Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Catching Up

Once again my blogging has fallen to the wayside.  Which also means I don't remember any details since I can barely remember what I ate for breakfast this morning.  So I'm just going to make a random list of some stuff I remember from the past few weeks.

-Cupid and I went to our first show since last fall.  He must have been picking up on my nerves because he was kind of tight through his body.  It wasn't great, but not a total disaster either (aside from a swapped lead and a few exuberant canter departs.)  We once again got an 8 for one of our halts, yay!  Plus I think we got the last needed score for our Regional Adult Amateur Competition this summer, so we are going to aim towards that!

Red ribbons for Valentine's Day

-We went on a trail ride, again at Wunderlich with the same pair we've been going with last fall.  My friend's mare has been doing very well her first few trail rides, but she does get nervous with wet ground or footing changes or sometimes just large objects near the ground (like stumps).  We took these two horses to a desensitization clinic, and discovered that the best way to help her through these situations is not by me riding ahead and hoping she follows, but by having Cupid stop right in/by the water/mud/scary thing and then have her come up alongside.  Discovering that in the arena has given us a very helpful tool to use on the trail!


-I've been continuing to ride with rainbow reins, and still find it very helpful.  The first few times I rode in them my hands felt tired by the end (since now I'm actually holding myself accountable for not letting them slide), but now I've come to prefer the added thickness and have ordered thicker black reins for shows.

-We've been blessed with nice weather for the most part.  Cupid's pasture is still muddy, and our outdoor arena has been closed several times, but overall it's been an easy winter so far.

The dark bay OTTB club

-I haven't had a biomechanics lessons the past few weeks, but hope to start back again soon.  I've also been having some trouble coordinating my regular lessons between my trainer's busy schedule and mine but hopefully we can work on that.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Developing Feel With Rainbow Reins

So after doing dressage almost exclusively for what, like 3 years now? I am still working on developing feel.  Unfortunately the last 3 years are pretty short compared to the rest of my riding "career" where I basically lived by the rule of don't touch the horse's mouth.  So as much as my trainer has told me to shorten my reins (and yes, I do understand that roundness doesn't come from the reins, but you do need a consistent contact which I generally lack), it never really sunk it.  So finally I resorted to good old fashioned rainbow reins.  Not just for 8 year old pony kids anymore. 😆  

It has been a huge help!  Now I know, generally in working gaits my hands should be right in between the green and pink (and no cheating with straight elbows!)  And then once I'm there, it really helps make sure I don't let the reins slide longer, which I usually do.  It still feel weird to me to be riding with that much contact, though Cupid generally does go better.  He does resist sometimes, and I think it's going to take him a little while to trust it fully since the poor guy is used to me dropping him constantly over the past 5+ years. 

So even though I thought it might be a little silly, I'm really glad I tried this.  Hopefully this will help me develop the feel and I will be able to replicate it without the colors to guide me!