Thursday, September 22, 2011


B-5 days and counting until Bastian officially comes home!!! I can't wait. I am so stinking excited. :)

I got to go out and ride him tonight and he was pretty darn good. I put my big girl panties on and shortened my jump stirrups a hole. They need to go up, at least to where I have them now if not even one more hole shorter. I felt a little tipped forward, but by the end of the ride it was much more comfortable. We even managed some nice counter canter and some nice lengthenings in our jumpy saddle :)

I've got to start riding my first fence more confidently. I've tried to decide between more confidently and more aggrresively and I am pretty sure that its more confidently. My first fence of a school session is always kinda iffy. I'm about 80% sure that he's going to jump it and be good, but there is this horrible 20% of me that says, "well maybe he's gonna refuse/spook/trip/overjump." So over that first jump I always seem to just let him make the decision about how the fence is going to ride. Today it was almost disasterous. We trotted into this 18" fence only to have him say "oh my god what is that thing!" (and we've jumped this fence like a ga-zillion times). Then he kinda jumped from a standstill and overall it was pretty fugly, not one of my proudest jumps but we did make it to the other side intact.

I needed more confidence, I needed to keep my leg on and say yes, this is baby stuff and we can trot this like its nothing. I need to give Bastian the confidence he hasn't had the years to develop that I forget he doesn't always have. Once I set the tone for the ride he really just goes with it, but if I don't set that tone then its popping over jumps and running at fences and not so much fun. After that fence the rest were pretty good. There were a few where I was left behind and the first few I went over I felt a little too forward, but that was just me getting used to my stirrups.

I am soooooo excited for him to come home on Tuesday. I've got a lesson lined up for Tuesday and Friday, then the show on Saturday! I am so stinkin' excited, and he is gonna be so stinking cute :)

Everyone else is away at Regionals and I am insanely jealous. I wish them good luck as their Championship classes start tomorrow! Go BEC :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Keeping my head in the game :)

Bastian has continued to be A-W-E-S-O-M-E. Seriously, I personally love him and think he is great, but I am obvioulsy biased. Very biased. However I have had so many people compliment me on my boy during his hiatus to "Hunter-Land," that I know its not just my own motherly-love.

Sooo, lots of good horse back riding going over the past few weeks. Bugsy has been great. This past weekend I worked on our trot/canter transitions. I feel pretty solid with my up transitions into canter, I keep it together and keep it controlled, but I very often loose it in my downwards. It takes me close to ten strides before I feel like I've got it back. So we were doing 5 strides of trot-5 strides of canter-5 strides of trot and I really focused on just getting it all together in those five strides so that we would be good to go if that was actually the gait I was aiming for. Aside from testing my not always so super counting skills, we managed pretty good. Its all part of trying to be there every stride as the rider. I felt like I made good progress :)

About a week ago, I had the chance for a lesson on Irrestible Isaac. His mom had to sit out this year due to an injury, so he's been at BEC and Kristin has been showing him 3rd level. It was very cool to get to ride him and had me adjusting and having to think differently. The best part of the lesson was getting to actually experience and ride an extended trot. It was so different. I know that as a rider I was all over the place, I couldn't quite get a good handle on the difference and power in the trot. There were a few strides where we got it together and it felt AMAZING! But it was a great experience to ride a different horse, it really helps to show the flaws in your training as a rider and the ruts that you have fallen into.

I've now also had two lessons on Bastian. Both of which have gone great. I also kidnapped my friend Gwen and had her come out with me once to see/ride him. He was being a bit heavy in front that night, but worked out of it beautifully and we ended up doing two "big" jumps at a whopping 2'4". And neither one felt big, he jumped it just like he's been doing it all his life. I was so proud of him.

My second lesson on him was this morning (hooray for Labor Day! No school!) And overall it went well. I actually rode 90% of the jumps. I know I need to ride 100%, but this is coming from a girl who about two years ago rode 0% of her jumps (I just kinda aimed for the fence, closed my eyes and hoped we made it to the other side) and just this last spring was riding about 50% of her jumps, so I'm making progress. :)

We had a few hairy jumps, because I forget that Bastian has less experience than me in this whole jumping thing and so when I panic or get nervous I expect him to see me through and really he's saying, "ah mom, are we doing this? are you sure? ARE YOU SURE!?" and if I don't say "I'm sure." it gets hairy or if it doesn't feel perfect and I tense and let myself get afraid he responds to that. I read a quote on Stone Gate Farm's Facebook page about something that Greg Best (Gemtwist!!!) said during a clinic: "Riding is mistake management." I really like this, because although we as riders are always striving to be perfect, its a constant game of fixing your mistakes. That mistake could be as simple as too much left leg and not enough right rein, or it could be more drastic. So riding is constantly fixing those mistakes. And that includes not getting upset or afraid when those mistakes happen.

We came into a bending line and I didn't have him straight enough to the fence, he backed off, I put my leg on (fixed the mistake! lol) and he popped over that fence like it was 3'. I lost my left stirrup, and I think I goosed him on the landing because he shot forward and I was pretty sure I was coming off. But I kept my seat, didn't panic and Bastian said "Oh, we're not upset? We're stopping? OK" (if anyone remembers by Epic fall off of Matthew at Wilson that resulted in a concussion, it was very similar to that....) We then continued to work on that specific fence a few times and it got better, but I really had to keep him straight to it. We probably jumped it like 10 times total and he took it nicely three of those ten times. The rest were all him popping over it and on the landing he got quick and wanted to take off or buck a little, but I managed our mistakes and rode through it. So, although we had a rough patch in our lesson, I feel like it was overall a success. I can't say that I wasn't nervous after those not so great jumps, but it never crippled me into not riding. I dealt with it and kept my head. This is what I need practice on, having those mistakes occur and keeping it together.

It was also nice to have that reaction to a potentially bad situation from Bastian. He could have taken off, bucked, or been otherwise naughty. But he wasn't, his response was level headed and he came right back. I LOVE my horse. :) He's a keeper!

Well, 20 days until Bastian comes home!! Not that I'm, and 25 days until our first ever Combined Test.

This weekend is the PA District IX Horse Show. I'm in charge this year..wish me luck as I wander into the world of Horse Show Management... :)

And I know, whats a blog without good pictures? I promise to try and get some next time I go out....