I am looking forward to going to the US to spend time with some of my extended family. I actually, can not wait... Lesson today with the Boss was a turning point...literally...that, or we were just really on point. As always, Joyce is such a positive influence on me. Not just in my riding, but overall as a human being. She is always calm, cool, collected and ALWAYS sees the bright side of any situation. She has faith in me (as a rider and someone who is good at what I do in my professional life) and knows I will be able to find something much closer to home for the next step in my career. In her words ' who REALLY wants to commute 25 hours a week anyways?!'...I owe a lot to her: for making me want to ride better for her, for turning me into a better rider for Chester and for always knowing I have her to lean on when it gets tough...and trust me - it has been a rough week so far in terms of my spirits, but I remain positive...especially when I come away from today's lesson on such a high. Within the first 5 minutes of our lesson, Joyce's reaction was, "wow, he looks relaxed". And he was - I have been working at not bothering him as much and letting him do his thing...which is really me asking him to do his thing...anyways...We continue to work on straightness, we continue to work on impulsion and my damn left hand!!!!! I always curl it....I am going to try holding my crop in my left hand to see if it makes any sort of distance. Our half circles have improved, I am still fighting with myself a little on our circles with my outside rein....sigh...who knew riding a damn circle was so effing hard to get right?! It always amazes me how good of a coach Joyce is. I could give you about a million examples, just from today's ride, but this one sticks out in my head the most. We're trotting around,circling here and there and she yells out to me 'Open your knees a little and let him move'....as soon as I did - I could feel his entire body and back just instantly come up and under me...it is amazing what that woman can see...and more importantly, relay what she sees to me in a manner that I actually understand. = GOOD COACH. I have to be 'stronger' with my contact/half halts in our upward (and downward) transitions to and from canter. Joyce 'HOLD HIM, do NOT LET HIM POKE HIS NOSE OUT' Ughhh - I have a hard time with the right amount is 'ask' with my half halts - but by the end of the lesson the transitions were much better. We continue to work on his front end...and getting him to use his body more properly...I will explain. Boss is setting up our jumping line. At first, we had a couple small 'x's' set up which we approached on an angle from both directions. Then onto a one stride. Notes so far: shorter reins, PATIENCE ( when the jumps are tiny like they are now 2'9', I have to let him take me over the fence...more on that later), better release. Then, Joyce lengthens the distance. She says to me "Come through the line, count your strides, I am not going to tell you how many it is." I look at it and knowing that we have been trying to get him to lengthen into his stride, I sort of gage it to be a long 2. I come through and do a completely horrible job and put in 2 1/2 strides. Not good. I look at Joyce, she says 'So, when you know you did 2 1/2, what does that tell you?' Ummm - a long 2?! Joyce: NO!!!! a SHORT THREE!! This is her explanation. She is trying to train me to see the distance better. On an awkward distance like the one we did today, she said I need to get him closer to the base of the jump in - MAKE HIM WAIT- sit back and get three bouncy strides in between. This will help us with a number of different situations. 1 - It will help him get his front end up and out of the way. My horse - although I love him to pieces - is NOT that natural jumper who has good technique. He needs help. I, as his rider, needs to provide him with that help...meaning, I have to see the distance better and help him get the best jump possible. 2 - Closer to the base of a jump (on the jump IN) is better on an awkward distance...especially when those jumps are 3'3 solid logs that do not fall down. 3 - KEEP THE RHYTHM THROUGH THE CORNER...so so so important. 4 - As Chester's pilot, I have to sit back much MORE in between the fences to make sure he doesn't get all sprung out and then jump a 'flat' jump out = sticky situations. 5 - Most importantly, by keeping him together and bouncy, ALL his energy will be in his back end, making for a better jump out and minimizing the chance of us getting into trouble. All in all, we are making strides in becoming a better team. Joyce put it into perspective for me today. She basically said this: I have only had him for a year and for 4 of those months, he was recovering from an injury. Another 4 months when I first got him were our growing pains months, so, really he has only been in true 'work' for 5 months...and what a distance he has come over those 5 months...I mean, a week and a half after he was off for 4 months, he went to his first event and if it wasn't for us getting a whack of time faults on xc, he would have come 2nd... can't complain about that at all eh? Oh Oh Oh Oh!! Next week's lesson...WILL BE IN THE NEW MASSIVE ARENA!!!! SO EXCITING!!!! My favourite quote of the day from the Boss: "I think he is going to do really well this year." Have a great weekend everyone - Chin up & kick on!!
