Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The day to day rides

After Saturday's amazing lesson, I found myself in a whirlwind of lessons to teach Sunday (12 hour day) and a lot of work to catch up on Monday so was unable to make it out to ride. Part of me was ok with that because whenever there is such an amazing ride like that, its really hard for the following ride to live up to it.

Look mom I can stretch! 
So I took Sunday and Monday to reflect and bask in the glory a little more while setting some realistic expectations for the next ride. I was even contemplating one more day but then realized I need to put on my big girl pants and just go ride...I always get upset we arent progressing, well we certainly won't if I dont actually ride my horse.

Isnt she just the cutest

I am certainly glad I did too because for the second time in a row, Tillie came galloping up the hill when I called for her! I have no idea if she really is coming to me or if she thinks I have food...but either way when she did it Saturday and yesterday it really just made my heart warm up.

Hi Mom!!!!
Unfortunately, I do not have videos of our ride or any footage so Ill have to recap as best I can in words. Overall the ride was an uncomplicated one again (yay!) I believe if I had instruction like Saturday it would have been another amazing ride, but leave me to my own devices and those bad habits start creeping in again (Rogue right hand, pinching at the knee, letting Tillie get too flat).

She was happy as a clam though to work and we did a quiet warm up w/t/c where all I expected were basics: Rhythm and Relaxation.

I could hear my trainer D in my head saying her trot was too flat and to add energy without changing the tempo...but I chose first to focus on the relaxation bit and be ok with the slightly flat trot if she was willing to stay relaxed. It was dinner time and another lesson going on in the ring so full expecting an unfocused and tense horse.

I used a lot of changing rein to keep the warm up interesting and test how connected Tillie could stay through the change since she tends to lose the rhythm and connection when we do. Nope! Mare was perfect!

This little bit longer/lower frame was my goal for the ride
Once I felt that was well established after a few minor reminders to pay attention (she wanted to look around a lot at the walk and trot transitions initially were full on giraffe mode) I decided to attempt to wake up the trot and canter without losing the relaxation or rhythm. So much easier said then done and I tend to either get not enough of a reaction or too much and we shoot forward.

While I feel like the difference wasnt HUGE, I do think there were some moments she was getting it and a few really strong moments of seeking contact with an actual stretch down! WOO!! She could only do it for a few strides before shed come back up but that is a much bigger response then I had two rides ago...even if her hind end wasnt as energetic as D would like to see. (*Note: this was not rooting either which is what she will do when her hind end is not energetic enough...this was honest contact down and stretching).

Will stretch for food.
Her canter -trot transitions were much nicer and she was willing to move forward into the trot rather then get coiled into the itty bitty canter and come down into this trot where her back is inverted but shes "in a frame" faking you out. We even got some really nice bend in the canter which has been a bit of a struggle.

I worked on letting her canter go and get bigger and then bringing her back to a slower canter without hand and she responded beautifully. Let me tell you what, I need some conditioning in 2-point position because I was out of breath after only a few minutes...I was also reallly trying not to grip with my knees since I tend to do that apparently:

This image shows perfectly how I am not actually wrapping my leg around Tillie when in a half seat or 2-point.
So sufficiently out of breath I was ready to call it a ride. But with some peer pressure from a fellow barn mate and because they were excited about hearing of our lesson Saturday, I decided to pop her over a few jumps just to see what I had and as a bit of reward for being so lovely flatting again.

We started off just cantering a small off a circle X to establish a rhythm and Tillie did that swimmingly. I then rode the same X to a rising oxer that was already set (about 2'7) and the first time through got an odd striding...about 4 1/2 to 5 but the last stride was really tight and she brought the front rail down. Not to say she never knocks rails, but it isnt often she does so just figured it was a distance thing and lets try again.

So ok, we need to either collect the canter a bit more or push for the four but, jumping Tillie, I prefer to do the add when first starting out to establish that adding is preferred with her tendency to get the gappy distances.

We circled and got our canter and came through again and it still rode really odd, but she cleared it. more time for good measure and to try to smooth out the edges. Nope, last time through was just as awkward and she brought down the last rail.

So in my head I decided lets try the other outside line and see if its us or the distancing of that particular line. The other outside line were two verticals, one with a coop as filler. First time through we got a nice even stride though Tillie drifted a bit left and was slightly wiggly to the coop. In all honesty it felt like she had lost a bit of confidence in the striding I am assuming from the first line because when I came back to do the line with the coop again she was much straighter and clicked into gear. I know I wasnt releasing just as much as my P lesson...but I tried to as best I could when I was thinking about it.

All in all she maintained a nice rhythm and I was pleased that, once again, she was uncomplicated.

I asked the friend that was teaching her lesson to quickly walk the distance of the awkward line because I was so curious. Sure enough it wasnt quite set up right and walked in an odd number of strides.

So lesson learned...if I am going to jump my horse I need to check distances or set them up myself.


  1. Yay Tillie!! She sounds like such a fun quirky mare.

  2. sounds like productive riding :) and yeaaahhhhh i always check the striding haha, or just jump everything as singles or bending lines.

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