Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lessons, Clinics, Horse shows, oh my...Concussion?!?!

I would tend to say I'm usually on top of my blogging, but I would be lying! The last month has been a whirlwind that I just could not catch up with. When I finally felt things getting back to normal, I was a bit intimidated to dive back in. It wasn't going to get any easier the longer I waited, so here I go again in attempts to keep my thoughts somewhere other than my head while providing some equine education and a little bit of entertainment :)

I think that I can skip the summary of the lessons since they tend to be repeats this season. Don't get me wrong it's not a bad thing by all means. They are repeats because we need to keep addressing my weaknesses in order to improve in the show ring. Just a quick review: It's the balance of the canter which results in a less hectic/spastic/tense canter when we get it right and connection into the bridle at ALL GAITS!

Dressage in the Sandhills was the next show on the roster after a couple weeks of lessons. I have to say since we first attended this show last year, I was really looking forward to it this season. The show grounds are nice but improvements were made over the last year which made the stalling and the competition rings 10x better than previously. It's right next to a golf course, so it kinda feels like a mini vacation at the same time! Overall, our rides the whole weekend consisted of moments of brilliance  then tense at others. The scores ranged in our normal area (low-mid 60's), we won a class and got 5th in the others but money was won so not too shabby ;) Even though the scores were good and Buddy wasn't necessarily bad, we just seemed to be in a weird place (or a better word "funk") the whole weekend. The two of us had some difficulty in the warm-ups but I rehashed the weekend in my head and decided we would handle it differently the next time. Not a bad second show, especially since we got the last qualifying score we needed so we are off to the GAIGs in November :)

Next up was what I would like to dub "the incident". No, there was no knock-down, drag out battle or vicious venomous verbal brawl. I closed my head in my car door....go ahead, get all of your laughs out now so I can continue my story. The incident actually happened a few days before Dressage in the Sandhills but it wasn't addressed until after the show when the headaches became so fierce I took up a semi-permanance in my bed. The first doctor put me on Migraine meds which I could understand since I have a history of those crippling headaches but they just didn't feel the same. The next doctor (seen a few days later) disagreed, put me on muscle relaxers, heat therapy and no riding due to my slightly serious concussion!!! Oy! No rider wants to hear that! But alas, I was sentenced to no riding until the headaches subsided and then wait ANOTHER week before setting foot in my irons *grumble grumble*. This was awesome timing since I had a horse show coming up in the next week, NOT...but I'll get to that in a moment.

Since I was unable to ride, the next best thing was to go audit a clinic, which is exactly what I did! The NCDCTA Symposium was taught by JJ Tate this year. Boy, was she full of useful info!! Here are just a few of the high points that I learned along with a slew of exercises that I have been tormenting my children with of late in order to polish up or educate them in better 3rd level work.

  • Remember to keep the zipper of the boot away from the saddle. The knee must close without tightening the hip this will help the toes to stay in. The leg is draped and not pinching which should result in a kneeling feeling
  • Seatbones direct the hind seat bone strikes off like a match so each stride is its own depart
  • Power in the pelvis= swinging in the seatbones. To go forward your pelvis will make an oval shape, to collect make turn oval into a circle
  • Hold the reins at the base of the palm for better connection
  • Keep your fulcrum anchored onto your engine
  • The "seat" is from the knee to the top of your head
  • Think of cutting your torso into four quadrants...when you want to collect use your abdominals to "scoop it" (the horse) up!
  • 3 Types of Evasion:

    1. Speed
    2. Inversion
    3. Crookedness

  • The mouth is for drinking and eating not stopping
  • Knee and seatbones ride the shoulders up
  • Bossy seatbones and think of seatbones as Flashlights = pointed in the direction in which you are driving
  • "T-Rex" arms = elbow coming out from your hips
  • We should always have an awareness of when the inside hind leaves and connects with the ground 
    I was able to ride the Tuesday before we left for the Capital Dressage Classic. I figured since I really hadn't ridden in three weeks, I wasn't going to be able fix anything before Friday. So we had a nice leisurely ride to remind Buddy and I what is was to do mediocre dressage and called it a day. Friday, the first day of the show, would be our next ride, talk about being prepared...HAHA! The weekend wasn't bad. I under-rode everything and the scores reflected it but I thought it better to be safe than sorry when it came to my Noggin. Buddy tried really hard all weekend and probably could have given more but again, I just wasn't ready. We won a class and came in 2nd or 3rd in the others. Not bad especially since Sunday was really our worst day being one of the last rides and spooking like a barely saddle broken 4 year old in the coliseum. Oh well! As they say "Sh*t happens!" I've decided Boo's next show will not be until the Labor of Love show which also happens to be the NCDCTA Championships in early September. The two of us are sick of 2nd level so it's time to suck it up and start schooling some 3rd...EEP! DJ (hopefully) will take Buddy's spot at the Raleigh Summer Dressage Show at the end of July in attempts to finish up our Bronze (*Fingers and toes crossed*).  Until, next time which will hopefully be sooner rather than later :)