Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here!

Wait, actually, my new saddle is here!!!!!

I will admit to being scared that I wouldn't like it once it arrived. I LOVED the demo I rode in, but no two saddles are alike, and I was just worried. Especially after my friend just got her custom saddle and both she and her pony hate it.

Susan and Dave from Saddles that Fit came out on Sunday to deliver it. First, props to them. They are ALWAYS on time. That is a big deal to me because being late is one of my pet peeves, so I appreciate that they always arrive when they say they will. I got Mac out and Susan checked his back and adjusted the flocking accordingly. Then I got on for a quick test ride. Mac seemed to like it - had a nice big walk, moved easily into the trot, seemed relaxed. It did feel a bit high on his back, though, like it was perched up there, so Susan pounded the flocking down a bit. She said it would be a few weeks before the flocking settled but assured me that it would.

I rode in it on Monday and still liked it. It puts my leg in a good place, there's a natural balanced place for me to sit, and it fits Mac well. At the canter, I had a big grin on my face and actually said aloud, "Well this feels nice!" There may be hope for us yet!

Today I had my lesson and Lucy likes the saddle, too. She said it is a good size for me, well-balanced, a good fit for Mac, puts me in a nice position, etc. She's really pleased with it. So now I can really start riding "proper" dressage since I have the right saddle for the job. It even felt better today than on Monday. I like having a suede seat because it shows the marks from my butt, which tells me if I'm sitting correctly or off to one side. I'm happy to say that today I was sitting even and centered!

Hopefully in the next week or so I can get Colin to get some photos and/or video.

Yay for the new saddle!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Mac jumped!

I'm sure it sounds quite silly to those who regularly jump, but Mac jumped yesterday! And it was an actual "jump," not a "bunny hop landing on all four feet" type of movement.

I had had a less-than-stellar lesson on Wednesday and was pretty down. It was one of those lessons where even just steering is difficult and I felt like a total ass. Yes, we walked; we trotted; we cantered. But we cantered sideways, we trotted almost over the arena perimeter, and we were distracted by the other person walking her horse around.

On Friday we went trail riding with our friend and that was so much fun - being on the trails always puts me in a good mood.

Yesterday I decided I would take myself less seriously and just have fun and not worry about DRESSAGE (yes, in all caps) and trying to be perfect. I went to the arena and set up some trot poles and jump standards with the idea that we'd give jumping a try again. We've "jumped" before, but it was more like the aforementioned bunny-hopping and it seemed like Mac just didn't get it.

Our walk, trot, and canter work was good. I tried a new approach with him on something and it seemed to be a good tactic. We worked on circles and just going forward into contact, wherever that may be. His canter work was actually the best yet - an actual 3-beat canter, not a "push off with both hind legs and then see what happens with the front legs" gait. I was able to get up into a light seat and have a light contact and we did a couple laps - he was really good! So I decided I'd jump. I put the poles up into a crossrail with a take-off and landing pole. I think the extra poles confused him, as he pretty much crashed through it the first time. I rolled the poles in so they were just at the base of the crossrail (on either side) and then went through again. This time I got a bunny-hop. Did it again with the same result. Then I closed my leg a bit, and he actually took off and jumped and landed in a canter and cantered away quietly!!!! (And he was on the correct lead!) Did it again to make sure it wasn't a fluke and we had the same result! So after a little break we did it going the other direction and he was equally as good so I called it a day at that. It was so much fun!

Sometimes I think I do better when I can practice on my own and I'm not totally in someone else's program. I mean, yes, I continue with lessons, but I have to experiment and find my own way of doing things that feel natural to me and get results.

Today we went for another trail ride with our friend and of course Mac was so good. So in a matter of days we went from good to bad to best. Oh, and supposedly my dressage saddle has shipped and will be here next week! Unfortunately I don't think my schedule will synch up with the fitter until the week following, but I can't wait to get it!!!!