Thursday, December 7, 2023

Rainier Equestrian Events: December 2023 Show

 At the end of November, right about when I stopped riding, Trainer A decided she wanted to take her new horse out to a h/j schooling show to get more rounds under their belts. She asked if I wanted to go as her groom/jumperland interpreter for the weekend and of course I said yes. We both were a little sad that I couldn't ride in it, then A asked if I wanted her to show Cin. I initially said no, as I still hadn't gotten my bill from the ER visit in September and I knew I had more medical bills looming. But my mom offered to pay for the show as an early Christmas present, so we entered Cin last minute. 

All photos bought from On Murden Cove Photography

Rainier Equestrian Events puts on USHJA Outreach shows on the west side of the greater Seattle/Tacoma area, and its about 3hrs from Cinder's barn. Neither A nor myself had been there before, but from what we could see online, their shows looked nice and they set fences to height. Most of the outreach shows around us tend to set soft, so this would be a good test for both Cinder and Surelock. 

 We left early Saturday morning, and it was absolutely awful in Portland. Pouring rain, strong winds, standing water on the roads, just flat out horrible weather. Thankfully the weather cleared up and when we made it to the show, it was sunny and dry, if still a little cold. We were lucky to get a good parking spot by the ring, and timed it right to slowly start getting Cinder ready after we checked in. It had rained earlier in the week in WA, so the outdoor arena that's usually used for warm-up was closed, and part of the covered arena had been blocked off for warm-up. It was a small space, but thankfully there weren't many horses warming up when A got on. Cinder was entered in a 2'9" round, and two 3' rounds and there was one other horse in the 2'9" and no one else in the 3'. 

Cinder was great in warm up. Walked right into the arena like she'd been there a hundred times before and got right to work. A big group of six riders came in to warm up for a costume contest/eq on the flat class and even with the small space and some wound up horses Cinder didn't care. I'm still so in awe at how professional she's become this year when showing. 

All three of A's rounds had the same course, so that made learning and discussing the course super easy. That, plus the lines being set on a 10' stride, would be my only complaints about this show. If you're going to offer two hunter rounds at the same height, make them different courses. And if you're setting to height, set the lines on a 12' stride, especially for the bigger classes. We've been working on getting Cinder to open up for the 12' stride without running off her feet, so to have to reel her back in for the 10' stride was a little challenging. 

Trainer A used the 2'9" round as their schooling round, to get a feel for arena and how the lines rode. Cinder was little distracted by people sitting outside the ring, but didn't care at all about any of the fences, or the shadows along the one far side. We knew the lines would ride tight, but overall both A and I were happy with the round. The other horse in the class was a very seasoned horse with a professional riding, and they rightly earned first. I asked A about doing one warm-up fence between the 2'9" and 3' to let Cinder know the jumps had gone up, but she didn't think they needed to since they had schooled 3' while warming up. I had my doubts, and was proven correct when Cinder jumped into the top rail of the first fence in the first 3' round. So now, even if A doesn't think we need to, I'm going to make sure we jump at least once bigger fence between rounds at different heights. Cinder also broke to the trot on the long approach to the single oxer when A asked her to settle a little, but they were able to pick the canter back up and had a decent distance to the fence. 

The third round was definitely their best round. Cinder was getting tired and the lines got a little tighter, and she missed a lead change, but even with the bobbles both A and I were super happy. Cinder was a total professional, marching right around a new arena with no hesitation or issues. She also settled into her stall after her rounds with no problem, and didn't care at all when Surelock left for his jumper rounds. I'm so glad we were able to take her, and hopefully we can make it back up to some of their shows next year. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Handing Over the Reins

Back in September I ended up in the ER with what I thought was a ruptured appendix. It turned out to a ruptured ovarian cyst, which for the record, really fucking hurts. I was told to follow up with my regular doctor because it appeared I had another cyst on the same ovary. Two ultrasounds and one MRI later, it turns out I a massive 15cm (and growing!) cyst on my right ovary. 

