Saturday, November 7, 2015

NOOOOO!!-Stirrup November

Every time I sit down to blog recently, my mind goes blank and my motivation goes out the window, so I end up with a "this is what we did today.  Yay." summary post.  So, to my handful of followers, I apologize profusely for the dry and somewhat routine info.  Someday if I have time and energy, I want to blog about the following things:

- the recent Swiss ban of draw reins at FEI competitions and a very fun, lengthy discussion on the current and future impacts of the animal rights movement on horse sports (seriously, I'll try to pare down my 60+ page thesis to a readable blog post for you)
- Sweet Sixteen: my riding goals then/now
- Maturing as a horseman and how priorities change
- Getting involved with a Thoroughbred retraining charity and their new veterans program

So on to that boring summary stuff, Soon and I rode in the dark a couple more times this week.  Which you will note...I said during the week which means I actually dragged my sorry ass to the barn after my crazy work schedule IN THE DARK and rode IN THE DARK.  That means I'm motivated!

Since it was near 80 degrees yesterday, I elected not to do much with Soon when I got on.  He's got a full winter coat and I really didn't clip as much as I could have, so asking him to work hard probably wasn't going to be super comfortable.  But I still made it productive because I figured that was a perfect time to pull my irons and finally participate in No Stirrup November for the first time in like 10 years.  So no stirrups in the dark = "motivation, wow!"

Item A: photographic evidence that I did in fact yank my stirrups off my saddle
Now, I'm no stranger to working without irons, I grew up doing the equitation so we regularly had lessons without our irons.  Back then we also had No Stirrup September, since our state and regional medal finals were mostly in October.  So if you were in that program, Fearless Leader Trainer took your stirrups and you didn't see them all month.  At all.  Ever.  I kept regular no stirrup rides up as a pro as well, because it's good to do.  But after my two-year hiatus from riding and coming back as an ammy, I haven't worked much without my irons and that needs to change.

I felt ok trotting around.  Actually I think I felt great and very solid (pleasantly surprised at my no stirrup skills after such a long time), and was able to get Soon forward and round, but I could only do a couple of minutes before I called it a night.  I am very unfit.  More motivation for me to get back into my gym routine...which was going well until my last trip.  So I'll be getting that going again and I think things will come together pretty quickly.  I see plenty of no stirrup work coming this winter.

In other news, Soonie and I are doing a jump/grid demo tomorrow for the farm's open house.  That should be fun.  He was great through it last week.  I figured today would be good to do a simple line and put one of the fences up a little bit to give him another confidence boost prior to tomorrow.  I don't think the grid will get bigger than last week (which was pretty tiny, barely 2'6"), but if it does I didn't want him going a few months not having jumped anything over 3'.  So I set a steady three stride line, popped through it low to warm up, and went through it a handful of times.  I think we ended somewhere around 3'3" or 3'6".  Easy peasy. 

Just doesn't look that impressive in a photo
In the grand scheme of things, I've not done a lot of height with Soon, he's never been over anything more than 3'6" (and that we've only done a couple of times), but I think he actually has scope for much higher.   He feels the same over that as he does over smaller fences.  He uses himself very well.  He sailed over the Novice log cabin like it wasn't even there, he was hardly trying (my rusty eye is assuming it's Novice, it could be Training?  Eh maybe not).  I'm excited to be able to focus more now on lessons, and challenging him more both with course complexity and height.  He could potentially be my Low A/O jumper after all, who knows!

Also, I am totally stoked that my office is allowing me to try a modified work schedule on Mondays/Fridays (insane events/visit permitting).  I'll go to work at 0530, clear out the paperwork with nobody bothering me, go ride around 1000 or 1030, and be back in the office by 1:30pm to work until things are done, probably around 6pm-ish.  Longer overall day, but I can go directly to the gym after work, or directly home to dinner without worrying about going to the barn afterward.  And of course this allows me to ride two more days during the day, with daylight and warmer temps!  It's just a trial for now, but fingers crossed that this will work out.  I don't always love my job just because of the insanity of it, but I do absolutely LOVE the people I work with.  They are the best.

That was weighing much heavier on my mind than I wanted to admit to myself, because I was visibly upset/annoyed by it, and once we sat down to discuss options and came up with this solution, my attitude about life improved about 400%.  It's somewhat scary that riding/training has that much affect on my happiness.  I'm very thankful though that my colleagues are willing to be flexible for me, couldn't be more grateful!

1 comment:

  1. Progress all around. Hope the new schedule sticks. :-)