Friday, August 26, 2016

Can Fall Come Already?

Today I was able to convince Jin to come out and take pictures of me riding so that I would be able to evaluate my progress and see what I need to keep working on. Yay!
It was really hot by the time we were able to get out to the barn and I honestly didn't really want to ride, but I have a busy weekend plan so riding had to happen today.
First, I fetched Victor and gave him a free lunge. He was a ball of wild energy! He bucked three times, jumped a 2 ft vertical, and cantered around for probably five minutes straight. It was good to see this because it means that he is feeling less sore.
After free lunging, I tacked him up and we headed back out to the outdoor arena. We did our boring 10 minutes of walking, then I asked him to trot and he thought about giving a little buck but decided against it. We then trotted around for 6 minutes and then we were done. It was a mellow ride and Victor was well-behaved. I want to work on more complicated things with Victor (like medium-sized circles), but some days he is just too stiff in the back to do anything other than trot in a straight line.
Trotting Victor
More trotting action
As a sidenote... I know that my stirrups are WAY too long in the Victor photos. I am using his mom's saddle (since he is too wide to fit in any other saddles) and I don't really want to mess with it. Since I only trot him for 5 minutes I don't really think that the length of the stirrups matter.
He's so cute and cuddly
After riding Victor, I sponged him off (there was a line to use the bath station). Then I threw him out in pasture and grabbed Casey.
While I was tacking Casey up I discovered that she has learned a new (annoying) trick. I keep her horse treats in a big plastic containers. The mare has apparently figured out that this plastic container contains the yummies and so she kept trying to get into it. Sometimes I think she is too smart for her own good. Finally, we were ready to ride and Casey was very sad to leave the treat container.
Casey was very good for the walk and trot portion of our ride. She wasn't being crazy or tugging on the reins and so I got my hopes up that it would be another perfect ride...
Calm trotting Casey
And then I asked for a canter and everything when downhill. She just couldn't seem to focus on what we were doing. She was leaning on the bit, speeding around corners, pinning her ears and lunging forward every time we passed poor Leigh, and flailing her way around circles. Too be fair, even with all of this going on, she was still much more balanced and controlled than she was two weeks ago, but it was frustrating to ride. Part of the problem was that my head just wasn't in the right space either. I was hot and it was a terrible idea to eat nachos right before riding in the heat....
Left-lead canter = thumbs up!
Right-lead canter needs more work
Even though Casey wasn't being the best, I had decided to do a bit of jumping (since Jin was around to take pictures). We were just going over little 2 ft verticals, but Casey over-jumped probably half of them. She wasn't being terrible while we were jumping, but she wasn't being good either. Again... she just wanted to gallop around the course and I was the meanie holding her back. After looking at the photos, I see bits of progress in my position. I'm still jumping ahead and my butt is too far out of the saddle (I think I need to shorten my stirrups even more?), but my hands are higher up on Casey's neck so that is a slight improvement.
Butt needs to come back more
Need to get my heels beneath me
Looking halfway decent here
Looking at the rest of the photos, I do see improvement in both Casey and me. We are both looking more balanced and relaxed. I was excited to see that in the canter, my leg mostly stayed beneath me. Also I'm getting better about keeping my shoulders back and back straight. I need to work on my hands (they are too close together at the canter), getting my back even straighter, and more heels down. Casey needs to work more on staying balanced in her right-lead canter (it's obvious even in photos that it is her weaker canter lead).
Too far out of the saddle
Crazy, but sweet
My trainer told me today that in a month she will be putting on a local show (or maybe just a schooling show) and that she thinks that Casey and I should do at least a few classes. I don't know if we will be able to improve enough in a month to be able to be successful at a show, but it gives us a good goal to work towards!

No comments:

Post a Comment