Love watching Trainer A school Cin

I'm going to have my ovary removed sometime in January, but I'm in this weird in between place right now. Both my regular doctor and the surgeon gave me the ok to do some light riding, as long as it doesn't hurt (which sometimes it does) and as long as I don't fall off. Falling off could cause the cyst to rupture or twist, both of which would be extremely painful and would require emergency surgery. The cyst sometimes gives me what feels like the worst period cramps when I'm not on my period, or feels like a rock in pelvis with a burning pain going from my thigh to my ribs along my right side, and it occasionally pushes on my bladder making it feel like I have to pee RIGHT NOW.  None of which is conducive to a good ride. 

So I've decided to hand over the reins to Trainer A until after my surgery. Once I have a surgery date set, I'll probably hop on one last time since I won't be allowed back in the tack for 4wks. At least my ovary picked the right time of year to put me on stall rest. I do not mind not riding in the pour rain, wind, darkness after work, or freezing temps. Hopefully winter will be on its way out when I can get back into the saddle. 

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Winter Work

 I know its still technically Fall, but it feels like Winter. The days are dark and short, its cold and wet, horses are bundled up in their blankets, and show season is over. Our rides lately have been more focused on finesse and flatwork, and less on jumping and course work. 

No stirrup lunge line lesson for No Stirrup November

We had our first lunge line lesson last week, and I was happily surprised at how well it went. Giving up control of the reins was hard for me, but a good 50% of the lesson was at the walk so it wasn't too bad. We started out with lots of stretching and rotating of body parts. Cinder was slightly confused with me waving my arms and legs around, but was more than happy to just walk a slow circle around A. She got more concerned once we started trotting and I flailed a little up there. I realized I haven't really done no stirrup work with her; I've done some at the walk but haven't trusted her up to this point to do it at the trot. Thankfully her trot is pretty darn comfy, and once she figured out she was allowed to do a western jog and I found my balance, we had a fun time. 

Just in case you think Cinder is all grown up now, she went on a hunger strike and refused to eat her supplements so now she gets a small scoop of candy with her grain.

About half of the IL horses in the barn were/are still in Thermal for their winter circuit and when they're gone not a lot of jumps are set. One of their at home assistants set up a fun little box exercise, with a one stride going up the center line, a bounce going across from E-B, and four single fences going diagonally out from the corners of the box. We played around with that configuration for a couple of weeks, doing the jumps as singles, then trying to angle them and do the two on each side as in and out. Cinder was very confused the first time we tried the angled in and out, but jumped no matter how poor my steering was. Once she figured it out she kept going for the direct two strides, instead of the bending three trainer A wanted me to get. 

She was in full blown heat over the weekend and was much more interested in where the other horses were than in working.

We also had lessons where Trainer A took the jumps down and we did different pole exercises. Walk poles, trot poles, canter poles, trotting into the box and halting before the trotting out of the box, etc. We even attempted a turn on the haunches in the box, which Cinder thought was very stupid. I told her to channel her 12.5% APHA pleasure horse blood, and she said no thank you, I prefer to go over the poles, not move my body around them. 

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Working on Our Fitness

 Cinder got a few days off after the show, with bodywork the day after and acupuncture last Tuesday. I wasn't there for the acupuncture, but apparently Cin had quite the reaction to the bladder point and on her left stifle. The phrase "bucking in the crossties" was used. Her stifles are definitely her weak spots, and since we have a short period left before the trails get too muddy and slick, Trainer A took Cin out for fitness on the hills last week. Nothing like hill work to strengthen those stifles! 

All photos bought from Lark Photography

Cinder still has an issue with the section of trail we call the beaver dam since it's a pond on one side and marshy wetlands on the other with a nice wide gravel path in between and she can hear the sound of running water. She fucking hates water. Trainer A schooled it with her one of the days last week, after cantering her up the big hill for the first time, so she was tired and less likely to bolt across it like she usually does. My lesson last Friday had gotten moved to Saturday, but A told me to hand walk Cin out to the beaver dam on Friday with a big bag of treats, and a stud chain. 

