Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Current Riding Playlist

1. Ritual// Ghost B.C.
2. Ain't No Rest for the Wicked// Cage the Elephant
3. Role Modelz// J. Cole
4. Lazaretto// Jack White
5. All Along the Watchtower// Jimi Hendrix
6. Tessellate// alt-J
7. Don't Fear the Reaper// Blue Oyster Cult
8. Don't Let Me Down// The Chainsmokers ft. Daya
9. Alright// Kendrick Lamar
10. Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)// Steel Panther

The chorus of Fat Girl is Lexie's anthem.

Moving from our temporary field to the new barn on Wednesday! So excited to get back at it.

Explains Candy's behavior at all times.

- K & C & L

Monday, July 11, 2016

Low Jumps, High Standards

Some barn drama and my lesson on Lexie this last weekend got me really thinking about my personal philosophy when it comes to riding. I putter around 2'6-2'9. I lease an older, but athletic horse, who, at her peak was going 1.10 m. I've been leasing her a year, but have been puttering around 2'9 at the most for about the last 7-8 months. Why? A myriad of reasons. Confidence issues for one- a freak face plant over a 3'3-3'6 vertical several years ago, fitness issues from the horse and rider, soundness issues for the horse, and a desire to move up in a manner I agree with.

My personal philosophy is that jumping is flatwork with speed bumps. I want to be fit. I want my horse to be fit, and our flatwork impeccable. Because Lexie is an older horse with past soundness issues, I'm careful about bringing her along, and limited to riding 4-5 days a week with school, work, and being on call. Would we be jumping higher if I rode 6 days a week every week? Without a doubt- she would be fit, and I would be ready to handle her fitness.

H and I had an epiphany during my lesson yesterday- Lexie doesn't run to be a brat. Sometimes, she really feels herself and wants to be strong and fast, but her flat, strung out canter? It's fitness. She isn't strong enough to hold herself, and I'm not strong enough to help her. Does a strung out canter matter over a cross-rail, 2'6, even 2'9? No- it really doesn't. Even most horses can get away with 3' flat and strung out. But to me, I can't ride a horse who feels like that.

I want a powerful hind end rocking back. I want a supple, rhythmic canter. I want to have a partnership with my horse where I am strong enough to support her when she needs it and she is strong enough to hold herself without me.

We're getting there- this last month hasn't been easy between abscesses, weather, and schedules, and Lexie has lost fitness. So H lowers the jumps in the lessons, and I up the frequency of trot sets and trot work and increase the time of our flat sessions (although, being on call the next 14 out of 21 days will make it interesting). 

I would rather jump small and tight than big and sloppy. I want the flatwork to be there before anything else. Once the flatwork is there, the jumps and the distances fall into place.

- K & C & L

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Flat Session: An Internal Dialogue

If anyone wants to know how my loose ring snaffle rides on Lexie go... Welcome.

K: "Leg yield a little bit. Get straight. Come on. Leg yield the other way. Freeee walk... Lift your back... Thank you..."

K: "Well, this trot is lovely. Even better over poles. What a good girl."

K: "Get off your forehand at the canter. Yes, we can hand gallop. Stretch your legs. Good girl..."

K: "Alright, let's try some collection. Equal pressure between hands and the mouth. Add leg to make her push up into the bridle, ask for a little contact. Leg into the hand, leg, leg, leg."

K: "Ok, leg yield at the trot. LEG YIELD. STOP CANTERING. Leg yield, leg yield, leg yiiiield- thank you."

K: "Haunches in- FOR THE LOVE, STOP CANTERING. STOP RUNNING. WHOA. BACK UP, back up, back up. Good girl. Light seat, slight squeeze, think swingy, and... haunches in, haunches in."


K: "Less hand, more leg and seat? MORE hand, MORE leg, MORE seat- stop sucking back. Supporting inside leg, wiggle inside hand, squeeze outside hand, bend, bend, bend, aaaaand that's it. That's an actual canter. Look at you, using your back. Look at me, actually riding. Now let's move off the circle, and trot."

K: "Ok, let's trot like a full size horse... What are your legs even doing right now? Are we gaiting? Are you having a seizure? Use my core, small post, smaller post, smaaaaller post, sit deep in my seat, and stop my body, aaaand we're... not square."

K: "Well, my thighs are burning, I can't feel my left hand, my abs hurt, and my back hurts... You're done. Let's walk, and you can have a cookie. Thanks for not killing me, and thanks for trying so hard for me."

"I do wut I want."

- K & C & L

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Guess Who's Back... Back Again...

Lexie's back. Tell a friend.

Homegirl is SOUND. The vet peeked at her and Candy- declared both problem children sound. Candy is still getting foot rads done to be safe, because with his body type/breed/age, I worry about a Cushing's related laminitic episode (I am a vet student after all).

I finally hopped on Lexie Friday for our first ride back. She was breathing fire. When she gets like this, I like to run through Novice and Training (eventing Novice and Training) dressage tests until she supples, and then we call it quits.

Saturday... I guess I was so excited she was back, I temporarily lost my mind and popped her over some medium cross-rails (2'6" in the middle). She was wonderful- responsive, and really using her hind. I'm still wrapping my head around the fact that in order to slow her down, I have to bend her, and ADD leg to get her pushing up into the bridle.
Lexie finally got her new half pad and she loves it!

We're lessoning twice this week so hopefully more posts to come.

- K & C & L