Lesson Day

Today I went over to Charlene’s for a lesson, and boy was it awesome.  We did some grid work, starting with a cross rail, one stride to a vertical. Charlene moved the vertical up to about 3ft.  After working with the one stride for a while, we added the next part of the grid on, two strides to (at first) another 3ft vertical. This vertical soon became a 3ft ish square oxer. After accomplishing that with no problem, the oxer got moved up. We ended that exercise with the oxer being about 3’3, maybe a bit bigger, very wide, and very rampy. Willard was awesome! He drifted left a bit the first few times, but we fixed that by adding a guide rail on either side of the big oxer. It felt so good to be jumping big jumps! I can’t wait for beach party in a couple weeks!

To improve Will’s jump over verticals, Charlene took the front rail off the big oxer at the end of the grid, but left the ground lines far out in front. This forced Will to leave the ground earlier and get a nice arc over the vertical. Will was loving it. He has so much scope, it’d be cool to see how high he can really go!

We also worked on a four stride line, and a single diagonal oxer and vertical. He was great to all of these too. No stops this lesson, not even any hesitation. All trust, and all awesome. It’s great to feel things coming together, finally.


Summer Smiles

The show this weekend went MUCH better then the Victoria Day show!

Firstly cause we got schooling rounds this time on Friday night. He was a tad bit fresh, but by the end of our warm ups he was galloping around on a nice stride, very relaxed.

Saturday we competed in 2’9 Jr Amateur and our Sr. Low division. Our 2’9 round was under paced, but smooth. We added in all the lines, but both myself and Charlene were okay with that. Our first 3ft round was very lazy. We got around the course, but even more under paced then our first round. It was still smooth, and not brutal looking. Our second round, the handy round, was very good. We had one rail, but almost everyone in the class knocked that jump over. It was a large white single vertical coming out of a corner. Both Mike and Charlene said it was much to vertical for a hunter course, and that’s why everyone knocked it. Willie had so much fun with all the turns in this course.

Sr. Low 3ft Handy Hunter










I can really feel that my equitation is improving, because my lower leg muscles were very sore after this weekend. And I was much more stable in the tack, my upper body and core stayed straight and in the correct position the whole time, and I didn’t fall too far forward with my shoulders.

Sunday’s classes went even better than Saturday. My 2’9 handy hunter was good, I added in all the lines, but it was even smoother and Will handled the complex handy course with no problems! Our Open Low Hunter course went alright, but he was quite lazy and we added. Our Open Handy course was awesome. We got all the lines, and he jumped super cute! Charlene was very impressed, and only had good things to say when I came out of the ring. That was really encouraging! I can’t wait till Beach Party in a few weeks to see if his stride gets nicer on the sand, because I think it will!

One year.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how much things have changed in the past year.

One year ago I was finishing high school, and so concerned with the fact that I was graduating in 2 weeks. I couldn’t see how I would ever stop missing high school, and all I could think about was how life without high school sports and everything else I knew so well could possibly be any good. The craziest thing I’d done was enter the Miss Manitoba pageant as a joke, and although I had plans to move to New Zealand at this point, they seemed so far off and unorganized that all they really were a daydream. I was just starting with Charlene as a coach, and was naive enough to think that I’d be able to stay in shape by just riding and working.  I had problems with my back, but I didn’t see how it related to my fitness level, hips, or how much this would change by the end of July 2010.  Moving to the city from my small town home seemed like such a big change, and I couldn’t see how I’d ever get used to it or even like it. I relied heavily on my friend’s opinions and support and held the belief that I was confident in myself and my abilities. I liked to tell myself that I didn’t care what others thought or said of me, but really, I did. A lot. I hated being alone in any situation, and always felt left out in some way. I was a bit of a pessimist, to say the least.

Over the past 12 months, almost every thing in the above paragraph has changed, plus some.

