blueeowyn: (Default)
So on Wednesday I head out to the farm to have another lesson. My wonderful saddle does not agree with Echo very well so Peter warned me that he wanted me to try a different saddle. So, I get there early and Mom leaves to pick up my new half-chaps (which have been altered) while I hang out, visit Rooh, and start getting Echo ready. Peter gives me a saddle to use and a pad. It is an endurance saddle and thus should be rather comfortable.

Echo is finally ready and we go in the ring to start the warm-up on the line. P is in there with Tuck but they are talking to Peter so I try to work Echo in the middle and she (of course) finds the one damp spot, slides slightly and gets all worked up, we try again and she is still looking for trouble (not that I blame her). *sigh* So, I take her for a walk and get her calmed down and bring her down to the end near Peter (P and Tuck have since left) and he tells me to fasten the line slightly differently and off we go and she is really good. Some speeding up but she is learning that when I tell her to slow down, I actually mean it (shock). We swap directions and things seem pretty good so we go to Peter to find out the next step. The next step is a different girth since Ms Puffer Fish WannaBe has the girth all the way up but is still loose.

We apply the new girth and up I go. The saddle feels really short (front to back) and the top of the cantle is hitting me in the back (not a fun feeling). So we go walking around and I feel completely and totally weird. The twist (narrow section of the saddle) seems to be OK but I am having a terrible time with my posture and leg position and my right ankle is not happy. So we go to trot and I am all over the place. As it turns out, the right stirrup was at least one hole shorter than the left (and they both may be a little short for me). On my saddle, if you don't tuck the extra stirrup leather in the keeper you get rubbed, on this one if you do tuck it you get rubbed. We eventually finish and my sister and her husband are there to watch (great, just what I need, an audience when I am barely in control at times).

Things I need to remember to avoid being in this kind of pain again:
1) check the stirrups when I am up
2) make sure I am wearing a brace on the right ankle (if not both)
3) be very careful about balance
4) work on strengthening my right leg (I apparently goosed her with my left and that is why we ended up across the ring)
5) get out of the zone and really listen to Peter and ask if I think I am not understanding (he told me to change the post so I tried to change tempos)
6) release on the reins even if she is being fast, if I have to get her attention, do so, then release while she thinks about it
7) sit up (still)
8) look up (still)
9) slow the posting
10) slow her down as soon as she starts to change rhythm
11) windows can be interesting effects
12) stay to the side when doing her hinds, talk to Peter about how to keep the foot waving down

After I slithered off (not at all sure my ankle would hold me); Mom tried to walk Echo but couldn't keep up so we turned her over to my brother who quickly figured out that she is real sweet and likes being talked to and scratched. He ended up giving her most of her goodies (poor neglected baby).

Right now (2 days later), my back is stiff, my abs are stiff, my shoulders are stiff, my bad shoulder is slightly sore, my right ankle is rather annoyed, I have an interesting bruise on my right leg (I think she clipped me when I did her feet), tender thighs (where things rubbed) and tender seat.

I get to try the saddle again next week. Hopefuly straightening out the stirrup problem will help a lot.
blueeowyn: (Echo head shot)
A little over 9 years ago, a chestnut filly with a star was born, the daughter of my beloved mare Dancer to be named "Dancer's Echo" since she looked so much like her dam. In the intervening years Echo has grown to be a beautiful mare with a wonderful temperament. She seems to want to work with people, she isn't mean, she isn't ornery, if she says "no!" there is always a good reason. She is very laid back about just about everything and doesn't get all fuzzed up without a really good reason.

There were some bad times when she developed OCD (a bone generation problem where the cartilage in 3 joints wasn't properly forming to bone) and had surgery as a yearling (with close to a year of stall rest). She was briefly worked by a man who had very little clue about some things. She was then worked by a friend of mine under the supervision of 2 different people. She was entered in a show and got a 9 on her free-walk (which is VERY good). I got to ride her briefly as cool-down a few times during this period. Then she had lameness issues, her feet had some abscesses (which are agony to a horse until they blow), and tore her suspensory ligament (which laid her off for about a year). Finally she was back in work, being her normal willing self and I was scheduled to ride her again and she came up just barely 'off' and discretion being the better part of valor, had a break and got checked out. It turns out that there is scar tissue and she will basically have to work through it. Her right hoof also grows unevenly and if she isn't trimmed more often than most horses, the having one side of the hoof higher than the other causes problems (5-6 weeks instead of 7-8).

Last night, for the first time in her life, I rode her without someone riding her first. We didn't even lunge her first.

Echo geeking )

I have a wonderful mare who does exhibit the best of her sire and dam. She is gorgeous, talented, willing, good natured, and affectionate. I have fabulous trainers who can work with her when I can't and who can (eventually) bring the best out of me. I am very lucky.

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June 2017

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