Sunday 2 February 2014

Learning Lessons

Or at least trying to ;-)

Nancy & I had some eyes on the ground this morning to help us (read:me) with tips & advice. We had the main arena to ourselves which was nice and plenty bodies passed for a gawk as we were working - including a dad & kid who for some reason was sat up on the side of the arena.
All I could think was thank god I was riding Nancy and not Kika as K would've flipped if something that big and distracting appeared "out of nowhere" in her field of vision. However Nancy is so level-headed & genuine that after two no-fuss small circles to give her a chance to get used to there being a body where it hadn't been before - she then cantered right passed without so much as blinking an eye let alone telescoping or side-stepping as Kika would've done.

Happy Head on me & Nancy -
I'm not usually one for photos of myself but I LOVE this one!
Things mentioned to be worked on:

- Keep tension in outside rein
- Soften inside rein and move hand towards knee to encourage N to look in and bend to the inside
- Move outside leg back and inside leg forward (L can't figure out how I manage to ride so lopsided)
- HEELS DOWN (as always...consistency is key right?! *snigger* Although to be honest I would rather eventually eradicate this nasty habit)
- Turn my whole head (thereby moving my shoulders & hips) to the inside while on the right rein (my bad side and consequently both girls poorer sides too)

L must have been on the same wavelength as my musings from yesterday & had us KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) - she had us work a lot
- on transitions,
- circles and
- changes of rein.

My Knight Horse
She reminded me to
- play with my reins and
- keep my leg on, release my knees and wrap my lower leg around N.
She says that by gripping with my knees I am unable to put on leg and it also swings my leg backwards...I guess it keeps things fresh as usually my legs swing forward.  *roll-eyes*

All in all it was a great lesson, plenty to work on as always but nothing so awfully startling that I was left bereft & utterly incapable and undeserving of the girls; like I had sometimes been feeling in the last few weeks.

Patiently waiting for me to finish setting up the poles in background
Kika was up next for me to play with after L went home for lunch with her family. She was very good to stand like an angel after I decided at the last minute to put down a couple of poles and she was good to warm up in walk & trot on a long rein. Sadly once we took off the quarter sheet and tightened the girth her brain checked out and she choppy-strided her way around the arena. Not so much tucking her head into her chest as holding tension in her neck and she is so fussy about her mouth that when I try to take up contact when she is in this  mood she throws her front legs about, tosses her head and threatens to rear.
Rather than pander to her whims and bring her back to walk, from which she can rear much easier IF that is the mood she is in - I pushed her up into canter for a couple of laps to keep her moving and change her thought patterns as to how the spin was going pan out. Took a bit of time to re-locate her brain, but we did get some lovely soft work without choppy strides and lovely canter work interspersed with the trot poles. As with N, Kika had to contend with a lot of transitions and changes of rein while maintaining her shape & suppleness.
Bless her she was knackered afterwards - but it serves her right for trying to be a muppet & wanting to start with me.

Sweaty Kika post-spin
It wasn't the best start to my spin with Miss Kika but we got there in the end without either of us going into meltdown and tossing the toys out in temper. I had another super day in the saddle with both girls and the opening weekend of the Six Nations panned out as I'd hoped it would.
So all in all I am one happy camper. :-)

I was talking as this was being taken,
 but Happy Heads all around sums up my weekend. :)

The provisional Plan of Attack for the Week is:
(we'll have see if I can be any better at sticking to it this time then previously)

- Monday: the Guru asked to ride Kika and offered me another lesson on Nancy
- Tuesday: Nancy will get the day off - I hope to ride Kika
- Wednesday: the Guru asked to jump Kika - I hope to lunge Nancy
- Thursday: Deserved (I hope) day off for Kika - I hope to ride Nancy
- Friday through Monday: I am going back to Ireland for family gathering/spreading of my uncle's ashes.
The Guru will mind the girls for me & hopefully have fun riding them, fingers crossed I can still ride one side of them on my return!


  1. I love your quarter sheet!!! I want one...

    Also, I have a terrible problem sinking my weight into my heels in a dressage saddle. Not sure why this is... I always tend to draw my legs up instead. It's been a struggle to reprogram myself to sink my weight into my heels and wrap my legs around him!! So... goodluck...

    1. Maybe the fact we've to ride longer in a dressage saddle requires the brain re-programming. Although in my case the initial programming has to be established first ;-)

      The Guru & I were laughing at the fact I have everything backwards - I'd be sorted if I could flip a switch in my brain to mirror what I do as then it'd be right! (Or at least closer to correct then I am currently *blush*)

      The quarter sheet is from Equitheme, not sure if you can buy that brand in the States. I think they're french, Padd shops stock them as does - I think they have a sister US site so you might be in luck ;-)


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