I’ve been keeping quiet lately, but Miles has been a little bit footsore ever since last Thursday. It’s nothing major, but he’s been in enough discomfort to keep us on the sidelines this week. I’ve been packing his front feet with Magic Cushion and wrapping him overnight, which seems to be helping. He’s been steadily getting better and I have high hopes that everything will be back to normal by this weekend. In the meantime, I’ve been reunited with my favorite pony Vinnie! Trainer graciously allowed me to ride him in my lesson on Thursday and we played dress up. Because there’s nothing like fancy boots, a figure eight bridle and fancy Eskadron boots to turn your frown upside.
Miles came out fairly stiff both days, mostly just not as willing to go forward. So I’ve focused on staying off his back as much as possible, and encouraging him to stretch out. On Wednesday I rode for about 20 minutes, and after cantering I got some really exceptional trot work, where (for the first time ever) I actually felt Miles move over his back. I must admit, it was a very cool sensation!
On Thursday Miles was a bit stiff again, but he worked out of it fairly well. I didn’t get that over the back lofty trot again, but that’s okay. We were alone, it was feeding time and it was crazy windy out! Thankfully Miles was excellent, and we even ventured outside the ring all by ourselves. Such bravery, haha.
I’m giving Miles today off, and I’m hoping to get in that bareback ride I promise ya’ll on Saturday. A light hack on Sunday and then hopefully a lesson on Monday!
In other exciting news, Vinnie has returned to the farm! In case you’re a newer reader, Vinnie is my trainer’s horse who I showed the past two years. She takes him home every winter and brings him back in April. He’s currently the definition of fuzzy-wuzzy, and pretty out of shape, but I got the chance to hack him for about 30 minutes and he was great. It was fun to ride him again, although I have to admit, my body fits Miles much better! Vinnie is so round I can’t wrap my short little legs around him… no wonder I was having so many problems with my legs swinging over fences last year!!
|Vinnie-Bear… so dirty and so hairy!|
Trainer split the normally very large Thursday night lesson up into two groups (huzzah!), so I just rode with J, which was really nice. I’ve been feeling like I need some more focused attention lately, and I was very grateful to get it last night. The entire lesson was all various gymnastics, focusing on position — exactly what I needed.
We started out with the longest line (two fences set at 5-6 strides), and my first few times through weren’t that great. Vinnie popped way up over the box the first time and, of course, I looked like a monkey going over and I’m pretty sure not a single inch of my body was touching my tack. Great. But as we got going, it got better. We did all of the gymnastics the rest of the time without issue (at least on Vinnie’s part), which included three jumps at two strides and three jumps at one stride.
Trainer explained two-point in a different way, which I think helped a little bit. She talked about how my joints need to move and I need to fold like an accordion. At no point during riding can my entire body be stiff — there always has to be a part that moves. I need to change thinking about two-point as a picture to thinking of it as a video.
As we went through the various gymnastics focusing on position, we also added some tighter turns each direction at the end. This was probably my shining moment. Most of our turns were great. I struggled all winter with turns and to have some really nice ones last night felt fabulous. Best of all? My pony without lead changes gave me TWO — one each direction!!
Overall, the show was an adventure. It poured rain all week, so schooling on Friday was exceptionally sloppy. Vinnie started off pretty full of himself on the flat, but I decided to ignore it and try to jump some jumps. And what do you know: Vinnie was a gentleman! This show used different jumps and standards than the other show series we normally attend and even on the flat, Vinnie wasn’t too keen on some of the fun wing standards. Over fences, he sucked back to a few, but I got him over every single one without a refusal. Go me!
Saturday dawned dreary and muggy and the show ran very slowly. In my ring, the schedule had hunters/equitation in the morning with jumpers in the afternoon. Normally I only show hunters — I’ve never shown equitation over fences at a real hunter/jumper show — but this show split the divisions differently, so if I wanted to show at all on Saturday, Equitation was my only choice. So I put on my big girl pants, and signed up. I told myself it would just be for fun and experience, so no worries about placings or anything of the sort.
My warm-up was wasn’t great — I chipped in a lot, and went too slowly. But I was able to learn from that round and make changes for the first over fences trip and did great! Obviously its not perfect, but for me, it was pretty darn good. Here’s the video evidence:
We ended up placing 6th out of 16 for our effort! To say that I was over-the-moon excited would be an understatement. I am so proud of myself for going out and doing it and for doing it well. My riding is definitely improving at every show and I am thinking so much more while I’m on course.
I’m not going to talk much about my second trip. We had a refusal due to rider error, but it’s all things I know I need to work on — and I am making improvements in those areas. So even though I probably should be upset about it, I’m not. I’m going to make mistakes, but overall I am riding better than I did last year and even at the first show this year.
Here is where the show went all downhill. I showed in the 4th division of the day… and I showed at 4 pm. Jumpers (all of them) ended up getting rained out. They decided to run them Sunday morning, before the regular hunter schedule in my ring.
Sunday I woke up and didn’t feel great. I meandered to the show, and Jumpers took forever. I got to watch my friends, which was a ton of fun, but I felt a migraine coming on. That, combined with the muddy ring, and I opted to scratch my hunter division. I was disappointed I didn’t show, but I wouldn’t have given Vinnie a good ride, and I really wanted to end on a good note.
This past weekend was another show at our barn. I really enjoyed the last one, but I’ve been showing so much I really needed a weekend to catch up on everything else… like having food in the fridge. So I came to the barn for my Thursday night lesson, turned out there were six of us in total, and we got to school the show course since it was already set up.
This week is a short work-week, with the holiday (yippee!) and I have a horse show this weekend. I hope everyone has a safe and fun Fourth of July!