Hour 30

Hello again! Hour 30 was so much fun, I think it deserves its own post. Hour 29 was a simple practice ride with Tia.

for Hour 30, I had an exciting lesson with Thasia in the outdoor arena, jumps included! Because of the cold, dark evenings, and rain, I haven’t had a lesson in the outdoor arena since…October??

IMG_2813                                                                                      and I haven’t gotten to jump a whole course since then either.

Today the temperature was perfect, the sky was blue, the outdoor arena was sort-of-not-muddy and I was feeling great.

After a flatwork warmup, we practiced jumping a simple line of cross rails down the diagonal line and a red plank jump.

Including this orange jump that matches me perfectly! Haha!                                            don’t know what’s going on with our leads here..IMG_8361.PNG

anyway. The jumps involved Thasia rushing a little bit, so afterwards Bethany had an idea for an exercise that would make it hard for her to rush, and get me in check.

I am sure some riders are familiar with this: we did a figure-8 over a blue plank jump. IMG_8385.jpgExcept this figure 8 was very tight. Every time we came over the jump we had to make a very tight turn. The left turn was pretty much good,IMG_8387the hardest turn was the one to the right.IMG_8386.PNGthe first time wasn’t very good: There is a purple jump standard just in front of me in this picture, and I had to turn before it. I almost ran into it.

The second time was a little better, but not by much.IMG_8389.jpg

The third time, I actually discovered that in order to not run into the purple standard, I had to do the jump at an angle.IMG_8390.jpgIMG_8391.jpgthat worked out better for both of us, and the turn was a lot smoother. This is a cool exercise to try if you/your horse have rushing problems and need to tune to each other better. It’s amazing what a figure 8 can do..

After the figure 8 I took a break,IMG_8357.jpg

and then we moved on to jumping a full-on course!

I started with the diagonal line I did in the beginning of the lesson: the red crossrail to the orange one that matched my outfit.IMG_8392.jpg

then I came around and did a blue cross rail, and then a bending line to a pink one.IMG_8394.jpgthen I turned abruptly inward and rode to the blue plank again.

The first time around Thasia tricked me so darn well that I didn’t know until Bethany told me. I had forgotten to turn towards the pink jump on the bending line, and Thasia took care of the rest. I had also gotten some leads wrong and rushed the turn towards the plank.

The second time around, even though the turn towards the blue cross rail was awful, I did the whole bending line and got all my leads right.IMG_8393.PNG

Not only was this lesson exciting, but it marks improvement in my riding. Before, it was all about “hold on, and your horse will take care of the jump.” now I have to assume an active role in the jump as well as the pace. I need to be sharp and ready to guide Thasia, but at the same time I need to listen to her and not clamp down on her mouth. That is when things start to go awry. It also was a huge confidence boost.

it feels good to know that I actually jump actively and that I have made significant improvement in the past 6 months as a rider. My first show of the season is in April with Thasia, and I am feeling better and better about it. Good things coming!

visiting Indy. She had her first adjustment done by the vet a couple days ago. I am curious so feel her under saddle.IMG_8363.jpgsweet girl..

 

Hours 27-28

Hi everyone! I NEED to get caught up, so at this point I am just rattling off my recent hours. Here are the next two. Enjoy!

Hour 26

Happy Valentine’s Day! Today after school, while everyone else went on their dates and to their parties, I went to one of the places I love the most: the barn! Tonight was a productive lesson with Thasia.

I have been riding Thasia more often instead of Indy because I will be riding Thasia come April when I start my show season. Also, the fall kind of shook the relationship between me and Indy, not gonna lie. I still love her to pieces, of course, but I don’t feel very secure under saddle with her at the moment.IMG_8330.jpg Again, it’s Valentine’s day. So I took it upon myself to wear a pink saddle pad and red polos. Weird color scheme, not weird? I also wore full chaps and jeans instead of breeches. Not only do the full chaps allow you to ride in any old pair of blue jeans, but they also keep you warm and give you an insane amount of grip. Even though I love a good classy outfit, the full chaps are hard to beat.

