Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Y Exercise

So, here's the Y polework exercise from yesterday. It's based off of the one I posted about a while ago, but I was limited in terms of materials, so everything was on the ground. Everything is spaced to trot through.

What You Need:
    - one set of jump standards
    - 7 poles total (if you're just doing the cross rail)
Exercise 1: Coming off the left, trot through the Y, exit to the right, trot over the ground poles, pick up the canter, jump cross rail, then halt.





Exercise 2: Coming off the left again, trot through the Y, pick up the right lead canter, canter through the Y, switch lead (even though your horse probably swapped in the Y itself), go around to cross rail, then halt.


Exercise 3: (this isn't actually what we did, but I remembered it wrong when I made the diagram, and I didn't feel like making another one because it was very hard and Kal was making fun of me during the process) Coming off the right, trot through the Y, canter at some point, canter over the cross rail, halt, trot off turning left go over ground rails, make a tight right turn, pick up right lead, canter over cross rail, then halt.


Of course Pixel was a superstar through everything, but he is the world's biggest try hard.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Pixel isn't even a pony

They sticked him. He's 15hh. What's the point of being half Welsh with a very pony face if you're gonna be over 14.2??? It's fine though. I still love him, and he's still a pony in my world. Fight me, USEF.

He's a pony, a very large pony
So yeah besides Pixel's gross betrayal, he was actually quite good today considering what we were doing. Sure, he did his usual spook at everything in existence thing - today it even included another horse. Otherwise, he was much softer today and tried very hard to go into my hand. It was sort of a reversal of our typical standing where he gets it at the canter but struggles at the trot. He was a lot more compliant at the trot this time around. The canter was Eh but had it's good moments, more so to the left than the right.

A pony that's horrible at selfies . . .
Balance was back and forth today, but there was no pain. I had some momentary strain in my shins, but that went away once I brought my shoulder back and relaxed my knee a bit. Today was a fairly laidback ride overall.

Chillin' from start to finish
Coach also let me set up our exercise for the day which was a Y made of poles, but not what we did at the Evening Team lesson. We did three different patterns besides just trotting through the parts like normal, but I'll have those for you tomorrow. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fashion Thursday: Aqua Top

Yes, more crop tops, all the crop tops, ride only in crop tops.

Aqua Top

1. Aéropostale Seriously Solid Crop Tee
    aeropostale.com
2. FixDesign Breeches with Alcantara Patch
    shop.fixdesignhorses.it
3. Anna Field Braided Belt
    no longer available
4. Wilker's Hunter/Jumper Baby Pad
    shop.wilkers.com
5. Ovation San Diego Jumping Saddle
    equestriancollections.com
6. GPA Speed Air Evolution Helmet
    doversaddlery.com
7. De Niro Ottaviano Croco Boot
    no longer available
8. Shires Fleece Lined Airflow Half Pad
    vtosaddlery.com

Monday, April 25, 2016

Review of 4/17/16 to 4/23/16

Since I've nothing else to post on this fine Monday, here's last week's review.


So, first half of the week. I can't even tell you when I worked out, but there's one somewhere in there, maybe two if I had the motivation. School wise, last week was another death week. Everyday, I wonder if a college education is even worth it (it is, trust me). I do have my recap from riding Gigi, and it's pretty much the same old, same old. Lateral balance continues to go places. Whenever I don't do the hip stretches, I can feel the difference between the directions. It's just become more slight. I'm still super pumped that I actually was able to rise the trot without feeling like I was flying all over the place, and being able to canter Gigi was awesome!


Fast forward to Friday and my attempts to get kinda Dressagey with Pixel. I did ask for more impulsion at the walk and trot because his walk to trot and trot to canter transitions aren't as clean as I'd like them to be. Since I'm not the only one riding him, I can't be sure how consistently he's being asked for a nice, marching walk. I might carry a stick with him just so I can be more clear, but as of now he is responding. It's just a matter of maintaining. My no. 2 goal with him is to stay on.

Overall goals are to continue to work on the balance thing and also to fix my jumping position because wow this is atrocious.

what the heq?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Winsome, losesome

So I was back on Pixie Sticks for last week's lesson, and it went kind of similar to our last encounter . . .

Pixel, no
Except this time around, I actually got him over the fence on the first try, and he decided the second time through that maybe brush boxes aren't the best life decision he could make. The full video is here if you're interested, but I have more successful media from the ride.

