Monday, February 2, 2015

raising the bar at FV

Another day, another schooling trip. I REALLY like FV's arena and the horses have settled into the routine. Well - Isabel was never NOT settled (after all - she's been traveling every week since last April...), but Wick really impresses me. He just goes with the flow!! 


I really don't love the drive to this farm tho - twisty, hilly, and NARROW - but still with high traffic volume, esp around 5:30pm when we're heading home (and it's dark out). I always end up with loonnnng lines of cars behind me.... but sorry guys - the ponies are way more important than shaving 5 minutes off the commute! 


ANYWHO - I finally watched a couple of the George Morris sessions from earlier this month. In particular - the no-stirrups day with group 2, where GM got on that super resistant mare and turned her around very nicely into being soft and submissive. The mare reminded me slightly of Isabel and I paid close attention as GM explained his methods with her.


So as I rode, his voice ran through my head telling me to 'lift my hands and close my fingers.' When the horse resists I resist. And when she softens, I soften. My big priority was to get my hands OUT of my lap (aided by *shortening* the reins please!!) and 'play' with Isabel like GM did with that mare.


These are obviously not new concepts - and nor was this the first time I heard them. But you know how it is - sometimes a slightly different wording or presentation helps clarify things.... 

In any case - I also tried to integrate the simplified leg yeilds from last week's lesson, plus the different flat work exercises GM had the riders do in his clinic. This entailed a couple steps here and there of leg yield, some shallow serpentines, and lots of transitions focused on tuning Isabel in to my seat.


And you know what? It was maybe our BEST flat work to date. Sure, Isabel fussed here and there - but when I'd lift my hands and close my fingers (and legs, obvi), she'd just quit it. Like magic. 

To the point where she just sorta naturally reached into this soft roundness that WASN'T a result of me pulling her face down. I tested it by letting go of my inside rein for occasional neck scratches - and she stayed perfectly steady. We even had a few steps of what I *think* was an honest-to-god stretchy trot!!! Woo hoo progress!! 


The jumping was good too - tho not really in any kind of 'break through' sense. We had 'em set up higher today to practice at actual competition height. Plus, I was riding in the Stubben and wanted to really test it out. 



We struggled again with some rhythm issues that leave me wondering if the jumps are maybe just not measured very well?? (tho that sounds like a cop-out, doesn't it haha). And there was one nasty-ish bobble at a square oxer where Isabel took the front rail down with her knees.... helloooooo poultice! 

video of the jumping. not perfect (plenty of room for improvement) but I like where we are
(updated - accidentally posted the wrong video first. it's fixed now!)

But I do still feel ok about it all - bc even with squishy distances and some rubs and rails down, neither Isabel nor I lost composure. We just loped around hopping over stuff like nbd. 

Isabel discovered the self service station lol

34 comments:

  1. Looking good! Sounds like you guys are getting a lot of good work in.

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  2. I've been to FV...its not totally out of the question that the lines aren't perfect. I actually thought that the first time you said you had trouble. Maybe walk one next time?

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    1. you know - i think that's a great idea and probably what we'll do next time. esp bc i don't want these constant chip strides to shake isabel's confidence or throw her off her own rhythm when the jumps are a little bigger....

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  3. Sometimes it just takes hearing the same thing in a different way. Ya'll look great in that .gif :)

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    1. thanks! and you're absolutely right - and i love it when you hear something rephrased and it just 'clicks'

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  4. That .gif is awesome! Sounds like you are getting some really solid work in, and thanks for the reminder about GM videos, I've been meaning to watch those.

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    1. thanks! we've been working pretty hard (esp since these days we pay for every individual ride bc of arena fees... so that's a pretty compelling reason to make it 'worth' it...) so i'm glad it's paying off :)

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  5. That GIF looks amazing!!!
    I am actually SO excited to see you guys in competition!

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    1. thanks!!! i'm so excited too - and we're getting closer every day!!!! :)

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  6. I went to a GM clinic a while ago and that method came home with me too. Like you say, nothing new or different, but he's excellent at demonstrating it and keeping the concept fairly simple. I found it a lot easier to follow than how my dressage coach explained it, and it's an excellent antidote to the coaches that just teach 'headset'

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    1. yea i think you might be right about his ability to demonstrate and keep it simple. i've always been really intimidated by dressage - like it's this mystifying puzzle lol. but listening to that session really helped make it seem more accessible

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  7. AAAH the fans I can hear them!! :D

    I don't think the lines rode that poorly, honestly. The one really sticky one in the beginning with the rail on the square oxer I think is just because you got so deep to that first jump that Isabel had to get deep to the second one. When you rode it the second time it looked great!

    And loping around and jumping everything calmly is a TOTAL win. Good for you guys. :)

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    1. thanks haha!!! those fans are SO annoying lol. and yea, we totally whiffed on that oxer the first time, which kinda destroyed our pace for the second element... i think she just didn't read it at ALL. oops!!

      i still don't love the lines tho - i'm whoa-ing down each line every time, and STILL getting a slightly compressed final stride. but when we try to gallop it, uh, doesn't really work either lol. idk tho - rhythm is not my strong suit!!

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  8. Looking good! And it's funny you mention the GM clinics, I was looking for them this morning before work to watch/listen later this week

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    1. thanks! those clinics are SO fun to watch - hope you enjoy them :)

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  9. Looks great!

    also... I'm envious of your indoor.

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    1. thanks!! and i love this indoor too - i only just wish it were closer - as in, at isabel's farm instead of somewhere else haha... oh well - it's accessible and cheap, and that's what matters :)

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  10. You guys look really good! I'm glad that the ride went well and you had those breakthroughs. That video if GM helped me a lot too. Like you said, sometimes just hearing it in a different way helps.

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    1. thanks!! the dressage stuff is SO HARD for me - seriously i have so much respect for riders like you who have a seemingly innate feel for it. but i'm trying, and we're improving, so that's what matters :)

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  11. So cute in the gif! You have the best gifs.

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    1. thanks!! glad you like the gifs - i've been, um, *slightly* addicted to them since the $900fbpony posted the how-to... (can we just start a support group called 'amanda made me do it' ?? lol)

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  12. Trailering out every week since April?? Seriously girl, your are a boss. Way to get sit done! I'll try and stop complaining about having to walk over to the neighboring farm's indoor lol. Also congrats on some awesome flatwork - I've been meaning to watch some of thoseGM vids too!

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    1. thanks!! the trailering weekly thing is cool - it's how we get to our lessons and i am 100% positive that it's reduced my show anxiety immensely. (repetition can make anything seem mundane, right?)... but lately we have to trailer out just to ride, period - and it's a bit much... in any case, tho - definitely watch the vids!! i like to spread them out over a period, since each one is pretty dense :)

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  13. Glad things are going well! I like your jumping exercise at the beginning of the video! (I'll be stealing that! ;) haha)

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    1. thanks!! and definitely steal that exercise!!! it's supposed to actually help with leads - tho obvi we kinda failed in that respect in the vid... but it also strikes me as a nice warm up routine. the lesson where our trainer worked us through it is here: http://fraidycateventing.blogspot.com/2014/10/wherein-i-ride-horse-and-we-do-things.html

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  14. Omg yay! You guys look awesome!!

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  15. Love the gif! You guys look great :)

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  16. That GIF is awesome! You guys look great :)

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    1. thanks! isabel makes it feel effortless :)

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