Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kind of getting the relax part

The sit is iffy. Tuesday was gymnastics day, and if there's anything Baby loves, it's gymnastics. We're not particularly good at them — the whole stumbling over the ground poles is one of our characteristics — but they're fun. I like them too, so I was happy to do some gymnastics for once in a long time.

I'm still trying to relax, and it's going better. I'm actually using my legs, although I still don't have complete control over them. Baby is listening better to them. I trot her a lot, not really asking much of her, just her ambling, I-guess-I'll-do-this-instead-of-eating trot. She was really nice about her left lead, except when she got near Skye and wanted to kick her, but otherwise, she was great, and she was great to the right.

The gymnastic was good every time we went through it. We had to move inside since it was getting dark (ugh, winter), and Miss S had me do a bending line. We had one stop because apparently the hay has now replaced the coop on terms of nope-ness. Again, I was trying to use my legs to push her around the bend, but jumping in itself is still a challenge for me.

I also rode Zoey again on Sunday. We took a lot of time to walk and relax, then we trot and relax, then we cantered, and she's not going to relax with that for a while, but she was great otherwise. She did, however, take lame steps, so I'm waiting until she has shoes back on before I ride her again.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Do overs?

I guess that's what it could be called. I took a little five minute "assessment ride" on Zoey, and when I say five minutes, I literally mean five minutes (okay, it could have been seven). I had to clean the pasture, and my sister was picking me up at 1:00, so getting on at 12:52 didn't give me much time. Of course, when I go to tack Zoey up, I realized that her bridle was at the other barn, and I was feeling lazy today, so I just rode her in the halter.

ROOTD: 9/20/14
ROOTD hella off point
I got on her in the indoor then started my walk up to the small outdoor by the other barn. Zoey was just out of it, head in the clouds, back looking swayed, eyes wild, ya know, your average g-raffe. We get in the arena after having our tack choices questioned, and she was not relaxed at all and just wanted to go, so I just started trotting her around. We started to the right. She was uppity and not wanting to stay on the rail. I tried to use my legs more than the reins (reins meaning leadrope), and she actually listened very well. She didn't speed up or get tense, she just moved over, which is good.

She was getting progressively calm, and, by the time we switched directions and did maybe half a circle, she just completely relaxed. Two snorts and dropped head were all I needed to make my day. I walked her, gave her a few pats and good girls, and she was calm as could be. Personally, I still felt a bit tense, especially at the beginning, but I did feel myself relax when we finished. I was back and forth for most of the ride, but we ended on a good note.

I rode her on moderate contact, and she didn't seem to mind it (no bracing or pulling). Next time, I'm going to go lighter that way when she does relax and give, she doesn't reach my hands to suddenly. I want to make sure that she is seeking contact on her own rather than just having it there all the time from the beginning. I'm also keeping her in the halter. It's convenient. I don't have to undo a noseband and do up a chin strap, no warming up a bit in the winter, no having to deal with tough as nails leather because she just got a new bridle. The halter is just a much more practical option. Plus, the hands are still an issue. I'd rather her not start gaping.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Relax, Sit, Drive

It's easier said than done. My focus during yesterday's lesson was to keep my hands quiet and work on a longer rein. I got the whole long rein thing down, but I couldn't relax all that much. My shoulders were still pretty forward, and my hands kept going down. It's a work in progress.

We didn't do much flatwork (which honestly doesn't help me relax all that much because I appreciate my flatwork time very much), but the jumps started small. I had a handful of good fences. Unfortunately, I am now ducking over the jumps. My two point on the flat is actually much better, but doing it over a jump is seemingly impossible.

Our first course was okay, far from impressive, but it was both forward and calm. I may or may not have taken out a fence with my foot. The second course was disappointing. I tried some rollbacks, which weren't good, then we had five stops. It was starting to get dark, so we went inside and did a zig-zag of jumps, which I insisted on trotting, but Miss S had me canter the last three or so jumps. After that, I cooled off and relaxed myself again with some no stirrup trotting.

I was experiencing some pretty persistent hip and knee pain during my ride, and it started early. I'm not sure what it's all about, but one ride of it doesn't worry me at all. At least we ended on a good note, and, when I got off, I felt a lot less alienated from Baby than I usually do. It's a start.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Better than the last two

I'm back on Baby (yay!), and I've discovered that her favorite treats are Ritz Crackers and sugar cubes. She's a carb vacuum, but she's cute, so she gets all the cubes and crackers she can eat. I had two rides last week, but they were both horrible, so no post, but today wasn't too bad, so I'm going ahead and typing.

She was somewhat antsy today, but not horrible. We were able to get out to the big arena for once in forever, and we have a brand new set up with 10 fences. I personally set up a beautiful wide oxer with the yellow boxes as a filler. It's a flawless fence, and it has a long approach, which I love. She was fine to walk and trot, and we set up a "box" of two diagonal lines in the center. We trot and cantered through those a bit and she was pretty good, but I was just ew. I'm trying to put my correct two point into action, but I'm still too tense to the fences. I just do what comes naturally (i.e. toes down, knee pinched, crotch to mid neck). Baby is getting better and better about her leads, but I can't always get her to do a correct change, and getting the lead over the fence does distract from the whole riding correctly part, so I'm just gonna keep it simple for now and just pick a few jumps every once in a while to ask for the leads.

The first course was horrible. It was the usual on the forehand, way to fast, ugly distances, flopping, etc. I came out feeling rather discouraged, so we did a second and a third course, and by the third one, Baby had slowed down with me asking her to, but I was still super tense in my hips and back. After the courses, I just did three jumps in a row for the heck of it, and she was great, so we ended there.

