Thursday, November 13, 2014

No Stirrup November Progress Report #1

NSN Ride 1 (Thursday): I already wrote about my first NSN ride last Thursday. It went quite well, so I wasn't expecting the hot mess that was our second ride...

NSN Ride 2 (Saturday): It basically looked like this:

I don't know what the heck happened...maybe I was stiff and wasn't moving with her correctly because there was absolutely no connection at all during any point of that ride. It was all just hollow-backed, head in the air, paso-fino trotting.

Since it was Saturday and therefore I could ride during daylight hours I experimented with videoing my own ride using my phone. I set it up on a fence post and let it roll, but the spot that I picked only got part of the 20 m circle that I was working on. Next time I'll set it up in the CORNER of the ring and then it will get everything. (Genius!) I'm not even going to bother uploading the video because it's so poor (the quality of the video as well as the riding) but I did take some screen grabs (also terrible quality but better than nothing.)

I think maybe I just needed to relax? I think I look quite tense. My leg could use to move back behind the girth more. Also, I noticed from the video that I was hunching forward quite a bit. A definite no-no.

Bonus Ride (Sunday): It's beach season!!! My friend E and I got a pass for my horse trailer and went to Crane Beach. I did ride with stirrups, because that's generally a good idea when off property/outside the arena. But all in all, it was just a nice leisurely stroll and I let Maggie relax. 

Photos by my friend, E.

NSN Ride 4 (Tuesday): Both my husband and I were off work for Veteran's Day. I told him I wanted to go to the barn in the morning to do some no stirrups jumping and he actually volunteered to come and video me! Such kindness! I took him up on the offer, but the ride didn't go exactly as planned...

I warmed Maggie up with stirrups to make sure she was moving ok. She warmed up pretty nicely. I had set up a bounce with two small cross rails and when I pointed her at the jumps she CHARGED. Holy smokes, since when do we rush at jumps? I was gonna cross my stirrups after one time over the bounce to make sure it rode ok, but geez...

So I tried the bounce a couple more times, still with stirrups, and each time I was unable to get her to quiet down and be under control. Geez, horse. I don't really want to yank on your face, but you're not really giving me a choice here...

So after a couple ugly bounces, I declared that it was henceforth dressage time until a certain horse could control herself and listen to mommy before going back to jumping. I then proceeded to get her quite tuckered out on the flat and when I pointed her at the bounce again she fell out of the canter and somewhat clumsily trotted over the second cross rail. Well, at least I got her to stop rushing...

So I threw in the towel on jumping at that point, but I wasn't about to let myself off the hook without doing any no stirrups work. So we flatted a little more and did ok - much improved over the previous no-stirrup ride, actually

Once again, I need to actually consider the fact that I might have to lunge before I ride sometimes. What a novel idea... I need to figure out how to paste the clips of jumping together before I upload them.

NSN Ride 5 (Wednesday): I figured that I'd take advantage of tiring Maggie out the previous day and hopefully have a low key and productive ride on Wednesday. I was really focused on keeping my upper body relaxed and not hunching as well as keeping my lower leg a little further back. The giraffe-pony did not rear it's ugly head, so that in itself was a success. I was able to keep her a little lower and moving a bit better over her back. I'm finding it hard to keep steady and light rein contact without stirrups - something that will hopefully improve with more practice. 

During this ride I tried to work on straightness - holding contact with the outside rein and leg and keeping her straighter on a circle. Something that definitely needs a lot of work.  We did ok I think. It's definitely harder without stirrups!  

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