Monday, February 20, 2017

February Lesson Recap

I could sum up this entire lesson pretty easily:


But this is a blog, so I will elaborate.

Overall, this went really well. I'm really happy with how responsive Tris was, and we were both tired but energized by the end.

Things I need to remember:
- Especially in the warmup & early on, establish my baseline for my aids. I have a bad habit of asking ten times to get one response in leg aids. It's not like I don't know to ask once, get an answer or bring the thunder. It's that bad habit stuff. I need to be more conscious of this.
- Keep my hands forward and a loop in the reins early on to not let him for a second think there's resistance to him going forward. It doesn't matter what he's doing with his face. Just GO.
- Strong into the corners, strong out of them.
- Use diagonals but don't let that energy jam into the corner. Flow through them!
- Be thoughtful, deliberate, and firm about the use of bending and counterflexion, in two different ways.
--- First, in corners: bend into the corner, straighten out of it, almost to the point of counterflexion. Particularly useful for short sides: bend, straighten/counterflex, bend, then GO down the long side. Also useful in shorter cycles on a 20m circle; bend on the curves of the circle, counterflex on the points (where the circle touches the wall).
--- Second, in half-halts. BEND, almost over-bend, strong bend, but ask and then done. Keep inside leg asking to access his inside hind at the same time. Keep contact with the outside rein and keep that inside leg active: bend and step up INTO the outside rein.

In particular, we got one wonderful canter: found a whole new gear and he LEAPT forward, sitting down, up and charging with real impulsion right up through his back down a whole long side. It was not unlike the compressed canter approaching a jump, and my body for a second wanted to get ready to two-point so I didn't follow nearly as well in my seat as I should have. But I know the canter is there and mostly how to get it again, and I am happy with how it felt.

I was not able to replicate this quite as well in my schooling rides later that week. I erred too much on go go GO and not enough with finesse so there were some really ugly moments in the middle. But I was able to pick him back up and finish well, so I will count those as learning moments.

I really wish I could even manage every two weeks, but that's not going to happen, so that's it until March.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

House Post: Let's Talk Dining Room

As I type this, the man cave is making giant leaps forward, but it's not ready for primetime yet. So we'll have to recap that next week, or possibly the week after.

This week, I am seeking your advice & thoughts on the dining room. It's going next.

Previously, we pulled up the carpet, replaced the light fixture, patched the holes in the ceiling, and pulled down some of the wallpaper, but that's it so far. The bulk of it needs to be done still.

Here's what it looks like right now.

The fourth wall is almost entirely french doors.

My husband wants badly to keep the stenciling underneath the wallpaper, but I strongly suspect that won't be possible. In the small amount we've already pulled off, it's clearly pretty badly damaged, both by holes and by plaster near the ceiling. Odds are there are other bad parts on the rest of the wall that just can't be saved - or would require extensive cleaning and inpainting to look decent, and that is soooooooo not in the budget. If the budget extends to art conservation, that will go toward the mud room mural.

So, what to do?

For a long time, my best idea was arts & crafts wainscoting. In this scenario, we'd make custom wainscoting out of maple lengths all around and either a) paint it or b) stain the wood and paint the wall behind.

Here's the style I'm talking about, in a few variations.

I don't see us going too high with it - maybe mid-level to the windows. Not shoulder-height as in traditional styling. That always feels a bit crowded to me. (Though we could have a whole stylistic conversation about whether it's truly arts & crafts wainscoting if it's not so high?)

Then I saw these pictures, and cue heavy breathing.

Now I'm not sure what to do.

I think I need to start sketching this out, maybe? What about one of these art deco fans in the middle of the larger wainscoting from my first idea?

Am I just getting waaaaaaaaay too complicated?

So the options are:
- art deco wainscoting, and if so, white, all wood, or wood frame with paint behind?
---and if the above, dark paint on the top or the bottom? color scheme will stay the same: maroon & cream
- something more elaborate like the middle examples?
- art deco wainscoting with a fan design in the center?

Which would you do?

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Weekly Blog Roundup

Valentine's Day Contest from DIY Horse Ownership
Go and enter to win cool prizes!

Busy Mind vs Thinking Mind from Zen and the Art of Baby Horse Management
An incredibly thoughtful reflection on the different types of horse brains. Tris is definitely a thinker: slow to react, but committed once he does.

Nevertheless, She Persisted... from A Work in Progress
These are hilarious and I so hope this becomes a thing.

Weekly non-horsey read: Autonomy & Domestic Dogs. My dog, Arya, while wonderful in many ways, may never go off-leash. She is lightning fast, very sensitive, and her recall is mediocre to poor. I've never had a dog that couldn't be off-leash before, and I'm so jealous of all of you who can just count on your dogs to stay with you. The handful of times Arya has slipped her leash, she has sprinted for the hills before I could even blink or draw breath. Reading that article made me think about the ways I'm failing her in letting her control her own environment and life despite her inability to go off-leash. I'm upgrading our planned yard fencing in project for this summer.

Friday, February 17, 2017

March Madness 2017: Nominating Competitors


The winner of our theme for March Madness 2017 fictional horse!


It was neck and neck between best YA horse book and best adult horse book throughout, but best fictional horse came through with 10 votes. A plurality, not a majority, but that's how we run the rules of this contest!

Bring on Pegasus, Misty, Black, Blaze, the Pie, and on and on and on!

Comment on this post. Nominations will be open until midnight on Tuesday, February 21. On Wednesday, February 22, we'll start seeding the tournament by voting among these suggestions. The top 16 vote-getters will advance to the tournament.

[if you're choosing something a bit more obscure, it might help to add a little bit of context for this round. when we get to actual voting, I'll do a paragraph or so about each horse so people can either remember or learn for themselves, but for the shorthand voting to get to the tournament a few words of additional info might go over well!]

I will start the nominating with....Ashleigh's Wonder, from the Thoroughbred series.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

March Madness 2017: Choosing a Topic

Okay! You've all suggested some awesome topics, and now we vote to choose: what will the them of March Madness 2017 be?

Choose wisely. Or randomly. Whatever you want!

Voting will be open until midnight on Thursday, February 16. On Friday, February 17, I'll announce the topic winner and then we'll nominate competitors. (See the whole tournament schedule here.)