Monday, June 30, 2014

Fun day, really

Today was a horse filled day, minus the Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. Fifi had a lesson at noon, meaning that I actually got to sleep in for once in a long time. My first dilemma of the day was which belt to wear. Was I to go with well fitted with obnoxious butterfly buckle or horribly fitted but actually classy? I ended up going with the butterfly because the other one was just hanging off of me, but it was getting hooked on so many things. I'm pretty sure I left my good black belt in Jamaica last week. It is now enjoying daiquiris and sugar cane on the beach.

There were more people at Fifi's barn today, including the ever fabulous Kellie. There were also donuts, many donuts. Fifi didn't get yelled at as much in her lesson today, so I didn't have as much written down, but I did make note of one exercise and a couple of other little things. Afterwards, we went on a trail ride, and I walked with Lee's nieces while they switched on Fisher. For some strange reason, they put me in the lead and tried to point out where I was supposed to go. I got lost. I haven't been to the place often enough to know the lay of the land, so I just kind of walked and kept walking and ended up walking the wrong way, but I had fun doing it, so that's what matters! We finished trail riding a little before 3:00, cleaned up, then went to see the foals at the mare barn down the road. Look at them.

When we got to my barn, it was around 5:00, but still pretty hot outside. I tacked up, but only after catching the saddle flap on that stupid belt buckle. Our ride started out really nice. She was trotting around nice and bending nicely. We weren't really having any disagreements, but when we went to canter, things kind of fell apart. She wasn't really moving forward, and I wasn't riding well at all. To be honest, I just wasn't feeling right, if that makes sense. I felt like I was having an off day. We did some figure-8s at the trot and canter, then I tried some lead changes. She got most of them, but the back end takes a few strides. I recognize that her lead change is incorrect (i.e. front to back), but I do not have the knowledge or skill to fix this issue, so, when I ride by myself from now on, I'll stick to simple changes.

We jumped a little bit as a warm up, first a cross bar, then 12", then the 2'0" coop. She did the first two fine, but she has something against the coop.

Remember that Thursday?
She stopped twice and took some strange distances, but we got over it. It wasn't pretty, but we did it. I went out to the big arena after that and basically did a bunch of roll backs, then Fifi had me hold my two point at the walk while Baby cooled off.

I'm not happy with my riding today. I feel like it wasn't a very productive hour, but I do see an improvement. A couple of months ago, Horseware Ireland had that Grassroots competition for a 10,000€, and I, like any other sane human being, didn't mind getting essentially free money, especially considering that the terms attached were loose. I got everything done. I went out and had Miss S film me, I spent over an hour filling out the entry form, I had my video uploaded, but I never sent anything in. Why? Well, after actually watching my videos over and over again, I realized that I wasn't riding as well as I thought I was. I already knew that I would be up against some very good riders for the sponsorship, and I was really only doing it because I had nothing to lose, but I wasn't going to send in my entry only to be laughed at by the people running the company. The good thing about today though is that things have seriously changed for the better since that day I filmed, and that was only three months ago.

Moral of the story: have patience. I think very few people truly have patience, and, in this sport, when you are out competing and trying to be the best you can be, messing up once can make it feel like the entire world is crashing down on you, but, in reality, it isn't. We are bound to make mistakes; it's inevitable. Even professionals screw up from time to time, but getting frustrated only halts progress. Faults cannot be fixed until they are recognized and then rectified.

If you ever have the opportunity, I encourage you to film or take pictures during your rides and start critiquing yourself. Maybe have a friend help you who knows a lot about riding or post on a forum. It made a difference for me, and I have no doubt that it will help you as well.

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