Thursday, November 25, 2010

Best. Freestyle. Ever. Period.

Maybe not Ashley and Pop Art's best ride ever, but she still won!! THIS is where I want to see musical freestyles go if the dressage world EVER wants to get the more of the next generation interested. Keep it classical and for the most part traditional, definitely, but keep it fun. I love this one along with Steffen Peter's "Safety Dance" freestlye (one of my favorite 80s tunes haha!) that he (ironically) dedicated to Courtney King-Dye and that won him a bronze at the WEGs!

Plus a question for y'all: what would be YOUR dream freestyle?

I've come to the realization that Greta's gaits and personality would really do well in a freestyle with a French theme. Maybe some of the accordion music from Amelie for the canter, some Cœur de Pirate or Camille for the trot, maybe even a little bit of "Comptine D'un Autre Été" (the famous piano tune from Amelie).

Though somebody really needs to do a Bollywood freestyle. That would be beastly. It would require a horse with some energetic, elastic gaits and something a little exotic about him (or her.)

Giving Thanks...

I am thankful for pretty ponies. Well, duh.

Even MORE SO, I am thankful for:

-A wonderfully supportive family, through all my academic success and struggles, personal success and struggles (and quirks, including a long-contemplated and very recently announced diet decision.)
-The wonderful opportunities that I have been given by trainers current and past, other boarders, and a wonderful barn owner/manager (y'all know who you are!)
-A wonderful lot lot of friends at school and the barn and overseas (art buddies, barn buddies, y'all know who you are!) who are supportive of my pony quirks, even though they love to poke fun at me haha!
-Lots of puppy love from my two favorite Dals, Shadow and Belle. And Kitty love from my favorite Inky Inkspot, Kitty Kat Mafia Member Angilo, and my favorite Charlotte Cat.
-Wonderful teachers
-The fact I can use other words besides wonderful, like tremendous, amazing, extraordinary, exemplary, superb, magnificent, et fantastique!
-The fact I can watch Harry Potter 7 Part I and not be anxious because I know how it all ends :)
- All things good in this world, and all things that I know will get better, because I will do all I can to make them better.

So Happy Thanksgiving Y'ALL! And make sure you make every day Thanksgiving.

P.S. Texas University ain't got nothing on the Aggies. Just saying.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pretty Pony Posing Pictures

Well, the first week of November, I got bored on a Saturday. So, guess who got to have braiding practiced on her??

My braids were horrible, save the forelock (but that's probably because I braid it before every ride anyway if I don't put on an earnet, because if I don't do that, then her forelock will blow back behind her ears and she will shake her head the whole rider, even if I tuck it under the browband!) though thankfully a friend who does far more showing and braiding showed me how to do a button braid. Her one sample braid looked much prettier haha. I used too much hair for each braid and braided in the thread wrong, among many other things. Oh, well. Not like we're in any rush to learn how to braid!

Now check out Miss Hot Mama:

And then she got her Pony Posin' back on! Whee! And looking at this picture, I just realized what nice conformation my pony has (picture angle makes her look bent over at the knees, but she is a bit thin below the knees, always has been). A pretty pony, inside and out: something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!

Well, I got her to stand square, but she lost her lovely expression she had earlier.

Ma DIVA peu! My little DIVA!

AH! My gorgeous girl! I think this is when she saw said awesome-braider-friend's truck pull in haha! She knew hair help was on the way!!

J'aime Greta! I love Greta!

Hot stuff with her Absorbine Natural Hooflex Dressing (I find it works really well, and it doesn't have turpentine like the original Hooflex dressing.)

Now that's Greta. Awkward angle makes her look downhill, but this was more of a expression shot haha. LOOK at that FACE! :)

All in all, I think she enjoys the attention.

Pretty Pony Riding Pictures

Butt shots, as unflattering as some may find them, can tell a LOT about straightness and rider position. So that's why I like them, to a certain extent. She was stepping under herself nicely here and I'm not collapsing to the inside like I was prone to do but am now working on!