The first part of the lesson was occupied with a really cool exercise called the three-second rule. This was a really cool way to think about the way you conduct yourself in the show ring and helps to keep confidence and focus on your ride. Basically, a gait or action is called out and you have three seconds to complete the transition. For example, you might be asked to transition from walk to trot, walk to canter, trot to halt, et cetera. You have five seconds if asked to change direction. It makes everything neat and almost business-like. I will explain this in more detail in a later post, I think it is a really effective and easy exercise to do!

IMG_8331.PNG

Then we moved on to a simple ground pole exercise. It was similar to the one I did in the last lesson, except the poles were closer together and I was the only one riding. Again, we worked on supporting her through the turns at trot and canter but not over-supporting. It’s all about getting the right rhythm and being able to adjust to an awkward distance. This will translate to doing jumps later by helping me to measure striding and make correct turns. IMG_8332.jpg

This lesson was not the most exciting jumping-wise, but part of jumping is being successful from the ground up. That’s what makes a good round!

Hour 27

For Hour 27, I had a recap with Indy. IMG_8208.jpg dat face

I started with groundwork before I got on. I am really digging this blue color scheme. I wonder, in how many photos can I be seen wearing the same white Clemson ball cap? The things that fascinate me…IMG_8274.JPG

Bethany was away, so she wasn’t able to give me pointers. I was having trouble just getting her to pick up a trot. It was very infuriating for me, because I knew that I was going against what Bethany tells me to do and I was letting her get away with being lazy. This same problem is what made me fall: getting mad because she wouldn’t move her butt and me having to kick nonstop. I was fuming by the time I dismounted.

It is very, very evident that me and Indy have some things to work on. I hate that it has to be like this. One day we are jumping our next verticals, and the next she throws me. But part of being an equestrian is (literally and mentally) overcoming obstacles.IMG_8273.JPGSomeday, when I am jumping AA Hunters with an older Indy I will look back at this blog post and smile. If you stick with it hard enough, things just work out.

I’ve got a couple more hours in the near future for you guys, stay tuned and those will be out shortly! Thanks for reading!

 

Hours 24-25

Hi everyone! My apologies for putting off posting my recent rides on 100 Hours. School is so busy, I literally had four tests on Friday that took up most of my spare time on the weekdays. But now I am back to talk about hours 24 and 25: I am 1/4 of the way there! Enjoy!

Hour 24

Hour 24 was an exciting group lesson with a barn friend, Mary Hampton. She rode Tia, and I was on Thasia!IMG_3200.JPGShe is just so sleepy and adorable.

I don’t remember the last time I had a group lesson, so this ride was a unique one. The only downside was we weren’t able to ride as long.

As far as the actual lesson, it was pretty straightfoward: sets of three ground poles, the middle on through standards, situated on a circle, at trot and canter. Sounds simple enough, right? Surprisingly, we both had some trouble centering our horses at first. The exercise was useful to improve our turns and approaches to an obstacle. Even though they were ground poles and not jumps, the exercise will be useful for future jump courses. Every ride counts!

Hour 25

Yay! I’m officially a quarter of the way through the 100 hours! Today, after I finished barn chores,IMG_3231Feeding little miss fuzzy bay shavings tail Indy Lou,IMG_3219changing all the blankets,
IMG_3218and cleaning Indy’s stall and some others,

Bethany told me that Razz could really use a ride. I happily obliged!IMG_3232IMG_3235

I think he looks cute in that color, don’t you? Razz is a red roan, he just has a darker, fuzzier coat in the winter that makes him look chestnut.

The goal of the ride was to exercise Razz, because he hasn’t been ridden in a few days. Also, it was meant to get him ready for his lesson the following day. That was accomplished through a good flatwork ride. As usual, it also was good for me to get out there and ride.

This is what I call a typical, good barn Saturday: getting up bright and early, taking the horses out, cleaning stalls, changing blankets, feeding hay and filling water buckets, taking care of Indy, and either riding her or one of the barn’s horses. This is what makes it fun to be part of a barn community: the feeling that you work for your rides, and in the end it all pays off.

 

Lastly, does anyone have any questions about anything you’ve read on the blog or about horses in general or suggestions for things you would like to see me try while riding? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading! I am officially 1/4 of the way there!cropped-img_4983

 

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!