Monday, September 12, 2016

doing fun stuff (+ dumb stuff)

On this Monday morning, I solemnly swear to cheat reeeeal hard in blog posts. Meaning. I'm going to write about a lesson *I* took, but post pictures of my trainer going through the same exercises with his promising young Irish thing, instead of pictures of myself.

Mostly bc no pictures of my attempts exist, nor did I snap a single photo of Lion man this time around (he's just as handsome as last time, I promise). But I took all kinds of pics and videos of Dan's schooling session on his horse after my ride. So there.

exciting young Irish horse in action. also some jump exercises in the background
Basically tho I have a very serious problem with riding right now. I'm plain old not doing enough of it to be strong enough to do the stuff I actually want to be doing. Like jumping big jumps.

I have enough strength to get a horse going (kinda) and rev the engine a bit. But not quite enough to support it and hold it together. And, quite obviously with my recent track record, not enough strength to stick it when things get a bit dicey.

like so. was two holes lower when i jumped it, but just as wide
And Lion pretty much had my number on the flat. There was MUCH application of dressage whip happening, with very little effect (Dan encouraged me to do lots of little taps in rapid succession rather than one hard tap - tho even my little taps were still a bit too mild haha).

At one point he reminded me that we weren't at a horse show, I wasn't going to get sent back to the barn for more than 3 taps in a row. I understood what he was saying, but mostly just felt frustrated by my weakness lol. Le sigh.

this was the height i jumped. promising Irish thing is clearly unimpressed
Whatever the case, it was balls hot out so we didn't spend overmuch time on the flat anyway. First up in the jump exercises were the two verticals at the end of a long grid, seen below.

Except to start, they weren't verticals and certainly didn't have the "V" poles on them. They were actually offset half cross rails - so on the first the left side was on the ground, and on the second the right side was on the ground.

square oxer two strides to vertical one stride to vertical.
but ALSO: square oxer three strides to white corner
After turning in to canter just that section a couple times, and remembering how FUN Lion is to jump, we went through the whole 5-element grid. You can see most of the beginning of the grid below. It was two low verticals set at a one stride distance, then two strides to the low wide square oxer, then two strides to the offset half cross rails we had just jumped.

Went through a couple times getting a sense for the pace we needed (12' stride), and particular attention paid to straightness upon landing. Then the last two went up to full size verticals. Another pass then we got the "V" poles on just the last vertical (as opposed to the "V" poles on both, when Dan was schooling).

(I'm documenting this mostly bc the progression in how Dan formulates the exercises for his horses is almost as interesting to me as my own experiences through them.)


After that, Dan had me do the diagonal line exercise that you'll see in the video below: starting with the center low wide square oxer, slice it to hit the white corner (line is sorta visible in the picture with the "V" poles), turn right, come back to slice the oxer to the red and white corner above (coming toward the camera). Both done in three strides. 

The first line - oxer to white corner - came up sliiiiiiightly long for us (with Dan yelling for me to hit the gas pedal), but the oxer to the red and white corner rode a little better. 

corner as demonstrated by dan. and yea this is how it was set when we jumped it too.
I was actually legitimately surprised by how well it went. Obviously Lion is a very schooled horse - easily the most well schooled horse I've ever jumped - ever. But still. I mean, sure I kinda put him in awkwardish spots and he was very honest, but the lines still felt pretty ok.

But then we turned it around to go red and white corner back to the oxer and I biffed it and Lion side-stepped/crashed it, but then looked for all the world like he would jump the oxer anyway and.... I bailed. And finally actually injured myself in the process. (Only saying "finally" bc I've fallen off approx half a dozen times so far this year and have been more or less unscathed...).


The kinda feeling where you get back on the horse... but you're still done. Dan encouraged me to go out and canter a ground pole or two but... ugh. I just didn't. Couldn't. Wouldn't. Idk. After feeling like I had run out of leg strength during the ride, then actually injured said legs into further inefficacy... I was just done.

It's demoralizing. I need to stop falling off of horses. That much is glaringly obvious. It's just hard bc I'm not riding enough, and I'm not riding at all outside of lessons. So I'm just plain not strong enough to jump 3'+ fences when things aren't 100% perfect.

my nephew likes crutches tho!
It's cool tho. I mean, it's not cool in that I have a very seriously sore adductor and am marginally crippled. But liberal application of ace bandages and some wingman support from ye olde crutches (mostly just to help get a little lift from my overly earthbound limb) has gone a long way to making me feel better.

If anything, it just increases my resolve to settle asap on the thing I'm calling my "new normal." Cross your fingers for me!

44 comments:

  1. Its so hard when you're not as fit as you want/need to be :( I know how you feel. My guy is on training board (sigh) so he hopefully becomes less of an asshole and i lose the urge to set him free in the woods, but with just riding twice a week, i lack the strength i really need to push him. LOL - i hear a LOT of "tap him - tap him again!", too. Hope your leg feels better ASAP!

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    1. I mean, sometimes setting them free in the woods is the right answer lol. But yea it's def annoying to keep hearing the same things from the trainer and still feel physically unequal to it ugh lol

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  2. Hope you feel better soon and come up with a plan that satisfies you. What about adding yoga, spinning, or strength training to your program? I know it isn't the same as riding more often, but basic physical fitness and strength training can do a lot for your riding. I know that when I run more often I ride a lot better. Unfortunately, riding seems to not help me do pretty much anything but ride.

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    1. Hmm "basic physical fitness"? What is this thing?

