Back to the main point, Charlie! So I haven't touched on my goals because some of them have been an epic fail - mainly the me fitness goals but I did join a gym and I signed up for some sessions with a personal trainer. Not thrilled with having to spend the money but I really need that to make sure I stick with it so this is how I'm insuring consistency on my part. So my point in this is I was really, really sore yesterday. When I woke up I kind of had to shuffle around but by the afternoon, I thought I had worked most of it out. Well, that was until I sat in the saddle. Holy smokes! My butt hurt, my hamstrings felt like someone was sticking pins in them and my abs ached every time Charlie moved. I'm being a bit dramatic but I really didn't think I was going to be effective at all. So I decided I was just going to work on some of my bad habits - my hands. Right now, I think that's my biggest faux pas.
As I picked up the contact, my thought was I wanted to emulate this picture of Jennie Brannigan (scroll to the bottom of the page where she's riding her horse Ollie). Her hands may be a bit extreme but I figure if I get halfway there, I'll be 100x better off than I am now. So my mantra was soft, bent elbows with a firm grasp on the reins. My other favorite habit is to let my reins slip through my fingers. You know what? Charlie seemed to love it! He was forward and absolutely balanced - I could feel all four of his "tires" underneath him. The more we worked, the less sore I was so I was really able to keep pushing him forward into the connection and we had some really great work. I still need to be more proactive - I have a tendency to sit back and say "oh doesn't this feel nice?" and I need to be proactively maintaining the connection and balance I've established.
After a short break, I worked on some transitions. I can get a little hand happy in downward transitions and that causes Charlie to drop his back and come above the bit. I just focused on closing my leg, tightening my abs (which really hurt by this point!), and thinking walk or halt. We had some good ones but I need to remember to stay active in the transition - I can't do all these things at once! My brain doesn't process that quickly! But I'll get there eventually - just need to practice!
No riding today - raining and I have to study so I can get a real job that actually pays me every other week!
Here are a few pictures from last year before I left for Kuwait.
This was at Charlie's first show at the end of Apr 2011 going intro. He'd never been cross country schooling - just jumped a few logs in the woods during a trip to Southern Pines earlier in the year. He was perfect the whole day.
And this is in PA at Cherie's. I was getting ready for my second ride on him. This is why I bought him - he's just so darn sweet.