Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Let's Talk NSN

No stirrup November. I've always been big on it. When I was in high school we did bareback lessons and no stirrup lessons and we all wanted to die (even though many of us did several minutes or more of no stirrup work on a regular basis). But then December we goofed off and played games and went on trail rides.

The last few years (except for when I was pregnant and the November after having SJ) I would take the irons off and I would work my ass off. In the summer I ride multiple horses and do hay and take walks and whatever. But I always used NSN to get me back into workout mode. After November I'd start working out in the evenings every other day or so until spring time. I can't not ride and not workout all winter because I like junk food too much.

This year I'm doing an alternative NSN. While Twister is used to someone sitting a trot and ridden bareback often, Curtis is not ready for me to be all over his back for more than a minute or two. I haven't even done sitting trot on him apart from those 2-3 strides when asking him to canter. I don't want to make him sore and I'm not fit enough to not fall off....

Yesterday I rode him bareback at the walk only. I tried to trot but he has a big trot and I knew I was only going to piss him off so we just walked. Then last night I did my work out. I have 2 YouTube videos I like that are about 5 minutes each. But seriously, if you're not in shape and barely riding (thank you, fucking never-ending rain) it hurts. This morning trying to go down and let the horses out hurt. I'm like a wobbly baby calf. Today I'll work on my core, rotating core day and leg day.

This is the first year I've been riding a horse that wasn't NSN ready. Even our big tub of lard appy who is hardly ridden could handle it. Because he is a coffee table and is barely aware of your existence. But I guess the point of this post is not to forego NSN if your horse can't handle it hard core. Let NSN push you to do leg day and strengthen your core on the ground so that you can get attempt some no stirrup work on your horse later. Build up to it. It's the first year I've ever had to do an alternative and honestly, if it wasn't NSN I would still be sitting on the couch with Netflix and my kid's Halloween candy every night saying "I'll work out tomorrow. I'll stop with all the junk tomorrow. I'm just too tired from momming today. Tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow". After the show I will probably start doing some bareback and no stirrup rides on Twister as Curtis will be getting a much needed break.

Even though it wasn't much of a ride yesterday, I was all smiles after. We walked around, on the buckle for the most part, he was relaxed and biggest thing: he went RIGHT in the pond. No hesitation. All the way up to his belly. I've been riding him just over 4 months and we are becoming a pretty great team. I feel very comfortable and relaxed on him at home and just hope and pray I can keep that feeling away from home.

 And now, thanks to MORE rain, the pond is half the way up to the gate. We need to move. I can't live here forever. Apparently we live on top of underground springs.....which we didn't know until this past month. So. Much. Water. 😒


Monday, November 5, 2018

November Goals

Goals for November are simple.
-mail in entry
-get through first show
-possibly start over jumps....weather permitting.....
-give a bunch of time off because it's hard to fit riding in this time of year with weather and holidays

Curtis has earned a few weeks off after how how hard we've been working this summer and fall. As for the show, I just want us to both have good experiences. I don't really care what the score is, I just want us to do our best and not be a nervous wreck, hot mess. I'm optimistic about his behavior. While we haven't been off farm again, the days of constant pouring rain and not even enough dry days to dry anything out has left us with very little work time. But he's been great. I can get on after 4-5 days off and lots of stall him and he's great. Goes right to work and feels great. I just hope I don't have to have days off right before the show. The extended forecast is showing sleet and snow the couple days before the show. I'm freaking out. I need an indoor....

Monday, October 29, 2018

Much Needed Lesson

I'm not sure where I left off with the Show Prep of Curtis the Future Dressage Horse. Our canter has been a total hot mess and between it raining and having my "arena" tore up, we haven't worked on it much. I rode him the other day and he was so freaking fancy. I could feel the lift and stretch in his stride. He's getting those high knees which I attribute to his days as a turf horse. 🏇

Today T came to the farm to give us a lesson.VERY much needed. My person still doesn't get it, he rolled his eyes and left for work. But whatevs. I needed those eyes on the ground.

Because apparently I have very loud hands. I'm literally not aware that I am even using them until T told me over and over "Quiet your hands! Do less with your hands! STOP MOVING YOUR HANDS" By the end I was in a habit of just barely wiggling my fingers and quietly applying leg to achieve way more than my loud hands ever did. Basically I was just pissing poor Curtis off. The less I did the better he got, becoming softer and more accepting. And I don't blame him. I wouldn't want to reach for hands that were all up in my grill.

