Back to Journaling

I need to start journaling again. Rob and I have hit a small funk, and after making a bunch of Christmas gifts I’ve realized how much better I feel when I have a creative outlet. Plus, reading my journal entries from last year are helping me with the funk I’m in now!

So, it’s been almost a year since I last wrote here. Rob and I spent the year doing a lot of learning, although it wasn’t really anything you could see from watching her.

  • I really need to be brave, confident, and relaxed at all times. I learned this lesson the hard way – almost exclusively through the shows we did this summer. The more brave and confident I am, the less likely she is to misbehave. The more relaxed I am, the better she’ll perform.
  • My own education is 90% of what’s holding us back right now. We’re still working on what we were last year – a confirmed, on the bit frame – but that frame has really been upgraded to a true dressage frame. We were going very well until about a week ago, when the indoor was closed for new footing. We then managed to lose a lot of our recent progress, which caused me to get upset and make it worse. It all comes back to relaxation.
  • Missing a week of riding made me realize how much I rely on it for stress relief.
  • Rob is really turning into a nice horse. She has great ground manners nowadays, is still great for pony rides and newbies, and is really very sweet. Mary-Lou asked me to clip Zap’s chest a couple weeks ago and that really made me appreciate Robbye. Man, it’s nice to have a tolerant, patient horse. Not that I would have used those words two years ago!
  • Rob is great on the longe. She’s fairly consistent with her transitions, even within gaits. This is huge progress from the beginning of the year.
  • I’ve been riding Newton a bit as he get trained and it’s making me really introspect about my riding and communication styles. He needs a light, steady, deep ride – something Robbye could benefit from as well. It all comes back to RELAXATION!
Unfortunately, Rob and I also had a crash a few months ago that seems to have introduced a lot of fear into my riding. We were making our debut at 3′ (jumpers) at the World Standardbred Show and she was doing incredible. Forward, effortless, flawless round. Then…something happened at one of the fences. I think the fence was weird – I don’t think she was being disobedient, since other horses also reacted oddly to this fence. Plus, she stopped, which I don’t think she has EVER done before or since – she’s always run out instead of stopping. Anyway, I instantly flew over her shoulder and crash into the fence. It hurt, it was embarrassing, and it was scary. We did go back and complete a 2’6″ round that same day, but I haven’t felt 100% confident since. Ugh. Something I definitely need to work on ASAP if I ever want to jump competitively (or even non-competitively) again.
It’s Christmas time, which means two weeks of inconsistent work. I’m going to use this as an opportunity to take us back to our foundations – long and low, RELAX, work from the seat, RELAX, move forward, RELAX. I’d also like to get out of the ring a few times to work on getting my bravery back. Once the new year is past and we can work more consistently, we can get back to our frame and our jumping.
If I don’t write before then, I WILL be back to write in the new year!

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