Sunday, November 24, 2013

Lesson Photos: Flat Work

Here`s another thing to consider. There will be a pretty long period of time from when you start riding to when you begin to get much good at riding. If you let this reality beat you down, you may not slide through to the other side. So accept the struggle as part of the deal. Ignore criticism from those who may or may not have your best interests at heart, because even if they do, they don`t get it that you just need time and mileage. You can do this, and there`s no set time table. The best thing someone can say about you, especially right at this stage? "That girl has a lot of try in her."  Denny Emerson
 I don't know if you follow Denny Emerson or Tamarack Hill Farm on facebook but if you don't I highly recommend it. Denny always has some little nugget of truth to impart whether you want to hear it or not.

I am especially grateful for the above quote because it is so true and it is so true for such a long time. Even when you start to "get good" at this thing whether it be hunters or eventing or dressage or reining, etc there is always more to learn or something to improve. As I was looking through the photos of our lesson on Thursday I was reminded of this. There was a lot I liked but still plenty that I see that needs improvement. There are still those pesky bad habits that just refuse to surrender!

Here are a couple of my favorite shots:
Some of my takeaways:

1. I need to lengthen my stirrups more when working on the flat. I think this is mostly a lazy thing. I've just gotten out of the habit of doing it and it's more comfortable to ride with them short but I already have short legs. I need all the length I can get.

2. The canter still needs lots of work. I didn't include very many canter photos because most of them just were not that great, not horrible but just flat and long and/or inverted. I think more than anything we just need the miles, though. I think we are improving and he is getting stronger but I also need to get stronger. He is so big and so long that it is very easy for me to get pulled forward and off balance which doesn't help his balance either. I need to do a lot of work on strengthening my core.

3. Loki is behind the vertical in some of these photos. I don't think this is a "normal" thing for him but definitely something I want to be careful about. My trainer had me shortening and lengthening the trot while (trying to) maintaining the rhythm. Loki can still be difficult in his downward transitions and I find myself using more rein than I'd like. A friend has suggested that I try lifting the reins up when asking Loki to slow down instead of just pulling back. I tried that a bit tonight and while not an instant cure it did seem to help some so we will continue playing with it.

4. There is a lot that I Love here. Loki's shape is definitely changing, especially at the trot. He is starting to round and push from his hind end more. In a couple of the trot photos he looks very uphill and I think that we have a very good chance of doing well in the dressage if we keep it up.

I love riding! I absolutely love it. You can spend your lifetime, every hour of the day that you are awake riding and studying riding and there will still be something new to learn or something to improve. I feel like Loki and I are starting to sync. We are getting our communication sorted out to some degree. There is just no other feeling in the world than the silent communication between a horse and a rider!

16 comments:

  1. Look how cute he is and how awesome you guys look!!

    He's looking so good and filled out!!!

    I'll have to follow Denny!

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    1. Thanks Karley!

      Yes! go follow Denny. He is an "eventing" guy but I think a lot of what he has to say would apply to any discipline. I find him usually very inspirational.

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  2. I'll have to go like the page! :)

    I think you two look amazing, especially for having to take so long off of work. I envy his extended trot. :)) Red is finally grasping that I want him to do it ALL THE TIME instead of just every now and then. ;)

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    1. Thanks Kalin! The cool thing is this isn't even a "real" extended trot for him. We aren't quite there yet but I know when he does finally get it it will be pretty amazing.

      I know you and Red will do great. You have so much patience and an awesome relationship with him.

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  3. I think you guys look good! I like the quote, very true :)

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    1. Thanks! The quote definitely spoke to me.

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  4. I think he is looking fabulous! And I wouldn't worry too much about being slightly behind the vertical. While not 'ideal', I think it's more important about his overall shape- and you can see that he is very "uphill" from croup, through the back, to the poll. He's not just "ducking" like Wiz does sometimes, he's rounding, and it doesn't look like you're pulling him there, so I wouldn't be too concerned. As he gets stronger, that will get better and better! (Of course, most modern dressage horses LIVE with their nose behind the vertical... ugh). You all look great, really :)

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    1. Thank you! I think you are right, too, I just get paranoid b/c it has become so "normal" to see dressage horses well behind the vertical and I don't want to be one of them if I can help it. But at the same time it is really cool to see Loki's entire outline change from being flat and inverted to round and uphill. It is really fun to ride when we get it, too. We are far from consistent. Right now he can really only get there for a couple of minutes at a time. But, I'm hoping by the spring we will be even stronger.

      I know you have so much going on right now and Wiz isn't helping you feel any better but I also know you guys will find your mojo again. School won't last forever!! and you guys are a great team. :) Hang in there!

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  5. You both look great. I am so impressed with how Loki is--he's so dark and handsome and filled out. Well done.

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    1. Thank you so much! These past couple of weeks have really helped me feel so much better about the past summer where we just couldn't quite get things together. It's always a little up and down with horses but so wonderful when it is up, makes the down times totally worth it.

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  6. That's great that you guys are understanding each other.

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  7. Love Denny and his little nuggets of wisdom. Great photos!

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  8. You guys are looking fabulous! I also never fully realized how big Loki is until these photos!! He's a hunk!!

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  9. This is a great post at a great time for me! Without a trainer I sometimes feel like I am at a plateau. I try new things that I read from other blogs but still... I think right now my horse is the one saying "That girl has a lot of try in her!"

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  10. Isn't that the truth? I also LOVE to ride. I rode three ponies today and only came home because I felt guilty ditching my hubby for the entire day. I just can't get enough. :0)

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