Friday, February 22, 2013

Working on my Fitness....

First off, Mondays ride was not a fluke as Wednesday ride was just as fabulous. So happy!! Pippi is bending  great and moving off the leg better. I stood a half circle of the arena at the trot, so I am getting better. But most importantly I HAD FUN and so did Pip.

In the fall we audited a clinic with Daniel Stewart. It was a great clinic, and Miranda hopes to ride in it this fall when he returns.
One of the things that Daniel (we are not on a first name basis) stressed was rider fitness. According to him Equestrians place a lot of emphasis on equine fitness and health, but do not spend enough time and effort on their own. This leaves 50% of the partnership lagging behind. Bio mechanics are very important for riding, and our job is basically to stay out of the horses way. To do that we need to be in shape, and able to apply aids independently without losing overall balance. We need to be fit.

I am strong believer in this. If Riding is a sport, we must be athletes and athletes stay fit. I do agree with that...... I also think that chocolate and sweet tea is a balanced breakfast, and that the cheesy tots at BK are sinfully yummy and I like to read romance novels on my Kindle while eating popcorn. Working out is such a chore!!! There is no "work out high.," LIARS!!
According to Trainer I need stronger legs, and so I am working on that. Since I hurt (bowed elbow tendon) my arm in December, I have not been doing my Yoga, but I did again last night. Holy stiffness Batman! It did not make my arm worse, so I will continue with that. I also spent some time on the Dreadmill, got me nowhere reasonably fast. I also picked up one of those elastic band things at WalMart in the sale pile for $8. It attaches to a door, and you can use the bands for legs and arms. I attached mine to the front of the Dreadmill, and I am using it to strengthen legs, inner leg muscles in particular.
Soon I will be able to squeeze the manure right out of Pippi, and we can throw away the nut crackers for sure. My plan is to work out on the days I don't ride. So I plan to ride more.......Obviously.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Equine High 5!

Have you ever had a ride with your horse that was just awesome? Not necessarily perfect, but just awesome. I had one last night, and I feel so inspired and filled with joy that I am bubbling over. Poor co-workers will get an ear full whether they like or not.

When I first arrived at the barn after work, Pippi was eating, and so was not thrilled to see me. I let her finish her grain, and then we did some free lunging. She was definitely in a mood, so I figured that our ride would be less than fun. We are still working on bending, and Pippis' stiff side is getting better with lots of stretching and work. Even so I figured a little ground driving might be in order to reinforce the bends.
Pippi wanted none of that, and it took a while to get going. This proved to me that it was just going to be one of those days.......

I tacked her up, and mounted. Not sure what changed, but I mounted a different horse than the one I had just worked on the ground. She was forward, smooth and willing. Ears perked, body soft and she was very prompt. We warmed up at the walk, and I attempted standing in the stirrups to work on my balance. I rode for a circle and a half standing, before quitting and I was very happy with that.
We then worked on bend at the Trot, and she was soft and willing both directions. Lots of circles, and direction changes and then the dreaded stand at the Trot. I allowed myself to hold a little mane. Not for support as much as for a feeling of support. I was able to ride half the arena in both directions, and I was thrilled. Pippi kept her momentum as I stood and I was just thrilled.

I halted in middle of the arena and bent down hugging her neck, babbling about what a fantastic horse she is. Slowly her head turned around, and I got the muzzle to boot Equine High Five! I don't mind telling you, my eyes were misty and I just couldn't stop petting her.
After our ride was over, I hopped down and hugged her some more. We breathed together and just enjoyed a quiet moment. She bumped me softly, and licked my cheek. My head was filled with "thank you," and I felt her "your welcome" all the way to my soul.

The balance work had been very helpful, and I can just tell how much easier it is to lug me around.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I am "The Horse Whisperer!"

Pippi is a very communicative horse, and normally I have no problem figuring out her mood, her wants and sometimes her aches and pains. I spend a lot of time with her, and I think we have built a bridge between our two species. I hear her!

But does she hear me? Well!!! According to BO/Trainer, I am the Horse whisperer! Cool right?

As I was riding in my lesson Monday night this is what I heard: "You are whispering to your horse, when you should be YELLING!!" OH! Not good. So I am the horse whisperer, but it's not a good thing? Man, that sucks!

Pippi is not responding to my leg as well as she should. My leg isn't strong enough. BO wants me to ask, kick and then use whip. In that order!! And so I did. Asked, Kicked and used whip. And BO said "was that a kick?" Apparently I went from a whisper, to a soft word. I need to yell, but I am barely speaking in normal tones.
I can yell, I mean I can curse and yell is at least two languages, but with my horse I am the whisperer. It is so hard to really kick her, I mean that is my Pip under me. You know, Pippi, my girl. And you want me to kick her, like really kick her? I tried, I swear I did, and Pippi did move better and quicker, but I highly doubt it was a yell. Maybe more like a clearing of my voice. Ahem!!
"your whispers are making me sleeeepy"
I think I am ready to yell now. Okay, maybe not yell, but certainly a clear "Excuse me".

Monday, February 11, 2013

Shall I Go and Shall I show now?

Remember that old song? Hah - now you have that stuck in your head all day!! :)

Tracy keeps trying, bless her soul, to talk me into showing at my first Dressage show in May. She emailed me the Intro tests, and I looked it over...........I can do all that. Okay - I can do it, but it may not look pretty.  I do not have high expectations our first go, my goal is to just go, so as long as I can do the test I feel okay. Sure it would be nice to score well, but entering would be a huge deal all itself.

So I place one leg over the fence, thinking............I can do this. I should do this. Why don't I just tell Tracy that we will go. We will buy the Sparkling Prosecco, the orange juice, and the bagels ( Thanks Amy!!) and drown our nerves in "orange juice". The entire weekend will be loads of fun, and I am getting excited.


It's in May!! MAY!!! Graduation month - busy busy busy month. NOOOOO!!!

Good thing I never jumped over the fence far enough to tell Tracy we were going, because I am now back to straddling the fence again. The show is the weekend before Graduation................

Shall I go and Shall I Show now?.......

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Of course I bend, Silly Human!

Finally got back in the saddle after a whole week yesterday. The weather has been terrible here, very cold, so although I was at the barn I opted to not ride last Friday. Didn't want Pippi sweaty and then cold. Monday I was tied up. And so a week passed.
I tacked up after some free lunging, and we were off. We walked down the first side of the arena, and I asked Pippi to bend to the right, which is her stiff side. She bent and kept walking like it was no big thing. Later on she continued straight forward after a change of rein, as though this is perfectly normal.

I had to laugh, so Pippi stopped walking. She slowly turned her head around, gave me a looong look and wrinkled her muzzle. And she was right, this was totally treat worthy. Seems that a week off was just the thing to put all the puzzle pieces together.

Later on I started the task of standing balanced in my irons, and I was able to for an entire circle of the arena at a walk. I then tried standing at the trot, and was able to for 5-6 strides. I sat the moment I felt unbalanced as I did not want to bounce on her back. I also worked on my sitting trot, and I think we are getting somewhere.

I love that mare.