Sunday, January 1, 2012

Back in the Groove?

Happy New Year, everyone! I actually went to a party last night, like a real college student and everything. I sipped my cinnamon whiskey, joined in the pull-up contest (sadly the ladies did lose, with a combined total of 17 to the boys' 45...the perils of hanging out with mostly rock climbers - the women can do pullups, but the men can usually do more!), and had a good time with fun people. 2011 was a great year for me, and I'm looking forward to what 2012 brings. I hope you guys all have a wonderful year as well.

I took a long-overdue dressage lesson with Leslie on Wednesday this week. Actually, it was a bit of an event - another boarder at the barn and my barn owner both took lessons too, so my mom and I came out to watch their lessons and everyone had a good time. We also brought cookies, hot chocolate, and tea, because we love Leslie.

Over the last few weeks, I'd been riding more often. Maybe three times a week, up from the once per week I'd been doing for pretty much the last six months. Still, that's not very much, especially compared to last winter when I was riding five days a week with one or two of those days a lesson. So I was very pleasantly surprised when, at the Leslie lesson, McKinna appeared to have lost nothing over the last six months.

Some lost fitness? Sure, she got tired more easily, so we kept working chunks short and gave her breaks. But everything we worked on in that lesson, from leg yields all the way up through trying some haunches-in at the trot and a walk-canter transition, felt beautiful. Like we never left off of training. Seriously, this horse blows me away all the time.

So we're just going to keep on trucking. I'm feeling encouraged about regaining our fitness and building back up to improving our training once more. Lately I have really been enjoying focusing on the walk, encouraging McKinna to really use herself properly, doing lots of suppling through lateral work. The fun has come back for me in the mental engagement part of riding, which is a really nice feeling. I'm feeling like I'm ready to start jumping again...which I'm pretty sure we haven't done more than maybe once since June.

Went out to the barn to say hi and longe her a bit yesterday. She is cheerful as can be. Furry as all get-out, of course, though maybe not for long. I gave her a little strip-clip on her chest and neck before the Leslie lesson, and it helped, but I think it's going to have to get expanded. Another lesson is on the schedule for next week, and a Pony Club clinic over the weekend. Maybe I really am getting back into the groove.

New year, new goals? Not really, at least not in the formal sense. It pains my inner goal-setter to even say that, but still. I'd love to go Training at Inavale this year, but if I find myself unable to put in the time and work to do it well, I'll be happy to go Novice again. I'd be thrilled if I could compete at more than one event, but since I'll be traveling to events specifically to do data collection for my thesis, I'm not sure if it'll happen. Mostly I just want McKinna to continue being the happiest and most wonderful horse around, and I want to keep enjoying my time out at the barn with her in whatever way that happens.
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