Tuesday, January 24, 2012

And out came the sun...finally!

Can we say sunshine?  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the sun was indeed shining today.  Not only was it shining, it was 64 degrees when I rode.  It was awesome!  Don't worry, I'll be whining up a storm this summer when it's 95 and 100% humidity.  I just need to move to San Diego.

Moving on from my weather soap opera - I spent today's ride once again working primarily in the trot because the ground is so wet.  It's seriously squishy out there.  Like my ride last Wed, I spent the majority of my time riding on a small figure-8.  This exercise really helps me get Charlie supple and forward.  When I go large around the arena, I tend to have him going too forward and he's running.  Because we are constantly doing something - shoulder-in, leg yielding, changing direction - he stays focused and fully engaged in the exercise.  And because I have to pay attention to where we're going, I keep my head up (and therefore my upper body) and and focus more on using my leg instead of my hand.

Today, I really tried to focus on keeping my elbows bent and keeping the contact with my elbow instead of my hand.  I would say I was mildly successful.  I had moments where I really felt like I had a breakthrough - I felt my hand soften and my elbow was what was maintaining the contact.  It was a first for me - kind of sad given how long I've been riding.  Oh well, better late than never! :)  Maybe when I go to Southern Pines, I can get on one of C's horses to get a better idea of what this should really feel like.  I think Charlie will greatly appreciate it if I can figure this out.

I spent the last 10 minutes working on the walk, just staying soft and following with my hand and consistently asking Charlie to move forward.  My biggest downfall is I confuse dropping my hands with being soft.  I can't tell you how hard it's been to break this habit.  I have a fleece pad that's too big for my saddle so it sticks up in front and if my hands hit it, I know they're too low.  Actually, they're too low and my reins are too long but that's another battle.  I did some walk - halt transitions and he was really good about staying soft in the transitions; he even halted squarely about half the time.  Yay!

Can we say sun?!?!?!  Taken today after our ride.

I haven't started on my fitness goals yet. :(  I probably should have mentioned how much I hate working out.  It's so boring!  But I know it's really important.  I'm a huge "fairness" person meaning if I expect my horse to be fit, then I too need to be fit.  Off to the gym tomorrow...promise!


  1. Do you hate working out because of the gym? I hate gyms, too. I like to go running outside--that way I can explore and enjoy scenery and actually get somewhere. For core strength, I take a class since I get bored way too easily to do much on my own.

    Alas for low hands and long reins! Another tough habit to break.

  2. Just found your blog, I will definitely be following! The secret to making exercising less boring is to find something that interests you. It's different for everyone. Personally, for me, it's running outside as SprinklerBandit said, and doing Crossfit, since I never know whether I'll be lifting or running backwards or throwing medicine balls at the wall on any given day.

    I'm right there with you on the elbows thing. Do your elbows tend to get out in front of you and too straight too?

  3. Ladies,

    I hate working out in general - I'd much rather read a book. I tolerate lifting but hate running. Ironically, running is what I feel helps me the most fitness wise. I keep hoping I'll learn to like it but so far, no luck. What makes it even harder is I'm ridiculously healthy (knock on wood!). I do know that it will give me more energy but getting over the hump is tough. I'm pretty motivated this time around though - I just have to watch a video of me riding and that's enough to send me scampering to the gym! :)