Things that I have done over the past 3.5 weeks since I have been off: 1. Ride during the day 2. Eat dinner before 9:00 p.m. 3. Walk - regularly - almost daily - with Aaron 4. Appreciate the smaller things in life 5. Have lessons (during the day). The Daylight makes everything better...I find I am at my worst when it is dark out. That is when all the bad thoughts and 'what-ifs' go through my head. I friggin hate what ifs. We have a lesson tomorrow and then we are headed to the US for the American Thanksgiving for a couple days...get to see my dad, extended family and SHOP...Hooray for Black Friday! The Pickle was a good boy today - once I was able to get his attention and focus. There were trucks bringing in the footing for the new arena(WHICH WE GET TO RIDE IN BY THIS TIME TOMORROW NIGHT!!! HOOOOOOOOOOORAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY!!!!), it was super windy so the doors were all banging against the frames, causing him to freak out, AND the sun was juuust at the right height to be coming in through the plexi-glass to shine right into my eyes as we were riding. It was a good time... I am excited for our lesson tomorrow....1/2 circles, bring it! More soon.
You know it is a good thing when 3 minutes into your lesson your coach goes "You've been working on your legs haven't you?" I BEAMED!!! Chester is at the point where getting him to do more is now my complete responsibility as a rider. As in - his big moving free striding trot - now is to become just as forward, but more collected, slower and MORE IN FRONT OF MY LEG...eff my life - this whole 'in front of my leg' thing is really starting to get to me. Ha. Ugh -so I have to basically keep the same momentum and impulsion but make his trot more together and bouncy...sigh. Half halt, leg on, half halt, leg on, half halt...you get the picture. Needless to say, this is HARD for me and for him...AND he HATES it...because it is harder. There were numerous head tossing and stomping of the feet (on his part not mine) during our lesson. Poor Pickle. We spent a lot of time doing half circles and really trying to get 4 or 5 strides of straightness over 'X'...so hard...hence the smaller, bouncier trot I need...I see where Joyce's head is at at least! Our jumping - is pretty good - for entry level...we will be spending the majority of the winter doing bounce and gymnastic lines to get his front end working a bit better... In our lesson, we did a canter pole, jump, bounce pole on landing...and I worked on getting him to leave when I wanted him to leave, getting the timing of my aid down and getting his correct lead on landing. I also have some homework, mainly on my position: I need to release more (without throwing my hands up his neck) and I need to work on getting my ass out of the saddle more...sigh, squats in the mirror, here I come. We don't need to jump that much...but when we do, we are going to keep it simple. A big 'X' in the middle of the arena at well, 'x' and then work on getting our turns and right leads on landing. The good thing with this exercise is there are a TON of options to jumping the single fence so it will never be repetitive. We can angel the approach, some at it on a circle etc etc. The more technical stuff I am not comfortable doing without Joyce there...and we have a set lesson time now too, which is great!! So - today, we work on our trot and out Big 'X' at 'x'... More soon...
We have a lesson tomorrow. I am a little nervous considering that we haven't had one since what I will now refer to as 'the Day' a couple Mondays ago. So, it has been two weeks and 5 of those days, he wasn't ridden because he had his back adjusted. I was all prepared today to school for a good 90 minutes in preparation for tomorrow - BUT he didn't need it! Everything I wanted to work on, he picked up on right away and it was wonderful. I'll tell you what else is wonderful - being able to ride my horse in the middle of the day, in the light, when it isn't -40 outside....I am looking forward to seeing the Boss tomorrow and planning out our winter - which includes an indoor hunter series - shoot me now - but we are going to also set some really attainable goals - and I am looking forward to that. As for the rest of my life outside of the Embarcadero - email me anything you would like to know. Update tomorrow after the Boss kicks my ass.
You can't go wrong when you don't have to go somewhere you hate .....and replace that with riding during the day, in the daylight, in beautiful weather like we have been having. It has been the best 2 weeks of my life... Went to the Royal yesterday, spent time with The Boss and Kelly and basically had the best day I've had in a loooonnnggg time. Lesson on Monday - at 3:00 p.m....ain't life grand?
Everything happens for a reason, I am a believer in that statement to a 'Tee'. Several weeks ago, I found out that my job was in jeopardy. My employer was considering outsourcing their HR Function...which equalled me. As the sole practitioner for the employer, I was on the line. Last Monday, that 'considering' turned into a reality and I was outsourced. It leaves me in a little bit of a jam, but I remain positive and will pull out of it as best as I can. Think positive thoughts for me...it'd be appreciated. As for Chester - it means I can ride during the day, in the day light, and not feel like I am in a rush during the week. Which is great. He hadn't been ridden since last Wednesday when I got out there today...why? He was adjusted last Friday, his back was completely out, and then I was at a wedding...so he had a good solid 5 days off. Everyone agreed, it was a good thing for him...and I think it was. He was pretty happy to see me today when I got there. As in walked up to me in the paddock...which melted my heart a little bit. The break did him well and he was happy and relaxed to start working again. We did some long and low and some transition work. He didn't break a sweat...and then we went on a hack - it was a bright ans sunny day out and I am taking advantage of the fact I can ride during the day now. Where does this leave me...? It leaves me with the opportunity to look for work MUCH CLOSER to where I love. It leaves me with knowledge I MUST be positive in order to pull through. Most importantly, regardless of all the changes that happen in my life, it leaves me with the one thing that I know will always stay the same. Chester.