Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pony Rides!

A friend of mine flew in from Texas yesterday and I ended up dragging her to the barn with me for my lesson. Poor thing isn't used to the cold, but she thinks Kieran is pretty.

Yesterday's lesson was a lot more about working on Kieran than working on me. Lots of circles, weaving through cones, and trotting over poles. And then, with just a few minutes to go, Christina says, "are your legs tired yet?" and I say, "almost" and she says, "well if they're not tired yet, I want you to drop your stirrups."

Apparently, the look on my face was priceless.

But I dropped my stirrups and did my damnedest to post without them around the ring and over the poles.

And then we were done and I asked my friend, "you want a pony ride?" So we got her (in a helmet!) and mounted up on Kieran and cooled him out (not that he even broke a sweat) walking her around the ring.

Apparently it was her first time on a horse since she was a kid and first time ever in an English saddle. And Kieran just plodded around the ring with me. (he always looks confused when I get off him and someone else gets on, LOL). :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

General Stuff

Got up to see the pony on Saturday. Was worried he might be a bit sore since the ground finally froze (of course it's since rained so I imagine it's muddy again...until it freezes again). Spent a lot of time just grooming him and getting him looking almost actually clean, even his fetlocks! Then we went into the ring and I hopped on bareback and Mr.Sometimes-I-forget-how-to-stand-for-mounting stood like a statue. It was, actually, the easiest mount bareback I think I've ever done, even the ones when I was a kid and mounting a much smaller horse. Maybe all the balance work I've been doing with Christina is paying off. ;)

Anyway, we mostly walked around with a bit of trotting and lots of breaks just to stand around and look pretty. (The best part about sitting on a horse bareback in winter is how WARM they are!) Then we went for a quick trot up the driveway and walk back down and we were done!

I sent off a quick email to Christine today to see if maybe she'd show me how to ground drive him. I think it'd be good experience for him (and I've never done it) and it certainly can't hurt to teach him and might be a good option for something to do on days when riding just isn't going to work for whatever reason. I'd love to eventually be able to hitch him up to a cart and take him for a sping around the neighborhood, I bet he'd look pretty flashy. ;)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

And the pain continues!

Tonight Christina got out the lunge line and I rode for most of the lesson with no reins. We did some work on asking Kieran to stop/slow when I took a deep breath and tightened my abdominal muscles and sat deep in the seat. For that we needed a bit of rein at the beginning but then he got the idea.

We also did posting trot with my hands out to my sides, half seat, and sitting trot. Look ma, no hands! We did several other balance exercises but the one that I thought was the most interesting (as well as the one that made me say to Kieran, "I'm glad you're such a good pony!") was right at the beginning and near the end of the lesson Christina had me pull my feet up so my knees were basically pointing to the ground and my feet were up closer to the top of his back. This really made me use myself for balancing on him and made me really sit in the center of my seat instead of tilting forward or back. I felt like it was stretching me out too (despite having my legs bent). And yes, Kieran was very good for me doing this. We only did it at the walk. I'm not sure I could sit his trot like that. ;)

Christina also had me drop my stirrups and go without for a while. Managed to half-seat all the way around the ring with no stirrups. Not sure how I did it but yay! :)

I also had to remind myself at one point that I was paying for the privilege of being tortured like this. ;) I imagine I'll have to do the same next week.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Gratuitous Picture Post

Kieran's new Pink Equine bridle. He doesn't look impressed.

Core exercises

No cantering tonight. Probably a good thing. I told Christina after that I was glad we didn't, and I'd been thinking of asking if we could back off that for a while until I work on my own core strength and give him some more miles. I don't want to get him in the habit of running into a canter or thinking he can just trot faster instead of moving up to the next gear and I figure we'll both be better for more work at the other gaits first.

In the meantime, I can still work him with lunging and get him used to listening to a command for canter and then when we try it under saddle again, I can use that command along with the proper cue. I think that will help.

Instead we did lots of trotting and mostly worked on me. What did that entail? First, she had me stand straight up in the stirrups, then move down into two point (without sitting again), then keep my calf on and use my core to lower my chest as close to his neck as I can without falling in on myself. Then move back up to two point, then back to standing the stirrups. Ad nauseum.


And then right at the end she had me half-seat without stirrups for one lap around the ring.


But a good kind of ow. :)

Oh, and the exercise we did that was more for him than me was trotting over poles laid out in an "M" shape. The idea was he couldn't just go straight over the poles (like he would with ones laid parallel to one another) but had to pay attention to where his feet were going and adjust his stride accordingly.

The first couple times over were pretty hilarious, but it only too two or three times and he had it figured out. :)