The social side of riding

Anybody who is in a boarding barn knows that there is a social aspect to riding and going to the barn. I do have two friends who board with me, but due to life, our schedules usually only align on the weekends, which leaves me riding alone 5 days a week.

A good friend had won a lesson in a silent auction with JJ Tate, and mentioned that she was going to go over to JJ’s to ride and I should come. I hemmed and hawed, I had to give up my once a month lesson slots, which I love and have been making excellent progress, but I really need to get Neuf out, going away for an overnight gives me a couple of days to allow the horses to deal with separation anxiety, I get to take lessons two days in a row, and bonus….hang out with one of my best friends..

Then, it turned out that another friend was up for the week at JJ’s, so when it worked out that my other commitments were all accounted for, and my 2 lessons slots were quickly snapped up, I decided to do it.

It was also my first big trip with the new trailer, with both horses. Three hours, interstates, tolls, the usual, and plus packing for an overnight for all of us. Bali & Neuf travelled well. Neuf pawed some, but did not sweat up at all. Bali was perfect.

Neuf settled in much more quickly than July 2013 when we came here when he was ridiculously on his toes and borderline uncontrollable. A heathen. This time, I brought the chain, and put it on before unloading, and didn’t really need to use it, but he still keeps it for the weekend.

There was extra activity today, the dressage tests change in 2015, and USEF had chosen JJ to do training videos for all the new tests. They filmed them all today! Well, I think they didn’t get 4-3 done, but all the introductory tests, Training, First, Second, Third, and Fourth 1 and 2. All the horses were braided and the riders in show clothes. So, I got to watch several of the new tests being ridden, and I think I will like a lot of the changes. Most of the changes seem very appropriate for the test levels. I’m also turning into a DQ…I have learned what is at which level and was able to figure out which test was being ridden for most of them. This meant that lessons were late and abbreviated, so we just came into the ring early and did our warm up while the prior person was riding.

I started on Bali, I said that we have been working on throughness and straight, and that I often feel like Bali is counterbent when she is straight. JJ asked if that was more to the left or right, and it is more to the left, which puts Bali in with the majority of horses who find it easier to bend left. I said I’m still getting late behind changes from left to right, so we worked on straightness, and schooling position, shoulder fore, where I keep her bent.

I started with a bit of leg yield from quarter line to the wall in canter. Then, threw in a 10m circle with a walk transition. Then, in right lead, from a walk, in shoulder fore, canter transitions, to walk, to canter, to walk, really focusing on feeling that she is stepping underneath and using that right hind. Then, we did the left, with the goal to start with the same quality that we ended with on the right.

After that, it was across the diagonal, with canter walk canter transitions, where I’d no more get one step of canter, and it was walk, canter on other lead, walk, rinse repeat. After several of those, we did a forward 20m circle to get more forward, then did a right to left lead change, which was good. Then, did the right\left\right\left canter across the diagonal, then finally finished canter work with one change from left to right, which was clean, but Bali threw in her signature leg fling. Then, it was stretch down, but keep riding, to the end.

I had two rides between Bali and Neuf, so that was good, it gave me time to get her put away and walk him around. He was up, but not uncontrollable. Once I got on, he was on his toes, but I got him trotting reasonably forward, clutching my neck strap so I wouldn’t pull on his mouth. He spooked a couple of times at the other horse hitting the wall, and I was ok. I remembered to ride forward….sorta. That lesson finished and so I put on the head set and we went to work. He was naughty once or twice, but with JJ right in my ear telling me to RIDE him, well, I did. On one left canter, he did not want to go left, and was trying to go right, we ended up almost climbing the wall, but went left after that and right back to canter. So, there was quite a bit of leg yielding from the quarter line to the wall, cross from E to B, turn early, leg yield over, then we cut the corner a couple of times and leg yielded with head to the wall, which was completely new for Neuf, but he did it pretty well. I felt reasonably competent riding him, and there is a glimmer of confidence coming back, but that might have been having JJ’s voice in my ear commanding me to ride him. And what do you know…he responded quite well to being ridden. He got kudos for doing pretty good in the new indoor, in the dark, with lights. Since I ride in the dark at home, I wasn’t too worried about that part.

Tomorrow will probably have longer lessons, to make up for the short ones today, and it will be daylight!

Then Kyrie, Jeannette & I went to the nice Vietnamese restaurant down the road, talked dogs and horses, and had a good time.

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About Mel

Random musings in a riding journal
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