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. 

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Summer Break

 Cinder's had a little summer break the past two weeks. We've been riding and lessoning, but have dialed it back a notch or two. 

She melts

We've added spurs to the mix in the past few weeks as well. Cinder is much more of a push ride and I only have some much leg to push with. Especially when it's hot. Cin is a true PNW resident and believes that any temp over 80* is just offensively hot. I had one lesson two weeks ago where I nearly died trying to keep her going around a little course and asked A if I could have spurs. I've been using just tiny nubby spurs, but they've been a big help. Cin was a little offended the first time I used them, but the worst thing she did was toss her head. 

The barn has gotten a few new horses in this month, and they were all mares. When it was only 3 or 4 of them, the girls used to be turned out in the smaller group field, but now since there's 5 to 6 (one currently on stall rest for an injury) the mares got switched to the big group field and the three geldings are in the smaller field. There were a few days when the girls were playing favorites and trying to work out pecking order, but so far it seems that Cinder has come out on top. One of the other new girls (who just turned 3) can be pushy but she seems to like Cinder and defer to her. It helps that Cin is biggest one out there and that she's not possessive of any of the others. 

We've had a heat wave this week and since I had Tuesday off from work, we moved my regular Monday evening lesson to Tuesday morning. Why ride when it's going to be 90* after working all day when you could ride in the morning at a nice 70*? As I was driving up, A texted asking if I wanted to go on a trial ride for my lesson. She had some things she wanted to talk through with me, and everyone knows trail ride talk therapy is good for the soul. I said it sounded perfect, and it was. 

Cinder's downfall

We were out on the trial for about an hour, going up the steepest hills and looping around the far field to avoid the water truck watering the grapes. Cinder was in the Equibands and thought those combined with hill work was abuse. Then we tried going down one of the smaller side trials only to find it had been taken over by berries. Cinder was even more offended and at one point tried to jump out? jump ahead? jump in rage? but ended up doing a sort of bunny hop thing. She wants everyone to know she is a show hunter, not a field hunter. She did end up losing a hind shoe at some point during the ride, and I'm pretty sure it was here during her bonny hop thing. A and I went back to try and find the shoe, but it's long gone.