Triumphant Return

I’m baaaaack!!!!!

Didja miss me? (Just say yes. I don’t care if you’re lying). Because I gotta be honest, I missed all y’all. Two weeks was a long time.

But enough with the sappiness, let’s get into the good stuff. Greece was great blah blah blah you saw pictures and it was a magical once-in-a-lifetime type of trip and coming back home was only tolerable because my pony was waiting for me.

frankie_reunited
REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOOOOOOD

So let’s talk about the pony.

I had a “meeting” with Assistant Trainer for her to hop on Frankie and show me what they’ve been working on while I was away, so that I can be sure to ride consistently and not undo all their hard work. And side note here- my trainers are awesome. Usually in this situation we would just discuss what’s been going on, but AT knows that I’m a very visual learner, so she hopped on to SHOW me instead of just telling me. I gotta tell ya, super grateful that she tailored her communication for me like that.

Also grateful that this training is very clearly tailored to how Frankie goes and what our competitive goals are. We discussed how Frankie will never be the fastest horse in the ring- he isn’t “spicy” like most jumpers. On the one hand, this is fantastic for me. I never worry about getting run away with, I trust him to jump the jumps, and overall he is Mister Reliable and this relaxed disposition makes him a pretty perfect horse for me. On the other hand, we need to generate more power. He currently gives zero f**ks about anything, and we need him to give a couple f**ks. Not like, a ton. Just a couple. (Pardon my French)

So with the knowledge that we cannot turn him into a fiery white-eyed jumper (and we don’t WANT to do that), we discussed how making efficient turns and jumping cleanly are going to be the key to success in the ring. We’ll be doing lots of gridwork and exercises to encourage him to use his body better over the jumps- currently he doesn’t really use his neck effectively, and is slow to pick up his feet. We’re also building lots of strength in that hind end to get him pushing instead of pulling, so those turns will be less barge-like.

Part of this process is asking him to carry himself higher than he has been. We’ve been doing lots of long and low which has been lovely, but now he’s at the point fitness-wise and experience-wise where we need him rounding up into the bridle and carrying himself from his hind end more. He’s naturally built fairly uphill, so this isn’t working against his conformation. Just retraining and building different muscles to get him rocking back and powering across the ground.

We also got some groundwork exercises that can help build muscle and train in some of that lateral responsiveness that will help our turns. We’re definitely upping the expectations in each ride- Frankie is past the point where he needs hand-holding and is ready to buckle down and work. It’ll be hard work for him for now, but this is going to make his job in the show ring SO much easier.

I was able to hop into a lesson later that day to apply what we talked about. And wow. It makes a huge difference. The quality of his gaits was majorly improved (hello suspension) and his responsiveness was noticeably better. Asking for collections and extensions was a much less “heavy” process, when he was traveling uphill like that we were able to get that adjustability SO much faster.

Moving into the jumping, I could also tell a difference- clearly they’ve been schooling the close spot with him. A couple times I didn’t see a spot and kinda tried to launch from outer space and Frankie just said “NOPE I HAVE BEEN INSTRUCTED TO FIT IT IN AND I WILL BE ADDING THAT STRIDE YOU ARE WELCOME MOTHER” and it was like huh….that was actually a much better choice. Thank you horse.

newjumps
We have this fun new ivy-covered rolltop/barrel, and a coop set up too. Yay new jumps!

Overall I am SO PSYCHED for this month of training together. Even if we weren’t competing regularly I would be glad for this- we’re working together to get Frankie really fit and able to do his job well and I can’t see a downside to that. I came back after 16 days and hopped on my fit, shiny, healthy, happy horse and jumped around while he took care of me. Can’t complain about that!

Again, I’m thrilled to be back and checking in with all of you. Cheers!

liverpool
I swear if I don’t get to jump this liverpool ASAP I’m going to lose it. Formal request is to try it out this week in our lesson. I don’t know if you can tell from this angle, but its SUPER wide. I just wanna.

 

Advertisements

Kali Spera from Santorini!

Greetings! I’m still in Santorini (and then Milos) for a few more days, but I couldn’t resist taking advantage of wifi and sharing some pics so far. Can’t wait to share stories when I get back!

Yasou ❤

Fish pedicure in Santorini
Momma looking over our balcony in Santorini
One of the incredibly gorgeous beaches on Naxos
I made dis!
One of the tiny coastal villages on Naxos
My mom can’t escape my love
My happy mug
True story: my sister looks like an actual movie star
Everyone needs a big hat
Getting creative with the local foliage to create pretty tablescapes
View over the island from our villa on Naxos, featuring the amphitheater we used to perform dramatic readings