Sunday, January 27, 2013


Okay, so had our lesson. It was really, really good. Kieran was a total superstar. Mostly what we had set up was a jump we were using in the center of the ring. It started out as your basic crossrail with a ground pole on either side set out about 6-12 inches to make it look wider so Kieran couldn't come right up to the base of it and hop over. The jump progressively grew taller and wider, until we were going over about 2'6" high and about that wide as well.

Jessica wanted to do 'wide' to encourage Kieran to stretch out and also so we'd have a bit more 'airtime' so I could have more time to work on my position. Which. Still needs a lot to be desired, I realize, but I see improvement in it even from last week. I think my ride yesterday helped with that and I think in general riding more often will help. Mostly I just tried to remember: weight in heels, calf on, look up!

Also, I'd forgotten my crop in the tack room so Jessica said she'd go back and get it if Kieran got lazy. Well let me just say, he was anything but. He was totally down with the lesson today and rarin' to go. It was really great and I think it helped me since it was one less thing I had to think about keeping track of and let me concentrate more on my legs and less on my hands.

So anyway, below are some screencaps and below that are some videos from today.

One of our first jumps. Look how nice he's going! And remember, most of these he's jumping from a trot and he still looks really good!

This is one that shows how much my form needs work but my actual point here is...this is one we trotted into. Look how nicely he brought his hind legs together, look how he's pulled his knees up!

Seriously, this horse is amazing.

Cantering away like a boss. ;)

Afterward he got an extra-special bran mash as a treat.

I believe this is the one we were actually on the wrong lead the whole time and I remember thinking, "I think he's on the wrong lead" but since he felt pretty balanced and I didn't want to screw up his forward momentum, I didn't want to take him back down to a trot for a simple change.

Just figured we'd hop over some of the other low stuff so we weren't doing the entirely same thing every time.

Last one of the day, figured it was a good note to end on.

Anyway, the title is because, well...Kieran was pretty damn consistent the whole time. Willing to listen and just...jumping pretty nicely over everything I asked him to do. I'm really, really happy with him. I just need to catch up now!

Oh no, I'm getting old!

I have a lesson later this morning I will probably post about tonight but first...

I just realized, the blog is "the trials and jubilations of a twenty-something re-rider" on my signature line in various forums I'm in. That made total sense when I started it several years ago. But. Uhm. I'm 29. So in about eight months I guess it will have to be a "thirty-something" re-rider. Or maybe I should just come up with an entirely different line for that since after riding for several years, should I still be referring to myself as a re-rider? Even if I'm still not a great rider?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Yay, trails!

Had my first trail ride of the year today. Took Kieran out on the trails and it was nice to see they'd been through and cleared them out and everything was nice and open, though the footing wasn't packed down again yet so it was actually a little deepish. (I don't know if the neighbors who own that land dragged it with four wheelers or what. They definitely had been doing some brush burning though as all the brush was cleared out between the trees and there was ash on the ground).

Anyway, we were out for about an hour, mostly walking, but some nice long trots too. I was focusing on keeping my weight in my heels and my calf on and doing two point by closing my hip instead of throwing myself forward (it helped that I reminded myself we were out on the trails and if he tripped or something and I was too far forward, I'd probably come off right over his shoulder, hah).

Did have a nice canter up the hill that's on the way back to the house, then I made Kieran walk back down it and trot up it nicely. It's the only hill of any reasonable size in the area so I figure we should start using it for fitness. I'm sure Kieran will not approve when it's so close to the farm and why can't we just go back, mom?

Then spent a while grooming, got his tail all nice and brushed out and pretty, then let him graze in the arena while I cleaned up my tack. Also mended a couple of jump poles some previous boarder had left (a 2x4 with some lattice stuck to one side, the lattice was falling down so I wrapped some duct tape around it for my ghetto mending) so we can use them for making the jumps more interesting than just the regular poles.

Have a lesson tomorrow!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Jumping again

So had a jumping lesson, my last lesson two weeks ago was entirely on the flat (I forgot to post about it) because I was having a lot of medical things happening at the time and didn't want to stress stuff. But now I more or less have things under control so I told Jessica we could probably go back to jumping again and she said we'd start lower than we were doing since Kieran pretty well knows his job now (go over the jump, don't go through it or around it) and focus back on me and my position instead of just "keep out of his way".

Which, apparently when I start thinking about what I'm doing instead of just doing it's pretty terrible. There's one picture that I'm not going to share here but I basically am laying practically totally horizontal over Kieran, I'm not even sure how I managed to get back in the saddle afterward (go me?) but it was pretty fail.

Mostly though, it was a lot of "throwing myself forward" (because we were talking about crest releases and getting my elbows down near his neck which apparently translated in my subconscious to "throw yourself forward!") up onto his neck and standing in the stirrups. :/ Are there any sort of exercises you can do to get the muscle memory built up for "get out of the saddle but stick your butt out so you're actually balanced over the saddle"? Or is that just a "do it for a while going around and around in the ring" thing?

Also I noticed when I really think hard about pushing my heels down and getting out of the saddle...I actually push my feet outward so my calf is no longer on the horse. I sort of noticed it in the past, but it was really apparent today for some reason and I'm not entirely sure how to fix that either, except to think inward thoughts. :/

Anyway, here are some screencaps:

An example of what I'm talking about.

He gave me a nice forward trot today though. I told Jessica it was a nice hunter-y trot. Forward but not too big.

Not bad, even though we're taking off a bit long.

Hovering between ground poles!

I just think he looks good here.

Anyway, what I ended up saying about this lesson was how exceptionally agreeable he was. I mean, he usually is, but sometimes he sort of gets into a "no, I know how to do this, not listening to you" frame of mind. Today it was like, "listening to everything you say, even the wrong stuff!" which was actually nice because we were on the same wavelength but embarrassing when I came off a jump and was thinking about how we had to turn to the left but needed to go straight for a couple more strides and he started going left because that's what my body was telling him to do. Oops.

Anyway, I want to go out tomorrow and just ride around the farm and not do 'work' but get out anyway. And practice doing two point where I'm not standing in the stirrups.