Besides our little incident, he jumped fantastic (no, seriously, he was awesome). He's been such a good boy about backing off right when I ask him or moving up to catch a nicer spot. His simple changes are nearly automatic, which is pretty convenient, except he knows that he's on the wrong lead before I do.


Unfortunately, he was quite sassy about our flatwork at first because baby horse doesn't like moving forward. His canter transitions are getting much better as well. Once he got out his anger, he cantered wonderfully with good rhythm and seeking the contact. His lateral balance needs as much work as mine, so we're stuck in a rut on that aspect.

Going forward, I need to focus a helluva a lot more on my equitation over a fence. Frog legs are out of style (were they ever in style?). My two-point is less of a two-point and more of a flamboyant upper body movement with 0 base support. I don't have many photos or videos of me jumping, but I'm trying to figure out which friend I'll be begging to come to my lesson to film me. What are friends for, amirite?

Dream Team

Friday, April 22, 2016

Flash Back Friday: The Little Red Mare

Meet Molly, 14 hands of hell on hooves.

'heard u were talkin shit"
To be fair, her insanity is partially nature, partially nurture. She's Hancock bred, and her mom is a notorious lunatic. Just mention the name Lorelei in my town, and most people know exactly what horse you're talking about. She was a rescue and came to Miss S beyond skittish and reactive. By the time I left, she had calmed down significantly, but crazy is a part of her personality.


I started riding Molly in August of 2011, about four months after I had started riding. We were both green at the time, and the partnership caused many of my well-known issues. Our time together pretty much culminated in many impacts with fences, shot confidence, and a bruised tailbone at one point. But lets face it, I was a kid who finally had a pony all my own. Despite the nerves while riding (many days, I could barely muster the confidence to trot her), I was always eager to ride her when I went to the barn.

Throwback to my pre-afro days
My issues with Molly weren't an isolated event; a number of riders had tried her and realized early on that it wasn't a good match. I would have done the same if I wasn't such a ridiculously stubborn human being. There was one girl after me who managed to click with Molly. They were a competitive pair for a while and still are as far as I know. It reminds me of this Denny Emerson quote:


People get nervous sometimes, and that's okay. Through those nerves, Molly allowed me to learn about limits. Knowing and understanding my limits has allowed me to progress physically while building my confidence. I've made the mistake in the past of exceeding those limits at the insistence of others, but I'm more strict with myself now; sometimes holding yourself back is what allows you to move forward.

Thanks Izz for the super old photos!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Fashion Thursday: If This Aint Olly

Olly Alexander, that is.

If This Aint Olly

1. Men's Paisley Color Block Tee
    amazon.com
2. Tailored Sportsman Professional Breech
    doversaddlery.com
3. Wilkers Hunter/Jumper Winning Colors Saddle Pad
    shop.wilkers.com
4. De Niro Salento Oxford Top
    joshuajonesuk.com
5. Tekna Jumping Saddle
    no longer available
6. Capacete GPA First Lady Leather
    hipismostore.com.br

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Baby Horse Swag

Actual Baby Gigi continues to impress, even if she doesn't look too impressed.


I stole away from school this past weekend because wahhh, education is meaningless (I actually forgot my working headphones at home, and I wanted them very badly). Since I wanted to do something more than just binge watch LOST, I got a lesson on the babe.

She came out a bit fresh. Apparently she's grown a little bit since last time, but the booty is still in the lead. My position is slowly morphing and shifting into the right spot. I was actually able to post correctly, whereas previously the sitting trot has been my haven. We even got to canter (only to the right though because baby horse doesn't like her left lead), which I had seriously wanted to ask Miss El about trying. I guess she can read my mind.

So yeah, Dressagey stuff is going pretty well at the moment.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Swappy Swappy

Getting to ride three different horses is a great way to finish off the week, even if one of them (*cough* Vick *cough cough*) was far too hype.

I was put on LB again for the team lesson, and it was totally better than last time. I did about a lap of hip stretches which opened me up enough to be effective but not quite enough to lengthen my leg all the way. When we went to sit the trot, I was struggling, so I dropped my irons and tried it that way instead with moderate success (didn't sit trot for long). He cantered and jumped exceptionally well.


