Tuesday, August 12, 2008

McKinna Update

Just thought I'd let you all know how McKinna is doing!

She seems to have settled in perfectly fine at the new barn. She's out in a herd of about 8 other mares, and as far as I can tell has landed quite comfortably in the middle of the pecking order. She defers to a pretty chestnut mare and an older bay, but she runs off the two grumpy little ponies and appears to be friends with both the chestnut and with the Shire cross I mentioned earlier. We bring her in once during the day for a little hay and her grass pellets/supplements, then back out she goes!

The arena appears to have lovely footing, and it's both well-maintained and quite a bit bigger than the previous indoor. I'm very excited to ride in it, because I feel that McKinna's at a point now where the bigger the arena is, the better -- it is time for some serious cantering work, and I like the way she relaxes and unwinds in bigger spaces. That means lots of riding in fields, if it's still nice enough weather by the time I'm healed up.

They have a beautiful all-weather round pen that I am itching to use for some ground work. It's the ideal place for me to work with McKinna while I'm still all laid up, so I can play with things like coming when called and such.

I've mentioned the neighbor-friends I met at the eventing camp I went to, and I can't wait to start riding with them too. The atmosphere at the new barn is friendly and responsible, they're cranking out improvements on the barn (seeing the new lovely stalls go up in place of the old broken-down ones is like magic!), and overall it just feels like a really good fit.

My mom rode McKinna the other night and said she did pretty well. That was her first time being ridden in the new arena. Mom and I also headed out last night and I gave her a lesson, which was quite fun! I really need to keep McKinna in shape, because she was just starting to get nicely fit when I broke myself. In a week or so I should be able to longe her without causing undue harm to myself, so I will start doing that.

Okay, so I confess: I rode last night.

I know, I'm terrible.

I'm not very experienced at giving lessons, and it's very hard for me to translate what I'm seeing McKinna do into what my mom is feeling and thus what she should do. It was driving me crazy. So I hopped on, no stirrups, and just walked her around a bit to get a feel for how she was going.

Pony did very well -- I'm actually really pleased by her walk. She was really willing to keep a nice contact with me, more so than she ever has before, and she moved nicely off my legs, even though it was a bit awkward on the one side with my cast. In any case, it helped me get a feel for what was going on, and the rest of the lesson went really smoothly. Mom got some really nice trotting circles out of her. Yay Mom!

Hope your riding adventures are going well in the absence of anything worthwhile on my end of the deal! I promise I won't ride much, but I just don't think I'll be able to help myself sometimes. I'll be good and not do any trotting, yet ;)


mugwump said...

So you shouldn't ride, but how can you not?
Maybe go on calls with a vet or chiro, sit in on lessons with a good instructor....
be cranky and crabby and yell at everybody...
that's the stuff I've done while laid up.

ORSunshine said...

Well Many, (and I'm going to just call you "Many" even though I know your real name thanks to our mutual OHSET leader person-friend and Charlie's previous owner), I can tell you from experience (I'm 32), that it's important to make sure you take care of yourself now or your body will complain at you later.

I'm not riding at the moment. I've just started Charlie's fat camp workouts. Right now we're focusing on a fat burning trot to get his weight down. He gets longed every other day until he's sweaty, then on his off days, he's giving my almost 14 yr old daughter lessons bareback. We're working on her balance. I've given lessons to little kids and peers when I was younger, but never someone older. However, since she's your mom and already understands you, you get to cut some corners on having absolute clear descriptions. May I suggest giving her a detailed description as if you were on McKinna? Describe to her how something feels. (Maybe practice this when not in a lesson to see if she is understanding you). Describe it in a way as though you've got your eyes closed and you're describing what you're doing to signal to McKinna "X" AND what you're feeling from McKinna while doing so.

I'm not sure I'm making sense. If not, let me know. ;)

ORSunshine said...

I should add to the end of the 2nd paragraph:

Describe as though your eyes are closed and you're reviewing every minute detail and motion. What's McKinna doing? What are you doing? What does it feel like when McKinna does "X" motion?


manymisadventures said...

At least I'm not putting any pressure on the ankle -- it's just getting jostled around a little, but that's all. The saddle made it difficult, I will have to go bareback next time.

Sunshine -- I appreciate the idea (and that's actually what I try to do: describe exactly what it should feel like), but my problem is more knowing exactly what she needs to do, if that makes sense. I know how to tell her to do something, but I don't know what to tell her to do because I can't feel what McKinna is doing simply by looking at her.

Maybe an example would make it clearer.

McKinna is resisting me by drifting to the outside and ignoring my outside rein, thus bending to the outside. As I'm riding, I will automatically resist more with my outside rein when she ignores it, hold her to the circle with my outside leg, and make her bend with my inside leg. When I see my mom up there, all I see is that McKinna's started falling on her forehand around the corners, BECAUSE she is counterbent and drifting, see? I'm learning to recognize what must be done to fix the problems, but it's definitely a new experience. Mom and I have talked about videotaping her rides (and me riding at the walk) so we can each see what one or the other is feeling.

Mugs, I've actually thought quite a bit about watching instructors teach, although I thought about it mainly to help me fix the visualization problem I talked about. My college's equestrian team is affiliated with a local jumper barn and we get 25% off lessons, so once the season starts I am giving some consideration to asking some trainers if I can stand with them quietly while they teach. If I find trainers I want to emulate.

manymisadventures said...

Er, that last bit didn't make much sense.

25% off lessons, therefore I will try to take some lessons, and then if I find an instructor I like, I'd ask to audit.

That works better.

Leah Fry said...

Or, you come and visit me and give me some lessons, show me what the heck you were talking about in the RP!

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