Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Swing of Things

Weeell, sorry for not be a good blogger lately. As always, I've been extremely busy, but this broken hand is really slowing me down. EVERYthing takes longer. It's amazing how people adapt to different ways of life though. Here I am typing, using only one finger on my right hand, and I'm actually typing relatively fast. My grandpa was watching me type the other day and asked how I can type so fast. I just laughed, I mean, I was only using one finger on my right hand!!

Apparently I have won a CSDEA (Region 4's GMO) year end award... I don't know what it is yet, but quite a few people from Pferde Farm have been notified of their impending awards, so we're all going to go to the year end banquet together. That means I get my picture in the CSDEA's magazine!

Anyways, I have a few pictures for you guys... One is from my C1 rating with Sackett and the other is from the Otter Creek Fall dressage show with Grady. I look like a retard in the jumping picture, so just try and appreciate our good form and ignore my facial expression. The wall was 2'9". I will be getting a disc of pictures from my rating soon, so I'll put up lots more pictures when I get it.

In other news, Isis is at Birchbury right now for the duration of the deer hunting gun season. My dad doesn't let me ride during hunting - I always say it's not because he cares if I get shot, but because I'll scare the deer away. I always board Isis during deer hunting. To say the least, Rocky LOVES Isis. Actually alot of people do. The other day Rocky told me that I should sell Grady and just keep Isis. THAT won't happen, but she has definitely wiggled her way into a few more people's hearts. I'd been having problems with Isis fighting the bit, so when the dentists were out on Monday I asked them to check her and they filed on Isis's teeth for a good 45 minutes. It was interesting, the dentist looked and said "She has these problems, which can cause these problems when riding." I was like, "YEAH, that's EXACTLY what's happening!!" She's much improved. I can tell that she still has some throw back resistence, but it's becoming less and less.
I took a jumping lesson on Isis yesterday (she really hasn't ever jumped) and she tooled through the grid as if it was old hat. She did a 2' three bounce/one stride combo and just kind of trooped her way through, no problems, no mistakes... Then she looked as if she was board and wondering when she'd get to eat. Rocky was impressed with her amiable attitude and thinks she's a pretty stylish jumper to boot. I'd like to event Isis; I think she'd be a good event horse. Grady likes to jump and he'll be jumping for the rest of his life, but he'll never have that "can-do" attitude that makes life easy. Jumping Grady has been the best thing for my jumping ability, but I think it will be a long time coming before I'd be able to take him out and do a XC course cold. I think my new goal is to make Isis my event horse. Grady can be my dressage horse that jumps.
Speaking of Grady, he has been doing SO well lately. His attitude is getting better and better all the time. The other day I took him out and breezed him around the galloping track (Is Birchbury an equine resort or what??!!) and he went no problem, no questions asked, no spooks, no resistence. It was SO much fun.
My rides on Sackett and Julia have also been excellent. The other day I did an exercise on Sackett where I had to do a serpentine with jumps in the middle with each direction change (hard) BUT there were also skinny jumps set up along each curved part of the serpentine (crazy insane hard!). Rocky couldn't believe I actually did it. Riding Julia is so much fun. It's been so nice to ride such a well trained, sensitive upper level horse. I think Lindsay is impressed with how well we get along.
I know this is going to sound completely juvenile but... I LOVE YOU LINDSAY AND ROCKY!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Where to begin?

I have so much that I want to say... So much that I want to go into long, rambling detail about. It's been hard because long, rambling details take awhile, and I have been incredibly scrunched for time what with work, homework, and horses. Typing one handed slows down the process even more.

I can't even begin to describe how amazing last week was. Isis was over-all very good (as usual), and Sat. we went for a 45 minute, early morning gallop. You would not believe how refreshing that was, how much it cleared my head from all the jumble of the week. Isis is very careful when she goes fast, it's almost as if she's afraid I might fall off if she's too exhuberant. I have to convince her that it really is ok to gallop like a bat out of hell with me on top of her!

Grady was great too. I went out on the XC course and cantered him over hills and through the woods. He didn't spook ONCE. My lesson on Grady with Lindsay was simply amazing. We did a cool exercise where I rode a 20 m circle one way and then a 10 m circle the other in a figure 8 pattern. This was supposed to activate his inside hind more. Then we changed the exercise so that I would stop in the center of the arena on a 20 m circle and do a few steps at a time of turn on the forehand - but he HAD to stay round. If he pulled or faught (which he did) we would continue until he gave in. Then the minute he took a step relaxed and supple, I sent him on at the trot. It took several trys before he understood that the trot was IMEDIATE. Once we got this down, we moved on to transitioning down to the walk, doing a few steps of turn on the forehand in the walk, and then trotting off. Then the turns were done at the trot, which felt very cool and oddly slippery. (That's really the only word I can use to describe that!) Then we did the turns at the trot and then imediatly stepped into canter. The quality of his canter was the best it has ever been, I can't describe the feeling of weightlessness - as if we where cantering on air. Lindsay said it was by FAR the best canter she's seen from him. Why? Because his hind end was (probably for the first time) fully engaged. Not just engaged, but also lifting - It was bordering on a spiritual experience, what I would imagine flying to heaven to feel like.

