Sunday, December 7, 2008

A quickie, before I forget all this

After today's lesson, I came home and started cooking (and drinking). Here is the summary of my super-exciting Sunday:

Someone was on my fat lesson pony when I got to the barn. Not just someone, but someone good, cause Val was jumping! I headed down to the outdoor to watch the lesson - I figured I'd be riding Val anyway, cause it's not like I've ever made her sweat, and I wanted to see this New Person.

I recognized D (I think that's her initial?? I am horrible with names) taking pictures of Hardy and the Mystery Rider, so I figured the rider was D's friend. The Friend was a) fearless, i.e. an experienced jumper, b) moneyed, cause she had a fairly nice custom jumping saddle + fleece pad, and c) nice, because she walked by me at one point and I asked if she minded me watching, and she didn't.

It was pretty cool watching her jump. She was waaay better than any students I've seen at the barn, but also far far from perfect. When she was on a long trot approach, her hands were, uh, good at following Val? Independent? But when she'd start thinking about the jump, her elbows would lock up. And her leg aids, her "keep trotting" squeezes, were pretty heels-in toes-out. Not perfect, but very cool for me to watch. And please, mystery rider, if you ever find my blog, don't think I'm hating on you. Nobody rides perfectly, and it was a real treat for me to watch you sail over fences (and take a few rails) yet still see the flaws in your riding!

After her session, we all headed up to give Val a few minutes off and talk around the chiminea. She was in fact D's friend, come to visit from Ocala, where she owns and competes three TBs at second level. Overall impression: very nice moneyed person who has been riding, and I mean Riding, for a long time. Not a DQ - or at least not an overbearing one! I hope she comes back to work with Hardy; I'd love to watch her again.

My lesson's two big takeaway moments:

I do not plan ahead, at all. I really need to plan a maneuver and follow through. I'll think "Ok, we will walk to the end of the arena, then turn left and walk over the trot poles" but Val will balk at the left turn so we'll stagger on toward the gate and I'll decide on the spur of the moment to turn right and she gets annoyed. Now that I've realized I'm doing that - and realized how important it is to prepare for a movement several strides before I cue for it - I will do better.

Dressage != trail riding. I spent the whole hour trying to curve Val around to trot over the four cavalletti. Sometimes we'd end up at the fence, staring woefully out of the arena at the frolicking free horses. Sometimes we'd turn too wide and walk by them. Sometimes we'd turn and keep turning and go over one or two poles at a diagonal. My great crescendo of the hour sputtered to a halt, almost literally: I planned to trot to the end of the arena, curve right then S-curve back to the left and TROT over the damn poles. We took off to the end of the arena, then I masterfully stayed balanced and slowed down to a more sedate trot, curved beautifully left, straightened, curved perfectly right, straightened, and made the poles. I popped up into two-point and dropped my reins, and Val screeched to a halt, stared at the menacing 4x4s, and stepped daintily over them.

I busted up laughing and we walked over to Hardy. "What did I doooooo there?!"

(Imagine an amused German accent here) "Well, you dropped contact and quit giving her leg aids."

My mouth dropped open. "Oh MAH GAWD I did! I totally threw my reins away so she could have her head and I was so busy balancing up there in two point that I didn't have time to actually squeeze."


"So she felt like I had totally checked out, right? Like I'd abandoned her completely and could possibly fall off at any second?"


"Right. I'll work on that."

Hardy wants to head back to the round pen next week, so I don't have so much room to gallivant around and change my mind about what to do. I can just stay balanced, keep my aids consistent, and trot til my thighs scream and I cry for mercy. I know what's he's planning. I must either trot Champ several times this week or go explore the fitness room at the apartment complex. :(

I stopped at the field and said hi to my evil mules, then headed home for an afternoon of cooking (and drinking). I made confit-duck-fat pie crust dough, then portioned it out into little pot pie pans. Blind baked two of them and filled them with some random goodies from the fridge - a crumbled slice of bacon, some shredded domestic prosciutto, frozen-defrosted spinach and green beans, and egg. I had one for dinner (A+++ would bake again) and I'll take the other for lunch tomorrow. I also made another batch of normal pie pastry, which I'll roll out tomorrow or Tuesday for an apple pie for somebody's Christmas present. AND I thawed and poached some of my woefully small bass, then flaked off all the good meat and stuck it in the fridge. I think I'll try some kind of bizarre fish quiche with the other tartlettes. I am bored with these fish taking up all my freezer space and I don't want fried fish and I don't know what else to do with them!


  1. You simpley amaze a massively good way!

  2. I simply AMAZE myself when I don't look up at the words, to see if they are correctly spelled!


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