Saturday, February 20, 2016

Differing Atmospheres

Two weeks ago, Missy got moved to a new barn. She has more turnout and its a better, calmer environment for her. I went out the day after to see her. She wasnt too crazy, so I hopped on for a short hack, just to feel her out. Other than being looky and energetic, which I expected, she was quite good. It was getting dark so I didn't ride long but I was happy with what we did.

I tried to be an adult for the next two days and do work around the house/catch up on homework, and didn't make it out again till Thursday, when I have my lesson with Lindsey. Since, obviously I wasn't riding Missy, she put me on one of her school horses: a cute dark bay named Fuego. He was very sweet and I enjoyed riding him, but he was a very different experience from Missy. For one, he is just stockier and heavier than she is. He also travels with a much lower headset than either Missy or even Lady does, so that just felt weird to me. Lindsey kept having to remind me not to let him tug the reins through my fingers.

Because of how he travels, I had a hard time with my balance at the trot, both in twopoint and posting. We did a lap of sitting trot and WOW is he smooth! Seriously, I've never sat a more comfortable trot. We did a lot of work on on getting a consistent, balanced canter and it was lovely when we got it right.

Immediately after my lesson on Fuego, I went to ride Missy (the barns are less than ten minutes apart). For whatever reason, Texas decided that February was going to be part-summer and I was sweating while riding in a tank top. It was crazy weather. Anyways, we did a lot of regular work - I've been working on getting my canter aids correct and making a smooth transition out of it. My other focus is getting my two point better and starting some heavy duty no stirrup work.

The next day, I popped out to ride again since the weather was fantastic! One of my favorite things about the new barn is how extremely quiet it is. T, the owner/trainer of the place, currently works during the day, and there are not many boarders at the place. Plus, its in a very quiet area, so it feels relaxed and peaceful out there. I definitely approve.
Missy was extremely laid back. In fact, she was slightly sweaty just coming out of the pasture. We've had very warm weather the past week. I actually wore a tank top to ride in and was still sweaty afterwards. In February, y'all!  Its a bit crazy. 😑  Anyways, she was quite sluggish at the trot the entire time, so I didn't put in as much two point work as I usually do, since I have a difficult time  keeping her moving in two point. But even just posting was a great work out for my legs and core, so that was good. Since she was being pretty slow, I used the canter for my two point work and did a lot of circles and various geometric shapes to keep her on her toes. We also had a bit of trouble picking up the correct lead.

On Monday evening, I had arranged to meet with the barn owner/new trainer to see how things wouldwork out. While I am very satisfied with Lindsey's teaching and the progress we've been making, I absolutely understand the need to getanother pair of eyes on Missy and I, which is why I plan to also ride with T.

He really liked Missy, which I was not surprised with. Everybody likes Missy!! For thr most part he watched us go around this time and offered a few pointers here and there, such as doing circles randomly to keep her mind engaged and doing some different things to improve my leg, especially at the canter.

Sorry for the text heavy post. Thisis more for my records, I guess.

Friday, February 19, 2016

University 1.1

Somehow this post missed being published yesterday. Not sure how that happened. Anyways.

I've been in school for a full month now. It's been crazy, loads of fun, stressful, and very time consuming (obviously).  Overall, my grades are looking pretty good, with only two classes that really need improvement. I've started talking to myself more and more lately though. Is that a sign that I need help? Am I going crazy? No, just forget I said anything.

I spend a lot of my time in the practice rooms working on Mozart and Tcherepnine and repetitive exercises that strengthen my fingers. And when the muscles in your hands are sore the next day, that is definitely a good thing. I've seen so much improvement in just the month I've been working with my professor and it makes me so excited for the rest of my time here at TTU.

