Thursday, February 12, 2015

Blogging at 1 AM...Because.

I simply cannot sleep.  This whole eating food and drinking water thing I have been doing makes me energetic, Whoda' Thunk?  Instead now I am excessively playing World of Warcraft and YouTubing dressage lessons.

So lesson recap!  Also titled "OMFG! SQUEE!".

I arrived to the barn nervously, pulled out my best jockey charm (It is a thing) and greeted Mr. McGrath enthusiastically.  He had just finished working with the resident Friesian and I swiftly tacked up a very unhappy Lux.  He didn't get to go outside and play because the trainer was coming.

It started out rough.  Beastie threw his head up and around and fell into corners, tried to rush and use his most ungraceful, full speed paces.  Yet, alas, after about 10 minutes magic happened.  Ken called out kind, and not crazy-nazi-dressage-guy-like, commands.  Beastie's head fell and he started reaching for the bridle gently.  Now racehorses do this as well but when they do they usually are looking to pick a fight or bait their rider into picking up the bridle, which gives them an excuse to take off with you.  It was nerve wracking for me too because I typically avoid this, if a horse reaches into my hands I retreat like "Ohhhhhh, No Buddy! I ain't falling for that one!".So as I followed orders and Lux slowly starting dropping his head and trying to find contact I bailed out the other way.  I had to tell myself that this was what we wanted and eventually I relaxed too.

We managed to slow down our trot to a casual jog in a hunter-esque frame, which I was told was a good starting point with a thoroughbred who has the tendency to carry his head really high.  Beastie also got a compliment, we were told he had a great build and carriage for a dressage horse!  Something about his neck, which I'll ask about later when I'm not so terrified of the man.

We also attempted a canter, which was messy because he is a wee bit fresh considering we live in Polar Vortex central and I don't ride ANYTHING if it's below 0 degrees, paid or not, Got a problem with that? Suck it.  FYI, I actually have told trainers that in the past...

ANYWHO...messy canter.  We did a Mach 5 20 meter circle (circle-like shape, whatever).  Seriously.  Ken casually and calmly asked me to slow it down as I almost ran him down two or three times.  Eventually beastie chilled and even though we had some lead confusion he settled into it and came around quick.  Seriously quick, in one lesson we came SO far.

Both of us.  I'm so proud of the sucker though, he really tried and was so patient even when I became confused.  We do have a journey ahead of us but regardless we are headed in the right direction!  DIB or Mom might be coming with next week, so pictures then!  I'd love everyone to review some and tell me what you think.  Until then...

Peace, Love, & Ponies.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I fail as a Blogger.

So, yeah, I know I have not posted in a minute or two but with good reason.  First and foremost I have been sick, secondly I am now working as a bartender, and finally the morbid part, depression.  Yes, I know, no one wants to see, hear, and/or think about that but it happens.  I went from pursuing my biggest dream to knowing it was finally and truly over.  It takes a bit to get over, ya' know?

I have new dreams now.  The kind that resided in my subconscious for ages but were smothered by the whole "I AM GOING TO WIN THE DERBY.  END OF STORY." thing.  One of those dreams is writing novels and another is showing (I'm competitive, in case you haven't noticed).

I finally am starting to be able to ride again, I even cantered! Kind of, Beastie knows three gaits: Walk, Trot, FAST!  I also am mostly familiar with these so a 12 clip (12 seconds per 1/8 of a mile, AKA 1:16 mile***See end of post) around an indoor is not as terrifying to me.  So we've been having momentary issues with that.

Alas! We have managed to get the chance to work with Ken McGrath!  After several recommendations I made the call and tomorrow at 1:00 PM Beastie and I have our first session with a dressage trainer.  I've been YouTube-ing lessons for too long and I definitely need direction now.  So far we have managed to slow down to a collected trot, build a TEENY bit of top line and put our head down, almost manage a turn on the forehand, and reduced our egg-shaped lunge line episodes to one of lesser speed and an almost round shape.

We have also both been eating like we will never be fed again (IE: We're fat).

I'm really looking forward to tomorrow, like really, really, really.  Will post pictures and a thorough report ASAP.

***12 Clip: A 12 clip is a 12 second 1/8th of a mile and a standard breeze/work pace for capable animals.  Some horses can go significantly faster, up to 9 seconds for an 1/8, but in races you typically run a 12-ish time until the stretch, where you go a bit faster (ideally).  A standard riding horse canter or lope runs at about a 25 clip.  In racing many jockeys and exercise riders can tell how fast they are going down to a fraction of a second which can make or break a race for everyone.  If I ever had one thing going for me, it was that my timing was impeccable.  You want me to go a half of a mile in 48? I could do it without being more than a half of a second off.