Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I'm tired. I'm tired of the day to day grind. I'm tired of feeling like I "have" to ride. I'm tired of all the money spent. . . spent faster than the results coming in. I know I've made progress. I love my horse. I love my trainer. I don't want to give any of them up, but at the same time I don't know how to do this half way. Recently I've not been going to the barn nearly as often as "normal". Eli was ridden twice(?) in the last week. Once I was on him for maybe 5 mins and I got off. I just didn't want to. One day I pulled all my tack out of the tack room, then sat down to talk to people and never rode. I'm so overwhelmed with everything else going on in my life. I'm wondering if something has to give? And if so, what? I will keep Eli forever. There is no question about that. I don't know how to not do riding at the level I've always done. Riding 4 -5 times a week and going to the barn 6 days a week. I don't know how to lower that and be "OK" with it. Maybe because my board is so much money that I feel like I have to get something out of it. I'm just lost right now. . .

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pirouette after one step

So yesterday we had a lesson at the other barn. It may have been a bit risky trailering to the lesson as I was only 95% sure I'd have a sound horse. We are still dealing with whatever is wrong with his feet. During that process I discovered I LOVE Gorilla Tape much more than Duct Tape! :)

We warmed up indoor in soft but deep footing. He was sound. Yay! My trainer decided we should take him to the crappy, non-fenced outdoor which had harder footing. My trainer suspected Eli may not be sound in that footing. The bad news was that I rode like shit. The good news was that he was 100% sound! YAY.

During my ride Eli resisted the left lead canter. This had been a new issue since shoeing (which also made him more unsound than he was before). He would lay on the left shoulder and raise his head up and to the right and back off the bit. My trainer claims it's an outside rein issue and we fixed it as such. It worked so who am I to say?

The motto of the lesson was in regards to the outside rein. At any point in trot and canter I should be able to transition to walk for ONE step and immediately do a walk pirouette. I also must think pirouette position as I am riding canter. That helps quite significantly. It forces me to keep my outside rein short and it straightens Eli within the gait. :)

I packed his foot last night. My trainer wanted to keep that the same and have me ride tonight to make sure the work didn't make him sore. If he's sound the packing comes out tonight. He does not get turnout yet. I will have to ride him tomorrow night to see if he's sound without the packing. If so then he can go on turnout. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Magic Cusion Saves the Day!

Well not really, but Eli was better last night just not 100%. Monday he was lame right at the start of my lesson :( It appeared abscess-like and on the right front. We did find a sneaky little pebble tucked away in his foot. So maybe that was it. I packed the foot with Magic Cushion and wrapped with duct tape.

For those of you that have never used Magic Cushion you should! (If the time comes that you need to that is.) It ROCKS! It's sticky as hell and you need rubber gloves to put the stuff in there. Rubbing alcohol gets it off of your skin though if you get it on you. I will never ever use any other packing. I can't imagine anything else would ever work as well as this!

I had cheapy duct tape from DG. Do NOT go cheap on duct tape. It tore and he walked out of it basically. Last night I had better duct tape and I tried the diaper trick. A lady at the barn told me to pack with magic cushion, put a diaper over that and wrap with duct tape. So I tried it. She says he won't walk out of the diaper. We'll see. So in preparation for tonight I went to Dollar General to buy some diapers.

I am now the proud owner of 50 diapers. Geesh. I went cheap and bought an off brand. I hope that wasn't a bad choice. It was either $10 or $6 for 50. I didn't want 50!! It wasn't the price, but the fact that now I have 50 flipping diapers and no baby butt for them! :) Fingers crossed that when I get to the barn tonight the diaper is still on! Fingers and toes crossed that he is sound!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Don't canter like he's 3 years old!

I had an amazing lesson on Saturday. Maybe it was magnified by the fact that Eli felt SO good compared to all the giraffe problems we were having. The chiro really helped!

I always struggle with keeping the outside rein short enough. That is nothing new. We addressed that. Bascially I should always be ready to do a piroutte. Now we only do them at the walk, but I need to think about that feeling and I need to be ready to do one at the walk at any moment.

