Friday, November 11, 2011

The Proof is in the Pudding

Or in my case, the video.  I had a lesson yesterday and decided to take some video.  Wow, wow, wow.  It was very enlightening.  Sadly, the video camera was too far away to catch anything my trainer is saying and it's not a great picture, but boy did I learn something.  I learned that I have NO concept of bent elbows.  None. Zip. Zero.  My legs aren't as bad as I thought, my seat looks weak but okay.  My torso is a bit forward and I obviously need to get more core strength.  But my elbows.  Sweet baby Jesus my elbows are like ramrods of tension from my tight forward shoulders to my locked up wrists.  I complained yesterday that my arm was hurting and NO WONDER!!  It's locked up tighter than a prison!  And when I think I'm gently using my arm to move the rein back and tip her nose in, I'm actually just wiggling my hands around with my elbows shoved in front of me.  The video is such poor quality that I won't post it.  I tried to take still shots from it, but we're so far away it's kind of pointless.  Besides, I might be ready to write about my awful riding for the whole wide world, but I'm not sure I'm ready to put an actual video of it out there yet.  Maybe next time.

I'm going to go through my riding books and look for exercises on keeping elbows soft and bent.  I know the old trick about putting a whip through your elbows and behind your back, but on a green, spooky thanks.  I'm not ready for that.

Since I have deprived you of gawking at my awful video, here is a cute picture of Tess before our lesson.  Note the hot pink dressage pad.  Hell yes I'm using a hot pink pad.  It looks good on her and it makes a point about not taking this whole business too seriously.  And when you're riding dressage, reminders to lighten up are always a good thing.  Also, we are the only tiny, grey Arab mare in a barn full of well trained,  gorgeous,  bay and chestnut Thoroughbreds and Warmbloods so a sense of humor is a must.


  1. : ) I love the hot pink pad! I have a Strawberry Shortcake pad for a stock QH in a barn full of warmbloods! : )

    P.S. Don't be too hard on your elbows; it's so easy to pick on yourself in a video but very hard to ride like the pros. : ) Keep up the good work!

  2. Strawberry Shortcake!! I didn't even know they made such things. If they made them, I think I would get Tess a Powerpuff girl saddlepad. :)

  3. Wasn't able to comment on new post for some reason - on the bit:

    I'm very much against tying a horse's mouth closed with a flash or caveson - this just keeps the horse from being able to tell you anything and doesn't solve anything. The bit does seem to be a bit high - you could try loosening it by one hole - but also check the bit size - it might be too short for her mouth. Bit issues can be a number of things - your hands, TMJ issues due to incisors not aligning properly, other dental issues or a problem with the shape of the bit based on the horse's palate shape and tongue size.

    The girthiness, etc. symptoms you're describing could be saddle fit but they're also classic signs of ulcers - many horses who are crabby/girthy/reluctant to move forward have ulcers.

    Also I don't believe horses plot to get out of work.

  4. Kate-
    Thank you thank you for the feedback! I have made a very conscience decision to NOT use a tight caveson or a flash, despite the fact that everyone else at my barn doesn't even think about it. I know that it means the pony will make bigger faces when I get it wrong, but that's okay. I will learn to get it right without gimmicks.
    I am going out tomorrow and am going to try lowering the bit. I don't think it's too short, as it tends to sit outside her mouth on both sides. It may just feel really thick for her though. I will be getting her teeth checked soon since it's now been six months since her last checkup. I wish there was an easier way to check if a bit fits. It seems like if saddle fit is challenging, bit fit is even more of a mystery! Haha.

    As for the ulcers, she's currently on Omeoprazole for ulcers so I know it's not that. :) She's also getting raspberry leaf and Quiessence (magnesium). She's gotten less nervous but continues to be crabby about anything in the saddle area.

    Thanks again for the helpful feedback.

  5. Mona - you might want to play around with different bits - she might be one of those horses, like Dawn, who likes a thinner bit - Dawn goes in a plain single-jointed Mylar snaffle. Some horses like the Mylar comfort snaffle, although oddly enough none of mine do. Drifter goes in a KK that's two-jointed with a lozenge in the middle, and Pie prefers the ported Mylar snaffle - he's got a very big tongue, so that provided room.

    Good luck - you're right, the search for the right bit isn't always easy.

  6. Hey Mona, is there something up with your latest post (Tack or Training)? It's not letting comments or anything go on it.