Monday, January 25, 2010

More Clinic Pictures

Our pre-lesson cuddle routine.

Warming up

Attempting our first rein-back of the day. She was a bit rusty. It looked better by the end of the day though!

Instructions from Wolfgang. Greta liked to suck up to him when we stopped and she kept getting more and more nuzzly. After about the third stop, she actually nuzzled Wolfgang, just a sweet short one, and he patted her and called her a sweet girl. Greta makes friends wherever she goes!

After our cool down. We stopped and Greta stretched her head.

All in all about ten pictures were taken. I prefer video anyway because you can really see things in action. You may have looked awesome in video but just the wrong second in a snapshot and you can look, well... not awesome.

Thursday night lessons went very well, we did a lot of serpentines and a funky teardrop-shaped routine. The routine was very difficult going to the left because, even though that scary board on the ground was taken away, now there's a HORSEATING RAKE there! It's always been there, but Greta's iffy about that corner. Perhaps it's the scary sheep or compost pile and wheelbarrows just around it. And there used to be a horse in a stall behind that wall that liked to kick with his gigantic Percheron hooves at the pony next to him. But that never bothered Greta. It always startled me though!

Anyway... going to the left meant Greta had to be round in that corner, NOT looking at horse-eating whatever-the-heck's-it-is. That took a lot of effort, which means I did some crappy seat compromising. Instructor kept saying "push her into the corner with your hip!" At the walk, sure can do. At the posting trot, no can do. That probably meant I wasn't really doing it right at the walk either!

At the walk I just needed to apply a bit of inside leg and it worked. I thought Greta got pretty round. At the trot, because she wouldn't listen to just my inside leg, I pushed harder with it, which meant I used my outside hip to try and squeeze my inside leg to her side. That didn't work, so in a desperate attempt to get her round I began to use my inside rein more. Poor Greta was confused, so she kept making this wonky dip away from the corner. I thought it was just her fear of the corner. Once again, the instructor kept saying "use you're inside hip!" And I was now thinking "easier said than done." But little did I realize that I was doing it WRONG! I was moving my seat around, sitting crooked in the saddle. I was not using the entirety of my upper body.

Once she realized that I was NOT figuring this, she explained to me to use my ENTIRE upper body. My seat must stay straight in the saddle, and by using my upper body and abdomen I can manipulate my pelvic bones. We did a run through one more time, and this time we really studied. I just couldn't get the concept of entire upper body down, I stopped using body aids once I hit my abdomen. My instructor told me to shift my outside shoulder in the direction I wanted Greta to follow. This in turn moved my entire upper body while still keeping my seat bones straight but making my inside hip put pressure, and also allowing my outside rein to help Greta better follow where I wanted her to go. We gave this a shot and: beautiful corners! Another major tip in my dressage book.

Oh wait, was I using my inside hip and now I'm using my outside hip? Jeez, that's great that I've forgotten the technicalities! I just remember the shoulder shifting and that puts my body in the position it's supposed to be. My instructor would be ashamed haha!

Yesterday I rode Greta bareback for the first time in a long time. That last time I had just gotten her so she was still a bit ribby and hot (of course that hotness could have also been because she was getting alfalfa twice a day. What I wish I'd known then....) so riding her was like riding a wooden rollercoaster: bumpy, painful, and fast :)

Greta was getting a little ribby again this winter, as I mentioned in some other posts, so we started her on a cup of Empower (a really good rice bran with lots of extra minerals) twice a day.

When I went out yesterday, she saw me from a distance and riased her head with perked ears and watched me as I climbed through the fence, then I waved to her, she let out this long whicker like "hey buddy!" and proceeded to graze, her ears still perked up at me. I was flattered. When I saw her from a distance in the pasture, she looked more fleshy than usual. I felt her to make sure it wasn't just her winter coat, but no, she definitely felt fleshier. Awesome, the Empower is working! She let me ride her bareback up to the gate, and then nuzzled for treats when I got off. Of course I had some.

I trimmed her for the first time in the barn (muzzle, ears, fetlocks, coronary band, jawline, throatlatch, and the back of her hind cannons where she gets this funky strip of hair that likes to stick out behind her like fringes on chaps, it's hard to describe) and she was super about it. I did the whole introducing-her-to-the-clippers routine, but she apparently has been well-aquainted with them. She didn't even lip them when I did her muzzle, but she did feel compelled to smack her jaw a bit like she was chewing on something when I did her jawline! And when I trimmed her right ear, that just felt like the best thing ever because she was lowering her head and trying to push it into me! She was absolutely adorable! I told her that she usually looks beautiful, but now she looked more refined, more beautiful than usual. Greta never looks ugly in my mind :)

Oh yeah, I rode her bareback haha! Just her bridle and wraps and we walked around, did some rein backs and I did my sitting trot. Greta really raised her spine up beneath me and reached for the bit at the trot, I tucked my pelvis in to try and ease the bumpiness, which subsided with the trot improvement. We didn't canter, because my bony butt was still hitting her bony back and, er... prominent withers (btw she did a very abrupt walk-transition once and from the way I landed it felt like I might not be able to ever reproduce! Not like I'm worried about that at my age!) But all in all it was just a fun little workout and she did awesome.

Did I mention I love my horse?

Also, check out these two awesome British Eventers! I can see whatever-the-British-version-of-Young-Riders in their future, heck Rolex or Burghley Horse Trials even! Chloe Hall with Al Pacino aka Pepo (YouTube channel) and Katherine Begley with Bourne Belvedere aka Belvedere (YouTube channel has a link to her website). It's always awesome to see some up-and-coming riders. They might be next generation's Phillipa Grant or David O'Conner or Debbie Macdonald.


  1. Yay pictures! Only thing I'd say about the next clinc: white saddle pad and pull that mane!! XD

  2. You will be pleased with the rice bran. It makes their coats nice and shiny too. We also use Empower.
    I've been invited to ride in a Walter Zettl clinic in April.... World renowned Walter. Oh God. I may wait till next summer but since he is in his early 80's....
    I KNOW I'll be the least experienced one there, but to ride with him would be infinitely SWEET!

  3. lol yes I am dying to pull her mane! I just have no idea how. I trimmed her up the other day, but I've done other horses before so that was okay. I've just never pulled a mane before. You are allowed to use black saddle pads in shows and what-not, and honestly a white saddle pad on a white horse looks.... off? Perhaps a black one with white piping? That would look so much more professional. I'm a noob, give me a break lol

    Walter Zettl is awesome. I've read articles by him in Dressage Today and his advice helped a lot. It sounds like it'll be a neat experience to ride with him!

  4. Your horse is cute. And hey, at least she puts her head DOWN in rein-back! Sofie typically inverts.

    I'm totally fearful about riding bareback, but I did try it once with Sofie, and OMG is her back comfy! However, she doesn't really like being ridden bareback. I guess she's a fan of technology...

    I so want to ride in a clinic. Occasionally the local pony club has a clinic at my barn, so maybe someday.

  5. 不要把生命看得太嚴肅,反正我們不會活著離開。 ..................................................


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