Thursday, 18 April 2013


Sorry guys, I haven't been the best at updating this week - but have been good & ridden at least one of the girls each evening.
Unfortunately I have no new pics to share since Sunday, but I do have one i forgot to include in previous post - so that'll have to be the only reward for all the waffle that is sure to follow...apologies in advance!

Monday: I had a lesson on Nancy from the Guru, it didn't go great. The mare was in a mad rush and no matter how much i spoke to her trying to slower her with my voice and not my hands she seemed determined to ignore me. We did get some nice patches of work, but if you asked me what I was doing when it was going well in the hopes that i could repeat it again - you'd find me at a loss. I hate when that happens, as if i could bottle whatever I am doing when things are going good I could replicate it and be less of a mess more often - baby steps and we'll get there I'm told. :p
Main issues appear to be twofold;
  • (a) I am gripping with my knees, BADLY, I have the bruises to prove it! This is bad for numerous reasons, mainly that my leg is then in the wrong position & I have little to no contact with her sides and of course the aforementioned bruises.
  • (b) I cannot seem to break my reflex reaction that when she speeds up my hands close on the reins in an attempt to slow her down which then results in her giving me the metaphorical finger and pulling against me - being the baby tank she is going to grow into, this is a fight I am never going to come out of positively.
I really need to get my head around these issues!

Photo bribe & reward for reading this far
Tuesday: Was Nancy's day in the turnout, so Kika got ridden in the evening. I had been hoping for a flat lesson on her, but it didn't happen - no biggie. :)
We worked away on our own on w/t/c, circles, figures of eight & serpentines. During which I noticed that our transitions were a little sticky, so the plan for the spin was cemented and we set to work on sharpening up our transitions while continuing our circles, changes of rein, figures of eight & serpentines to keep things from getting stale. I also did most of our trot work in sitting trot, I also tried to really work on our inside bend on the right-hand rein as she has also become a little stiff on that side (used to be her better side) but I guess after putting more work onto her previously bad side, the 'good' side got a little left out/under worked. Lots of small circles and focus from me, should help us get back on track.
Actually now that I think about it, we had a problem of over-bending slightly on that rein during the winter months...guess I solved that a little too well, woopsy, lol!

Kika's course - as always please forgive poor paint skills

Wednesday: Was Jumping day for both girls!
Yes, you read correctly, Nancy & I had our first pop together. *dance*
Kika was first up, I rode her at the same time as another yard friend, N, we jumped together. Warmed up over the pole and cross pole @1 of each rein and from either side continuing to canter on landing. The pole then moved to the other side from the above paint re-creation and we jumped it down cantering around up over the bounce @2 which also had a pole before the first jump.
We then jumped up over one, cantered down past 4 and up through the line @3 coming back down over the oxer @4.
Our final course of the evening, as it was a lovely 19C yesterday so both riders & horses were sweating, ;-) ... was to come down through the bounce @2, over the oxer @4, up over 1 (which no longer had a ground pole in front of it), down through the line @3 and finished back up over 1 again.
I was very happy with K as we got all our turns, which although a lot less twisty then previous courses we've had to do, I could see my lines better and felt like I wasn't dropping her into the fences or setting her up wrong for them - happy days!

We started Nancy with the above polework from the deconstructed fences that K & I jumped. As we were still having speed issues, the first few times through the poles were a bit messy - but we both got our act together and sorted ourselves out.

We then got a cross where fence 3 was for Kika with a  ground pole in front, the Guru had us go up over the poles at 1 (above) and come down over the pole & cross pole. No problem first time, so she raised the cross pole after another time through it and instructed me to keep Nancy cantering after the fence, even if she landed on the wrong leg - just to get her used to cantering after a fence.

She also had to continuously remind me not to tort or canter the long side of the arena as that is where we run into our speeding issues, she has told me that until further notice I am not to ride Nancy in a straight line down the long sides of the arenas - but to continuously break it up with circles and changes of rein.