I'm still not happy with today, but I haven't posted in a while, and this ride felt good compared to the ones before it. Since my hands and still super heavy, I'm looking to get Baby a sidepull or other bitless bridle. Any suggestions are appreciated :) She's started sticking her tongue out, which genuinely bothers me, and Miss S has a sidepull in the barn, but it's ratty looking and probably should have been retired a while ago.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Product Review: Annie's Equestrienne Tiff-Annie Blue Breeches

I am a big fan of small and upcoming businesses. They tend to have more out of the box products at bargain prices. Sure, I gamble with quality, but sometimes it's totally worth it.

The Tiff-Annie Blue breeches from Annie's Equestrienne were very much worth it. I have two pairs of basic schooling breeches, so I thought I might as well go outside the box a bit with my third pair. Blue isn't my favorite color, but Tiffany Blue is the one shade that can grace any horse or rider (don't try to argue, it's true, it will always be true). Plus, these breeches had a dove gray full seat on 'em. I couldn't resist. I placed my order. Of course, I ordered them right as their shipments had stopped; the Kleppers, founders of the company, were going through stock and putting together new designs for the fall line. Nothing was to be shipped until the 29th of June. So I waited, and I waited, but, finally, $85 and nine days later, my breeches arrived (and they got that 2-day shipping from USPS, can I get a whoop whoop!).


I was in love from the minute that they came out of the packaging. Despite being an odd color, the blue isn't overly bright, and it matches very well with the gray seat. I tried them on, and for a minute, I thought my happiness was only short lived. They were quite tight around the knee, but, in reality, I had pulled them up too high.

They're cut to fit a real woman's figure (and I am a real woman even if I'm not 18 yet), so they sit very nicely when pulled up to the right height. I'd say they fit like a mid-rise breech, not too high, not too low, and the sizing is on point. They have fantastic stretch in the blue part. I'm not sure what material the full seat is; it's actually the same material as the knee patches on my TuffRiders, but it looks to me like it'll be well wearing. A minor thing that I found to be nice is that the binding around the ankle and up the Velcro closure is soft and smooth. It doesn't rub or bunch in tallboots.


So far, I've only paired these breeches with black, but that's because I've attempted to look somewhat professional both times that I've worn them. Miss El and the others at her barn liked them, so I'd say, if you're looking for a pair of sweet breeches that hug you right and won't break the bank, the Tiff-Annie's might be the ones for you.

Annie's Equestrienne also has many other fun colored breeches in adult and children's sizes. Check them out!
anniesusa.com
Annie's on Facebook

Monday, September 1, 2014

The time I let everyone down

Heads up, this is just a dream I had that I thought was kinda funny, so, if you’re in the mood for a laugh or need a reason to question my sanity, here ya go!

So, I’m me, riding horses and stuff, but I’m in a slightly better position with my riding career. I have a bunch of sponsors, a nice warmblood gelding (bay with chrome, hot damn), and I’ve just qualified for a big junior jump off on some tropical island. It had a lot of prize money, but only five people qualified (including Tori Colvin).

My sponsors must have had a lot of money because they paid for all of my expenses for the entire trip. Airfare, gas, food, everything was all taken care of. We flew to Florida, then took a cruise ship to the island, and, mind you, my horse was with me the entire time, living in the lap of luxury. We stayed at this super fancy hotel and everything. It was awesome.

me horse
me sponsor
Jump off day comes, and I’m super psyched cause I’ve got a good chance at this. The venue is at the top of a mountain-like thingy but it’s on a cliff if that makes sense. We have to walk up all these stairs, but it was actually a super nice view with nice seating and my whole family was chilling. It was awesome. We’re watching everyone do their rounds, but at the end of your round you have to throw a ball three times, then they average the distance thrown and factor that into your score somehow (one girl threw it and hit some invisible forcefield and the ball snapped backwards and took out an entire jump and the jump crew looked like they were gonna kill her).

I was last to go, and the girl before me was starting her round, so I took a minute to check that I had everything in order, so I go to look at my show clothes, but then I noticed

I wasn’t wearing my show clothes. I was wearing regular clothes.
And I didn’t have my saddle.

Or any of my tack.

Or any of my equipment at all.

And then I realized that I had left my horse and everything I needed in order to compete at the hotel.
Shit, I didn’t even send in my entry forms.

But, even though the situation was dire, I remained calm. I went up to my mom and said, “Mom, I left my horse at the hotel,” and she just looked at me with that mom look and was like, “Do you need me to take you back to the hotel to get your horse?” And I’m just like, “Yeeeeaaahhh.” So we start leaving, and she tells my dad where we’re going and he’s just like, “Okay, see you when you get back,” like I’m about to go to lunch. We go all the way down the mountain, and we get to the parking lot, and you know what happened? I’m gonna tell you what happened.

Someone stole our car.

So my mom calls the cops, and I’m like, “How am I gonna get back to the hotel?” and she’s like, “Take the bus,” and she points to this raggedy thing on wheels that looks like it just hopped out of WWII after being bombed repeatedly for a week. I get on and the bus driver is like, “Oh, sorry, this bus is broken down. We’re waiting for a mechanic. You can wait on here if you like.” I just went to the back of the bus and started crying and saying, “I’m not gonna get to do my jump off. Tori Colvin is gonna win. That’s not fair. She won the Maclays this year” (no offense to Tori Colvin or her fans, dream me is kinda cray).

my face forreal
In the end I tried to find the hotel by myself, but I ended up at the town pier and either drowned or turned into a mermaid. It wasn’t too clear.

MORAL OF THE STORY: IF YOU EVER FEEL LIKE YOU’VE FAILED AT SOMETHING, JUST REMEMBER THAT I ONCE FORGOT TO BRING MY HORSE TO THE SHOW.

I hope you enjoyed my ramblings.
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