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Starting Over....

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    05-08-2010, 08:42 PM
Show day is tomorrow, I had a fantastic lesson today and am really excited!! I'm only doing 2 walk/trot classes, but it's still a big deal for me and it seems like it's going to be a lot of fun.

Fritz was moving much better today, and after speaking with his owner, I found out he has an intense dislike of water, which is why is was so difficult last week. We really hit it off today, and seem to have formed a quick bond, which is awesome :)

Time to finish packing up for tomorrow and go to bed, have to be at the barn at 5:30, and it's at least a 40 minute drive.
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    05-09-2010, 07:02 PM
Update update update!!!!
    05-10-2010, 10:01 AM
Yesterday was show day and was completely exhausting. I never realized how busy it could be on show day. Also, the weather didn't exactly cooperate, it was cold and insanely windy - the wind was spooking the horses and blowing over the jumps.

Fritz was all hyped up when we took him off the trailer. He calmed down for a bit when my trainer warmed him up, but he was still pretty hyper. My trainer told me to hang out with him by the trailer and she'd let me know when to get dressed. Out of nowhere, I hear my name announced to one of the rings, so I head over with Fritz (still not dressed). A woman tells me that they're holding up the class for me!!! I was so freaked out, I RAN back to the trailer, got dressed in like 2 minutes, threw on my boots, and ran back to the ring. Then...the woman told me she made a mistake and there were 4 classes before mine, uggghhhh.

I was so nervous at this point because I thought I was going to miss my class. I got on Fritz and walked him around the grounds to calm us both down. He was still pretty hyper.

When we walked into the ring, his ears perked up (he knew it was show time), and he was a PERFECT gentleman. He was calm, relaxed, and did everything he could to make me look good. I think I rode pretty well, but couldn't place because this was the class with cantering and even if I had wanted to try, he's still only allowed to trot due to injury recovery. My heels were down, but I need to work on quieting my hands while I post.

After the first class, my barn owner shortened my stirrups to force my leg into a better position - I trotted him around for a bit before my second class - what a huge difference! I felt so much more solid, it was wonderful! Then, they canceled my second class, not enough people had registered for it. I was really disappointed, but oh well. I rode him back to the trailer, untacked, brushed him off, and let him graze until it was loading time.

I had so much fun, even though it was insanely hectic. I'm going to start cantering in my next few lessons to prepare for the next show so I can be in more classes.

My trainer is absolutely right about Fritz, he's perfect for me :)
    05-14-2010, 10:24 AM
Yesterday was a mixed day at the barn. I have really fallen in love with Fritz, and was finally able to get him ready on my own (rather quickly too). He and I seem to be bonding well, as he doesn't try to bite me and was easy for me to tack (BO says he can be very difficult). As I'm finally comfortable handling him on my own, I asked the BO to speak to his owner about a possible lease. He's a QH / Draft cross, and he's super gentle and a real goofball. He's also the most vocal horse I have ever known.

I was able to speak to his owner last night, and I am officially leasing Fritz twice per week. I got an amazing deal too, the rest of May is free, and after that it'll be 150/month. She's very similar in personality to me, and has the same confidence issues I have, and she felt the lease would be good for all involved. I am so excited! Especially since a friend of mine just moved her horse to my barn, so we can ride together :)

Now, about last night's lesson. I really felt I rode well, considering I had a very stressful work day and was doing a lot of no-stirrup work. However, I'm starting to wonder if my trainer is not the best fit for me. I have a lot of physical issues with my body (full body arthritis, fibromyalgia, nerve damage in my right ankle), and I feel like she doesn't take this into consideration. She was yelling at me to stop bouncing around when sitting to the trot without stirrups, when not only was it my first time doing so in almost 15 years, but I have a lot of muscle atrophy from being sick. I'm also used to sitting the trot Western, and have only been riding English since April. She was repeating her instructions over and over again, somewhat loudly, as if I was ignoring her. I said "it may not look like it but I'm really trying", and she told me to stop "back-talking".

Umm....I'm not a kid, I'm a paying customer, and I'm not being disrespectful. I also have some pretty deep confidence issues, and her comment just made me feel small. I brushed it off at the time, but it made me start thinking. When we were at the show on Sunday, I was very nervous, especially nervous about riding an excited horse in an area with many other excited horses, and she somewhat yelled at me and said "you need to stop". Again, I'm not a child, and am really not too thrilled about being treated like one.