The first 3-4 months living in the city and going to University was a big change. I despised the city, and the noise, and was bored with my classes. I decided to help asst. coach my high school varsity team, both for the experience and because most of my close friends from school still played on it. This is where I first started learning the difference between high school life and real life. I’m not going to say I did a lot of coaching, because really, I didn’t. I like to think I helped some of the girls with different things throughout the season, on or off the court.  I’m very glad I did this, because the things I learnt in the process of dealing with everything that went along with the basketball season from the perspective of the bench and the coach’s eye are lessons that will help me in the future. I think this also helped me move on from high school, and hs sports.  I still love team sports, and look forward to joining rec teams once I move home- but I can see now how much the teams I played on in high school helped me transition into who I’m supposed to be. That’s what they’re there for, a stepping stone to something bigger and better.

Asst Coach 1 and 2

Second semester brought new things for me. I started actually enjoying school, and a started going to the gym (and I started AT for the injuries that had resurfaced with a vengeance). By the time finals rolled around, and Winter Fair, I was starting to rely more on myself for things and less on others. I was also starting to gain more confidence in who I was and who I wanted to be. I credit a lot of this to my coaches, my profs, and my volunteer work at Kaayikayow. By the end of my placement time working with the adult education centre, I had designed a fitness plan and discovered how much I really enjoyed working with people who wanted to better themselves. I also saw the difference I could make in somebody’s life just by being there for them to ask a question, or even just chat for a few minutes. Seeing the gratitude you get from even the smallest thing you help with can really open your eyes to new possibilities. By this point in the year I’d also started seriously planning my NZ trip, found my dream job, and the day dreaming had gotten slightly more real. Only slightly.

As I moved back to Carman and started resettling I thought I would love it here again and I would get to see all my old hs friends, etc etc. While I did get to see some people more, it wasn’t the same. My life had changed so much. Has changed. I miss living away from home, where I don’t know everybody and everybody doesn’t know me. I want something more then my life right now, and I’m ready to take that big leap. High School, which was once the greatest thing in my life, is now just a good memory and something that got me where I needed to be.  But I don’t miss it. And I don’t find myself longing to be back. Actually, kind of the opposite. And, because of this, I’m much more committed to the things in my life that I seriously care about. Like riding, my health, and my future. I can see myself being a teacher and hopefully inspiring even just one person to follow their own dreams, like my teachers helped me do.  I can see myself doing whatever I want to do in life, because I know that with hard work and determination anything can happen.

Moving across the planet is exactly what I need right now. I’m completely ready for that change.  I feel that being away from everything I’ve known for so long and having to make my own way will help me further my understanding of who I am as a person, and who I can be. It’s time for me to take the next step in my life, and see what’s out there to discover. While I’m SO excited for New Zealand, and scheming for what is sure to be an awesome summer job the summer following my return (more to come on that one), I also feel ready to return to school next fall and get my degree(s) finished. I miss school already, and I can’t wait to get back into it.

To conclude, I’m the same girl I was a year ago.. except completely different and changed. For the better. I wouldn’t change one thing I’ve experienced this year, not one. Each and every experience has taught me something, and I’m so grateful for all of those little lessons. Good or bad.

In other news, 89 days!!


Da dum, da dum.

Long time no post, eh?

I worked with Charlene all weekend. My Saturday lesson went very well. Mom brought Monty up and hacked over from Bluebear with me.  I galloped for about 3/4 of a mile with Willard, and he was hardly even puffing. It’s nice to have a superbly fit horse sometimes! Since we did most of our warm up hacking over, Charlene just had us to some basic warm up and then we got right into jumping work.  We did a two stride exercise consisting of a pole to a gate vertical.  This exercise really helped us establish our pace and enabled us to see the distance every time coming to the gate. Then we galloped to a wall off the diagonal going away from home after the two stride gate. He backed off the first time, but I rode him forward and he jumped it after his moment of hesitation. We then continued onto a log vertical off the other diagonal, which he also handled well.

