Friday, October 14, 2011

So how's my Ri?

Riley last night trying on his new blanket 
Sorry I have not done a Ri update for a bit--thanks for the reminder McFawn.

Ri is good. I have been riding him 3-4 times a week, cautiously, and always a little bit wondering "Does he feel okay? Is he sound?" I went away to a conference last week and had a trainer ride him. My heart was in my throat when I called to ask how things went -- but she told me he felt great and she worked his tail off. I sang in the car all the way home after we talked.

SO, he is sound -- and well-behaved despite very sporadic turnout due to bad weather.

As far as our riding progress? I think I'm figuring things out, slowly. One dilemma is that when trainers ride him, he is much rounder, and much more elevated, and more willingly forward, than when I ride. When I ride I get a decent hunter frame, but not lift, and not the sparkle. And it is VERY hard to get him forward. It's all me. 

A trainer tidbit helps me
My adult team trainer told me three things that no one else had really said, at least not as emphatically as she did...
  • Sit more FORWARD (huh? I thought I needed to sit back?). Forward, up, stretched, but shoulders over hips.
  • Land in the saddle lightly.
  • Loosen up the thighs. Pretend you're fluffing a pillow with your thighs.
 I'm paying attention to these three things. I stretch up and forward, and this helps me land more toward the front of the saddle when I sit, and to cushion my landing with my thighs. It also lengthens my spine and give my core a bit more emphasis. It's helping -- and Ri becomes much more forward, the instant I stretch up and forward. Thanks to my adult team trainer!

What's next?An "away game!"
The Next Big Thing for Ri is our adult team competition on Oct. 22.  It's outside, at our local horse park--and I have not ridden Ri outside since July. With the rain, he is not going out much either. So I'm not sure what to expect in the wide, open spaces of the Bucks County Horse Park, on a brisk fall day, with new sights and sounds.

I'll have to put on the big girl pants and ride him off the property. I'm trying not to think about it. We'll just deal with it when we get to the Horse Park.

I'll keep you posted!


  1. Love his face in the photo and wish I could see him in full glory with that blanket, which looks very cool! So glad to hear that he is doing well and you are putting some pieces together. Now we need a Harv update too!

  2. Always exciting to embark on a new adventure! I am sure Riley will be good at the show. Just work him with the same confidence you have at home, and remember how well he behaved at his previous outings with your trainer.

    Great advice about your seat and core. Well done and so glad it works.

  3. Is that a paisley pattern that I spy? He's looking good, that's for sure.

    Good luck with the outdoor riding upcoming. We're lucky that it's been dry up until the last few days so we've had a couple months of riding in the big arena. Going to hate it when winter comes and there are no alternatives but the half-size indoor arena for riding!

  4. I am glad that Riley is doing well and that you are getting a good helping of time in the saddle.

    My teacher also says things like "sit more forward". This has been tremendously helpful, even though it goes against the typical dressage advice to "sit back".

  5. Your horse has a really lovely expression-


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