Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Coming Back

It was a very rough winter for the Eq Team. Bad, rainy weather led to several horses abscessing. The ones who didn't abscess came up with random lameness, some short term, some long term. Penny was one of the long term ones. She came back into work as spring moved rather aggressively into summer. My second lesson in June was on her, and it was time to start working again.

To put it simply, Penny knows her shit. From what I've been told, she used to do the pony jumpers. I've only ridden her a handful of times over the past four years, but many people in the barn are vocal about how much they love her. Honestly, she is always a fun ride, but . . . she's hot. Makes sense since she's a jumper, but she's a micromanage type of ride.

My last IHSA show and also my second time ever riding Penny
She was easy to soften on the flat though we lacked forward motion. In her defense, it was pretty hot outside, and she's still working her way from tubby to trim. It's nice to be on a horse that's willing to unlock their jaw and fill the outside rein, even if it takes a correction of some sort every few strides. I like to micromanage (one of my many faults), so even though I can't necessarily leave Penny alone on the flat, it works out well for the both of us.

Plot Twist: she's the complete opposite over fences. I don't think I've ever jumped Penny prior to this lesson, but I've seen her zip around with other people. I found that when approaching a fence, it was better to have one clear, obvious half halt about six strides out instead of doing multiple, softer corrections up to the fence. She's as bold as Carlos, but if you hold to the fence, she tosses her head and cross fires.


Now that I'm suddenly allowing myself to be a jumper rider (more on that later), I would consider Penny to be my type of horse. Obviously part of it comes from her training, but she has a team player attitude if that makes sense. She doesn't fight unless you're doing something wrong, and if she's fighting me, the solution is probably to just soften my hands.

Plus, she's an absolute gem to handle.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Spoke Too Soon

So, true to her nature, Fate had a different plan for me this summer than intended. Since my last post, I have ridden four times. Two of those rides happened yesterday. While I am disappointed, it's also worth noting that moving over a thousand miles to a different city took most of my attention over the past two months.

I had two lessons in June. The first was on Dori where Coach S threatened to fix my wrists if I didn't fix them myself. My wrists have been a problem since I started riding Molly, but my trainers have yet to use threats as a solution. I'm embarrassed to say it worked. Makes me think about my hand position with more consistency.

No media from this lesson, so please enjoy me embarrassing this horse because
we have the same name
For the first time in a while, Coach was having us try some lateral work, which I am all for. After dealing with Roman's need for a slower paced canter set up, I started to use a basic leg yield more and more in my warm ups. School horses are all too used to plodding along the rail, and simply asking them to move towards and away from the fence makes them much more supple. Pro Tip if you're still riding lesson horses: leg yields, serpentines, and circles are your best friend.

Absolute heathen
I'm still slowly building my right side back up. Part of getting into a workout routine was to help build that strength and maintain my balance. Dori was fairly compliant, but it was clear that my balance was giving her some mixed signals. Squats, jogs, and lunges have always been the most helpful as well as general stretching. Hip stretches will absolutely be Miss El's legacy in my life.

He received a Bachelor's in Cuteness. Graduated with Honors.
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