Some nice Training Level trotting, and in a straight line. Whee!

Once again, a flattering butt shot.

A nice head-on shot. Though I am leaning a bit to the inside, I'm not collapsing like I tend to do on my other side. My inside leg is back to keep her stepping under herself, while my outside thigh and rein are supporting and keeping her "straight" on the circle.

Haha! She would sometimes get quite behind the vertical as she was figuring things out, bless her. One bit of the video she has her chin practically to her chest for three trot strides! I freaked out thinking I was doing something wrong, but L just told me to push her forward and she would figure it out, and she did. Whew!

A little crooked in the saddle, but nothing I'm not working on!

My best jumping shot to date! If my stirrups were a bit shorter and I released a bit more - and the picture quality and riding attire a lot better haha - I wouldn't mind sending this to George Morris. Well.... maybe not him..........

She looks like a big warmblood in this picture :)))

A very pretty walk! The walk and canter are actually our most difficult gaits. The trot is her best.

My leg just slipped back a mile, that's all.

Her excited trot....

And her REALLY excited trot the second time around. What a babe.

Little Bits about Listening

I subscribe to Jane Savoie's "Motivation from Moshi" emails, and they're great little tidbits for the day. The one today struck me particularly close, because it's something I will forever be working on with Smarty Pants Mare. Sometimes it is hard to tell if she's being stubborn, bossy, or just plain tired or nervous. My trainer has been helping loads, along with good ol' intuition (but even then the latter fails me sometimes, poor Greta).

So, a mental note for every horse person, in every discipline, on every horse, to remember:

(note: all these "motivations" are written from the point of view of Savoie's Friesian Moshi. All together now: awwwwwwww!)

Lots of people talk to their horses, but not many actually listen in return. Have you noticed that?

I have a way I talk to my farrier. When the leg I'm standing on gets tired, I asked him to give back the one he's hold up. I tug the foot a little bit against his hands to let him know. He's smart enough to listen to me, and he gives me my leg so I can put it down and rest. I'm not being belligerent or stubborn. I'm simply talking to him in the only language I have. I'm grateful that he listens.

Has your horse ever tried to tell you something, but you didn't listen? Has your horse ever told you he or she was tired, or hurt, or scared, but you decided it was defiance or laziness? Do you tend to use force when your horse says no?
Figuring out what your horse is trying to tell you is part intuition, part observation, and part faith. If you've struggled with this, try taking a step back and using a different part of your brain than usual. If you normally go by your gut feeling, try looking at the situation through intense and unbiased observation of the physical evidence. If you normally use only your logical mind and five senses, try using your feelings and intuition to assess the situation.

You can expand your skills by acknowledging what you normally do, and then adding something else. You have the time. You have the ability. Why not give it a bit of practice?

Jane reads me pretty well. She usually knows when I don't feel good and when I'm just being lazy. She doesn't just assume that I'm being belligerent, and knows that to push me when I'm not feeling my best would be counter-productive.

Give yourself and your horse a break now and then. Remember, all living creatures have good days and bad days. Sometimes we just need a little respect for how we are feeling in the moment. Of course, if your horse really does become belligerent or stubborn for no reason, a little pushing may be just want he needs. The key is learning to recognize the difference.

Love, Moshi

Monday, November 22, 2010

More Jumping Fun!

More jumping video!!

More Pink. More Greta.


I realized that I have not put up pictures of Greta's sheet-tastic sheet. Because she's being worked harder this year, but not enough to be clipped, I didn't want her to get a woolly mammoth coat. So I got her a sheet when it's too warm for her pink camo blanket (which she got last year!)

So of course, if Greta is to get a sheet, it must be pink. And pink plaid is even better. Although I am kind of bummed out because the front closure flap, even though it has velcro and buckles, the velcro will come undone when she's out in the pasture, and the right flap will fold under so now she has a small blanket rub on her shoulder. And this week-long wait for the danged shoulder sleazy to protect her hair has seem to have taken FOREVER, because now she has a fist sized bald spot! It's too late to return the sheet now though, because of Schneider's not-still-in-package-then-no-return policy. So definitely a size larger next time. But still, it's a really nice sheet and it works! Just silly me ordered Greta Golightly's literal size, 72, and didn't add some extra room, like a 75.

