Sunday, July 10, 2011

Variety is the Spice of Life

There isn't a whole lot to report, but there is more than one would think.  I've ridden Bugsy a total of 4 times now and all I have to say is wow.  Here is why:

1) I feel like a beginner on her, LOL, I ask for the canter, she does a fast trot, I try to turn left and she keeps going straight, the exact same way those smart but tricksey little ponies do to little kids.  I've gotta really have my stuff together, which is a little frustrating because I didn't  realize how in sync Bastian and I really were and how used to each other we were.  He lets me get away with A LOT, which is totally awesome, but well, in this case, not so great.  What is good is that as long as I keep playing around with my legs and reins, I figure out how to make her turn and make her trot or canter.  I'm bad about only using one leg or one rein when I turn/steer and not supporting with the opposite rein/leg, Bugsy has been sure to point this out to me....isn't that sweet of her? :o)

2) Bugs is actually wonderful in the fact that she completely ignores my overactive lower leg, I'm working really hard to keep it as still as possible, but I know its nothing even close to what it should be, but she has yet to care.  She is used to being ridden in spurs and with a whip, I don't wear spurs for obvious reasons and I may have to start getting used to riding with two whips so I have more support when I do want to use my legs, but I also think we both just need to figure each other out some more, two whips is a handful (pun intended).   Bastian is like that every now and then, I ask for a trot or canter and he just gives me the big middle hoof because he's been blocking out the excessive leg movement,  he is much better at paying attention now, so I'm hoping that Bugsy and I will eventually come to that realization.

3) I'm actually getting to experience real collection and light fluffyness!!!!  Eventually I will have a core of steel.  Bugs likes to be on her forehand and being that she's out of shape, its a STRONG halfhalt every stride.  But for now both of us have to work our butts off in order to keep it together, which, when we get it it is awesome!!  Its the maintaining it that we need to work on.  We don't maintain the light fluffyness and collection for super long, but those half strides and couple of seconds of it are enought to make me want more!  Hooray for the frustration of dressage, lol, its that one second of bliss that make us go through the 100 hours of yuck,  perhaps we need to rethink our decision making paradigm...

4) If everything goes according to plan (I know, I know, famous last words....) I will have the opportunity  to show Bugsy next year!  I know, awesome, right??  This works out great because my friend Gwen is also going to show her next year.  Gwen wants to show Training Level and I'd like to try 2nd and 3rd.  I know what you're going to say, the whole two level rule at Dressage shows, but never you fear, we've got this worked out.  Most of the shows we go to are two shows over one weekend, so Gwen will show her one day and I will show her the other day.  Everybody is happy, and we get to split hauling and stabling fees.  Perfect plan, right?  I know, I thought so too.

Sunday's ride was wonderful because we didn't have any "horrible" beginner moments and when we were done, Bugsy seemed as pleased as I did with our progress.  On Monday, since it was a holiday, I decided to celebrate by making an extra trip out the barn to ride, so I met up with Gwen and I rode Bugsy and she rode her awesome Quarter Horse RW and one of the newer boarders at the barn, Sandy, came out and rode with us too.  It was a wonderful way to spend a Monday morning.  We had a good ride overall, I think both of us were a bit tired doing two days in a row, so it started out great, then we got a bit sloppy in the middle, then I made sure that I had it together and we finished nicely, but it really drove home the point of keeping it together every stride.

My mom came and visited me this week, so I coerced her into going to the barn with me so she could meet Bugsy and I would get to ride again.  I rode outside for the first time with Bugs, which was a little intimidating for me.  Ever since I had my three bad riding accidents, I've been more hesitant to ride outside, which I realize is a completly mental hang up on my part (based on the horses that I do ride, they are all good outside).  Bugsy didn't care, (she wasn't wild about the flys, but I can't really blame her) and she was very well behaved.  After I relaxed about being outside, I was able to really focus on our down transitions.  I tend to completely take my leg off when I ask for a downward transition.  So I really focused on keeping my leg on between the canter and the trot and they were much less abrupt,  and we actually went forward into the trot instead of canterstopgotrot.  So it is possible!

I was supposed to ride Bugs in a lesson on Friday, but she was a little ouchy from the drastic weather changes we were having that day :(  I was really looking forward to getting a bit more education on her.  I was still able to have my lesson, I rode my friend Beth's horse Devlin (who is also currently for sale: instead.  He was a blast!  He is so in tune to your core it was unbelievable, as soon as I engaged my tummy muscles he would slow down, it was pretty cool.  If I wasn't in the financial tangle I was in and was in the market for an event horse, I would snatch him up!

It also made me realize more about my partnership with Bastian.  Compared with Devlin and Bugsy, Bastian is almost hyper sensitive and much lighter in his contact.  You'll get a beautiful gait, he'll be "on the bit" and moving forward and then you put an ounce too much weight in your left stirrup and bam! its gone and we'll spend the next five laps around the ring trying to get it back.  Both Bugs and Devlin were a bit more accepting of my bobbles in balance and they are heavier in the contact, which is better suited to my riding style.  Its made me much more aware that when I do finally start back to riding Bastian, I've got to really really really focus on keeping my balance every friggin' second.  Of course, the horse I have is exactly the kind of horse that is going to be most difficult for me to ride.  Le sigh.  Oh well......I still love my B-man and I can't wait to get back to working with him in the fall!

Also really cool.....another of my friends at the barn is helping me to convert my old VHS onto DVD format, which means I will have some very amusing and horrific riding videos to share including my first BN event with my Quarter Horse Melvin where he had NEVER gone Cross Country before in his life.... awesome, oh to be young again!   Bet you can't wait!!

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