We had a bit of an awakening in the canter. This is my nemesis. There is no doubt about that. During this lesson my trainer really made me ride into the corners. I tend to not want to do that. It's hard. We might break. Lord knows we don't need any help breaking. We do that well enough on our own! However, the corner really helps to put Eli on his butt. It forces balance. It isn't easy. Sometimes we didn't get in the corner deep enough. Sometimes we broke. That didn't happen too many times cause I knew that I'd be forced to ride the corners so might as well figure out how to do that ASAP. So we did! And we did it well! The best thing was that when we came out of the corner we had a great canter! :) The quality was better and I had more horse behind me. If you remember the last post I talked about having enough horse behind me to keep the push in the canter. I don't want him pulling himself along with his front legs. My trainer talked to me about how my instinct is to make the corners easier. To not go into them too deep. That's great for a young horse, but my horse is not 3 years old and I need to stop riding him like that. It was very eye opening cause I do! I make easy corners which ultimately just make us lose balance. The complication comes in that we don't have many good corners to ride deep into at home. So we then practiced with making my own corners by turning from B to E and vise versa. That's hard! I asked my trainer to stand there so that I had to turn in front of him. I was overshooting. He said no because I needed to learn how to this so I could repeat it at home. I did fairly well and well enough to affect the canter like I needed to. Then we did a harder exercise. We picked up the counter canter and turned across the arena at B in counter canter and then turned at E in true canter. We all know how I love to counter canter! That "corner" like turn was a bit hard, but I excel at the counter canter and we did well. This made the turn in true canter feel "easier". At least it was suppose to - especially for Eli. It seemed to and we had a great canter through that turn and out of it. My trainer said it's getting tiresome reminding me that the counter canter is suppose to be harder! Ha ha. He says there is no reason that I shouldn't be able to do the same things in true canter that I do in counter canter. I tell that to myself every single day! Some day maybe it will work. :) In the meantime we are riding like we are big boys and trying to ride deep into the corners. Next lesson is at my barn tomorrow night and we are suppose to work on this again so I can get the feel in my arena. I did learn today during my ride that there is a lot more time between corners in my arena (it's huge!). So that makes it a bit challenging to maintain a good canter to get through the next corner. I might need to shorten the arena and make my own corners. We'll see what happens tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it! :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Outside shoulder & energy behind

I haven't posted in a while. Eli had a period of being very stiff and uncomfortable. I had two good rides and then the third day the horses were turned out after being in for a couple days. Eli was very different that day. He was stiff and giraffe like. I tried to work him through it to no avail. I put two different riders on him to see what would happen. They didn't have much more success than I did. Other than they didn't fight him quite so much. When it's your horse, it's awfully hard not to fight. I ended up giving him a week off.

This past Monday I went to the other barn for a lesson. I had my trainer get on him first after explaining what was going on. He agreed he was very stiff. He was able to work Eli through it with limited resistance from Eli. I had a good ride after that. Eli is so much more responsive to my legs and I can ride him with less work. That helps with our canter issues. Eli was resistant to bending, but in a way I was over bending him. This caused him to fall out on his outside shoulder. That caused him to raise his head and be a giraffe to balance. My trainer had me *think* of renvers on a circle but with true bend. What did that do? It caused me to limit the bend and keep the outside shoulder. This worked really really well. We did some walk pirouettes before doing some canter work. In the canter I was to think about the pirouette. This resulted in a half halt from the outside rein, keeping the outside rein short and increasing the bend in his hind legs. Basically a well ridden half halt! The good thing was since my trainer warmed him up, he was so responsive to my leg that we didn't break at all. I had quite a bit of horse behind me. I know that sounds backwards. You always want the horse in front of your leg, but you need an engine behind you. During this ride I had quite a bit of push from his hind legs and they were active and he was coming through. So I'm trying to ride with this feeling in mind. The short outside rein, the outside shoulder trapped from going too far out and some horse behind me! :)

Wednesday I had the chiro come for Eli. He was really locked in his neck in several places and had some shoulder issues. He had Thursday off and today he was much happier under saddle. I really think he did something in turnout the day all these issues started. There was such a dramatic difference in him from the previous day that I just don't know what else could have happened.

Tomorrow I go to my trainer's barn for a lesson. We usually have really good lessons when we go there. I hope tomorrow is no exception! :) Here's to a safe trip. . .

Monday, May 3, 2010

RIDE the spook!

