Monday, September 3, 2018

Mojo


 Hello all,  Life has been busy and I have not felt I've had anything worth blogging about.  Or that my blog is particularly interesting to people so I've let it go by the wayside.  I've decided to make a post since I've found myself with the need to get something off my chest without clogging up everyone's Facebook feeds with my whoa is me story. 

As some of you know, I bought a farm.  When you buy a ramshackle farm that has sat empty for 4 months and neglected for however many years it comes with all sorts of great opportunities to work until dark and not have any desire or time to ride.  Which I guess wasn't really a big deal since Stella broke a splint bone 12 hours after bringing her home. 

YAYYY. 

When Stella was ready to go back to work again she had other ideas, the new environment, smaller herd, and time off gave her a wicked case of buddy sour and I quickly saw my vision of becoming a brave and forward rider by spending lots of time hacking over my 10 beautiful acres end up in the dirt.  Along with actually ending up in the dirt.  I have a lovely grass jump ring with an entire course of fences and I've been in it TWICE.  I just keep mowing it and not wanting to ride in it since she's an idiot.  It makes me sad that I can take her to lessons and trail riding and she's fine but the rides when I've tried to leave my outdoor (or hell, even in the outdoor a few times) have not been awesome. 

Well, I had several rides that were nice.  Including one where I rode with my other half and Stella and I galloped all over the field.  Then she spooked at a plant 24 hours later in the same field and I fell off. 

Since June I've taken two lessons.  One where I actually jumped some things.  I figured it would be excellent motivation to attend a local HT with extra tiny teeny fences.  Getting dumped 2 days before the show probably didn't help my confidence but we had a wonderful dressage test, I had someone else ride her stadium, then I packed her up and went home.  I realized at that moment that I had no desire to fail and wimping out and going home early was far better than getting nervous, feeding Stella my nerves, and have a rearing runaway like the last two times I attempted to go cross country. 

I did not share my day with anyone beyond who was there.  My Facebook feed was full of people on their horses doing well. 

I've been handing over the reins a lot this year and having pros do what makes them pros and give Stella confident rides around XC or show jumping.  I see the difference it has made in Stella, and I'd rather not ride her at all than risk screwing her up.  Or failing. 

So where do we go from here?  I'd like to say that I've lost my mojo since moving.  But I'm not entirely sure I've had any mojo this year at all. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

All the showjumpers


Continuing from my last post, I decided to expand my range of trainers and use multiple trainers to help me with multiple things.  While they all find most of the same faults in me (which means I either suck consistently or they are all quality instructors) they approach things differently. 

Featured this week is my ultra fancy jumps Grand Prix trainer.  He has really been helping me focus on my position in the air over the fence as well as my approach to the fence in a quiet and methodical method that I seem to work well with.  Here are a couple videos from my most recent lesson. 

The first video is Stella in a one stride that was originally just one fence.  You can see how my first approach sucks big time so Stella stops at the new thing.  Did my approach suck because I thought she was going to have a problem and under rode on purpose?  Thoughts to digest.

Then as my approach becomes more consistent Stella gets better and bolder



Then we put everything together into a course.  I really like my approach to the diagonal fences.  Maybe the blocks have something to do with it, maybe they are there because I suck at turning.  I'm getting Stella to the fence with a clear plan.  Who woulda thought!




Sunday, March 4, 2018

Solid in the saddle


Spring is in the air?  Or at least the prospect of another show season is looming and I've got goals!  I made a decision over the winter to expand my trainer horizons and do things with people that challenge me.  I'm signing myself up for clinics and I'm pushing myself by taking lessons with a variety of people.  I want to put a strong focus on my position over fences, and I've picked a HJ trainer to help me with that.  In general, no eventer is going to complain about you getting left behind, it's a position of safety to be in the back seat over a solid fence on questionable footing. 


While hunter jumper riders believe that a position that more closely follows the horse is better for the horse's form over fences on groomed footing.


On occasion I feel I have a semi solid position, but you can still see that my leg has slipped back


WAYYYY back

My hips don't fold and my default position is to stand in my stirrups.  While my hands have a good release, my lack of folding throws my legs back and I don't have a solid base in the air, which causes me to get left behind on the backside of the fence.  Potentially putting me off balance and punishing my horse.


I don't want to go in the opposite direction, the "hunter duck" or "praying mantis" which is an exaggerated trait that people feel shows off your horses big jump the best, but maybe we can meet in the middle?



Sunday, February 25, 2018

Bouncing along

Hello, how has everyone been?  Here in Indiana we've been alternating between freezing temps or endless rain and mud!    Stella had long periods of vacation time, punctuated by one or two rides with lots of bucking, then more vacation.  I think we have finally reached temps worth riding in so I've started up taking lessons again! 

Last weekend we hauled up and had a grids lesson.  Grids for me are a bit of a challenge, I had a horse that either ran through them or stopped in them so I'm a bit of a mess.  It's hard for me to encourage the horse to be forward and straight through a grid while at the same time staying out of the way. 

It was also a bit of a challenge for Stella, who is very careful with her feet and was a bit overwhelmed a few times with all the poles and an occasional lack of guidance from yours truly. 

What I like was how, as Stella became bolder and tuned into the grid, I was able to focus on how my position felt over the fences, and what the difference was between jumping up her neck or staying over my stirrups. 


We still had a set back after our cool down period, where we both lost a bit of confidence and Stella wasn't ready to go back to work, and I wasn't really to be supportive through the grid.  I think I'm finally grasping the whens and whys of when Stella loses confidence in me, but I'm still working on fixing that issue!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Review, Smartpak Winter Overpants


With temps in Indiana dipping below zero overnight and not above the teens during the day, this has been my fashionable winter apparel.  You have my Ariat Bromont winter paddock boots, Kerrits windpro breeches, Snow pant overalls, Mountain Horse Original jacket, Balaclava head covering.

It's also why you haven't seen any blog posts.  I've ridden.... 7 times since the clinic?  First the holidays got in the way.  Now it's like 10 degrees.  The clinic was my last lesson as well.  Sigh.  Winter. 




Winter, it's not like the catalogs.  Unless you live in Florida?  Sidenote, people in Florida you suck.



While my outfit kept my warm doing barn chores in those temps, it didn't allow for any riding.  I see all of my Facebook friends hoping on their horses bareback for a stroll around the arena, or tacking up for a short walk around the fields.  This lead to the idea that maybe if I had some overpants suitable for riding, I might hate horses a little less if I could actually ride them. 


Smartpak is currently having their winter sale, and their Smartpak Winter Overpants were only $60, with a $10 credit I figured they were worth the plunge.


The pants have an all elastic waist, with zippers that run all the way up the legs so you can take these pants off without having to take your boots off.  However, there isn't a tab to hold the pants on you once you unzip them so I imagine you would have to reassemble them at home.



There is also a synthetic suede full seat, something my snow overalls didn't come with, and something I hope will encourage me to ride more.


These pants are extremely bulky for warmth so I'm not counting on any fine tuned riding, and since the weather is dipping below zero again next week hopefully I'll get a chance to test them out for that peaceful bareback ride in the snow. 

Mojo

 Hello all,  Life has been busy and I have not felt I've had anything worth blogging about.  Or that my blog is particularly interestin...