I rode Julia a couple times, and that was excellent also. I had some very fluid, correct, and beautiful leg yields BOTH ways, and also had some very lovely shoulder-in work on the center line. Lindsay wont let you do shoulder-in on the rail because it's too tempting to push the haunches out rather then bring the shoulders in.

Jumping on Sackett was also awesome. My whole lesson on Friday went well from start to finish. We worked on having a more fluid two point (toes OUT, Rocky: "IT'S NOT DRESSAGE!!!") which felt MUCH better once I got it, and then we worked on stadium. I actually rode two courses, and for the first time they both felt smooth from start to finish. Usually I start out strong, and then start to bobble, and then just manage to finish the course without any major disasters. But this time it was smooth as silk the whole way through. Actually, I did have ONE bobble at a ramped oxer going into a combination. Our distance was a bit long, but what was so great about it was that I absolutely recovered right away and the very next stride after the oxer was controled and we had a great distance to the next jump.

*sigh* Everything was going so perfectly last week... But I shall ride again on Friday!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Broken Hand

This past week was a very exciting week filled with all sorts of good rides, light bulb moments, and great achievements.

Then Grady broke my hand. He broke it yesterday. I was riding and he decided to pull one of his typical stunts. He reared just a little, but snapped his head back. My hand was right where his neck was going and he crunched into it. My hand was in a fist and his neck hit my knuckles dead on. This shattered the bones in my hand that go to my pinky and forth finger. I knew it was broken right away, I heard a *pop, pop* and felt a sharp pain. I pass out easily, so I imediately just layed down on Grady's neck so I could breath and clear my head of the fuzz and ringing. THEN I decided that I didn't want Grady getting away with being naughty, so I rode with a perfectly broken hand for another 40 minutes. Remarkably, my breaks are very clean and the bones are lined up to heal well. I am getting a cast on Thursday, and the doctor said that I could probably ride after I get my cast. I'll just have to hold the reins between my first and second finger! Rocky and Lindsay will be riding Grady this week, and I *might* ride Isis since she doesn't pull dangerous and unpredictable stunts.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


YES!!! I haven't said anything on here incase it didn't happen, but I applied to work for Becky Holder down in NC this winter. And I got in!!! I'm sure it didn't hurt that there are personal connections with Birchbury, but hey, I'm in!! I am going the month of Feb. so that I won't take a huge chunk of time out of my job. I wish I could go for longer (actually, Becky said that in her last e mail to me too), but I simply can't because of my job. I hope that if there's a next time that I'll be able to go for the whole winter season.
Grady will be coming with and I will be riding him every day in lessons. This will be GREAT because I'll be able to ride him outside and won't be stuck in a box all winter! He'll also get some fairly intense jumping training, which will be really awesome.
I have to pay for Grady's "slot" at Birchbury even if he isn't there, so Isis is going to be taking his place and Rocky will be riding her a couple times a week to keep her going. It's perfect!! I am so excited!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Well, I've finally gotten around to reading the Twilight series. They are HUGELY popular and the whole series has been on the ten day status pretty much since they were published... Not even Harry Potter can claim that. I started the first book, Twilight, last night. And I read. And I read. And I never went to bed. The book is probably 600 pages. I finished it around 5:45 this morning and then went back and re-read some of my favorite parts. I re-re-read my favorite parts again this evening... And now I can not WAIT to read New Moon!! Thank goodness I'm going to have to wait a couple weeks for it though, or else I'd be pulling tons of all-nighters and not getting my homework done. I don't want to give away the plot to anybody who hasn't read the series yet, but take my and million's of other people's words for it - THEY'RE AWESOME!! I simply could not get enough of Edward. I had tingles running up and down my spine, and I was hyperventilating for quite a bit of it. Twilight is coming out as a movie this Nov.... And every cell in my body is planning on going to see it. As an extra plus, the actor who plays Edward (can't remember his name) is the same guy who played Cedric Diggory in the Harry Potter movies.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Got my C1

Wow, this weekend was one of the most interesting and unique weekends I think I've ever had. It brought me up to the north shore and introduced me to some very interesting people. I'm at work right now and don't have time to tell the whole story, but I'll try to get to it this week. I will have pictures as well. But to make a long story short, I got my C1 and it went very well!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

3 hour test...

Today my Pony Club DC told me that she has no doubt that I'm going to be an Olympic rider someday... She watched me jump Grady. Grady did pretty well, and by the end of the lesson he jumped his first 2'7" oxer.

Anyways, I have a three hour test to take now. I am buried in the school library and will not be resurfacing until about 8:30. Wish me luck!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Picture of Hokan

I was unable to take pictures at the clinic because of poor lighting, but today I found a picture of Hokan riding. Hokan rode one of the horses at the clinic, and it was very fun to watch. Check out the website of the barn he works at: WARNING! The main page has a video, so don't bother if you have slow internet. If you have fast internet you can see videos of him riding!

I am going to be taking my C1 Pony Club rating this sunday... It's almost 4 hours away, so I'm going to be leaving bright and early!! Wish me luck!!