When we went out, the BO had a burn pile going in a different section of the property and Cinder wasn't super happy about the smoke, or their barking dog that she could hear but not see. We walked out to the dam with only minimal stopping for grass and staring off into the distance, and Cinder confidently marched down the hill and across the dam like a pro. There's an apple tree on the west end (we came from the east) so I stopped and got a few apples for Cin. She got one there, and then we turned around and stopped in the middle of the dam to eat the second apple. Once she finished and we started walking, she did one little spin spook, so we turned around and went back across again, stopping in the middle, before turning around again and crossing like a good pony. She got plenty of treats for that, and then once we made it back up the hill she got to graze while I caught my breath. 

My lesson on Saturday was another fitness trail ride, and this time another one of A's students joined us. Despite being the tallest horse in the group, Cinder is the slowest walker and the two OTTBS we were with powered on ahead while we meandered behind them. Once we got to the bottom of the big field we took off in a trot, and again, the two OTTBs powered up the hill while Cinder picked her way behind them. Unfortunately, the other student's horse bolted about half way up the hill, and A took off after them. Cinder was very good about being left behind and calmly walked down to where the other horse had offloaded his person. She was more worried about the person in the ditch than the horse bolting, or the other one leaving her behind. Thankfully the other student was ok, just some scrapes and soreness, and her horse made it back to the barn unscathed.  

It's been raining most of this week, but is supposed to be clear, and cold, for the next week so hopefully we (and by that I mean Trainer A) can fit more hill work in. I tend to not go out on the trails by myself, but I'm going to try and get out on them more when daylight and weather allows. I know my horse isn't scared of being out on the big hill alone, I just need to trust myself more. 

Monday, October 23, 2023

Bucket List: Win a Cooler

 Check! With winning the MDT Events series champion, we won a cooler!! 

It's a nice weight, fleece Horze cooler that's a size too big for Cin, but we'll make it work. I'll probably only use it when we go places (gotta show off), or as a blanket for myself in the winter when I'm watching lessons/A ride. 

I tried to convey to Cin how cool this is, and how proud I am of her for winning this, but she was less than impressed and was mad that I wouldn't let her graze while trying to take pics. 

Thursday, October 19, 2023

MDT Heirloom Show: October 2023

 We did our last show of the season on Saturday. It was a two day show, but we only decided to do one day as the body worker had already been scheduled for the second day. And despite a few bobbles, I'm really happy with how we ended our season. 

We had originally planned our move up to the 2'3" at this show, doing two rounds at that height plus an under saddle, but the show secretary posted their series points the week before and Cin and I were in the lead for year end champ in the 2'. And, as I told trainer A, I really wanted to point chase and get that series champ. So we ended up doing a 2' round, the 2' under saddle, and then a 2'3" round. 

Our lesson the day before the show

Trainer A was showing her new horse in the 1.0 and 1.10m jumpers earlier in the day, so we hauled over to the show with them and Cinder got to hang out in the trailer while A showed. She was perfect, happily munching her hay and not caring at all when Surelock left. Which was great, because Surelock had a massive meltdown when it was time to switch and he had to stay at the trailer when Cin left. Thankfully show management let A use an empty stall free of charge. Just one more reason we love this show series!

I was hoping the pro photos would be posted, but until they are have a blurry screenshot

 I let my nerves get to me a bit in warm up, but Cinder was foot perfect. Our 2' round was ok, I know I added in all the lines and didn't ride my best, but we nabbed a 3rd out of 7. When we went in for the flat, I heard one of the other trainers telling her kid that "Molly is a great hunter ride, just watch what she does and follow her." and that gave me a big kick in the ass to actually ride like I know what I'm doing. We had an unfortunate break in the right lead canter when I half halted without enough leg, but we still got a second.  

