Tuesday, October 6, 2015

another day, another lesson in the rain

We took it easy in our lesson this week. The show at Olde Hope was already postponed so there was no pressure to PREPARE, ya know? Plus I was a negligent horse leaser and hadn't brought out Isabel's blankets yet and was caught unprepared for the drop in temperature and sooo much rain, omg. So poor Isabel had to spend Friday night inside - an absolute travesty, she'll tell you.

what isabel thinks of the weather. #notimpressed
Whether it was being inside all night, or just feeling the effects of the weather change, Ms Thing didn't feel so super amazing while we warmed up. It couldn't quite be called a hitch in her giddy up... but she was definitely dragging a bit and had me peppering my trainer with many requests to watch us trot for signs of NQR-ness.

Nothing presented itself tho and the mare loosened up more as we went, so we continued with the lesson. Still tho, not really what you wanna be thinking about at the onset of a ride!

fierce mode activated (also my stirrups are still too long, ugh)
Anyway we went through the usual process of warming up over individual jumps and lines, to eventually build it all into one course. Some of it was still the same from previous weeks (like the diagonal line of white vertical to white vertical in 4 strides), and some was slightly different.

tho i prefer the happy ears
One difference of note was the 1-1 grid that caused us so much grief last week - the middle element was gone, making it just a regular 36' line. Aka a competition distance 2-stride. Which makes sense bc two 18' lines obvi add up to 36'.... but then my brain says that if you had two 1-stride sections plus a jump, that should equal 3 strides right? But no - trainer P wanted to see us get two in there.

more fierce mode... look, she also landed the left lead!
Same idea for the other outside line - which was changed to a very open 4 stride straight line. Can't remember exactly, but pretty sure it was measured for 60'. And somehow, even when I tried to do the add down it while warming up it just wasn't happening. We came down maybe 2-3 times shooting for a quiet 5 and... just, no. So again, trainer P wanted us moving forward for the 4.

defensive riding is my specialty, apparently
This is kinda challenging for me as a rider. Both P and Dan spend a lot of time schooling us over shorter distances, or having us work on balancing and collecting for a smaller yet powerful step. The idea being that we can maintain that power and balance when we open the stride up. That's all well and fine, but it also requires that I have to commit to a more forward distance too. Which, you may recall from a lesson with Dan a couple weeks ago (where we also worked on competition distance), is not my strong suit lol.

just jumpin around, ya know, like we do
So this course wasn't quite as smooth or effortless as last week's (tho honestly last week's video miiiiiight just be representative of our 'A' game right now, rather than our 'everyday' game haha). I also wasn't quite as on top of the 'dramatic re-balance through turn' and ended up getting kinda deep to a couple fences. 

and this is our 'giddy up' face
The thing that really pleased me about this ride was that even when I did end up missing the in jump, I still rode to make the out happen well and in the correct number of strides. Only one bad fence per line! My natural tendency when things get a little dicey is to sit back and hold for another step, so this felt like progress. I will take it!


Plus Izzy was her normal superstar self and answered perfectly every time I asked her to move up. She was taking no prisoners!!! Good good game mare :)

omg is it already cooler weather?!?
Tho a very large part of me is worried that some of those fierce expressions are related to a pinching saddle - esp as she had areas of hair at her withers after the ride that were all mussed up and whorled. No bueno, Bates. No bueno. Ughhhhhh.

A barn mate recommended another local fitter who is coming this weekend to do tracings and assess the Bates. And, supposing she also deems the Bates as FUBAR for Izzy, she will handle the saddle shopping for what seems like an incredibly modest fee. We'll see how it goes! Have you ever used a personal saddle shopper before?

31 comments:

  1. OMG! A personal saddle shopper sounds amazing! Although do they have a secret stash of saddles somewhere, because sometimes I feel like I've looked everywhere!

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    1. haha idk if she has a secret stash or what. she said over the phone something about checking her 'sources' - so maybe she does? i feel like i've looked everywhere already too... but that then again i can't exactly be called a saddle expert so maybe she will see something i don't?

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  2. I bet MareStare is just right and locked up from the cold. I know when Pig is cold he rides like a lumpy block of wood for the first 10 minutes or so. And he's super cranky.

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    1. yea i hope so. it always drives me a little batty when she doesn't seem quite like herself.... the paranoia is strong with this one!

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  3. Absolutely. Saddle fitter/shopper is the best! It takes the stress away!!!

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    1. that's what i'm hoping!!! (if only it could take the expense away too...)

