Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Confession (and redemption)

Oh my, where to start.

First of all, the intense riding rage has thankfully passed and both the Mare and I seem to be significantly more pleasant creatures.

Secondly, after the very-terrible-horrid-no-good-ride I texted S and all but demanded that we have a lesson Tuesday so that someone could call me on my crap.  I felt like this was a mature, responsible decision (as opposed to kicking my pony with both legs and pouting).

When I pulled into the barn S was on a really nice hunter just swirling around the big outdoor.  Big sweeping turns with a nice, relaxed, low frame... looking like a quiet calm hunter should.  I was thinking that I should go get the big mare so she could watch when I realized that it was the big mare doing her best hunter impression.  (sneaky)
Not the longest-lowest moment, but she's so cute!
I was flabbergasted at how balanced she was and how even her tempo was staying even without a firm contact.... and.... brown hunt tack? She.... looks cute! It was confusing for a second because she was in a tiny raised bridle, and a tiny close contact saddle, but... she looked cute!

So I settled in and watch S continue the ride for a few minutes and realized that it's time for another blog confession:

Not only do I like the mare in the refined, fancy stitched hunt tack, but I also like the mare in a long and low hunter frame.  


Even more surprising, unlike two months ago when more than four strides of long-and-low caused the mare to lose her balance and get freaked out... the mare seemed to really enjoy the ride.
New getup.
I'm certain that saddle fit has something to do with it, S's CWD fits much better than the Prestige does with it's extra Sealy Posturepedic padding, buuuut I'm also pretty sure that's not the only component.  S also tried the mare in a D ring with a (really) slow twist and Prairie seemed to reach more into it than the Mullen Mouth, but was less "hangy" than she was in the ($$$$) KK D ring...

Admittedly, her head set was not... perfectly consistent, but I did like that Prairie was actively balancing herself more and relying on her rider less.  That seems like a good thing regardless of what tack we're wearing.

Then it was time for me to get on.  Having never sat in a jump saddle on P2, my balance felt all strange and wonky.  Almost like she was a totally new horse.  But we settled in and despite my ridiculously-stiff-dress-boots, I sorta got my heel down and leg wrapped around the mare.

I liked how she went in the bit.  A lot.  I couldn't tell much on the saddle front because I felt so different that everything was strange, but I think I liked it (I'm just not sure).  It was certainly nice to get up off her back at the canter a bit, that was just fun.

To finish up the ride, S placed three poles on the curve of a circle and asked us to maintain bend/tempo/balance over them.  This was not so easy, but Prairie figured it out the second time through and started adjusting herself on the approach.  Then we moved into the canter and this was more difficult.  The mare gave some valiant efforts but as she got tired it got really hard to find our spot and I didn't have enough horse left to adjust her well going in.

Prairie seemed to enjoy the pole work quite a bit, and at least at the beginning of the canter set, she was balancing well, focusing well and really eager.  I was balancing well and focusing, but totally failing to use my outside leg which made the whole "maintain bend" thing a bit harder than necessary.  I really need to figure out why I keep abandoning my outside leg.  Or maybe I don't need to figure out why, I just need to stop doing it.  That would be an ok thing too.

All in all it was total redemption from our craptastic outing on Monday.  It also has me considering some more cross training for the beast.  I can't imagine a giant, long-lined, black warmblood winning any hunter hack classes, but it could be fun to hit some schooling shows and just see what happens.  Also, I think there's a distinct possibility that the mare might enjoy some small jumps.  She definitely perks up and becomes easier to balance and set back when she's doing pole work... who knows.

I am still confused by the fact that I liked Prairie in a more refined bridle... I've recently been tack-whoring for a new one and obsessed with finding a big thick noseband with some gold accents to match our new saddle...
with a 1.5" nose and the Dorado gold.... let me know
 but maybe we could get away with something more refined??  Ah... the endless options...


  1. She looks really nice in brown tack! *And sans flash.

  2. Needless to say, I love this post. Come on over to hunterland... the grass is TOTALLY greener over here, I swear.

    1. It might just happen. bah, if only there was a shot in hell of me fitting into my ancient Tailored Sportsmans.....

  3. Haha, Marissa's comment cracks me up. That's neat though, it's fun to try new things! And I've been drooling over that dressage bridle you showed... you should get it so I can live vicariously through you!

  4. This is great! I think all horses benefit from cross training, especially jumping. Taking her over fences and poles would be a great addition to her day to day flat work!

  5. Awesome!! I knew she could do it.

    Not so sure about the bridle, but a CWD is totally the ticket. I've been riding in them lately (lovely thing, clients with more money than me) and they are wonderful.

    I do like that dressage bridle. Yummy!

    1. It's not the "right" bridle, but I was surprised I liked the size of it on her.. maybe she doesn't have as much of a block head as I thought...

  6. I've always thought that smaller refined bridles make horse's heads look daintier and elegant compared to the big clunky dressage bridles.. but I'm also coming from hunter/jumper (mostly) land.

    It sounds like doing some work over poles and small fences will be good for Prairie!

  7. Good to hear you redeemed yourselves!

  8. Does it not bother you for your trainer to ride her without asking? Maybe I'm just possessive because I've never boarded a horse...

    Anyway, you guys did so awesome!!!!! I love that mare! I'm glad you had such a fun and productive lesson. I'm looking forward to the horse show!


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