Spoiler alert

We walked around to keep Cin warm while they adjusted for the 2'3" and A asked if I wanted to jump anything else. I said no, but I should have because Cinder clobbered the first fence in our round. Now we know that when we do a warm-up round at a lower height we need to school the bigger height after. I was really, really happy with the rest of round. I did add in the first outside line, but picked up the pace and made the strides in the other line. We rightfully didn't place, but that's ok. Cinder felt like an absolute seasoned pro marching right around and not caring at all about me being a nervous wreck on her back. It was a great way to end our show season.  

Friday, October 6, 2023

Foto Friday

 Instead of trying to recap everything for the past few weeks, how about I just sum it up with some pictures?

Fall is here (despite the current heat wave yesterday and today) and it was time to sort through all my blankets. Cinder has already worn her sheet for a week or so during our first rain storm because she is a princess who hates getting wet. Peebs on the other hand is very happy to be a muddy mess.

Cinder got her own custom saddle! I stayed with the Voltaire Palm Beach, just with different panels and a larger seat size. Cinder had outgrown the used one I got last year, and since it never quite fit me right and finding a used saddle with a larger seat size with short flaps is almost impossible, we decided it was time to go fully custom. It's beautiful and so comfortable to ride in. 

I had a lesson last week where Cin and I weren't quite clicking, so we ended on a good note and then A hopped on to take Cin over the new course that had been set that morning. 

A bunch of jumps had just gotten repainted and Cinder had to stare down a few of them, because DIFFERENT, but she was so good and so game. The yellow gate used to be a light gray, and Cinder was very concerned that it was now bright yellow. She didn't seem to care that the jump was 1.0m, her first at that height. She did jump it, but pulled the rail. 

Second time was easy peasy

Cinder is currently in her once a quarter "I like boys" phase and thinks the new OTTB gelding Spin is the best thing ever. I give it a week till she hates him again. 

I fed at Cinder's barn a few times last week while the regular pm feeding was gone and A was at a horse trial. I've helped A feed before, but never done it all by myself, and let me tell you, feeding 56 horses is a lot. I much prefer feeding the four horses at Peebs barn. 

Friday, September 22, 2023


Summer is transitioning into fall here in the PNW and I couldn't be happier about it. Temps are cooling, rain is in the forecast, and Cinder is feeling good. Its so obvious that she's a cold weather girl, and not a fan of hot girl summer. 

After her couple easy weeks, Cinder came out ready to work. We had a few great flat lessons where we were able to put a bit more pressure on her, ask for more, and she stepped right up. We played around with transitions within the gaits, doing the numbers game where 5 is a normal working trot and then going up to an 8, and back down to a 4, then a 7, etc. Trainer A wanted me to focus on keeping her connected and round, and we got some really, really nice trot work. 

I helped A out with her filly at the KWPN keuring and that itty bitty forelock braid is the cutest thing I've ever seen 

The highlight was our canter work. I was able to keep that rounder frame going into the canter, and it felt magical. Going left is Cin's easier direction, and once I got her where I wanted in the connection, she was able to keep it with minimal input from me. It felt so nice. The right lead is a little harder, but it still felt so good. 


Unfortunately all that flat work didn't quite translate to our jumping. In our lesson last week Cinder was a bit distracted and I couldn't quite get her fully connected. We did a few singles off a long approach, and the easiest was the square oxer on the diagonal, go figure. I started overthinking the ride to the single on the outside, as well as the outside line on the other long side. I was micromanaging her too much, without having enough impulsion. Trainer A told me I was working too hard to make the distances happen, and that I needed to get a good rhythm with impulsion, and let the distances happen. That was light bulb moment and everything became much easier after that. 


Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Summer Vacay

 Cinder got two easy weeks after Split Rock. The first week saw temps up to 108*, so even if she hadn't shown the week before, she would have gotten the time off anyways. At the end of that week the vet was out and Cinder got some acupuncture. She was tight in her back and slightly stocked up behind, probably due to the show and not moving around during the heat wave. She's a horse that when the temps are above 85 she's sure she can't possibly move, and the barn was only doing half day turnout so she was in under her fan more than normal. Vet recommended a few days of bute and easy work, so Trainer A took her on a couple trail rides and the legs bounced right back. The tightness in her back is also partly due to my saddle, but I have the fix for that on order and it should be here in the next few weeks.

