Latest update. Our lesson On Tuesday went well. I rode in the outdoor arena, and Ava hates it out there. I’m guessing on this, but I think it’s because the horses in the pastures look like disembodied heads from inside the outdoor arena. Who knows? She hates it. So to add an element of challenge… one of the horses was flying around it’s paddock like a banshee on fire. This is exactly the point where I’m supposed to work on canter zigzags. Haha. I can’t say those were very successful. I felt like I was riding a thousand pounds of GO! Full steam ahead and all luggage better hold on for dear life!
Okay, it wasn’t THAT bad. But the brakes weren’t good, and the half halts had zero effect.
Here’s the gist of the lesson….
It’s really difficult to not brace when you constantly feel like you’re being bounced out of the saddle. I flop worse than a two legged toad.
It’s human nature to tighten up and grip, I realize that, but loosening my death grip loosened Ava right up.
What I’d like to know is how do I fall into these totally moronic ways of riding. Things I KNOW don’t work, cause problems, etc. yet I inevitably get stuck in one until Bern can come smack me upside the head (gotta jar me loose sometimes).
Oh well, for now, at least, we’re back on the right track. 😉
And try to stay cool.
I thought if I looked up the riders selected for the clinic, that I’d feel better about not being selected. Some of them are obviously much better riders (half are PSG Level or above). I knew half of the riders selected would be professional trainers. That’s been the mix for the previous clinics in this series. I knew the horse’s would be to die for, and the videos of the one’s I could find prove this. I knew my chances were slim to none to start with…. So why am I so heart broken by this?
I kind of just want to give up. I mean, if my best is still not good enough, then why am I exhausting myself every day? 14 hours of non-stop GO. I have a high stress, manic paced job anyway, but i have to be the over achiever and also be über dedicated to dressage. Oh, and let’s fit in exercise time too! Dumbass. Why am I exhausting myself for something that doesn’t return on investment?
I guess what irritates me is that I feel like I’ve come such a long way. That I’ve improved tremendously, and yet I have nothing to show for it. No titles, no scores on Centerlinescores.com, no certificates, nada. Eight years ago I broke my back and was homeless, two years ago I climbed on my first horse in 20 years. Today? I still can’t afford to go to rated shows, I’m passed over for clinics specifically promoted for the Adult Amateur, and I’m exhausted.
I’m feeling a little defeated by life today…
Today I spent some time on the counter canter again. Here’s a list of everything I’ve tried so far:
Walking Ava on the pattern and moving her hips away from the wall to turn her shoulders toward it. This took several tries before she understood what I was getting at. We then cantered it and completely bombed it. Hips were NoT going to move at all. I went back to the walk, repeated it several times. Back to canter with marginal improvement.
I then decided that X to the wall was too steep an angle, so we tried straight down the quarter line then to the wall. Again, no success. I decreased the angle again by getting closer to the wall. No success.
I then determined it was my weight placement that was screwing Ava up. So I took my stirrups off to force me to sit correctly. Things improved, but Ava still flipped leads in front.
I tried cantering down the quarter line, walking and then turning her toward the wall before cantering toward the wall. She flipped the front lead again.
So today, due to arena constraints, we were on a 20 meter circle and I figured screw it… We’re just going to pick up counter canter for a couple strides, walk, counter canter, etc until she will at least do two strides without throwing a hissy fit. And you know what? She did it! I patted her up really good, made a big deal out of her being good, and let her walk on a loose rein for a bit. After a short break I asked her to counter canter a couple of strides around the corner and she did it! I gave her a ton of praise and a walk break.
This issue is only when going to the right. I’m not having any problems to the left.
Our second show is June 9th. I am already a ball of nerves. We will be doing First level. I signed up for all three tests, but figured I’d play it by ear on how much energy Ava has.
My big fear is Test 3, where the counter canter is introduced. It’s a shallow serpentine figure from the wall, to X, and back to the wall. I’ve ridden counter canter before (in the long ago time). I’ve also made Bern explain the aids, dynamics, and concepts at LEAST 20 times now (that lady is a saint!). I STILL can’t get a counter canter (even briefly) when going to the right. I am beyond frustrated!
On a good note: Ava is now loading like a champ again. I also clipped all four legs and she acted like an old pro at it. This is in comparison to the crazed horse I tried to clip in April. And her trot/canter transitions are awesome.