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2019 is a wrap, and so many mixed emotions.

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  • 2019 is a wrap, and so many mixed emotions.

    Last year I took the drastic step, for me, of deciding my Red Mare and I were not going to progress any more, in terms of Dressage, and in our general life together. Fate was kind, I advertised her just as her breeder was wondering if she could buy her back...she was sold in less than a day. Then in October last year I had my knee replacement surgery.

    Roll forward to January, I’m ready to ride, but the mare I was hoping to step into wasn’t working out, so my first ride back was on a 16.3hh TB who I have admired from afar for a long time. Saw horse, rode horse, had such a smile, bought horse...it’s possible I have never confessed to DH exact price of horse... Getting to know Chuck was problematic, January and February were just so cold, we are talking -40*C type cold here, not a lot of riding got done, then the weather started turning. I got flu, following that had all sorts of breathing issues, only found out a few weeks ago that we had black mould behind a panel where I sit in the family room

    So, Chuck and I far from taking on Level Two, which is kind of why I bought him, have ended up doing walk trots and basic/ training level. I hadn’t realized the jump from my very ambly, sit to the trot QH types, to a big and huge striding TB would be. He is very safe, and mainly trustworthy, but I have been having issues trusting his canter, it’s a big transition step he takes!

    So on one hand, I have had a lot of fun this season, he has taught me loads, I am becoming a better rider. We have a wall full of ribbons, green and gold are our first place ones, and 3 championships and one reserve championship. I should feel great right? Well to be honest, entries were really low for most shows this year, so it was easier maybe to place and win. Our marks have varied from low 50’s, Chuck did not like the judges table, and refused to get close to it, to upper 60’s, broke into the 70’s a couple of times I guess.

    I don’t know, so many mixed feelings we ‘should’ be at a higher level, but I guess we need to work on cantering all winter, weather permitting, until it is a complete non issue for both of us. Part of me says. Look you are top side of 60, you aren’t brave, you don’t have to push you can ride at whatever level you like....but on the other hand.....



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    "He's not even a good pathological liar." Mara

    "You're just a very desperate troll, and not even a good one. You're like middle-school troll at best. Like a goblin, not even a troll." et_fig

  • #2
    You did great this year. Back pats while looking at “Wall of Triumphs”. So you are saying you are old, okay. You don’t have to push, you CAN ride any level you want. That means if you want to work all winter and even half of spring to move on and up (big canter) you are allowed that time.

    This is sorta where I am at, and have been. My sisters keep telling me... ‘go for it’. What do you want to be looking back at next year? I want to say, “It took all year but I did it” or “It took all year and I tried but didn’t quite make it.” I don’t want to look back and say, “maybe I could have done more.” But I also reserve the right to say... “changed my mind.”

    I keep talking about getting another horse but the one I have is sweet, decent and we are still progressing. But you have new horse, new knee and a WALL of great ribbons. And keep in mind you can only beat the horses that show up. That means YOU showed up. Just keep showing up. On the other hand, that cold might stop just about everyone. At some point it is NOT in your best interest to work the horse. -8 C (17 F) is the temperature that I have heard is bad for horses breathing ( deep breathing as in canter work).

    More back pats... and keep up the good work.

    Comment


    • #3
      I feel your "top side of 60" pain. Its hard to transition to a different type of ride, but you will get there. I rode and showed a TB for 5 or so years - he was a saintly schoolmaster, but it took me forever to learn to sit his trot. It was never easy but eventually good enough. Do you have access to anyone who can give you some longe line lessons? Four or five helped me a fair amount. Re the canter - (and everything in dressage I sometimes think) the solution is transitions. A million, Serpentines great for this. You will be moving up - perhaps sooner than you think.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by 2tempe View Post
        I feel your "top side of 60" pain. Its hard to transition to a different type of ride, but you will get there. I rode and showed a TB for 5 or so years - he was a saintly schoolmaster, but it took me forever to learn to sit his trot. It was never easy but eventually good enough. Do you have access to anyone who can give you some longe line lessons? Four or five helped me a fair amount. Re the canter - (and everything in dressage I sometimes think) the solution is transitions. A million, Serpentines great for this. You will be moving up - perhaps sooner than you think.
        I have a feeling that this will be a winter of transitions ,

        Oh yes, that’s the other thing, my long time coach just up and moved to BC, so I have a new coach. I think she might be into lunging. Chuck is good on the lung, so might be an idea. She has ridden Chuck, and her best suggestion, lots and lots of crunches, need some stomach muscles..