Every now and again something will happen that shows me how far my riding has come. Yesterday was one of those days. Eli had two days off. He was not cooperative. Travis’ (the stall cleaner) fiancĂ© was there with his 3 year old son, Noah. They were watching me ride on and off. I don’t like being watched by someone new, especially if they ride, and she used to. The volume of the radio was loud. That gives me a headache sometimes (it did yesterday) and worries Eli. He gets worried when there is a lot of action at the barn and he can’t “hear” it. This was the case yesterday. The shit shaker makes a lot of noise, as does stall cleaning in general. Other boarders had arrived and people were talking, but you couldn’t really hear them. Noah was sitting in the chair the last time I looked. . . I came down the long side in counter canter and was riding through the short side. I looked up at Travis’ fiancĂ© (I cannot remember her name to save my life) and made eye contact, for some reason. At that time, Noah flung a matchbox car across the concrete and Eli freaked. I don’t know if it was the sound of the car or the fact that he couldn’t really see the kid or the car well due to the rails of the fence. Being in counter canter during a spook is interesting when the horse wants to go away from the “inside”. It’s hard for to put into words what I’m thinking, but everything gets messed up quickly as you lose the outside rein as the horse changes the bend on you. Maybe he changed leads too. I don’t know. I’m not sure what he did, but we ended up halfway down the next long side before we got our act together. Here is where the light bulb comes in. When a horse spooks what do you think? I think “oh shit!” I think “stop”, “hang on”, “damn I lost my stirrups” . . . any number of things. Yesterday I didn’t want my new helmet to get dirty already! In anycase, I tend to think about what to do to stop the situation. And of course I always lose my stirrups. That is a given. It is probably due to the lack of weight in my feet overall when I ride. I tend to start leaning forward in an attempt to regain my balance and that is when someone yells “sit back!” We’ve all been there right? Yesterday as I lost my stirrups and assessed the situation, I suddenly thought “ride!” I thought “this is no different than riding without stirrups.” I don’t do that often enough, but I’ve had my fair share of lunge lessons and rides without stirrups. I also thought “use your seat”. So I sat deep and I just rode whatever we had at the moment, which was some off balance canter I think . . . who knows. There weren’t too many bucks involved in the whole situation I don’t think. Unless I’m just so use to bucks now that they don’t phase me. Maybe I should have had this light bulb moment earlier. I think this is what makes a good rider be able to ride the spooks. They ride what they are given rather than fight it. I have a very athletic spooking horse. When he’s scared he can look like he belongs at the rodeo in the bucking bronco show! He can leap, buck and twist all at once. Those that have seen his antics can back me up. It can be impressive and difficult to sit. Last year when he was scared to death of whatever the hell was outside the big door, I got to experience his athleticism in all its glory as I crashed into the sand. That has made me more defensive during spooks than I use to be. However, in the last couple years of working with my trainer, my seat has gotten better. I have a LONG way to go. (Who doesn’t?) But it’s way better than it use to be. What use to unseat me, now unseats me less and I can get my act back together quicker. Two years ago I’d have probably hit the dirt during the spook I had yesterday. That’s embarrassing to admit. Even with our current problems I’ve come a long way in regards of my seat and balance. Last year’s spook-fest over that big door might have helped! The summary is that I’m ready for the next spook. I’m going to “ride” rather than fight it and try to stop it. Maybe if I had this thought process last year the door situation wouldn’t have gotten the best of me mentally. It is moments like this that make me feel like I’m making some progress. It’s probably small to some of you. You might be saying “duh”, but I’m glad that the light bulb came on. Let’s hope my brain doesn’t turn it off the next time this situation arises.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Quality vs Quantity

I feel like this old saying is tried and true no matter the situation. For years I use to feel like I “had” to ride a certain number of times per week. I felt like I had to practice, Eli had to get exercise and we had to keep going. When I was showing heavily I would really plan my riding schedule around the show. Eli would probably be off the day before we left, but the days before that were spent really riding. I was very strict about the schedule. The last year that I showed, I realized that one ride really didn’t make that much of a difference. Eli was going through quite a bit of hoof problems and I would be really stressed if I couldn’t ride exactly as planned prior to a show. Suddenly it clicked and I woke up. One ride does NOT make that much of a difference. It doesn’t really impact how I will do at the show. I’m ready or I’m not. End of story.

I don’t know how well I learned that lesson. I’m trying to keep that in mind. Recently I’ve decided that for my own mental health I need some days away from the barn. I need days where I don’t go out there at all! SHOCK! I know right? It’s been working well, as I’ve been fitting in more time at the gym and just in general avoiding stupid barn drama. I think it’s really helped my mental state. I feel less “burned out” about riding. I think Eli probably likes it to. He sure as hell doesn’t want to deal with me when I’m annoyed and stressed.

