My sweet boy is doing so great! My trainer is working on his topline and teaching him to be on the bit. I know it won't be long before I am riding him all over trails and having fun together.
My lessons are going good too. I'm trying to work on being less emotional during my lessons. Last lesson I just shut down after 20 minutes because I was taking everything my trainer said personally, and I was getting wound up, and I knew I was getting to a place where I did NOT need to be on the back of a horse. I told her I was getting tired. My husband was there and as soon as we got in the car he said "I knew when you said you were tired you just meant you were tired of her". He said she is a bit harsh. I dunno, I mean, I know she is good and she gets the job done, so I appreciate that about her. I just can't take it sometimes. It's not her job to coddle me though, it's her job to push me and make me better.
She's great with Max in his lessons. Very patient.
It's kind of been getting me depressed. I started horseback riding as a fun treat that I had been wanting to do all my life. It's fun when I accomplish a goal and am good at what I've been taught. It's just weird that I have that one "ahah" lesson where everything is great, and I get it; and then for the next few weeks I just kind of feel miserable in my lesson. I'll be fine for the first part of the lesson, and then a little ways in I feel like I'm being yelled at for three different things, and I just get completely overwhelmed and can't even do the stuff I know how to do.
I didn't come into this thinking that I would go for dressage and even competing. I just thought I was going to learn to ride a horse so I could meander along a trail. I like where it's going because I feel like I'm really learning to ride. I'm getting pushed farther than I thought I could go, and I get pushed more and more each time I go to the stable. So I like that, and I just need to realize that I am working towards being really good instead of just being kind of okay.
I'm sure it's me. I feel like I am in the right place, and I feel like I am learning about horses and riding, but also personal self improvement lessons. It's just a very painful process.
I'm trying to focus on work more so that when I get to the stable, I have the "Ahhh I'm not at work" glow. Anything I can do to make my attitude better. I want to be open and take my lessons the right way instead of ruining them by being defensive and stressed.
Today was a for fun day at school. I went to the field to get my lesson horse, and there were two people watching Maximas. All the other geldings were in their field, munching on grass, but my boy was over at the fence with the ladies. In particular, a very lovely Swedish Warmblood in heat. He was giving her all the romance a mare could ask for. Love nips, nuzzles, devilishly good looks. He tried to mount her a few times, but the fence was in the way. There was another mare who was completely jealous of the situation. She kept moving herself in between them. My sexy boy!
I got to try out my new Kerrits super grippy riding pants. They were amazing. I felt like I could fall asleep on top of the horse and they would hold me on. I somehow still felt my legs get tired, so I must have been gripping subconsciously with my muscles.
My lesson was cut short because my neck started acting up. It got sprained or something last week, and it had just gotten better, but I felt it catch and OWWW. It's not as bad as it could be, but I didn't want to make it worse by pushing.
It worked out for the best. My trainer and I spent the rest of our time talking, and I got to unload a lot of stress off my chest. We talked about goals, and stretches, and just generally talked. I actually feel like I can go to class without being stressed, and maybe even have fun again. She really helped me feel better. I think I just needed an emotional booster day.
I don't have another lesson until Monday. Hopefully my neck will be better by then. I am going back tomorrow for Max's lesson.
I have taken time off from online horse stuff. I felt like it was causing a lot of problems in my mindset toward riding. I've never succeeded in anything when I allow myself to look around at what other people are doing, and I couldn't help but compare myself when I looked online! Even looking up solutions to whatever I was stuck on was just stressing me out. So, I took the advice of the little voice in my head, and dove into just being in the moment with horseback riding.
I went to the U.S. Dressage Finals at the Kentucky Horse Park. It's not that I have tons of cash to go on vacations, it's just that I live a few hours from a lot of venues, and it's not that much $ for my trainer and I to take the weekend and split the bill.
It was amazing!!! I not only saw the best horses and riders in the entire US, but my trainer took me all over the horsepark and showed me the inner workings of the beast. I saw everything from the stables, to the warmup rings, to the halls where the horses lined up. Seeing those huge warmbloods tacked up and lined up to go out to the ginormous show arena was something I'll never forget.
One thing that was encouraging was the variety of horse breeds at the competition. Of course there were lots of warmbloods, but I also saw an Appy and just regular cute looking horses that were having fun with their owners. I also saw a really cute, pretty horse breed there called a "Drum Horse". It was so adorable! Maybe not the best mover, but it was there at the U.S. Finals for a reason!
Other highlights of the trip included walking around the horse park, visiting the horse museum, and seeing a demonstration by a trick horse trainer with his Frisian. I need to take the pictures and videos off my camera!!! I'll do that soon and post a bunch. I was a sucker for video taping the cute unique horses during their freestyles!
Since I got back from the trip, I've been working steadily on my riding and my trainer has been working steadily on getting Maximas ready for me to ride. I have a private lesson three days a week, and Maximas has his private lesson three days a week. We are so fortunate to have such an experienced and talented teacher at a ridiculous cut rate!
I've moved from the indoor arena to the outdoor arena. The first time I did it, I got tired and almost bounced off my horse. Since then, I've gotten the hang of keeping in better control of both of us. I'm getting better about checking my diagonal and correcting it on my own. I don't know all the terminology, so I might be describing this in a weird way. I learned to sit back and feel where her butt is, and keep her connected and moving forward from behind. I'm learning to maneuver her around things and over poles so that she has the space to go where I want her to go.
My last lesson, my trainer told me that I should give the horse a breather since we were trotting pretty fast. I said "Fast? We were going fast? That felt kind of slow!" so she said that next week, she thinks I can try cantering! She had me practice two point. She said that's how I stay off the horse's back so I don't get bounced off during the canter. So I am spending the weekend working out to make sure I am stronger come next week's canter!
Maximas is doing great too. He is off lunge line lessons and getting ridden for his lessons. I've been there for the last two, while my trainer rode him herself. The first one, he was pretty snarky. I was glad I wasn't on him! This last lesson, though, he was a completely different cookie. He looked happy and comfortable, like he was figuring out his job and he wanted to do it the best he could. She said he never was taught to balance under a rider, and she also found out that he has some reaction like he's been spurred as a punishment before. As with everything we've done so far, though, the more we show him our way of doing things and how it's gentle and paced to help him succeed, he changes and blossoms into a better and better horse.
My trainer said that "in the very near future" I'll be able to come tack him up and ride him around the indoor arena when I want. We won't be doing anything other than walking and trotting, but that's what both of us need to get a little stronger and a little more balanced.
Oh, and I also have been shopping way too hard for Maximas! Like OMG, way too much $$$, but it all is so satisfying to open up and use! I need to take pictures of all the stuff I got on him, because it always looks way better on him than it did on the website where I bought it.
I got him his winter blanket. It's this lovely aqua blue color. He looks so smart in it! I also got my saddle. I had been working up the guts to fork over the money, and then it went on sale. Like super sale. It's the New Bates Isabell, which is usually upwards of 3k, and I got it brand new for 2k from Dover. When does that happen? I haven't sat in it yet, or put it on Maximas, so I'm going to do all that tomorrow.
There's the short version of everything that's happened in the past few weeks. I'll pick apart each topic and add pictures over the next few days.