Happy Birthday to Me

A day late…

I am always late with everything so why should my birthday be an exception though?

Val is all moved into his new barn for the summer and has settled in nicely. He has taken off part of his face however but who knows how he did it. Oh well, hair will grow back before end of July! His first day over at the new barn was a bit of a tough ride, although it was expected. I nailed it on the head because Val was behind the leg pretty badly. I don’t regret giving him the time off I just understand that he comes back to work regressed from where we left off. He is a horse that cannot maintain very well – Val either goes forwards or backwards in training. Jason got on and rode him for most of the time and put me on right at the very end to cool him out. Sometimes I don’t mind not having to do the tough rides all by myself. We talked over our training plan for the summer and tentatively the next two weeks are going to be spent really working on the core issues in the training pyramid instead of the movements themselves. We are trying to improve his trot but because I am not comfortable riding him there just yet and I haven’t always asked for that much both he and I cannot maintain it through the movements themselves yet. The focus is going to be submission, cadence, elasticity, and bend – all concepts that I have a love/hate relationship with.

The 2nd was my 18th birthday (WooHoo!) and I got to get up at 7am to make the hour + drive over to the new barn (WooHoo! … not). I got wished a happy birthday and then was promptly told to drop my stirrups for the lesson. Thanks Boss! We worked on really making him honest in the connection and shorter in the body. Some of the exercises were that of haunches-in and shoulder-in on the circle, both in the correct direction and not. Val was really not amused by it and I have to say rearing without stirrups while your trainer comes at you with a whip because your horse is not forward enough – it’s a life changing experience. But as you can all see I did successfully make it to 18 and a day so survival occurred! By the end he really made progress and was coming through nicely, and I felt like I was sitting a whole lot better as well. I doubt I am going to be seeing those stirrups anytime soon. I ended up riding three horses by the end of my birthday and was exhausted afterwards. Note to self: don’t ever ride a horse in a double bridle without gloves unless you want to experience carpal tunnel – pain occurs!

Today I rode by myself and Val was fantastic! I worked on transitions within the gaits and making him really honest in the connection working towards and on the bit. We school pirouette canter today with haunches-in on the circle and transitions from the walk haunches-in to the canter haunches-in – a really hard exercise! He had a real break through moment today even though he wasn’t so sure he liked the exercise to begin with. I really pushed him collected past the point where he is comfortable and he came back onto the spot and kept super active through the hind legs, correct canter rhythm and all. We did a few nice uphill flying changes out of his canter as well. For the trot work my focus was creating his beautiful cadenced trot and being able to ride it at all times. To get him to the proper elevation I really have to half halt with my upper leg and core and allow him to find his carriage through a sympathetic hand – not something I have been doing for very long. I really enjoy being able to ride by myself though because it gives me a chance to problem solve and work through things testing what works and what doesn’t. He had some super extensions today and by the end was “fancy” trotting through the shoulder-ins even! A lot of progress for a couple of days!

Back up bright and early tomorrow morning – I will try to keep the updates coming as quick as possible but it will probably be a couple of days in between. :D Thanks to all my lovely readers out there – hope you riding adventures are going great too!

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