Hour 5

Today’s hour was spent doing some much-needed flatwork in a lesson with Bethany and Indy. It was so nice to walk straight out of school and then go to the barn for a lesson on a Friday.

Instead of starting out on a long rein and working into a shorter one, we mixed it up and started the opposite. We were working on getting her to give in to the contact and stay straight with the use of my hands and legs. My seat and legs are getting better, even though we still have some things to work on as a pair.IMG_7540.jpg

We did a lot of trotting: lengthening and shortening reins and bringing the trot up and down, stretching her into a nice relaxed frame while moving in a nice working trot to build her topline. We also did some poles, through most of which we felt pretty confident. The key is to stay straight and stay quiet and to make a good turn to set yourself up for success. i have learned that in riding this applies to pretty much everything!IMG_7539IMG_7538

Then we did some canter; I find myself rolling with it a lot better, I just need to work on staying straight in the saddle and not leaning as we turn.IMG_7541IMG_7542

After my choppy ride on Thasia, riding Indy felt like a smooth breeze. Her movement is so free and flowing, even with stiffness in her hind. Indy was sharp and confident, even at the canter, and I was very pleased with her. This is progress toward eventual jumping (which I know she can do, because she is brave, we just need to work out the kinks). We are going to do great things! IMG_7543

Tomorrow, Mama is going to drop me off at the barn to do some chores and hopefully ride. It’s going to be rainy, but there are benefits to having an indoor arena; I will just have to see how it goes. This weekend is going to be a fun one, I’ll fill you in as it goes down! Thanks for reading!

Hour 4

Today after school I had an uncontrollable desire to ride and get more hours, so Mama drove me to the barn and dropped me off.IMG_3002.jpg

I only got a selfie because no one was there to take my picture when I was riding, and then my phone died. It’s a cute selfie though!

Today I rode Thasia, one of those been-there-done-that lesson horses. However, she means a little more to me than that. She’s an eighteen-year-old appendix, and the horse I am currently jumping with. I plan to take her through at least the first part of shows in 2019 so I can have a positive experience starting over fences. She also was the very first horse I ever rode in a lesson when I was in the sixth grade!IMG_6491(I am pretty sure this photo is from that day.)

Our ride today was nice and peaceful, since the barn was pretty much quiet. We had the arena to ourselves for the majority of our ride until a novice lesson started happening. I wanted to focus on my equitation and do as much fine-tuning as possible with Thasia since her and I have had some time off. Obviously I will practice jumping, but I feel that at the moment fine-tuning ourselves in groundwork is just as important. I couldn’t help but notice that my seat and leg was much quieter than when I last rode her. We had some problems with steering and pulling, so it is evident that there are things we need to work on in our next lesson.

I don’t think I will be able to ride tomorrow, but I have a lesson coming up on Friday! See you then!

Hour 3

Since I had a weeklong case of the stomach flu over thanksgiving, I haven’t been riding in a week and a half and it’s been killing me. Luckily, I felt a lot better today so Mama took me out to the barn for a simple trot work ride with Indy to get us both back in tune.           According to Mama’s news, Indy had been giving her the “many faces of mare” look for the past two days, since she tends to be mad and grumpy when we leave her.manyfacesofmare.jpgThis perfectly defines Indy in the past few days. I am sure a lot of you can relate!

However, today when I went to get her and groom her and throughout the course of our time together, she snapped straight out of it and returned to her normal self, which is a little bit more like this.manyfacesofindy.jpeg

I literally didn’t realize how true this was until I pasted it into the post. Me and my mom literally died laughing, because I can see her making all of these faces on a regular basis (LOL)

In our ride, we struggled a little bit with wiggling and steering (since we were both a little foggy after the time off, and there was a lesson going on) but I was happy with how calm and collected she was.  One of the vices that we are working through in Indy’s training is the use of her hind legs and hips.                                                                                              Before I got on I did some groundwork to have her step to the side and cross her hind legs together. I usually do this before mounting. A lot of thoroughbreds have this problem, due to the ways they are ridden in racing. Picture a horse being led into the starting gate, how they practically walk sideways, tossing their head and stiffly shuffling their hind along.

We were able to accomplish some of that under saddle too, although I am still training myself to sense and ask for that. Here, I have asked her to go closer to the rail and her right hind is slid beautifully under her left. For most people it may be confusing or even humorous, but for me it is something to feel good about even if the ride was not our finest hour. Wow, I just realized but no pun intended.IMG_7531.jpg

As I untacked her and mama snapped a picture Indy looked like her normal self again. I am happy to have my girl back. Mama works at the barn, she goes every day to help out while I am at school. Not only does it pay off some of Indy’s board but it has allowed me to have endless opportunities to go and ride myself. Mama is part of Indy’s everyday life, so props to her!

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We put her in her liner sheet and her new Shires blanket. As I type this, she’s hopefully snuggled warm in her stall. I smile thinking about it.

Despite it’s flaws, today’s ride was good both for me and Indy. We are staying home for Christmas this year, so I am going to practice my tail off anytime I can. I’m getting ready for the upcoming show season! I plan to have    at least half my hours in before I start showing in 2019. Thanks for reading, plenty more excitement to come!

 

Hour 1

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I had a lesson with Indy today. Indy is a green thoroughbred mare that’s six years old. Since she has been at our barn for the majority of her life, even before we bought her, she has had the advantage of having correct training by both myself and my instructor, and she’s progressing nicely! She’ll get her own post later, since she’s such a good girl!

Most of the lesson was trot work, that being where she’s at right now. I concentrated on keeping her busy but not doing too much with my hands. We are working on building

her topline, improving her balance and movement, and getting her to stretch into a nice frame while giving in to my contact. I struggled a little bit at the beginning, trying to get myself into focus and prevent her from wiggling, but I was able to get a hold eventually. I had just bought my new saddle from my trainer and it fits Indy so much better than my other one, so that was extremely useful in helping to keep good balance.

After trotwork we moved to a set of three poles between standards at the trot. My instructor, Bethany, and I were pleased with how confident she was. Again, for any other horse trot poles are normal and easy, the same for me (I jump bigger things a lot), but for Indy obstacles are still fairly foreign. Next, we moved to a small cross rail. I had never actually jumped her into a canter (I have only trotted her over a cross rail in the past), but I have seen Bethany do cross rails and even a flower box with her, so I was confident that she could do it. The first time she simply trotted over, but the next two or three times she cantered on the other side. The last time i did it, she actually popped over it, coming out in a proud canter on the other side. As with the poles, We were pleased with her confidence (especially since I don’t have much experience jumping her). It turns out to be yet another reason to love my little girl: she’s not nervous, she’s bold and will do anything you ask her if you have enough confidence. What a good start for my first hour!