Saturday, October 1, 2011

Documenting Progress

This week went by and I wasn't able to fit a lesson in.  We had one planned but my instructor had some people coming in from out of state to look at a horse and she just couldn't fit a lesson in at my barn AND showing the horse to the people coming in from a long distance.

That worked out just fine for me.  I still need more time to work on the canter departs.

This got me to thinking about this blog and how I like to use it as a way to document my progress (or lack of it at times).  I had some comments posted regarding my last video where people thought I was brave to post it.  I couldn't understand how it is considered brave.  I want to post our foibles and follies as well as our crowning moments.  It's what makes riding so much fun!  You come across a problem and you learn how to correct it or at least improve on it.

So I went back to look for an early ride on Ollie video and couldn't find any.   It's mostly of Betsy Van Dyke riding him.  So I went back further and I found this one of me and Jaguar Hope.  I KNOW I'm better at sitting the canter now than I was 3 yrs ago...

I still swoon over Jag's good looks and I try hard not to get too sentimental about missing him. After all, I have a cute pudgy gray pony who adores me now.  For a refresher - here is the last video I put up of Ollie and me.

I see improvement! I rode Ollie yesterday and worked a bunch on our cantering - me sitting it better and us with our departs. The departs are coming along slowly and my seat is improving but every now and again I get popped out of it. I have to think heavy thoughts to stay in that saddle.

Now it's time for my confession. I was always worried that Ollie would take off on me at the canter. He can make his jaw so stiff and crane his neck out and I'll have moments of no hand steering.

He's teaching me to use my seat as a steering wheel so I guess that's good. At any rate, I hate it when he does that and it's always made me apprehensive about the canter. Now I know that I don't have to worry about him taking off at the canter. He will lope around and around at a steady pace even when we have a long straight away. Our problem is getting him to transition down to the trot! He loves to do a relaxing lope around and around and around. It's super comfortable too. Sometimes it takes me the entire ring to get back to trot... ugh. He'll slow down his canter nicely but changing it to trot is another story.  I imagine he is thinking back on his racing days where he'd lope around the track for his exercise. The good news is that I don't worry about the fact it may take us a little while to transition down. He's relaxed and pleasant otherwise.

So we are going to keep on keeping on!  I'm sure a new video will be up in a week or two hopefully showing progress!


  1. Jag does have gaits to die for - both trot and canter. But, Ollie looks like fun and he reminds me so much of my Jackson who also throws his head up when anticipating canter. I also use voice commands to try and keep things quiet -- with both of us. You guys are making progress and that's the good/fun part.

  2. I have such a soft spot for grey geldings. Yours just keeps getting cuter and cuter!

  3. You guys are looking good. I can definitely see and improvement in your cantering. I'm sure the depart will improve with practice. I'm wiht you re posting good and bad. a couple of times I got DOug to video me for my blog and then didn't post it because the ride didn't go as well as it could have. Now I'm sorry I didn't because looking back I don't have a record of those times and the 'real' record, which I want, would show both the good days and not so good days.
    Ollie is very handsome by the way.