Fuck, you guys, I missed you.
So much has happened since I last wrote OVER A YEAR AGO. Here’s the super condensed run down.
- We ran a whole season at Training Level. A couple shows were good, but most were shit for various reasons
- I hurt my back, badly, in a fall schooling, which I still feel the repercussions of occasionally.
- Like so many people, I dealt with a shit ton of pandemic-[partially induced]-mental health issues. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my friends in the process. If I’m honest, I believe much of this anxiety was somewhat responsible for those shit shows mentioned above.
Anyways. Here we are, basically April. I had my first dressage lesson with longtime trainer E in roughly 6 months, and it made me realize how much journaling my takeaways was helpful in the blog. But I also miss the community. What a wealth of knowledge, support, and friendship the blogging community is! And I miss writing. It’s cathartic to spend [even more] time talking about my passion and writing f-bombs like it’s my job.
Oh, I should also mention that I got COVID. And between that, Jack getting hock injections and then an abscess, we ended up having about 6-7 weeks off. So our current state is building up his fitness (because asthma) and getting strong. We’re also planning to do showjumping bootcamp before I sign up for another recognized show, and my trainer has recommended a pure SJ rider she worked with when competing at the 5* that I’m going to try and work with over the next couple months.
So. we’ve been going back and doing some homework. Focusing on fundamentals like straightness, along with me working on my position (isn’t it amazing that when you ride better the horse goes better? revolutionary, I know), being even on both sides of his body, being soft through transitions, and his general shape over fences.
In the process of working on this, I’ve become hyper aware of my right shoulder’s insistency on coming forward, no matter which direction. And it is SO FREAKING HARD to keep it back. It feels like I am contorting my body in the worst sort of pretzel trying to keep it in position.
One of the exercises that E had my do tonight included twisting my shoulders to the rhythm of his gait. Unlike the gif below, obviously I had both hands on the reins and wasn’t yanking his mouth when doing it. But the effect was trifold- doing it to the inside/outside in both directions loosened up my torso, actually made me sit deeper with a less-hollow back, and solved my issue with the left shoulder. So that’s a win-win-win in that case.
The other thing that I’ve been trying to work on has been my busy hands. I’ve asked forums and done some research (read: Google) and have been riding with a dressage whip in both hands to keep them steady, but have found it a bit difficult when Jack comes above the bit. So in my lesson E had me put my left rein through the bucking strap (left hand is busier than the right) which “handcuffed” me to keeping that hand in one position. I could make small adjustments, but nothing dramatic. This helped both Jack and myself, since I was forced to be quiet with my hand and Jack had to figure out how to reach into that connection without me micromanaging every little bobble (hence the normal busy-ness). Once we both figured that out, we put the right rein under the strap as well- so both my hands were forced to be steady and very close together. It was pretty mind blowing actually once we both understood the challenge
So that’s our latest. Our show season is a bit up in the air right now, as I want to feel like we’ve got a solid chance of doing well when we go out again. Thanks to the Pivo, I also have a lot more content that I can work with, which has also been a great learning tool for me!
Here’s for being back again- please tell me how you all are doing so I can catch up!