Thursday, 26 November 2015


Even though it seems like I am working on the same thing each lesson, I am surprised that each lesson seems so different with new issues, missing some old issues (hooray!) and a different horse showing up now.

We are continuing to work on quietly asking for her to seek the bit with lateral work, engaging the hind end and relaxing over the back and at the poll. Her head position is past the vertical and my contact is focussed on being there in a soft and supportive manner.  I am looking for Schwung where you get a swing in the step from a horse using the hind end and transmitting that power from the back to the front.

As I am riding I try to remind myself to be thinking 'back to front', not 'front to back".

I try to keep this in mind every ride.

On this occasion, her inability to bend left became the theme and really made shoulder-in to the left a total mess. Coming around the corner Savvy just wanted to bend out and skip the corner altogether. My first instinct at this point is to pull her back into the corner with the right rein while my coach gasps in horror, saying "No!!! Left rein open!" I cannot seem to get her to yield to my inside leg effectively though in this situation to make that open inside rein look like a good idea.

We used 10-meter circles in each corner to help get the correct bend before shoulder-in down the long side.

We had a few good runs though and everything to the right was so nice it made up for my exhausted left leg. (Tip: dressage whip is not just decoration and can be used to save left leg. Now to just learn how to hold the damn thing in my left hand.)

We ended the lesson with another canter attempt and succeeded getting it without getting too playful or rushing the trot to get into it.

Covered in stains and too cold to bath - can I just lesson with the blanket on so no one sees? :(

Overall a great ride--and to top it off, it was a snowy, windy day and the fabric arena occasionally flapped and snapped unexpectedly but pony did not loose her marbles!

Wednesday, 18 November 2015


When I started to delve into the world of dressage this summer I noticed something that all the serious riders seemed to have that I did not.

To go along with all the beautiful, massively tall horses and their pretty little upright riders were saddles I had not really noticed before, or at least hadn't given any thought to.

Just look at that...knee roll. uhm.

I sadly looked down at my 15-year-old dressage saddle and thought about the possibility of cosmetic surgery to perk up the knee rolls. A bit of a boob job for saddles. Can they even do that?

can I have this please

At first I wanted to throw my saddle on the fire and get myself one of these saddles with giant knee blocks. Riders just look so perfect in them!

After 2 months of shopping I was discouraged. Feeling thwarted in my cheapness. Maybe even angry a little. Why on earth do dressage saddles have to be so much more expensive than all-purpose saddles?

And then my stubborn side pipes up and declares "I shall force my body to be so damn awesome in position, I don't NEED knee blocks!"

And then I found this...
Knee blocks you can just put in!

My saddle is not made for these but how hard is it to add Velcro people?!

Now to find a sale on them. ;)

Sunday, 15 November 2015

A new normal

I have been having so much fun with Savvy for the last few months, but I have been avoiding something in my mind. I knew what I needed to do, but I wasn't sure if I could officially face it.

Sophia knows fun.

Even though I have always had multiple project horses on the go, Miss Tea was my number one girl and I envisioned quite a future with this amazing horse.

If you are a believer in "you may not get what you want, but you get what you need", then this might be the case with what I have gone through with her. She was the young horse I was supposed to be starting right at the peak of my anxiety issues. Just leading a horse out of the paddock could reduce me to a shaking mess. I had the heavy decision to get better or get out of horses, and chose to dig in and get better. We worked through everything starting with horse agility (basically a horse style obstacle course with the handler on the ground) and being able to venture out together without the added stress of having to ride was huge for both of us. Working on the specific tasks was a perfect distraction for my fear.

With my confidence growing and Miss Tea turning into a decent, safe mount, we started low hunters and it was amazing! Unfortunately the super fun cross rail classes at a trot never seemed to evolve into great canter rounds and so we struggled.

One show this summer where we dug in and made it all work a few rounds.

I have been avoiding writing about Miss Tea for a while.  I am not riding her anymore and I was not sure if I was ready to say that to anyone out loud or in type. People may not understand and think I am giving up. I am in a way, but not a bad way. I am too stubborn to ever give in without a fight.

The problem is simple. Miss Tea cannot canter and I am not interested in holding her together every stride so we don't fall down. Which she does. Fall. Down. The last time she fell was so bad I fell off right in front of her and she cut her lip.

Balance issues are a part of a green horse's development. Ups and downs happen all the time and falling off horses happens. I am fine with that. But knowingly getting on a horse with downhill conformation and known clumsiness (proven not medical by chiropractor/vet/farrier), not improved with 2 years of canter focused work I think is just not fun.

And life being strange and wonderful as it is, came Savvy when I was strong enough to handle a bigger challenge in personality, but a walk/trot/canter like its no big deal. No tripping. No holding together. Just soft hands and a smile on my face.

Savvy says just keep passing the treats and we will keep having good times, or she will eat my boot.

 We have cantered four times now in her training and so far so good! Today's canter was a lot easier to initiate, and we lasted 3/4s of the arena both directions. This is fun.

And this is what Meyla thinks about it. Pony knows fun.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Redirection is always in season

I recall in a conversation with a friend of mine at the beginning of this summer that I may have said "dressage seems a bit...dull" as she was asking me if I wanted to join her at the Give-It-A-Go dressage clinic and show in July.

My thoughts were all on Miss Tea and jumping, because you know, jumping! Fun, exciting, challenging.

And then I quite accidentally met an incredible horse woman who trains horses and coaches, specializing in dressage.  I loved her perspective on horses and training. I thought getting into lessons with her would be a great help in bringing Savvy along.

Four months in and I am completely rerouted. I am hooked.

I bought the book "Dressage In Harmony" by Walter Zettl. I even intend on reading it.

I am searching for deals on white breaches.

I thought about bedazzling things. (anyone have success making their own jeweled browband? I need to talk to you.)

Like this?
Or this?
 How did this happen?! Have you ever found yourself pursuing the least expected because of a horse?