Early Days

Weekend Recap

Friday I wore jeans and my paddock boots to work, hoping I would get out early and have a leisurely Friday night at the barn with a long relaxing bareback hack…but of course there was too much work and I got out of there at 5:30.

Hemie got a quick turnout in the nice sandy roundpen to roll and walk around while I prepped his beet pulp and got out our tack. But when I looked over, I found him jumping around playfully. Apparently he was a little bright eyed even though he’d been ridden the last several days in a row. Oh, to have a fit, energetic horse! So he got a free longe before I hopped on for a bareback cruise around the facility.

He was a good boy, and he is really learning to love bareback hacks. He knows that they are mellow and relaxing. We tootled around and chatted with barnmates for a bit. Then I rode him in one of the arenas for a few minutes to do some trot work, and I could immediately sense Hemie’s displeasure. My gut told me that following Thursday’s lesson, he had a low tolerance for “work.” He wasn’t naughty, but he wasn’t happy. I decided to rein in my plans and expectations, and so we did just a few minutes focusing on stretching, straightness, and connection to the outside rein, then called it a night. I always want to end on a good note for both of us.

Then I had a lovely dinner with Karen of Not-So-Speedy Dressage, who was visiting for a dressage show. One of the cool things about hanging out with blogger friends in real life is chatting about all the horsey things you can’t blog about for whatever reason. It was really nice.

Saturday we had a jumping lesson. It started off a bit tense. Like on Friday, I could tell that Hemie was on alert for any “work” and was threatening to be upset at me blocking his evasions. We had one rear/run backwards situation. Grrr so frustrating – so unacceptable. We got past it, though, and then had a really nice rest of our ride. We were jumping some extra high jumps and doing courses with water and banks and solid jumps to prep for next weekend’s show.

Frustratingly, in hindsight I realize I am repeating past mistakes and relearning the same solutions. If I sense that Hemie is on alert or upset, I need to outsmart the situation rather than get bated into an argument. Arguments become dangerous situations, and I don’t think they’re good for training. Even if my trainer is yelling at me to do “x” now, I can’t let that feed into a frenzy of tension. I need to take a deep breath, relax myself, then re-approach the situation.

After our ride Hemie got a bubble bath and some beautification, then I headed to Somis to watch Karen’s afternoon ride. She and Speedy looked great and did a wonderful job.

Active trot, great connection, straight up centerline!

Lovely balanced canter past the judge.


Handsome Speedy!
Karen giving Speedy treats for photo-op.
We hung out and chatted for bit, then watched some upper level riders. I really should watch more dressage shows because they’re inspiring. Their amazing work is beautiful to watch, and their challenges or mistakes make me feel like it’s okay that Hemie and I have our struggles – that we’re human and horse just like everyone else. One of Hilda Gurney’s mounts was a bit “up” shall we say, but she rode through it beautifully and he calmed down throughout the test. That was a ride that I could really relate to.
Hilda Gurney on Aleros

Sunday was a fabulous blend of relaxation and productivity. I did quite a bit of garage organizing and then deep cleaned my bridle and jump saddle and other strap goods. I got all my show stuff cleaned and organized too. Plus lots of puppy time and hubby time too!

3 comments on “Weekend Recap

  1. Sounds like a GREAT weekend! :)


  2. You've been busy! Just read the last few posts to catch up. Glad you are working through Hemie's issues.


  3. I had SUCH a nice time visiting with you, Sarah. I wish I lived just a little bit closer. :0)

    Hemie will get there. Just keep plugging away at it. One thing Christian told me that applies to your situation as well was this: forget the last stride and expect the next one to be wonderful. Even if he's tense, expect a good next stride. I even say it aloud sometimes. I'll say, “and HERE it is!” at every stride. And then we get it, I quickly call out out, GOOD, GOOD BOY! It may sound and look goofy, but letting Sydney know that I am expecting a relaxed and rhythmic stride seems to help. :0)

    When we ride defensively (me, tense and expecting a spook or a hollowed back, etc.), that's what we get. I've been really working on that concept for the past 3 – 4 months, and it has helped. When we're relaxed, as you know, we give our horses a chance to be so too. Just something to keep in mind (along with all the other “must dos”).


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