looked...less than motivated to move quickly, lol, and certainly would not have found their activities tiring in any way:)

Me: "Holy crap, B actually has a TON of energy tonight. What a good girl to behave for the small child. " Cue B trying to bolt and buck me off. Oh B, you are indeed a prize.

Me: "Oh my, those barrels that always worry me are the smallest thing on course. By a substantial amount. By, like at least half. I'm gonna die."

Me: First round: "OK, we survived"

Me: Second round: "Actually, I can do this"

Me: Third (even bigger) round: "Actually, this is fun"

Me: Fourth round: "Rawrr, Bridget get up to that jump! Come on, let's go! We own this thing!! Add strides are for small ponies, you've got this in 2!!"

I'm so ridiculous.

And...all the pics I wanted to use are on my tablet that I left at home last weekend. So you get memes and a crappy phone pic.

Take homes from this lesson:

- I can do this.
- It's fun.
- I need to make myself do this more often.

EC comments:

- B looked like she was having fun the entire time, and didn't quit once.

- I need to do more jump schools on my own. Even if it's tiny. Keep doing it until it doesn't take until halfway through the ride for me to be confident.

- Set up heaps of related distances and bounces until I am better about keeping a consistent pace through them. Poles on the ground if I really don't want to jump. No excuses.

-I should trust my instincts. I'm seeing the strides and where I want to be and I need to not second guess or underestimate myself or let Bridget tell me I'm wrong.

- With Bridget, if in doubt, pushing forward to the jump is always the answer.

 Of course, being the expert EC is in keeping me motivated to do all the things, I sense a super difficult dressage lesson coming my way in which I can do nothing but wrong ("See, look how fun jumping is! Don't you want to jump more?" Lol)

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Summer 10

Rhiannon of The Horse Is Not Black started a summer blog hop of 10 questions! Thank you!
1. What are your summer goals?
To survive it? My schedule is nuts. Competition wise, I'd like to have at least a couple of successful events under our belt, and some decent dressage scores at First. Mostly though,  I'd like to feel like we had time to relax and enjoy the long days and nicer weather of summer!
Went to a friend's place on the beach exactly once last year. Going to try to improve on that!
2. Do you have any tips or tricks for fly control?
I wish. Ginger gets sweet itch, so I'd love to find fail safe insect control. Since that's not happened, she's given vet prescribed meds, wears a sheet, is doused in oil based fly sprays, and wears a thick layer of zinc ointment on her belly to create a barrier to the insects.
3. How often do you bathe your horse?
They get hosed off after rides where they're sweaty but I'd say only get a proper bath a couple of times a summer.
4. Do you have any upcoming travel plans? Equine or otherwise?
We travel within the province for horse shows through October. For personal trips we'll likely go to a baseball game in Seattle this summer, and are planning an Okanagan trip in August. Then, either Mexico or Caribbean in November.
Super fancy horse show accommodations;) 
5. What is your favorite way to beat the heat?
Swimming! I'm irrationally scared of Jaws, so the ocean is a no go. Luckily, we also have lots of nice lakes.
This beach is about 5 min from my work, and often in my mind as I sit in my office under a blanket due to the crazy air con
6. Do you do anything to prevent your horse from sunbleaching?
No, they're both bay, but Bridget is a wild bay and Ginger looks more of a silver bay (she's not, but has the silver faded mane and tail - she's actually registered as chestnut despite having black legs). So, yeah, with natural color of both being kinda faded already, I don't worry about it.
7. How hot is too hot for you to ride?
It doesn't get too hot here, usually. The one time was when I got heatstroke at an event last year, it was 30 degrees Celsius or more for 4 days in a row and very little shade.
8. How important is sun protection for you riding or just in general?
I'm starting to notice sun damage from my younger days, so it's important to me. I'm pretty pale looking all the time now ;)
9. Have you ever gone swimming with your horse?
Yes, we lived for that as kids...there is a lake near our favorite trails that I still visit when I'm home. Bridget has only been in about belly deep, but I'm pretty sure she'd go swimming!
The lake. Just kidding, just another west coast puddle.
Actual lake
10. And because shopping is always on my mind, what’s on your summer wish list ?
I need a lightweight show coat and a helmet, but I haven't got to the point where I've even picked out any specific ones.  Other than that, not much. I went a little crazy with the fall sales last year and have lots of sun shirts and breeches :)

Friday, 12 May 2017

Week 7 Happenings

Bad news...the saddle didn't quite work. The good news is, it's the right shape and only slightly narrow, and does come in an XW width from the factory. So, options. I just priced out a new one and I'm looking at about 3k CAD, which might not happen soon, but is much more likely to happen than the 6k County Sensation on the demo list. So, we patiently continue to wait for a jumping saddle of our own.