I swapped first onto Vick and then onto Lionel. Vick was forward, and I was handsy, so that didn't go down too well. On the flip side, Lionel was laid back and game for pretty much any fence (which led to him locking onto the wrong fence). He can be added to the list of horses that are far too big for me but still accept cues from my puny legs.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Fashion Thursday: Really, Debbie? Pastels?

Really, Debbie? Pastels?

1. Blair Better-Than-Basic Sweatshirt
    blair.com
2. Petrie Coventry Riding Boot
    divoza.com
3. Wilker's Hunter/Jumper Baby Pad
    shop.wilkers.com
4. Charles Owen Custom Riding Helmet
    doversaddlery.com
5. Horze Silvia Women's Denim Self Patch Breeches
    horze.com
6. Stubben S Portos Elite

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Big Horse, Tiny Human

Me, the midget, has yet again decided that the big horses are the better option for myself. Despite having the option to choose between a much smaller, more physically suitable mount, I decided that Beorn, 17hands of pacing, sweaty beast, was exactly what I wanted to ride. He was the one from the flatwork ride that wasn't the easiest to canter. What fun.

So I guess the big question here is "Why?" Not gonna lie, I did sense some hesitation from the other teammates; Brittany was adamant about switching horses with me if I didn't feel comfortable, and rightfully so. I picked Beorn because he's a big horse with a big stride, but he's not straightforward. He's somewhere between Romeo and Abbey. I was fairly direct with Steph and told her that I might get nervous, and there was a 50/50 chance that I'd be able to canter him. I typically wing it in these situations, but I don't need another setback, and two less than stellar rides last week made me grossly determined to do better.

Beorn This Way
I did do better . . . well, after I actually got on the large animal because my legs were too short to reach my stirrups. When I did get on, and we started our warmup, it was a lot of giraffe at first. While my first reaction was to collapse forward, I took a deep breath, drew my shoulders back a bit, and tried to maintain a rhythm with him. Beorn is the biggest try hard out there. No, we didn't go in a nice frame the whole time around, but he's still so responsive and honest. I was shocked at how nice he felt, despite our obvious size difference. We did a group critique for the canter (and yes I did canter him without an drama). The biggest concern was me letting go and letting him move like a big horse. So, we did that in the second part of the lesson.

And he got even better. On the bit and tracking up, I seriously hope he looked as good as he felt. I was still getting used to the bigger stride, so it was difficult to get him to bend well, but that'll improve with time.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The usual slump post

Coach finally switched it up on me yesterday. I rode neither Romeo nor Pixel but instead got put on LB, a barn favorite who I hadn't the chance to ride yet. He's a fairly dainty horse, but he can get going despite his size and apparent age. He also grossly over estimated the size of carrot which he could consume at once, and wow that was an interesting few moments.


Of course, I was late getting into the ring, so I didn't have any time to do my hip stretches, and I consequently hated my stirrups for the entire ride. I could probably attribute most of my issues yesterday to not properly warming myself up. LB was easy off my leg, which I appreciated. By the time we started jumping, my whole body was quite out of line (front and right side collapse), plus my leg reverted back to the up/downer days. I looked like a slight wreck, but I have media, so who cares?


So, yeah, bad ride yadda yadda the sky is falling yadda yadda all that nonsense.

Friday, April 8, 2016

What is inside leg?

Gus doesn't know. Well, he does know, but only at the walk, and kind of at the trot after you really dig your heel into his side. I (finally) took my first actual lesson with the Eventing team. I was on a large, opinionated pony named Gus, and I spent most of the ride trying to make it look like I wasn't an up/downer. My attempts were futile; I couldn't really get Gus to work all that much. Despite doing my hip stretches, I wasn't as balanced as I needed to be, and I could not keep it together going to the left. Once you add in the fact that Gus falls in horribly, it didn't make for a pretty picture. Needless to say, we didn't mesh, but I'll probably be on him again next week.

The flatwork was approaching useless, but I did make him work at times, so he gained some fitness. We did the Y-jumping exercise below.

image from Horse Channel
And pony ran out quite a few times. It was kinda all over the place because I was overdoing it for the height of the fences (I think they were 2'-2'3"ish). It was all just a bit frustrating, and I wasn't very happy when I left the ring. But, I'm going back next Monday for flatwork week.

Also, this happened on Monday, and I am horribly behind on posts, and I promise that I will be better.

