Monday, 31 January 2011

Game changing

Drove home from the yard today after my lesson in tears, with Bruce Springsteen on the CD player. It is always Bruce at times of great joy or sadness his music has been the background track to my relationship with the man who is now my husband. Today was one of those days that you'll remember for a very long time and the tears were good tears because today I'd had one of those game changing revelations and was overcome with the enormity of what I'd discovered.

It may turn out that it isn't *the* key to my confidence, but it is part of that journey and right now I think it is a large part.

Previously on Planet Alexis I've had times when things have felt sublime and time slows down and my confidence daemons are squashed and buried in a corner and everything seems possible. But I've never really known what makes for this feeling and thus how to reliably recreate it.

Today I have found a key and I'm overwhelmed with the possibility.

The key is something I call connection by which I'm not talking about 'over the back' in fact I find it hard to put into words but it is me and Chorrie there together in the moment and on the same side enjoying a partnership. It is a mental and physical connection. Time slows down and I can think but not about the 'what ifs' but plan, prepare and execute. I suspect others may recognize it as being similar to what athletes call 'being in the zone'

It was Clare who helped me find it and the odd thing is when I have it I'm confident, it was there hiding in plain sight I just needed someone to see it too and point it out to me. It is why my right rein has always been a more confident rein than my left but now I have tools to connect us on the left rein too and now I know what 'it' is; I know what I need to get to feel that way again.

I rode round the arena with 'connection' and whilst on the intellectual level I knew it wasn't the best trot we could produce, emotionally it was the best trot on Chorrie of my life because I now had the tools to reproduce the feeling.

World domination is but a step away :-)

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Yard Diary Jan 2011

31st January 2011 Clare 10:00
30th January 2011 Steph Home Farm Supervisory driver; four barrow loads pooh cleared
29th January 2011 Sheena 11:00 or London?
28th January 2011 Clare 10:00
27th January 2011
26th January 2011
25th January 2011
24th January 2011 Clare 10:00
23rd January 2011 Sue Baker DTM Worton (owed lesson £0)
22nd January 2011 Hair 10:00
21st January 2011 Nicky 09:30
20th January 2011 Fred and Chorrie vet review 09:30one barrow pooh
19th January 2011 Barrow pooh Fred tail wash
18th January 2011 Yard am rode
17th January 2011 Clare 10:00
16th January 2011 Clare Goldie Worton 10:40 (Need to pay)
15th January 2011 Supper BB/SNP 19:30Hair 15:00Sheena 14:00
14th January 2011 Clare 10:00
13th January 2011
12th January 2011
11th January 2011 Supper M100 19:45 Usual place :biggrin:
10th January 2011 Clare 10:00
9th January 2011
8th January 2011
7th January 2011 Clare 10:00 Monsoon rain cancelled
6th January 2011 Rode :biggrin:
5th January 2011 Didn't ride knackered :lol:
4th January 2011 Didn't ride too late and going out
3rd January 2011 Clare 10:00
2nd January 2011 Rachel to hack C 08:30The great post snow pooh clear up begins - barrow 1
1st January 2011 Blue PTS Run free Blue Didn't ride too miserable :-(

Pooh and preparation


Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Struck me today I rarely ride a schooling session as though it were a test and that I have to do it on the marker right here right now no excuses and no you can't do another 20m circle to prepare. JFDI!

Need to address this as part of my paralysis by analysis issue!


Am officially pooped! Shifted four barrows of pooh and managed to squash my OCD side and not do a final barrow to clear the field but get the boys in and get home where your husband is waiting to see you at some point!

Still wondering mind you if I could have got away with that fifth barrow!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Pole dancing across the school surface

Did some pole work for suppleness with Sheena today.

Took C down to arena and he went into prancy snorty pony mode and my confidence ebbed away.

Walked him around in hand a few times to try and get the tickle out of his toes, then he started spooking at the shoot. Was now about ready to call it a day then other person sharing turned up but not with her boy but with a horse she hacks out and by now I was really ready to call it a day.