In pony weight loss news, the vet took a look and is not happy with progress. So, pony now gets locked in 'jail' (aka her little winter paddock) at night with just one flake of hay in a net. I'm holding out hope that being in the 'big' summer paddock with the rest of the mares during the day will ramp up her daytime activity and help a bit too. Owning a super easy keeper is actually harder to manage than a thin, more athletic horse.

You gotta love the guy, but yeah. Midge and he might have a bit in common.

On to our fitness happenings for week 7. I've been sick and away from home, so only actually rode twice this week! However, Midge has been busy.

Friday: Last minute vaulting lesson

Saturday/Sunday: Midge got a vacation, because I needed one desperately and favorite working student was away competing.

Monday: Best dressage lesson.

Tuesday: Vaulting class. Midge cantered on the lunge for almost the whole thing. The kids are getting pretty excited, Midge is turning into a legit vaulting pony,

Wednesday: Flatwork, that wasn't really the best. Lots of canter, because she was a bit stuck and tired feeling. 60 min ride, 20 min walk, 20 min trot, 20 min canter (canter in approx 5 min intervals with trot) She's not at a stage where I can time intervals precisely, simply because I still need to insist on proper transitions and balance, and sometimes that just takes as long as it takes.

Thursday: Trainer ride, dressage. Reports were she was super!

Friday: Favorite working student is going to give her a jump school and hack.

Looking forward: I'm going home for a weekend of R&R. I'm seriously contemplating a big change in the work/life balance dept, but want to make sure I'm rested and have thought things through before I make any decisions. Midge is going for a trail ride on Saturday, then having Sunday off. I have a jump lesson on Monday. We have no show plans in the immediate future - I'm too burnt out for the drama that seems to accompany the local series, and it seems others felt the same because they cancelled the latest show due to lack of entries. I'm also wanting to save cash for the saddle situation. Currently, our next scheduled outing isn't until June 29, when we're planning on doing a back to back 4 day horse trials in the interior of the province. 4 full days of competition means I'd better keep up the fitness work!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

I Take It Back

The horses were all playing hard out in the field when I arrived at the barn last night. All except Midge, who in typical lazy pony fashion, just stood in the middle of it all looking somewhat bemused by their antics. Seriously pony, you aren't helping the fitness cause if you don't ever move on your own.
I have no shortage of pictures to illustrate Midge being lazy.

I had a new (to me) jumping saddle to try, and on first impressions, it looks promising for Midge. For me, well, it's a lot more beat up than I'd hoped and I suspect will need some $ spent to make it safe and usable (new billets for sure and some adjustments to the flocking. It also looks like it was left out in the rain more than once) EC is going to take a closer look, so cross your fingers for me that it at least fits OK - then even if this particular one is a no go, we have an idea of what might work.

Jeffries Elite. Would recommend if you're looking for generous room in the shoulders for a flatter backed horse. The leather quality is nice too, I'd compare it to the County Innovation in the barn, and it's half the price new (and uber cheap used here in North America where they're not trendy).
My actual ride last night? Not the best. Midge, who was so supremely uninterested in playing with friends earlier, suddenly developed an overwhelming fascination with their activities. She also felt really tired. So, a double whammy...can't possibly be forward, can't possibly focus on the job. We got some nice work, but it was not the best of rides. I take back the whole Second level thing...if last night was anything to go by, we'll see you out at Intro this summer ;)

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Like Magic

I had such a nice weekend away! Tack store browsing in Vancouver on Friday, followed by dinner and a movie. Then Hastings racetrack on Saturday because Kentucky Derby day is the best day to go - especially if "local" rider Mario Gutierrez is riding  in the derby! While Mario didn't make it a three-peat,  we still had a blast and I even won enough money to take G out for a nice dinner later. We drove up to Whistler for the rest of the weekend, just for some R&R.  While I haven't skied in years, I was inspired to book a return trip in the summer for some downhill mountain biking lessons and adventures. My horse obsession and getting Bridget fit has kind of taken over all my spare time of late, so it felt good to get away and be reminded of what a fantastic part of the country we live in and all of the fun non horsey things out there. I still have a life and interests outside of horses! Who knew? ;)

Thanks, pretty red mare for contributing to the dinner money. I loved this mare, she was so chill and professional.

