"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo



Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Snaps: In the Arena


I am so far behind on posting, you guys!

These photos are actually from Friday. My best rides on Lily tend to be when we are by ourselves and completely focused. It's not the same when someone else is watching: there is always this pressure to perform which doesn't always work in our favor.

Lily felt on this day like she'd worked all week. I love what field board does for her brain! She was sluggish starting out (it was hot!) so we worked on just relaxing and stretching out during the warm-up.

Pandora wasn't cooperating and Lily was taking a nap :)
Walk warm-up
Trot warm-up on a loose rein
Trot warm-up
Shoulder-in, though hard to tell in this photo. I like how she was reaching for the contact.
Initiating leg yield at the walk with one hand on the reins.
We've been playing with one-handed stuff lately.
Leg yield. My right hand is on my waist. We're not doing the chicken dance. :p
Canter warm-up
"Lily streeeetch..." Kind of a hand-gallop. The idea was to get her to extend her stride, open up.
And yup, she was nicely inverted. >.< But that's why it's part of the warm-up.



Stretching out her body means she can start doing this...


...and then this.


And then I decided to experiment. I hadn't practiced cantering Lily one handed with one arm extended out like this since March. LOVE how she looks in this photo!


And then this happened.
This. was. HUGE!!!
Those of you that have horses with no issues would take being able to do this with them for granted. 
This is a big deal for us. This is how far we have come! Lily stayed at exactly the same speed with the reins draped over the saddle (she used to bolt in arenas). She didn't freak over my arms extended on both sides (this is something that would happen as recently as last summer!) and she stayed on the circle at my bidding (she used to change directions at will if you weren't paying attention). And then at the end, she comes down to a walk upon my request...without any need of touching the reins. I fist my hands against my chest to resist the urge to use the reins! 

We continued cantering in a normal fashion afterwards.
The long warm-up worked: she was really reaching under herself at the canter.
Like so...
And so. Holy inside hind: it's even with her girth! I don't know wtf I was doing (ugh position!), but Lily looks super awesome here.
Posts to follow this week. :)



14 comments:

  1. Weeeee! How fun with your arms out! And I completely understand how big of a deal that is! Very proud of you two for getting to the point where you CAN do that.

    When I sit and think about how I used to ride Stan and the things I did with him I am baffled. In the years since I stopped riding him I have grown more fearful of things and less trusting of the animals I'm riding - for good reason in some cases! So I can empathize entirely with how thrilling it is to just let loose and trust and be able to ride like you were able to. =)

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    1. It just sucks to grow up. When we are younger there's a ton of things we'd do without thinking about the consequences bc we were kids, we felt invincible, we didn't have to be able to work to pay the bills. As adults we're responsible for our actions and that changes out perspective about everything.

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  2. I love how you are experimenting with riding one-handed and (gasp) no-handed! I'm not sure I'll ever get to cantering with no hands with Nimo, but it looks like you had fun doing it with Lily:)

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    1. The one-handed work has been great for the trail! She now knows to neck-rein somewhat but I can use some direct rein pressure when I bridge them one-handed. Really cool. :) The no hands was a spontaneous thing. I figured Charles was already there if I went "splat" and she was in a great place mentally. It was so awesome to be able to keep her on the circle with my legs and seat! First time I've ever been able to do that on any horse!

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  3. I'm impressed with tucking the reins under your thigh, I would not have thought about that. I'm able to turn Ashke with my legs, but we haven't tried anything this . . . unpredictable . . . yet.

    You look really good together.

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    1. Actually, they were just draped over the pommel. :) I had no hold on the reins whatsoever. Still not sure why the video came out so blurry, since it was taken with the real camera...I don't remember changing the settings. Maybe one day I'll get up the gumption to try it outside the arena!

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  4. You guys look AWESOME, and that video made me do a little "whoop whoop!"

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    1. Haha thanks!! I squealed when we started and she stayed on the circle at my request!

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  5. No-hands is the BEST! I always did it with Bonnie while we cooled down if we had the arena to ourselves. I like using a pommel strap with clips to hold the reins while I'm doing it. I also pretend my whip is a sword and attack imaginary enemies with it, but that's just me.

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    1. Brilliant idea to use a pommel strap with clips for the reins! I'd pretend the whip was a sword when riding one-handed, so you're not the only one! :D

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  6. *sigh* jealous. but well, it's something for us to shoot for. so far we have a complete HALF circle at the canter, woo! with reins of course, and professional supervision.

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    1. I have absolute faith that you will get there before you know it! You and Mara have come so far! It's wonderful to hear the new loving tone in your posts when you write about her. :)

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  7. That is so exciting!!!! Congrats! I've done the no hands cantering but I always grabbed the reins to stop. I'll have to try this someday with Chrome... You know when we can canter lol. I really enjoyed the video especially when you giggled and when you put your hands against your chest so you wouldn't grab the reins! I knew exactly why you did it! Lily looks great! That reach is amazing!!!

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    1. Haha yup, reaching for the reins is a totally automatic reflex! I think you'll get there with Chrome too. He obviously adores and trusts you; it's just a matter of getting more training miles on him. :)

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