Friday, May 27, 2016

all good things must come to an end

That title sounds like something really bad happened...dont worry it wasnt THAT bad. I have been incredibly fortunate that Tillie and I have been really cookin and on a good streak for quite a while. This is by far the longest consecutive number of GOOD rides I have ever had with her so for that I am grateful.

Arrived at Windurra! 
This lead in makes it sound like yesterdays ride was really no it really wasnt! But comparing to our really really GOOD rides lately, it just didnt feel good. Ill elaborate more in a minute.

First off though, Windurra is really as beautiful and awesome as people say. It wasnt too bad of a drive, and pulling in I was excited to see many inviting jumps for all levels (not just giant upper level stuff). This makes sense since young horses have to start somewhere too right?

Alllll the jumps
I mentally noted this is definitely a place I want to come school more often because it has EVERYTHING including coffins and other combinations that will eliminate the guessing game of it Tillie is ok with things like that before we come across them in a show. Dom met us there and told us to meet him in the jump ring first to start. I will preface to say, we ran out of time to actually XC school which was disappointing, but we really worked on some coursework that was beneficial and needed.

Dom had told me last week to bring my pelham...but I did manage to ride her in the snaffle which I think was partially why things didnt feel as good.

kind of an odd shot, but you can see a bit more of the ring!

Tillie was fine hacking to the ring shockingly, but in the picture above you can see the entrance way to the ring is flanked by two sheds. Tillie did NOT like this one bit and spooked backwards a bit. Luckily my barn mate was there with her horse and he led us in. Tillie wasnt so sure about that area even warming up but did eventually get over it to some degree.

She was a bit jazzed and coiled and Dom commented that despite this, he could see why we do so well on the flat because she has really nice movement even when tense. So while thats nice to hear, It really isnt a pleasant feeling when she gets like this. While I know her well enough now that she isnt going to full blow up or be stupid, she just doesnt relax and braces and it just isnt comfortable for me riding, but also I do have to work harder lol. Nothing wrong with that, it just isnt pleasant. Dom said when he has a horse like that he does so many transitions...and within the gait transitions to help soften them. It helped slightly...but we didnt have a ton of time so we didnt really scratch the surface on that.

Totally loving my trailer!!!
Dom had us start by warming up over some cavaletti sprinkled throughout the ring and work on getting deep to them. He sent us through the curved bounce exercise similar to one of our recent lessons with him which he loved for Tillie to get her to back off.

Here is a video of after warm up, putting that exercise to use:

Couple can see i get pitched forward on the oxer so finishing with the two stride was a bit hairy. Not to mention that 2 stride was LONG and set for higher heights and competition striding lol but we got it done. Dom complemented me and said he noticed I was doing much better staying tall and waiting for the fences, but the pitching forward is my not staying in my two point long enough and sitting up too soon. Which when she gets strong is a bad habit I do because I get defensive.

Dom was really positive despite me not feeling 100% and said he could see improvement in us, and this was GREAT practice because it sort of emulated what I have when being at a show. Granted the last few Tillie hasnt been like this (i think largely because if the pelham)...but regardless I need to learn to work through it especially with my goals of moving up. He said the bigger jumps will only get her more jazzed up so homework is to take her places often like this to get her to relax like she has been lately.

I never asked Dom to switch to the pelham and he never offered it, which on one hand is good because she was still rideable in the snaffle, it was just really hard and she can lean on it, which youll see in the later videos shes low and flat again because I cant get her off it.

Here is our first attempt at the course before he put them up:

Once again, lots to like and lots to go hmmm lol. How about the flying lead change around the jumps?! Then she had a very enthusiastic change after the 5-6 stride line.

She was really tough to get that left lead especially over that first vertical. I would have liked to work on that more, but Dom I think knew it was just her not getting off her right shoulder which wasnt going to change in that snaffle.

What I LIKED about this round was I put in a nice 6 in that outside line...I could have gone for the 5 which we did get when the jumps went up, but it was nice I still had adjustability in the snaffle. The final line was tough because I struggled getting her right to the first fence which Dom said think of riding it more like an oxer so you land long so that your horse doesnt have to reach sooo much for the next jump.

He had us come around and try again:

Not a whole lot better, but when they went up in height it did and we whoad right after it on the straightaway which Dom LOVED and suggested when we jump even when she isnt strong throw that in every 5-10 jumps so she starts anticipating that.

Tillie was huffing and puffing after our last round so Dom called it and said to come back the folling week just to xc school :) So hopefully we can then.

We did take a hack around afterwards, I did go down a bank at the walk because you all know my fears of those lol and we walked through the water.

I realize yesterdays ride and the bracing and just overall her being strong is a bit of a chicken or the egg syndrome. I know I can cause a lot of it when I start trying to hold her or micromanage she gets claustrophobic and it exacerbates her behavior. So im not sure really WHY I still do

At last my mare is totally game and saves my butt
Im hoping it was a bit of that yesterday and I need to chill the fuck out and go back to less is more...find that balance of the accurate ride without being too much in Tillie's way. I do also think without that pelham I cant always get her to lay off the bit. She KNOWS the difference and its evident.

I talked to Dom a bit afterwards and he said not to fret, its a huge open ring and with a horse like her, quite normal. We talked about our upcoming novice events and he thought it sounded really solid and agreed that IF she was quiet and just as awesome at those as she was for our first one then he would talk  to us about a move up (ehhhhh idk!?)...but as we all know horses training isnt linear and yesterdays ride is a prime example of what I dont want to happen if we move up before we are ready.

He reassured me that if that lesson was as strong as shes been in a while its promising and he is confident to give us that push if we can get that just a hair more refined, But he also said he agreed and didnt want us to move up if she would possibly get really excited about the bigger fences. I wholeheartedly agreed and stressed to him I dont want that to happen and go back to fighting her...things have been feeling soooo good.

He laughed at me and promised we will keep it that way and we have a solid plan ahead with options and thats a great place to be. While I didnt feel great about that ride, it did feel good to have an instructor talking to me about it and instill confidence in the work we are doing.

So fingers crossed for this weekend!!! And heres to hoping that this was just the kick in the butt ride we needed and NOT something starting to develop lol. Lets hang on to that good streak eh!?


  1. I know exactly how you feel when you have that "bad" ride that is a million times better than your old "good" rides and it feels like a let down. But it sounds like you were able to work through it and you have some more tools for the toolbox.

    1. true...she just felt really locked and bracing. But it was at least nice to know we can still get it done. Although, Dom made a good point that at this height thats possible, talking about a move up it wont be so our homework is school and go all the places!

  2. So exciting that Dom is already talking moving up after only one novice!!! Woo training! Onwards and upwards, right?

    1. He said we would talk moving up depending on the next two ;) IF those go as smoothly then yes, but Im holding out until I actually go out and school xc. So no no plans to move up just yet lol!

  3. It's always hard when you mentally keep raising the bar for a ride based upon recent past performance.

    1. it certainly is...I am guilty of doing that too.