Of course, I did miss the ponies and was happy enough to return for a dressage lesson last night. And again, I had the best ride ever. It could be due to the fact we were both feeling loose and relaxed after our nice mini break. There's much to be said for a mental and physical break.

It could also be my magic pants,  which I've blogged about before. They're a pair of super ancient kerrits tights with magical properties - they somehow look new after years  (more than 10!) of abuse. Most recently they became my barn chores/mucking out pants for the last two years. Of course when I forgot my breeches last night, the kerrits were crumpled up behind the seat of my truck and perfectly ready for duty. The secret to their longevity possibly involves being made of entirely of slippery, shiny, synthetic materials...not so great if you're looking for any sort of grip in the saddle. But! I've now discovered they're genius in my dressage saddle...I can move around, and use my seat. I'm never "stuck". Magic pants for the win,  I'm telling you!

Pretty local scenery

More likely, though, my good rides of late are due to remnants of magic trainer dust. EC has been riding Bridget once a week, and I think it shows. EC has an incredible knack for teaching humans and horses, and it seems Bridget has been paying attention in class!

Ginger has a TB look alike in training! 

I did my very best to not let down the team last night, and feel like I rode probably better than I ever have. There's a bit to think about there, because for once I wasn't sore and stiff in my back, and mentally I was not as uptight about making mistakes as I can get. I was truly in the moment and having nothing but fun for the first time in a long time.

B was a superstar. I'm starting to feel like second level is a realistic goal for the end of the summer. We had all the pieces tonight, and I felt like everything flowed and was super steady as well. The day to day consistency is obviously not there yet, but of course that will just take time. I'm excited that right now on a good day we're there! We've also been adding and asking for more engagement and suspension in all the gaits and it's starting to feel very exciting. I'm also loving that I can put her body pretty much anywhere I want and the losses of balance are becoming pretty minimal...shoulder in transitions up and down, changing the bend, spirals in and out with hannches or shoulder fore. She might lose a bit of power and need a bit of help, but it's starting to feel minor because she's gained the strength and education and I've got a better feel for the timing needed for success - we fix it now before things get weird. Obviously we have a ton of work ahead, but living in this moment, I'm super excited that we have a legit collected canter coming along with tons of lift, and the power of her "big" trot is able to be collected pretty reliably now.  When EC tells me to slow down the front end, or activate the hind, or put this leg or that leg here or her shoulders there, I have the tools, and B has the balance.

I'm still in disbelief that my not so fancy trail riding pony has so much try and a hidden aptitude for this dressage thing. Lucky, lucky me.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Fitness Week 6

Still rounder than we'd like, but believe it or not, much progress is being made - I can do up her girth again lol! Also, if my bank account grows substantially in the near future, I'll buy a saddle just like the one she's wearing. It's a County Sensation with a non forward flap. There were some custom alterations to the blocks done for the lesson kids, but it's surprisingly perfect for me as is! Instant love.

Saturday: Epic disaster show. Midge was a good girl, but we only ended up doing 1 round and maybe 20 min in the saddle tops.

Sunday: Mini jump school 30 min and hack (30min, up the big hill and back).

Monday: Best dressage lesson

Tuesday: Vaulting

Wednesday: Fitness hack. 60 min, big hills, walk/trot/canter/gallop.

And it continues to officially the second wettest spring in 125 years of counting.

Thursday: Trainer ride, dressage. She loves riding Midge and our 'couple of rides' agreement has morphed into another month. No complaints here, she gets way more done in a ride than I would in 10 lessons and the cost is the same as a single lesson :)

Friday: Midge gets a well earned day off.

Looking forward: Mini vacations for everyone! Our event in Vancouver this weekend was cancelled due to all the rain we've had. The XC field was ankle deep in water and very squishy when we were there a month ago, so I'm not too surprised. I'm actually slightly worried the June event will be cancelled too! They're running the May event as a combined test instead, but having just done one of those in April, we decided to opt out. I'm going to use my 3 days off work for a nice getaway with G instead, and Midge is getting a time out too. We're at week 6 of a 6-7 days a week schedule for her, and done a lot of hard work, so she deserves a couple of days off in a row to just chill. I feel even less guilty because this is the horse's first weekend of summer pasture time, so everyone will be running around like idiots and self exercising anyway :) We'll be back Monday with a jumping lesson!