Monday, January 20, 2014

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

Oh nellie, I'm gonna be sore!!

My lessons have begun.....

Here is the story of how it all came to be. I knew that finding an instructor for any type of english riding in my area would be challenging. There are a few beginner riding instructors. I knew if I was going to stress my budget a bit and spend money on lessons and learn something new, even if I did not plan to compete, it was important to ride with someone who knows their discipline. Even I am experienced enough to give beginner basic riding lessons.

I found one person that was well-qualified. However, this instructor did not have a school horse, only access to a boarder's horse for schooling use, one day a week. That would work fine, except the one day a week was also the day I happen to work! I was still determined to make it work somehow, when Ranch Boy's mom suggested I contact another gal we know through the ranch so I messaged her on Facebook.

What a great connection I made! This gal recommended her instructor whom she rides with, and said she had a schoolmaster horse I could ride! She offered to haul the horse to the barn with her mare for me to use for lessons (we just have to ride on the same day and back to back.) Could I get any more blessed? So a week later, after itching to get started on lessons and unsure how it was all going to come together, I had my first trial ride on her gelding. She also loaned me riding pants and gave me some older dressage saddles and tack to try on my horses as she is selling them.  I would like to purchase one to use on My Boy so I can continue to practice what I am learning.

{Photo of V a few years ago when he was a bit younger and wearing his summer coat!}

Let me tell you about the gelding (who I am on in the photo at the top.)  He is a 16.2 hh, 26 year old Dutch Warmblood gelding. This guy, who I'll call V, has quite the resume. He is a former Grand Prix jumper, imported from Germany, and has done it all. He acts more 13, has a huge engine, and will be a great babysitter for me, but skilled and challenging enough to help me learn.

My friend and I met up and rode Sunday so that I could get to know and ride V a bit before my first lesson.  V and I mostly puttered around the arena at a walk and trot- he was very forgiving of me bouncing around and trying to post on the correct diagonal. Then, on Monday afternoon I had my first official lesson. The instructor was great. I got to wear a little earpiece which amplified her voice- a brilliant idea! I didn't even feel or know it was there but it really helped me hear her because riding makes its own noise, not including other outside and barn noise.   This first lesson we talked a lot and I worked on using my seat, such as to speed up and slow down the walk, keeping my leg back under me and my toes pointed ahead- not out (I have no problem with heels down for some reason- in fact I almost overdo the heels-down), posting the trot, and a little at keeping my shoulders back. V was a great trooper he just kept trotting so I could work on all these things without having to fuss with him to much.

The instructor was easygoing and explained things well and I did not feel intimidated by her. I can only take one lesson a week so I am going to get on My Boy at least one other day in between.  Due to winter weather we can probably only walk or trot but I can at least practice the positioning and using my seat.

I will also begin the chore of trying saddles on My Boy and seeing if one of the two she has for sale will work. I am hardly an expert but got some helpful tips at the lesson (even where a dressage saddle sits on the back is different then I am used to. ) They are older style dressage saddles, one Crosby and one Passier, both brown which is not as common in dressage saddles these days, but I like it. I have only ridden in the Crosby so far because it is the one that fits V the best- it's very comfy! It needs minor stitching repair around a part of the seat but other wise in pretty good shape for its age. Until I know where I am going with this I do not want to invest in an expensive saddle and I keep reading about saddle fitting and how difficult it can be. If anyone has any dressage saddle experience or advice I will appreciate your help! I figured a better quality older saddle is a better choice then a cheap new saddle.

Anyway I am excited to be riding again and to be learning something new- dressage techniques are applicable to all styles of riding and it is going to really help me in my riding of both My Boy and getting Luna going the next few years!

Ranch Girl


Cindy D. said...

Oh that is cool how it all fell together for you!

Ranch Girl Diaries said...

Thanks Cindy- I am so lucky that someone had been so generous such as to loan me a horse, etc. Hopefully someday I can pay it forward and help out someone who really wants to ride! :)

Ranch Girl Diaries said...
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Mare(+Missy) said...

Sounds like a whole lot of fun! So glad everything is working out so nicely! Have fun:)

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Very cool!

I bought a nice, used dressage saddle a couple of years ago, making sure to get the wide width and longer fenders. I wasn't really worried about it fitting one horse in particular, since I have many to chose from. ;-)...And...I have never had it on a horse or taken a lesson.

I keep hoping that I will get the motivation to do that soon. I had found a good instructor in my area in Colorado....right before I came to Arizona for the winter. LOL. So maybe I will just have to wait until I go home for the summer. :-)

Karley said...

Glad everything worked out!!

Ranch Girl Diaries said...

BEC- id love to see Moon or Shooter in a a dressage saddle! :) They have Western dressage now too, I guess even starting competition. But for some reason I think I'd rather do dressage in a saddle that had more contact. :)

fernvalley01 said...

yay! Sounds like a great start to your lessons. Hope one of the saddles fit , did you know by the way if you take the serial # off the Passier, and email Passier and sons they will get back to you with all of the specs on the saddle right down to the year it was made (and they get back to you fast! ) I emailed about one of mine a year ago. sent the email at 9pm and the next morning I had my reply!

Ranch Girl Diaries said...

Thanks!! I might do that! I'm not sure it was a great fit on my Boy I need to try it again. It's pretty old I haven't ridden in it yet.

tiffany said...

Hey, I have a quick question I wanted to ask you about your blog, do you think you could send me an email when you get this? Thanks! Tiffany

50+ Horses said...

This is awesome! Sounds like a really cool horse you're using and looks like you've met some great folks for training and to ride with. Very positive! I'm looking forward to your adventures in returning to riding. :)