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New saddle works, new boots work, happy horse, very grateful...

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  • New saddle works, new boots work, happy horse, very grateful...

    Not necessarily advice seeking, but always open to it!. And not the most interesting thread, but musings about riding and feeling grateful. It probably belongs in one of those "share your moments" threads, but I can't seem to figure out how to use the search tool properly and couldn't find the most recent one. So maybe this could be our next "share your grateful moments" thread.

    After two weeks of riding in the new saddle (Custom Wolfgang Solo, short roll), with Spanx-type underwear to the mid-thigh, breeches with a gusset instead of a middle seam, I'm happy, and my "parts" are happy. My knees don't shove me into the cantle. It's a good thing!

    My new cheapo dressage boots arrived...perfect timing...the day after my Lab chewed the top off of one of my wonderfully-fitting field boots. I rode in the new boots today, and while my first instinct was to jump off because I felt locked in, as if I couldn't do as much with my ankles, I quickly realized what a good thing that was. Trainer said I was much better about keeping my spurs out of horse's sides.

    I have been kind of in a rut lately and was feeling a bit discouraged about my riding over the past week. I haven't been very good about "asking once lightly and then like I mean it," and I KNOW BETTER. I'm very ok with making mistakes about stuff I don't know, or stuff I'm learning, but I don't want to continue to make the SAME mistakes over and over when I know better and when it is fear based. I feel like I haven't been in sync as a rider with my horse. Stupid things have been scaring me, so I have been tense when he feels powerful and sensitive. Same stuff as always...overpowers me sometimes and sometimes I'm fine with it. But I need to relax, because we want the sensitive and power. He isn't doing anything bad. But I've been confusing him with mixed messages. Ground stuff has been fine.

    I spent some time yesterday reviewing past threads I've posted, and I reread all the wonderful advice so many have given. I have so much to learn!! Then I spent some time on the phone last night with a fellow COTHer (thanks netg!!!) laughing about how my 20 m circles are squares, I don't even know what a volte is, etc. We were one-upping each other on who was worse. I won, of course, hands down!

    This morning I read COTH before I rode. I read the very sad post and was so sad for the OP...and I was doubly grateful to see my sweet boy. But it was yet another impetus to get my head together.

    I told my trainer that I needed to do something in this lesson to build my confidence, and trainer said that was the plan. Trainer is smart and already knew this. We worked on straightness - controlling the shoulder and haunches - but more importantly on feeling when he was falling out, in, leaning on leg, etc. It was a great, great lesson. Trainer would ask me "what do you feel is going on here?" and I had to reply. We were pleased that I could always feel what was going wrong...I'm very happy that I can do that. I know that's a huge part of the battle. Then we worked on proper, timely corrections. By the end of the lesson, I was doing reallly well with knowing how strong of a correction to make, etc., when to make it, etc. I didn't always do it perfectly but I usually knew when I was late, too strong, etc. Trainer was very supportive. Interesting - a lesson about "feeling," when I was afraid of the "feeling." Worked very well to build confidence.

    I felt like I was actually being the lead dance partner versus going along for the ride. We have been working a lot on my position with the new saddle...head back, rib cage not collapsed, elbows bent at sides, balanced, etc. So in this lesson, while we did not concentrate specifically on that, I was able to ride like that for a good part of the ride AND make corrections, and he became round without any fiddling from my hands. It's the best feeling in the world. We were able to do most of the rest of the ride in sitting trot. It wasn't an incredibly forward sitting trot, but we did very well with our straightness and managed to conquer straightness through the corners before the end of the lesson. We then transitioned to 20 m circles, concentrating on straightness in the circle. We didn't work on bend, just controlling his shoulders and haunches. It was a good, good lesson. We ended with a stretchy circle, and horse was so relaxed...never has put his head so low. I think he really enjoyed the lesson today (or at least he enjoyed much better how I rode him than how I usually ride). I thought I was much more fair to him today with consistency. He became uber-sensitive to my lightest aid, but it didn't feel overpowering in any way. He is such a good boy, and he works so hard.

    After the lesson and cool off/etc., I put him in his stall to finish breakfast. Instead of rushing to it, he just stood there and wanted me to rub his face and ears for a long time. It was very sweet. I love the riding, learning, etc., but I'm just as happy to stand there and rub his head.

    I ordered a few books, a few of which should be arriving today, including two of Jane Savoie's, two biomechanics, and 101 Dressage Exercises. That should keep my over-analytical mind busy for a few days.

    Anyway, I'm grateful to have this experience of my horse and dressage.
    LarkspurCO: no horse's training is complete until it can calmly yet expressively perform GP in stadium filled w/chainsaw juggling zombies riding unicycles while flying monkeys w/bottle rockets...

  • #2
    Thanks for such a fun, motivational post!
    Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

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    • #3
      Yup, and this is what riding is all about. Learning and enjoying every experience, good and bad.
      I can totally relate to the nervousness. I get quite stiff when I am nervous. It's taken me years of lessons to finally start unlocking my back, hips and legs. Thankfully the trainer hasn't ditched me yet, though I've been told we could tape record the lesson and just pay him to listen to it each time, because it is the same exact lesson every time, lol.

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      • #4
        For the record - I let you win!


        Today I'm totally anxious to go ride my horse. I haven't since Saturday because when I went up on Monday I discovered I had a migraine and couldn't handle the motion of an air conditioned car, much less a horse in 100 degree heat. A week ago was the day I was terrified for my life, rode through it, and discovered how many more tools are in my tool chest than I realized... as well as how much more strength I need, so I've been working hard out of the saddle, too! Heck, I got home after 11 last night and did crunches to make sure I get them in.
        Originally posted by Silverbridge
        If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

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