There was a lack of posts last week due to work being super crazy and at DEFCON 1 because of an unannounced regulatory agency visit. However, everything went well and we can now return to our regularly rescheduled programming.
Sadly though, I wasn’t able to ride much this week so not much progress on that front. We are starting to develop more of a clear leg yield with Spot so my goals there are to stay
calm softer, and be better at keeping her shoulder straight over her inside hind. Slowly, yet surely we are chipping away at it.
Two awesome things happened this weekend though!
1. DH and I put in an offer on an amazing house! Hopefully we will hear back soon…and
2. I got to ride my trainer’s pony, Denali!
Well, Trainer’s pony is actually a horse, and a magnificent horse at that.
He is a 7 year old, 3rd Level Hanoverian by Diamond Hit and out of a mare by Rhodiamant. Trainer has had him since he was 1 and put all the work on him herself, including breaking him to saddle. I was surprised when she asked me if I wanted to try riding him so I jumped at the chance since I have never ridden a horse that was higher than 1st Level.
When I went out to ride Denali, Trainer warmed him up, showed me what he has been working on and explained how the exercises she has been having me do with Spot tie into building the strength and ability to do more advanced movements. It was really cool to see the end of result of those exercises demonstrated by Denali. I know that Ms Spot won’t ever be an upper level horse, but the fact that know I’m building her up the same way you would build a horse of that caliber gives me a mental boost and makes me feel good about how we’re doing.
So after Trainer warmed him up, I hopped on and she had me start with some W/T/C. Denali has such big movement and suspension in comparison to Spot that it took me a few minutes to not get left behind through the transitions, but once I got that sorted out we continued on to working on some lateral work. Since we’re working on leg yielding with Spot, Trainer wanted me to be able to get a good sense on how its suppose to be/feel like so I can do the same with her. We then worked on a shoulder-in exercise where you ride the SI coming off a 15 meter circle. The 15 meter circle sets you up with the correct bend for the SI and you can either ride the SI down the long side of the wall, or after a few steps you can go back into the 15m circle.
I’m totally going to be incorporating this exercise into my rides, gives us something new to start playing around with. DH came with me so he got some video of my ride that I’ll upload a bit later.
After our lateral work, Trainer decided to torture me with some sit trot work. I had expected that I was going to get popped off since Denali has such big movement, but I was able to sit his trot much more easily than I expected. I think because he has so much more suspension and collection than Spot, his back carries me much better.
I cut our lesson a little shorter than I or Trainer wanted, because in my excitement to ride Denali, I forgot my gloves and got a pretty gross blister. For a bit I was trying to tough it out but web reins + blister makes for a lot of hurt.
All in all, I had an amazing time riding Denali and so happy that I got a chance to do so. He is such a kind horse, and put up with me in all my noob-ness. In all honesty, I thought I might be unsettled/scared by the larger and more powerful movement but in reality, I loved it and was pleasantly surprised that I was able to keep up with him. This lesson gave me a big boost of confidence as I always under estimate my riding abilities, how well I actually do, and the progress I’ve made in the past year. The Hubs/Trainer/other people always tell me this, but sometimes I can’t quite believe it. I think that will have to be a mantra of mine moving forward: Don’t Sell Yourself Short.