Barn cat likes to judge you while you mix up supplement containers

Last week I was swamped with work and then my mom and I had a weekend away in Central Oregon. I didn't make it out to the barn for over a week and I felt like a bad pony mom. Cinder got some more trail ride and a stretchy flat ride while I was gone. She did manage to find trouble while I was away. The horse in the paddock next to her sat on the fence, and then freaked out when the hot tape wound around her hind legs. That set Cinder off, and she managed to scrape up one of her hind legs as well. It's all superficial, but she's one that swells easily, so when I came out for my lesson on Monday it was still pretty stocked up. She was 100% sound, so that's good. 

Now that the pasture is dead, Peebs is enjoying getting turned out on it for half a day, instead of being 24/7 in his dry lot. 

We decided to go on a trail ride for my lesson, as it was very humid (for Oregon. I know it's nothing compared to the east coast). The bugs were out in full force and Cinder was not happy about it. She kept having mini tantrums during the ride and would stop to try and get at the bugs on her. There's one section of the trail that Cin hates; you have to cross over a culvert with a little pond on one side, and a stream on the other. Jazzy, the mare Trainer A was riding, is usually pretty solid, but she spooked hard at that crossing so Cinder said no thank you. I dug my heels into and pushed her forward, and she ended up bolting across it and tried to run up the hill on the other side. A wanted me to stop her and come back down and let her stand for minute to see that the culver wasn't scary, but when I went to circle back, she reared twice. They were tiny rears, but as we were still going up hill I didn't trust her to keep her balance and gave up. A was fine with me giving up, and we'll revisit that crossing later. By the time we got back to the barn both Cinder and I were covered in sweat and so happy to be done. Hopefully my lesson on Friday isn't as exciting!

Friday, August 18, 2023

Split Rock Portland 2: Long Stirrup Hunter

 Originally we had hoped that Split Rock would have a 2'3" junior/amateur division for me to show in. We're ready to move up from the 2', but not quite ready to debut at the 2'6" (and we plan to do that at a schooling show, not a rated one), but they didn't, so we entered the short stirrup division. Management said they would split the division into short and long if entries warranted, and thankfully they did. My division was supposed to run Saturday and Sunday, in the afternoons.

Barn friends that keep you and your horse hydrated are the best

Saturday I had two over fences classes that were scheduled to go at 1:45, but ended up going closer to 2:30. I was way more nervous that I thought I would be, and combined with the temps at nearly 90*, I was a hot mess, in more ways than one. Thankfully Cinder acted like the seasoned pro she's turning into, and was foot perfect for me in the warm-up. 

Our first round started with a longish approach to a single diagonal, and I nailed it. It felt perfect and I was so happy that I kinda forgot to ride to the next line. We had to come around past the in gate, to an 8 stride outside line along the judge's booth. As soon as we turned down the long side, I heard A tell me to ride her forward, and I did put my leg on, but not enough. I saw the long spot to the first fence and froze, instead of moving her up. I did realize that that was going to make the 8 harder and I tried to push her forward, but we got to the out long as well. The rest of the course rode well, minus having to do a simple change. We placed third out of five. Our second round had a couple of bobbles. I did ride her forward for the 8 better, but added a stride in the diagonal line and had to do another simple change. We placed fourth in that round. 

Final ribbon count for the week

Both Cin and I were hot and sweaty when we were done, and I started having doubts about Sunday. The heat wave was going to get hotter, with Sunday's forecasted high at 100*. A and I discussed it as we waited around for ribbons, and we decided to scratch. Neither Cinder nor I handle the heat very well, and as much as I love ribbons, it wasn't going to be worth it. There's only so much mesh shirts and show coats can do, after all.  We had survived our first rated show, and done well, so why not quit while we were ahead. I am still slightly disappointed at having to miss Sunday, but I'm so, so proud of how good Cinder was all week and I know it was the right decision. There's always another horse show. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Split Rock Portland 2: Pro-Day 2

 Thursday was the second day of showing and Cinder had two over fences rounds to finish up her division. We once again went first thing in the morning for A's jumper rides, then ran back to the barn to grab Cinder for her divisions. Cinder had been very itchy Wednesday night, and since about half the horses in her division weren't braided, I had pulled her braids out. I really like the braided look, but it wasn't worth her being so itchy. 