Last night I should have listened to my gut. The plan was to ride last night and not tonight as I have a massage after work. I got annoyed with stupid barn shit about 10 mins after I got there. I felt my aggravation rise. Part of me just wanted to leave and go home. The “old” me popped up and the voice in my head said “but Eli is going to have tomorrow off, you have to ride today”. So I sucked it up and started tacking up. Eli started off stiff, giraffe-like and uncooperative. He was turned out yesterday and the previous two days he was in. Did that contribute to it? Maybe. The previous two days he was willing, supple and bending. Not last night. Maybe it was a result of what was going in my brain. About 5 mins into the ride I wanted to get off. Then the old me popped up and said “but you are teaching him that if he doesn’t cooperate the ride is over.” Really? He’s 15 years old. Would he really think that after one lame ride? I doubt it. I kept riding because, well hell, I had spent the time to groom and tack so I might as well try to make this worthwhile. Eli remained giraffe-like, which is usually the problem that I prefer to fix, as opposed to below the bit. Last night however, I just didn’t want to deal. I tried. We had good moments. We actually cantered once around the ring COMPLELETY (!!!) in both directions. However he was very strong and not set back on his butt like he needs to be. I was focusing on pushing the canter with my seat. So maybe we learned something? Maybe not.

If I had to do it over I would have followed my gut and not ridden. After all I really believe that quality vs. quantity can be applied to the training path. Last night all I did was check a box: I rode Wednesday. That’s it. It wasn’t quality. It did nothing for us. It would have been better for him to have two days off and ride on Friday. Would that have hurt? No! Would he have loss fitness? NO! I need to remember the lesson I thought I learned years go. One ride doesn’t make that much of an impact on the overall training scale. One lesson sure as hell might! But one ride, on my own, with no one helping me when I’m in a pissed off mood sure as hell doesn’t do much. Certainly not anything positive.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tired Lesson

So after 5 days off, of which I spent 4 at Rolex, Eli and I had a lesson last night. I was tired and cranky when I got to the barn. People there were annoying me, as usual. The clinic was running late as usual. However, I did have a new helmet, whip and thinline pad that I was ready to try out! :)

So the lesson started ok. Better than I expected after that many days off. Within 10 mins, Eli was way more lazy than he should have been. That was annoying. We didn't do anything spectacular. Some walk, trot and shitty canter warmup. Ugh. Then the far half of the arena became taken over by another lesson. Then within 5 mins the new boarder wanted to lunge her horse. So I have a first time lesson student on a lunge with cones all over on the far side and a chick with a horse standing outside the gate ready to lunge. I started to get sort of anxious as I thought "where am I going to ride?" Somehow the girl ended up lunging in the same area as the lesson as the instructor pulled the lesson girl to the side to chat. She is always talking to these kids for 15 mins or so at a time, with no riding going on. Weird. But it worked out in my favor last night.

We did the "whip desensitizing" after a bit of canter work. Eli was much more nervous about that and kicked out at one point. We managed to make progress though and then I had a nicely forward horse with some great hock action! The canter after that was good. At the very end Eli would not halt without backing up, so we had to school the heck out of severe half halts to convince him that he didn't go backwards when halting. This was a side effect of both his nerves due the whip and the degree to which I had him collected at the end. It wasn't anything to worry about, but just to work through.

I LOVE the thinline pad! It's great. I really notice a difference in the feel and the lack of bounce at the sitting trot. It seems that the purchase will be well worth the money. :) The helmet is also great, though a bit warm. That is worrisome since last night was a cool night.

My trainer and I agreed that some of the canter issue is just "in my head". Like I said earlier, it's me thinking it's going to suck and we are going to break. It's me tensing up as a result of that thinking. I need to be hypnotized or something! Ha ha.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Canter, Canter, Canter

Last night I broke a hard and fast rule. I rode the day of shoeing. I never do that. My farrier prefers it that way and so do Eli's feet. However, when he's about to have 4 days off (maybe 5 if I don't fit a ride in today) then you gotta do what you gotta do. Surprisingly he was very comfortable.

It was a light ride and I worked a bit on keeping the outside short at the canter. No major accomplishments going on here.

