Tuesday, April 14, 2015

lesson with Peanut

I made it back to OF this weekend for a lesson. Isabel might not be ready yet, but I was itching to get back in the saddle! And trainer P had a great horse for me to try. Peanut is a registered Paint mare with probably more than a little bit of QH in there. 

don't look at the saddle - just that cute horse! 

She had been living at the fancy dressage barn (where I rode in the Grant Schneidman clinic a few weeks back) and recently moved to OF. According to P, Peanut is tuned up enough to put in a "passable 1st or 2nd level dressage test." So she's not *exactly* a school master, but definitely closer than anything I've ridden before. 


I didn't quite do the mare justice (she may or may not have squealed in protest at one point during our ride), but she was NEAT! 

A very different ride from Isabel tho, for sure. They're almost the same height - but Peanut rides a little taller and covers more ground. She is also MUCH narrower than my big-barreled arab (don't tell Izzy I said that!). And maybe it was just the QH in her, but it felt like she had a lot more lateral movement, compared to Isabel's very up-and-down way of going.

'no pics plz' - peanut
'just applz.'

Our flat work wasn't really anything special - she definitely tattled on me quite a bit! (Plus I'm honest to god gonna blame the saddle for some of it bc damn that thing sucked in every single dimension!). But the moments were definitely there when I was able to soften my contact and get myself in order. She would just stretch down and feel SO fancy! 

P kept telling me to soften my hands and not just set myself against the horse. I didn't really understand what she meant and thought my hands were pretty soft (I kept losing the reins, oops) - but the videos actually show that my shoulders and elbows were pretty rigid the whole ride. 


Plus I struggled a bit to find the right seat at the canter. Again, I want to blame that saddle in part... but probably I could do a better job if there's another opportunity to ride this horse while Isabel convalesces. P wanted me to have less of a 'driving' seat - and wanted me to relax my hips to allow the horse room to move. I *think* I know what she means... but really had a hard time finding the sweet spot and kinda ended up just reverting to a half seat. 

The mare is definitely very sensitive tho - P wanted me really just riding those outside aids to help put the horse together. Also, she has excellent brakes that I kept on tapping without realizing haha. Still not entirely sure what I was doing - but it was obviously something!

why, elbows? whyyyyyy?

The jumping was fine too. I needed to close my leg and put the horse together a little better, which would have allowed us a more organized but forward stride. As it was tho, she was very very good and I actually felt like I could settle in to her rhythm without much effort (despite it being very different from Isabel... and despite the fact that I haven't jumped anything BUT Isabel in 7 months...).

repeat after me: folllllowwwing hannnds

It's both interesting and moderately irritating to see the same exact problems on course crop up with two very different horses... But I also try not to harbor any illusions about some of my weaknesses as a rider. 

for what it's worth, i seriously expected 5 strides down that diagonal line (jumps 4-5)... oops!

All the same tho - even with some bobbles here and there, I had to finish every course by picking bugs out of my teeth bc I was grinning like a fool. This little mare was neat! (Plus - omg riding outside again - aww yissss!)

she was also incredibly sweet on the ground too

Isabel will be returning for lessons at OF in two weeks at the earliest - so I'm hoping to get an opportunity to redeem myself with Ms Peanut in the interim. Just watching the videos and writing out these here thoughts about the lesson has helped me think of ways to make it better next time... so we'll see!  

34 comments:

  1. Following seat is definitely something you have to feel before you can understand it. Hope you get a change to flat this mare again! Sounds like she's one of those frustratingly awesome horses that tattles on your every mistake. :)

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    1. getting a better seat is really high on my priority list... it's just SO HARD haha. i feel like i'm having to undo years of muscle memory to even just SIT the canter, let alone have a nice seat while i'm at it. we just keep chippin away tho!

      and re: the mare - she actually wasn't frustrating at all - she tried hard and wanted to please! i was pretty frustrated at myself tho bc i was clearly confusing her and she hasn't learned the lesson horse way of tuning annoying riders out (and in fact, my trainer really wants to *avoid* that)

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  2. Those sensitive tattle-tale horses are excellent to ride and learn on! She seems like a super neat mare. I hope you get to ride her again at some point!