Still cute sans braids

Cinder was pretty miffed about not being turned out, and was a bit of a brat to load. I had looped the lead rope around my hand, so of course she tried to run sideways instead of loading, and my thumb got a nice rope burn. Mr. Stud Chain them came out to play and Cinder loaded perfectly. 

At the show she was very well behaved, but very tired. She still tried her heart out, but she blew a lead change in both rounds. Flying changes are still relatively new for her, and I'm not surprised they were the first thing to go when she was tired. We're going to implement flying change boot camp this winter, because A wants to show her in the 3' next year but I've put my foot down and said she has to have a change for that division. Even with the missed changes, she placed 7th in her first round. Both A and I were very happy with her for still trying even when it was obvious she was exhausted. She got a very well deserved Friday off in the pasture before my division started on Saturday. 

Monday, August 14, 2023

Split Rock Portland 2: Warm-Up and Pro Day 1

 Cinder made her rated show debut and I made my return to the rated ring after 14 years last week. We went to the second week of the Split Rock Jumping Tour's Portland stop. I went to spectate last year and loved the show grounds and the atmosphere so it was #1 on my list for Cin's rated show debut. 

Heading out to school on warm-up day

The show is about 15mins away from Cinder's barn, and since I'm on a bit of a budget and stalls were $$ for the week, and looked smaller than the 10x10 they were supposed to be, we decided to just haul in. We did take Cinder over on Tuesday for ticketed warm-ups and to check in. Due to the VS outbreak in California, all horses had to be inspected before unloading and it was easier to get that out of the way on Tuesday vs Wednesday when she would be showing. 

From where trailers parked to where the hunter rings were was quite the hike. Trainer A was riding, thankfully, because Cinder was a bit impressed with the atmosphere walking around the grounds. There's a pond on the property and when we walked by on Tuesday, dogs and kids were splashing around and causing a ruckus that Cinder did not like. She thankfully settled once we got to the rings, and schooled in both rings like a pro. She took a little peak at one of the logs from the derby, but jumped it on the second try without hesitation. 

We went back home and she got braided Tuesday night. She was very confused why someone was standing on the stool next to her for so long, but she was a good sport about it. I was a bit worried she'd rub her braids out overnight, as she can be an itchy girl, but there was only one that came a little loose that I had to tighten up. 

Cinder got to meet her older half sister Izzy, and made her look like a pony. Izzy definitely didn't get their mom's height gene

Trainer A had another horse she was showing in the jumpers first thing in the morning, so we ran over to the show without Cinder for that. Split Rock requires formal attire for all their jumper classes, so there were quite a few hunters being shown in white breeches all week. We had just enough time after the jumper classes to run back home, grab Cin, and head back over to the show. 

Cinder was showing with A in the USHJA 2'6" hunters, and it was a full division with 13 entries. They had two over fences and the under saddle on Tuesday. Cinder warmed up well and A was able to watch a couple of horses go before heading in for their first trip. Cinder spooked at the photographer, who was wearing a neon green shirt, coming around a corner, but otherwise we were really happy with the round. She made all the distances, got her leads, and minus the spook, was pretty consistent. She didn't place, but I figured that would happen. 

All pro photos bought from Winslow Photography

Their second round was also very lovely, and earned them a fifth. Cinder marched around the ring like she'd done it hundreds of times before, and didn't look as green as she is. I was so proud of her and A, who was also doing her first rated h/j show. 