After the ride I was talking to a friend. We were discussing how when you "think" you are going to fail, then you do. I believe that I have that issue with the canter to some extent. Especially the first canter in the ride. It sucks and it's a flop. However, I talk myself into believing we can make a lap around the arena. I "commit my body" to the canter. I learned that phrase from a clinician that I no longer work with. Thinking that helps to some extent. I told my friend "I bet it looks like I canter my whole ride!" She agreed and said that I do quite a bit of canter. So what's the problem? It's deceiving. If you aren't really watching me, you don't see the problem. If you are just messing around in the barn, hanging out and talking you think I'm a pro at cantering. What you don't see is that I can't maintain the canter for very long. THAT my friend is the problem. How long can we go until we break? I swear I think that when I ride. That's a problem. I need to *believe* that I can canter as long as I want to. Other people can canter my horse as long as THEY want. Why can't I? I need a horse to borrow for a couple rides. One that I can just canter, canter, canter! Unfortunately I don't have access to a horse like that to borrow.

I leave for Rolex tomorrow. I'm never impressed with the dressage, but this year the WEG test event, KY Cup Dressage is being held. I will catch the last day and get to see the freestyle tomorrow night. I'm going to watch people canter. I'm going to get inspired! I'm going to figure this out. Someday Eli and I will be able to canter, canter, canter! :) Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lesson Review

My lesson last night was a typical average lesson. There weren’t any fabulous new exercises or eye opening discoveries. The best thing was that Eli was very forward for most of it due to being at a new place. I love taking him places. He is generally always “on” and doesn’t give me any problems.

I have a canter problem. I can’t. I can counter canter till I’m blue in the face. I can do harder figures in counter canter than I can in true canter. This is a problem, a big problem. My trainer says that it’s rare to find someone that finds something more difficult to be easier. We’ve analyzed it till my brain is mush. I do something different in the counter canter . . . it’s likely I DON’T do something. I plant my position (for fear of switching leads) and I think I just stop fighting things in a way. Now don’t get me wrong, we can do true canter. We just can’t do it for very long. First level tests require quite long spurts of canter. Other tests seem to break it up more. For example, the serpentine in 2nd level (2nd 4?) where you do a simple change every time crossing the center line . . . we can do that! The first 1 canter where you canter basically the whole arena with a 15m circle in the center – nope! Not happening. We will break. Why? Well first of all I lose my hips. I don’t keep them in front. I tend to lock my arms somewhat and not follow. Though I don’t buy that 100% because I feel like I lock them more in counter canter and we have no issues there. I don’t keep the outside rein short enough especially on short sides and circles. Now even when I focus on these things, we still lose the activation and break. And when the activation starts leaving, I push my hips back and try to “urge” on the canter. That is BAD! I’m trying to stop doing that. Even when I stop, we will still break. It’s a mess. We have a much better canter than we had years ago. The quality is better and it’s more collected and less on the forehand. We just can’t sustain in. It’s becoming rather depressing.

So last night we warmed up quite a bit in the trot. We did some loops and half pass. Eli was very forward and very honest in the hand if not a bit a strong. We’ve been focusing on watching where he breaks – sometimes the poll is not the highest and it’s the 2nd vertebrae. We’ve had some interesting lessons focusing on this. One was very forward, very honestly broken at the poll, but REALLY forward with no half halts and just a bat-out-of-hell canter. That lesson was fun! Then Eli changes his mind and instead of going low would like to be a giraffe, so then he has to be ridden low. He likes to keep me on my toes! Last night he was honestly broken at the poll. Which I expected being at a new place. We did have some issues after the walk breaks . . . he thought he’d like to be a giraffe again. I’d rather fix the giraffe than fix the broken 2 vertebrae issue honestly.

Last night we worked on significant half halts in the trot. Then we duplicated them in the canter. That is really hard for me because there’s a fine line in that half halt so that we don’t break. I did well for the first 2- 3 then we’d lose it. Not complaining though because in general I don’t ask for that much half halt in the canter . . . we try to go forward and maintain the gait! We also work on counter flexing at every “point” on the circle. There are 4 points a circle right?! We counter flex for one stride at each point. We do this in the trot and in the canter. It really helps the canter. It also shows me when I let my reins get too long. It’s enlightening that sometimes I keep my reins short, but I let my arms get long. If I do that in the canter the activation is gone and we fall on our face and break.

