Friday, February 27, 2015

we found love (in a hopelessly dusty arena)

We got to ride!!!! Finally!!! The stars aligned and B and I managed to haul our ponies over to FV for a little fun. Which meant, of course, that Isabel got to wear her new Ambitious Equestrian bridle charm for the first time:

Isabel's Charm

This was my first time seeing it actually on her face and I couldn't be happier! Don't forget to enter FCE's first contest to win one of the charms below for yourself!! Entering couldn't be easier - just comment on that post saying which charm you prefer (or list multiples to be entered in multiple drawings). 

contest charms, from left to right:
green gem & swarovski, blue bead & flower, golden angel wings

Anyways, it was so nice to get out. My truck looked so sad all snowed in - it wanted to be liberated! Fortunately even with highs back to the low 20s, Sunday's glorious 45* melted off quite a bit of snow and cleared the roads - so no concerns about getting stuck. I kinda laughed at myself about how similar the weather was to that time I whined about it being too cold to haul out... Funny how 2 months can change things.


The only bummer about the melt followed by below-freezing temps is that all the walkways are iced over now... But hey, that's what used stall shavings and manure is for right?? Our BM covered all the paths with this dirty concoction and it works perfectly to make everything nice and safe. Just not very nice to look at... 

not that I'd ever spare you from a picture tho lol

Back to the ride tho - I think the horses were happy to get out. Isabel was on FIRE! I really focused on trying to be tactful and not fight with her - while also coaxing her into some real work. This meant trying not to get her 'stuck' or feeling boxed in - I really wanted her to stretch and loosen up (esp after over a week off). 


We walked for a loonnng time and focused on rhythm rhythm rhythm, while trying for almost-shoulder-in down the long sides, serpentines, a few steps of leg yielding here and there, circles and changes of direction. Isabel understands all this - but tends to 'run' through it. So I really wanted her to keep exactly the same rhythm and stay relaxed. 

I also tried to focus on my own seat and upper body position, and think of 'pushing' my hands forward asking her to reach forward into the contact. Not entirely sure we were successful there - but we WERE successful at keeping a lid on it and not getting into any fights. And Isabel agreed to use all her energy and fire and power for good rather than evil. I'll take it! 

it was soooooo dusty

Our transitions (both up and down) still need a lot of work - but are maybe satisfactory about 50% of the time, a definite improvement. Right lead canter is still our same crappy right lead canter, but I really didn't push it in this ride - just asked seriously for a couple nice steps with correct bend and left it at that. Since that's where we're most likely to fight, I don't want to push it when our riding is so infrequent...

Then we hopped around the jumps for a little while - with everything set between about 18"-2'3" again. Isabel was CHARGING the warm up crossrails that we trotted, and I had to grab mane a few times to avoid getting super left behind...  But she cantered in really nicely to everything else, maintaining a steady rhythm and finding pretty good spots. We got deep to a few (as usual), but nothing super chippy and no real 'splat' moments. 

you can see where i brushed the dust off - i swear i groomed her!! 

I spent some time schooling single fences on the center line, turning different ways each time and trying for the lead. Isabel figured out how to land on her left lead when we started riding indoors consistently (I think the tighter space and turns helped there), and she's pretty handy now. Hopefully we can keep it up outdoors too! 

And she didn't look at anything today either - no 'impressed' leaps over the fences, and no stops. We did the same bending line from red gate to white gate that we did last time (when the red gate was 3' and then she stopped at the white gate twice in a row). The fences were both about 2'3" this time and she didn't look at either once. 


But we kinda botched the bend a few times in a row - getting 7.75 strides over and over again. If I had better instinct for the jumpers I would have sliced the red gate and rode it straighter in 7. But... instead I added more curve to fit the 8. Whatever, it worked and I was happy. And VERY happy with Isabel - she's pretty much my favorite :)

dusty smiley face lol

22 comments:

  1. ugg that dust is the very reason I had my last lesson in a snowy field! But it looks like you troopers handled it just fine. Love the bridle charm on her!!

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    1. that dust was insane. this might be tmi - but i literally had mud up my nose when it was over, ew! but it was worth it to be able to ride :)

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  2. Haha, that's what I was going to say. The worst part of dusty arena riding is all the dirt in your nose after. I always think about how much footing goes missing from sticking to everyone over the winter.

    Glad you got a ride in though!

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    1. thanks!! and yea, we definitely left with quite a bit of the footing lol - it's usually not so bad there but with the cold temps i guess they haven't been able to water it?

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  3. Dust is a small price to pay for an indoor! haha. Although, it'd be nice if it would just dampen down a bit!

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    1. i agree - definitely not enough to keep me out of the saddle :) they usually do a bit more 'grooming' of the footing, but the BM said it's just been too busy and cold... oh well!

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  4. Glad you had a great ride! I almost miss having a dusty old indoor - so convenient and cosy :)

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    1. thanks!!! i miss it too - and definitely wish we had one at our actual farm, as it would make life so much easier!!! but having access to this one helps :)

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  5. Wow that is a LOT of dust! Still, glad you got a ride in!

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    1. me too! (tho i was a teensy bit sad at looking at all my freshly cleaned tack covered in that mess... lol)

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  6. Yay for riding! Her charm looks adorable! :)

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    1. Thanks! It was good to get back on :)

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  7. Yay for saddle time i haven't managed any yet this week and may not over the weekend either. Being a grown up is hard :-(

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    1. I agree - always so much stuff to do that I would really rather not. Add in winter weather and it's all over lol

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  8. Love love LOVE the charm! So darn cute and the perfect subtle bling needed. I swear I could see it sparkle even in the dusty arena ^.^

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    1. I'm really pleased w how it looks on her - not over the top but still fit for her majesty ;)

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