Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wordless Wednesday: Beach Vacation

I should only ever go to the beach in winter. All the natural beauty, none of the tourists.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

House Post: Miscellaneous Updates

At a certain point, layers of plaster look the same in pictures. But here, have an update again, showing layer #2. Depending on how this week goes, we'll be painting next week.

In other parts of the house, I spent some quality time organizing the basement. These pictures would be way more exciting if I showed you the before, but I am a failure as a blogger and didn't take adequate pictures.

Basically, there was a lot more junk, and it was all in the way. Now things are redistributed so paths are clearer, and there's more shelving for various tools. We've still got a ways to go, but the feel is already way better.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Weekly Blog Roundup

LOADS of great reads this week!

A more effective warmup & riding for better scores from Wyvern Oaks
Warmups and ringcraft are two of my favorite things to think & talk about related to shows. I'm weird like that.

Horseback riding in Mexico from DIY Horse Ownership
Amazing vacation. It looks so warm...

How easy it would be from A Gift Horse
"What do riders who have kids do?" my husband asked last week. They work their asses off and provide inspiration for the rest of us, is the message of this post.

(Actually I think I said "they are miserable all the time and they have to sell their horses and they hate everything and IT IS THE WORST" but I am over-dramatic and also really really really don't want kids.)

Moonlit Snow Galloping from In Omnia Paratus

Non-horsey (sort of) read of the week:
The High-Cost, High-Risk World of Modern Pet Care. This was an unsettling and thought-provoking read. I've been lucky to work with locally-owned vet practices for all of my animals, and I try hard to have informed conversations. But what about people who don't have those options?

Friday, January 13, 2017

Boston Public Library Photograph Collections: Horse Sports, Part 1

Massachusetts - and, more broadly, central/coastal New England - used to have a much bigger tradition of horse sports than it does now. Not for nothing was the USET based out of Hamilton, MA, one of the earliest international three-day events was at Ledyard Farm, Myopia Hunt is one of the oldest in America, and equestrians like Karen O'Connor and Bobby Costello grew up in the area.

So here are a selection of photographs from the Boston Public Library about the halycon days of eastern Massachusetts as the center of the equestrian world.

The horses with no riders after the spill at Raceland, Framingham
Trotters at Salem, N.H., Rockingham
Davidsons of A and P - Cohasset
Bayard Tuckerman on Bective Lad at Myopia
Virginia Tolman on Homestead at Weymouth fair
Bayard Tuckerman - Myopia Hunt
Jumping - One of those times that the horse refuses to jump at the stone wall
Hamilton horse show - Mrs. F. Ayer on River Sand wins Buddy Cup - light weight hunters
Betty Dird - horsewoman
Bayard Tuckerman at Southborough, MA
Ballymore of Oldtown Hill Farm jumping at Brockton fair
Horse jump
Woman with 3 horses
Horse jumping
Three women on a sawhorse
Hugh Bancroft Jr. thrown by his jumper Pop-Over - Millwood hunt
Danny Shea on Crowell's Fairfax at Scituate Horse Show
Millwood Hunt - Framingham
Millwood Hunt - 2-4 - Stout Fella - Mrs. William B. Song, 2-7 - Martins's Caddy - J.F. Broderick

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Lesson Recap

One of my 2017 goals was to take more lessons, and when my trainer was in town for a few days and did a clinic, I jumped on board.

I honestly can't remember the last time I took a lesson. Summer, maybe. In another life, old me took lessons weekly, and sometimes twice a week. If something came up that made me miss one, I'd handwave it away with a laugh and say, oh, I'll make it up later, I have plenty of credits! Old me was an asshole.

So: lesson. I'm going to take down a few bullet points as things I need to work on, and have been working on since.

1. Get my goddamn hands out of my goddamn lap. Shorter reins, more over his withers. In order to encourage him to come up and lift through his withers and the base of his neck, in order to create that space between hips and hands to hold collection, THERE HAS TO BE ACTUAL SPACE THERE.

In order to really work on this, I need to let go of the part of my brain that feels like I'm tipping over, leaning forward, not following with my arms enough, because what I need to do is follow WAY more, because it is one thing to follow with long reins and your hands in your lap and another entirely to follow with a careful regular contact and short rein.

2. Stop providing resistance for him to meet. This is one of my old, favorite traps: Tristan is hard-headed and uses his under neck muscle to grind out his frustration, and hoo boy do I take that bait. I've risen to that bait for a decade now. We're like an old married couple except instead of arguing about the dishes we argue about him softening his mouth for, like, one half second, asshole. The thing is: he knows better, I know better, and miracle of miracles, when I refuse to hold up my end of that pattern everything falls apart...and comes back together much better.


4. Canter transitions! These were something I'd specifically asked to work on. So, we spent a lot of time breaking down the idea of transitioning on a half-halt, first picking moments and then creating moments in which he was surging up through his back to ask for a canter transition, so that we went forward into the canter with a bouncing, bounding energy. Keeping that in the canter, more half-halts, more encouraging him to lift and carry, then keeping it back down through into the trot.

5. Part and parcel of everything: setting the bridle out in front of me and then sending him forward into it. Elementary, and yet: sigh. Still working on it.

Sometimes, honestly, I despair that I have been riding this horse for ten years and I still more or less suck at it, but other times I think of everything else I've learned and - it's probably even.