Friday, June 9, 2017

Back to my old dressage saddle

I'm finding it difficult to work on my dressage position in my jump saddle, so I went to the consignment store and took my dressage saddle back. I had a lesson in it yesterday and Pony was softer and more supple in the trot, but our canter work sucked. Because the twist is a little wide for me, I have trouble using my leg as I would in a saddle with a narrower twist. But I felt my balance was better. Sigh.

I'm working with The Saddle Geek to help me come up with some ideas so I don't waste money shipping saddles back and forth that will be for sure "NOs" for fit for either of us. I'm following a few leads to see what might be available and interesting.

Saddle shopping sucks!!!! If only my Baines had a narrower twist I would be so happy!

I'm about to go out for a schooling ride at home so we'll see if I do any better on my own today. Blah. Some days I feel like I can't ride for shit. I guess that's how it goes with a green horse, yes? I have to remember back to when I was struggling with Mac when he was green and couldn't canter in a balanced manner under saddle and remember how far he came. There is hope, right?

Monday, June 5, 2017

Canter breakthrough!

As I think I mentioned, I'm hitting the pause button on jumping right now to focus on improving canter work with Princess Fancy Pants. I haven't worked on it a lot because it is the gait that most aggravates my hip, but now that I've been feeling a lot better, it is time to get more serious!

Last week I had a lesson on Monday where we worked on some good exercises with shoulder fore, serpentines, shallow loops, trot-canter transitions, and adjustability at the canter. It was a good lesson and Trainer is very good at picking out what my body issues are that are contributing to any difficulties Pony has. For example, in picking up the right lead canter I get all twisted about and make it harder for Pony to bring her inside leg underneath her, so Trainer has me focus on weight in my right stirrup and looking over Pony's left ear to straighten myself out - and it always works.

I unfortunately wasted a homework ride by trying a saddle I didn't like, but did get in a schooling ride on Friday. Again I focused on transitions, loops, and serpentines. And when it came time to canter, I got some very good transitions in their promptness. I've learned to take what small successes I have and build on that. For example, when Pony is really on her forehand at the canter, it is a tough ride; so when I got a canter where she was a little above the bit, I was ok and happy with it because it didn't feel like she was dragging me around. The quality felt better and it was something I could work with and build on. And when I got a prompt but above the bit canter, I was pleased with the promptness, so I didn't worry about anything else and called it a day and went for a walk.

That served us both well because Saturday's lesson was awesome! Trainer and I talked about a little schooling show coming up so we ran through Training level test 1 and 2. They weren't pretty but they were acceptable enough that I've got a foundation to build on and a concrete goal to work toward. Canter transitions were much improved and by the end of the lesson the right lead canter was hugely better than the lesson previous. Since Trainer is good at picking out my crookedness issues, I actually feel better after lessons and my hip doesn't bother me as much, so that makes me very happy!!!

Pony is coming along very nicely. She learns so quickly and is so sensitive . . . that can work for me or against me, so I must help Pony use her pony-powers for good!

Yesterday we had a lovely trail ride and Pony wanted to trot and canter a little bit so we did. And we did the water crossings and sniffed cow poop (the cows are out now, but we didn't see any on the ride) and saw an owl and had a lovely morning.

Pony gets her chiro/body work today so she'll have tomorrow off then I have a chiro on Wednesday; next lesson is Thursday and I'm looking forward to it!