Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lesson Day...HURRAY!

This month has been a whirlwind of craziness! Weather-wise, we go from the 70's to the 40's back to the high 60's then down to the 20's at night...seriously, is this January?!?! I mean, I know some places are getting crazy snow or perfect weather for the most part (yea, I'm talking about you FL!) but this is just a little ridiculous for January in NC. Dear Weather Gods, Make up your mind please, preferably in the warmer direction :) Besides that, the rain has edited my riding and so has my new job! Yes, I said it, new job! I finally have my paralegal job which gets me more $$ to spend more time in the saddle but because I'm new at work, time in the saddle is not necessarily what I'm getting. Also, Buddy has had a rough couple of weeks with another biopsy on the lump on his face which was so painful it resulted in crazy swelling which he tried to alleviate by rubbing off all of the skin on the side of his face. The poor boy was a mess and that resulted in no riding for a week and a half. I finally start to get him back on the mend and last Sunday he coliced a little on me so tomorrow I will attempt to do a light workout with him. Anyways, Lynn was in town from FL this weekend which meant lesson time. Since, Buddy was feeling better but hadn't been ridden in a full week, I didn't think it was fair to subject him to a lesson. DJ was the lucky substitute! The funny thing about this horse is that he LOVES and I mean LOVES taking trailer rides. As soon as he saw the trailer pull up along side the barn, he started piaffing in the aisle as I as putting on his shipping wraps. On the way to the trailer, he picked up a trot and literally trotted onto the trailer. When he landed inside, the whole trailer shook and he started talking (his voice is much deeper than one would expect for his size or breeding) which meant, "Close the darn ramp and lets get moving! We have places to go and things to eat!"

We got to NSTC and it was PACKED! People were keeping horses overnight to partake in lessons tomorrow, some had horses on the trailer since they had already had lessons and were watching their fellow riders have their turn or they just finished and were packing up to go home. Lynn managed to squeeze me in during her lunch break today so we were right in the middle of all the commotion. It was funny because all of the horses around us were big flashy warmbloods and here comes my Napoleon-complex, Alpha-male, 14.3 Arabian gelding...he has no idea he's tiny because his presence is that of a 17.2 WB stallion! We went in right at the end of my friend Liz's lesson to warm up and man was he feeling good! We got right down to work in creating bend throughout his body and Lynn had me giving half-halts every stride in order to gain more cadence in the trot at shoulder-in since he tends to be quick and choppy when we start. He got better and better every stride showing that our work over the past month has been paying off and that he is getting stronger and more confident in himself. Next, we moved onto the canter and even though this is only his third lesson with Lynn, his canter was lightyears better than the first lesson! She was so impressed by just watching the left lead she wanted to work on the "FC"s at the end. YAY! She finally thought we were ready to start to tackle my evil nemesis the flying change but alas, that all changed after seeing the right lead. Even though the rhythm was better and he was adjustable, we still had a lot of problems with his bend. So, we went back to the walk and trot to do some really exaggerated  over-bending to the right and then back to the canter. When he started to lose it or get frustrated, we went back to the trot and sometimes walk just to reinforce the idea. He improved a lot with just that exercise. Lynn suggested instead of working on the changes themselves today (we would try again when she came back), we would just work on maintaining a nice uphill canter while just changing the bend. This way he would think this was no big deal and not associate bend change with flying change. The left was super easy and the bend came quietly on both sides. Cantering to the right proved more difficult because he was fine going straight and kind of bending to either side but not the other, meaning we could go straight and bend left but not right or we could go straight and bend right but not left. Right at the end he was getting a little tired in the canter but when I brought him back down to trot he felt like he was ready to do the whole trot tour of the Third 1 test, what a silly boy! I had to halt and relax his neck before we could go back to the nice cadence trot we had at the beginning just to stretch him down at the end. Overall, what a great lesson, we definitely improved over just a couple months and next time we come back I'm sure we going to be able to at least show Lynn what we can do as far the "FC" is concerned. But for now I can be content with today, and I have the basic plan for Buddy tomorrow even though I was inspired by watching all the great freestyles from the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach on the usefnetwork!  

Monday, January 2, 2012

First Post of 2012!!!

YAY!!! Happy New Year :) This is is gonna rock! I can feel it deep down in my job, great rides, maybe new rides?!?! (ok, I have to be a little realistic here, probably not gonna happen but one can always dream!). I have my new goals ready for this year. I am also refraining from referring to them as resolutions, because a friend once said "Resolutions can be made and completed anytime as long as one has the strength to go through with them." Goals are different because because it's something that you would like to complete during the time-frame of a year but your life will not be better or worse if you don't. SO, let's get on with them:

2012 Goals:

  • Finish that darn USDF Bronze Medal!!! 
  • Qualify for GAIG's & BLM's at Second and Third Level
  • Get into better physical condition - last year I set a goal for lbs. lost and I accomplished that but this year I want muscle along with it...that means, ugh, working out :(
  • Get to at least one clinic this year (audit or riding)
  • Read 20 books with at least 1 being a book to help my passion for the sport
I think these are realistic and achievable goals, not too many and not too vague!

And now, for the new announcement....I have started another Blog (*gasp* I know, right?!?!). It is still about the adventures of my boys and I, but it is only about the training that the three of us do at home. I'm using a book that is all about dressage exercises as inspiration and cannot wait to get started! Check it out  at Hope everyone has had a great start to the New Year! Until next time, Happy Riding :)