The sitting trot is not a passive action. You can’t sink into it, you push into it – that rhythm, than down action – it’s percussive, it’s powerful. And weirdly enough, it’s now doable.
But first. Piggles and I had a kind of embarrassing failure of a last outing in June, he planted his feet at X and nearly didn’t move, then we were called off course when we weren’t, and decided that collection just wasn’t happening. Oops. But the judge (David Schmutz) was super kind and encouraging and it wasn’t a total embarrassment (that’s saved for when Radar ducked me off, damn pony!)
Anyway. We had a great August, he was going great. Decided to aim for early September show… and then was told they wouldn’t shorten the court. Got it, that venue is out! In September Piggles got a bit ouchy and life changes meant that he’s now partially retired and enjoying his life at Mar Val.
So, where does that leave me? At a new barn, with a new horse to sponsor and riding with multiple trainers for the first time.
Meet Claire! She’s an aged Morgan x Thoroughbred (my favorites!) and is teaching me so much. It’s not easy, hello anxiety! But she makes it worth it. I’m learning how to take my riding to the next level, pushing myself for more, working on moving instead of being quiet, of asking for more. It’s fun! She probably isn’t consistently sound enough to do any rated showing, but for me that’s okay for now – especially now.
She’s teaching me how to bounce, how to push, how to become more secure.
I’ve always just kind of failed at the breathing thing. I’ve literally failed with all my respiratory stuff. And I’ve figuratively failed at just about every yoga class I’ve tried. The whole concentrating on your breath… I just never got it. My mind wanders, I can’t connect my breath to the movements… I just didn’t do it right.
So I was skeptical when my trainer told me breathing was something that would help me get to the next level in my riding. It was one of those things that sounds great in theory, but it practice… not quite.
A few months ago, we started working on it in my rides… expanding my breath over a few strides, breathing in rhythm with the horse’s feet… generally, just being aware of it. Then we moved to actually doing something with that breath, with moving the horse forward in a rhythm.
I am not the most rhythmical of people or riders… but somehow, this made sense. I get how to use my breath in this way… and it works! Now that I’m actually using some sort of rhythm, the horse goes “oh, I can do that!”
Since we had that breakthrough, I’ve gotten some really good walk and trot work, collected and really moving through his hind end. Because I’m actually breathing correctly, I’m giving my horse better direction.
Poor guy is probably thinking, “finally!” And so am I. Now the trick is to translate that Zen from riding to other parts of life… easier said than done.
I’ve never done new year’s resolutions, really. Or if I’ve done them they weren’t salient enough in my memory to remember them. Guess that’s close enough to not doing them at all then.
So I’m not doing any this year. But I do have some guiding principles I’m trying to adhere to…
Work hard, play hard. Yeah, super-cliche and slightly stupid. But totally true. Work is hard and rewarding and usually fulfilling and I want to keep it that way! And figure out just where I want to aim my career aspirations and prepare myself for that with professional development and such. And then play: dogs, horses, Hamilton!SHN, NYC… more arts and theatre. And family/friends/etc.
Respect me. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes others (I think) take me for granted. I’m ready to change that. I’m ready to demand that people take a look at what I’m doing, and give me some damn credit for it!
Stretch myself. Comfort zones are awesome, but not entirely productive. Challenge accepted.
Be artsy. Being artistic makes me happy. Need to make actual time for arts (and crafts! Or whatever crazy category dog ornaments fall into…)
There’s probably more, but as I said… I don’t really do resolutions.
Spent the Fourth of July weekend (an actual 3-day weekend for me!) with my yellow boys who both rocked the blue, and humored me when I added some red to the mix!
I hope the paw on the flag isn’t disrespectful. It was awkward holding it, sooo…
Readying myself for three days of work + one day off + one day of work + one day off + three days of work = Los Angeles for the Moebius Syndrome Foundation Conference for four days (really a working vacation if you can even call it a vacation) then Disneyland for my 1 day mini-vacation.
I’m tired already and this 2 week stretch hasn’t even started…
Last night I saw Cavalia’s new show, Odysseo, with a friend as my Christmas present from my parents. Just as with the first show I saw, it’s simply splendid.
Favorites from last night included a liberty demonstration with upwards of 30 horses all in the arena, bridle-less and (mostly) responsive to their handlers on the ground… except for one who meandered away and had to be gently encouraged to rejoin the pattern! There was some seriously awesome trick riding (guy went underneath the belly of his horse! girl went upside down at the gallop and picked up gloves she dropped!) Another highlight were some brilliantly talented acrobats. The heights made me queasy but they were spectacular.
We got the package that included dinner/dessert…and, most importantly, a tour of the stables! It was amazing seeing the horses we had just seen on stage, lounging in their stalls and getting pampered. So worth it to get that experience.
We are seriously contemplating going again next month. It was that good.
Sometimes you just need a bit of leverage. In riding, in life, in anything.
Today that came in the form of a jointed kimberwicke bit on Mr. Piggles the Morgan. Being a bit on the forehand, he is sometimes tricky to get truly yielding to the bit and light in your hands… actually, he’s usually the opposite of light! The kimberwicke is not dressage-show legal at the lower levels, but using it correctly can give me the feel I need to work on acheiving the same results with a snaffle if I decide to show next year.
The main takeaway from today’s ride (besides the usual – go forward, hands higher) was about my inside and outside reins working together and being complementary… inside to a heave bend, outside to enhance flexion. With the bit of extra oomph from the stronger bit, I could really feel the change and responsiveness.
Best part of the day, besides just being out there and having a good ride, was overhearing the other trainer in the arena complimenting my position… to have someone say I’m straight in the saddle is testament to the hard work of my trainer and I.