Yesterday in my jumping lesson we worked on jumping single 55 gallon barrels (on their sides) to practice jumping skinnys. Since they were barrels they didn't have standards, and it was is HARD!! It was raining, so I rode in the indoor (Of course, the weather was beautiful once I got to work). At the end of the lesson I jumped a single oxer to work on height for my rating. I jumped it at 2'9" a couple times (the height required for the rating) and then Rocky moved it up to 3'1". The higher jumps are actually a bit more fun because there's more thrust and air time.
This morning I rode Isis and practiced my emergancy dismounts at the trot. This is also something required for my rating. You kick your feet out of your irons, put your hands on the horse's withers and swing off quickly. I was SUPPOSED to practice coming off at the trot, but Isis - being the wonderful, considerate mare that she is - realized that I was trying to get off, so she stopped each time I dismounted. This made dismounting considerably easier, but also defeated the purpose of the exercise. It was incredibly adorable!! I gave her big hugs and kisses for being so considerate.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hokan Thorn Clinic

This weekend I rode Grady in a clinic with Hokan Thorn. He came to Lindsay's barn... It was great!! Hokan is a Swedish rider who went through the German training system. He has ridden 12 horses to Grand Prix and 26 to Prix St. George.

Grady was well behaved, so we were able to really work. One of the main issues Hokan worked on with me was my tendency to hold my right hand too high and stiff. I learned that if I carried my hand a few inches lower and played more with my hand - always thinking of suppling - that Grady was much better and VERY steady in the contact. We also concentrated on keeping Grady's neck a bit longer. With those issues addressed and being improved on, we moved on to working on circles, straight lines, leg-yields, canter transitions, and simple changes... Basically always in shoulder-fore. Almost every movement that we did was done in shoulder-fore, which actually helped alot! I was very happy; it was nice to hear a rider so incredibly accomplished say "good! very good!" He was extremely encouraging.

Grady was TIRED by the end. He slept over at Lindsay's and he was just standing in his stall looking glassy eyed and exhausted. The next day I could tell that he was quite tired during my ride. He was a little grumpy, but over all our work was actually better. We more or less picked up right where we left off and we began working on more shoulder-fore and circles. Then we worked on more leg yields (the leg yield work was very good by the way). Hokan said that one of his favorite exercises is to turn down the center line, say on a right hand turn, and then leg yield right and vice versa. Hokan said that this establishes a steady connection on both reins. Grady was working so well that it really wasn't difficult, and we even leg yielded in shoudler-fore! Then we worked on our canter transitions and simple changes, and then we worked on half-halting in the canter to bring him back and collect him more. That was AWESOME. After a couple trys Grady would come back into a beautiful, floaty canter that sent tingles down my spine. I have never ridden that fabulous of a canter on Grady before... I'm not sure if I've ridden that kind of canter on ANY horse! Then we worked on doing shoulder-in before going across the short diagnol in lengthened trot. The shoulder-in got the inside hind leg activated so that he was ready to push when we turned off the wall to go forward. This greatly improved the quality of his lengthening. Absolutely all the trot was sitting after our warm-ups.

The other riders all had a successful clinic experience too... It was great! I would highly recomend him to anyone, both for riding with or auditing. It was so much fun to watch other riders and absolutely and visibily see changes in the quality of their work!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Flying Changes on Grady

Check out this web page about Lindsay...,%20medal_equestrian_foundation.htm

I have been very busy trying to catch up with school. Last week I did the minimum amount of homework that I could get away with so that I wouldn't have to worry about it during the show... I pushed all of my 2 week projects to this week, so I've been very busy!!

On Monday I had a jumping lesson on Sackett and that went pretty well, but it was hard. We worked on jumping on angles and after sharp turns. It was pretty hectic and not that smooth, but it got more organized towards the end.

Tuesday morning it was POURING out. I decided that I wanted to ride anyways, so I rode Isis around the field. She was excellent and I had a good ride. My underwear got soaked though.

This morning I rode Isis again and she was brilliant. Positively excellent. I had been having some issues with her last week. Let me tell you, I can tell a difference in my riding when Lindsay has been coaching me alot. Last week she coached me four days in a row with the show. She made me very aware of my hand position, because I tend to let the reins go too long and hold my hands too close to my body. She has been trying to get me to shorten my reins and hold my hands out in front of me. I think I finally got the message and it has made a HUGE difference in Isis!! It puts you in just the right spot to play with the reins and get the horse to soften without pulling. Lindsay is a model of that hand position!!

Today I jumped Grady. We were in the indoor because of all the rain... Grady really doesn't like the indoor, but when he's jumping he more or less forgets about his issues. We actually worked on flying changes over ground poles and HE GOT THEM! Like, right away. Like, it wasn't even a challenge to get him to do them. We did serpentines and figure eights with flying changes and he did them clean almost every time. It was very encouraging to do something inherently difficult but have it not be difficult at all. I guess Grady just does them naturally!! Rocky eventually built the jumps up higher so that by the end they were roughly 2 feet. Rocky got on him at the end and did the exercise a couple times so that I could see his jump. He's got a SUPER jump!! I'll have to get pictures of her jumping him sometime.