Saturday, September 13, 2014

Back in the Saddle

I know, it's a very unique blog post title - but it's fitting! Last Friday you may recall that I took out Maggie's stitches which meant that not only could she come off of stall rest, but she could also go back to work! I used Saturday and Sunday just for lunging days. Saturday was super hot and humid and Sunday I was hanging out and grooming for a couple friends at a local hunter show (Side note: I must say, I really enjoy grooming and helping out at shows! Especially when it's just hanging with your friends all day.)

Monday I got on her in the Wintec (an all-purpose model, I use it for jumping and trail riding. I've actually always hated synthetic saddles because they just feel so bulky, but I wanted one for Maggie because of how much she likes to splash in water on trails.) I have no idea why I decided to put the Wintec on her...I felt like a sac of potatoes flopping around up there. I ride in my dressage saddle so frequently that it feels weird any time I use a different one. Despite me feeling a little wonky, Maggie was very, very good. Much less energetic that I expected. I was actually quite amazed how well behaved she was; no bucks or spooks at all!
Yay for riding! And for purple ear nets!
Tuesday I wised up and rode in the dressage saddle. Again, she was a really good girl and I felt like I had my dressage pony back. I still didn't ask for too much contact since I didn't want to overdo it, but she worked long and low pretty well. Simple circles and figure eights.

After two nice quiet rides the previous days, Wednesday was apparently when the monster-that-lives-in-the-shed-behind-the-ring-and-likes-to-eat-horses came back, because someone was a little more energetic and flighty that day, so I used the opportunity to work on slowing my posting down when she decided she wanted to speed up. Still needs work.

Thursday I gave her the night off and put her out in the grass paddock while I did chores. She's still not over the mini donkey and spent a decent amount of time staring and snorting at it from across the driveway. Ridiculous.

Friday evening my friend and I were treated with a lovely sunset while we were finishing up riding. Not too much to report; Maggie was a little more focused than Wednesday, but still not as much as I would have liked.
Hey, look! Halfway decent equitation!
Then earlier today I set up a little gymnastic with three trot poles to a cross rail, then I added a second cross rail, and eventually raised the last cross rail to a ~2'3" vertical. We really need to do more gymnastics because it really helps me to practice waiting for her to jump as opposed to throwing myself at the jump which I've always had a tendency to do. I was really impressed with how smoothly she handled the vertical when I put that up since I used the barrels on their sides as standards, which made them actually jump a little taller than the barrels themselves and she almost always hesitates at the barrels. She didn't think twice about the vertical though. Also, once we get to 2+ feet (I know, it's a terrifying height) is when I really start to anticipate taking off, but having the crossrail there in front I was able to wait for her to jump and I also found the right moment to put my leg on her for encouragement as well. That's another thing I've noticed that I need to work on: keeping my leg on before the jump.

There were also a couple hay bales left out in the ring with a vertical pole between them. We jumped that too, but since it had no related distance we had a few seriously sloppy jumps. And when the jumps get sloppy, I make some excellent faces.

First, let's take a look at this embarrassingly small and horribly unattractive jump:

Does anyone have a good fix for the chicken-wing arms?

Now let's zoom in on my lovely face in each frame:

Face of a champion. Right there.
You're welcome.

And that, friends, is our first week back under saddle. I'm hoping to schedule a dressage lesson for sometime next week.



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