It’s been 2 months since my last post apparently. And to be honest, there really isn’t much to write about. May started feeling really dull, so I took my foot off the gas pedal. It also means I decided not to do the recognized event at Galway in November. I can pretty much guarantee you she would’ve been fine to great at the event, but I just couldn’t motivate myself to put in the amount of effort it would take to get us fully prepped, especially if it meant basically kicking her around 5 days a week to get her fit enough. I am debating going to a schooling show and running a BN there instead later in November, but we shall see.
With my new job, I have been sneaking in my weekday rides in the morning, and honestly, I kind of love it. Does it suck getting up before the sun? Kind of. Is it cold that early in the morning? Kind of. But it means that my rides aren’t sacrificed for adulting responsibilities. Right now, it means getting up at 5:45AM to be at the barn by 6:30AM and on by 6:45AM. While it’s quiet at this time and I usually have the ring to myself, I do end up seeing people often when I am finishing up or leaving. Honestly, the only thing I don’t like about this routine is the fact that there is actually traffic on my drive TO the barn IN THE DARK. But I guess that is California for you.
I did manage to sneak in a lesson with my trainer’s dressage trainer. This was my first true Dressage lesson with a Dressage-only trainer, and it was great. Since May had a pretty easy couple of weeks, she came out willing and listening to me, which was a nice surprise. The lesson was very theory focused, and honestly, was the first time in a while I felt like I really knew how to ride and had managed to train a halfway decent horse. If I had to sum up the entire lesson, I would say it was “ask less early and more later.”
There was a huge emphasis on stretching and really warming the horse up before asking for really anything at all. Lots of bending and stretching on a not that forward working walk, trot, and canter, before even considering asking the horse to really move forward and take the connection. It was an interesting approach that was similar to what I had been doing, but even slower. It seemed to resonate with May, so I have kept that as a takeaway in my rides.
We also discussed my leg position. Since May is so wide, my leg kind of gets sucked into the area right behind her shoulder. When in reality, it should be slightly farther back so that my ankle falls directly under my hip. This gives the horse a clearly cue to activate the hind legs when I put my leg on, versus mixing with the bending aids. It does have a very clear feeling when I get it right though. May fills up the space under my lower leg and is more willing to move forward. Like the long warmup, this is something that I have seen pay off immediately in my routine.
Horse shopping has been… wildly less satisfying. Despite having a budget that is multiples of anything I have had before, it’s still, relatively speaking, a very small budget, so there really isn’t much to look at. I’ve seriously considered 4 horses. 1 failed the PPE (lame on initial presentation). 1 had previously taken x-rays that my vet advised we pass on. 1 didn’t make it to the PPE (seller realized he was lame beforehand). And 1 I sat on and simply didn’t get along with.
So the search continues. I am sure the right thing will come along. May is doing great, so obviously no big rush. Hopefully we have more fun things on the horizon together to share with you all. Until then, eyes up, leg on!