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    1. i hope so too! isabel's also pretty sensitive - but we've grown so codependent over the years that she kinda ignores some of my shenanigans. this poor mare tho - you can see her little nose fly up every time i pulled to the fence... good girl still jumped nicely tho

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  3. Sounds like an awesome learning experience!!! And outdoor arena...YAY!!!

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    1. oh man it was SUCH a relief to get back out there again! i love that arena and allll the spaaaace... so much better than the indoor haha

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  4. Outdoor ring for the win!! She looks like a really sweet mare, and I think seeing a video of yourself is one of the most useful tools ever- you can see what your trainer sees and a lot of what they tell you starts to make more sense.

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    1. she was so so so sweet! and i agree about the videos - obvi i like having media for the blog, but really i spend a lot of time watching the videos trying to figure out what is happening and why. it's important not to be too self critical or get down on yourself about it - but there's really a lot to learn from it!

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  5. Yay for riding different horses, and good for you for striving to improve and acknowledging rider problems- I have so much respect for people with that attitude! I've been itching to get a lessons on a new-to-me horse for awhile just to see what comes up as things for me to work on haha

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    1. oh man i really miss riding a wide variety of horses... like, really badly. at my last lesson farm i rode a different horse every week, and actually kept riding there even when i didn't love the trainer and her program bc i loved the horses so much... there's just so much to learn about yourself as a rider by switching it up every now and then

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  6. For me it's always a bit humbling to ride someone else's horse! Especially a sensitive one like this mare. I think it was really smart to take videos so that 1. you can see what you are doing really well 2. see what you can change for next time. I think she's a cutie!

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    1. i love riding other horses - i think it keeps us honest as riders haha. and yea videos are pretty much my jam and we're lucky that the barn rats who hang out during lessons are always eager to take videos for us

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  7. Peanut is soooo cute. It's so awesome to ride different horses. Riding a lesson horse for dressage lessons has definitely opened up my eyes on a couple of things, Apollo and I are way too used to eachother.

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    1. she's pretty stinkin adorable haha. and you're right about us getting used to our horses... it was really great during the first year or so that i leased isabel and still took lessons elsewhere on other horses. then i could bring those lessons home to isabel and work on them. definitely good practice!

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  8. Peanut is super cute! It sounds like she was a good horse to ride on- I have a love/hate with the tattletale horses.

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    1. she was definitely good to ride! she tattled - yes, but it wasn't in a snotty or bratty way. more like she was just confused by me haha and didn't really know what else to do

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  9. She is so forward and cute! So glad you got to have a fun outside ride. :D

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    1. she was super forward - i kinda loved it! but putting it all together in a more organized package was a bit of a struggle lol

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  10. Sounds like she was a treat to ride!

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    1. that is actually the perfect way to describe her :)

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  11. Yay for being able to get some riding in and on a super cute horse too!! I can count on one hand the number of times I've ridden a horse other than Maggie in the 3 years I've owned her now and every time I felt like I was the worst rider in the world...everything felt so different so it was like I had to relearn everything!

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    1. yea it can definitely be a huge difference getting on something different... and it always takes me a little while to settle in... plus all the nerves are heightened too haha... but it IS fun - esp when they're as cute as Peanut :)

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  12. Foolllowwing Haaannnddss...lol! You and me both girl! Good for you tearing up the jump course like that on a strange horse! You look fearless!

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    1. haha thanks - i didn't really *feel* fearless... but that's how it goes i guess. still, she was an easy horse to get comfortable with :)

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  13. What a cutie! Sounds like a good lesson and hope you can ride her again. It always takes me a while to get my bearings on a new horse with new tack.

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    1. i hope to ride her again too! tho i'd probably bring isabel's old wintec along to use instead.... the saddle for this lesson was also a wintec, but in pretty rough shape, the wrong size, and stirrups that i HATED.... sooo we'll see haha

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  14. Peanut is cute as a peanut!! You guys look good going over those jumps!

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    1. thanks! we had fun - and she was just such a sweetie!

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  15. I don't know how you rode in that saddle. The balance is all sorts of wrong!

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    1. yea that saddle seriously sucked... like, seriously. i almost ate it down a line of jumps too when i just randomly became totally unseated... ugh!

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  16. Peanut sounds like a lot of fun. :-) Glad you're still able to ride.

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    1. thanks - me too!! and Peanut was a blast - definitely looking forward to riding her again if possible :)

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