Monday, May 21, 2012

Thanks & Friday Lesson

Thanks to everyone for their comments.  I feel like everyone keys into something different with feet and even with crap photos I appreciate hearing your opinions :)  Hopefully our farrier is at the barn today (I hope) and I left him a little note with some specific instructions for Prairie's trim.

We do have one barefoot trimmer who is pretty well known in the area, but I have a bad taste in my mouth left over from Pia's feet going to absolute crap when they were bare and being trimmed by her.  I don't think it was her fault, but you know how that works... there's some lingering PTSD.

Anyway,  I'll take pics of the after, and be sure to get them up for followup...

In the meantime, we had a series of really productive rides this weekend which included two lessons from two different people and a hack on my own on Sunday.


The weather was unexpectedly nice, so when a lunchtime meeting stretched a bit long I figured it was well within my rights to just head straight to the barn, rather than return to the office for a few extra hours of mediocre productivity...

The inconsistent rides had me craving some feedback from the ground, so S agreed to a last minute lesson.  We started off with her asking me to "drop my stirrups."  Just about the time I reached for the buckle to lengthen them she clarified, "no, no.  DROP your stirrups."

oh noThis lesson was going to be painful.  

I have completely and totally neglected my sans-stirrup riding with P2 because my sadly out of shape body can barely post to her movement let alone accomplish any decent sitting work, or god forbid stirrup-less work.

Also, the random, but present, scoot/spooks have left me not that excited about giving up my stirrups deliberately for any length of time.

But, I am getting stronger in the tack and the scoot/spook situations are getting smaller and less frequent, so I suppose at some point I need to drop the damn stirrups and ride.  Knowing I would never volunteer for this activity, S gets a certain amount of credit for calling me out on it.

Stirrups dropped - we worked on me wrapping my legs (specifically my ankles) around the mare and getting some control of her shoulder.  What I'm learning is that when I think my outside leg is on, it isn't.  And when I think I'm not using my inside rein, I am.

Bad combo.

We spiraled our circle in and out at the walk, focusing on pushing her with my outside aids and ignoring my inside rein as much as possible.  Mare was good, and I got a really nice feel of that outside rein (yessss!).

Then we moved into the trot.  Or maybe I should call it a micro-jog.  It wasn't a trot that I've ever experienced on P2, but then again it also didn't launch me out of the tack, so I wasn't complaining.

S made me get my outside leg back on, and then (oh the pain) required 1/2 a circle posting, 1/2 a circle sitting.  (If I didn't on some sick level appreciate the work and pain, I'd be calling her lots of mean nasty names right now).

After several adjustments of my body during the micro-jog, S had me tucking my seat under me and lifting my shoulders.  Both remarkably helpful to actually riding my horse.  Also, we discussed my tendency to collapse at the waist, especially on the right side, during transitions.  Darn it.

So, in 15 minutes, just a few things to remember.  Tuck butt, lift shoulders, arms soft, outside leg on, inside rein off, waist tall, sink into outside seat bone, eyes up, chin in, and relax.

Spectacular.  That's either the worst game of twister I've ever played, or an average lesson.  Sigh....
Outside Rein.... BLUE!
After a quick break to replenish the blood flow in my legs we went back to the spiraling circles at the trot.  Prairie was great, and when I actually did all the things I was supposed to (Tuck butt, lift shoulders, arms soft, outside leg on, inside rein off, waist tall, sink into outside seat bone, eyes up, chin in, and relax) I had a marvelous feel of her shoulder, nice contact in the outside rein, and a rather balanced horse.  (yippee!)

S graciously returned my stirrups before our canter work, which is probably why this story has a happy ending :)

We focused on transitions and increasing the precision of my canter departs both from the trot and the walk.  When I remembered to do everything I was supposed to (Tuck butt, lift shoulders, arms soft, outside leg on, inside rein off, waist tall, sink into outside seat bone, eyes up, chin in, and relax) our transitions were pretty decent.  Some head tossing here and there, but better balance and almost no scooting about.

We finished the day with spiraling circles at the canter, which, sans-inside-rein were a very big challenge for me.  Cognitively I know that I need to push her in, not pull her... but in practice I didn't realize how much I was still using that inside rein as a crutch.  Not that I was pulling on it, but just nagging the mare, and using it where nice outside rein half halts should be.  darn it.

Prairie was patient, and gave me some really nice moments.  We finished on the left lead (our less balanced side) with a nice "spiraling out" where I felt locked and loaded in my outside aids and like I had total control of her shoulder.

Good mare.

Then she went and did this:
demon horse!
Yup.  That's her pretty new halter.  She sat back in the cross ties (note: she did not spook, she sat) and pulled through the crown piece.  BAH. bad mare.  At least she left one hole to buckle into for our field trip Saturday for our second lesson...


  1. Sounds like a great lesson... I LOVE the Twister analogy. Perfect! Exactly what flatting my horse is like, in a nutshell.

  2. Yay for the lesson, DANG for the halter! Mare!!


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