Saturday, October 4, 2014

September recap, October goals

Where did September go?!

September goals:
- Continue to add canter as comfort allows, making sure it's a polite canter and not a running-away canter.  Mission accomplished!*
- Rasp hooves weekly to make sure boots fit for our early October ride.  Kinda weekly?  They are getting rasped, though.
- Acquire clippers.  Clip 'Fetti's neck shortly prior to October ride.  Clippers acquired and charged.  I'll wash her neck this weekend and clip that same day, no sense ruining new clippers on a dirty horse.
- School 'standing still while mounting' more.  Still working on that.  It's been better, but not fixed.
Total mileage: 102.1.  We're still comfortably averaging about 25 miles/week and that feels good for now.  This month was a lot of shorter rides (6 rides under 3 miles) with two days of 15+ miles.

I've been pretty awful about progress-blogging lately, despite the fact that things keep happening.  Good news: the non-horse stress is starting to die down some to a manageable level.  That should leave me more able to put (more of) my head here.

*I mentioned earlier in the month about my cantering woes.  I knew I wasn't feeling quite right in the Eurolight.  Pinpointing exactly what was wrong proved difficult.  It wasn't a matter of the saddle tipping forwards/backwards substantially, and trialing with a thinner pad was going to create more headache than I was willing to deal with.  Shortening my stirrups a hole left my knees miserable within half a mile.  Taking the caged stirrups off helped some, but didn't fix it.  Finally, one day I had an epiphany: when I dropped my stirrups to walk around the barn, my feet were behind the stirrups.  Hmm..  so I shifted the stirrups back an inch or two, and poof!  Magic fix.  Magic fix also left me incredibly muscle sore everywhere from suddenly riding correctly.

I do plan to re-try the caged stirrups after Quicksilver to see if they're workable with the new stirrup position, but I'm holding off on that for the moment.

We're getting a real, balanced canter these days.  I no longer feel like she's running through me and balanced on her forehand.  I probably never mentioned it on the blog, but we tried to school the canter on and off during our first year.  It never felt fluid to me, I blamed myself, and I pretty much quit cantering after that.  It's only in the past six months that I've gotten what I call a 'hunter' canter - balanced, fluid, light, not running - and that's been both bareback and under saddle.  Sometime this past month, I mentioned that to one of my riding partners; she commented that her daughter (Fetti's previous rider) always felt strongly on the forehand and wondered if it was a pain issue.  In hindsight, I doubt it was pain.  I think Miss Fetti wasn't worked consistently and correctly enough to build the muscles for a solid canter.  Taking the better part of two years off from cantering and focusing on balanced, correct carriage at the trot?  Probably the best thing I ever did for her canter.

She still objects to cantering when I'm sitting wrong or putting her on her forehand.  That's okay and clearly my problem rather than hers!

Other, un-noted accomplishments:
- Confetti has started to pee at the tie-rail after the ride, and a few times even on the trail.  Cookies were had!  She absolutely expects her cookie reward, but right now, I am totally okay with that.
- Met two unicycles on the trail.  Totally unbothered.
- Stood very politely while a LOT of motorcycles roared by on the road not 30 feet away, even as we were unable to see any of said motorcycles and she wasn't particularly thrilled.
- Multiple bareback trail rides, one of which included a semi-racing Big Canter up a steep hill - and I found it fun and exhilarating rather than terrifying.

October goals:
- Quicksilver LD
- start working in the arena again periodically
- continue schooling 'stand while mounted'
- start schooling cleaner transitions on cue, not just on-anticipation


  1. unicycles on the trail??!? intriguing! anyway, sounds like good progress - esp at the canter. nicely done

  2. Yes! Two of them. I know I've seen another pair in the park before, too. We were too far past before I tried for a picture.. next time.
    Thank you!