Saturday, December 9, 2023

saturday spillage

Ok ok I really try to avoid posting on Saturdays these days bc most folks are out and about doing fun things on the weekends --- not parked in front of a computer or glued to a phone or whatever. Especially this time of year, feels like the weekends are booking up like crazy!

impromptu "feed cart" for when you have to tack your touchy red mare in an empty barn while unseen horses elsewhere won't stop screaming lol
But, eh, I got pictures that need posting and updates that need updating, lest they be forgotten, overwritten, or rendered obsolete before Monday.... So here we go.
"will behave in exchange for food!"
Last we heard, Doozy had another lesson with MP over the weekend, and we really got into the work of firming up some of these key positional changes in my riding style.  

tried charlie's sheepskin half pad with the ol' dressage saddle and think it's an improvement
We had another solo schooling session the night after that, in which we shared the ring with a tense and snorty rehabbing horse --- making for a similarly tense and snorty Mondeuse. It was really really hard to stick to my positional guns, and not get baited into reverting to my habits... But we worked through it and it was a good enough ride. 

also enjoyed the elusive weekday daytime jaunt with charles <3
We then had another lesson midweek, after Doozy got a day off, and she was still carrying that same sort of charged tense vibe. To the point where our trot work was downright.... terrible haha, whoops. She was just super tense and racing off -- not dissimilar from some of our earliest rides tho it was the first time MP had seen her like this. 

he remained remarkably sound up to his farrier appointment, and farrier felt optimistic after trimming him!!
But, eh, that's what lessons are for. It's equal odds that the tension could be stemming from just about anything --- protests against the dressage saddle, confusion from a sloppy imperfect rider, generalized soreness from the process of working and building new muscles, or ya know. Maybe mercury was in retrograde LOL.... Who knows. 
soundness is still TBD as of this writing, tho, so cross your fingers for both of us
I think with this mare, we're just going to have to meet her where she is for the foreseeable future, and keep the high expectations focused on me and my riding, vs on her. 

i'm pretty sure charlie's eager to do more exciting things too
So rather than just whipping around endless choppy trot circles, we switched gears to work on other things: like building our half halt!! Yay!

tho the walkies are always nice <3
We started with walk-halt-walk transitions, with a deep concentration on Doozy's hind legs walking forward into the halt -- and trying to feel out from my seat whether she was square. Not gonna lie -- I'm prettttttty bad that that haha. But, eh, no time like the present to start developing that feel. 

perfect charles
Then we moved into walk-trot-walk-trot transitions. Not spending too much time in either gait, not really dallying, but not being frantic or rushed either. Aiming for extended moments of sitting trot in both the up and down transitions. And not cheating by standing in my stirrups when I'm supposed to be sitting.... 

holiday berries bc tis the season
The idea is that... When we were racing around in an unbalanced rushing trot earlier in the ride, there were still moments of balance and softness -- usually right before the moment we'd step into walk. THAT is the moment I need to ride for --- not the rushing, but that trot we only got when I was thinking about walking.

ooooh look who has changed shape so much in four months that my actual nice saddle is starting to look not totally unrealistic!!!
So all the repeated transitions helped to sorta reinforce that feeling, and start to develop the tools (the half halt!) of getting almost to the transition --- but then not actually finishing it. Finding that balance, that "whoa" of stepping into more engagement, but not actually changing gaits. 

sad that it's not quite the right shape for my favorite fancy new Eskadron saddle pad tho, womp
It was a good exercise, and one I've been repeating regularly with Charlie ever since. Especially bc the biggest finding is that I need a lot more core strength and stabilization to hold my own balance in those "in between" moments. And Charlie has been perfect for practice during his legging up period!!

And hopefully.... will come out of his recent shoeing appointment still sound enough to keep going --- cross your fingers guys!! We will know soon!

looks reasonably normal with a rider tho! also, dear lord the ring was SO CROWDED on this night -- like 7 horses at one point, and good girl Dooz was very grown up about it all
Tho, for Doozy's next ride, I opted to switch gears again. Similar to last week, I sometimes get the feeling with her that if we go too long without just sorta cantering around and letting off some steam, she kinda starts boiling over again. 

So our next ride was in jump tack (Charlie's jump saddle omg and it seemed to kinda work!!) and we just bopped around through all our paces without any pressure or fussing. Not every ride has to be a hard ride!! 

charlie, being patient waiting his turn <3
Next on the agenda is some more tinkering around with tack --- MP has a few saddles she wants to try on Doozy, and maybe some bits to try? We both like loose ring snaffles, but MP is wondering if Doozy would appreciate the added protection of one of those 'winged' snaffles? (side note: lmk if you have one you wanna sell LOL). 

Then we'll have another lesson this weekend too, hopefully. Lots and lots and lots of lessons, but it feels good. Feels even better when I can stack the rides up with sessions on Charlie too. It's been so long since I felt particularly strong or fit as a rider.... but maybe that time is coming again? 

Anyway, send good thoughts for Charlie that he continues to feel better. And hope you all have a great weekend too!


  1. Now that winter has arrived I’m parked on my tablet so thanks for the Saturday post. 😁 I wish I was closer, I’d loan you my winged snaffle.

    1. oooof winter... it's still pretty mild around here but once it's super cold i'll be right there with ya!! also, yea i wish we were closer too!!!

  2. #onemilliontransitionsclub forever and ever. So hard to put leg on when they feel like that, nice to have someone to guide for sure.

    1. all the transitions, all the time, and on and on and on lololololsigh

  3. I'm definitely sending good thoughts out to Charlie! And that whole riding a tense horse thing can be a doozy, right? :-) Enjoyed seeing all your photos.

  4. I'm so late to the party, but fingers crossed for Charlie!!! And yay for having those great moments with Doozy!


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