Tuesday, April 26, 2022
Thursday, April 21, 2022
- Independence - Complete independence resists all support, preferring to cope with needs alone or even ignore them entirely
- Dependence - You rely on your (trainer) to meet nearly all needs. When you experience distress, you might look to them immediately before trying to manage your emotions yourself.
The above definitions are edited from a healthline article on Emotional Dependency. In my non-horsey life, I'm a small animal ER veterinarian. I am the adult in the room the majority of the time. Yet I am struggling with putting this same feeling in to practice with LH (and Yoshi a bit before him). Which is strange, because with Zinger, for the majority of his life, I did exactly what he and I felt like doing that day. We jumped, we dressaged, we hacked. And I stayed static at the skill level I had when I moved to college and left behind the days of consistent instruction. Complete independence clearly having its downsides. And maybe I'm remembering the start of that independence with rose colored glasses since it has been ::cough:: 15 years ::cough:: since I moved away to college with him in tow. Maybe I had these same worries and concerns as we left the realm of my childhood riding instructor's tutelage and moved out into the world but those concerns have now faded from my memory. Or maybe the bravado of an 18 year old with a nice horse meant that I didn't worry even when I should have.
Under JT's training, my riding has come a million miles from where it started. Clearly there are a million miles + to go, as there always will be, but I am a much more skilled, educated rider than I was last June. But I have also developed a hesitation to jump or sometimes even really ask for more in dressage on my own. I've fallen into complacency and complete dependence on her training.
JT is an awesome, amazing, compassionate, thorough, educated trainer. Her instruction even contains simple mantras that are nearly always true and in need of following like "stretch up, hands towards the jump, both legs both hands". I actually have not gone wrong repeating that to myself out on courses. I just want to make clear that she has not created what I'm about to discuss. It is not something her other students seem to struggle with, it seems a problem unique to me, therefore created by some internal factor, not by her.
With Yoshi the hesitation to jump on my own truly made sense. I had not brought along a green horse since doing bits and pieces as a teenager, sometimes with more or less success. Every time we jumped, Yoshi was learning something. Under her guidance those were the right things. He would have been an easy horse to screw up because he learned so quickly and was so willing. If he thought that he was doing the right thing by rushing and flailing that would have become our de facto way of existence. Instead we carefully progressed and he learned how to use his body properly over fences, something I would not have been able to teach on my own.
|I know, this is an old picture, but I will never stop loving it and being so proud of the horse there|
LH is a slightly different story though. Dude is educated. He's also been doing the thing for a solid 7 years over fences in the ring if you are counting his prior hunter training. The likelihood of me making or breaking the horse in one jump school is about zilch.
|"As long as you compensate me with carrots after you F up, I hold no grudges"|
Yet last week when my jump lesson with JT got rained out, and I set out to jump on my own the next day, I was chock full of anxiety. Where did this come from? Who was this person who couldn't hop a trained horse around a course without a trainer holding my hand? I got through it, in part due to LH's generosity in one line that I really botched, but I've been trying to figure out what's going on in my brain.
Going back to the work environment, while I am perfectly capable of being the adult in the room, I'm also perfectly content to acquiesce that responsibility to someone else. I think this is what has happened with jumping in the past 6 months. I have acquiesced decision making responsibility to someone else and then stopped paying attention to how those decisions are made. The initial part of my anxiety on Friday came from doing something foreign. I haven't jumped LH on my own, so it was a new thing. Okay, NBD to overcome that one. But the mechanics of executing a jump school on our own... Yeah, that's where I need to pay much more attention to what JT is setting up, doing, teaching. The order things happen in. How to school a spooky jump on its own and then as part of a line.
So on Friday after I got over the tacking up in jump tack and heading out to the jump field, there were a lot of pause points. First, figure out what we were going to jump. There are always new and different courses set, so I didn't even have to move jumps, just pick a height to jump and an order to jump them in. Uhm. Cue internal panic. "What height do I jump? What does that even look like from the ground? Where does that come up to on my leg? Where's her stick to measure with? But do I start at novice height? Sometimes we jump higher, should I do that for a few? Or should they be relatively uniform like a course at the show?" Okay... I muddled around with jumps for a bit, moved a few up to what I thought was novice height, chickened out on making anything much bigger except one swedish oxer that I'm pretty sure I left at training+ height. Wasn't sure on that one till I rode to it and it definitely looked big and LH definitely jumped it big. When JT schooled someone else a few days later most of the jumps were left at the height I'd set, but the oxer was put down. Oops. Anyways, jumps are set, now get on horse. Warm up. Start over cross rail. "Got it, we go back and forth over that until we're getting a nice jump from a steady pace. Check."
Then there was picking a course to ride. "There are bending line options, there's a straight hunter course option, there's a combination of those two things, wtf do I do? I also want to jump the skinny gate. But I should definitely start with that on its own so I can get a good confident ride to it. Phew, that went well, okay now I have to pick a course again."
And so on... once we'd done two courses relatively successfully, I quit. I have learned the lesson of quitting while you're ahead, thanks age and a tiny smidge of wisdom and life experience for that one.
How do I fix this dependency? Where is the perfect middle ground between dependent and independent? I have some thoughts, but am curious if anyone else out there reading has struggled with this or something similar. If you have what techniques have helped you deal? Both mechanics of the schooling itself as well as those thoughts and emotions.
Friday, April 15, 2022
LH's special tongue habit (ie always waving a nice hello with his tongue as he goes around the ring) needs a properly fitted flash for shows. I disagree with the idea that the flash "stabilizes the bit" so I am calling this one what it is - some judges will mark down for the tongue out and I would prefer not to lose those points. I ask LH to keep his in his mouth for roughly 2.5 minutes every 30 days or so.
