Struggle Monorail: Express Line, No Stops

Pity party alert:

I can’t get a full body shot of my horse because he wants to come get smooches every time. JUST KIDDING I LOVE THIS EVERY TIME.

A short list of things that I’ve been able to do comfortably and confidently for a long time that I can no longer do:

  1. Pick up the correct lead. Either direction.
  2. Sit squarely in my saddle, even a little bit.
  3. Not collapse on my horse’s neck upon landing off a jump of any height.
  4. Put together a short course without falling apart in the middle.
  5. Actively ride my horse instead of clomping around up top like some sort of Jello-based dessert.

I’m just being bitter because of a series of sub-par lessons. I’ve mentioned that it feels like I’m having to re-learn how to ride with Frankie, but apparently I’m having to un-learn everything first. Including all the stuff I really would rather not un-learn.

And none of this is on Frankie: homeboy is a SAINT. Legit, he trotted over a 2’9″ square oxer rather than stopping when I absolutely mangled the approach. He would’ve been well within his rights to coast to a stop but he knows his job is to jump the jump NO MATTER what I’m doing. Much love to my best boy.

He’s sexy, he’s cute, he’s popular to boot, he’s bitchin’, great hair, the girls all love to stare

But I’m frustrated that I mangled that approach. Blah blah blah hooray for pony saving my butt- I don’t WANT him to have to save my butt. I want to take care of my own butt, thank you very much.


Do I look crooked here? I analyze my butt in every picture now. (Side note- cutest saddle pad ever or what?!)

Pity party: over. Thank you for indulging me for a couple paragraphs.

Time to focus on an action plan instead! Here’s what I’m doing to tighten up:

  • Drop dem stirrups. Even better, take them off my saddle before I hop on so there’s no temptation. I’ve been sore in some form or another literally since I bought Frankie, so I may as well intensify those muscle aches a bit more.
Both of us make faces when the stirrups come off.
  • Continue the pick-up-the-lead-I-ask-for exercises that my trainer suggested. These exercises went amazingly on Saturday, which is why I was so frustrated that we bombed our lesson on Sunday. Such is the manner of progress with riding, I suppose.
  • Get more comfortable with spurs. I tend to wear these in lessons and then flat without them- I need to learn to use them more intentionally at all times. No accidental poking allowed.
  • Get. My. Head. In. The. Game. It’s been a weird couple of weeks and I haven’t had the same focus I usually have, and I need to shake that off and get back in it. I want/need to be fully present during our rides.

At the end of the day I’m allowing myself to be frustrated about these lessons going poorly, but then I intend to channel that frustration into something productive. I have a fantastic horse who loves his job and will do anything I ask without question. I have the desire and the ability to work hard to improve. I have a trainer that will make sure that my horse and I are safe, and who will push us to expand our abilities. It’s time to really take advantage of these wonderful resources and turn them into something amazing!

Even MORE amazing than this family photo. Sorry Manfriend, but this is your family now. Get pumped for the Christmas cards.

PS- Seriously though, I love my horse. He’s the bestest pony.

When you’ve started riding a new horse, what was the learning curve like? Any tips for adjusting to such a different ride??

23 thoughts on “Struggle Monorail: Express Line, No Stops

  1. carey 05/23/2016 / 1:36 pm

    I just watched Bring It On this weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚

    There will always be learning, un-learning, and re-learning. Sounds like you’ve at least got a great horse to do it on!


    • hellomylivia 05/23/2016 / 1:44 pm

      Best movie ever, amiright?? SO so so glad to have Frankie as my partner in this โค


  2. Lauren 05/23/2016 / 1:41 pm

    Dude I legit was trotting 12″ crossrails in my lesson yesterday, and doing that poorly. Totally feel you on this.


    • hellomylivia 05/23/2016 / 1:45 pm

      Join the Regressing Club, we have cookies and wine. So much wine.


  3. Hillary H. 05/23/2016 / 1:43 pm

    It takes time to adjust to a new horse! I still have issue with Annie Becuase of how used to Houston I was. I still sometimes have problems sitting the canter on her.

    You’ll get there but you might have to step back for a few weeks and work on the basics to build a partnership ๐Ÿ™‚


    • hellomylivia 05/23/2016 / 1:47 pm

      For sure, it’s easy to get ambitious and rush things, but I’m trying to take things one step at a time!


