Jazz has been doing awesome. I've been riding with an eventing coach since the summer, learning pretty much only dressage so far. I took almost the entire fall off of riding lessons when classes started up. My first semester schedule was a horrible drudgery which left me with basically only time to ride on weekends. I was really struggling through September and most of October, because I couldn't ride enough to keep Jazz fit, so it was conditioning work constantly, and I felt like I never got to do anything actually fun or productive, just fitness and more fitness. I ended up half leasing her out to a girl I rode in my group lesson with in Pony Club. It was perfect because I had seen her ride, I knew her to be at a similar level to me, and her lease horse had gone lame in late August. She also took lessons with my trainer, so I knew Jazz would be being worked in a way I'm comfortable with. It was awesome, Jazz was in the best shape of her life, and I got to just play on the weekends. I even taught my lessee to barrel race on Jazz and I's fourth anniversary (it was a terrible decision in a way since I hadn't been cantering much and my back was killing me for three days after, but it was fun). It worked out perfectly, because just as my schedule opened back up, her lease horse was coming back into work so I got to take Jazz back full time.
|Jazz was covered in frost the other day, so after I laughed at how hilarious she looked for about a minute and a half, I had to take about a million photos.|
Back to the present, I've been working on dressage and I am RUINED. FOR. LIFE. Oh my god did you know how much crap you have to do to get correct work? And more importantly, HAVE YOU EVER FELT HOW MUCH BETTER CORRECT FEELS? I can sit the trot! Bareback! No stirrups! I was not sitting in the middle of my horse. Ever. Now I can go through a month of lessons without once being corrected to sit in the middle. My legs stay in place! I'm barely losing stirrups once a week when it used to be ten times per ride on a good day. I'm figuring out what previously mysterious phrases like "inside leg to outside hand" and "leg to hand" and "connection" mean. Jazz moves FORWARD. The prancy annoying moving nowhere canter of our past is (almost) completely gone (with occasional reappearance when she's getting tired). Strung out gross crazy trot is also only found when Jazz is tired and frustrated. She's overtracking at the walk and trot! Dressage is the worst kind of drug. I will probably never get to the point where I'm up there at perfect, but I know what's out there. I know better and more precise is attainable.
|Frostbeard the pony pirate|
Lately, our W/T has been going like gangbusters. Jazz is getting lighter and rounder, and we're learning about connection, there's a lot more forward in our trot, and my hands are getting better. Most lessons I've been taking lately have been a short walk warmup and then an exercise at trot, and a bit of canter at the end. Our work at the trot has really felt like it's progressed almost every single week, and I'm really happy with how it's come along.
|What's that? Oh no, I couldn't possibly listen today. My ears are frozen.|
The canter is another story. It's really been deteriorating lately. It started with Jazz not being able to pick up the right lead. She was having so much difficulty that my instructor suggested something was probably out so I should get her looked at by a chiropractor. I had her adjusted a few days later. I can't remember if I've mentioned it here before, but Jazz had really uneven shoulders that were causing some difficulty with saddle fit. We figured it was mostly incorrect muscling, and worked on getting her more balanced and even, and I bought a saddle pad with adjustable memory foam shims to help compensate. Since she's been adjusted (and he did work on something near her withers), I found my saddle felt really high on the side with the extra padding. I started taking more and more layers out until it ended up level, and I'm back into regular saddle pads again.
|I get to use my cranberry pad again, which is one of my absolute favourites!|
|I also managed to perfectly capture Jazz's three modes: 1. Perfect statue look how proud and pretty I am|
|2. Nap time|
|And my personal favourite, 3. Adorable doof|
I also got instagram so now I can make artsy photos and collages like these:
So here we are! Back again! I've missed updates! I can't wait to stay more current on this blog again.