Sunday, February 17, 2013

Southern Pines '13

Firstly, thank you so much for all the well-wishes - they obviously worked!  Now, I don't need to stress quite as much about having to eat air and water in order to support the WonderPony.

I spent about a week and a half in Southern Pines (although I had to make 2 trips home during that time  - one for the interview and another for the physical) and felt like we accomplished quite a bit.  The theme was really a continuation on what we've been working on with Amy and that's to take it to the next level.  In the immortal words of Cherie - "It's time to stop riding him like he's a 4-year old..."

The majority of the lessons were focused on ensuring I had control of Charlie's hind end so there were lots of haunches-in, haunches-out, shoulder-in, leg-yields, and half-passes.  Also, lot's of transitions.  The goal is to make sure he's straight and his inside hind is there to support and stay connected.  Hard work I tell you!  I think the toughest part for me is changing it up quickly - Cherie would just randomly tell me to do haunches-in --> go straight --> canter --> small circle and leg yield out --> walk and then immediately go back to the canter --> cross the diagonal and trot at X --> go down the quarter line and leg yield out, etc.  I have a tough time thinking that quickly on my own because I get so caught up in the current movement, I can't process what I want the next five to be.

As for the jumping, her main focus was my hands and having the reins shorter and my hands higher.  I have this really bad habit of dropping and locking my elbows especially right in front of the jump.  Lovely habit.  Anywho, I felt like I made some real progress on that - just have to consciously think about it.  Charlie can be a bit lazy with his hind feet so my homework is to do lots of footwork exercises with him.  I'm going to get SuperDad to help me make some cavalettis.

Jumping BIG jumps! 3'9" or 4' - we couldn't decide and we were too lazy to get a measuring tape.

I hemmed and hawed about posting this because my equitation is so awful (can we say gripping with the knees?) but decided it would be a good motivator to continue the "riding without stirrups" journey. :)  It's been at least 10 years since I've jumped anything remotely this large but it was pretty effortless for Charlie.  Didn't feel big at all which bodes well for the future.  Quality is crappy because I captured it from this video.

Cherie and Charlie.

I so wish I looked like this and all she could do point out her equitation flaws.  I suppose she does usually look better but she's riding in my saddle which is quite a bit bigger than her saddles.  I really love watching him go - so pretty! 

Frozen fog

It was freezing just about the whole time I was there.  Snowed once although it didn't stick around and we had lots of frost. 

Only good thing about having to get up early these past two weeks - sunrise at the barn.

Unfortunately, the new job and weather has made riding these past 2 weeks a bit tough.  Whenever I got off early enough to ride, it was raining or so wet from raining, that riding wasn't possible.  I finally got to ride this past Thursday and Charlie was quite good.  Yesterday was gale force winds making the temp a balmy 35 degrees with the windchill.  Today is the same.  Yuck!  I have to work (yay for a paycheck!) Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 7AM - 7PM so most likely no riding until Thursday.  The tentative plan for this weekend is to head down to Aiken and meet up with Cherie for a jumper show but we'll see how he feels on Thursday.


  1. I, too, have been hearing "stop riding him like he's green!" lately. It's a weird feeling, but also feels like an accomplishment to have gotten there, doesn't it? I'm with you on getting lost in the middle of something like that when they're calling things out so fast. It's hard to coordinate legs and arms and seat and weight and then "Oh wait, what's next? Shit." This is coming from a person who has a hard time with right and left while riding. Brain just cannot process that quickly.

  2. Holy moly that jump is HUGE and you two are killing it. Great job. Too bad it was cold when you were in So. Pines :)

  3. He jumps really well. Your position isnt bad at all.

  4. Wow, he jumps really well! Hopefully you get some more time to ride soon!

  5. go Charlie go Charlie!!! He looks awesome!

  6. Love the video, love the pics! That jump is massive. :) Charlie makes it look so easy.

  7. Charlie is a beast over that big jump. The people of Aiken better watch out, they (tentatively) have some major competition coming. :D