11:15 and still no Sheena I had lesson starting at 11:00 tried calling her no answer so got on and just tried to remember that it doesn't matter what I do just do it well.

So did a square with walk pirouettes in corners, then a bit of in and out on a circle.

Now 11:30 and Sheena arrived having had the lesson down at 11:30 in her diary.

So on with the lesson.

Sheena commented how much more supple he was compared to the last time we did this type of pole work.

Still issues with canter when not carrying whip or wearing spurs as too tight in seat so end up collecting him rather than allowing him forward.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Spooky Pony!

Cold and windy and my abdominal pain from December 2008 is back so a less than positive mental attitude!

Mr Chorister was in a jolly mood high blowing in the cold wind and being a meerkat and looking at everything and nothing.

So not the best combination of attitudes possible.

Struggled to have us both connected left rein, I get too easily stuck in a pattern of doing X even though X isn't actually working. Need to recognise tendency and break cycle and do something different like Y if X isn't working. Doesn't matter too much what Y is just so long as it isn't X.

Did some work on left canter where have a tendency to block him, going into a slightly forward seat helps so something to work on.

He had a couple of what I think of as his amusing himself spooks, as he spooks at nothing but is very careful to stay under me. Need to keep his mind occupied and busy (sounds familiar for the rider too)

Confidence Issues

Need to accept not every day will be a great day, and on the less great days to do what I can do and to do it well. So walk pirouettes (C likes these) and into trot; in and out on a circle, quarters in/quarters out and travers.

Positional Issues

Need to quiet the leg and be aware that when he is not feeling connected I over compensate with my hands, so he then struggles to connect.

Ask quickly with the leg, ask release, ask release.

Right hand is improving and his contact is evening up.

Need to try and avoid paralysis by analysis, JFDI, think quicker oh smallish brain of mine!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

So does my 2011 blog starts here or do I go back to SU?

Not really sure what to do, do I use the new s/w and continue blogging on SU and just let all my posts be public or do I move to an external blog and break the tie with SU?

Something to ponder!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

So here we are day 1

So here we are day 1 of the rest of my non SU bloggie life.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Nicky Desailly - Visit 3 - 21st January

I think :thud: probably sums it up.

Nicky is thrilled at his progress between this visit and last not quite sure :dunno: why such a rapid improvement as have been as useless as ever at carrot stretches but he has been doing more lateral work.

So result :clap:

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Vet Visit 20th January


Eyes Beginning of cataracts both eyes, almost certainly age related, currently not issue as not impairing vision.

Heart Good

Lungs Good

General Cushings continue with management routine (Agnus castus/fibre diet/soaked hay) whilst funds allow keep him in bar shoes, not strictly necessary but Liz of view they are a good idea given his age and laminitus risk. Leaky bottom probably have to accept as he ages it may get harder to control, nothing new on market to suggest/try.


Eyes Same as when vetted

Heart Good

Lungs Good

General Nosebleed stop worrying :goodvibes: , risk of gutteral puch mycosis low. Extensor tendon swelling (LH) disappointing that still filled but cosmetic. Warts on sheath as not progressing leave but keep watching brief. Condition Liz thinks he is looking good :thud: awaiting tomorrow's physio report with interest :lol: ND is very through and detailed suspect Liz was expecting Chorister to have turned into old crock from physio reports

Trot up RH slightly swinging wide, Liz not concerned as not issue under saddle. In general loathe to go in all guns blazing as can create issues as well as resolve issues and her view is that this for a 19yo is a non issue. Physio should be sufficient to keep eye on it.

Sunday, 16 January 2011


Clare likes my attitude for which I have Sue NP, Skunk, Lorna and my husband to thank as they've probably been the major shapers.

Lesson today at new venue Worton Park, which yes is a spooky indoor school as befits the reputation is has locally. It is to my mind an odd indoor being cobbled together out of a motely half of a farm building. So down at C you have a large metal roller blind about 12ft wide with lareg notice on the outside it is not to be used :( . Half of the other long side is open to another store shed with an ecletic collection of junk :(

Didn't overly like the school as it feels quite oppressive somehow but it is a good surface.

