Thursday, March 13, 2014

Warm Up Ring Realness

Today was... an excellent test of Lex's ability to focus. And hey, it didn't go too badly!

Just as I was putting Lex's cute blue schooling boots on, the dressage trainer and one of her clients went into the ring with their horses (well, the client had a pony, and a really cute one at that). I don't want to throw shade, but the dressage trainer is, erm, loud. And her horse enjoys kicking the wall when he's mad.

Fortunately, both the other riders were fine with me lunging Lex. We stayed in the middle and out of the way, and Lex was good for the first half of our lunging experience. Then Big Fancy Dressage Horse started acting like a stinker and that freaked Lex right out. She was paying much more attention to Dressage Horse than she was to me, but we had a discussion about how we don't cause problems in the indoor when we have company and she settled in. I think this was really good practice for horse showing, because she's going to have to deal with plenty of impolite horses and loud riders at shows. And also ponies. I've ridden enough horses who'd never seen ponies until show day to realize that it's good to expose them to ponies before the warm up ring. Lex is fine with ponies. I don't think she cares much either way. It was cute, though: the lady riding the pony put her daughter on him and led him around at the end of her ride, and I let Lex have a break in the middle. She watched that pony and the little girl the whole time. I think she thought it was adorable.

The ride went pretty well. She was definitely tense, but so was I. I can only take so much loud incessant commentary before I start to grind my teeth. I talk to my horse a lot, but so quietly that most people wouldn't be able to hear me, and I try not to disturb other riders. Dressage Horse was really being a jerk today, all four feet off the ground at many points, and Lex didn't do anything bad. When the trainer and the other rider left, Lex and I really got to work on that inside leg to outside rein connection. She didn't settle right in once the dressage folks left, but she did eventually relax. And honestly, some of the trot work today was our best. It was just a stride here and there, but there were moments when she was really pushing from behind, lifting her back, and reaching for the bit. Carrying herself correctly, if you will. It feels really great.

I love my saddle but I hated those stirrups.
They're not good for those of us with titanium ankles.
 I'm still working on my position issues. I think everything is getting better -- just having some regular reminders of what I'm supposed to be doing in the saddle, and Lex becoming somewhat easier to sit on, is really helping. I also realized after riding Miles that I've been riding in the same Crosby Prix de Nations for over half my life. I've had it for 17 years, and it's magically fit just about every horse I've put it on. But I've got some serious saddle envy after riding in Tracy's gorgeous new Prestige Meredith. I did feel better in it (and part of it might have been that she has those cool MDC stirrups, which help my left ankle a lot). I love my Crosby and I do think I ride well in it, but I've been wondering what it would be like to ride in a saddle that isn't, well, 17 years old and flat as a pancake. There is no way in hell I can afford another saddle right now, but when I get a real grown-up job and have saved up a little, I'm going to think about it. In the meantime, I will continue to love my old Crosby and appreciate what it does for helping me improve my balance with its minimalism.

Tomorrow I'm heading to Virginia and then to Florida for a few days, so there won't be any work on the goals I set out last time. But the good news is, I get to see this girl:

Stay tuned for Rocket updates! I can't wait to see my big girl. A month from Saturday she'll have her first birthday. It is crazy how time flies.


  1. Great arena exposure for Lex & warm ups, glad she settled when they left.
    Woohoo for road trips & Rocket pics!

  2. Oh oh oh whats your instagram account?

  3. HOW are we not friends on instagram yet?! I'm @tbid137

  4. Um yes share the insta. ;-) I'm first name last name, no space.

    Every time I ride in ridiculously fancy saddles, I get some serious envy. My saddle fits Courage and my well enough and that's good for now.