Hours 18 and 19

I’ve had some very productive and fun riding lately. Here are my most recent two hours!

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Hour 18

on Saturday, I figured I would have one last hurrah of Christmas break before I had to go back to school. So, I phoned my friend, Elizabeth, and we had a nice sleepover. She has been one of my best friends ever, and is an amazingly talented rider with Grand Prix aspirations.IMG_3145.jpgElizabeth and her newest horse, Jet, (AKA F-16) at a show this past September.

IMG_8503Elizabeth and I (she’s on the bay), a couple years ago when we were in middle school.

One of the best things about Elizabeth’s house is that she has horses. Three of them, to be exact.

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On Saturday we tacked up the horses and got on for a pleasure ride. Elizabeth was going to ride her new horse, Jet, but he threw a shoe. So she rode her bay Appendix mare, Ice.img_3092

I rode her adorable and very spotty Appaloosa gelding, Jeffrey.IMG_3091.JPG

I used to ride Jeffrey a couple years ago and actually did a few shows with him!

It’s been forever since I have gotten to ride him, and it was a pleasure.IMG_3086.JPG

we rode around in the ring, and in the front pasture looking for Jet’s thrown shoe.. and back up the driveway towards the barn. Jeffrey had not been ridden in a while, so he was a bit energetic.
what a sweet sleepy boy.

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Elizabeth and her mom were so sweet to invite me over, and we had such a good time! It’s when you have loyal friends like her in the horse world that make it all worthwhile.IMG_3088.JPG

Hour 19

Hour 19 was a happy free ride with Indy. Normally I would have been annoyed at all the people that were there, but today everyone was so cheerful and I was too. One friend was riding her brand new horse, another was having a lesson. Mary Hampton, one of my younger friends that lives in our neighborhood, had a lesson too and we took her home afterwards. It was a lively, cheerful place and our ride was no less.img_7992

Today was also a special ride because none other than our very own Clemson Tigers took the national championship just the day before so I went all out orange. As I was riding and the sun was setting I noticed that the sky and trees were turned the perfect shade of orange and purple.

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Indy was her usual self, with her wiggling and flirting with the geldings. Our ride was productive, and we tried a little canter when Bethany took a break from her lesson. She said we didn’t look all that bad, and that’s good enough for me! What fun!

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Thanks for reading everyone! Show season is coming up soon, so i’m going to be practicing as much as I can and getting more hours out to you guys! See you then!

Hour 17

Today I rode for hour 17. my grandparents came from New Jersey to see Indy, so I happily obliged!

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She was very fidgety in the wash stall because she was excited about meeting some new friends, but once I got on everything was much better. She was very mellow. My trainer was away for the holidays, so since then I haven’t done canter during our rides. She has loosened up, though, and I think her turns have improved since then.

Reluctant, I tried a little canter at the end of the ride and she was very quiet and smooth. The best part was that my trainer, mounted on one of her horses, was watching. What a great ride!

 

I am so, so sorry for being lazy and forgetting to update the blog, I have had a really busy holiday and I’ve also been on a lot of rides. Good Stuff coming!

Hours 8-9

I promise I have still been riding. In fact, I have gotten four more hours since I last posted. I have just been a bit lazy when it comes to posting. But hey, here I am! Here’s a recap on hours 8 and 9.

Hour 8

a week and a half ago (Dec.  5th) I got hour 8 in, I practiced with Indy. I was still getting over being sick over thanksgiving (ugh!) so the ride was short and sweet. It was hard for us to get in the rhythm because I was feeling wobbly and there was a lesson going on. The girl who was riding was a bit of a wild card, and I was a bit paranoid about clashing with the lesson and disturbing my horse. It wasn’t the best ride of my life but it was still nice to get out there.IMG_7594.jpg