I'm behind o/f, too

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Ellen Shevella Clinic!

To say I've been bitten by the opportunity bug would be an understatement; a whole goddamn swarm of them have been chasing me for quite some time. Trust me, I'm not complaining, especially when it means that I get to meet (or have phone calls with) my idols.

Ellen Shevella was the judge at regionals on Saturday, so she stuck around through Sunday and gave a clinic basically on how to give the judge the ol' razzle dazzle.

Much of the focus, especially for the flat section, was being seen by the judge. Walk in, and make sure the judge gets your number. If it's a big class, try to stand out. Put yourself in places where the judge will see you the best.

Some general comments:

A horse is like a wet bar of soap that your legs are wrapped around. Squeeze too tightly, and it'll slip right out of your hands. Leg contact should not hold or pinch but rather grasp and wrap. Hold the wet soap with a gentle grasp, and it will not slip.


A different color coat is not always a bad idea.


It's totally okay to be the first person on course (score, cause I love being first).


Get off the damn rail.


You can hide your less than desirable skills while emphasizing your more obvious ones.


No clucking (*side eyes @ myself*).


Have a quality, marching walk (ya know, that thing we worked on quite a bit with Oldie McSlowpants).


Ain't no such thing as a too shiny stirrup (Which is a relief because I can't use the black Sprengers on Music's saddle in equitation, so bye bye, and a hopeful future hello to HKM irons).


It was a wonderful and educational clinic. I really have been dying to meet Ellen, and even though I just stood awkwardly close to her for the most part instead of actually saying anything, it was cool to see her in the flesh.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Review of 3/27/16 to 4/2/16

Yes, I have my first weekly review!


So this past week was comprised of one ride and two workouts (plus regionals, but I just froze my buns off for four hours). As expected, left to right balance was an issue, but, while riding, it was resolved well through the hip exercises. I have decided to also work on the no stirrup work at the sitting trot to help me find my center and relax my thigh/knee area. I still feel unbalanced when I do the workouts, especially with the side crunches and anything involving upper body strength (flyers, for example). That'll probably be fixed minutely through the hip stretches but also through general yoga or something like that.


I also looked into that issue of shin pain that's mentioned in the "Weekly Review" section. Turns out there isn't a lot of info on it; most people talked about shin splints in relation to riding, and, after checking the symptoms, I definitely don't have shin splints. The answers I found were mostly on forums, but they did conclude that it comes down to that darnded leg stiffness. I've always had occasional shin pain, and just sort of brushed it off. It's looking like the no stirrup work plus hip stretches will be the cure for this as well.

In short, just gotta keep doing what I'm doing, and wait for the results.

When you don't wanna do hip stretches but you gotta

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Big Baby Romeo now Big Toddler Romeo

I mean, some would argue that toddlers are worse than babies, but Romeo did have a much more mature approach to (most of) our lesson yesterday. Of course, he still keeps his head in the air 99% of the time, but we had a couple of moments at the trot where he dropped down and into my hands. It takes a bit outta him. He also cantered fantastic; both of us held it together pretty well to the point where I actually felt like I could equitate while he did his thang. It did get a bit quick going to the left, and I managed him with a few circles, but I wasn't quite getting the half halt (more on that and other things tomorrow).


He jumped quite well, too, trot right up to trot fences, and didn't lose it at the canter, plus came down a lot nicer. His one drawback was that he really didn't want to leave the group and preferred to ignore my inside leg on the approach. I know, Romeo, life is so hard because sometimes you have to move 20ft away from your friends and perform an inside bend. I'm so sorry.

Our second combo of fences required a tight turn off the first fence, and it felt weird to say the least. If we consider Romeo's big stride plus my general lack of experience in jumpers, it was weird for me, the sad eq rider, but Coach only had compliments besides the age old, "Look up!" We caught a long distance to the second fence the first time through, then it was short the second time and caused me to go places, but he caught his changes both times on cue.

He's so friendly
Plus, he was a good bean at regionals today. Whatta horse.

Fancy Bean
For me, last week and this week saw the return of hip stretches because I don't wana get the 'tude from Miss El. They were significantly easier this week, and I saw an improvement in my leg stability, range of motion, and general left to right balance (though I caught myself collapsing forward a couple of times). Of course, it was still difficult, and it hurt, but her birthday was yesterday as well, so I consider my pain to be just another present.
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