Anyway did some work on halt and Clare commented on how C and I were getting into a 'fight'. she didn't know if it was me or him to which I said it doesn't matter whose fault it is, it is my responsibility to correct it. To which Clare commented she liked my attitude :(

I don't think SFO knows what I call her although BB came close to revealing all last night :(

Clare commented I ride in two modes ones as me and one not as me :wub: I think she was saying when I just ride and let the analytical side go quiet I ride much better. If I over analyse it isn't beneficial.

Most of today was getting him quicker behind so collect the trot until almost too much then allow.

Pleased with the boy :( ; pleased with me going to new venue after stress of getting lorry started and holding it all together.


Saturday, 15 January 2011

Windy or what!

Wanted to cancel as blowing a gale but didn't as good to ride in gale with company.

Good lesson Sheena thinks position has improved since I last saw her which is good as it means that riding with Clare is not hindering what I'm trying to achieve with Sheena.

Lesson was in walk/trot and all about turning without pulling head round with inside rein.

Need to think of space behind knees, tree frog spread toes, length down front of legs.

In rising trot sit left more than you think is necessary, when turning left think (not do just think) inside leg back and make it a long tall pillar that C turns around and keeps C upright and over his four feet.

Think C :wub: enjoyed doing the pole work.

Sheena is off to ride with Gerd H at Waterstock next month.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Loose ponies interrupt play

So monsoon rain at 09:30 didn't ring Clare to talk about cancelling as figured it would stop by 10:00.

Almost proved wrong :banana: but it did stop just in time.

Am back to slipping saddle :biggrin: dunno if it is new half pad/non slip pad (how ironic)/saddle fit/ley lines/whatever

Back to canter circle with collecting/allowing

Clare thinks there is progress in getting us both :) to release on right rein to help him into left rein we did

10m circle top corner travers long side 10m circle bottom corner then repeat next long side but shoulder in long side.

Do in both trot and canter.

Clare is clearly actively thinking how best to teach me as if I think too much about doing 'stuff' I become inwards focused and don't ride him forwards and also lose the mental connection to Chorrie as am focused on 'stuff' not on riding.

Half way through lesson Al's Murphy got out of his paddock aided by Vesuvius and galloped up and down the track scattering the horses on each side, startling and spooking Chorrie so got off and went to ring Ros to come and fetch naughty pony.

Clare :) did some inhand with C whilst we got M & V in.

Am allowed when wibbly to use more contact, it won't bother him and I need to nurture my confidence.

Am seeing Clare Sunday at new venue she was worried she was being too hard on me :wub: which is ironic as I don't mind constructive criticism/feedback and it wasn't even on my radar she was being tough :)

Have rearranged work next week so am at yard four mornings which gives me no excuse not to ride.

So there it is my target is to ride Mon,Tues, Thurs and Fri mornings and see how the confidence does.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Life Enhancing Lesson

Just good got off feeling a million dollars :-)

Clare thinks my position is improving since she started teaching me generally my legs are 'longer' and are slowly getting quieter.

We're breaking again slowly our dependency on a tight right inside rein, this will always be hard because 1/ C likes to lean if he can and 2/ it is the arm with the neurological issue so will go tight and dead anyways.

I still go off my seat and need to own the rhythm in trot and not abandon him to find it.

Today we worked on canter with lots of walk breaks whilst we had no rain. Must not drill him in canter

So canter 20m circle collect on top half (only seat no hands), allow on bottom half. Rhythm to stay same.

Then as above but collect and 1/4s in, allow and 1/4s out.

Then counter canter -> walk -> true canter -> counter canter designed to try and get me to JFDI :wub: and NOT over analyse, so need to reduce to as few steps of walk as possible and deal with what I get when I've got it.

As I am doing Elementary this year need to get my brain quicker thinking; so need to start now.


I do have some moments of unconscious competence when Clare will say well adjusted but I have no idea what I did want more of those :-)