Monday, February 23, 2015

Lesson Recap 2/19/15

I honestly don't remember the last time I did a proper ride review.  There are several reasons but they mostly come down to I haven't been riding a ton, I don't have any footage, and when I do ride it's so cold that we just go as long as we can before calling uncle, and no one wants to hear (more) about that.

The chute to Mollie-Land

I have been taking lessons about once a month, and my trainer is riding Mollie 1-3 times a week, depending on weather.  The change in Mollie has been pretty amazing, and I can't wait to get someone out to get some pictures and videos soon.  H was able to take a couple snippets last week, but was busy getting after me to get my act together.

Anyways, lesson.  It actually wasn't too cold that day (21 degrees and no wind!) and I started the lesson with H hopping on Mollie for a little bit.  I'm overjoyed to watch her ride my horse, because while I was unsure if she'd really like her at first it's clear H truly enjoys riding Mollie, and Molls has never been so compliant and agreeable.  I really try to take note of H's positioning when riding, that way I can translate it to my own riding, but I feel like I do struggle because our proportions are drastically different.  H is roughly 8 inches taller than me, with much longer arms and legs.  Sometimes I'll see her hands in a certain place but I feel like I can't replicate it because we're shaped so differently.

Once I got on the ride was pretty good, and I feel like we're making steady progress.  One thing H is a stickler about is getting Mollie round and working before she even steps away from the mounting block.  I really think it sets the tone and after thinking about it, it really doesn't make sense to spend any time working ineffectively.  Because Mollie had already worked in hand, and with H, she was ready to go so we got to work pretty quickly with lots of trot work.

Look, we got a quarter sheet that fits!!

One of my favorite things about Mollie right now is that when I get her super soft and light in my hand, and working up in front of me, all it takes is me stretching up through my collarbones and she comes up into this swingy, bouncy little trot that is SO nice.  I swear, this is why dressage people love dressage, and if the dressage haters could feel this feeling they'd be converts real soon.  I was trying to be really attentive to my position, and keeping my "triangle" upright.  This is something H talks about a lot, and if you think of the points of a triangle being your shoulders and top of your head, and constantly think about keeping it open and not collapsing any side, it really helps me get Mollie all the way through, as opposed to almost there.

Tracking left lately is harder than right, which is definitely new.  Mollie gives in almost all the way in this direction, but is pretty good at getting me to think she's ok, and then a stride later the whole train comes off the tracks.  There were a couple times I really got after her, and we had a discussion about ACTUALLY doing what I asked, when I asked, but overall nothing awful.  I really need to remember to keep my upper body back and slightly to the right, putting the weight on her outside hind in this direction.  You'll see in the video that she looks ok, but not totally through, which is evident when she flattens out, I can't get her right back, and we come back to walk.  Work in progress, as always.

To the right things are just downright lovely.  And I love it.  It feels great to be able to just cruise around, and make minor corrections when Molls slips out of balance and have her right. there.  In both directions I really need to work to keep my left hip more active, and that was pretty much the theme of this lesson.  You'll see in the video that when she gets a little flat it's much easier to get her back together this way.

This week promises more single digit temps every night, and we're getting to the point in winter that I don't think it will ever end.  Yesterday was in the upper 30s though, so there's hope!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Thoughts on Winter Rides

During yesterday's frigid ride, there were lots of thoughts running through my head that are pretty weather specific.  And since it's snowing AGAIN today, I figured I'd share them with you all.  You can either sympathize if you have them yourself, or get a little taste of winter weather if you're not experiencing it yourself.

My backyard currently.  That would be an ice rink, past the snow mounds.

Arrive at barn, realize there is a car stuck in the driveway.  Parallel park in the nearest snow bank, get all my shit out of the back, and think,

"I wonder if I should walk the rest of the way, or just shuffle so I don't fall on my ass."

Go to get Mollie out of her paddock and bring her in the barn.  Pull her blanket off and replace with tack and a cooler immediately.  Walk up to the indoor and think,

"Did I even pick her feet?  Screw it, she has snow pads on."

Warm up with several laps of walking and some lateral work.  Pick up a trot and notice your horse give the back door (that sounds like it might actually blow into the indoor at any moment) the hairy eyeball.  Literally say these words aloud:

"Oh for the love of god please don't spook.  I don't have it in me to deal with that today."

Horse doesn't spook.  Pat her for obliging your request.

Continue trotting for several minutes just to ensure blood is pumping through your and your horse's veins.  Finally come back to a walk and think,

"Are my thighs tingling because I worked out yesterday, or because I've developed frostbite?"

Walk a few more laps and dismount.  Cringe when your feet hit the ground and wonder,

"Did my feet just shatter because the bones are so brittle and cold?  Or are they just numb?"

Bring horse back to the barn, rip everything off of her, throw her blanket back on, stuff face with cookies, and put her back outside.  Think,

"Well that was the coldest forecasted day of the week.  Every day now should be better than this."

Actually check weather forecast to confirm thoughts.  See this and start dancing because it's going to BE IN THE THIRTIES THIS WEEK.  If it ever stops snowing of course.


Monday, February 16, 2015

F*ck this F*cking Sh!t

Sorry for the expletive title.

But seriously.

I'm sure you're all either
A) From the North and sick of hearing about snow because you're suffering too
B) From the South and sick of hearing Northerners complain about the snow.

But I'm about to do it too.

First, snow memes.

Rhode Island has gotten over 53 inches of snow so far this year, which is a lot of effing snow.  Fun fact, I'm a mere 59 inches tall, so we're getting close to snow being one Alicia deep.  Now I'm a winter person but dear god, where are we going to put the rest??

I went to ride my horse today and was greeted with a trek up the driveway by foot, because the BM's car was stuck in the driveway.  Awesome.  Upon approaching Mollie's paddock this was my view.  Note Mollie, in her purple blankie.

You can see her, right?

Then I laughed because I realized the snow in her paddock is now so high, she could easily climb out.

Despite the snow being piled high, it is packed down so hard she can still stand on top of it all.

Then once I walked her in we obviously had to stop for a snow snack.  There's none in her paddock, duh.

I tacked her up to ride but realized her reins were frozen the way that they were looped on top of her bridle.  So I did what anyone would do on a single digit day when their horse hasn't been ridden in god knows how long and snapped her clip on reins to her halter and away we went.

I had a decent ride, although short, and hopped off once I couldn't feel my thighs.

Mom.  Please.
The cuteness.

Fingers crossed for warmer weather, or at least maybe weather in the double digits!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Non-Horse-Related Post on Winter

I've officially entered my favorite phase of winter... hibernation.  While most people sit around and complain about the never ending snow and inability to leave their house, in a sick way I totally love it.  There's something about being forced to be inside that I really like at times.  The majority of the year I am in go mode, and am never home, because I have a zillion obligations that keep me running on all cylinders.  Hearing that I have to stay home and take it easy for a little while is music to my ears.

And well, also I'm a teacher, and snow days are infinitely better for us than they are for the students.

Alright, enough of that, horse content will resume again tomorrow :)