The cross then became a small vertical, which L had me ride in the same way at the cross, however she told me I am not riding Kika and to not put my leg on at take-off, she said Nancy has to figure it out for herself when to take off for the fence.
First time into it she didn't take off and took the pole with her, she may have scared or possibly hurt herself a little bit as next time she ducked out to the left. back again, without the trotting pole intro this time and we got over it despite again bulging to the left before the fence - not pretty but we jumped...sort off. She again wasn't really getting off the ground and took the poles with her.
L then told me that, like Kika she isn't jumping so to put my leg on to cue her when to jump like I would Kika - but at this stage she was tired and probably a little rattled from knocking the poles, we did it once more where she did make the effort to jump but still brought the poles with her and tagged the vertical at 3 from a canter on behind which she jumped very well, so we called it a day finishing on that good note.
L hopped up to walk her around to cool off while I tidied the poles, as N & L had cleared away those that we had used for Kika so it was only fair that I do my fair share of tidying also.

I really have to figure out how to stop my reflex reaction of trying to slow her down/stop her when she starts to run on and rather than closing my hands on the reins and getting into a fight with her but letting go of the pressure and slowing her with my voice/seat.
Although the evening was very good with both girls, i can't help feeling a little deflated that I can't get a better handle on myself and help the horses out rather than hinder them - I am terrified of ruining Nancy before we even get going - the summer of hacking in the woods cannot come fast enough for me. I need to unwind outside an arena where there is no pressure on us to stay out of other people's way or feeling like people may be watching and/or judging - cos I mean come on...In a yard environment there is always some level of b!tchiness going on somewhere & while I don't ever partake in it or hear about it - I am sure it happens - it can't not when there are close to 100 horses on livery with as many characters associated with them.

Sorry as usual, this has gone on way longer than I had intended - I should run another reward contest just for whoever read this post to the end! *blushing*


  1. Haha if you post more often they won't be as long silly!

    Every now and again I get really grippy with my knees too, working on that heel flexibility will defi help with keeping you from doing it!

    1. True story... Or you can just post novels more frequently as I seem to do regardless of almost daily posts haha.

      Ditto L on the heel position/ flexing. If I can get that set up right I stop pinching.

    2. Oddly my heels stay down better when I'm riding N then on K - i think i hold tension in them from gripping with my knees as i always have to flex them after riding before dismounting! :(

  2. Dont beat yourself up. We all have good days and bad days. Its only when our bad days coincide with our horses bad days that things feel worst than what they are. Take a deep breath and think of all those great days you had with both girls. Think how far you have come with Kika. I mean, wow, you turned her from a silly 3 year old into a well mannered, pleasant and happy horse.
    As for Nancy, you 2 will be doing just fine too :)
    But if you do think she speeds up too much and you tend to close your hands too quickly on her ..... have you considered using a neck strap as slowing/stopping aid ? It might just do the trick for both of you.

    1. The neck strap idea is actually a very good one, H from S2S mentioned teaching it to Jonny over the winter months - I'll ask her to explain how to teach it to me again and I'll incorporate it into N & I's schooling - as I am struggling with her at the moment - I'm not going to lie to myself or the readers of this blog!
      I don't want to ruin her by being to proud to admit I'm struggling.

      PS: You are very kind to say those things about myself & K. I have had help from wonderful people both here & in Ireland before I left with Miss Kika. :)

  3. My dressage trainer told me to clench the reins when I wanted to pull, and that helped me a lot!

    1. Yeah, that's sort of what the Guru told me to do. She said to squeeze multiple times on the reins until she stopped and not to just hold them for the same amount of time as N then just leans against me and needless to say I will never win that tug of war!

  4. I have been suddenly Miss Knee-pincher of late, so I can commiserate. My trainer finally told me to stand and stretch more... and put spurs on, I'd learn not to pinch, lol. uh yeah, thanks... really you will do great bringing Nancy along, because you are always seeking help and keeping yourself growing as well. Both your ladies are lucky to have you!

    1. Thanks KK, I hope you're right. Feeling a bit like a muppet when I ride N at the moment, hoping i can reel in the negative thoughts and find a happy equilibrium with her again.
      I really think we just need to get out of the arenas and establish a better bond.

  5. Whenever i pinch with my knees (thankfully not often- I have my own issues with not keeping my shoulders back lol) i get rubs so that cures me lol!!

    1. Yeah the rubs and bruises had my knees less grippy on Saturday lol!


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