Thursday, May 18, 2017

Highs and Lows

We had a little rough patch where I felt like we've been regressing since the show.  My trainer said I reverted back to my old bad habits, and I agree.  I've been dealing with a little stress, and my mind has been a little preoccupied so I haven't been as focused while riding.  But, I know this is part of the sport, especially with a younger horse.

After the show I was gone a few days for a work trip.  My trainer rode Cupid, and said the first ride (after 2 days off) he was a little distracted but they worked through it.  She rode him again the next day and said they jumped and he was great.  They did a 5 stride line and a 2 stride line, and she said after they'd gone through it Cupid was landing on the correct leads.

Thursday - I had a lesson including a bit of time on the lunge line.  I still held the reins but a little looser, so I can really focus on sitting back properly.  Cupid was super good, my trainer joked that Cupid could do beginner lessons.  Although his trot is still not very comfortable! 

Friday - We had a joint lesson with my trainer's student we sometimes ride with.  Always a fun change of pace!  Cupid was good, though I think sometimes trotted a little faster to try to catch up.  We did our warm up and flat work together, and took turns cantering.  Then we did a grid exercise, starting with a single pole, trotting in and cantering out and halting after.  Then it became a cross rail, one stride to a pole, and halt.  We ended with two cross rails and a halt.  Cupid did try cantering in front of the first jump a few times, so I tried coming in at more of a sitting trot which helped keep him from cantering.  He was good at halting.  Then after the halt, we did a canter circling around to another cross rail.  Cupid got a little quick, but overall was good.

Saturday - Cupid was a little on edge, I'm not sure why.  We rode in the arena with just one other horse, and Cupid was a little distracted and quick.  I didn't have a whole lot of time, so we walked around, then did a little leg yielding at the walk.  Then we trotted on a circle, and once I felt safe that Cupid wouldn't try anything naughty we trotted around the arena doing a lot of circles and figure eights using the jumps to help guide our route.  I mostly just wanted him to bend and pay attention.

Monday - I started riding Cupid outside the arena to warm up, and he got a little bug eyed over a pile of white boards on the ground.  We made our way to the outdoor arena where he had a hard stare at a chair outside the ring.  He was just in one of those moods where he was looking for excuses to spook!  But he was being pretty good, and was not quick.  Actually he was almost a little lazy.  We practiced riding some circles and squares, and did a short canter each direction.  Then we had to leave the arena to let the tractor come in and drag.  So we walked around outside, and then Cupid spooked at someone raking.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Tuesday - I told my trainer my last two rides weren't great.  Nothing bad, just feeling like we're a little disconnected and regressed back to where we were a few months ago.  She agreed that I was reverting back to some of my old bad habits.  Hopefully eventually sitting up straighter with my elbows bent, hands closed, and legs long will feel natural and I can do it even if my mind is elsewhere.  We ended up having a pretty good lesson, although my new problem was collapsing through my side, on the inner rib cage.  We did a good amount of sitting trot, although most of the time I think I was just hovering over the saddle not really sitting.  Our transitions between walk and trot were very good both ways, but picking up the canter from the trot was not smooth.  Cupid had one stumble (my fault I think trying to correct too hard keeping him on a 10 meter circle), but a few other times too when it felt like his hind end slipped out a little bit.  He didn't feel off, but something to keep an eye on.

Wednesday - The saddle fitter came out.  We did a fairly simple ride but I think had 5 saddle changes!  I was very happy with how patient and well behaved Cupid was.  Especially since it was in the evening, not his usual schedule and with the arena a little busier then we're used to.  (But luckily there were no naughty horses in the arena Cupid was picking up on!)  I couldn't tell that much difference between the saddles, I didn't dislike any of them.  We ended up going back to one of the first ones I had, the County Competitor.  Cupid felt a better today, but still had a few very minor stumbles.  It feels to me like he may have strained his stifles a little or possibly hocks, very minor, but just a little something.  I packed his feet just in case that was part of it.

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