Struggle Monorail: Express Line, No Stops

Pity party alert:

frankie_closeup
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.

frankie_crossties_boots
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.

Enough about my butt. (EVEN THOUGH APPARENTLY EVEN MY BUTT CAN’T SIT STRAIGHT IN MY SADDLE OK NOW I’M ACTUALLY DONE WITH BUTTS)

saddlepad_f
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.
nostirrups_grimace
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!

familyphoto
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??