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  3. I hope you feel better soon! It's so frustrating to be able to do what you want and be able to ride at all, but not up to the standard you expect from yourself. I'd recommend to ease up on yourself a little, but something tells me that's not in your nature :) Just remember that you wouldn't push a horse that's been out of a program as hard as you are pushing yourself right now. I would say just enjoy the ride as it is until the next step comes along.

    And lots and lots of luck being sent your way in hopes of whatever that next step is and a new normal soon!

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    1. I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "ease up" - if I stop taking lessons then I won't be riding at all. Hardly seems like a solution that'll get me closer to where I wanna be. I'm just eager for when that won't always be the case. But until then, if I want to ride and do fun things, I actually ya know, will have to ride and do the things.

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    2. No offense meant - I just meant ease up on yourself mentally a bit if you can. Not to stop getting the rides you are because that is what is going to help get you back to where you want to be.

      Dumb comment all together, sorry. I shouldn't read blogs before coffee :P

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    3. No worries - not a dumb comment, just made me scratch my head a bit. Its hard to convey an honest assessment of what happened without either sounding like Polly Anna or sounding overly self critical. I promise I am neither. Mostly tho it was an awesome lesson where we did some really cool things and I had the opportunity to ride a very cool horse. But it ended poorly bc of issues with my own riding that aren't currently easily resolved. Frustrating but not a permanent problem thank goodness!

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  4. I'm gonna say the most cliche mom-thing ever, but, this too shall pass! Hoping the light at the end of your tunnel is coming up quickly!

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  5. omg dont injure yourself plz.

    and its really really hard to have jump lessons when youre not in consistent work, riding wise. youll just be loose in the tack.

    i feel you on your dressage whip trepidation. i always get weird smacking somebody else's horse around. its not MINE.

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    1. Ugh yea haha it was slightly hard feeling like I was beating this very nicely trained horse haha. But lion is apparently into that kinda thing... Lol

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  6. I'm stealing that exercise. Love how it's a combo if ridden straight through, or more of an XC question when ridden on the angle!

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    1. It was a very clever exercise - and if you watched the video you saw that you could also ride straight corner to corner in six strides. Plus you could catch different elements of the grid by turning in early etc. lots to like there!!

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  7. Bruh, I feel you. After my injury i flopped around for what felt like weeks (still kinda floppy), and only riding once in a while in lessons can have almost the same effect. I hope you find a consistent ride soon! Falling sucks :(

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    1. Flopping around is the worst haha. It beats not riding at all tho!

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  8. Glad it was a mostly productive lesson, save for the tumble =/

    Hope you heal up quickly

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    1. Definitely productive... Right up until it wasn't womp womp. Dan keeps telling me to but some training or prelim level horse and I have to wonder why since I apparently can't ride them lol

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    1. Agreed. Idk what is actually wrong with it tbh but we are just gonna roll (or limp) with it haha

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  10. I'm impressed you have the balls to do jumping lessons without regular riding. I'd be sticking to straight flat work if I wasn't on a horse almost every single day because my lady balls would be shriveled right up.

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    1. I legit did not expect those corners to be part of the lesson haha. I just figured it would be grid work. But the when the end of the grid hit the same height as the corners, it was kinda like "well what the hell why not?" Apparently the why not is bc I can't goddamn stick a big jump if it goes wrong lol (or um. If it doesn't happen... Sorry lion!)

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  11. #crutchlyfe... seriously tho, I hope that you heal quickly and completely, falling off sucks but it sucks more when injured.

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    1. Thanks haha yea it's definitely a little harder to shake off when everyone wants to know why the limp lol. At least I'm basically able to get around with my leg wrapped to within an inch of its life haha

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  12. I can't believe a horse and ride fit through that narrow corner! Crossing my crossables that something works our for you soon to get you more consistent hours on a horse.

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    1. ha believe it or not it really wasn't that narrow... just kinda really freakin wide...

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  13. Hitting the ground sucks, sorry to hear you hurt yourself again. You can push through this though. You will get better, get back on Izzy and you will start doing simple w/t/c fitness routines (Two pointober and NoStirrup November anyone?!) and be ready to jump big things on other horses in no time. You can do it!

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    1. I'm workin on it! Tho I've been finished with riding Isabel seriously for a few months now haha, I don't see revisiting that as a solution to my core issues.

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  14. Oh, Emma. I know so well that disheartening "I can't/won't/ please don't insist" feeling after a fall. Hugs from afar. I'm looking forward to hearing about your "new normal".

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  15. Hope you heal up quickly! I'm a floppy middle-aged ammy working on my strength, fitness and balance, so I know the struggle is real. :)

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  16. Darn! Sorry to hear you had a fall. Hope you are feeling 100% soon. Sounds like there was lots of good stuff in the lesson though :) Excited to hear about the new plans!

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  17. Sounds like a touch lesson, very technical. Excited to here waits in the pipeline for you

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  18. Oh yikes! Hope you bounce back soon!

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  19. Um, girl I hear you on the falls. I've fallen 4 times this year so far, after 4 years of defying the forces of gravity! It sucks, but you'll be back in the saddle as soon as you feel better. On the other hand- Lion looks like a cool guy!

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  20. Ugh, I hate this for you! I hope you heal up quickly!

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  21. I'm really sorry about the fall! I hope you're feeling better soon. So this new normal thing makes me so curious! I'm sure something great is coming for you soon-you've paid your dues for sure!

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  22. Those corners are intimidating! Don't feel ashamed for falling off.

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  23. Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry. But also, I'm kinda jealous of all these different horses you are riding. You'll be such a better rider for it. So, way to go! And.. heal fast! Wine helps..

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  24. Fingers crossed!!! Drink wine to medicate.

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