Thursday, June 9, 2016

Forward strides

Ahh, busy times.  Mia got basically a 1.5 week vacation after her show.  The in-laws were in from out of state and then there was the race to get ready for and then race.  Mia seemed to enjoy her extended time off but she can't be a bum forever.  No rest for the weary.

I signed up for a lesson from an instructor that was dropping by last weekend for jump lessons and overall it went well enough.  Mia was an absolute twit to warm up, she was very forward and even the barn manager made the comment "She looks REALLY excited to be jumping today..."  Yeah...thanks.  I tried giving her a small hand gallop but that didn't help so lots of transitions were put into play.  After about 10 mins I gave up and the instructor had me go ahead and jump.  Our two weakness showed up right away, Mia's inability to go straight and her desire to gallop after fences.  After about a dozen jumps, she really settled down and we got to work.

Media for the sake of media.  And yes, I tied her tail in a knot.
She went over everything, knocking a fence down only once.  The takeaways?  Eh.  I wasn't impressed.  I still don't feel I was worked hard or learned, despite being told he would work our pants off.  Was I tired?  Yes.  Was the mare tired? Yes.  But I didn't feel super challenged and don't have much in the takeaway department.  Sure, I get there are some basics we are still needing to resolve (going straight, the whole away from the jump thing), but the only, ONLY thing he said about my equitation was that my hands need to be lower to help pull her head down instead of them being up so much.  Which is contradictory, of course, to the only jump lesson from last year where my hands were needing to be higher to get Mia's head up since she dives so low and takes off over fences.  So....nothing about my leg, heels, how I ride to fences, my hip angle, nothing?  I could pass George Morris standards?  Probably not.  Sigh.

He said I needed to package her even more in front of the jumps than I already do, to try to get her to not jump so forward and that is acceptable that I have to give her a pretty sharp correction (solid yank or two) after a fence to get her to come back to me.  It is okay because immediately after she comes back and softens, I also soften.  He said she was very tidy over the fences, even when we met the distance wrong and she jumped under herself.  She was super honest and very willing which was nice.  We did a full course full of rollbacks and bending lines, including a very long 2 stride which really helped Mia's not galloping after fences (sarcasm).
I can't get over how much her color is changing, she is so much
more roan than when I got her!
My only other thought on my lesson is the impression I have of myself.  There were 3 occasions where one could have fallen off.  And I didn't budge or even lose balance.  When we were warming up, the instructors little rat dog ran through tall grass and burst into the arena about 4 lengths in front of where we were going.  Uh....dude?  Not cool?  Mia gave a pretty good sideways transport but I didn't even get unbalanced.  Then later, Mia over jumped and jumped underneath herself/over her shoulder/knees pointed down instead of up.  Both times she did it, I stayed with her very well and we carried on like it was NBD.  That made me very, very proud, no being popped out of the tack for me!  Velcro butt for the win!  SO much happier than this time last year with my damn position.

Monday was a totally uneventful trail ride.  Tuesday was some free lunging bc I spent too much time chatting with people (People!  At the barn!! Still so rare!).

Old man pics, because old man is old
Last night we rode some dressage and it started out SO nicely.  I am taking tidbits from our last lesson and really slowing our tempo waaayyy down and working on getting power.  Mia got frustrated a few times, as I am making her go slow but applying a lot of pressure, but she did really well.  Especially when I finally would let her open up her stride, lots of power!  I asked for some canter, though, and the wheels fell off the bus.  She kept doing some weird tranter/sideways/in place thing, apparently she is not ready for as much confinement in the canter as she is in the trot.  Mr Spanky helped her go forward and we had some great circles to the left.  She really sat down, I was really riding with my seat and she was really responding.  It was amazeballs people.  Simply amazeballs.

Then we went to the right and she just could not.  Lots of tranter.  Or trying to canter in place.  Or bolting.  Or thinking of rearing.  And lots of keeping her head in my damn lap.  Oh great, this issue again.  After much, much argument, I just spanked her until she went FORWARD and then kept asking to put her head down.  Finally, she agreed she could canter at a normal speed with her head in a normal height and we called it a night.  Very frustrating, apparently I have a lot more to work on.  I am thinking of lunging with side reins and/or chambon to get her to relax down in the canter.
He may be gimpy, but I think he looks great for 23!
This weekend I am hopefully getting App on some flat, grassy pasture for good.  I have offered to help put up fencing in a XL pasture so we will see if they will be doing it.  3 weeks until my mother comes to visit and a month until our next show.  Plenty of time to get my mare ready!


  1. So, are you enjoying the switch from home care to boarding stable?

  2. bummer it wasn't the most inspiring lesson!