Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New year, new rider

Well, do I have some good news for you all. Firstly, Happy New Year! I hope you all had a nice end to last year. I'll have you know I spent mine watching Ben 10 and doing a history outline, but I'm not even bothered by that. It was actually enjoyable. Anyway, on to more important matters, I had my first lesson of the year today. Something must have changed when the year did. I have been having so many issues with the canter, sitting trot, relaxation, my hands, pace during courses, and, especially, my two-point. I can honestly say that I had absolutely no issues with any of the items on that list today. My ride was amazing, literally amazing, and I'm probably going to be on a high from it for at least three months.

A little catch-up, Miss S's mother, Doreen, did a clinic last Saturday. I swear I could have had a political debate with this woman over my stirrups. Technically, the iron is supposed to hit at your ankle bone, but I like longer stirrups! I have short legs which means short stirrups which means, "No," in my mind. I rolled with it for the clinic, but I did end up getting some pretty bad ankle pain because I couldn't get the stirrups very even (leathers were switched to non-lined ones and the left one stretched). I am, however, officially out of my saddle and into my trainer's Stübben which is a better fit overall and easier to sit in properly. Oddly enough, I was battling a chair seat. I noticed it in my video from Friday and in the pictures from the clinic. Speaking of which, I am still trying to get my camera to cooperate. It stopped filming after six minutes, so I have to figure out how to keep it on for at least 15 minutes. On the upside, my two-point was better than it has even been (except for that one time on Sanibel where I questioned my lineage), and Doreen said that Baby wasn't even going fast during both of our courses. This is what we call progress, and I am highly pleased with it.

Fast forward to today, the second best part of my ride was definitely the half seat. I have redeemed myself from my last show on Duke; trust me, it looks way better. We were doing this circle exercise where you use half of the ring and have one jump to go over. It's meant to help with getting leads. You'd be surprised how willing Baby was to switch to the left lead when we were circling to the right. Today, we got the lead every time. Every. Single. Time. Then, when we did our courses, I didn't have any refusals. I guess you could say that I am a very happy person right now because I truly feel as if I've accomplished something.

The best part of my ride was when we went out on the trail and in the crop fields after our lesson. Fifi was riding Molly because Sanibel is at a Dressage barn for a while, and I really wanted to ride the pony, so we switched. I got to sit in my trainer's Toulouse. It was soft, but she has those flex stirrups, and they are the strangest thing to put weight in. Perhaps it felt odd because I was using Fifi's stirrup length. She has legs for days. We went out to the field, and I started trotting the pony. I must have forgotten how smooth she is or at least how smooth she is compared to Baby. Sitting trot is no big deal on Molly, whether you're going fast or slow, she just floats across the ground. I got a little ambitious and tried a canter, but I did it on her good lead. You know, she's gotten a lot better too, even if she ran off during the jumping and almost crashed into Baby. Almost is the key word there. I'm proud of Molly, and I am proud of myself, and I am absolutely ready to put my best foot forward and kick a lot of booty this year.

Here's some photos from the clinic. We were battling a chair seat, but we were fashionable, so I'll let it slide.

As an aside, I would like to put in a spectacular review for my Tredstep breeches, particularly their anti-stain abilities. They don't stain. They literally do not stain. I spilled some apple cider on them, and the puddles just sat there. They absolutely did not soak into the pants. I'm impressed, a bit scared as well, but impressed. You go, Tredstep.

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