Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Good Problem

So I disappeared again for just a bit... sorry 'bout that! I've figured it out, though. I just have a really good problem right now. That is I'm perfectly content with my life. I know it's crazy, right? It's not to say that my life is perfect (not!) or that I have everything I could possibly want (again not!) but I'm just in a really good place right now in all aspects of my life.

Being in the military and getting a chance to live at home near family is certainly part of that. I don't always have the time or the energy to write because my time and energy is being spent elsewhere. I don't mean this to be a self congratulatory post or anything but just a statement, I guess.

I'm not the only content/relaxed being around here!
This sort of applies to riding as well. I'm not where I want to be ultimately and I'm doubtful that I'll ever get to where I'd really like to be with my riding but I'm progressing and moving and most importantly enjoying where I am. So when the weather got cold or when family came in town it felt perfectly okay to take some time off from riding. I just don't have this pressure to keep working, working, working come hell or high water. I still want to get better. That hasn't changed but the urgency is just gone.

I guess if I were a pro wanna be this would be a bad thing. But, as an adult amateur it is really kind of nice.

I did get on the Loki monster today. He's had a whole week off and really been ridden inconsistently for the last couple of weeks but he was super good and willing. In fact a fellow boarder who doesn't see us very often tracked me down after our ride to tell me how much more up in front of the bridle Loki looked. Thanks! We've been working on that.

So anyways, there you go. Sorry that I just can't seem to post consistently!
Also, fell in love with this little cutie. She's a 2 year old in for Friends
of Ferdinand. She's adorable and a big puppy dog that just wants attention.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Around The Barn

I spent about 40 minutes picking burrs out of this guy's mane, forelock and tail today.
I think he really appreciated the attention even though grooming has never been his favorite thing in the world. I think one of my goals for this year was to spend more time with him. Yeah, that didn't happen, unfortunately. There's just always something else to do or going on. But, part of it is knowing he's with my sister and getting great care. Honestly, he's a bit chunky right now and that is great going into the winter, especially for a 25 year old with bad teeth! I do miss hanging out with this guy, though.

Cuteness Alert:
We had this cute visitor at the farm this week. Sadly, that is the best picture I could get because he kept wanting to come nuzzle me. Sooo cuuuute!!! (In case it isn't obvious he's about a 13-14 hand Haffie.) Me wants! Someone had him on trial but sadly they decided he wasn't what they were looking for. (My trainer thinks they are looking for a unicorn.) He was super nice and if I had money and a place he is exactly what I would buy for my kids.

This guy is doing just fine. No word from the farrier yet so he's still got just one shoe on but it doesn't seem to be bothering him too much. He's enjoying his unexpected vacation.

It's supposed to get down into the 20s tonight and possibly snow next week! eep! I'm so not ready for winter yet this year! Stay warm out there!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Breakdown: The Bad

We went XC schooling again today. Most likely our last time for the year. We wanted to take advantage of the weather, nearly 60 today and the same tomorrow except rain but after that... highs of mid 30's for the rest of the forecast. Thank you very much polar vortex or whatever you are being called now! And just in case I wasn't completely convinced Loki decided to rip a shoe off today just to be sure that he would indeed get a break for the weather. Horses!

Anyways, I'm very happy with where I am as a rider and where we are, Loki and I as a team. In fact my trainer said that today was the best she has ever seen me ride and she feels like I am finally starting to learn the tools I need to be effective. Believe me that is pretty high praise and I'm definitely feeling quite giddy about it. We jumped the pheasant feeder and the trakehener again twice today and he just keeps getting better and better.

That said here are the things that I would really like to work on and improve.

#1 Releasing

While these aren't terrible and the second photo is by far one of my favorites of us they still aren't "perfect." I'm not really grabbing Loki in the mouth but I'm also not truly giving a release either. 
I really focused on that today and during the Joe Meyer clinic. You can see my much more exaggerated release on this one. Somewhere in between will be great someday but I'd much rather err on this side.

#2 Jumping ahead vs. closing my hip angles

This has gotten so much better that in a way I even hesitate to put it on the "bad" list but it is still something I'd like to improve. Why settle for less than perfection?

I was still exaggerating my release at least
It's not terrible even in this picture and I notice that it is much worse when jumping smaller fences than when we are jumping bigger but still like I said I'd like it to be better.

and finally,

#3 Consistency

Like I said I'm really happy with where we are. Of course there is room for improvement but it's nice to finally be able to look back and think woah we've come a long way!

However we do still get moments like these:
Loki's expression says it all, "what the hell, mom."
They are much less frequent and now when I look at roll of pictures from one event I actually am finding more that I like than that I don't like which is a complete switch from about a year or two ago. But yeah, these moments no bueno! I'm finding that they always happen when I see my distance wrong. I see the long spot and instead of waiting I try to jump for Loki. Yeah, that's a good way to end up on your head again!

Still, all and all I'm pretty happy. It will be nice to have this post saved for next year to see if I've made even more improvements. This is the biggest reason why I love pictures of me riding. It's such a great way to actually see what's going on, what you need to work on, what's good and how much you've improved. Somebody needs to invent a flying camera that can just follow you around and take pictures. My husband's only good for about three-five times a year! (Which I am grateful for!)

Anywho happy Monday!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Joe Meyer Clinic

It's hard to believe but I think Loki is getting bored with these little fences. I know he is
capable of having really tight knees but he's kind of like "meh" over these little jumps anymore.
I will get to the other "Breakdown" post eventually! But, yesterday I got to ride with Joe Meyer for a jumping lesson. This is probably the third or maybe fourth time I've ridden with Joe. For those of you who don't know Joe is a New Zealand Olympic 3-Day rider based out of Ocala. A girl in our area bought a horse from him about two years ago so he came up and did an impromptu clinic at the farm where I board Loki. Ever since then he's started coming back pretty regularly.

Mostly we've been working on Loki's canter when I ride with Joe. He has us canter... a lot! Big circles and little circles and anywhere in between. One of his favorite exercises is to have me canter a circle with the reins in my outside hand. It's amazing how much better I sit the canter when I do that.

I rode with Joe last month too and it was such a super lesson. By the end everything was set around 2'11, the biggest course Loki and I have ever strung together by far. It was such a high! This time we kept everything a little smaller and the lesson was truly about what was happening between the jumps rather than the jumps themselves. We did lots of turns and roll backs and just things to help Loki and I work on staying balanced and adjusting our speed.
It was a good lesson and I did learn a lot, like I need to be quicker to sit up and lift my hands to adjust Loki after a jump, not stronger - just quicker! But, man I had the hardest time concentrating for some reason. My brain was just somewhere else. I think maybe because it was a last minute thing. My trainer texted me that he had an opening in an hour and could I be there? So it was rush rush rush and get to the barn and Loki is the Burr unicorn and rush rush rush some more. By the time I was actually in the saddle I was totally discombobulated and I just never quite got it back together. Seriously, it's been a long time since I've had that much trouble remembering a course! I forgot the last fence like 3 times in a row! It was a little embarrassing.

But I guess we all have days like that from time to time.
Still, my husband was able to get a couple of nice pictures. I wish he could have been there for when we were jumping bigger but pictures are my favorite part aside from the actual ride itself so I'll take what I can get!