VCBH: Right Here, Right Now

What are you currently working on in your rides?

This is hard.

I don't have any shows coming up and I also have neither a trainer nor any riding buddies, so the pressure and motivation to be cantering "big", "complex" courses has diminished.  Add to that the recent illness and injuries that Archie has sustained and my desire to not rush things, and I feel like we haven't been doing much of anything.

A progressive look at my rides since all of that bullshit from last month:
That outlier on 4/22 is from him missing a shoe and feeling too off to ride.
I thought I was being a little more reasonable with my desire to increase our speed/distance/time, but it appears that 45 minutes and 2.75 miles is my max.  Which is s l o w.  I jog faster than that.  Anyways, the goal was/has been to increase pace and time under saddle, to get him fitter.  I feel like we're pretty much at the point where we were before all the shit hit the fan, so I've started jumping again.  This has primarily been single jump of a crossrail/small vertical one day.  And then a grid another day.

2'ish (I measured afterwards and center hit 2'2", so who the fuck knows.)
I'm sort of ashamed to admit this because it goes against my lazy nature, but we've also been cantering stirrupless (it's amazing how much better I canter without them) and doing little five-minute bursts of two point on our cool-out trail rides.  I've also been wearing my shoulders back harness occasionally.

And to balance out all that practicality, we've also been introducing some new tack:

He wasn't as unimpressed as the photo implies.  Dude was excellent without a bit, though he blew through my outside hand at the canter.  Annnnnd... I think I should have contacted Saiph and Liz and requested that they sell me a rope bridle, as I'm sure it would have been 800 times softer and better tied.  This one has too many knots.  I don't think Archie needs the knots over his nose.  (Ahem, guys?)

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  1. This post reminds me I am supposed to make you some courses.

  2. How well do you feel like the shoulders back harness works? Inquiring minds want to know.

    1. So... The fetal is my go-to position, right? When I was showing IHSA in college, my trainer actually tied my shoulders back with bailing twine. Instant improvement.

      I think the harness is a much nicer version of the bailing twine. I bought it when I was showing IHSA and pull it out periodically as a refresher. It's a kind reminder. L wears hers under her regular clothes, but I only wear mine when I ride. Hubs says that if I built up my lats, I'd naturally pull my shoulders back. But he doesn't have monster boobs weighing him down.

      I've also heard of a crop behind the back and through the elbows. I've done that one, too. It's uncomfortable, but it definitely gets the chest out.

    2. I don't like my shoulders back. I rarely remember to ride in it though… and I hardly have any work clothes I can wear it with since it rubs me :/

  3. I squealed when I saw you've tried bitless with Archie! Liz is the master of the bitless halter bridle and she can make you one if you purchase the rope and mail it to her along with Archie's head measurements. She can tell you which rope to buy and where and how to measure for it. Knots over the nose are supposed to give you more stopping power but a lot of rope bitless bridles don't seem to have them.

    Love that photo of you two jumping!

  4. Bitless! You are one brave woman. With the rope halters, I agree with Saiph that the knots over the nose are supposed to exert more pressure over that area of the face, which of course gives you more control, but I'm not sure about rope bridles.