Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What Progress Looks Like

Because this picture is only just so interesting
You know what's super weird about boarding at a busy barn? There are moments of chaos, sure, but in general? I'm completely alone. There's not even anyone to talk into taking some video of Courage. Our last barn had only like 3 boarders (including me) but we all came at the same time and got along really well and there were ALWAYS pictures.

Soooo. I mean, I guess it's a good thing. I've been spending my rides doing really exciting things like "a bajillion (actual number) w/t transitions", which is something other than breathtakingly exciting to watch. I get really excited about them, though.

Here's why: In order to jump well, Courage needs to learn to use the base of his neck and jump up through his withers/shoulders. His default lock-the-neck-and-deer-leap-when-tense isn't a great end game.

In dressage lesson #1, we learned how to unlock the base of his neck. Now I'm working on keeping it unlocked at the walk. Then at the trot. Then in a walk/trot transition. Then at the canter. Then in a trot/canter transition. Then in transitions within the trot. Then putting all the transitions closer together.

It's really exciting to me because I can feel Courage figuring it out. I know he needs to do this for hundreds of hours and re-learn how to carry his body.

all the stretches with Alyssa up
But yeah, no one wants to take the same pictures of me trotting long and low every day. That's why we mix it up! On Saturday, Alyssa came out and grabbed a few shots of me in the tack, plus hopped on herself.

On Sunday, a dressage-riding (and non-blogging) friend came out. I warmed up Courage and talked about what we've been working on. She got on and OMG my little man looked like a dressage horse.

upward motion
Because I am ridiculous, I didn't realize I had my phone handy until the ride was mostly over. (whoops). This shot isn't terribly complimentary to the rider (hey, props for even getting it done in a jump saddle), but LOOK AT MY HORSE MY HORSE IS SO CUTE.

She was really able to pick Courage up and put him together like a first level horse versus the somewhat-training level frame I've been working in. Now, she's certainly a much better and more polished rider than I am, no question there. That said, it was really fun for me to see that all the buttons I'm working to put on actually make sense to Courage.

There is so much more work to do, but HOORAY for my horse being awesome in the mean time.


  1. this is what I call the "plugging aways"... little things that sound super boring and take forever, but are so important.

  2. YAY for progress! That banged tail though, such fancy-pants :)

  3. Yay Courage!! I love throwing random people on my horse, mainly so I can observe how cute she is, so I feel ya there.

  4. I find all the little intricacies of teaching a horse to carry itself SO interesting. I guess that's a good thing, though... ;)

    Courage is looking SO great. All that unlocking of his shoulders/poll is going to do you a ton of favors in the future. I wish that's something I'd had the tools to work on with Pig a loooong time ago!

  5. I am working on a lot of those same things! And I can totally relate to the empty boarding barn with indoor phenomenon. Winter totally separates those that do from those that only sorta kinda wanna do.

  6. I love the argyle polos! Hooray for progress :)

  7. Slow and steady wins the race!! Glad you two are having a break-through in progress. :)

  8. Jumping is 90% flatwork anyways!

  9. yay progress! the little stuff feels so incremental - but will make a huge difference later :)

  10. I felt like that at my new barn at first, but eventually I got to know people and pictures were much easier to come by. Now on lesson days I have a friend that also loves pictures, so we try to take turns of each other (which is harder now that we're in the same lesson lol).

  11. He's looking very muscular in his neck and hind end, and his expression is adorable!

  12. It's funny how that works in busy barns. My schedule NEVER matches with anyone... Ever. But luckily if I ride after school lets out or during the summer and my brothers are home I can text them and they can walk over. They owe me for the paintball videos I took hahah. He's looking great. You both are. Every step counts!

  13. I just love all the things I cant even comment about all the love

  14. He's looking so handsome! Jealous of the neck muscles


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