Then it was time for line work. We started with a small oxer in going away, with four strides to a pole out. Then built up to a vertical out.  Charlene made up a plan for me.  If I got in deep to the oxer in, I was to quietly sit and hold his stride and wait for the 5 strides out. If I got a medium distance in, I relaxed my hold and let him open his stride a little. If I got a long distance I didn’t touch him. Throughout the exercise, I don’t think we had one ugly distance in or out. I credit this to the first exercise we did, because our pace was superb the whole lesson. After working this exercise for a while, we moved onto the single wall jump, this time going the other way.  Facing home the wall was white with white poles on top, about 3ft. White jumps look more impressive to horses.  Willard decided to drift out and away from the jump the first time, and the second time (which he had no reason to do). The second time, however, I caught him and he got a good smack.  After this he was happy to jump over the scary white wall.

Our lesson today was probably the single best lesson I’ve had to date. We worked on much of the same exercises as Saturday, except the jumps were a hole or two bigger. The boy went to every single jump perfectly the first time, and continued this trend.  We had our pace, and I was able to see every distance and make good decisions in the line and throughout the course. Usually my lessons run and hour and a half, this lesson however lasted 30 minutes. The only way I can describe how things felt is perfect. Just perfect. Hopefully we can carry this on to the show next weekend! That’d be fantastic, and it’d certainly make up for the last show.

Lesson Night!

We trailered over to Charlene and Mike’s tonight for a lesson, and boy was it a good one! We started off with some flat work, as usual, working on Will’s frame and roundness. I was amazed at how well my back could move, and how well I could actually sit the trot! Maybe it’s the chiropractor’s work, or maybe my sub conscious took in a lot of info on monday night. Whatever it is, I’m loving it. After we got him going around nice and supple and bending off my aids, we moved onto some grid work. After a few warm up rounds, Charlene added another level.. No hands. It was probably one of the most amazing things I’ve felt in a while, and also the scariest. Definitely requires you to have trust in your horse, and your coach. It also helped me to soften my release over following fences, and get a feel for how he rounds and jumps nice when he has a good release. Day by day we’re turning my boy into a nicer horse.


After the hands free grid work, we started jumping other fences. The first was a single oxer off the diagonal with boxes and flowers. We got over the first time, with some hesitation, but over all pretty good. After that the good jumps just kept coming. We found all the distances!

The next jump we worked on was a single vertical off the other diagonal, it was wide with lots of boxes and flowers in front. Will really shouldn’t have had any problem with it, as he’s seen jumps worse than this many times, but of course he had to stop and have a little freak out. We got over it the next time, and after jumping it a few times and raising it, he was flying over it pretty as could be.

The we started to work on a 4 stride line. At first we just jumped the first jump and turned out of the line, so we could concentrate on getting the right distance into the line every time- meaning a better chance of getting a good distance and striding out of the line later on. We were able to find our pace quite well tonight, so finding the distances was much easier. When we started working on the complete line, Charlene told me to just gallop down and push for the 4 strides, and to do whatever it takes to get the distance, no matter how ugly. So that’s precisely what we did. The first few times it definitely wasn’t pretty, and we definitely didn’t get 4 strides. It didn’t help that the tard was looking at the flowers.. again. After we got over that issue, it got a little bit easier to get 4 strides. I was still pressing him, but by the last time through I felt as though I’d be able to smooth it out without him chipping or hesitating. Charlene said that next time we would work on exactly that, smoothing it out and making it look show ready. This was a good lesson to follow up the show I had. I’ve got some of my confidence back, and so does he.

I really noticed a difference tonight in my riding, which is encouraging. My lower leg was better, my back didn’t hurt. Except for after a few quick stops and spins we had. My ankle is still a little jammed, but that’s no biggie. My hip/ass muscles are still not happy at all, but, one day at a time. Riding without pain is a whole new world, and I’m liking it. Now just have to rid myself of pain in all other aspects too and we’ll be golden. I was also impressed that I was able to ride as well as I did tonight after biking 9 miles yesterday and doing a pretty decent work out afterwards. It sure feels good to be working out again, hopefully this keeps working and I can stay consistent and build some solid core strength, which is super important for me.