Tuesday, June 30, 2020

We moved

We spent all of June moving 0.9 miles away into a purchased home (pandemic purchase and all) 

I haven't seen Gwyn and I'm SO feeling the need to get out to the barn.

That's all. 

Well... it's not ALL. I now have a wife. But that was an early quarantine change.

Happy Pride

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Lesson with ED

Due to some comments from Jim that I don't understand, I'm annoyed but just sitting it out. In the meantime, trainer ED comes to the barn weekly and I can hop in on those lesson groupings when there's space. Last night I grabbed an 8pm slot. I love summer light because sunset isn't until after 9pm so we can ride in the outdoor.

Because of moving into our new house and getting it ready, I really haven't had time to do a lot of riding. Still, I thought it prudent to lunge Gwyn before hopping on just to make sure her head was in the game. Glad I did! 

Begging for cookies

She made sure to give me her best Lippizaner impression and when we walked out of the indoor my barn owner made a joke about me signing a second liability waiver before hopping on. Her acrobatics on a lunge line are impressive, I'll grant her that (they could see hind feet above the indoor walls from outside... lol )  but usually once she farts about, I soften her back down and get her doing transitions within the gait and relaxing before I ever get on. 

I got Romfh breeches and pictures to send to Laura Romfh, as she's asking for larger riders to send the company pictures of them wearing the upper size range so that they can see there could be a demand for further range. This is the Isabella breech. I like it!

 She'd just gotten bodywork done on Monday and I noticed that when she was on the wrong lead behind, she tried to change and then would buck. I'm finding this encouraging as it's improvement from when she would either bunny hop in the canter behind or just flat out stay incorrect. More on these thoughts.
Also, thanks to barn owner for taking these photos!
Goddamn elbows need to bend, Amy

I hadn't ridden with ED since mid March, right before things super shut down (and I had a random fever that sent me into quarantine but was thankfully not Covid). She did remember us and remarked that we had improved from the last lesson. I had been implementing a lot of the tools she gave me since and I'm glad it's made a difference. 

Right away, she noticed that I keep my left shoulder raised and this is impeding Gwyn's flexibility going to the left. She suggested that in my turns I rotate my whole upper torso and keep my hands pointing in the direction of my shoulders. With thigh pressure and slightly weighting my inside foot. This will help close my outside rein in the turn and give Gwyn guidance as to the curve that I want from her.

We had amazing corners and circles in this lesson. It's probably the first time that I haven't struggled with feeling like Gwyn was falling in at her shoulder, especially in the trot. I played around a lot with different size circles and seeing how well I could tighten the turn off my seat. I was hardly pulling her mouth and just sitting up and breathing tightened her into a turn on the haunches. I do need to remember to add a bit of outside leg to keep her butt tucked in, but she was so responsive I felt like we were dancing. Yaaassss dressage!

Though check out how well she's stepping under!

I showed ED a bit of Gwyn's canter under saddle and her big suggestion was that I really focus on cantering on the lunge line with side reins, specifically the sliding type (which I have) so that Gwyn can really focus on her balance without a rider but also not be locked into a head position. Our demonstrated canter was quite discombobulated and I think she was getting tired, but it's still something to work on and that could be worthwhile if I don't have a lot of time to spend fully tacking up but still want to make some forward progress during this crazy move month. 

We ended with an exercise to get Gwyn really listening and relaxing. The goal was to trot the short and long sides, and walk in the corners. In the corners, really focus on the turn. I look too soon in my turns. I need to wait and look AT my turn. I'm looking too far ahead, which can be a product of worrying about a spooky horse, but Gwyn really isn't spooky. I can wait and take each movement on its own. I should trust her. 

Once we were good with every corner and Gwyn having a soft trot and being responsive to the downward transition, we would skip a corner so it wasn't predictable. She was so good. And I felt like I had some good revelations and homework to practice on my own.  Gwyn got lots of cookies and face scratches once we were done.

Still the best girl

I grabbed my trailer after the lesson and brought it to the rental. Horse trailers mean you don't have to rent U-Hauls. I managed to park it at the rental FIRST TRY backing it up into the extra parking spot where my truck was sitting. 
Nailed it

I even got my truck tucked up nicely beside the trailer. We'll be ready on the weekend, rather than having to make an hour drive (30 min to the barn then back) to grab the trailer. It's just there, waiting for the large items!

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Black Lives Matter: What are you doing to dismantle white supremacy today?

I don't really use this space for politics. I hardly use it for my personal life (though ask me how well the blog on my personal life is going, hah) 

Just so we're clear on where I stand and what will and won't be tolerated in this space here: Black Lives Matter and the whole police and justice system is trash and needs a massive overhaul. The system is inherently racist. 

Given current events I've seen this now leaking into the horse community, something I'm very thankful for. It needs more attention, especially when you look at a lot of the casual trail riding communities and find abhorrent racism, or at the very least, people who insist that they don't see color and that's satisfactory. Enough so that myself, a very privileged white person, just had to mute it all because trying to speak up meant I was drowned in a sea of voices scorning me. I can't even imagine how a person of color would feel.  (But seriously, don't join Horse Trails and Camping across the USA. Terrible) 

Denny made a post about this (and is getting swarmed with hurt white people who apparently feel attacked), but yesterday I saw a few things that I wanted to share as they are horsey and they are relevant to the present times.

First, Mica Burton (daughter of Levar Burton, and a cosplayer and gamer) recently shared a link to an organization that could use our help. This particular one is a California group that works with kids of color and gets them involved with horses and teaching them to ride.

Consider taking a fee you would have paid to a show that you're not going to because of Covid-19 and donate it to this organization, or find something similar to support. Mica specifically mentioned this:

Edited to add in Viva Carlos as a blogger to get to know. She's amazing and just made a post that has a lot of educational links you can sit with and educate yourself. One VERY important thing to know as you immerse yourself in activism for the black community. They do NOT owe you education. It takes them time and energy that they may not have because of ALLLLLL the white folx who have come before you. Do not demand that. Google is your friend. L. William's links are your friend. Sit with the information presented there and if you feel immediate defensiveness when you read something, don't react but really examine where that emotion is coming from and what implicit biases you might have. It's uncomfortable but necessary.

Additionally, seek out and follow black equestrians on Twitter and Instagram! This fabulous person, Brianna Noble brought her horse TO one of the protests. From perusing her IG, she looks like an amazing trainer and horsewoman.