Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Development -or- Can you hear me?

First of all, let me say this:
That Higher Standards soap is incredible!!
I finally got around to trying it out.  I bought the sample kit, so I have 3 small tubs of soap and a small tub of leather balm.  When it arrived, I had *just* finished cleaning a huge chunk of tack with traditional saddle soap and followed up with neatsfoot oil compound.  I didn’t have much to try the new stuff out on.  Then I realized exactly how rough my every day bridle was looking…  So, I brought it home to take it apart and scrub the snot out of it.
My husband decided he liked the smell of the lavender-vanilla the best, so I used that one.  Apparently, it smelled up the entire kitchen, because everyone commented about the nice smell, and all the animals came to check out what I was doing.  In fact, the kitten kept trying to lay down on my work space – never mind that I’m scrubbing leather!
The neatest thing was how clean this gets my leather!  My bridle looked brand new when I got done!  Now, my everyday bridle is the Plymouth bridle from Smart Pak.  It’s not like this is a super high quality bridle, but it isn’t junk, either.  I thought it was beginning to look worn, and I was thinking that I might actually need something else to set aside just for showing…  Yes, I show in the same tack I school in…  But after I finished cleaning with the Higher Standards saddle soap, I realized my bridle has tons of life left in it!  What I thought was wear and tear was just a very thin layer of very stubborn dirt or oil or crud or whatever that just hadn’t been coming off before!  I kept saying to myself: “OMG!  That’s just dirt??”
Since I do use this bridle every single day(which means it takes quite a bit of abuse from dust and dirt and sweat), I figured it would appreciate a little extra love, so I followed up with the leather balm once it was dry.  I love the feel of the leather balm!  I love how it melts and spreads evenly with just a little bit of wiping.  It really feels like chapstick for my leather!

My husband's favorite flavor, so far...

Listening...
More fun stuff
So, I tacked up the Fancy Pony and we headed down to the arena.  She was chill.  We walked around to warm up and she was stretchy and getting loose, just be-bopping on a long rein…  The horses out in the pasture started kicking it up…  She wanted to party a little, but she continued to walk like I asked…  on a long rein…  And someone working out of their trailer threw something out on the ground, and she used that as a perfect excuse for a sit-and-spin maneuver!  Then went back to walking on the long rein.  *sigh*
The pasture horses were really getting going now, and she desperately wanted to be a crazy beast with them, but she was trying her best to focus on what I was asking.  On a whim, I took advantage of the “want-to-go” in conjunction with the “want-to-please” and asked for trot.  I got the prancy trot.  Her tail was curled over her back, and I was riding the closest thing to passage that I have ridden in 15 years!  I could feel her sitting and pushing with every stride!  With a close of the thigh, she came back to walk.  With a close of the calf, she stepped right back into the collected trot!  Coil the spring, release the spring, coil the spring, release the spring…  I knew this was asking a lot from her, so after 4 or 5 short sets, we walked out a little more, with the relaxation I asked for…  I didn’t think she could maintain the balance if I lengthened that trot too much, but I hope she remembers that feeling when we start to shorten it again!
As a reward, I got off, took her bridle off, and let her party around the arena.  Her paddock just isn’t adequate for her to cut loose like that, and I know she needs to get it out of her system now and again.  I appreciate that she tells me when she needs it in such a constructive manner.  How does your horse communicate with you?
After removing her bridle, she still kept her head facing me, asking for permission, seeking instruction.  I pointed to the far end of the arena, raised my crop toward her hip, and she trotted off.  Then, she realized exactly what was going on, and leapt into a head long gallop, round and round and round the arena she went.  Snorting and blowing and partying…  Change direction, and again, she went round and round and round.  Blowing off steam, she galloped and cantered, and galloped again!  She took a few short trot breaks, then headed off to gallop some more!  She even did the race horse thing, where she switched to the “wrong” lead for the straight away and switched back to the “right” lead for the turns.  She is just so athletic!!
Finally, she had her fill, and she walked back up to me to be bridled and get down to work.  She was breathing pretty heavy, so we went back to our long walk.  When we started work in earnest, I focused on impulsion in the gaits.  When we got to the jumping, I didn’t jump ahead of my horse a single time!  Although I lost my left rein on that same outside line…  I wonder why that keeps happening?  It’s not like I lose the entire rein, I just end up with an extra 4 inches on the landing side of the second jump…  We only had one moment of rushing, but she came back to me little by little.  I think I used a little too much leg on the landing side of the jump before the turn.  Sometimes, I think she just mistakes speed for impulsion.  Perhaps the rushing comes when I lean forward too far on landing…  I’m still tuning in to all of my little undesirable quirks.  I think I also did a better job of keeping my shoulders up and not ducking down.  My internal monologue is coming right along.  Sit up…  Wait with the shoulders… Suck it in… Wait with the shoulders…
Not a bad ride for being a bit sickly!  It was a pretty short one, and we only jumped a little before it got dark enough that I felt we should stop.  All in all, I’m at a point where the size of the jump doesn’t matter to me.  I just point her and go!
Next, I think I want to elasticize our canter a little more…

5 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I'm telling you, nothing else I've ever used compares to this stuff!
      http://www.etsy.com/shop/HigherStandardsFarm
      Now, I understand what everyone is raving about!!

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  2. Higher standards seriously is the best. The sugar and spice is my favorite, then cinnamint, then vanilla lavender. The conditioner gets hard in the cold so I just sat mine (in a plastic bag) in my war, cleaning water and when I was ready to condition it was easier to smothe on. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a great idea! I'm definitely going to try that!!

      Delete

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