I blame it on... well, everything. Between jamming in every possible lesson with Trainer before his departure to Florida, then the Holidaze, along with the general fact that the winter season automatically equals a lot of travel for me, I have not really been in a position to have much for spare time. So I will try to make this post something that is NOT an entire novel, which is not something I'm very good at, and will just do a brief glossing over of what's been up.
First things first, Trainer is now off in the Land of the Fancy in Wellington. I have tentative plans to go down and
Plus? There is the possibility - however slim - that I might, maybe, possibly, hopefully, fingers crossed could be shopping for a horse. Which would be amazing. Tigger, my dressage pony, was vetted earlier this week and vetted very well. We are just waiting on the potential buyer's vet (who is, OF COURSE, on vacation) to review the x-rays and report and, fingers crossed, may actually sell a horse. If that happens, I'm not sure exactly how fast the process goes from riding Mr. Riley Roo to finding a new pony. It's time to move on, and I know that, but I also love that damn horse so much. There's also the whole thing about Trainer being in Florida. I like the New Assistant, and certainly don't take any issue with her (unlike the ex-Assistant) but she hasn't known me very long and has given me a total of, like, eight lessons. I'm infinitely more comfortable having Trainer go horse shopping with me.... plus I know he's a straight shooter and won't BS. In short, I trust him, and want him to find my next poneek!
Lessons prior to Trainer whizzing off for warmer climes were pretty interesting, to put it mildly. I last posted about jumping Giant Jumps, which is a memory I will treasure for an exceedingly long time. Ever since then jumping has only gotten easier. Trainer really stresses RHYTHM, RHYTHM, RHYTHM and ALWAYS PRACTICE THE RHYTHM and getting that perfect, medium canter is just so key. I practice it on all the horses I ride, flat and jumping and try pretty hard to get my horses responding off my leg well into their transitions, which also makes a huge difference. Between the rhythm, then adjusting the gaits on my horses, adjusting their footfalls to their body types (each horse has a different "perfect" trot rhythm, for example, that gets them stepping properly in their footfalls and not widening behind or forging) and working on keeping a bendy, pliable, giving elbow, things have been going well. Personalized lessons from Trainer included an entire lesson spent dissecting the finer points of the elbow's motion in each gait, a lesson on the automatic release (which I was then expected to do every single time thereafter... and the fact that I can actually do it, and am expected to do it, and that Trainer thought I was *good enough* to do it more than slightly blows my mind), an entire lesson of two-pointing without stirrups in which I almost died (and then had to ride THREE HORSES after, which yielded another impromptu no stirrups lesson - I hated him so much that day) and various other fun and amusing things including standing up on one's horse and jumping off for fun and yolo ("if your 'orse decide to take off, I am not going to hold heem back, hee hee, so you better jomp quick.") Have I mentioned how much I love this barn? And how fun we are? And how unbelievably fortunate we are?
Lessons with the Assistant are slightly more subdued but can still be pretty amusing. She's super laid back, but if you're dicking around she gets on your tail fast. She's also big on no stirrups and the mechanical jump rider - which is not to say she doesn't want you thinking or anything like that, but that she wants you automatically doing things that you've practiced and practiced and know your horse's stride length well enough to accomplish. So there's a lot of lines, adjusting in lines (7 stride or 8 stride, for instance), short turns, long approaches and combinations, and she wants you to go get the jumps. All stuff we'll for sure see in the show ring. It's really interesting, because I'm starting to see that she and Trainer complement each other pretty well. She's mechanical and goes off counting strides and really having that back end knowledge of mechanics, knowing your horse's stride length, adjusting that way, etc. and Trainer is definitely much more... hm, creative when it comes to jumping and teaching. Trainer is mildly fond of telling me about how he didn't even know how to count strides until he got to the 1.60m level and suddenly figured out he couldn't just ride off his eye all the time because it might get him in trouble from time to time. Jeeezzzz, to be that talented!
I'm going to try to do some detailed lesson write-ups; I had one all ready to go, then it required heavy editing, which I never really got around to doing. So maybe soon....
In other news, it's now been almost two weeks since I've seen Riley's shining face, and I really, really, really miss him! I'm definitely having Pony Withdrawal. :( I don't know how people live without horses, I really don't.