I was also told I let him get bored. I need to constantly change direction. Figure 8s etc, lots of transitions. Keep his mind active. She says though he has a body of an adult horse, she can see his brain working like a 2 year old. If I keep circling the same way for 3 or 4 turns he gets bored and loses focus.

We worked on the canter. He picks it right up on both leads now but it's a hot unbalanced mess. Due to the footing we didn't work on it very much but now I have some tips for when I can work on it. Mostly just make sure his trot is balanced first and then hold the outside rein and teeny tiny finger wiggle half halts with the inside hand. Even bring it up just a bit. Keep my leg on when he wants to die out. Going left I thought we were going to lose it but I managed to keep him going and it felt really good. I just wish my footing wasn't so mushy right now. T said that whether or not I have time to work on it, we should stick to our Intro A and B tests for the show because it's his first show and we will both be less stressed out about them. So I'm sticking with that plan.

Then we worked on downward transitions and the halt. Give and take with my hands. Tighten my butt (yes this is what she said) and slow my body but keep my leg on to try and keep him on the aids. By the end he was halting square and being so much softer going down into a walk and also into the halt.

T said that when you look at Curtis he just looks eh. He's a big brown, typical TB. But when I get him moving under me and he starts reaching and lifting he is a beautiful mover and fancy and she can see lots of potential. It makes me so happy to hear. And honestly, I CAN feel it. He's becoming such a nice horse and I'm glad I've really taken it slow and made sure we don't develop bad habits and sloppiness. I tried for 5 years to get Twister to do what has taken me 4 months with Curtis.

My media takers were distracted by my tiny human (who got to show off on Rascal after I was done, impressing them all with how well she does on a lunge line) so there aren't any pics of today. I'm kinda bummed about that. My trailer is supposed to be fixed soon and unless it gets fixed it doesn't look like the weather is going to allow me to have another lesson here before the show on the 17th. 

from last week (video still)

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Facacta or Nah?

So it looks like our first show is going to end up being Nov 17th. A MSEDA sanctioned snowbird show. We'll probably do Intro A and B. And I'll have to wear a coat instead of schooling attire.

So here's my question...... I have a hunt coat I cannot sell to save my life even though I'm asking a fraction of what it cost new and it's NWT.

I've looked at the event dressage coats online and the lengths are the same. So what if my mom and I jazzed my hunt coat up a bit for the dressage ring? Then if I keep this up I'll have one for sanctioned shows?

I'd need to add 1 button and maybe even get silver buttons instead of the navy buttons. Would it be too stupid?? Then I'd just need a show shirt and gloves. (I bought Ariat field boots on clearance 2 weeks ago. They are amazing!!! My Tuff Rider's have giant holes in them after 5 years of abuse)

I wasn't planning on a proper show our first time out but this way I'd trailer with friends and have a group of people to be at the show with. Probably better than being there alone hoping my horse doesn't get loose or drop me......

Thursday, October 11, 2018

More farm projects/Photo dump update

The bulldozer man finally came to start working on the pond and middle paddock  rain lake/not draining problem. When he first started moving dirt I was having a damn heart attack because it was such a mess and I was sure I lost my "arena" all together. Turns out I have a bit MORE room to ride and I should have at least a round pen sized area that should stay semi dry even when the rest is wet. And it's finally autumn in Kentucky! So I'm sure it won't be long until I find out how well it all works and drains.

needs to be seeded after they're done driving on it

The pond is getting cleaned out too which has created a big stinky mess and left me only the front paddock for turn out and grazing. But the plan is that we'll be able to swim in it and let the horses use that for water year round and ride in it. Right now it's so sludgey they panic and try to bolt out.

disgusting black sludge

all empty!

Gravel will also get put down this week so we can get the trailer in and out no matter the weather. And before my show in ONE MONTH we need to get the damn trailer fixed. Like seriously. and seal the tires. I tried to take a lesson Monday but the compressor broke so I couldn't even fill the tires up. So then T. said she'd come here to give me the lesson and then bulldozer man showed up and tore up my flat grass area. So maybe next week? :(

And last week Phoenix Riding Equine Photography (if you're in KY look her up because she's awesome) came and did a forced family shot with SJ, my person and the kids, pics of SJ and Rascal and then took some actual media of Curtis and I. She's only posted sneak peek pictures to hold me over until she gets back from vacation but I'm thrilled with them. I can't wait to see our BBG and the rest of my riding pics and the family shot.

she loves her crappy appy so much!

