Journal (with Lessons): Sunshine and Fresh Air

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I’ve been so bad about taking photos lately. Most of the ones I do take are horrible. I’m sorry!

I was excited to get views and comments on my last journal post. I’d like to inject a little more nerdiness into the horse blog community 😉

My last equestrian journal was…more than a month ago. I’ve adjusted to my new work schedule, however, and am optimistic that I’ll be able to get back to blogging and commenting on blogs. I really really want to!

The past month of riding has had two main themes: submission and focus. Above all, I’ve been insisting that Robbye is submissive to me at all times. Eventually, I hope that this becomes a given in our relationship – we can be friends and have a happy relationship, but I’m the boss mare! Additionally, she must always be focused on me and waiting for her next instruction. Distracted by the dogs across the road? NOPE! We’re going to do twenty transitions. Flipping me off by powering out of the arena? AW HELL NO, we’re going to gallop across the diagonal in a frame.

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I guess we’re back into relationship-establishing mode. Which is great – we’re both going to come out of this happier. It just takes a whole lot of effort right now. Constant vigilance!

Midway through March, a few days after I rode Cupcake, I got to ride Zap, another draft x at the barn. He’s super broke, but not as fancy as Cupcake. It was nice to see the other side of the well-trained coin – a broke, submissive, easy to ride horse. Truly, Zap is an ammy’s horse and Cupcake is a professional’s horse. Knowing my goals, Kim has set me on the path on making a “professional’s” horse – sensitive, forward and driving, and reactive in the best way possible. Very cool.

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Robbye says, “Helmets are for cool kids!”

March 31 I had another lesson with Kim. We worked on installing light aids under saddle, but that turned into a discussion about groundwork. Something else I skipped erroneously with Robbye. Kim taught me how to teach Robbye turn on the forehand and turn on the haunches from the ground, along with incorporating back and forward work. Of course this practice also contributes hugely to submission and attention. Like longeing in side-reins, working on groundwork is a way to start my rides by emphasizing submission and attention.

After this lesson, I spent another week working on submission, installing in the ToF and ToH and working on them from the saddle as well, and asking for a round front end as well. I also started working her only every other day – a huge departure from the six days a week I’ve been doing for the past two years. I’m not sure if the lighter schedule actually helped her or if she just appreciated having to work less – needs more experimentation 😉

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2’3″. New record for Scaredy Annye!

Last Friday I set up some cavaletti (18″! Woo!) and a small x. Robbye was lazy and bored with the small height, which I appreciated. I need to do small jumps a million times to gain my confidence back. This Friday I bumped the jump up to 2’3″ or so and put it outside, which evoked a lot of fear on my part. But I’m proud that I did it, and Robbye took great care of me. I’m slowly, slowly, getting back to where I was last Fall.

I’ve also been working on my tiny, subtle cues. We had several rides just at the walk, where I made my walk > halt and halt > walk cues as light as possible. I was very very please with Robbye’s responses; I realized that the first step to these tiny cues was insisting on her constant attention.

Every time I write a journal I feel like such a noob. There are so many things I’m just now learning and realizing. Simple, silly things. Will I ever feel like I understand this sport??

🙂

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5 thoughts on “Journal (with Lessons): Sunshine and Fresh Air

  1. Seriously I think there will never be a complete understanding 🙂 at least not for me… Great work on the walk halt transitions. That’s a good reminder for me too. Time to get busy with that.

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  2. ‘constant vigilance’ really is the perfect description for it, isn’t it? my mare isn’t really the most submissive either, and it’s a constant work in progress…. but some ground work has helped (even just incorporating little things here and there while we groom and tack). sounds like Robbye’s doing well tho – and congrats on jumping again despite some nerves!

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  3. Over the last few years I’ve felt like my riding education has been all about going back and filling the gaps — independent hands, groundwork, etc. Sometimes I feel stupid, but in the end my goal is to be a better, more well-rounded horsewoman. Anything that gets me there is fine by me!

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