        I did try sitting some 10m circles the other day, only small issue, is I can either sit, or make decent circles, can’t do both at once!
        "He's not even a good pathological liar." Mara

        "You're just a very desperate troll, and not even a good one. You're like middle-school troll at best. Like a goblin, not even a troll." et_fig

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Rerider54 View Post
          .

          This is sorta where I am at, and have been. My sisters keep telling me... ‘go for it’. What do you want to be looking back at next year? I want to say, “It took all year but I did it” or “It took all year and I tried but didn’t quite make it.” I don’t want to look back and say, “maybe I could have done more.” But I also reserve the right to say... “changed my mind.”

          .
          This sounds sensible, I want to keep pushing on, but small pushes in my comfort zone, not ready for huge leaps.

          "He's not even a good pathological liar." Mara

          "You're just a very desperate troll, and not even a good one. You're like middle-school troll at best. Like a goblin, not even a troll." et_fig

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm 30 so not on the top side of 60, so I can't comment on that.

            But I think you are being too hard on yourself! Honestly I think you can't expect to rise to a higher level on a newer horse, just because he's trained at 2nd. Maybe some people can do be that. But I know when I was riding my trainer's PSG mare, I didn't suddenly rise to that level. I was a second level rider still. Even for the better part of a year. I learned a lot and did get to work on things that I needed too but I never did get to work on PSG things. Truth was, I wasn't ready! The foundation needs to be there.

            Enjoy the journey! You are doing obviously great. I think you are putting a little too much pressure. Enjoy your new horse, focus on really forming a partnership with him, your fitness, your education and you will be doing second level before you know it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Rerider54 View Post
              <snipped from this awesome, wise, and encouraging post>

              And keep in mind you can only beat the horses that show up. That means YOU showed up. Just keep showing up.
              This is steal-worthy.

              OP: Agree with the general sentiment of putting less pressure on yourself!!

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by Lunabear1988 View Post

                Enjoy the journey! You are doing obviously great. I think you are putting a little too much pressure. Enjoy your new horse, focus on really forming a partnership with him, your fitness, your education and you will be doing second level before you know it.

                Thats what I keep telling myself, every time I get on him, and we are doing loose rein warm ups, he just makes me smile a big goofy smile. When we start really riding then things started to ‘get serious” now I’m just aiming to keep that awesome feeling.


                Originally posted by dkcbr View Post

                This is steal-worthy.

                OP: Agree with the general sentiment of putting less pressure on yourself!!
                Agree, it’s a great quote, and yes, I need to relax and enjoy the ride
                "He's not even a good pathological liar." Mara

                "You're just a very desperate troll, and not even a good one. You're like middle-school troll at best. Like a goblin, not even a troll." et_fig

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think if you're still enjoying riding him, even if it's more challenging to do things well, then you're doing great! Having a horse that makes you smile to ride is truly priceless. Look at all the COTH threads about "I have this wonderful talented beautiful horse, but only my trainer can ride him." Or "I've had him two years but I'm a little scared of him". Or other threads about confused riders wondering why they're spending all this money, but secretly not having any fun.

                  I'm a couple of decades behind you but physically feel a lot older than my years (thank you, horses). I actually made the tough decision to market a horse I've had for years because his huge body and gaits just are too much for my bad back and neck. And this sport costs too much to not be having fun most of the time.

                  So, if you love riding your new horse, and can look at the challenge of his bigger gaits and different way of going as a step to becoming an overall better rider, then feel great about what you've accomplished! You've changed to drastically different ride, and you've got good ribbons to prove you're on your way to mastering it. I bet lots of lunge lessons this winter and some time doing pilates and crunches at home, by this time next year you'll be sharing pictures of all the green and gold ribbons you won in Level 2 in 2020.

                  A good man can make you feel sexy, strong, and able to take on the world.... oh, sorry.... that's wine...wine does that...

                  http://elementfarm.blogspot.com/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    At the beginning of the year, I had plans in my head of going to our first recognized shows, getting started on jumping, maybe go cross country schooling a few times.

