Friday, April 23, 2021

evening schooling

I'm trying so hard to get back into a groove around here, get back to doing the things we love to do -- and have FUN while we're at it. 

my pony has the smooshiest nose <3
Recent riding lessons have been kinda instructive in this sense, in a few ways. Namely, our first few jumping lessons back (or lessons when it's been a while since we last jumped) have found me pretty anxious and unsettled. 

love him <3
But last week? After I'd made it my business to school around a little on my own earlier in the week? I had a much easier time being calm and productive in the lesson -- even after the jumps went up. 

yay me graduating back to the N ramp LOL
The reason honestly seems pretty obvious to me: especially considering I've been writing about it all spring. Basically, my nervousness, anxiety, and general feelings of confidence (or lack thereof) are best controlled when jumping feels routine, common, even mundane

tho almost died when we about ran over some geese (top left)
So in keeping with my general conditioning plans too, we're just.... Doing more of it. Getting out more often. Making sure all four feet leave earth a couple times per session, about twice a week. 

familiar water
It helps too that basically the entire #squad is feeling exactly the same right now. Everyone wants more, but everyone also feels... Kinda rusty and uncertain, ya know? Typical springtime, amirite? 

ugh i HATE down banks tho
We decided to head out for a low key, relaxing, inviting, and FUN xc school with just our little group of 4 last night -- no trainers, no agenda, no nothing. Just a good set of OTTBs, nice weather, and good ground. And? Guys, our horses were fantastic!

Everyone in our group got some really excellent + comfortable reps, and also got to stretch themselves a little bit too in very positive ways. Perfect!

surprisingly technical little telephone pole at water's edge
It was a really great proof of concept for me, personally, too. If y'all remember, I wrote about our first proper XC school in forever about 2 weeks ago... And the whole name of that game was just surviving through it -- going through the motions over mostly pretty small fences without croaking. 

woot woot, jumped *one* T thing!!!
I know that sounds dramatic but... That's honest-to-god what it feels like when I'm that tense. Again tho... "Routine" and "Consistent" are two of my absolute favorite words, so I knew we had to get back out asap and re-cover that same ground. And this time my comfort level was... honestly? Pretty fucking normal, gooooooo figure haha. 

N bending line rails to ditch
Sure, in my head leading up to the ride I had sorta visualized jumping a lot more of the Training jumps... But I maybe also kinda knew that probably wouldn't happen - not quite yet, not that fast. Instead, tho, I bumped up to Novice pretty quickly -- and mostly stayed there. 

le ditch
We mostly covered the same ground from our last schooling -- with just a little more nuance and improvement, including stepping up to N earlier. We also did more stuff with the banks. Not necessarily like.... well or anything... Bc let's be real, down banks continue to scare the ever loving crap out of me - so anything is better than nothing LOL. 

But ya know. In time, in time. We dropped down a little bank into water twice slowly, and that's fine for now. 

le key hole-esque fence-line jump!
I was also proud of myself for jumping one true Training fence: the same white house into water that I'd regretted not jumping last time. There are a couple more familiar T fences I'm hoping to revisit too in the next couple weeks but ya know. One step at a time, right? 

he's the best <3
One big issue in the ride was that... Charlie is really kinda starting to put his foot down about this bit. It's an entirely fine bit for him -- except when the loose ring cheek pieces pinch him. And I guess now that I ride him bitless the vast majority of the time, his lips are extra sensitive? 

He's reacting pretty aggressively to the bit (when it pinches him) far far too often for me to feel comfortable continuing to ride in it. Like, when he's going he's going. But when he's fussing?? It's ... not at all great lol. So. Will be replacing that asap, le sigh...

yea ok so i just had literally one single cell phone clip from the ride and milked it for as many screenshots as possible. #SueMe
For that reason I kinda cut the schooling a little short. Or maybe that's just my excuse?? lol...

Y'all already know I love frequent-but-short xc schools, where we get in, do what we need to do, and get right back out again. 


On this ride, we schooled mostly Novice fences. Did a related line. Practiced all of the holy trinity of ditches, banks and water. Plus fit in one "big" fence -- the white T house into water; and one "technical" fence -- the narrow logs between trees in the fence line. What more can a girl ask for at this point? 

every great ride ends with a Boh!
Charlie was super for the jumps. Sure, pretty fussy in the bridle.... But SUPER for the jumps. I'll take it. We'll want to practice getting a more forward canter out in the xc fields like we had in our last lesson -- but again that's probably better done when he's more comfortable in his bridle. 

So ya know. I'm pretty friggin pleased to be getting out and doing these things again -- and even more so to be feeling... ok about it all! Everyone else in our group felt pretty much identically, so hopefully we can make this a fairly regular thing -- at least until all our good xc fences migrate away to Shawan Downs for the upcoming recognized event. Fingers crossed!

In the meantime... Anyone else feeling pumped about knocking the rust off and finally starting to feel GOOD about the upcoming season??



31 comments:

  1. Very cool you guys are getting your groove back! If the loose ring is a good bit for Charlie except for pinching, maybe add bit guards?

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    1. Thanks! Yea I’ve considered but guards but I think I just need a longer bit. This one IS actually the replacement - bought off eBay as a 5.5” that is 100% not 5.5”, womp. So now I have two identical expensive sprenger KK gags that are too small for Charlie’s mouth bleh. Anyone in the market haha???

