Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Oh Gingersnap Blog Hop: Change

Late to the party content is better than no content, right? I'm using T's blog hop as a platform for a post I was going to write anyway. Because multi tasking is what I do, bitches.

Have you at some point moved on to a different horse, trainer, stable, etc with the purpose of advancing your progress? What made you realize the time was right for a change? Or did you opt to adjust your goals in order to stay with what you know is working? How did either choice work out in the long run?

First, let me give a brief overview of my riding experience. I started riding at five at a backyard barn in the sticks of South Carolina. My instructor, Miss Patty, was the perfect teacher for the group of horse crazy young kids I rode with. She was encouraging, she focused on safety, and she pushed us without scaring us. I learned the basics of jumping there, and then we moved to Illinois when I was eight. 

I took lessons at a hunter barn from eight to thirteen. Grooms did the tacking up and cool downs for us, and while we had brief chats in the tack room before our lessons about horse care, parts of the saddle and bridle, yada yada, it was basically a get on and ride type program. The lesson horses were great teachers, and there were very few horses you could get on and not have to do anything with. I think this barn put a great riding foundation on me because the next time I rode wasn't until my freshman year of college. (Riding Bestie finds it hilarious that I'd never tacked up my own horse until I was almost eighteen. Fancy barns are not always the best barns.)

I took a semester of dressage lessons and for the next three years I supplemented riding racehorses in various stages of training with once weekly regular riding lessons. I was given a reject OTTB early in my second year so I was riding quite a bit on my own, but I only had a handful of lessons from graduation on until I started lessoning with BM last January. I was strong as shit, but my knowledge of the subtle intricacies of things like...you know, the aids, was pretty much nil. 

duties also included teaching a (giant) baby bobby to pony

I've managed to creep along pretty far on my own. I read anything I can get my hands on, and I spend tons of time watching both online videos and other riders. My feel and my instincts have gotten better, but there are so many gaps in my training and consequently in my horse's too. We've shown Second, we've kind of gone Training, and I could navigate a Novice cross country course with my eyes closed. 

But it's all been by the seat of my pants, and I want to be better. 

Part of it is that--if we haven't already--if we attempt to go any further we just won't be able to because of the gaps in training. 

Another part is that yet again we've hit a soundness related brick wall. Or bouncy rubber wall? Because we get knocked down but keep on crawling back to the same old spots. It feels like every time we inch to a new level, BAM, try again later because Bobby needs three months of sitting around working up new medical marvels, and he retains muscle about as well as me sitting on the couch stuffing my face with Cheetos. Which is to say, not at all. 

and then he hurt his ddft and we tack walked all summer. 

To answer T's blog hop questions...

Have you at some point moved on to a different horse, trainer, stable, etc with the purpose of advancing your progress?

I think the horse has the potential to go as far as I can ride in dressage. I don't think he'd stay sound enough to go further than Prelim in any scenario which is more than fine with me. I think my trainer can get us through Fourth level on her own (provided she can teach me how to ride that well, poor girl). She's not at all adverse to outside trainers and has even suggested a few, so if we hit a wall she doesn't think she can get us over, I'll find someone else to help us out as well. 

What made you realize the time was right for a change? Or did you opt to adjust your goals in order to stay with what you know is working?

I've adjusted my goals big time in the past couple months. Knowing there's not a show in sight this year because all the Bobby Money is allocated to vet bills, I've wiped the slate clean. Last week I requested a longe lesson so that BM and I could get a good grip on what my biggest weaknesses are. (I balance on my hands, my core needs to be stronger, and I need to get my hands about thirty feet out in front of me.)

my elbows just really love to live behind my back, okay?
pc: megan stapley, used with purchase

I'm committed to going as far back as we need to fill in all the missing spots. I want my horse to look classically awesome, and I want to be the best rider I can be. A lot of days this means we strut along in a training level frame working on rhythm and adjustability (I think I'd slay bitches in a hunter flat class right now though, not gonna lie.). Some days we're both feeling so on it we absolutely coast through second level work. 

The pieces are all there. They just need spit polish...and some need a little gorilla glue or medical grade sutures, but I think this change in my training mindset is going to be super fucking beneficial for the both of us. I'm hoping we come out next year ready to pick up on the goal train what I wanted to accomplish this year--only better!

This, of course, all depends on Bobby not dropping dead or realizing his foot should not be functional any longer. We head to Cornell first thing tomorrow morning to hopefully get some answers!


  1. You know, I wonder if it might be beneficial to you to find a very well trained (but not necessarily push button) dressage schoolmaster to lease if Bobby gets to the point where riding isn't much of an option any more. That was the biggest thing that has helped me develop better ~feel~ for the aids.

    1. I'm sure that would help. The possibility of that coming to fruition is pretty much nonexistent though. :/

  2. Fingers crossed for a positive Cornell visit!

  3. There are so many different roads to horsemanship as an adult. :-)

  4. Fingers crossed for a magical trip to Cornell! I also love your perspective here, really cool to be able to take some lunge lessons and I'm slightly jealous of your ability to do so :) (slightly because I like to not die :)

    1. I got off and felt instantly crippled so don't be too jealous!

  5. Wishing all the best for Bobby's mystery hoof!

  6. Good luck at Cornell, I hope it's going well! And I love your attitude about going back and filling holes. The flip side tho, might be ppl like me who dwell too long on trying to have every single i dotted and every t crossed such that it takes a pretty giant push to get us to try something new or challenge ourselves. There's something to be said for the guts it takes to go out and do something totally bad ass!

    1. I'll definitely jump in before we're ready again, it's what I do. But I like jumping in and seeing where the weak spots are. You'll never know what you can and can't do until you get out there and try it.

  7. Good for you for filling in the holes! I keep trying, but these giant sink holes keep opening up...
    Hope things are going ok at Cornell. Looking forward to reading all about it.

    1. Sink holes are the basis of my riding foundation lol


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