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  4. WHEEEEE going for the 'big horse' step with Iz looked SO FUN! Fingers crossed for the saddle fitter this weekend!

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    1. haha it is super fun. it'd be a whole lot easier if i didn't have so much baggage about letting her GO, but she gets it done all the same lol

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  5. Driving half way across the country Sunday I totally looked like that first picture yesterday too.

    And for the millionth time, I love your spirit! !

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    1. thanks! and oh man, good luck with that drive!!

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  7. I've never saddle shopped for myself. I've always called a fitter, told her what I want for a saddle, she brings out like 5-10 options for me, I sit in them, pick 2-3 to try on the horse, pick the winner, she fits it to my horse, and I gain a saddle that day.

    No headaches, no mess, no fuss. Takes several hours, but very much worth it. Plus when I buy a saddle, the visit/fitting is usually included for free, so I just pay the cost of the saddle.

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    1. yea that makes a lot of sense. the fitter i worked with this winter worked a little differently - i brought a whole bunch of saddles and she evaluated them on my horse and we eventually picked one, that she then fitted. and then came out to fit two more times. and that saddle... still doesn't work. ugh. so i'm thinking this route of the fitter actually bringing the saddles to try after assessing the horse will be a much easier process, i hope!

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  8. It feel your pain. It can be so hard switching to a more forward pace. Luck with your continued saddle search!

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    1. it's definitely hard - esp on a small athletic horse like isabel who can almost always squeeze in one last step... but she is fully capable of going forward so i just need to commit to it!

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  9. That is some pretty stellar sit going on there! Love fierce mode lol.

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    1. haha i kinda love it too - she looks like she's gonna chew those jumps up and spit 'em out like toothpicks haha

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  10. Oh man, forward/long distances are like...the ONLY thing I can see! It is hilariously bad sometimes, because I will see a distance that I *know* will be ugly or awkward, but for some reason, my body refuses to attempt an adjustment and I just say "GO FOR IT HORSE, YOU CAN JUMP OUT OF STRIDE TEN FEET FROM THE JUMP!"

    Izzy is cracking me up in fierce mode!

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    1. haha i've honestly never been one for the long spot -- tho riding bali now is helping me to readjust from burying the horse too, since he has a penchant for leaving a little long.

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  11. I hope your saddle search goes well! I happy you're making progress.

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    1. thanks! i will be so relieved to fix this saddle situation... what a pain!

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  12. Izzy's expressions on the ground amuse me so much. Also, I wish to point out that in that first jumping picture your toes are pointing forward! Wooo go Emma!

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    1. lol she's full of expressions, that's for sure! also yay for forward pointing toes! slowly but surely i'll get those suckers where they belong :)

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  13. We are working on such similar things! I literally had that exact same fight with a 1-1 combo three (I think) weeks ago, and then a similar fight with a long 2 last week. It's SO HARD. Courses ride better (and we are getting bigger and stronger with them) when we can take the slightly longer spots instead of always chipping in, but they make me and Murray just uncomfortable enough that we are like "orrrrrrr maybe not? orrrrrrrrrrrr long spot is hard? orrrrrrr just no jumpy jump?" Gah. Much to think of. Much to do.

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    1. ugh it's such a struggle lol. i actually don't think izzy minds the longer spots really, but *i* do and i generally make it awkward enough that she'd rather just stick one more in.... oh well, maybe one day?

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  14. Whoa... a personal saddle shopper would be so rad! I think you should try it! Isabel and I have the same feelings about the rain I think.

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    1. right? i'm pretty excited about it. and even just discussing my situation over the phone with her made me feel pretty confident that she can help. fingers crossed!

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  15. Personal saddle shopper?! Haha that is way stranger than a waterproof tail bag to me, I don't think they even exist in New Zealand!

    I would much rather hold for an extra stride than push for a long spot, but that's because I'm a scaredy cat and like to hold. You guys look fabulous!

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    1. i'm actually really excited about a personal saddle shopper. i've taken oodles of saddles on trial at this point and none have really worked, so i'm hoping someone with a little more expertise will do a better job of picking out potential options.

      and yea holding for the extra stride is absolutely my safety blanket too... we are slowly figuring it out tho. sorta. haha.

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  16. Love the fierce mode :) And a personal saddle shopper? Yes, please!

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    1. haha she really does get straight down to business - this mare knows her job! and fingers crossed the saddle shopper is as excellent as i'm hoping!!!

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