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    2. I was going to suggest a bit guard too

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    3. lol yup it's a pretty common recommendation (:

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  2. I'm so happy to see you and Charlie starting to get your xc groove back! It looks super fun going over those jumps and through the water. Maybe I should put that on my bucket list to try some day! ;-) I'm excited about spring - not sure about my groove yet though! Fred is coming home soon and I'm hoping to ease back into riding with him and a friend bought a new mare and wants my help....soooo I'm hoping my groove comes back quickly!!

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    1. thanks! it feels so good to just... be doing these things with y favorite pony again <3 and yes you should absolutely add it to the bucket list lol -- maybe Fred will want to go out on adventures too?? exciting about having him come home, and good luck with the new mare. maybe we'll get a chance to read about it too ;)

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    2. haha noted ;-) Trying to get some updates done!

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  3. Just keep getting out there like you are, knocking that rust off! Have you tried bit guards for the loose ring?

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    1. Thanks! Yea I’ve considered bit guards but I think I just need a longer bit. This one IS actually the replacement - bought off eBay as a 5.5” that is 100% not 5.5”, womp. So now I have two identical expensive sprenger KK gags that are too small for Charlie’s mouth bleh. Anyone in the market haha???

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  4. Love that you guys have your mojo back! Sounds like a very productive and fun outing!

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    1. thanks! it feels SO GOOD to get out there and point my pony at fences *without* feeling overwhelmed by vague feelings of doom lol

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  5. I believe you guys will get you mojo back in no time and congrats on getting to that jump you regretted not jumping last time.

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    1. pretty happy that we already feel like we have it back! well, let's be real, charlie never lost it lol. so it's just up to me to climb back up the ladder again

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  6. I'm feeling very rusty! But look at you go, out there pushing yourself and jumping Training fences. So awesome.

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    1. dude the feelings of rustiness are so real tho haha. but.... frequent opportunities to go through the motions in low pressure settings really makes a world of difference!

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  7. See that someone already suggested bit guards for you. I typically don't ride in a loose ring without them, but truthfully don't ride in loose rings much! Also those jumps are all giant and you're brave. the end.

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    1. lol thanks it's such a conflicting mental exercise bc when i'm jumping i'm like, "dear god that's kinda big" but then in retrospect i'm like, c'mon emma do more! sigh.... that's always the way i guess. and re: bit guards, realistically this is the wrong size bit for charlie's mouth. adding bit guards will just further squeeze against his lips -- he needs more length in the mouth piece.

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  8. I signed myself up for a second lesson this week for the exact same reason! (We aren't allowed to jump on our own where I board... Can't wait to get Eros home so we can practice more.) And it definitely helped the bravery. Tuesday I was petrified of jumping 2' fences but then in the Thursday lesson, I was wishing they were bigger. Brains are so weird and needy aren't they?

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    1. yes omg that's exactly the progression. like... i need to go through all the steps again... but... that doesn't mean we need to *dwell* at each intermediary, ya know?? here's hoping once Eros is home you're able to get more mileage in. i'm grateful every day that my barn has a, shall we say, 'hands off' approach when it comes to people doing whatever they wanna do lol

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  9. That's so great you've got the chance to just go out there and jump around to make it mundane! Boring is really the best feeling ever when it comes to jumping lol

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    1. boring is SO GREAT!!! lol... i love when i can think about things like rhythm and connection and straightness etc rather than like, "hm but maybe i'll die??" LOL

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  10. regarding the fleshy lips issue. I actually jump May in the golden wings bit by Stubben. She has VERY fleshy lips, and its hard to find bits the next size up to use with bit guards.

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    1. oh my goodness, she must have an enormous mouth to not be able to size up tho!! wow haha

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  11. I’m convinced that fun days are the key to confidence. Here’s to more fun.

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    1. yessssss i'll cheers to that ;) fun season is upon us, y'all!

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  12. Jumping regularly (and more often) was a huge part of my new routine for this year. I'm doing it twice per month now, once on my own and once during my lessons. It has helped a ton! Literally, I would watch fellow students jump and get anxious about certain exercises, but once I made myself do it, things were so so so much easier.

    I'm curious about the bit thing. Would Charlie object to bit guards??

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    1. Gotta admit the focus on bit guards in this comment section really caught me off guard haha (LOL puns). Here I was super excited about jumping 3’3 for the first time since last summer and everyone is fixated on whether or not I’ve considered one of the most common pieces of equipment in existence haha

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  13. Anything not a stadium jump that falls down easily looks MASSIVE to me. So kudos to you for getting out there and jumping around!

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    1. Lol thanks!! it’s so funny, I’ll canter down to a solid roll top or table or house or whatever much more easily than to a tall airy vertical or oxer, even if they’re literally the same exact dimensions. Idk... my horse just seems to understand solid fences so much better than show jumps- makes them much easier to jump!!

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  14. I also HATE down banks. Those things terrify me even when they are tiny. Water makes them slightly better for me (no idea why, it's not logical), but they're still awful. Glad y'all are getting out and getting the reps in to get that good feeling and rhythm back!!

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    1. Dude for real down banks are the worst - tho at least Charlie doesn’t seem to care about them.. I’m with ya on preferring them to water or flat ground or something, and definitely not at all liking them when they’re like.... landing on a slope. Except it turns out that landing to flat is actually harder for the horses even if it’s maybe easier mentally for me. Go figure lol....

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