I look back at this footage from mid-January with awe and sadness. I haven't ridden in nearly two weeks. What happened? Well, I was skiing in some heavy powder on a steep mogul run. I went to turn left but my ski was buried in the snow so didn't move. Pop! The meniscus in my right knee tore. It was very painful and I could not weight bear for several days. Now I am hobbling around the house and I hope to be driving soon. I don't know when my knee will be strong enough to ride...
In this lesson we worked on controlling the canter speed in between jumps with a intermittent half halts. Not too hard so that Toby would transition to trot but just enough to package the canter in time for the next jump. We worked on simple changes to get the correct lead after a jump. Toby is still green so he often picks the wrong lead on the landing. I am still green too, so I need to work on putting my weight on the outside stirrup to help him. We also worked on steering. You will see we make a tight left hand turn to go over the last jump. I would use the outside rein and relax, outside rein and relax. This helped achieve accuracy in the turn. All this would not be possible without my amazing coach.
Three jumps in a row with one stride in-between them is called a bounce. It is very good for riders to work on their body position. With three jumps in a row it is very important to have proper form. For me I have to think about keeping my shoulders away from the horse's neck, heels down, legs by the girth and giving with my elbows on the landing. The horse has to be very snappy with his feet. So he has to be quick about jumping and landing. It is demanding physical exercise so it helps build strength.
I had a super fun jump lesson with Teddy today. We have been working on his canter and making him more responsive to aids over the last few weeks. As he is a big, wide horse who is a little lazy, it can be a lot of work to ride him. We are teaching him the basic game of stop and go. As he is heavy on the forehand it is challenging for him to have a naturally balanced canter. He is learning really quickly as we are noticing how is easier for him to jump into the canter and sustain it. Overall, he feels much lighter. Here is a video clip of us taking a tight turn in the canter, which has to be balanced in order to make the turn, then going over a skinny fence and an oxer jump. I have my brilliant coach to thank for all the progress we have made so far.
In mid-November I flew to the Edmonton Shambhala Centre to participate in the Rigden Week-end. This is the sixth week-end of intensive meditation combined with the Shambhala teachings. We had an amazing teacher, Acharya Susan Chapman. What I really loved about completing this level is that we learned to manifest our vision for the world. I am fortunate to be doing this already as an Animal Communicator. But there is still work to be done. I am deeply troubled by the massive crimes committed daily to other sentient beings and the environment. If I had unlimited resources I would abolish the Industrialized Agriculture System and replace it with small hobby farms. I know this is a lofty dream as there are billions of people on the planet to feed. One promising trend is the rise of veganism and the products that are being developed to mimic meat although completely plant based (ie. Tofurky)
A very helpful meditation technique we learned is Raising Windhorse. It is a quick and abrupt practice. One is to be present, then touch in with one's heart and be genuine, and then radiate what is in your heart. I love this concept of radiating as it a tool to help bring positive change to those surrounding us. I feel like I am making the world a better place, even though it is on a small scale, which is deeply moving and rewarding.
I am pictured here with the Acharya receiving my name: Brilliant Moon of Goodness.
I've been having a lot of fun jumping Toby over the last few weeks. Now that the weather has changed we have been working in the indoor arena. He is an absolute angel in there! There are no distractions so he stays focused on me and does everything I ask with a sweet willing attitude. In this video clip he shows a balanced well paced canter and nice jumping form over two cross rails.
All horses are bent a little to the left or a little to the right. They spend 23 hours a day in positions that is likely crooked but comfortable and familiar to them. When we ride them it is our job to straighten their bodies and encourage them to be using their core.
My horse Toby is shaped like a banana to the right. He does not like bending to the left. So when we do dressage I have to ride with extra awareness about my left side. He also has a slight weakness on his left hind. I over compensate by raising my left shoulder and giving with my left elbow. However, it is very important that I straighten my own body so he can be straighter. I really have to work hard to anchor my left elbow because slowly but surely he starts to pull to the right and after a few circles on the right lead the reins are loopy. You can see in this picture how good he looks collected and how strongly anchored my left elbow is. I'm so thankful I have an amazing coach to guide us through these technical details.
For our group jumping lesson we learned the technical side of adjusting our body position for going up hill and down dale. It's about leaning forward and holding onto mane when going up hill. Lean back and kick your feet forward for going down dale. Ultimately you want to maintain your body position as balanced and upright regardless of what the horses body is doing beneath you.
It has been beautiful weather here in the Kootenays. Fall is my favorite time of year as the intense summer heat fades and the leaves on the trees change dramatically to flaring reds, bright yellows and magnificent oranges. So it is especially fun to be doing cross country jumping.
We had a little paint party last week. The three of us played with our paints in the field doing cross country jumps and practiced going up and down hills. I worked on my "release". My piant, Teddy, has a big strong head and dives down on the landing of the jump. I don't want to get pulled down with him so I started throwing my reins away to allow for slack. However, this is a bad idea because I lose control of steering and breaks. My coach advises to hold on to the reins even if it pulls on his mouth as he will soon learn to bring his head up. So we tried it and his head stayed more level. Learning while having fun with horses is truly the best!
My daughter and I had a great week-end with the boys. We hauled the horses to the riding club for a Pony Club week-end with a wonderful clinician who came from Kelowna. Teddy was awesome with my daughter. It is amazing to see her trotting around the arena with him. He is a Clydesdale/Paint cross, so even though he is big, he very gentle and kind (most of the time). I also brought my 5 year old Welsh cross so he could gain experience from going to new places. He was very calm. For our first ride in the arena he was a little distracted but after about 10 minutes of working on transitions he started listening and being very obedient. My daughter and I even went on our first trail ride together with two other young girls. Horses are magic!
I have been a Professional Animal Communicator since January 2016. I have been an animal lover and admirer for a very, very long time.