Saturday, 21 February 2015

Spring has sprung

Rio learned a new trick after our ride this afternoon. We were chatting away, feet out of stirrups whilst the boys had some boy love and the next thing I saw was Monty's bridle over one ear! Such a naughty boy. Perhaps there is hope yet for Rio to be friends with him. 

I've finally reached a point where I've decreased Rio's daily hay allowance. He's stuck to a good weight all winter, but coming into Spring now, I don't want him to start expanding. Sarah got him in for me on Friday evening so that I could have my first post-work ride of 2015, and had a bit of a fight with his girth. I was expecting to ride out with Millie but she was just getting back when I pulled up, which left me only one option: ride out alone!

Given that he was tacked up when I got there, I could hardly say no, so I changed into my jods, got my boots on, grabbed my schooling whip (just in case!) and hopped on. I had no time to doubt myself or him and we marched out in a race against the light together. It's been a bit wet here, so I expected that it would be a simple walk up and walk down job, so I was very pleased when the ground was good enough for a trot, and even a beautiful steady canter before we headed back. 

We'll see how the ground is tomorrow - maybe if it's firm we will give this schooling lark another try.

Monday, 16 February 2015

That feeling of inadequacy

We managed some schooling last weekend, after a fab ride out on Saturday (see video below!) I felt pretty good about it. Making it into the school, me not worrying. Rio being a bit of a prat and me still not worrying, trying to get a feel with him again... All until I put together my video. He fought and fought with me, and despite him coming in a bit, despite me desperately trying to get him moving forward into a contact; all that happened was me holding him together, and it didn't flow at all. 

I've booked us in on a dressage clinic next month, and I'm just dying to get in there to try and work this out. It's come to that point where I feel like we need to step it up or I just feel like I'm not enough for him. This weekend's frustration was my lack of ability to just sit to the trot. I'm not kidding now, this is really starting to eat at me. By now, I should be past the point of getting excited about sitting to three strides before I lose it again. Right? 

Wrong. I need to remember not to run before I can walk. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn't so long ago that I was terrified of that school and of Rio being stupid in there. 
It wasn't so long ago that on a hack I would have been a sprung ball of tension at the slightest trip or spook. 
It wasn't so long ago, that if another horse had come sprinting past causing Rio to rush off in pursuit, that I probably might have lost my seat (maybe a stirrup or two) and bailed out in a big sprawling mess. 
Not any more.

These are the things I need to remember, and when the inevitable downs of horse ownership and riding come into play, these are the things I need to draw on. How many times have you been through these patches? How did you get yourself through them? I don't want to feel like I'm letting his potential be lost because I'm not a capable enough rider. I want to learn, and I want to be able to teach Rio, and for him to learn with me. It's time to start saving to try and get a trainer in every few weeks. 6 weeks and counting until the clocks go forward. I cannot wait.

On a more cheerful note - here's our hacking video! 

If anyone has any tips they would care to share, I would be more than grateful.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Stuck like glue!

We have had a smattering of snow over the course of this last week, but whilst the snowfall has looked impressive at times, it's not lasted long! This was on Thursday afternoon - I was lucky enough to be granted a late request for a half day's holiday at work. I took Rio out around the village with one of the girls whose 4 year old TB can be a bit of a crazy boy, and Rio was a bit fresh. I intended on changing his numnah back to his woolly white one, but ran short on time with the weather threatening. His new one has been rubbing a bit at the back of the saddle, so I had temporarily padded it out with the half pad which seemed to fit much better too. I think he may be changing shape again a little. It could have been the numnah that caused him to do a speedy stomp around the village, or maybe he just knew the snow was coming! 

I finally got around to putting my photos in my frame! Such a gorgeous boy, and now I get to admire him all of the time. 

Today we went out in the trailer with Sarah and Franks, and Rio got to try out his big boy pants and take the lead! We had an interesting start, to the point that I thought his saddle must really be causing him aggravation. Whenever I asked anything of him, and again in between, he was skipping around being a bit silly. We gave him the benefit of the doubt, and took the boys up the canter hill for a leg stretching trot and it seemed to do the trick. Franks was being super good, so Rio and I took the lead, to give him something to think about, and test his brave pants!

He did have a couple of moments, as you can see in the video haha. It was a fab ride. We still have plenty to work on, but it was just great. Sadly the SD card was full before we finished our hack, so we didn't get footage of the uphill gallop at the end of our ride. My seat has improved so much, as has my confidence and trust in Rio. Not long ago, if he had taken off up the hill at the rate he did, I would have been genuinely scared, and pulling him up. Not only that, but he ducked abruptly to the right once we hit the track at the top - straight into a low hanging branch. I've no clue how I stayed on, as I had to duck down over his left shoulder to avoid getting smacked in the face, and of course that's the way my balance was thrown by him jumping across to the right. A quick glance at the floor reminded me that's not where I wanted to be, so I looked straight ahead and we carried on!

This month is looking to be an expensive one on Rio's part! Just as well I'm accustomed to being poor on his behalf hey. I'm running desperately short on hay, and have somehow got to try and make it last until Saturday. I've managed to make up a haynet from some of the fresher stuff around his bale for the morning, and I'm just going to have to hope the rest is enough... (I do have a backup offer from Sarah should this fail! I can't let my poor baby go hungry in this horrible cold weather)