There were some lovely movers in the flat, and I honestly expected Cinder to place middle of the pack. A rode her a touch conservatively, but Cinder was getting tired and A was trying to hold her together versus asking for brilliance. So I was shocked to hear their number called in second. I still don't believe that I own a horse that can take a good piece of the hack, but I guess I do. I guess all that dressage does pay off. 

Pro day two, and my time in show ring, to come later this week! 

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

The Fun Stuff

 Last Friday I was happy to see a few fences set up in ring for my lesson. My brain was still fried from our dressage heavy lessons and jumping felt so much easier. Our warm-up was pretty short and sweet, focusing on getting Cinder forward with minimal effort on my part. We did some shortening and lengthening of her stride to check adjustability before we started to jump. 

Cin's nickname in the barn is Hotdog, so when I saw the Mane Jane hotdog spur straps, I had to get them. Now I'm on the hunt for a hotdog charm to clip into her braids. 

We started over fences with a cross rail on a diagonal going back and forth, stopping on a straight line. We then moved on to two brush boxes that were set up on the center line with no standards. I was slightly worried because Cin can sometimes get wiggly to jumps without standards and has run out before, but she was totally fine with these. 

There were two outside verticals set and we did those in a big circle. A wanted me to make the circle big enough that it wasn't a jumper turn to them, but not so big that I was cantering in space forever. The first time through them Cin was a bit behind my leg and I had to move her up a bit to both. They weren't bad jumps, but not super great ones either. During our second pass I thought I had her in front of my leg, but when I went to steady to both fences she broke to the trot. But third time was the charm. We did a circle before starting and I made sure to rev her up a bit and both fences flowed really well. We quit on that good note. 

The barn hosted a Muddy Princess mud run over the weekend and they parked in Cin's pasture and she was concerned about it

For my lesson on Monday, A asked if I wanted to jump or flat. The same few fences were set up, along with a mini jump chute. To both of our surprise, I said flat. The jump configuration was a little boring and why waste time and effort on them again. In the trot work we did some small circles, focusing on bringing the outside shoulder around and getting Cinder to really sit on her butt. A said she wanted to play around with baby walk pirouettes, something Cin's never done. It took me a few tries to understand how much I had to whoa with my hand, but go with my leg. 

After a few attempts each way, as I was coming out of a pirouette, A told me to canter and both Cinder and I were like WTF? I asked and she kinda scrambled into it. Poor Cin felt overwhelmed but she stayed with me and kept trying. A would have us canter a few circles, back to the walk, walk pirouette a time or two, then back to canter out of the pirouette. Our attempts were very rough and much more huntery than real dressagey, but I was proud of both of us for toughing it out.  Cinder said it was very hard work and that she was very tired. I told A that it was really fun and that I like this type of dressage. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

My Brain's Broken

 Cinder got her shoe put back on last week and we jumped right back into the hard stuff. Trainer A has started focusing on the flying changes with Cin, and in both my lesson last Saturday and Monday we worked on them. And it broke my brain. 

Trainer A's Sea Lion filly was born a week and a half ago with mom giving absolutely no signs of foaling so everyone was super excited for SURPRISE BABY!! And don't worry, her legs have straightened out, she was like 12hrs old in this pic

To set up the flying changes, A has us schooling canter leg yields. The leg yields themselves aren't super great yet, and the spurs definitely help with them. Cinder is still in the " want to go forward fast" vs "go sideways" stage with asking for the leg yields and I tend to get a bit discombobulated trying to package her and keep her from squirting out in front of me. 

All ready figured out that she loves butt scratches

What really broke my brain was when A told me while tracking right to keep Cinder's haunches towards the right, but then push her over to the left. I legit couldn't figure out how to work my legs to make that happen. I had to stop and told A "I don't know how to do that." She walked me through what she wanted me to do, then as I picked the canter back up told me again where to place each of my legs, and how much pressure she wanted me to use. And what do you know, it worked really well. 

I'm not sure why this broke my brain so much but I think when I've done canter leg yields before they've been the kinda half assed h/j version while A is making me to the much more correct actual dressage version. Dressage is hard.