Sunday, February 24, 2013

Winter is almost over

The letter from the editor in a recent issue of Dressage Today noted that February (and I may supplement 'February' for 'winter in general') is an excellent time to reflect on your progress in the last year and your goals for the upcoming season. 

I have given myself a very hard time this season, thinking that since I have access to an indoor arena, I should be covering a lot more ground. If you're similarly perfectionist, join me in a chorus of "stop it." Just because you have an indoor arena doesn't mean you can, or even SHOULD, be riding! 

Since December, the majority of my riding has been lessons, which happen once or twice a week. Sometimes those get cancelled because the temperature goes below 20F. There is a spirit in me that wants to say eff it, we're riding anyway but no! It's cold, it's painful, it's hard to ride effectively if you can't feel your hands or feet. And let's not forget that this is a sport utilizing a living being as your partner who probably feels just as meh about the cold as you do. Other days, it's hard to imagine leaving the coziness of your home to do anything other than a quick visit to hug your horse or do a chore or two. Some days I just cannot imagine doing any riding work, so if you're not in it, why bother? 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's been a little bit...

I apologize for the silence. But Cheyenne and I just took some super cute holiday photos, and I have a lot of training ideas I would love to talk about. So let me formulate these thoughts. I'll be back soon. 

Go kiss your horse.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Dover Saddlery Closeout Sale!

Okay, excuse the poorly lit cell phone pic but I just had the best shopping experience in my life! Considering it was all horsey-based, the amount of money I spent in comparison to the amount of stuff I got is really incredible.


I'm visiting my love in southern New Hampshire this weekend, and while he was at work today I decided to go pick up Cheyenne's new winter blanket.  Imagine my surprise and glee when I stumbled upon their bi-annual closeout sale where things were PAINFULLY cheap. I almost found myself buying bridle hangers and buckets even though I'm really all set... 

Here's what I got, from left to right in the picture, some prices slightly off because whatever:

McAllister Mediumweight Turnout Blanket, retail $125, paid $65: My sincere hope was for a pretty purple or pink blanket, and I clung to one purple one for the first part of my shopping trip but it was heavyweight which is really not necessary. This is a dark navy, maybe black, with red accents. Not my first pick at all, but let's be real: this thing is gonna be covered in shit, pee and mud. 

A small pink riding crop, I don't know what it retails for, but I paid $3.98: Woe is me that I do not know the brand nor the retail price, but as I'm sure we've all experienced, whips are kind of insanely priced! I cannot BELIEVE how cheap this one was -- and it was pink! Tough decision between pink or purple, but one of my dressage whips is purple and variety is the spice of life, after all. Unfortunately some threading at the bottom is coming undone, but a snip and some glue will fix that. This is for schooling, anyway. I've been using my dressage whip whenever we do jumping. It's good to have different whip options, and at that price it barely mattered that I was adding it to my collection! 

Ashley Ladies Pull On Breeches; retail $40 each, paid $25 for them both! Listed as $20, the lilac pair rang in as $5 and the cashier said "okay, whatever".. fine by me! I don't show that often and in my daily life, I like quirky fashion so something like breeches which I can often be found wearing daily should, to me, stand out. I'm always deathly envious of little kid's breeches with bright colors and fun patterns, so when I found these I could hardly contain myself. I grabbed the biggest size, and didn't even try them on before buying. Lucky me, they fit like a DREAM! They're fleece, too, so they'll be great through spring time. I am so excited to have fun breeches that fit this well and am tempted to go back and buy several other pairs... They had an awesome deep red pair that unfortunately did not go up to my size. I'm doing some further research on these breeches as for the fit, comfort and color, I would be more than willing to pay full price. 

Downside is, I keep buying hot pink or purple things; I bought a pair of hot pink gloves early in the summer. This means my coaches are able to nag me better about my positions since they're so brightly displayed. Now I really have to live up to some standards! 

Dover Saddle Pads, retail $20 each; paid $10 each.  One white outlined with pink, the other a deep navy. To be honest, I thought it was black! But this is nice, as Cheyenne's dark coloring makes colors stand out, so the navy is probably a better bet. I now have four saddle pads. White is always frankly a pain in the ass, as Cheyenne is a dirty, sweaty, shed-dy horse and pads will be in need of a cleaning after one ride. But that's okay, the pink outline is awesome and having so many pads in rotation means less time spent cleaning the two I have. Now I've got a full load and will have fewer "oh crap, I left my pad at home in the laundry room!" moments. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

horses ≠ dogs

This is the hardest lesson I've learned, for several reasons. My daily life since I was wee has been lived with dogs, and the horses I knew and bonded with were school horses who were experienced and used to children, beginners and just about every discipline.

I'm just having some FEELINGS today.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The relation between transitions and getting on the bit

Why does Cheyenne seem to begin moving uphill, lighten in her front and get on the bit with complete ease when we are doing transitions? If you know the answer, tell me!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Gymnastic Jumping Clinic

Today Cheyenne and I participated in a Gymnastic Jumping clinic being taught by one of my favorite trainers. This is an exercise I've never done, despite my love of jumping growing up. It's hard work, but nearly instantaneously beneficial!

We began with trotting over four ground poles; the not-yet-set-up jumps provided a guide for the horse to stay on. As my trainer said, the gymnastic line does the work for you. Gradually crossrails were added in, and we made it up to four in a row before running out of time.

I'm not entirely sure of the distance between the jumps. Eager horses that took them at a canter just bounced between them; not really even a stride. Clumsy horses (ahem...) took a moment in between with their full bodies.

Our issues: momentum. Grace (Cheyenne likely knocked down more poles than not, even if she did go over them without stopping).

My issues: looking down. Leaning forward. The thing about two-point is it is nowhere near as much leaning as you might think. I like to think of it as an optical illusion. Some riders, in some situations, do have to get up that high and off their horse's backs, but for the crossrails we're doing, it's not like that. I need to lift off her back, grab mane but not lean on her neck. Leaning forward slightly to brace myself is the goal; the horse's movement (much like a teeter-totter) makes it look like the rider is actually leaning forward. The rider should stay pretty straight and stationary, and remain there until you've landed. The horse will rise to meet your upper body, then return down at landing.