Seeing how great Curtis looks makes me so happy. I've been riding him for about 3 months but he has come along and we're actually doing the thing now. I get on and he knows his job and I'm able to ask for more or teach new things because I spend no time now with the "ok, now stretch down please, stride out a bit, use your butt you lazy shit, get off my fucking leg" part. Ok I spend some time to the left on the getting off my leg part. But a fraction of what I used to. And my position has improved so much in just the last month even. Not saying we don't have a LONG way to go, especially me and my body. But I'm thrilled with where we are now.


now if only I can do this EVERY time!

And while he is picking up his leads so much better now, his upward transitions take too long and his canter is an unbalaced hurtle. I've tried to get the lead then go up hill so he learns to use his ass cantering. And that's all well and good but bring it back to the flat and ask him to slowly come into a 20m circle and he's a hot mess. THAT is why I need a lesson. I need someone to sit there and yell at me what to do until I can get a decent canter. So I'm not sure we'll do training level 1 unless we have some super advances in the next 4 weeks. Which ya never know. One day I was ready to fall off from trying to make him move around my left leg and stop leaning on it and the next day he was like "oh yea I got this" and looked and felt wonderful.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

October Goals

Twister has officially taken a back seat to Curtis as November gets closer and closer. SJ mostly rides him now and I know he's a bit pissed he's not tearing around the field with me....

Curtis and I have to pick a show. That's goal #1. There is one Nov 4th and one Nov 18th.  The first is a MT and dressage show. It's a very nice venue and maybe I could even do some riding around and schooling after. But I feel like it might be more of a zoo than the KDA schooling show on the 18th. Either way I'd ride 2 tests. The thing I'm most worried about is the further into November I get, the more likely the chance for shitty weather.

I want to get Curtis off the farm one more time before November. Possibly go ride at Masterson. I really need another lesson but my trailer is stuck atm. Maybe in a week? Or maybe she will want to give me a lesson in my field? Or do dressage trainers only give lessons in proper arenas??

Canter work. Weather and ground quality permitting, I need to be working on that canter in case I decide I'm brave enough for Training Level 1.

why is the walk SO HARD?!

Top line. More stretching and hill work and trot poles. I'm not sure how, but his shot from this week looks terrible compared to last month's. He's going to be wormed this week too, so maybe that will help. He just looks more hollow and dinosaur-like even with all the hill work and stretching he's done.

October 1st

Sept 1st-ish

His feet however, are fantastic. I've been keeping up with them on my own and he's been a peach about it. He's not a fan of rocks but we can wtc in the paddocks with no problem. I've hardly even painted him. He and Twister are both on Tough as Nails by Tribute now and I think that's helping.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Hill Work

It's still too mushy to ride next to the barn which has left me  with the hill above it. It means Curtis has had to use his booty. It's also got him stretching more as he reaches up the hill. He's also learning to balance when we go down the hill.

I've had to work about 5x as hard going to the left. I've thought about wearing a small plastic spur on just my left leg because he gets so stuck over there. By the end of every ride, today's ride especially, he was finally bending better to the left and stretching out as much left as he was right.

I've been spending a lot of time working on my position and using my body to regulate the speed and quality of the trot and have really pushed him in the walk. He is a fat lazy pony some times and I'm worried I'm making him immune to my leg aids by constantly using them. He really doesn't like crops and I don't want to rely on spurs. I try to give him a quick 1-2-3 kicks when he gets pokey instead of asking with every post. He's a lot like Twister where he does his best work with most impulsion after a warm up and canter but right now we can't canter.

I've tried to introduce the free walk as well this weekend. I'm not sure what tests I'll sign up for (omg show in 5 weeks!!!) But I think maybe I should not do Training Level 1 because I'm not sure I'll have the time to work on our canter. He is halfway balanced to the right but to the left he is strung out and rushes and then there's the fact that we only get the left lead 2 out of 3 times and that's with daily cantering which we haven't done in 2 weeks. And so far are only picking it up those 2 times after a leg yield and some counter bending....... But the free walk will be in any test. So far it's just eh. But we've only done it a few days. I ask after he is on the aids and following my hands some. Then I transition to a walk and then push him into a free walk.

Curtis is very willing to learn. But we could really use another lesson but my trailer is kind of bogged in right now..... and my air compressor won't work. So even if I could get the trailer out, I wouldn't be able to even get it up the driveway.

dying for decent media. a whole summer of crappy screenshots

In other riding new, SJ was ponied on Rascal this weekend for the first time. She's already a better rider than me.