Friday, November 21, 2014

Before We Were Interrupted

I'm currently in New Orleans on a much needed vacation, but before I left McKenna and I had a lesson last weekend.  It was sunny, but cold, and knowing my trainer I took the mare for a lunge in the outdoor before the lesson.  Our indoor is small, and my trainer much prefers to use the outdoor, even if I'm beeing a weenie about it.  I hadn't taken McKenna out there since she dumped me the week before, partly due to said weenieness and partly due to rain and then freezing temps.
I also helped move 7 tons of hay that weekend so I was very tired and sore

When trainer got there we talked about what I've been doing with McKenna, mostly lots of transitions, circles, and figure 8s to keep her little mind engaged.  It's easier in the indoor, smaller with less distractions for her to use as escuses to be naughty.  For the lesson we pretty much stayed on a hunter course minus the jumps (long side, diagonal, long side, diagonal) for the whole time.  At various points on the pattern trainer would call out transitions for us to do, and at any point I felt McKenna get strong or counterbent I was to circle. 

It might not have been the most exciting or super productive lesson, but by the end I had a responsive horse who was listening to me and not  anxious and focused on other things.  Her brain was connected to her body, and we had some of our best upwards and downwards canter transitions. And, best of all, I had relaxed and wasn't expecting an explosion of ponytude every other stride.  Now, hopefully a week off won't undue all of this!
Found in NOLA.  Will be going on McKenna's halter

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Seat, Leg, Hand

It's something that I've had drilled into my head for years. Something I know inside and out, but one of the hardest things to do.

 I had a breakthrough moment during our ride Friday.  McKenna likes to rush through a couple of the corners in our indoor arena and I have been trying to half halt before and as we are going through them all week.  I say trying because once I really thought about it on Friday, I realized that I've just been holding her face, probably making her more nervous and or at least not getting her to slow and calm down.  But once I really thought about it, and rode the half halt seat, leg, then hand and made sure to let go, she slowed down and relaxed through the corners.  At one point she even broke to the trot. 

It seems like such an easy concept, but we all know how how something so easy can be so hard to practice.
We'll get there someday

Monday, November 10, 2014

Ass Meet Dirt

It was bound to happen with a baby at some point.  McKenna dumped me on Saturday.  She reared and spun and I didn't.  Not too much worse for wear, landed on my butt, but my lower back is not super happy.  Luckily she was easy to catch and after quite a bit of lunging I got back on.

We had been trotting around for 10 mins or so and she was high as a kite.  I had already lunged her, and I was going back and forth in my head about getting off and lunging some more.  She was getting bold down the long side so I went to circle. She protested, I got stronger with my aids, and she went up and sideways.  While I was super pissed at the time, I can't really be mad at her.  Between the change in weather (getting into the 30s-40s at night), lack of turnout, not being ridden in the outdoor in more than a week, and general baby OTTBness, I should have seen it coming. She might have a trainer ride on Wednesday and we have a lesson on Sunday so hopefully we can get some help. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Quiet Week

When we left off last week McKenna was scheduled for her adjustment with our chiropractor.  Luckily her biggest issues were with her poll and neck, her back and hips felt great.  I was slightly worried that her back was wonky, as my saddle doesn't fit her great, but I was happy that's not the case. Of course that makes it harder for me to daydream up ways to justify a new saddle, but oh well. We got complimented on how McKenna's filling out and the chiro agreed with me that she's finally starting to look like a grown up horse, as opposed to a baby still growing.   Some of the other boarders had their horses looked at as well, most for the first time, and everyone loved our chiro as much as I do.  She's also a dressage trainer/clinician and we've had her out before for clinics, and everyone at the barn seemed interested in having her out for another.

Non related pic of the ponies playing together
We didn't do a whole lot else last week, the barn was really busy every evening and I didn't have a lot of time to work the ponies.  Then over the weekend my parents came up for a quick 48hr trip.  This week I did a couple flat rides, starting our No Stirrup November.  I'm comfortable dropping my stirrups for the sitting trot with McKenna, but when I try posting she gets tense and wants to either speed way up or stop completely. Last night we did manage a full lap around the indoor posting without stirrups, so we'll keep chipping away at it.  My goal for the end of the moth is to be able to drop them at the canter for at least a lap.

Loving my new composite stirrups.  So much lighter!