|Friend Nat, me, and the sleepy Paxfilly herself.|
Clearly, blogging has not been my focus nor my strength in the past months. After my fear post in November, I received some amazing feedback through comments, e-mails, and even a phone call or two. Much thanks for that. It would be a lie to say "I'm over it!" but also a lie to say I haven't improved daily. No, I'm not riding Indigo yet. I'm not ready, and obviously he is not, either— I've let him be more or less dormant, minus a few ground lessons, and where his manners were fair before, he's adopted a much less go-with-the-flow attitude. Several people, my husband included, have generously offered to work with me and mount him the first time themselves.. I'm not ruling that out, and it might help, but worse than hurting myself is the thought of getting someone else banged up because of my own insecurities. Though I'm not ready for that step on my own, I'm doing fine on other horses and losing the heart-in-the-throat feeling that mounting a squirrelly horse gave me so strongly after the incident in Utopia. I push myself a little bit every time I ride someone new, and it feels better and better. Not like it used to be, but that's fine. I can be patient.
I have worked with Pax, and see her going off to be properly started next fall. She has taken to —sigh..— jumping things. Like fences, and gates. And barrels. And I think the corner of the plastic round bale holders. She lept out of the arena two weeks ago and only slightly snagged her back feet. Hoping it is all a phase, in part because.. (exciting news to follow:)
Camp is finally getting a new riding arena! Of real pipe! And real footing! And even level ground!
Finally, the stars have aligned and the right people have uttered the word "yes" and it looks like we should have the old arena, tacking area, and corral torn down and a new structure standing by the beginning of March. Sounds like a potential donor has committed to getting us sand footing and railroad ties to line and elevate the arena itself, providing the solid, safe, less rocky ground that will benefit our kids and our horses. Can't express how stoked I am, and likewise how thankful. Temporary fencing has gone up and tomorrow the tear-down process begins. Riding lessons cancelled for the rest of February, though you bet I will still be riding Bandit.
Bandit.. My hero. Through all of this anxiety junk, he's been about as good as I could ask him. He has packed me on trails at weird hours of the day, and put up with my dressage-dreams-fueled weird exercises and experiments that come to me from nowhere. We dealt with some grouchiness and pain issues at our last regular dressage lesson, and swapped some things around (extracted his ground-down wolf teeth; powerfloated; de-beaned; trimmed; restarted SmartFlex Senior.) I was more than a little nervous that he'd turn up lame or not turn up at all, so to speak, at the Joan Bolton clinic we lucked into riding in. Instead, I learned (within minutes) all the ways that I was exacerbating his flaws and giving him all kinds of reasons to protest the gymnastic elements of dressage that are lacking in our normal skill set. By the end of the ride, you couldn't have Windexed the smile off of my face.
|Clinic, 1-27-2012. Come so far, and so far yet to go!|
Both Cindy, the instructor I've been riding with north of Kerrville, and Joan (and Heather Blitz, rider of the great Paragon) practice riding through biomechanics, as conceptualized and taught by Mary Wanless. From Mrs. Blitz's website, linked to above:
The person who has been the biggest influence in my riding is my biomechanics coach, Mary Wanless. I met Mary in 1993 and have continued to learn from her to the present. Her research into the effect of riders’ bodies on horses is extensive and unique and not found in more “traditional” training. Her theories continue miles beyond teaching the beginner to improve their seat. The more advanced I become in my riding, I find her even more helpful. Like a mechanic tuning my engine as I need more and more technique, power and refinement. As you progress up the levels, it gets harder and harder to find words to describe what we’re trying to achieve but Mary’s style, using analogies and sensory feedback allows for amazing communication and understanding in a world of feel and timing. I have always had a special niche in my own teaching because of my education from Mary and will forever be grateful for the day I was introduced to her.
|Bible-like. Kept by my bedside.|
My involvement in NATRC currently hovers at sitting on the advisory board of the newsletter and editing things for the Hoof Print. I'm glad I get to be involved there, but I'm completely looking forward to competing in the Wimberly Wayfarer later in the spring. Wimberly is another gorgeous Hill Country town, closer to Austin, and I think the familiar scenery could lend a little calm to my bucket o' crazy pony. He is so prone to absorbing the atmosphere around him.. at the dressage clinic, he was miraculously the quietest, most well-behaved little gelding of the bunch. I got several compliments on his ability to stand tied anywhere I put him; a skill honed strictly from trying to learn the ropes of long distance competitive trail. Yet when we're at CTRs, he's a bucket of nerves who tries to remove his eyeball and instead removes the trailer door, all in one foul swoop because a completely familiar person got a completely unremarkable distance away from him. Oh well. Can't have it all, and I'm lucky to have my old man!