Music Theory is the one class that I really need to up my game on. It's rough for me for various reasons. At first glance, there are a lot of similarities to math:  you learn the rules and apply them to problems to get the desired solution.  I can handle that. I don't like math, but I'm decent at it because I can perform the required steps.  Theory takes it to a whole 'nother level though.  Yes, we learn the rules and apply them to problems, but every single rule has at least half a dozen exceptions and the variables in each "problem" are nearly infinite. It drives my brain to distraction with trying to understand what is going on.

My actual Mathematics class on the other hand is going quite well. Well, other than the fact that I've been to class a total of three times. Whoops.  Honestly, the way they set up math classes in college is so odd. All of our homework is online, on a super fancy website that not only helps you in answering the problems if you don't understand something, but gives you access to the textbook and also other professor's lectures. You don't even have to go to class to get a good grade on the homework. And since my instructor doesn't require class attendance, all I really have to do is make sure I understand the homework and show up for exams. And I pay for this?  *exasperated eye roll*
The other classes I'm taking (Aural Skills, Music History, and Horse Evaluation) are all going quite well. Because of work, I didn't have a chance to study well for my first History exam, but I can push that grade back up next time around. It's a fun class.

Other than really annoying, expensive and frustrating parking situations, I'm super happy to be attending Texas Tech and learning again!  :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Collegiate Equestrian Teams

Today's post is more of a question than anything else... what is everyone's experience with collegiate equestrian teams? I'm already taking lessons with the English team coach at my college, and am considering joining the team in the fall semester.  I know a lot of you other bloggers out there were part of IHSA, so what did you think? How was it?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Schooling Rides + Lesson

After my last lesson (or the last one I wrote about), I ended up working some long hours over the weekend, and soon it was four days between rides.  Whoops. Did not mean for that to happen. At. All.
Anyways, I ride early on Tuesday mornings, and managed to drag myself out of the house the following Tuesday by 7:30am. It was painful and I almost didn't do it, but, just like every other time I ride early in the morning, as soon as I walk into the barn and smell the hay and the ponies and hear all the quiet barn noises, it makes me smile and feel happier that I made myself go.
Since I wasn't feeling too great that day, I didn't make much of an effort during the ride, which was just under 30 minutes. Missy has more energy and spook in her in the early morning, and this day in particular, she kept having trouble going straight or staying focused. It was more amusing than anything else, in all honesty, and almost made me relieved that all I really had to work on was keeping her attention and maintaining correct direction and gait. We ended that ride when she gave me a full lap of concentrated trot with decent rhythm.
I almost went to ride on Wednesday, but the house was glaringly unorganized, so I tried to be an adult and clean it instead. Thursday was time to lesson again, and I felt very uncoordinated the entire time. Mostly from feeling under the weather most of the week, probably, but it was rough. The canter felt so much improved though, I really started to grasp how to keep a good rhythm in the gait and not get tossed about with it.
On Friday, my classes were cancelled (yay for being a piano major and not a band/vocalist major!) so I used the extra time to go ride again. I was prepared for Missy to be sleepy, which she was - fell asleep in the crossties again, silly mare - but as soon as fast as I could get her warmed up, I put her into a canter on a loose rein and really got her moving. It only took a little bit of that to get her energy up.  I worked on posting in rhythm and balance, two point at the trot and canter and did some figure 8s at the trot. I've had an exercise in my head for a while now that I finally felt confident enough to do this time, which was basically a figure 8 at the canter, but with a trot change of lead in the center. Missy is fantastic about picking up the correct lead, no matter how fumbled I get, and she was very honest about this, letting me know when I did not ask correctly or just confused her with my aids.  I was about ready to end on a good note when we had worked for about 30 minutes, but when I tried to cool her out at the walk, she kept breaking into the trot, so I finally laughed at her and we went back to the same exercises for another 30 minutes. After that, she was more than content to cool down and head back to the barn, but she is fit enough that she could likely have gone on for a long time yet.
***Since I wrote this on Friday, Missy has been officially moved to a new barn. I will still be taking lessons at the college equestrian center indefinitely (on school horses), and everything else is still working itself out. Nothing has changed with the lease or otherwise, only with location and lessons.