Thursday, September 6, 2012

It feels so good!

It feels so good to be back on my horse again, even if it is only for about a 20 minute ride, he felt good and that is the best news of all.  After how he walked off a week ago I was scared it would be a very long time until I was going to back on him again.  Thankfully that was not the case, he can still hold his amazing soundness record.  75 starts and 2 and a half years in eventing and still as sound as the day is long.  GRATEFUL! 

Steady all princessed up with his new fly sheet.

I put any plans on hold until I could see how this was going to turn out.  I have just been flip flopping and not real driven or have any real serious goals for the remainder of the season.  I mean my HUGE dream and goal was to compete at a recognized HT and that happened twice.  I would say I am pretty well satisfied.  What can I say I am easy to please.  I was considering doing another schooling show before the end of the year but after doing another recognized HT  I don't know that I am all that concerned about that.  A little Novice derby would be nice but I am just not dead set on making that happen and I don't know that it is even necessary.  The step up to Novice just is not that intimidating to me.  And I feel like we could just make that step next spring.  Now if I could find a CT or Derby within an hour of me I would go in a heartbeat.  So unless I find something like that I am most likely going to be focusing my efforts and finances toward lessons.  I am thinking of a weekend at Lee Ann's squeezing in a few lessons with her, or something like that.  I have an email in to her about that I will probably hear back next week since I am sure she is preparing for her show this weekend.

Today I finally got in my first real training ride on Lily.  Considering I am the person who has trained her from square one including her saddle training that is not all together a true statement that it is my first training ride.  But this is the first time that I have felt she was ready to start the beginning steps of dressage training.  You know when you do it right, when you take all the right steps and be sure the horse is "getting it" when it is time to take the next step in their training the next step is no big deal.  It just seems to be a smooth and natural progression.  It is not some big stressful situation for the horse or the rider.  There is no "breaking" so to speak.  It is just the next step.  And that is what today was like.  Lily was obviously ready for the next phase in her training and it couldn't have gone any better.  I got on with two goals in mind 1)make this enjoyable for her 2) start to help her understand the concepts of contact.  Both of those goals were met wonderfully and that meant I even got to add in a few more things, like relaxing and stretching and moving off of leg pressure.  She is such a great little student and the ride was quite enjoyable.  I never did more than trot and that was the plan.  Canter will come down the road.  I love that she naturally enjoys stretching down it will definitely be a help in this process.  We will be working on being able to keep her stretched down but that will come with the understanding of contact. She did struggle with the concept of contact and likes to open her mouth and brace against the bit.  I found that if I kept my hands very low and wide and am consistent with the contact that she quickly started to accept the bit.  Then I could move my hands up for short intervals.   I started to get her to move off of leg pressure and she did seem to respond nicely so we went into baby leg yields at the walk.  Just asking to leg yield for 4-5 feet moving to the rail.  She did quite well to the left and got confused to the right.  That was a reality check for me that my fault of collapsing my right side will effect any horse I work with and that is even more reason to work even harder at correcting it.  Once I consciously used my body correctly going right she significantly improved.  All in all a lovely successfully ride.  I popped her over a cross rail and a couple logs for good measure and the pony got pats and apples.

One epiphany moment I had today working with Lily is that my biggest regret with Steady and something that was a big hole for a long time for us, of all the trainers that worked with us from the very start none of them ever emphasised the importance of "long and low" nor did they ever teach me the concept or how to ask for it.  It was never presented to me and I feel it should have been one of the very first things presented and taught to two greeeeeeen beans at dressage.  The trainer I worked with for the first few months only ever emphasised "the frame" and now I see the huge error in that but at that time I knew no different.  We live and learn and now I can do better because I know better.  What a great day!


  1. Hey I think I am going to go to Octoberfest show again - you planning on doing that? Not sure I am going to school CC, maybe! But doing a few classes on Saturday for sure!

  2. As soon as Allie understood moving forward into and seeking the contact, my trainer introduced us to long and low. Allie LOVES it! My goal is to get an 8 for our free walk in our next test at the end of the month. :)

    I'm so glad Steady is ok!

  3. Yeah, Steady is back! So glad to hear it, it always feels so good to get back on...

  4. Glad steady is good again!

    Long and low is important, but just know to a point; it should be forward, down and out with an open throat latch, nose not below the shoulders. Too many people think the horse just dropping his nose down is the goal but this has no benefit and do not lose the contact!!! You still maintain contact, this is what the horse is reaching for so you don't thrown them away once they are out there, the horse must chew the reins from you hand, and then you say "okay, here is where I want you to be," and maintain that light contact, Unfortunately, too many riders read "free walk" and think they must throw the horse away, with the nose dropping to the ground, again, this has no benefit!
    Good for you for learning and wanting to start Lily right.

  5. So happy Steady is sound! Great progress with the newbie pony!

  6. I'm glad steady is okay. It's fun reading about Lily. Sounds like she's a really awesome pony. :)


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