Slicez 4 Dayz

You already know it’s been pretty quiet on the lesson front lately due to travel and enough mucus buildup to last me three lifetimes, but Frankie and I got some good work in last week.

Our warmup was pretty standard, lots of lengthenings and shortenings to make sure we were speaking the same language. We threw in some really tight circles at the canter to test our ability to sit down and push out of the turns- I kept making moderately smallish sized ones and Trainer challenged me to ask harder for some tougher turns so that we aren’t just doing what we always do. It was a great reminder that we can and should up the ante with expectations around our flatwork! It ended up being really useful practice of helping each other balance and maintain the power even through tight turns- setting us up with some super useful jumpoff skillz.

Unrelated he’s just really cute at posing in the snow

We started off with a few crossrails to start limbering up, then did an exercise where we trotted a crossrail across the diagonal, cantered through the end of the ring, cantered up a small vertical across the diagonal the other way, then halted in a straight line. We had to remember to ride the jump before the halt- when I started picking too much trying to get a small jump, we ended up having a messy chip and then the halt was harder because we were unbalanced. Once we got some RPMs going and jumped out of stride with more power, the halt came up much more easily because of how balanced he was between my leg and hand.

Then it was gymnastic time! Here’s the grid:

slant gymnastic

Yessirree, the jumps were set this way on purpose! The centers were all set a steady one stride apart- and by steady I mean short. Any attempt to give yourself some room by jumping one side would just screw you over in the next stride- there were definitely a few bounces thrown in there by some of the more exuberant jumpers.

Straight shot down the middle

Despite a persistent left drift to singles, Francis knows that his job through grids is to go straight until explicitly told otherwise, and he rocked this grid like a pro. Our challenge was finding the right pace in- too much, and we made it harder to fit the smaller steps in. Too little, and we lurched over the first fence and became unbalanced.

Since the strides were so short, there was no time for jump-recover-jump-recover etc. They were all set quite low anyways, so the key was to have truly independent aids- a light seat, leg supporting straightness, and a following hand that still maintained a contact. You know, all really basic stuff that is super easy and I can do in my sleep. HAH.

Also unrelated, my adopted snarky barn mom/bestie

The last time through was definitely the best, and earned a “that looked downright educated!” from Trainer. We had a balanced powerful stride in, and I was able to stay light in the tack and allow Frankie to figure his legs out without needing to interfere. I’m really proud of him for figuring out the game and using his little brain to make adjustments for himself. We all know that despite his infinite good qualities, he isn’t the fastest thinker, so I’m always very pleased when he uses that noggin for activities other than finding snacks.

Don’t let his cute face fool you, he is constantly on the lookout for snacks. Despite my No Snack Rule, I caved and gave him an apple that day for being such an excellent goober. Shhh don’t tell anyone.

Random side note- Trainer has decided that she wants pretty much all her actively competing riders to qualify for the VHSA Adult (or Children, as the case may be) Equitation Final this year (to quote her: “I have a bunch of really correct lovely riders, we should absolutely be doing some equitation”), so looks like we’ll be adding some local shows to our calendar to get points for that. We will literally be bringing the classes- you need 3 to fill and we have 3 of each- and Trainer knows all the local show managers, so they’ll be sure to hold the classes for us. To keep costs down, I’m also going to share Frankie with my favorite barn rat for her to do the Children’s while she horse hunts for her next jumper. He can do the 3′ in his sleep and LOVES that kid, so it’ll be a great way for us both to get some local miles without a hefty pricetag. It’ll be a really cool season with the combo of rated jumpers and local eq! We’re definitely keeping Frankie on his toes by asking for lots of different things.

We discussed this during our weekly barn happy hour, which directly led to me saying SURE SIGN US UP FOR EVERYTHING jk we all know I don’t need alcohol to fuel my poor financial decisions

And just in case you thought you could make it through one dang post without me going all sappy on you, THINK AGAIN. I’ve been going through lots of old blog posts and pictures as I put together a year-end recap, and it  fills me with so much gratitude that I get to go on all these fun adventures with Frankie. It was two short years ago when I made it around the 2′ puddle jumpers at my first rated jumper show, and daydreamed about getting to compete more often. I’m really having to pinch myself about what I’ve gotten to do with Frankie, and what exciting adventures we have coming up in the next year. Love my barn family (4-legged and 2-legged alike!) for helping me achieve things I never could’ve dreamed of!


16 thoughts on “Slicez 4 Dayz

  1. Lauren 12/13/2017 / 9:22 am

    That exercise looks fun but hard!


    • hellomylivia 12/13/2017 / 9:27 am

      It was definitely a little different than what we usually work on, it was a great challenge!


  2. Rachel - For Want of a Horse 12/13/2017 / 10:20 am

    I love all the grids that you get to do! Unfortunately, our barn has a lot of beginners in it too so the jumps tend always be set up in the traditional hunter course (2 outside and 2 diagonal lines). Every November we host a clinic with Mark Leone and OH THE GRIDS! My trainer does throw in some good roll backs within the hunter course though.


    • hellomylivia 12/13/2017 / 10:31 am

      This set up ended up being sooo super versatile, since the littles could just do the crossrails across the diagonal! She had some other students do some crazy rollback turns too- I’ll have to post about some of the other exercises with this configuration. It’s always tough to balance the different levels without moving jumps all over!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Stacie Seidman 12/13/2017 / 10:33 am

    Ohhh that looks FUN! Also yay for equitation finals! I think doing the equitation is great for the jumpers (or at least the not super hot ones) because it’s really not any different, just slower with more time to do things consciously. It’s great practice for the jumper ring! Plus, who doesn’t love the chance to win another fancy piece of finals satin?


    • hellomylivia 12/13/2017 / 10:36 am

      Yeah I’m definitely excited to broaden our horizons a bit! Working on that precision with the slower speeds will definitely be helpful for both of us in the jumpers, and yasssss moar satin pls


    • hellomylivia 12/13/2017 / 10:37 am

      We had a blast playing in the pretty snow! But now I’m done with the cold and want 70s and sunny again please. One snow is enough haha

      Liked by 1 person

      • Avery 12/13/2017 / 10:41 am

        haha I know how you feel! We had that one crazy freak snow last week. I am good for several years now lol

        Liked by 1 person

  4. jkberger1006 12/14/2017 / 12:11 pm

    Can I just come ride with you!?! It looks like you have such a great place for barn family and horse famly 🙂 I’m dying to set up a similar grid exercise. I’m scared of it and want to conquer it at the same time. so cool that you have great goals for next year…i’m still just mostly jealous 😉


    • hellomylivia 12/14/2017 / 12:13 pm

      Open invitation, Francis and I love new riding buddies!!! It ended up being such a great exercise for some of the baby brains to figure out their feetsies 🙂


  5. Liz 12/17/2017 / 8:08 am

    I saw that grid on your instagram and thought “OH THAT LOOKS REALLY COOL” so I’m glad to read about it here, too! That’s awesome about sharing Frankie next year, he’s going to improve so much more having that kind of experience. And also, while I don’t mind – and even enjoy – being alone most of the time, a barn happy hour just sounds so absolutely lovely. I wish I lived closer to more horse people so I could sit around and gab horses with wine in hand more often. That sounds like heaven.


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