Friday, October 27, 2017

A lesson recap

On Friday I had another lesson.  Two lessons in 30 days??  Say it isn't so!  And I also have another scheduled!  It was a good lesson, a very good lesson actually.  Not quite up to par with my lessons with M in Michigan, however, they are close!

The instructor, ML, was impressed with my progress over the last month.  Like, super impressed.  She said we had made 4 months of progress in a month's time??  Not sure I buy that, all we did was start to get into actual shape bc Mia wasn't lame/hurt and also work on our homework.  I'll take it though, everyone else said ML doesn't give compliments out lightly so I should really enjoy them.  Okay then.  We have really slowed Mia's tempo down this year, by over half in fact.  The theory is that Mia has long legs and she needs time to get her legs to really under herself.  With a quicker tempo, Mia doesn't have time to fully extend her legs as she is "rushing" to go faster.  With a slower tempo, she has time to really extend and "flick" her legs and to get her hind legs really underneath herself.  Alrighty then.  Sadly I don't have a SINGLE picture of any of my lessons since the beginning of the year so I simply have to trust her on this.  She says Mia looks amazing when doing it.

Our entire theme of shoulder-in, all the time, carried over into this lesson and is my homework for the next lesson as well.  Mia naturally walks slightly haunches in so the nonstop shoulder-in is going to hopefully not only get her more balance and straightness, but also "even" out her natural way of moving.  ML said we have made excellent progress and she can see Mia is really starting to redevelop her muscling and is looking good.  Yay!  Just in time for winter to lose it all haha!

We did a lot of shoulder in (no surprise haha) at the trot and ML was impressed with Mia's ability to go straight, onto a circle and back on the straight without losing balance.  Our serpentines were pretty good as well, as long as *ahem* someone rode them properly.  She also had us work on spiraling in/out with the bigger goal as to bring Mia's head BACK up as she is staying in contact.  When she brings her head up, while doing shoulder in and being on contact, she engages her hind end and really looks wonderful.  If I let her keep her head stretched down (Where I have been working on putting it ALL YEAR), she trails her hocks.  Apparently, Mia got the memo during all of our training and now it is time to step up the requirements. 

We ended with some canter and, again, ML was blown away by our improvement in the canter.  I had someone tell me she hasn't heard ML give so many compliments in a long time.  Trying not to get a big head, I mean, all we have done is get back in shape and did our homework.  Mia's left lead canter is amazing, as always.  The shoulder in is easy enough for her and I was even able to really ask and get Mia to compact, tuck her pelvis and collect her canter for a few strides before relaxing it back out without a huge loss of balance.  It was awesome!  ML said Mia had real elevation going on.  Ugh, I really need pictures!!!  To the right wasn't as glamorous, obviously.  We were able to get the shoulder in, though it isn't as easy.  This is her weak side remember.  Mia will tuck her pelvis and rock back in the canter but loses her balance coming out of it and so it is something to work on.  All in good time.

The comments about me?  Pretty good.  I need to stop looking where I am going, apparently.  This works in jumping but not in dressage.  If Mia were a clock, I need to look at 11 and 1 and stop looking at 9 and 3.  I need to remember to actually RIDE my horse as I am struggling to fix my wayward head and not randomly stop riding when I remember my head is turned too much.  I need to stop being so grabby with my right hand when doing shoulder in in the canter to the right.  The right hand does not create the bend, so stop trying to make it.  Keep my hands together, continue to bridge my reins if needed.  My sitting trot looks really damn good!  Need more strength to sustain it, but apparently it looks really good. 

Lots of work to do before our next lesson (Nov 10!!!!).  Lots more shoulder in, esp to the right, work on encouraging Mia's head up, try to compact her strides to get her pelvis tucked and start some counter canter.  Yikes!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Another update? Say it isn't so!

I know, I was a bad blogger and didn't update for almost an entire month with the last post.  I am very sorry and hope to make it up here.  I don't know how other people do it, I seriously have so little time between my day job, riding the horse 4 days a week and taking care of the house.  Blah!

Can you tell she enjoys this?
It's okay though, I do have some updates AND I have a little time.  First, some pics from the show.  As mentioned, I volunteered and took pics with the good camera at the show.  That meant most competitors had 10+ pics of themselves.  Someone said they were going to video my dressage and when going jumping, I handed the camera off so pics could be taken of myself and others.  I never got the video, or any pics, of my dressage and I have exactly 3 pics of us jumping.  I guess better than nothing?  At least the pics came out okay.
Those knees though <3
Overall I am happy with the pics.  Mia is jumping well, she had no real issues with the course and except from the one pic of me jumping ahead *ahem below*, we look good.  This was the second element of the last 2 stride that came off of a very sharp 45 degree turn.  You were on the rail, you turn sharply off of the rail at apx 45 degrees and jump 9 of the combo is 3 strides away.  I *think* the course would have actually ridden better if you turned right vs left after jump 8 and rode around the arena to get to 9, but not a single person one did that and I didn't have my watch on to check time so I didn't want to risk it.  

Position, stop doing this please
Jump 9 came up quick, she jumped it well but flat and then was too forward to 9B (above).  She met it well but she was MOVING and my position isn't great.  The pic does not adequately convey the energy she was putting into the effort.  HA!

