Thursday, August 15, 2013

We're getting there . . . kinda.

Well, my 2013 show season basically went down the toilet since Miss S's schedule just got busier and busier as the summer went on. I'm kinda bummed since I only got to ride at 2 shows, but I'm kinda happy because my pictures are (for the most part) way better than last year. The jumping ones are the most notable. My timing has gotten so much better, although I still appreciate a nice landing shot.

Anyway, since I'm basically done showing seriously for this year, I decided that it was time to get ready for next year, and I'm glad to have a slightly early start. Preparation time is a huge thing for me. In most aspects of my life, I am a procrastinator, but when it comes to riding and my future plans, I need to prepare thoroughly. Miss S wants to do a winter series this year, and I'm going to do a couple of the shows on Molly and Baby, but not a whole lot. I need to be saving up for the summer. The first show is in September, but I'm not doing anything but lessons with Baby until about December, and I'm waiting until the January/February time frame for Molly.

I haven't been consistently riding Molly for over a year now, so I decided that I'd get into riding her regularly for a couple of lessons, then start alternating every lesson between her and Baby. I rode her this lesson. I swear that sassy pony will never change. She's still got that attitude from her mother, but at least she tries to do what you ask of her (Molly, I mean, not her mother; her mom will kill you no matter what you ask). My try hard of a pony was being quite the stinker when I went to brush and tack up. When I was riding her often, I could brush her off and put the saddle and bridle on without a halter on her. She'd just stand there, patiently. Apparently, all that training has gone to waste. Miss S always tacks up on the cross ties, and Molly doesn't argue with the cross ties anymore, but I guess being loose is another story. Oh well, I guess we just have to work on it.

Miss S had some things to do before we actually rode, so everyone was hanging out in the big pasture. All the other horses were in, so we just warmed up a bit in there. You would not believe the nice, western pleasure jog she picked up. She just went right into it and kept it at a nice pace. I could have ended my ride right there and been happy with it.

My lesson was scheduled for an hour though, so I headed to the big arena with everyone else. We warmed up with walk and trot both ways and then started trotting over some stuff. First was a single, 10" +/- fence. Went up to it the first time. Refusal. Second time, refusal. Third time, overjump. At that point I was just like, Kill me now, because I was having such a hard time with my two point. Basically, I have the issue of pinching with my knees, or maybe it was something I just did a couple of times, then got out of the habit of it. Issue is, I still don't have the leg strength to hold with my calf, so going over the jumps, I have basically no squeeze at all. I flop like a pancake on that pony. God bless her good soul and sore back.

I ended up getting quite a few refusals, but we did two courses that were inbetween trotting and cantering. If she got too fast at the canter, just trot her. My equitation was worse than rat poopoo, but Molly was jumping, and I didn't fall off, so I'm happy with my lesson.

We got to go back in the big pasture to cool off, and I cantered with no hands again. I dropped my reins quicker this time. Oddly enough, I find that I trust her way more than Duke. With Duke, I worry about him getting a serious attitude and trying to run off. With Molly, if she runs, she runs, I could care less. She's such a good pony. Ponies are good. I'm good. Life is good.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How am I not dead?

Or at least keeled over in pain. However long ago, my Thursday lesson with Miss S got moved to a sunny, humid, Saturday morning. Did I mention it was humid? Oh yes, the joys of living on the Eastern Shore include feeling like you're standing in a pot of boiling mist every time you step out of your house.

It had rained on Thursday and Friday, and the big arena was too soaked and grassy to ride in, so the lesson took place in the smaller of the outdoor rings. The schedule change also meant that all but two riders out of my normal lesson group had to skip this lesson. So, it was just me, Cas, and Miss S on a friend's horse.

Ever since my last lesson, I had been dying to ride bareback. I don't really know why I had such a strong desire to do so. I love bareback and all, but an entire lesson with walk, trot, canter, and jumping was just short of suicide for my legs. Despite having thought about the pain I would have to endure, I left my saddle in the tackroom anyway. I made sure Duke's back was nice and clean, too. I was not going home with an extreme bareback butt that day.

Lesson begins and Miss S asks us to pick up a posting trot. I squeeze my heels on Duke, get him to trot nice, and then I started posting. I was all like, Yeah, I got this!, and then five seconds later I was like, No, I do not have this, and I will never have this. It doesn't take long for the burn to set in, and once it's there it doesn't leave. My hips and thighs were aching. We were going around in a circle trotting over poles at one end of the arena. After that we cantered serpentines, which was more painful than the poles, and then we practiced a line (trot in/canter out, canter in/canter out, getting leads over jumps). Overall, I need more core support, as usual, but I was probably falling forward even more over the jumps because I was in so much pain.

After the arena work, we cooled off on a trail ride, during which Duke spooked at a dog cage, and then we both spooked at the dog which suddenly appeared in the cage (there was a dog igloo within the cage itself). After that, the rest of our cool off was completely uneventful. The rest of my day was spent at Busch Gardens, and walking across an amusement park to get to every single roller coaster after riding for an hour without a saddle still managed to leave me with pain free legs the next day. What can I say, some are luckier than others.

Since I don't have any pictures of myself riding, here is a picture of Ben being adorable.

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