Monday, August 29, 2016

Casanova

Let's kickoff this Monday with a little love, shall we? I'll heap it out in the form of this friendly, somewhat goofy gray guy, Casanova. We had the pleasure of getting to know each other over the course of a lesson. Or at least, try to. It was maybe a bit like speed dating and this guy is kinda an enigma. He was cool tho!

"Well hello there, do you come here often?" - Casanova
Gotta love goofy personable horses too. Or at least horses who are willing to dance a little bit for their carrots lol.


Anyway he was a good lesson mate for me too. He's learned what the trainer M referred to as "fake dressage" - he just gets low and heavy and LOW. The more you fuss the lower and heavier he gets (at one point I let the reins completely out and he just kept going around with his nose on the ground).

can we take a minute to appreciate how pretty this farm is?
Plus he took a LOT of leg omg. In a weird way tho. Like you could tell he had a motor and that he could carry himself up and into the bridle better... But it was almost as if he had to make sure you were serious first.

double wide gazebo!
So I picked up a crop and he was like, "OH OK Thats what you meant. Got it." haha. After that tho it was just managing his rhythm and softness. Like this is a horse who clearly can do the things. But he's also very clearly been a lesson horse for a long time. He knows the order in which we proceed. And when we should take breaks etc.

look at all the little gates!
And by our second canter he was pretty sure the jumping was coming up soon so he was much more alive. A little stiff at first bc his way of going had me getting a little grabby and braced against him. Maybe still residual defensiveness since this was my first real ride since eating shit off Gogo last week (womp womp).

quite handsome actually. even if he was super distracted by the athletics field haha
But he was the perfect tattle tale for me bc he would only truly soften and carry himself when I softened myself and allowed him. That's a feeling I need to commit to muscle memory.

he was glued to this soccer practice like it was the freakin world cup
Jumping was pretty straight forward too. It had the added advantage of soccer practice starting up in the field next door and Casanova was just riveted omg. Like he had a lot of money riding on the game or whatever. Not spooking but just wanting to stop and stare. And getting a little inflexible when we were near that side of the arena.

really tho it was just kids. nbd Casanova, nothing to see here!
So the focus became getting him soft and bending again before starting out on whatever the jumping exercises were. Which, to start was a simple gymnastic. Trot pole to X, eventually building up to a compressed one stride to an oxer. We mostly handled that just fine, tho I was having trouble forcing myself to release over the out jump. Typical issue for me that I would love to resolve one of these days. Trainer M hit the nail on the head tho calling it "defensive."

still watching those soccer players. but still omg this farm is so pretty!
Then we did some basic elements of coursework, trotting in to a line and cantering out in a quiet add stride. Then working on a roll back. Then putting it all together. Basic simple stuff and none of it was ever very large. But the purpose was correctness. Trainer M wanted to see carefully planned turns, and balanced pace to the fence.

indoor for good measure
Both Casanova and I have a tendency to get a little excitable on approach to the jump and then run past our distances a little. So we worked a lot on that. And it was that same feeling as before: I needed to soften so that Casanova would "melt" into the rhythm instead of rush off the ground.

This horse was great for teaching that feeling too bc despite being distracted by the soccer team, and despite getting jiggy when we would start the course, he was VERY honest about softening when I did. Again, that's a feeling I must remember bc it was super effective, and yet is something I really struggle with.

with a very organized and tidy aisle plus lots of pretty ferns hanging all over the place
It's been really great riding this variety of horses too bc they've all added a slightly different dimension to my most common mistakes. Like riding backwards. Each horse responds differently, except when I get it right. When I get it right, they generally all do too. Funny how that works lol.

One of these days tho it would be great to settle into a more regular routine with just one horse. And not have to hustle so hard for lessons just so that I can ride and jump something interesting!

39 comments:

  1. That barn is just gorgeous... like pintrest come to life!

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    1. It's definitely very picturesque!

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  2. Ha ha - i can't figure out where you went. Usually I'm like oh, that's so-and-so's place, but this one has me stumped!

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    1. Ha yea this one is a bit of a hidden gem and is in some ways a little private. You have probably heard of it tho.

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    1. he was fun! kinda very much a schoolie in the "this is how i go, end of story" kind of way. but still super fun!

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  4. All of the farms you ride at are so gorgeous!! And I snorted out loud about him watching the soccer game like he had money on it 😂

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    1. haha he was seriously stuck on it! at first i got nervous bc i was like "omg he's gonna spook and i'm gonna eat it!" but he never actually spooked. just had to watch. i almost felt like i should have set him up in a recliner with a beer and some peanuts!

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  5. That farm! All of this horse hopping sounds so good for you as a rider, but I can't wait to you find *the one*. :)

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    1. the variety is definitely helping me out a lot. it's broadening my skills at adapting and reading the horse and trying to be more accountable for my own self (still very much a big work in progress). it'll be good to start progressing in a different way when i have something regular to ride.

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  6. SUPREMELY jealous you're getting all these different rides. Love me a good tattle tale horse

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    1. so many different horses omg!! haha but yea the tattle tales are so useful to me

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  7. What a beautiful place! (And cute horse!)

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    1. i like cute horses, what else can i say? ;)

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  8. What a beautiful farm! I think I like this guy, he reminds me of someone I know....

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    1. ha somehow that doesn't surprise me lol

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  9. That farm is gorgeous!! Having been riding the same horse for 6.5 years now, riding something else seems so inviting at times. I bet you come out of this so much better for it all.

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    1. thanks i hope so! honestly i had never ridden any one single horse consistently longer than for a couple months at a time until i met isabel (who i've leased for 4 years). in some ways it's nice to be back to the variety! in other ways... i'm ready for something more consistent haha

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  10. At least you have the opportunity to train on what appears to be some great horses, tho! Never mind the beautifulness that is that farm.

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    1. so beautiful! and i'm grateful for the opportunity, tho would point out it's just the basic typical lesson program. anybody who wants to show up once a week and pay this trainer could try Casanova too!

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  11. I used to ride at a barn next to some soccer fields, and even the horses who knew to ignore it got distracted from time to time. Mostly because there was so much NOISE all the time. Haha. Sounds like this horse is a pretty cool dude though!

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    1. so much noise omg haha. that's certainly one way to bombproof a horse!

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  12. What a beautiful place 😍

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  13. A few months of great lesson horses restored my faith and confidence in equines. I hope you find a good partner eventually, but for now I very selfishly love hearing about all the amazing schoolies you get to ride :)

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    1. ha thanks! i'm definitely enjoying it too! and there are a few more coming in future posts. the variety is really useful bc it's really giving me a very clear sense about what i am more or less capable of doing well enough, where my commonest weaknesses lie, and how i might conceivably improve myself more.

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  14. What a cool barn. I miss riding lots of different horses. Even hopping on Shasta or Eugene has shown me how much I've gotten stuck in Nilla mode.

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    1. i got very stuck in isabel mode too. very VERY stuck lol. it's good to break out and shake it up every now and then. tho of course when time and resources are limited we basically just do what we most feel like doing :)

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  15. SUPER awesome barn - I second the pinterest barn! hahaha. It sounds like by the time you settle in with a horse again you're gonna make some FANTASTIC strides just because your base will be so much broader, you know?

    I'm excited to see it. :)

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  16. I would like to sell my soul for that barn. And then like..my kidneys to fill it with all the pretty ponies

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  17. He sounds like a really great ride! And it is funny how we get better and they get better...hmmmm lol

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