Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Intermision and progress!

So I'm going to take a little break from talking about what I learned during our Southern Pines adventure and talk about my ride today (which was AWESOME!) and Cherie.

Ride first because it was great!  I'm sure you all are going to get tired of hearing me say how amazing my horse is but he really is.  I swear I can hear him say "look dumbo, could you get your act together so we can do things correctly?" when I do something wrong like grip with my hands or use my heel instead of my leg.  Today, I really worked on what I learned last week.  I started off by gathering up my reins and really using my seat to push his neck down.  He was pretty good, a little pokey maybe, but good.  And like I said yesterday, I'm not going to worry about pokey right now.  We did flex in and out and I used the corners to over bend him in.  I need to be careful with the over bending as I tend to let go of my outside aids when I over bend and then he escapes out the side door.  When I started trotting, I used the corner to help me with the bend and I made sure I could see the corner of Charlie's inside eye.  Again, not perfect but pretty darn good.  I stuck with the plan and flexed in and out on the long sides making sure he was flexed in for the corners.  I used a circle and steered him onto a smaller circle using my outside aids (yay! I remembered how to steer correctly!) and kept him there for about 2 rotations and then leg yielded him out onto a larger circle.  This really helped supple him laterally.  I did some leg yielding down the quarter line and that was really good - Charlie was responsive off my leg and really pushing from behind.  I still can't believe how supple he was!  It was almost like riding Gumby.  I added some canter transitions which were ok - I needed to bend him in more but I was happy because I remembered to hold onto my outside rein so he got his leads the first time.  I gave hime a little break then worked on my walk-trot transitions.  Charlie was good but I really need to focus on using my leg and core to push him up into the trot and use my core/upper body in the downward transitions.  Overall, it was a great ride - Charlie was happy and I felt pretty good about not gripping too much with my hands.  I did ride in my jumping saddle which was a bit of a tactical error since my stirrups were too short and I wasn't smart enough to lower them while riding.

So Cherie.  I have know her since the early 90s - she was my pony club instructor.  She helped me make the leap from BN to Training and from D3 to B in the span of 2 years.  She sold me my last horse, Fuzzy, and she sold me Charlie.  She is, other than my parents, the single greatest influence on my life.  She's an amazing teacher and she loves to teach which makes her that much better.  She's ridden through Advanced, Third or Fourth level dressage and some seriously large jumpers.  Oh yeah, she currently rides a quarter horse stallion, Justin, who at 15.1 or 2 wins mini prixs - he's amazing.  Basically, she's done a little bit of everything, literally.  She's very generous with her time and always lets me ride her horses.  Last week she let me ride Prince, who even though he almost dumped me, is really cute.  He's 4 and hasn't done much but he is super keen, not spooky (usually), and just an all around fun OTTB.  She also let me ride Sequel - an OTTB she has with her for training.  He raced until he was 7 and retired sound.  His owner got him from the New Holland auction most likely on the way to much sadder place.  He was really nice - a little strong but nice!  He's a really nice mover and he's huge!  He almost looks like a warmblood, he's so big.


Riding these guys was really helpful because on Prince, it's really important to stay solid in your outside aids or you'll end up in the next county because he's not turning!  Sequel really helped with the flexing in and out.  I rode him on the trail and I really focused on staying in the center while flexing right for a few steps, then straight for a few steps, and then left for a few steps.  It helped that Cherie was behind me reminding me not to collapse left!

Now that I've gotten the mushy stuff over with, onto important things like fashion and accessories.  I splurged and got a saddle pad from Kate over at The Adventures of Lucy.  Charlie's show name, Come About, is a sailing command to change the direction of the boat - since I bought Charlie with money I earned in the Navy, I thought he should have a nautical name (and there was no way I was keeping his JC name of Cosmic Rae!).  So in honor of his show name, Kate created this for Charlie.  I think it came out great!  Kate was awesome to work with and I highly recommend her work - the picture doesn't do it justice!

Charlie says "all dressed up and nowhere to go!"


  1. Love the pad and what a great significance!

  2. He. Looks. Fab. Wow. I'll only ship you Cuna if I steal this guy first. ;)

  3. @The Fullers - thanks! It took me a lot of brainstorming to come up with something nautical that wasn't already in the USEA data base (I'm kind of a dork!).

    @SprinklerBandit - thanks so much! I think Cuna's gonna be super cute once he gets his hair done. It's amazing how nice they look once you shave all the fur off! Haha!