July 19, 2014


First of all, thanks for all your congrats on the last post!  I know a lot of you have been in the same place before, and it's been fun to share both the struggle and the victory with you guys.  Maybe now we can get matching tack.

(But on the "looking legit" front, I've been riding in polos lately, mostly inspired by how L. Williams looks like a Dover model in all of her photos, I gotta start somewhere on the Scale of Legitimateness.  Matching tack is like step 5.)

Proof that I have been wearing both polos and riding tights that are actually in my size.  Still no belt except for clinics and shows, though.

I'm really liking the direction things are heading in my last few rides.  I can only describe them as "soft".  My hands are softer, I'm riding without spurs right now, I'm using my seat to ask for the bend for, oh, the first time ever, and he's relaxed.  It's led to some really good work.

I don't jump in these bad boys, but I accidentally stopped wearing them for Dressage too, and it turns out I don't need them at this moment in our training.  Not saying I won't in the future, but right now, the whip is enough artificial aid.

In Thursday's lesson we introduced renvers.  As usual with new movements, my first time, his first time, so there was a few minutes of me going "Oh god why do I have this many legs and arms and what do I do with them all?!"  But we got it sorted out and started switching between renvers and shoulder in, first at the walk, and then at the trot.
This is the best Google could do, sorry it's in Italian.  Spalla-in-dentro means shoulder-in.

The key takeaways for me were:
- I am not asking for "enough" in the shoulder in.  She told me to ride it like I was coming off onto the diagonal.  Aha!  Also, I'm doing too much with my new-found hip/seat aid to ask for the bend, and don't have my shoulder back far enough.
- His shoulders need to stay "up in front of me".
- Lateral flexion in his jaw is not easy for him and needs work.  This is mostly an extension of the previously discussed "likes to travel diagonally" thing.
- My leg is still jammed down in front of me even though I thought I was over that.  When we did renvers, it became apparent (to my trainer, I am not quite so perceptive on things like this) that my leg wasn't in the right place to put his hindquarters where they needed to be.  It felt like I was pointing my toe straight down at the ground when I got it into the right position.  WTB Dressage saddle...
Can we analyze this for a second?  My right leg is jammed down, my inside hip is asking for inside bend, my hips are to the outside but my shoulders are to the inside.  What a saint this horse is.  But dat tail tho...

Today, my last ride before I leave for the CrossFit Games, was remarkable in that he was "soft" and ready to work from the moment I got on him.  Part of that might be my improved warmup that doesn't just hang out on the rail/20m circles.  PSA: not being on autopilot leads to better rides, who knew?

I'll be posting scheduled posts while I'm gone and responding to comments when possible.  My trainer will be getting on Connor while I'm gone, something I'm inordinately excited about.  I have said before that I can always feel a difference in him after she's ridden him.  If you have time, check out ESPN or ESPN2 next weekend and look for Nicole Holcomb!  See you in 10 days!


  1. Yesss! All of that shoulder/hip disunited stuff is exactly what I was trying to explain when I was there! Clearly, I am not an instructor for a reason!! ;)

    Can't wait to hear how he is for ze boss-lady.

  2. I totally started wearing polos because of L. Williams too. Damn.

  3. First of all, CONGRATS on hubby's job!!! Second good luck at CrossFit games! I'm still struggling to get through the WOD, I have so much respect for all of you veterans.

  4. Remember: The belt is your emergency catchrope and maybe a spare rein, leather, or something else should a piece of tack break! We don't just wear these things to look pretty! *grin*