We spent a bit of time working with the whip. Eli is scared to death of the whip. It took me quite some time when I got him to get him use to a dressage whip. He could always see it in the corner of his eye. I had to start with a bat, held at his shoulder and work my way up. To this day his reaction to the whip is still fear. As a result it’s not something that we can really use a tool in our training, at least not on a regular basis. I threaten him with the whip and just move it like I’m going to tap him and I get a reaction. He’s so incredibly sensitive. I do not let many people ride him with a whip, because if they forget and treat him like a normal horse they will likely end up on the ground or in the next county! Last night my trainer had a short lunge whip with the tassel wrapped up. I would halt Eli and he would come up and pat him and rub him and introduce the whip. He would then tap whichever hind leg was out and a few times Eli responded correctly by bringing that leg up and in place. A couple times he took it backwards, which is not the response we want. He got better and better with this and we are going to spend some time in every lesson doing this. The interesting thing is calming my nerves. I’ve had some issues with my trainer having a whip in his hands. I don’t always trust him. He won’t always tell me what he’s going to do. Last night once he finally told me he had no plans other than what I just described I relaxed and it got much better. Who is more petrified of the whip? Ha ha! I just prefer the whip to be in MY control.

Hopefully by writing this blog I learn to analyze my riding better. It sounds like I have a good grasp on things when I read it back to myself. I just wish that I could figure out the canter. It’s discouraging enough that I’ve thought of just retiring from this hobby. For now I will continue working on it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lesson Day

Normally I have lessons either at my own barn or at my trainer's barn. My trainer comes to the area every other Monday alternating with my barn and Prairie Oaks in Troy. Without going into details, my trainer only does one Monday at my barn. So that means I'm only guaranteed one lesson a month. However, the other barn can't always fill their clinics, so we have the first half of a day at my barn. To ride then I must take a couple of hours of PTO. I have a lot of trips planned this year, so I can't continue to slowly erode my PTO. Today I decided that I'd go to Prairie Oaks after work for a lesson. That required me to bring the trailer to work, because Roger is in the field. There's no way I'd be able to fit the thing into our tiny parking lot, but luckily we have permission to park on this gravel lot next door. The property use to have a green house and is currently for sale. This is the view from my office:

Notice the "new" truck! I don't know if I ever posted pics of the truck on FB. It's used, but in amazing shape. 3/4 ton Dodge Ram diesel! :) YAY! I love how it pulls the trailer. And doesn't it look great on my trailer!?!?! Way better than the old red truck. (Ahh, but I continue to love Old Red, because I may have to use her at times) So today I'm stuck at work and can't run errands at lunch. :( That's a bit sucky. I will leave around 3:30, go get Eli and hopefully get to Troy 30 mins before my 5:45 lesson. Eli is usually "on" when he's not at home, so fingers crossed for a good lesson!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Numero Uno

This is my first blog evah! :) I decided that I wanted to start documenting some things in life. The first being my journey of dressage with Eli. I want to start making notes of my lessons. I have a fabulous trainer and learn some great exercises in my lessons. Very seldom do I write them down. If I did write them down where would I keep them? A blog is a great place! I don't have to store them and this way I can share them with all of my riding friends. YAY! So for now that is the path this blog will take. I might put some normal live stuff in here I suppose. We'll see . . . join me on my ride and see where it leads.

First up: meet Eli!

Eli is a 15 year old TB gelding. I can't believe he's that old. I got him when he was 7. Some people's horses never age it seems! Or they are bad at math. Just the other day when the vet was out he said "how old was he when you got him?" We reminisced abpout the last 8 years. Neither of us could believe that it had been that long!

Dressage is our discipline of choice. . . I guess you could say. A few years ago I started working with my current trainer. Initially it was on a clinic basis. That meant once a month I'd go to a barn to have a lesson with him. I think that started in 07. My memory is bad. Basically I loved working with this trainer and in Oct 08 I sent Eli to him for training. He remained there for 6 months. Unfortunately he hurt himself and was not in training for the last month he was there. If anyone knows Eli, they know he is Master of Injuries. So I wasn't surprised but I was disappointed. I've had him back with me for a year now. Luckily I'm at a barn that my trainer comes to on a regular basis. As often as I can (usually once a month) I make the drive to my trainer's barn for a lesson. We are just learning SO much! I'm a much different and better rider than I was before. So for now that's the end of the history lesson/ introduction.
I will try to post bits and pieces of what I learn in lessons here. Next lesson: Monday April 19th. We are traveling to Prairie Oaks in Troy IL for a lesson that evening. YAY!