Well, we are in full horse shopping mode. I'm sooooo excited!
My husband is finally being super supportive. He went from "horses are for rich people" to "fine, you can have a horse" to "I want you to be happy; let's get you a horse; you deserve it!"
So he's been looking at horse trailers and I've started my horse hunt. So far all the ones that sound promising on paper are REALLY far away. But I have help. A co-worker who has her own horse barn, is giving me pointers. I also started a spreadsheet on all the horseboarding facilities in the area and will start visiting barns soon.
I still can't believe it's actually going to happen. I'm sure I will be like a new mother and will constantly run out to the barn to make sure it's still there, alive and happy. I probably won't sleep for days and lose 10 pounds because I won't be able to eat from all the excitement.
Age: 8-13 but somewhat flexible Height: 15-17 but somewhat flexible Color: flexible Breed: flexible, will consider Xs Discipline: English Spirit Scale: 1 to 4 (on a scale of 1 to 10) Gender: Gelding or Mare
I’m basically looking for a middle-aged, laid back, English riding horse, of average height with a great disposition. Must be 100% healthy and sound. Must be an easy keeper – will be pasture boarded. Must have well defined gaits. Horse needs to be ridable in English gear (snaffle bit) and English saddle in both indoor and outdoor arenas. Prefer a horse with previous dressage training and dressage show experience, but not required.
I'm currently looking at Morgans because they are known for their great disposition.
Despite the chilly 27 degree weather, I managed to go riding today. Everybody else had cancelled their lesson so we had lots of time to spare.
She pushed me quite a bit harder today. We did trot serpentines with 10 meter circle at the point of each loop, then changed rein through the diagonal while lengthening the trot and repeat. We ended with shoulder in and leg yields at the trot, changing rein by doing half circles at different points.
I still feel a little awkward riding him; he carries himself different then Vince and I haven't fully adjusted to that yet. I can basically do everything my instructor asks of me BUT it aint pretty. I was half-way down the diagonal at the lengthened trot when I realized I couldn't sit his trot anymore so I went back to posting. There was a pile of horse poop at "F" and I didn't want to ride through it so I didn't quite get the correct bend into the corner. She also had me do a shoulder-in down the center-line which really tripped me up; I never realized how much I rely on the wall to guide me.
I'm very happy that I found her; she's picking up on issues that the other instructor didn't focus on and she pushes me to keep practicing and improving on those issues. Plus she's a really nice, easy to talk to, normal person; such a positive change from all the snooty, difficult, dressagy people I have been dealing with lately.
We had a great lesson today. We really worked on putting the horse together and riding back to front. It was such an amazing difference when he switched from this choppy trot into a fully engaged swinging trot. It felt so amazing to fly across the arena with such engagement.
She was having me do a lot of leg yields and I was getting so tired so I decided to just try leg yielding while posting and it worked!
We also worked on getting me to relax more at the canter, breathe in 1-2-3 breathe out 1-2-3. We had a lovely walk/canter transition going counter clock wise but a delayed reaction on the downward transition; I was already posting the trot when he was still cantering - lol.
Then we tried the same thing on going clockwise. We had a couple of false starts (totally my fault) followed by a smooth transition into a solid working canter. After about 3 circles, I asked for a downward transition to trot; well, he did a beautiful downward transition into a very collected canter instead. The RI suggested just saying the word "trot" out loud, and it worked.
I can't wait for my next lesson. In the meantime, it looks like I'm going back to my old barn on Sunday to ride Vince (weather permitting). I'm a little nervous to walk back into the stressful super dressagy barn but I'm also kind of excited to see Vince and my old RI again. At least now the pressure is off; if I'm not happy there, I don't have to go back, for I have found greener pastures somewhere else.
I've been riding so much this last week I can hardly keep up with my journal :)
So I test rode a prospect horse on Saturday and I think she might be the one for me. I'm in the process of getting the PPE scheduled and the boarding booked. Fingers Crossed!
I rode Vince on Sunday for the first time in 6 weeks. He's 17'2 and the prospect horse I rode the day before is 14'3 so it was quite intimidating to climb aboard a giant.
When I arrived, the farrier greeted me and told me that Vince was waiting for me in his barn.
Apparently Vince has been acting up the entire month and the farrier had to cancel his lesson because he coudn't be caught. Ironically, he had been bragging to me about how he never has trouble with him at all.
The lesson was not so good. Vince freaked out when he heard a student pull up with a horse trailer (squeeling, stomping, jumping, throwing his head around). I ended up doing an emergency dismount and the RI lunged him for me for a bit. He was a total mess; picking up the wrong lead at the canter and not listenting to downward transitions.
When I finally got back on, we only had 10 minutes left. We only did trot work after that. Most of it was ugly, although I did get him on the bit/in frame for about 15 seconds before another horse trailer pulled up and I lost him again.
We tried to end on a good note by doing spirals on the circle going clockwise. The RI finally said, we're not going to get it today and I have another lesson so let's just call it quits for today.
I was too nervous to cool him down properly at the walk - he was just too spooky so I handwalked him for a bit before taking him back to the barn.
I think it's time for me to quit this place but I want to stay in good graces with the RI as she is TOP DOG when it comes to Dressage. If I compete anywhere in this region, I will run into her plus I might want to trailer my own horse to her some day for lessons.
I sure appreciate everything she's taught me. Many of her students go on to do really well in Dressage. I haven't figured out how to tell her yet. Plus she has no idea that I'm riding at another barn and that the RI and her horse are a better fit for me. Plus I will also miss Vince, the big stinker.