  4. Tracy - Fly On Over 05/23/2016 / 3:02 pm

    For me, there’s always a big learning curve when I ride a new or different horse. My favorite is struggling with canter departs and leads. It’s always embarrassing when you’ve been riding for decades and then all of a sudden CAN’T EVEN CANTER CORRECTLY. *facepalm*


  5. Heather 05/23/2016 / 3:23 pm

    I’ve been riding my horse for four years, and some days I still come out and just stand up in 2 point at the canter because using leg-seat-hand isn’t happening.You’ll get past it.

    Having been a catch rider for years though, I often start by doing things in the most basic way possible first–2 point at the canter, soft hands, gently using leg to simply move forward, and then I add each more complex piece a little bit at a time. Not only does it help you get used to the horse, but it also helps the horse get used to you a little at a time. Your horse is getting a LOT of information from you at all times (seriously, 2 hands, 2 legs, and 2 seat bones, all saying something important at all times!) so breaking that down and adding each piece a little at a time makes it so much easier for your horse to understand what you are asking when things get more complex.


    • hellomylivia 05/27/2016 / 7:31 am

      I hadn’t thought about it this way, THANK YOU for breaking it down! This makes so much more sense and is so logical to my engineer brain ๐Ÿ™‚


  6. Micaylah 05/23/2016 / 4:30 pm

    I’ve had my horse for 7 years and I’m just trying to save up to get a new jump saddle and go over a measly 2′ lol


    • hellomylivia 05/27/2016 / 7:34 am

      Eeeek saddle shopping is the weirdest combo of fun and UGH CAN WE BE DONE ALREADY. Can’t wait to see what you end up with ๐Ÿ™‚


  7. Stacie Seidman 05/23/2016 / 11:05 pm

    Try not to get frustrated, you’re doing great! You’re on Addy’s complete opposite, so you have to retrain all that muscle memory.
    I totally feel you as I have two geriatric horses that more or less go the same way and two babies that have no idea what I want. When I go ride Badger, I feel like I can’t even flat him based on all the criticism trainer throws at me. I mean she’s right of course… But I know i can’t possibly be doing it all wrong all of the time. I’m sure all of us (you and Frankie, me and the two kids) will come out of this learning patch in no time with all kinds of trainer compliments.


    • hellomylivia 05/27/2016 / 7:35 am

      Thank you thank you thank you for your encouragement<3 Can we make Learning Patch badges girl-scout-style for when we go through these phases??


  8. redheadlins 05/24/2016 / 7:24 am

    I’m seriously giggling about ‘sorry manfriend’ :’)


  9. shelbyrallen 05/24/2016 / 8:51 am

    Sometimes I forget how to ride my horse – who I’ve had for 3 and a half years. You are making me feel back for my lack of no stirrup work lately tho…. Maybe I should add that back into my routine!


    • hellomylivia 05/27/2016 / 7:36 am

      I’m really glad I’m not the only one! Blehhhh no stirrups work. The spinach of riding.


  10. Olivia @ DIY Horse Ownership 05/24/2016 / 5:24 pm

    I love Frankie’s no stirrups face. I know the feeling with different horses though. Anytime my husband and I swap horses we both feel weird. I don’t remember having this struggle when I rode at a lesson barn so I think it’s a matter of getting used to one horse.


    • hellomylivia 05/27/2016 / 7:36 am

      I totally agree- all my muscles and actions were tuned into Addy, so it’s a process re-tuning to Frankie!


  11. Bette 05/25/2016 / 3:19 pm

    I feel ya with the inabilty to ride best horse! When I got my horse Johnny in high school I almost broke down in tears bc after we bought him and brought him home I couldn’t even POST his trot! I was so freaked out because if I couldn’t even ride his trot how was I suppose to jump him and eventually move up the levels in eventing??? I quickly figured out how to do a posting trot again and we eventually made it up the levels to Training level eventing with our eyes on Prelim before he injured himself- but the point is it DID get better as I know it will with you and Frankie ๐Ÿ˜€ You have the coolest horse ever and you’ll soon be able to look back at this post and laugh bc you’ll be so far ahead in your riding!!!!


    • hellomylivia 05/27/2016 / 7:37 am

      Aw thank you so so so much for this! I’m excited to get in sync and move up together like you guys did ๐Ÿ™‚


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