                    Instead, I spent the first third to half of the year dealing with panic attacks and anxiety so I hardly got out to ride. Once I did start riding consistently, I learned that my seat was COMPLETELY gone and I had forgotten just about everything and lost all confidence. Not exactly great with a very green 4 year old. We have only done at-home schooling shows. We've only trailered out once. We did mostly Intro tests at our little shows, finally did training 1 and 2 at the most recent one.

                    Never went cross country schooling. My boldness riding out of the arena was totally gone, took until recently (as in like last couple of weeks) to finally get out and let him canter around in the fields and not get nervous and want to hold him back. Even jumping in the arena has only happened maybe four or five times this year, only small crossrails and only a couple of jumps each time.

                    This whole year kind of became me getting over my anxiety and getting back to myself again. Luckily, I have pretty much the best baby horse ever, his "acting up" are things my grandma could ride. Or my friend's one year old. And is very rare. Getting my riding confidence back has been easier on him than it would have been on a lot of the older horses I know.

                    So, you are eons beyond what I have done! We never made it to a show away from home But, we have learned so much this year, and if I hadn't had all of my hangups I never would have realized how much I actually really love dressage. So even if your riding accomplishments weren't as "big" as you would have liked them to be, I bet you really did have a lot of great experiences and new goals for the winter and for next year. And be sure to share them all! I absolutely love seeing how people are progressing with their horses, and overcoming challenges, and having big successes. And having a bunch of people rooting for you is always a good feeling!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      That's quite the wall of awards! And even without the ribbons - what a great thing to have a horse who makes you smile every ride. That's the thing, right there.

                      I started 2019 with a gorgeous mare who fell into my lap totally unexpectedly last fall. Spent the first 6 months of the year falling completely in love with her and planning our show season, and have spent the last 3 months getting over her very sudden death. We were a pretty dynamite pair for our short time together, and it sucked to be in the stands through the summer knowing that we'd almost certainly have held our own and then some. I'm pretty sure we'd have ended up with our own shiny little wall and likely have been all set to start schooling up a level right about now.

                      But she also made me grin like a lunatic every. single. time. I rode - much like your Chuck does and I'd happily give up any and all future ribbons and take on many more bumps in my riding progress to have a horse like her again.

                      Which is all to say, I agree with all other posters! Give yourself the credit you clearly deserve, brag unreservedly about your gorgeous and well earned wall of glory, and let yourself bask in the absolute joy that comes with a horse like Chuck.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        What’s better than the wall of awards?

                        Saturday we had an AWESOME trot to canter transition, our second one...

                        Now don’t get me wrong, we have had lots of nice transitions, a few “let’s try that again” and two WTF was that, the last of them was when I actually managed to come off over his shoulder, in a competition, at X.....yes NOW. I realize that when I thought I was sitting up, I wasn’t, and I have to teach myself to go back, rather then forward when things go wrong.

                        But those two ‘perfect’ transitions? The ones where you sit and ask, and you are together, you have him balanced, and he lifts UP into the change, rather than reaching forward.....it reminds me why I do this....
                        "He's not even a good pathological liar." Mara

                        "You're just a very desperate troll, and not even a good one. You're like middle-school troll at best. Like a goblin, not even a troll." et_fig

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KBC View Post
                          What’s better than the wall of awards?

                          Saturday we had an AWESOME trot to canter transition, our second one...

                          Now don’t get me wrong, we have had lots of nice transitions, a few “let’s try that again” and two WTF was that, the last of them was when I actually managed to come off over his shoulder, in a competition, at X.....yes NOW. I realize that when I thought I was sitting up, I wasn’t, and I have to teach myself to go back, rather then forward when things go wrong.

                          But those two ‘perfect’ transitions? The ones where you sit and ask, and you are together, you have him balanced, and he lifts UP into the change, rather than reaching forward.....it reminds me why I do this....
                          Those moments really do remind you of what the point of it all is, having that perfect harmony with your horse. That feeling is the best, even if you only get it rarely and briefly!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If riding Chuck brings a smile to your face, keep doing it! Those horses are too few and far between.

                            Things often change, and sometimes the season doesn't go the way we'd planned.

                            But as someone who went from riding nice horses - nice, but with smaller movement - to that HUGE trot and canter, I am going to strongly advocate you get fit! The amount of core strength it takes to sit that huge trot, and ride that huge canter, is immense. Once you have that level of fitness, you'll feel more in control and it will all come together. Start doing some Pilates and core workouts (check YouTube for some good ones). Come spring, you'll be ready for that canter!

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