Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In the Arena #150 - Back to the drawing board + a super cool contest!

We're on a roll. Sort of.

A synopsis of events since spring:

- Val becomes three legged lame with a never pops mystery abscess. Six weeks gone.

- I learn a painful valuable lesson about girth tightening and bust my a$$. Six weeks down the drain.

- After a crazy month straight of rain every day, (source of abscess), apparently, it will never rain again. Water table historically low - my sand arena... more like a quicksand arena.

- I find L, my new trainer, who is super helpful, but located far, far away.

So now we're working towards an October 18th clinic. L's a student of Mary Wanless and Mark Rashid, specializing in biomechanics. So fortunate to have this opportunity.

The plan of action to prepare for our trip hinges on short term goals:

Daily - confirm forward, focus on contact, pick one other thing to work on for each ride.

Weekly - keep rides short but increase frequency each week. No drilling. Consistency is key.

Monthly - both of us fit, with the basics confirmed, so we can move forward while we have the benefit of several days with a trainer.

Changing trainers has provided an interesting lens to analyze my riding through. One element where there's a glaring difference, is the go button. With OT the aid was calf related. A wiggle of the ankle to lightly brush the barrel with your calf, tap, tap, tap with the whip as backup. NT - more seat/weight oriented, and straight to the whip if necessary. Thigh on, but calf has a whisper of contact. With OT I remember feeling that the motion of my leg was pulling me out of position. With NT, I'm stable.

With L's horse Tom Terrific, it definitely made a difference, because as I struggled not to nag with my leg while asking for the trot - surprise - we went straight to the canter. A bumpy little "not sure if you were asking for this - crazy lady with the spastic legs" canter. After a few tries I moderated my ask and we had a decent trot transition. Hello forward horse + light aids... it's been a while.

Anyhow - that's where we are. My seat is feeling more secure and effective. Val's been relaxed and blowing, tentatively taking contact. My aids are getting lighter, and lighter aids are all that's necessary. Every ride is a little better than the last. We've only got about a third of the arena that's rideable, but throw some cones in to make it interesting and we're cooking with gas.

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If you haven't already, head over to Life of Riley to enter a contest celebrating her 200th post. (with really great prizes) Or don't - better chances for me that way! ;D
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smooches for a good boy

16 comments:

Annette Mickelson said...

Great progress despite all the set backs. You are inspiring me.

Karley said...

Excited for you about the clinic!!

Awesome news about things clicking with NT :)

Here's to a little rain for ya!!

billie said...

Since daughter rides regularly in the Sandhills, it just occurred to me - maybe you could install a few sprinklers around your arena so you have total control of the footing? They have them on two posts in the arena she rides in and between the two of them they can easily wet down the entire area. Might be better than waiting for rain with our fickle weather!

Is Val coming alive with these new whisper-soft aids? I am thinking he must love them. :) Can't wait to read the report of your weekend away.

Grey Horse Matters said...

It all sounds good. Bet you and Val are going to love the clinic and get a lot out of it. The NT sounds wonderful! Great work with Val.

Crossing fingers here for one rain for you and the arena.

Lauren @ She Moved To Texas said...

Glad you're back marching towards a goal after all those setbacks!

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

billie -

I wish it were that simple.

The well water just doesn't have enough pressure to spray over any distance. It wou;d feel wasteful. If I were hooked up to the county water that would be a solution.

The good thing about no hurricanes is no hurricanes. The bad thing is super low water table. Until the aquifer replenishes, any water on top just runs straight down.

Every silver lining has a cloud... ;D

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Annette -
Can you see why I'm sooo jealous of your new arena?! Wish we were on the same coast because I'd invite myself over! ;D

billie said...

Well, darn. People in these parts have sand hauled in. I guess you need some clay for a nice arena base!

Hey... we could trade! If only one of us had a dump truck and a tractor with a loader. :)

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

I do need my base back! When the water table is normal, it's just 24" below the surface and essentially the wet sand is the base. We'll get the rain eventually, and probably all at once. ;D

Kate said...

Sounds like you're coping with all events. Can't wait to hear how the clinic goes . . .

juliette said...

Definitely sounds like you have a plan and are working through it! Happy times are here and hopefully a little rain.

Please tell about the beach photo in the margin. Did I miss this all along? That is the best photo - when was this? Do you always ride right on the beach? Am I that dense that I did not know this?!? Love that photo!

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

juliette -

My off road riding partner S and I are hoping to get out to the beach next weekend. It's a five minute trailer ride away.

Hard to enjoy the ride in the tourist season - so many cars and turtle nest closures... not much room for fun.

Fingers crossed!

Jen said...

That clinic sounds awesome! You know I love biomechanics, so consider this a pre-request for a write-up from it!

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

He looks like he's loving that smooch :)

SC said...

six weeks of mystery lameness, I can relate. Ugh, why can't they just tell you where it hurts before you spend $250 at the vet??

tailsfromprovence.com said...

OOH 18th Oct is not so far away!! Hope you can keep up the good work before hand so you really get the most out of your clinic.

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