Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Second-to-Last Post, & New Beginnings

I've worded and reworded this post a hundred times, and still haven't figured out how to say everything that I want to say in a short and concise post, whilst still doing it justice. I've grown incredibly attached to this little Blogger space and will be sad to move on, but I am moving on. To bigger and better things, or so I hope. I'm making the shift to!

A lot has changed for me over the last couple of months or so, and I'll explain these changes in more detail at a later date. Everything is exciting again, and I've finally identified and overcome so many mental barriers that I didn't even know existed. Sports psychology has helped me more than I could say, but I'll try to say it all - over at Wordpress.

It's a long and technical process, trying to shift all my old posts over to the new site. I've 'rebranded' so to speak, and you can now find me under 'Bay Horse Eventing'.
Oh and guess what?! .. we're going eventing again this side of the season!! Mum, being the holder of the purse strings, has given me the go ahead for float repairs!

I'll be back with more in a fortnight, over at There'll be an international giveaway to kick things off and in the meantime I'll be riding hard and reading everyone else's blogs. I just need a week or so to get to grips with Wordpress and get the design just how I want it.

Hope you guys stay tuned for my next post - which will be the last post - where I'll link up the giveaway and new site.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Sweet Spot

Today's post brought to you by Cutie McCuteface, and his big doe eyes.

Today's short post is actually brought to you by me, and I'm not that cute. But I can create a blog post a hell of a lot better than Cute-face up there. If the keyboard remained intact long enough for him to paw out some words, he'd probably say something like "giz me dat cranberry OSM bar now plz mom" and that would be all. The boy takes after his mama and is a big fan of the OSM - cranberry to be precise, though he won't turn down the other flavours in a hurry. 

I digress.. what I actually wanted to share today was a little revelation that occurred to me during my ride some time last week. We've had a great winter on the whole, and I was almost beginning to take the intermittent warm spells during the day for granted, but this day was particularly cold - my grandma would have said it was bitter.

We were moseying around the arena, going through the w/t/c motions and I was focusing on riding squares instead of circles, and trying to psych myself into preparing for some serious schooling. Because we had a lesson the next day and I knew we'd be tested on our 'homework'.

No matter how much I wanted to, I just couldn't gather myself together to slog it out for forty minutes trying to perfect our shoulder in on the circle. You can't beat a dead horse so instead I opted to just brush over a few things quickly and save our legs for another day.

What a smart move that was. I asked for a couple of strides of leg yield, was unsatisfied with what Oscar offered me so told him to give me more, was then satisfied and let him have a quick stretch on a loose rein before tackling the shoulder in. That exercise was much the same, first request produced less than satisfactory results and so when I insisted he try a little harder, he obliged and earned a tonne of neck rubs.

Moving on when I was satisfied that he'd shown some effort proved to be a great move as he then put effort in from the get go on the other rein, and that got me thinking. I'm so focused on getting things perfect so that we can move forward come lesson time, that I wasn't really rewarding Oscar enough for his efforts. And effort is important, it's something you want to encourage and even train into your horse so that you can continue to move forward... long after that tricky movement is behind you. What good is an excellent shoulder in if my horse no longer finds training fun?

And so I promised to myself that I'll always try to find that "sweet spot" going forwards in our training; where the work is challenging but never difficult. I'll save the difficult and hard rides for lesson time, when there's another set of eyes and someone with knowledge and experience to help make the difficult stuff easier. I have no interest in making things hard to the point where my horse doesn't want to even try anymore. That's no fun for anybody.

Of course, I don't want to make things too easy either. The trick seems to be finding that sweet spot where you're improving, but at a rate that's comfortable for both parties. I still like to see that Oscar got the blood pumping, without heading back to the cross ties lathered in sweat.

Monday, August 1, 2016

'Happy Birthdays' All Round!

I've been feeling a bit unmotivated to saddle up lately which, to be honest, isn't all that unusual for me at this time of year - I may be half guilty of being a fair weather rider unless we have a lesson or a show. In saying that, there's a polework and jumping clinic on this weekend and Oscar and I will be taking part in two lessons there which is exciting. We'll have to book in for a dressage lesson soon before people forget I'm pretty much all about the flatwork haha.

Happy 'Official' Birthday Oscar Bear!

However, today is a special day where we don't really want to talk about being unmotivated! Today in New Zealand (and all other southern hemisphere countries) our beloved horses turn a year older! August 1st marks a new equestrian year, and a fresh season to plan for.

I've been a busy bee working on this season's goals but that's a post in itself. Instead, Oscar hinted at what he'd like for his birthday in honour of the occasion...

1. Sunshine, and a big grassy field with some shady trees.

All of the apples.

I would love to have shared an extensive wishlist including Animo breeches, Devouceux halters and at least seven new rugs, but in reality my little bay horse is just all about the simple life. Give him an enormous field and plenty of apples and the horse is happy as can be. At least he's low maintenance?

Unfortunately for him, his real birthday isn't until the 14th and Spring is a little bit after that... but he'll get an extra dipper of feed tonight just because! Happy birthday horses, ponies, donkeys and mules!