Let's start with the dressage lesson, because that was some crazy shit.

(Oh, and I gave my notice for the vet's office.  First time in five years that I won't be working in animal medicine.  I have mixed feelings.)

So, I got to the barn and I was the only one there.  I wouldn't be freaked out by this if I rode there more than once a month, but it was a little unsettling.  The barn owner sent me a text that if I was there, I was welcome to help myself and tack up and she was en route.  I really appreciate that she trusted me to get out the Wicked Western Pony's stuff and get him and all that.  Her daughter showed up as I was grooming him and helped me finish tacking.

Kathy came and the lesson started.  I've got video which the daughter took.  I just need to upload and edit.

Zip, the Wicked Western Pony, is a good horse.  But he's.. funny.  He's not my horse and can't tell them that they're doing wrong by him, because I don't know all the facts.  And, anyways, he's been bought and is moving in a couple months.  But he's incredibly grouchy.  He's butt-high and it always takes me a minute to adjust to the downward slope.  They prefer that I ride him in spurs, I prefer not to.  I rode in spurs on Saturday.  I don't think I'll do it again.

He's very straight.  There's no bend, no real concept of bend.  I started to get frustrated because he was cutting the outside corner, didn't get indirect rein, wouldn't move off my inside leg and I felt like a beginner, pulling exaggeratedly on that outside rein.  But, by the end of the lesson, we had bend.

This brings me to two three points:

  • I can't trust my trainer.  She'd already pissed me off twice prior to this.  She's a nagger.  I don't like trainers that nag.  Maybe I'm not a rider that should be competing, maybe I ought to just be working on horses.  I was caught up in getting this horse to bend and the entire time that I'm focused on him, I'm getting this running narrative from her: drop your right shoulder, put the left spur on him, drop your outside hand, bring the inside elbow back, thumbs on top - no, not literally!, sit taller, sit straighter, fix your outside shoulder, put your thumbs on top, don't let your outside hand drift that far out, bring your outside hand back.
  • I did not get bend until I stopped listening to her and just rode the damn horse.  I got contact, collection, and I brought him around my leg.  There is video and it looks good.  She was all talking about inside leg to outside rein, and I get that, I do, but until I got him collected, it was pointless.  He only started to bend when I increased contact with both reins and continued to play with them.  And she told me not to follow his head with my outside hand, in the bend, but that didn't make sense to me.  It still doesn't.  If we're doing a bending circle, shouldn't I be part of that bend and doing everything I can to facilitate it for my novel horse?
  • I'm thinking about quitting lessons with her.  It's only once a month, but if my entire lesson is spent training their horse, what am I really getting?
And... the more exciting news!
Archie was adjusted!
(And the chiro wasn't injured!)

It's hard to read, but all the circles are points that were adjusted. And the writing on the right is other stuff.  He seemed to really like her, really appreciated what she was doing.  She asked if I was ever going to sell him.  I get freaked out when people ask me that.  (And I get asked a lot.)  I don't know if it's just the equestrian community to buy and sell horses, but it has never crossed my mind to sell him.  I mean, he's gorgeous and when he feels good, he's an awesome mover.  But he's my "soul horse."  I will have him for the rest of his life.

It also makes me wonder if these askers are interested in buying.

She told me not to touch his back for the next two days and then, on Wednesday, I can ride again.  I'll ride Wednesday and Thursday, go to Augusta on Friday and Saturday, and she's coming back to adjust again on Sunday.  Then he'll be adjusted again in a month.  I might make it an every-two-months thing.

There were a few interesting things she said.  I've been jumping him over crossrails since January, because I don't think he can handle higher.  He hurts.  She said that she thinks we can get him comfortable enough for some verticals.  She also thinks that my tail-bone breaking might have something to do with his back pain because I would be riding different and sitting different.  And she thinks the riders should be patients, too, because we work together.  If I'm off, he's going to be off and eventually we'll be all sorts of fucked up.

I'm excited.

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