Hour 9 

On the contrary to hour 8, Hour 9 was hardcore. I had a very productive lesson with Bethany and (wild guess) the Indy! It was wildly different and mind-broadening than any lessons I have had in a while. Unlike our past couple lessons where we worked on gaining contact through a short, tidy rein, Bethany instructed me to literally hold my reins on the buckle and flop around the ring. Not worrying about equitation or fiddly steering. Like I was on a trail ride. We trotted. Then she asked me to canter. It took a while to get the canter smooth and relaxed (which was mostly my problem) but I was amazed at how easy it was to just ask for the canter if there was no anticipation or tensing, even with a young, green thoroughbred mare on the end of your reins.IMG_7603

Next we moved on to a pole exercise where we simply went around in a circle, on an average length rein. We cantered a little bit, our main focus being to become quiet and responsive and then slow to the trot. It sounded easy, and for the most part it was, until the poles were raised and Indy began to speed up (at the trot), simply because I was getting tense. IMG_7602

The lesson was about trust. Not only were we teaching Indy to trust in me, but teaching me to trust in Indy. We had a bit of rusty spots since the creeping crud caught up to me and I haven’t had a lot of motivation to ride (or blog), which only added to the confusion. Lesson one: I need to ride more. a lot. Lesson two: just because Indy is..well Indy, doesn’t mean that I should anticipate. More on that later!

Thanks for reading everyone! More hours coming soon! sneak peek… *whisper* free jumping.

Hour 7

Hour 7 of the 100 hours took place on Sunday, I just haven’t gotten around to posting it since school hit me on Monday. Sunday’s hour was made of two thirty-minute practices. The first thirty minutes was groundwork with Indy.IMG_7548.jpg

Groundwork is one of the things USEF allows to count towards your hours, and I think it does count even though what I did is not a typical form of groundwork. It is also known as playing with Indy! It starts with a quick groom, then I go in the ring (making sure the gates are closed) and take her halter off. It is so much fun to walk (or trot) around the arena with your horse following you. I even set up a teeny tiny cross rail and she followed me over it! What fun!

 

I wasn’t intending to get another thirty minutes that day, but Mama decided to get Indy out again for a quick ride in her lovely western saddle. I honestly didn’t feel like getting on, but it quickly turned into a “what the heck, why not” moment, so I got on for a few minutes. It is very enjoyable and awkward at the same time for me to ride in the western saddle, and Indy was a very good girl. IMG_7564IMG_7587

After our short ride we put back the deserving and tired Indy into her paddock with her sheet on and took off to finish up the day.

Sunday was a very chill barn day. I am happy to have these experiences as much as I can, it is so much fun sometimes just to try something new: take off your halter and play with your horse, or try a ride in a different kind of saddle. It’s all part of the experience.IMG_7551.jpg

Hour 6

For my sixth hour, I had a short-and-sweet ride with Indy (AKA goofball) to recap from what we did yesterday.

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Today, the weather was really gross. Mama took our dog to the vet and Daddy dropped me off to do chores and ride. Indy was a good girl despite her usual wiggling.

I used my favorite sea-foam colored saddle pad that I got from the Dover store at Tryon. Here’s a close-up view of my new saddle in case you all were curious, if you guys are interested I will probably write a tack collection post later!IMG_3031.jpg

Just like yesterday we mostly did stretching and transitions, and using both long and short reins. It was mostly a relaxing ride, and it was really nice to get Indy out after doing chores all morning and ride. She was a good girl!IMG_3023.jpgIMG_3026.jpg

*peeks back and looks at me*  me: o helo dere

got any post ideas, questions about anything or ideas for exercises I should try in the saddle? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading!

 

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!

 

Missing Indy

I have been sick all week, so I haven’t been able to get to the barn and ride (That’s why I have said nothing over the past few days). I also miss Indy.IMG_5030(knowing her, she’s probably stirring up some trouble somewhere or flirting or snuggling up in her stall with her sheep-sheet and her favorite water bucket).

Today I may be able to go after school and ride, or give my little bro a lesson on his favorite pony. I also took a trip to the craft store yesterday and came back with some christmas decorations for her stall! That should be fun! More blogging to come!