Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Next Challenge: Bons

I typically don't wait so long after lessons because don't remember details of what took place! The biggest change is that Ariel is out of commission for me, after it was noticed that she's jumping a little "flat"/long and she seems to be just a bit "off". She's sound and that isn't so much the issue but it looks like she's a little sore or just plain cranky since she's become quite in demand! That said though, we change things up and I am given a choice of Bonspiel or Molson. Both move similarly in that they get heavy on the forehand and require a bunch of face contact--totally unlike Ariel who is mostly uphill and wants you to leave her face alone.

That's not the most intimidating part: the fact that both are 2 hh'r than Ariel proves to be an intimidating feature for me. The first ride was terrifying for me. I was literally shaking in my booties when I went to get Bons (who is closer to 1200lbs+) in the paddock and bring him in. Tacking up was also a feat because the last time I attempted it, the saddle was placed on his kidneys. *womp womp womp*

The first lesson with Bons was all about just getting a feel for his movement and the way he communicates with his rider. He's changed a lot since I last rode him--he's more confident in himself and he's become (to me) less bouncy. I don't find his gait nearly as floaty and big as I have in the past. The sitting trot is still really tough to ride but I manage much better.

As lessons pass, I become much more confident with learning to ride his movement and anticipating his short-comings like his difficulty on the right rein. Riding a larger horse who is impeccably trained since he was a baby is a real treat because he has exact buttons but at the same time, he may or may not read between the lines and take a gander at what I might want of them at the time.

Quite a few lessons have passed since I started riding Bonspiel and I'll be sticking with him for now. Both Sheri and J have told me that the match is good and I will likely learn much more riding Bons than sticking it out with Ariel unless I can tame that 'tude. Bons requires more contact in the reins and is a fancy pants sport-horse so I would effectively be "moving forwards" into a new challenge that would continue to challenge my riding.

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Royal Welcome For a Fellow Rider

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the best of the country being brought into the city for competition and marketing. A prestigious affair, the Royal Horse show is a major highlight for many equestrians and getting to compete at the Royal is an honour. The fair manages to showcase every aspect of agriculture and equestrian greatness. It's a great educational experience for city kids who don't have the opportunity to join 4-H clubs through showcasing their country cousins' pass times and projects.

Gosling Stables is a versatile, down to earth and dedicated place to ride at and I am so happy to be a part of the 'barn family'. I am so pleased to share the news that one of the young riders who trains there qualified with her rescue pony, to ride at the Hyde Moffat clinic being held at the Royal today! Kaitlin is a talented and hardworking rider who has been a regular presence at the stable and we're so happy to wish her the best of luck today.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Lesson #214, 215, 216: Gridwork After an Updated Perspective

Lately, I have less time than lately: I have a new job, hooray! In an effort to keep records for myself, all I can really remember from these three lessons is that I was working on jumping position through gridwork. I'm not sure if I'm the only one out there but I *heart* gridwork tonnes.

Gridwork is a progressive training system that uses poles and fences set at 
pre-determined distances. It teaches a horse to be athletic, accurate, quick thinking and confident; while improving their rhythm, balance, reactions, style and technique. Equally, it helps riders with their confidence, sense of rhythm, balance and distances. Sometimes it's easy to forget about good technique when you start doing courses--especially if you have some bad habits that you're trying to keep in check.

The various grids set up were all fences of varying distances and heights. No oxers or anything out of my comfort zone since I was focused on position riding into, over and out of jumps. The grids were simply set up on a straight line so there was no need to consider corners either! All we were thinking about was the ride in and the position over jumps. Ariel and I did pretty well and I was pleased with the way things turned out because I didn't have to concern myself about the turns and I was just focused on getting through a series of jumps and not a full course.

Again, pretty straight forward but I definitely have a different perspective following my lesson with A.