Tuesday, December 22, 2020

I Pivoed Myself

 Y'all have probably heard of this nifty little robot camera gadget called a Pivo. I thought it sounded cool and I bought one. I read half of one how-to on using it and figured if I needed help once I got going, I could google it. It works exactly as advertised--tracks the horse, struggles with multiple horses, and if it loses you, just ride in front of it again. 

Cool. Whatever. Pretty much everyone on the internet has one now and there's an entire facebook group devoted to people who are too stupid to read the instructions. You don't need me for that. 

You definitely needed this level of cuteness tho

The Pivo comes with a handy dandy remote that I think most people carry with them and use to turn the tracking features on/off as needed. Right? Like you maybe don't want a 30 minutes walk warmup of you talking to your buddy but you probably do want the 5.5 minutes you trotted around in the good light trying to get a decent screenshot. (Just me? Whatever.)

But since I'm lazy level pro right now, I don't use the remote for the simple reason of I didn't bother to bring it. Ever. It's somewhere. Maybe at home. I literally plop the pivo on the mounting block, try not to kick it over when I get on, and go for a ride. I trot around for a bit (and yeah by the time I'm WIPED OUT, apparently it's been like 5.5 minutes), and then I pop off to stop the pivo while we take a quick break. 
Nobody wants to screenshot long videos

That means two things:
1) I get adorable photos like the one above. 
2) I have a chance to review the footage MID RIDE.

This has turned out to be BY FAR my favorite feature. (Even more than screenshots, because the light in the indoor is crummy so even a really good screenshot on a pretty decent phone camera is still not good.)
Real talk tho: I'm a working ammy. I think I took 1 lesson this year. I ride 1-4 times a week, depending on my work travel schedule/the weather/my mental state. I have ok feel, middlin' reflexes, and bad riding fitness. ZB is the perfect ammy horse in that my schedule is A OK with her (and if I'm there more than 4 days she's like OMG MUM GO ON A TRIP I TIRED HOKAY). 

That means I get on and bomb around for 5 minutes working on whatever THE THING I think I need to do is. Last night, I thought "we will work on forward!"

It was hard. I was huffing and puffing and contorting myself and nagging with my legs and god only knows what the reins were doing. 

Then we took our mid-ride break and I watched the video.

And I thought. 

"Well gee whiz. Sure is hard for my perfectly nice horse to try to figure out what I want when my reins are two miles long, my hands are bouncing all over the stratosphere, my legs never really come on or off her sides, and my body is oddly contorted."

In fact, you might even think that if I was clear with the FORWARD aids, then I could be long in my legs, strong in my core, following with my elbows, and soft with my hands. 

What a concept. 

Reset Pivo. Round 2. 

It's not that I'm magically a better and fitter rider with the video review. It just shows me what my issues look like. That helps me pick a couple things to correct on that night based on how I'm riding in the moment. I have to be real honest about whether the things I'm doing are actually making a difference to my horse. 

Or if they are dumb things and the difference they are making is bad. 

oh that's a bit better

I'm not a great rider. I'm not going to become one on my current schedule. 

I'm ok with that about myself. 

It is my ongoing goal to be the best I am able with the resources I have on hand, and to do that, I need to be very clear and fair with my horse. She can be her best self when I set her up to succeed. 

now that's almost something

After watching the videos and reviewing the stills I pulled out of them, I can make some informed choices about our next ride. I can say that the best work we had all night was when we did lateral work and compression and then pushed forward and asked for stretchy trot. 

I definitely think the things I'm asking for right now are hard and require schooling, more for strength than for repetition itself. 


I also know we both get bored of doing the same thing over and over. Will there be indoor jump video in the near future? 


Thursday, December 3, 2020

Everything Slides Faster on Ice

I could write about how I finally decided ZB's western saddle actually didn't fit, and then how I maniacally shopped for one that would, then somewhat unintentionally bought one, then was pleasantly surprised that it included fittings and a cute teal pad and now I want cute teal boots to match and figured out I need a shorter girth. 

that back end <3
But like. 

What's more important is that then I went on the ultimate horse girl spending spiral and ended up with a horse-hauling truck so WHOOPS THAT HAPPENED. 
when all your wildest dreams come true

I'm still processing that particular event (and uh paying for it) and this blog is about the cutest horse in all the land, so let's look at her. 

so cute

We're on a western kick right now and a large part of it is that I don't have to be super prepared about outfits when I can just wear cowboy boots and jeans from work to the barn. 

Another part is that I am really enjoying the process of tackling something new. 

also soccer

I have to think through every ask and every give. I have to know what I want and work with ZB to figure out how to show it to her. I have to know when to push and know when to release. If the goal is "polite, balanced western jog", what are the steps I need to take to get from here to there? 

It's also really cool because it ends up being the same skills--I'm looking for her to be balanced back to front and move forward softly. I want the cadence slower and I want her to self regulate a bit. She can't stick her nose out like a pony and run on the forehand if I want her to go on a loose rein and be accountable for herself, so I have to be very clear about the steps I need her to take. 

ground tying is fun

That means I have to step up as a horseman. I have to be accountable for my movements and expectations. I have to be clear, calm, and consistent. If I want a particular response, am I asking with a particular aid? How am I setting her up to succeed? 

This is ZB and I we're talking about, so that training has to be interesting with a lot of variety. She struggles with the canter (especially transitions), so we school those on the ground with a quick lunge warm up. Or in english tack so I can influence her balance and stay off her back. Or ignore it completely and go for a hack under the stars during a full moon.

I think we're about ready for prime time in the canter (aka actually schooling the lope vs just bombing around from time to time), but first I'm definitely going to resolve the cinch situation. 

Or maybe we'll just do it bareback.

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