Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I solemnly swear I am up to no good

The last two rides I have been trying to focus on just going with the flow...not overthinking too much but also not letting things slide either. Tillie is way too smart to let things go. The trick for me is trying to the find the balance between taking it serious enough but also not too seriously. 
I have been trying to ride with music lately and it has seemed to help. I tend to get so in my head I sort of realize I am tuning the music out at times. So I shake it off, take a breath and focus on the beat. It sounds silly, but its been working. 

Between Tillie's attempts to mutilate herself, I have managed to get a few rides in since my last post. 

Look Mom I'm trying to be like Harry Potter

We have also had quite the heat wave here but it hasnt stopped Miss Tillie or made her worse for wear. Ill break down what I have been working on for myself and then what I have been working on for Tillie (I know both relate so I will do my best to separate for the sake of making it easier to skim!)

What I have been working on for myself
  • Primarily:
    • Even hands - Left hand has this tendency to drop lower and be uneven
    • Tucking my butt under myself so my lower back isn't perched
    • Stepping into my right stirrup without bracing and skiing on that leg 
  • Jumping flaws I've been wanting to fix:
    • Hunching on landing
      Toes out, jumping ahead, swinging lower leg
        Not giving enough release

Winging out toes and sitting too soon indicating weak lower leg and core
Some others I cant find pictures of:
      • sit too soon on landing http://akdragoophoto.zenfolio.com/p1007580988/e4a20987f
      • Hands rise the last few strides to a fence - anticipating
      • Hands drop the last stride at a fence (yes both of hand issues have happened simultaneously and its quite the skill) 
      • Tip forward/lead with shoulders up to the fence
See told you I am up to no good ;) 

What I have been working on for Tillie:
  • Taking the bigger step behind for more push and impulsion 
  • Keeping the shoulders up no matter what we are doing (especially after landing on jumps)
  • Not bracing on my inside rein
  • Canter to trot transitions without needing hand
My ride yesterday:

Yesterday I rode and focused the first 30 minutes just on me. The whole hand thing I listed and all... Then worked on adjustability in our walk and trot...slow smaller steps to larger steps (without going fast and flat) I have tried to get out of our safety zone of the 20 meter circle and try serpentines and changing directions to really test acceptance of the aids. At first she would get a bit tight in her back through the change but by the end was perfect - in relative terms of course.

 Next, I did trot to canter transitions without holding her and really stepping into my inside leg (boy is that hard!). She somehow lost the ability to come back to trot just on my seat which was frustrating since the last few rides shes done them flawlessly. BUT we took a break and I decided to test our jumping to see if our flat work is paying off. 

Jumping from a more forward canter

Lets break it down: 

Approach stayed in rhythm, hands are stable and I am sitting tall. Tillies shoulders are up!!! WOOOO!!
Some tension though in my shoulders and lower back still. 
Hands are the same! But tension in the lower back...at least I waited and didnt jump ahead right?

Good with the lower leg, still see tension though which is preventing a bigger release.
Reins are better and much longer than usual but will become an issue with higher fences if I dont release better.

Siiting too soon still, only slightly hunching though! Lower leg isnt pushing forward
and water skiing as much

ANNNNNND back to tension and hands coming back, at least my upper body is up and tillie isnt on the forehand.

Still with the hands **head desk** but Tillie is taking a nice big stride without being downhill

And just telling her how smart she is

Another "such a smart pony" because the downward transition after this was spot on with no hand!


  1. Riding with music always helps me too! That first pic is adorable :)

  2. when did she get that freakin cut on her face?!? c'mon Tillie, please just stay in one piece! lol seriously tho i LOVE that simple grid exercise - that and one stride lines set at shortish distances (like 18' or so). they are so perfect for doing exactly this: just workin on ourselves.

    1. At some point sunday :/ I think with some of the horses being removed from her field has started a bit if a shift and horses vying for new positions.

  3. I can't ride without music (or someone to talk to if I'm forced to be social) or I go crazy. It definitely helps drown out my brain and I can just relax a bit. I've been riding with podcasts too, which I'm finding are even better because I can't tune them out and have them still make sense. You guys look great! I did a much much smaller version of that exercise the other day- you guys definitely executed it with a lot more class.

  4. ^thank you :) Its nice when we look like we have class haha I have many videos where we are running around like banshees or just not together at all.

    Thanks for reading!