I'm going to have to think this one through, there are 3 other trainers at my barn, but I don't want to step on anyone's toes either. I'm going to just keep it at the back of my mind for awhile, and if I continue to feel it's an issue, I'll speak to the BO about it.

But....I can't stop smiling today knowing that Fritz is mine 2 days a week !!!
    05-15-2010, 10:11 AM
Well...I've only been with my new coach for five sessions at this point, but I've gotten to know her fairly well. She would NEVER get on me like that, even if she was trying to get me to do something and I couldn't (we haven't really run into that yet). She speaks honestly and openly (and sometimes it's not roses), but I think she realizes too that I'm a paying customer.

I dunno, there's a fine line between pushing someone as a rider and being a jerk. I think a good coach should push you to be your best, but like I said, there's a fine line. I think a good coach would also find other ways of trying to make something work if you just can't get it right or if something is just inevitably uncomfortable.

Can't wait to see the next update! I completely understand that this is a tough situation, but at the end of the day, you're a paying customer and some people's personalities just don't get along. I think you'll find that if you don't end up continuing with her there is a way to let her know that without burning the bridge, it will just have to be done super delicately and with consideration that this person is still a human being.

I hope she doesn't treat you like a little kid next time!
    05-19-2010, 02:33 PM
I had another lesson on Monday and it went very well. My instructor again made comments about my bouncing around while sitting to the trot, but they were done in a much nicer way. I also reiterated my physical issues and again brought up the muscle atrophy (actually asked her to think of me as double my age, in terms of my physical condition). I think that seemed to "click" for her, and she seemed to understand a little bit better.

Fritz was, as always, such a good boy :)
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    05-25-2010, 04:08 PM
My last two lessons have been amazing. I finally got the confidence to make Fritz actually work for me instead of letting him poke around, and my riding has improved drastically. My legs are more solid, my heels down, my hands quieter. I'm getting used to using a dressage crop, which has really helped with quieting my hands.

I felt so much better doing 2-point work yesterday, and was finally able to hold it for once around the arena.

I've been doing a lot of cycling on the weekends to help build up my leg and back muscles, I think it's been paying off.

Fritz's owner will be away for a few days, so I plan on spending lots of time with him this weekend :)
    05-26-2010, 08:43 PM
You are so funny...I swear we are twins in terms of "starting over". I'm in exactly the same position re: making them work instead of just worrying about my confidence level. I've had a hell of a few weeks so I haven't posted, but will update tonight. Good for you, and the avatar pic looks amazing! As for the weekend, that's super exciting!

I also agree on the working out comment - I've been gardening non-stop for four days, and have been trying to fit in as much cardio as possible. It's funny what a drastic difference it makes eh?
    06-22-2010, 10:21 AM
I rode yesterday for the first time in a few weeks, and it was amazing. Fritz was a little grumpy over having a tooth removed 2 weeks ago (it was growing sideways and infected), and it was the first time a bit had been in his mouth since the removal. After a sigh, he let me bridle him like a champ and off we went.

They were doing some maintenance on the bo's house, which is only about 30 feet from the arena, and were using gas power-washers during my lesson. The guy actually started the power washer while I was right behind him in the arena (he didn't know any better). Fritz looked like he was going to spook, but I kept talking to him and pushing him forward. This was a really big boost to my confidence, as I was able to keep my cool and push him forward without incident, in what could have been a very dangerous situation.

Anyway, he was such a good boy for me yesterday, I didn't even have to push him too hard to keep moving forward. Also, I finally got the guts to sit to the trot without stirrups and made it once around the arena! I'm going to do lots of no stirrup work on Thursday when I ride him on my own :)
    03-06-2012, 03:02 PM
Wow, I forgot I had even started this blog. I've come a long way in the last two years. I moved to the country (NW CT), got married, bought a house, and found a fantastic Western barn.

I'm full-leasing a wonderful 15.2 Registered AQH mare, and will be purchasing her soon. I'll be showing WP and Showmanship for the first time this year (breed-level shows). My confidence is up, I own proper tack, and life is good! Oh, and I just picked material and got measured for my show clothes.

I'll also be preparing my property at some point within the next year to bring my horse home. We have almost 8 acres with direct access to miles of trails :).

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