Friday, January 30, 2015

Perfect 20 Meter Circle

Conversation I had with a friend last night:

Me:  "I never smile like that when I'm trying to ride a perfect 20 meter circle, and even if you do manage to make it a really nice circle - who gives a fuck?!"

Friend:  "Oh god - you're never going back to dressage, are you?"

Over the past few months I've been slowly introducing jumping to Gavin and my regimen.  And get this - I LOVE IT.  I'm not scared (something my mom engrained in me when I was little "it's too scary, it's so scary, no jumping!").  I feel awesome when I'm circling a jump - I feel excited, I feel confident, and I feel confident in Gavin.  And I smile.  Like a ridiculous smile.  It's been awesome.

So... yeh... I'm switching disciplines.  Eventing here I come!

(Now I just need an instructor to help me learn everything there is to learn about jumping - since I'm a total noob)

Pic of us this last weekend. Grrr - heels down Erika! But doesn't he look like a doll!


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Butt/Spine - ALIGN!

Christmas day - two of my boys :) <3
I've been away from my blog for about a month now - I just haven't felt inspired to write.  Partially, I felt drained after my blog rant (negative feelings really don't do me any good), and partially, I'm lazy.  Luckily, this laziness hasn't translated into me not seeing or riding Gavin.  On the contrary - I've been making a lot of positive steps with my boy in the last two months.

Just for a recap, we've:

  • had his saddle looked at by a saddle fitter (more on this in my next post)
  • continued working on the canter (the right lead is now a joy, the left lead is still wonky as hell)
  • ridden bareback quite a lot
I decided to ride bareback one day with my friend.  And when I say bareback - I mean really bareback. No pad, no towel, nothing.  Oh god - the terrible pain.  It's TMI, and I shouldn't tell you all, but I got blisters on my butt.  It wasn't pretty. 

My face when I realized what a mistake I had made…
I decided, NEVER AGAIN will I ride completely bareback, but I wanted to continue riding basically bareback because I learned one important thing while getting blistered:

I learned that I twist my body sooo much to the right and put so much weight on my right butt cheek, that my left side is almost center.  I realized this when I felt his spine poking into my left butt cheek.  I kept thinking - wait, this isn't how it's supposed to feel (durrrrr).  That's when I noticed that my whole upper body was twisted to the right and that when I untwisted myself not only did I sit evenly, but my connection with Gavin got a whole lot steadier (funny how that works).

cutest pony in the Denver-Metro area
So I've been working a lot on consciously un-twisting my upper body.  Mostly I just think "left shoulder back" and things automatically get a lot smoother in the ride.

This experience made me realize how important bareback work is for really feeling my position and my own body.  So I immediately went out and purchased the Best Friends Bareback pad (basically the thin line pad without the thin line material on top) and have ridden bareback once a week.  The last time I rode I cantered bareback.  That was the first time in my life I've ever done that and it wasn't scary and I didn't feel unbalanced.  It felt pretty much the same as in the saddle except Gav was a bit more up and more responsive!  Cantering bareback showed me the next thing I have to work on - quiet legs.  At the canter to the right my legs are relatively still and stable, but to the left they fling around like they've been possessed.  I'm not sure what's causing this, but I know it can't be helping Gavin balance or focus on the task at hand.