The last couple of weeks have been very interesting for the P-monster and I. First off, I realized that the saddle that I've been trying to replace for the last 8 months was way beyond safe riding (look down straight down the seat from the back of you saddle... is it supposed to twist dramatically to one side?). I (thankfully) sold my ancient dressage saddle, and thus, was left saddle-less -- hence the bareback riding.
One of my friends/clients/life-savers, Kim, has been nice enough to lone me an old dressage saddle of hers that fits him ok (aka, does NOT have a twist dramatically to one side), so at least I was able to do some dressage.
I threw him on the trailer for a local show that my girls were going to, where he proceeded to make an ass out of himself, but somehow win the division, and most of his classes (came in second twice). How he did that, I'll never know... but hey, I've been on the losing end of the stick many times in those situations - might as well be the one to win it for once! Another one of my clients had let me barrow her jumping saddle with very padded kneerolls and very wide twist. Being that far away from him, and having the jumps way too low was not a good combination, and he simply stopped respecting anything I was telling him! I guess he must have looked cute though... :)
The exciting thing about the show was how well the girls did. Sara has her first jumping class back after the fall over the summer that broke her wrist. It would be a lie to say there weren't a lot of nerves and tears, but she rode her heart out, and got thru it! I'm so glad that first class back is over with. It was tough for all of us! Taylor and Bonnie continue to make great strides together. Taylor looks better and better at every show, and I wish that the judge would just look at them (although, I know how hard it must be with 17 in a flat class!).
On to Sunday where I got to take my first dressage lesson with FEI rider, Karyn Becerra. I've been meaning to get P over to her place for a while, and kicked myself in the butt and got a lesson scheduled. She's a very active coach, which is good for us! She quickly identified our problem areas and I'm very excited about getting with her more over the winter to get Prophet more competitive at the upper level movements! I came home with many things to work on, including getting him much lighter on the inside rein, and some minor position adjustments for myself that are really making me use my abs! I see lots of sit-ups in my future!
Now the exciting news... my new jump saddle finally arrived yesterday! I've ridden in it twice, and it seems to agree with P-monster's back. After doing dressage and bareback work for a couple of weeks, P wanted to be quite naughty, and I've spent the last two rides convincing him he can play nice (aka, not jump the trot pole at 4 feet would be a start). I think we finally got somewhere this morning, as I finally convinced him he could chill, and he finally convinced me get out of his face.
Which brings me to what is going to have to be my mantra for a while... Put my hands down and stop picking.
This is really hard for me! I'm a picker. I pick at John about stuff, I pick at my face, I pick at Prophet's mane, pick pick pick pick. And I pick at Prophet coming down to the jumps, which just makes him shorter and heavier and shorter and heavier. HHHMMMMM... wanna guess why I fell off at Paradise? Yup, I was picking. And I wonder why more horse can't jump through a 3'7" triple line from an 7.5 foot stride. It's the blonde dye in my hair - it makes me this way.
But the first step is acceptance, and now I just have to convince myself of it, since my horse was actually quite nice after I figured that out!
So now that I've written the book of what's happened in the last wee (thanks for hanging in here this long with me!), I will let you go with these words... Stop picking and ride forward!!!