Any solutions so it doesn't fold back? Just in case I ordered the wrong size Sleazy and have to wait another few weeks! I hate the slowness of holiday season shipping.....

But dad-gummit, she has a sheet!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

LOL! Greta and I? Jumping?!

1) this is only about my third or fourth time jumping on Greta, and I haven't had formal hunter lessons since like 5th grade (and I'm a senior haha!)

2) My stirrups are WAY too long and I'm in my dressage saddle (even though my stirrups felt really short b/c they're always so long!)

3) Yes, that was me that made the whooping noise the first time around

4) Yes, I'm wearing my school clothes of skinny jeans and converse sneakers and a baggy sweater (contrary to what I ALWAYS wear when riding bahaha) and it felt really awkward

5) I know needed to release and all that jazz, but c'mon now...

6) CONSTRUCTIVE crit appreciated


Sunday, November 14, 2010

[ "Comme ça: La vie c'est épatant" ] [ Like that: Life is amazing ]

Can you see our awesome beginner half halts??

It's late, and I've been doing this in between doing Goverment work (the class, not actual government work haha!)

But it does make me happy to see how well we're coming along. Alas, such slow manners are the ways of dressage.

Excerpts from the song's lyrics:

Tout doux, tout doux, tout doucement
Toujours, tout doux, tout doucement
Comme ça
La vie c'est épatant

N'allez jamais trop vite
Vous avez tout le temps
Attention à la dynamite
Prenez garde aux volcans
A ces jeunes énervés
Qui ne savent pas aller

Appropriately meaning:

Softly, softly, softly
Still, softly, softly
Like that:
Life is amazing

Never go too fast
You have all the time
Beware of dynamite
Beware of volcanoes
Take care [to keep away from] these excited young ones
Who do not know how to go

I don't really know French, just how to use Google Translate. I would like to learn la langue someday, though. It's fun to speak!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

By the way....

In response to several comments questioning my whereabouts, it's all good. Greta's good, we've been riding and finally (FINALLY) learned the concept of more rein = more leg to push her into it (it's not that we couldn't get it, it's just this is the first time I've been taught to do it, THANK YOU MISS L!! I'm LOVING our new trainer!) and other fun stuff like. Did I mention Greta's a smart cookie and she almost has the concept down after two rides?

Also, I found out that Greta has a half brother (through her daddy) in training at Steffen Peters' Stables in San Diego. His name is Peter (ironically). Isn't that cool?

And lastly why I have not been doing Super Cool Blog Postings is because I had this grand idea of taking all college-level classes at the beginning of Senior year! It's tedious, and I began to slack a little bit in favor of my pony, until I realized that it's good grades that will get me into A&M (please, please, pleaseeeeee!) and onto an Animal Science major so I can take care of the pony (and maybe more) forever! So I've been crunching down making sure the grades are good and of course that means no time for Super Cool Blog Posts lately haha.

But rest assured it's all good and maybe, after Government work (haha), reading Hamlet and Sense and Sensibility (yay for an excuse to read Jane Austen! Of course, I might change over to Emma since I've already read the former), and reading about mitosis I will do some Super Cool Blog Posts.

Ah, and RFDTV is on in the background with the Roy Rogers and Trigger show, and then they had an ad about Trigger and Bullet going on display around the country! And I'm sitting here thinking, "I will never stuff my poor animals, because I certainly know that I wouldn't want to be stuffed and left for all the world see."

I just think Trigger and Bullet (or any critter for that matter) lose their appeal when they're dead and stuffed, don't you?

And lastly, I will soon post about our latest addition to the family! I'll give y'all a hint, she's 7 years old and weighs about 1000 pounds....