Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday Journal

Hello again! I can't believe it, but I only have 3 days left here. 3. I'll have another week in Germany for traveling that's true, but its actually hard to look forward to that when I know I'll be leaving this place. It's my home in Germany now! Part of me wishes I had another month to spend here riding and training, I feel that I could become and incredible rider in such a short time if I spent it here. There's also the part that misses my family and friends back home, not to mention my puppy! I've learned so much since I've been here, and I'll just have to find a way to continue my education at home, though I currently do not know of a horse that I'll be able to ride for such training... Guess I'll just have to revisit buying Noah haha.
Now that I've gotten all the sappiness out of my system, I guess I'll tell you about my day.
As always it started at 6:30am, I rode in my first lesson at 9:30 with someone filling in for Gabi (I can't remember her name, eek!). She was really nice, and really consistent with what Gabi is already working on with me. She actually gave me a couple new exercises to work on my position. I've always seen movement awareness/seat/position training with the Eckart Meyners system as an alternative way of training riders, and have had my doubts just because it looks a little silly sometimes. Though I've had my doubts, the 'personal trainer'/fitness junkie in me has wanted to try it out and see if it helps. All I can say (I know I'm getting repetitive) is HOLY COW. There have been a couple exercises (they're kind of too difficult to explain on here) that have really made a difference. I'll attempt to explain my favorite so far, it helps with cross coordination. What you do is take a pool noodle and place it in 5 different positions while you're laying on your back, you start with the noodle under your neck, then under your shoulders, your upper/middle back, lower back, and butt. With the noodle at each of these positions, you lay on your back (duh) with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground, then you rotate your head and knees in opposite directions, fluidly, bringing your knees all the way to the ground. You keep moving your head and knees back and forth in opposite directions 10 times, then you move the noodle to the next position. After this exercise, I got back on Pingu and felt like every miniscule movement I made was deliberate. I was completely relaxed and loose, but at the same time in total control of my body. Granted that feeling was gone by today, but at least I know the exercise I need to use to feel that way again!
My first ride was on Le Marquis, and though I had some good moments especially with the new exercises I learned, I had a few really frustrating ones too. There are two students in my class (I won't name names) that are completely unaware of where they're going. Now, to be fair, it is occasionally difficult to predict the future movements of other rider-horse pairs, and I've had a few close calls myself, but for the most part I try to be observant and courteous of the other riders in the arena. The vast majority of the people I'm riding with have certain "tells" that hint to others when they're going to turn, when they're going straight, leg-yielding, etc. These two have no tells, and are prone to circling randomly and stopping right where you were planning on going. One particularly frustrating moment was when the instructor asked me to do a trot circle then a canter circle after doing an exercise to see how it worked. My trot circle consisted of trying to dodge and maneuver my circle around other riders, so it was slightly tense, then my canter circle ended about halfway when I was cutoff by a rider transitioning to the walk directly in my path. Le Marquis went from a nice round canter, to a halt that would make even the most inexperienced rider cringe, to avoid hitting the other horse. Ugh. That was just one moment though, amidst a ride full of good ones, so I'll choose to look at the silver lining.
Ok, vent session is over now, thank you for listening... or reading rather.
My afternoon ride was on Little Lupo and outside! :) For a 5 year old that's only been under saddle a year, he's sooooo easy! This time Marvin rode Monty Python with our group, so he got to watch me and Lupo a bit. (No pressure right?) Luckily, once Lupo got over all the "new" bushes and jumps and other things around the barn that have been there for years, the ride went extremely well. He's great for my confidence, and is always fun to ride. Marvin was really nice about how my ride went on Lupo, which means a lot to me since Marvin is the one who primarily rides and trains Lupo. After this morning's slightly frustrating ride, it felt good to get outside and on a horse that the other riders respected enough to keep a little more distance from.
But my rides aren't the real news here. The BIG news is that I'M GOING CROSS COUNTRY TOMORROW!!! For those of you who don't know what that means, it is when you gallop and jump obstacles like downed trees, ditches, and other solid objects out in a field. It is my favorite thing in the world, and I never thought I'd get to do it in Germany, I thought I had to bring my own horse to try it. I don't deserve this vacation, I really don't, but since I'm here, I'm going to act like I do. And I'm going to enjoy and treasure every minute of it.
Believe it or not I still desperately miss all of you.