Anyways, small explanation aside, Yoshi's tongue truly was an expression of tense hands or a bit/bridle he didn't like. He ended up loving an "FSS monocrown crank" with no flash. Actually, I never tried a flash on him, but since his tongue expressed feelings, I didn't feel like it was right to smoosh it into his mouth. If he trotted down centerline with his tongue out and the judge somehow missed the other signs of tension, they would have been right to dock him points for it. I also hate the way flash tabs look when they're empty.
So for LH, I ended up buying a used Frank Baines event bridle with a detachable flash. It has now become a moot point because we also have a dressage bridle that has a flash that he'll go in at shows, but that makes it even better that it is detachable. I've never had a bridle with a detachable flash, and I actually love the design.
|Slide the flash piece through a very not noticeable opening in the layers of the noseband|
|And now you've got a flash attachment!|
I don't particularly care for the way the noseband adjusts though. The noseband strap fits through the crownpiece in a way that seems very comfy for the horse, but means if you're trying to adjust it on the horse you have to adjust the buckle on the left side and then fidget with the strap till it hangs evenly. It is also harder to even out if the noseband gets crooked.
Also, because it was what I found, the bridle is (was) oakbark. For some reason, I just hate that bright brown. It looks fine on horses in general, and it looked fine on LH's beautiful dark coat, but I still hated it. I also got him a fun browband off Amazon and bought that in Havana. And every time I put on that mismatched combo, I just cringed. In spite of the way my house looks, I apparently do have a sense of style/fashion (just hidden deep within that only emerges when it comes to horse things...).
|Can't quite see the browband color here, but this shows the bridle pretty well|
So, inspired by BreedRideEvent, I bought leather dye... and got to work.
I'm a terrible blogger, so this is the sole picture I have of the process:
I followed her steps basically, but here they are:
1) Acetone on a rag to remove the waxy coating. Per her blog you can buy deglazer, but you can also use nail polish remover (acetone). We have a giant container of acetone, so I wasn't going to go buy something else. I should have checked this step in sunlight, because I think it is to blame for the slight unevenness of the finished product the first go round.
2) Fiebling's chocolate dye for the bridle.
I figured this was the color that matched havana (his browband and saddle) the best. Because it was a bridle and because we didn't have a foam paintbrush that I could find, I applied it by hand using a rag. SHOULD WEAR GLOVES FOR THIS STEP! It's still under my fingernails 5 days later... in spite of that acetone... I dipped the tip of the rag into the container and did my best to work it into all the crevices of the leather.
3) Apply some kind of sealant. I used Obenhauf's heavy duty leather preservative.
It was highly recommended on Amazon and people weren't wrong. After I finished, the bridle feels much nicer than it did before. It is soft and supple and...
|A very nice chocolate brown with a little ombre... Steps 1 and 2 should be done and verified in the bright sunlight|
I redid a tiny bit on the noseband and the cheekpiece by just doing steps 1 and 2 on the tiny bit that was still too oakbark, and...
|No more ombre!|
For his dressage bridge, I got him a Premier Equine "diamante" because he is fancy and MUST sparkle.
The joke is on me because the noseband adjusts in the same way as the Frank Baines. Must be a British thing. It does make for a cleaner look on the off side, so I can see why they do it. Noseband aside, I really like the bridle. This is my first leather goods purchase from them and so far I'm impressed. It was very, very reasonable price wise and seems to be good quality. LH does stadium and dressage in the same bit, and I am not switching the bit back and forth at home just so the bridle matches the saddle. Which means the Frank Baines is going to continue to be our daily bridle, so I won't truly get to test out the Premier Equine durability.
But I will get to test out my dye job on the Frank Baines as he sweats and gets rained on. So far we are three rides in and there is no sign of fading or leaving dye on him!
Unrelated update, Yoshi and his new owner are getting along superbly, and he looks fantastic. It makes my heart happy to follow them on facebook and see the spoiled life he is living.
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
|We warmed up over a few jumps including this training level wedge, good boy!|
Monday, April 11, 2022
Course walk photos:
|Back side of 1- friendly house|
|2- friendly coop|
|Decently long gallop to 3- quail feeder|
|4 - mushroom table|
|5ab - bending line of ramps|
|Nice gallop to 6 - "triple bar"|
|7 - ditch, a pretty quick left hand turn from 6, JT emphasized making sure he had his eye on it so it didn't surprise him|
|8 - bench|
|9 - slope into sunken road, kinda in between those fences, we decided to trot into that one, it's not apparent until you're close that you're not going down the double down bank|
|10 - table|
|11a- roll top|
|11b - water|
|5-6 strides out of the water to 12 - roll top|
|13 - yellow hut|
|Long gallop up the hill, past some UL jumps to 14 - white table|
|Through the woods then a left hand turn to 15- corner, a very petite one at that, the wide side of this one was narrower than the table before|
|Gallop to 16 - table, not sure what they were going for with the XXX|
|And done with 17! Log and box|
|5a - he's moving left, I'm looking right towards 5b, but not doing much other than pulling with my dang right hand|
|5b- he was pretty impressed by the looks of it and jumped the heck out of it|
|Try to pull horse straight with rogue right hand going UP while he's taking off (I guess that's better than back)... I promise you my left leg wasn't doing much here|
|Even in the air, rogue right hand continues to not release properly, good left hand though|
|Right hand still refusing to get it together, the next jump is a loooong gallop up a hill and actually a bit left before turning right|
|This horse is unbelievably good looking!!!|
|I might have eaten my feelings on the way home|
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