Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Emulating Those Clinic Feels

After a successful clinic, it is only natural to want to mirror those results into our every day riding. But why is it SO HARD. OMG. I found myself doing the bad things and reverting back to how I rode previously, which obviously was not conducive to maneuvering a baby giraffe around.

Yesterday I wanted to put in a schooling ride, since I have only been able to do some light hacks and hand-walking due to my insane new work schedule and the weather being uncooperative. I had planned on hauling Annie and Spud to the grounds to cut down on the time it would take to walk there and back. A friend from out of town is visiting and he loves driving Spud, so he came along to give Spud a good work out while I rode in the arena.

But this is one of my favorite pics!
Aaaand I have no new media...
Unfortunately, it was just NOT my day yesterday. After work was said to be getting out early, it ended up being an hour later than the proposed time. I also ended up forgetting to bring the keys for the fairgrounds gate, which meant we had to park on the little pull-out and tack up beside the highway. And then, I forgot to bring my riding boots, so I had to ride around in breeches and cowboy boots.

All things considered, Annie was great to be tacked up along the highway. She didn't pay any of the speeding cars any attention and I was really pleased with this. I chose to hand-walk her into the grounds and bridle here when we were at the ring, just for safety reasons (ie. the highway). She hasn't given me a reason to not to trust her, and I always loop my reins over the neck before disconnecting the halter, but I still didn't want to tempt fate considering the stretch of bad luck and poor judgement calls I had already made.

A buckle-rein (literally) hack in the pouring
rain earlier this week.
I hopped on and she was a bit wiggly about standing still, but a quick smack to the shoulder and she stood perfect. Once I mounted up, she was a bit more forward than she normally is and popped into a jog once or twice, but I attributed most of that to the fact I haven't schooled her since our lessons over a week ago and she was very interested in where Spud was (hint: not with her). I did notice a bit of a trend tho, and am wondering if she is more forward in an outdoor arena vs indoor. Of all the times I've hauled her to the grounds to ride in the outdoor, she is a bit of a steam engine whereas in the indoor arena, she is more lazy. (However, if I trail ride to the outdoor like I normally do, she is just fine. But that can also be because we just walked 20min there lol). Just something to observe, altho I think a lot can be attributed to the time off regardless.

"I came here with a friend... wait... WHERE IS MY FRIEND?"
After her initial joggy-ness and trying to see where Spud was, she settled within a few minutes and politely went to work. I will preface by saying that since we were already behind schedule, I was more rushed about getting her ridden and all the chores I had waiting.

We really worked a lot at the trot - developing that slooooow trot and getting her body to be a bit more manipulative. She fell out of the slower trot a few times and kind of dove forwards, especially in the corners (balance issues), but was able to be brought back relatively quickly. She had a few short moments wherein I realllly had to half halt her and say, "NO." but nothing major - which was more in the first part of our ride. By the end, she was trotting along at a reasonable pace, although did not feel super adjustable (in the sense of extending and coming back quietly for a working trot).

Our leg yields were kinda icky... she drifted herself to the track a few times - stupid me forgot to implement leg yields away from the track like K had mentioned during my lessons - and other times her ass swung out. Sometimes it can be hard to remember everything!

I played a lot with a few different exercises - serpentines with walking in the middle, 10m trot circles, extended trot across the diagonal (I call it an "extension" but we both know it's more like RUN RUN RUN RUN BREAK INTO CANTER RUN RUN).

If this gif was in trot, it would be pretty accurate.
The canter work was lovely, and despite having a difficult time initially to get that right lead, we got it a few times and successfully cantered around without me hanging on the inside rein. The first few times she got the wrong lead, she started to get herself worked up, so we had to re-instill the quiet trot and go back to the drawing board. The sitting trot really helped here and out of Annie's frustrations, she launched into the canter a few times just to protest. #babyhorsetantrum Once she did get that lead, it was like she had a magnet to her ass to stay as close to the gate of the arena as possible, so I ensured that when we got that lead again, we went down the far side of the arena and all around.

On her left lead, I found myself squeezing too much on my outside rein and remembered to LET HER GO and rode each stride as if I were going over a jump - she powered forward and although she was going too fast, it was good to establish that forward energy.

I do feel like I rushed a lot of the work we did in the arena, which is something that I will need to work on. It didn't help that I was already having a frustrating day and had wanted to be home at a certain time. Still, it is important to stay with her and to continue to ask for XYZ. It can be hard, especially when you don't get instant results, but it pays off in the end when you get that moment a few minutes later. So, something to work on and remember for our next ride.

I think this gif is appropriate for the both of us, Micayla
And while the ride wasn't 100% perfect, or anything like our last lesson, I was able to apply some of the things I had learned and improve little by little. Some of the trot work felt really good and I felt much more stable in the tack during the canter and was able to keep my legs at the girth instead of fighting the saddle.

Still, I was pleased that I was able to piece things back together as they fell apart and get some of that quality of work we had gotten when I had "all eyes on me".


Do you have a hard time riding on your own vs in lessons? Do you tend to come up with a pre-determined idea of what kind of exercises you will do during your ride or do you see what kind of horse you have before you make a plan? Or do you just wing it and implement what exercises you feel are right for the time? Any helpful tips or ideas?


  1. It can be hard- especially after a clinic. The trick is to try to not over do it. Ha. 'Cause that's sooo easy.
    I was happy though, to see this post, I was worried about you with the fires in BC. I wasn't sure how close you were.

    1. Oh for sure - patience and persistence is the key!! I was lacking both of those things for the ride, tho!

      Aw, you are so sweet. The fires are actually quite a ways away from me. If you look back at my previous post where it shows where I purchased my horses from, the "Suzie dot" is where the fires are.

  2. I simply don't have the patience to ride as well on my own. I'm too apt to second guess and "problem solve" and generally overthink things. My coach is great at getting me focused and then it all falls into place. Took me forever to realize she's not actually magical, just patient, lol

    1. I hear ya! It can be hard sometimes. I don't have the opportunity to ride with a coach often, but it can be hard to apply all the things we learn, esp on our own.

  3. Since I don't take lessons, I don't know! I usually have a general goal for the ride, but I let it take me where it takes me. I have read a Cherry Hill book that outlined how you should use your time during an hour long ride, and I've often thought back on that for guidance.

    1. That sounds like a good book to have! I'll have to look into it.

  4. Dude trying to replicate work outside of a lesson is so hard. But don't ask me because I literally haven't been riding regularly for months now, womp womp.