Friday, March 25, 2016

Being able to ride through the not so great rides...

We all have highs and lows...and for me I am sorta moving towards a down swing to a low :( In addition to saddle fitting woes, which I am sure doesnt help me mentally with my rides knowing they dont fit, we just arent quite jiving on the flat. Over fences we are doing ok...nothing amazing, but nothing worrisome either.

Our best jump from our lesson last week

Right around the fix a test, I felt like Tillie and I couldnt be stopped. She felt great and we felt really in tune with each other. I actually felt like I could ride her forward without worrying about bracing or rushing.

Still from the fix a test

Not sure what is going on, but since then we had a ton of rain and an extreme cold front, even with the warm weather back and the footing dry she doesnt feel quite right.

I remember riding her early last week in the wet footing a day or two after the fix a test and said out loud to my barn mates, "She seems off and keeps tripping, does she look off?" Everyone didnt see anything too alarming and I shrugged it off as the crummy footing that was uneven, VERY wet and sinking in pretty awful in a few areas.

Riding her later that week when it was dry we hopped around over some stuff and she felt ok, I thought I felt some offness again when switching diagonals, but nothing that didnt even out so I rode anyway. I did poultice her up to be safe though but both legs felt ice cold despite it being a warmish day.

Adorable face
Our lesson with P Saturday in the extreme cold and rain/sleet/snow I really didnt notice it and P didnt because she never said anything....and she will if she sees something. I did however feel a less happy tillie when trying all the new saddles than I had the weekend before trying saddles, but again just thought maybe it was from all the poking and prodding and changing of saddles.

I had a student ride her Sunday and they both did a nice job and I didnt see any shortness or stiffness. When I rode her earlier this week though and still felt like things were off I decided we needed a C dressage lesson and felt like we were waaaayyyy overdue. Emma agreed she seemed slightly short right hind, but we both rode and finished on a decent note, but that comfortable forward feeling we have had was no longer there. So I begged C to fit us in.

On a brighter note, loving my rig!

I was a bit stressed to get there in time...trying to make it after a work day is tough and it was made tougher when the road to get to the barn was closed. It also happens to be the same road to get to the barn to C's barn. But we detoured and I managed not make it too late.

I fill C in about our fix a test and what I have been feeling lately which is the C magic is fading and I need to get back to that point. She laughed and we started off with a bit more time in the walk. We took our leg off and relaxed asking for more walk, then leg on asking for smaller steps. Tillie has started rooting again and being rude since my last ride and C really scolded me to get after her for that since I tend to ignore it.

We picked up a trot and C instantly said Tillie looked off :( She had me switch my diagonals back and forth and it was by far the most drastic I have felt...she had me trot away from her and change direction a few times and agreed right hind looked short.

She had us keep trotting and remarked even her left hind wasnt quite as active and in general she wasnt bending her hocks as much as usual and was kicking up a lot of footing. She asked if she was due for a trim and I am embarrassed to admit she is WAY overdue. My farrier, as great as he is, is quite hard to schedule so figured I could push Tillie a bit to get him on the same rotation as a few others in the barn to make life easier. C said being a sensitive red head mare, she could be reacting to that and being right hind is our weaker leg its just more prominent there, but her toes are too long which she thinks may be the issue.

In the summer she gets done every 4-5 weeks. Winter we can push it a bit, but I think its been quite a while since her last trim so I am hopeful when she is done weds this will resolve this issue.

I am really trying not to fret about it...but I am signed up for a clinic with Dom Schramm next weekend and reallllly dont want a kinda lame horse.

Just too cute
Anyway, we chatted a bit about my saddle fitting woes and maybe trying pentosan for preventative maintenance and off we went to more trotting.

Tillie eventually evened out and felt MUCH better than she has lately but she kept losing her left shoulder to the outside when tracking right and falling in/leaning in on the left when tracking right. **SIGH** horses.

C had us come in and trot the smallest circle we could and then ride straight out and bigger trot to a 20m circle. Poor Tillie struggled tracking right, but tracking left she was quite easy. We did some quick leg yields to get her limbered even more and worked on the same idea from the walk, big trot - slow trot - big trot.

Tired Tillie after our first bath of the year! 
Then we moved on to sitting trot and I felt like it could ride it a tiny bit better without feeling like a moron. We did the same exercise of big trot little trot using my core and a lightbulb moment happened when C said think of pulling my belt buckle up to my sternum. Also think of the "j" motion my seat bones make and keep the bounce but make the curve of the "j" smaller to keep the activity in the trot.

Tillie did this well and gave a 5-10 good active small steps before it would get too flat. C said def do this for homework, but be careful to make sure it was a good trot and not flat so dont do the small trot for too many steps in a row.

poor croup high Tillie makes this dressage stuff that much harder

Then from the small trot C had us ask for canter which C wasnt quite expecting it to happen...Tillie did a head flick into it but she did it! We did this a few times both directions and C kept saying how hard it is and was impressed how much Tillie was trying and doing it. Left lead canter we had a bit of crooked issues from me that once I fixed, Tillie fixed.

So seems like both of us need some adjusting. I am sure we will be fine, its just tough to feel good about things at the moment. I am sorta guarded...but its tricky because these times are when I find my motivation waivers when I need to be riding her more even if its just a hack - motion is lotion as Emma says ;).


  1. I had Stinker on pentosan and it worked well until he had a bad reaction. I hope things clear up with Tillie. Dom came to my barn right before I started there and I've only heard good things about him.

    1. what was his reaction? I had her on it for a bit before and had some odd things go on i wasnt sure if they were related...

  2. Ohhhh you're doing the Schramm clinic! So eager to ehar all about it!

  3. I'm right here with ya with the highs and lows... And feeling like we can't keep a hold of the magic. It's not my favorite feeling but we just keep plugging away anyway. Hopefully Tillies strange steps behind will be totally resolved with a trim!!!

    1. thanks :) i cant handle any more lameness!! I am eager to show this year rather than sit on the sidelines