App is such a goof
Back in January, Alyssa needed some help and was offering commissioned artwork.  Well, who am I to pass up helping a blogger and getting my beloved App painted at the same time?  I already have him in pencil, I needed him in color!  I was beyond thrilled to get it last week in the mail, it is PERFECT!  It matches App so well!  I am beyond happy with how this turned out and I am so happy I was able to help Alyssa when she needed it.  This is going in my office so I can look at it all of the time.  Now I need to get my butt in gear and get some art done of neglected Mia, she has not a single piece of art ha!

Mia is doing well, she is finally sound and injury free which is fabulous.  Last week we did some gallops because I was in a funk.  Mia can fly, like seriously fly.  And flying really helps break me out of funks.  I used to do it semi-regularly on App when we were both younger.  It was awesome, you have his walk, trot, canter and gallop.  And then he had this 5th gear, he would literally drop his body down and accelerate through the gallop.  You could actually feel him lowering himself and then the extra power coming from behind, it was sooo cool.  Alas, he is now permanently broken and there are no gallops in his future with me so I do it occasionally on Mia.  Rarely though, only about once a year.  Last week I did it and brought my phone with me to record our speed because this is stuff I need to know.  Mia is certainly faster than App, but how fast can she actually go?

We had a 15 min w/t warmup before trotting down to the road and galloped through the hay field and up the big ass hill.  It is probably a half mile from point A to B?  OMG She galloped almost 38 miles per hour!  That is FAST.  A quick google search shows the fastest racehorse went almost 44 MPH, not sure if that is sustained or not though. And it was SO cool to ride.  We went down and did a gallop a second time but Mia slowed down as we started going up the hill, she had no more gallops left in her and went into a canter so we called it a day and cooled out.  The speedometer app is cool, and pretty accurate when testing in my car.  I strap it to my hand via a armband phone holder when I use it (fitness) and while it doesn't show meters per minute, it works out as I know I need apx 12 MPH for BN, 14 for N, 16 for T and 19 for P.  There are actual ranges, but these are the numbers I remember and gets us close for conditioning.  I confirmed that fast mare is fast!

This Friday I have another dressage lesson, I know OMG!!  A second lesson with a month?!  I am excited to see how it goes and HOPE that it becomes slightly more regular.  Regular lessons would be FABULOUS.  I hope to get a recap of it posted before weeks go by this time too!  Fingers crossed :)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Lesson and CT recap!

Man things are really busy over here, so busy.  So, so busy.  Where were things?  So TWO WEEKS ago I had a lesson.  It was a pretty good lesson, she confirmed my (slower) trotting pace is the correct one for Mia right now.  She confirmed I am riding better (yay) but that I need to do shoulder in.  When?  All the times.  When I think I am done with shoulder in?  Do more.  Yay!  Right?  HA!  So why so much shoulder in?  Mia is unbalanced and is falling on her forehand, especially in corners, and riding the shoulder in before, through and after the corners are going to help her stay balanced and seamless.  Interesting.  We also looked at her canter and while Mia is leaning/falling in, the suggestion was for Mia to simply go faster and with more outside rein.  Did it help?  Eh, kinda.  Baby steps and all.  Not super confident but it can't really hurt with where we are now.

That lesson prepared us for our little CT.  Overall it was a good show.  It was held at my barn and I volunteered to take pictures of most competitors so there was that complication.  It also meant I have virtually no pics of myself.  And then when I was done with my ride, I was asked to stay at the ring with Mia because another horse was freaking out when Mia tried to leave.  Herd bound horses.....ugh.  The dressage went pretty well and we scored a 35%.  The judge wanted more leap in the canter (Baby steps judge, baby steps!) and a little more bend in said canter but she did NOT say we were falling in. To the left.  We did get that comment to the right, but to the right is Mia's hard direction and I don't think I pushed her fast enough to help straighten her out.  Again, baby steps!

The stadium portion was a huge cluster, I was supposed to ride at 1p but they didn't even start any jump division until 1p AND they were letting people school in the arena over the jumps we were supposed to go over.  I know it was a schooling show, but wth?!? It made for a HUGE time waste.  I didn't get in the arena until 145p and by that time I had been on since 1240p, it was hot, we were hot and tired and ready to be DONE.  The other Novice competitor was just as annoyed as I was and it was so frustrating.  ARGH!!  If it wasn't at my own barn, I would have scratched and left.  It was almost 90 degrees, almost no shade and no one knew what was going on.  We did finally get in for our jumping class and went double clear to finish on our dressage score.  I got 2nd (of 2) with a 35% and the other competitor got a 33%.  The other competitor is also a former 1* horse being leased out to a 19yr old kid, so there is that.  Overal, I thought the scoring was not too shabby for having virtually no preparation for the show nor being anywhere close to competition fit ha!

Mia had an easy couple of rides Tues/Weds and then got almost a full week off as I had an auto race to compete in which took our Thur-Monday.  I went out last night and bebopped around bareback.  I am not in shape enough to do two pointober officially so I am just competing with myself.  I did two laps of bareback two point last night and feel it today (HA!) but my balance and muscle strength were on par.  It's the little wins.  Time to get back into the swing of things!