Monday, May 9, 2011

Having a Mini Crisis

Let's catch up:

Izzy and I tried out the Ainsley saddle on Thursday. Since we were scheduled for our first lesson of the year on Friday, I didn't want to wear her out. We just hacked around and had a blast and the saddle was PERFECT!!!! (Thank you so very much, Gingham.)

Izzy rocks the Ainsley, which ever-so-conveniently also matches my bridle and breastplate. Winning!!

Oh, and the thinline pad is perfect. Life is good.

(Children, do not just drop the reins and back away from your horse to take a picture when she is in an area with no perimeter fence. It's very unsafe and stupid.)

So Friday. We went to our lesson. We rode with Stephanie Goodman, who is brilliant. She has an incredible gift for taking very complex concepts and making them sounds ridiculously simple. It's useful and makes learning easy, but also makes me feel like a moron for not already understanding something so easy. (That's not her fault.) Anyways.

Tack cleaned and ready to go to a lesson.

It was the first time either of us has ridden off property since last October, with predictable results. Izzy was super looky and I rode like an idiot. I was so tense and nervous and stuck that I just kept doing really stupid things, even thought the worst Izzy really did was stop to look at something. Sigh. Stephanie was great though--she kept reminding me that A) the horse is a flight animal and needs to have a look and B) the way I make her feel comfortable is telling her to do something.

Shockingly (not), she was completely right. Izzy settle din pretty well, but I was less successful at unlocking my brain. I unconsciously switched to a total hand ride, which meant we were crooked and unbalanced. When we finally started "jumping" a tiny crossrail and trot pole grid, I had Izzy so backed off and crooked from hand riding, that she actually wouldn't go over the first few times. She basically just drifted out and I couldn't stop her. Then I would leg yield back and she would step over the eensy weensy crossrail.

Then I had her so bottled up that when I tried to ride her forward, she proceeded to just sort of pogo-ed up and down which felt like bucking and then made me scared to go forward. (Told you I rode like an idiot.)

So... despite ending on a positive note, I felt like a total moron who couldn't ride. Stephanie told me I needed to ride more forward with less hand and jump more often (since I admitted to her that we have literally only jumped 3 times this year).

Fortunately, I was able to sneak in a ride Saturday. I pulled out the dressage saddle, and put a dressage whip through my thumbs to force my hands to stay level, even, and uninvolved. It took probably 15 minutes of walking, but I was finally riding well and in tune with Izzy. We trotted for a few minutes and did some figure 8s and leg yields, all hands free. I felt a little better then.

After a relaxing weekend away visiting my husband's family, I'm back in business today. And yes, we will absolutely be pulling out the jump saddle, trot poles, little cross rails, and putting that dressage whip back through my thumbs.


  1. Isn't that just how it works? At home with no one watching lovely things happen and as soon as someone who knows something about riding is watching everything falls apart. I am sure you felt worse than it really was and at least now you have stuff to work on.

  2. It's so hard, sometimes, to ride well in such situations. And indeed, trying to get your horse forward as a solution to spooking, etc. can be daunting.

    Stephanie sounds like a great trainer to work with, and I'm sure she understood what was going on. You were not an were normal.

    Good idea to do some more jumping at home. It's the best way to build your confidence.

  3. Yay for little crossrails! Also, first lesson of the year AND having to trailer out for it...pretty sure I would have a breakdown. But you rode! Izzy sounds like fun. She looks gorgeous in her tack, as always.

  4. No worries, I often ride like an idiot even when nobody is watching! ;-)

  5. Love the disclaimer on the first photo. LOL. Gorgeous view at the bottom, btw.

  6. The disclaimer made me chuckle too. Don't worry, you haven't lessoned in a long time, it can bring the nerves out big time. You're a great rider with a great horse, just had kind of a bad day. Don't be too hard on yourself. I bet there were also a couple of nice moments too.

  7. My theory is that every time we ride like it is the first time ever on a horse we gain points. When we get enough points we get to move on and not have to do that anymore. I'm sticking to this. I should be there soon.

  8. First of all, sorry it has been a while since I've catched your blog, I love your new updates to it! Looks awesome!

    You should never feel down on how you ride, or feel like you can't. We all have bad rides. Every single one of us. The important thing is you build on it so your next ride is better.


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