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Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.

We continue on working on balance, not spooking at the mounting block, and working on stretchy trot. Some things are better and others are still very much a work in progress. Regardless, we march forward. I decided it was time to head out to the lovely barn my coach has her horses at for a lesson. With some shows coming up, we needed to brave a new facility.

Turns out, spoiler alert, he’s growing up. At least a little bit.

I think I’m looking at him surprised at how chill he is. Even the horse lunging was not exciting.

The thing about lessons, is that lessons are designed to push you. If you are not pushed a bit, you do not grow. while I do not always appreciate the uncomfortable feelings this creates, I enjoy the process and the improvement. I do tend to ask questions, but I’m on my own most rides, I often need to make sure I’m still on the yellow brick road headed for the emerald city and not taking a massive detour.

My coach has the patience of a saint. it’s fitting I bought a horse named Maverick considering going along with the crowd has never been my thing. That said, I can conform to the rules required of me quite well, it’s more the societal rules I tend to shirk from.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully vaccinated, support the choices made by our government and listen to science. It’s more I don’t care that I’m short and round and work on a budget. Or that my horse was imported from Alberta, not Europe. I like to think that maybe there’s someone out there reading this who can look at us and realize they can do it too.

When I was at university my mom gave me a quote about how persistence, perseverance and hard work wins over raw talent. It stuck with me, I base my life on it and so far it has worked out well. You can achieve dreams with a solid plan, hard work and perseverance.

Back to lesson. Today you are graced with more modern 80’s music and some sound effects. Turn sound off if you are annoyed by pop music or fun sounds. Turn it up if you want to hear 20 seconds of a Morrissey song recorded in this decade.

My coach is amazingly patient. Just like the above rambling, I like to go off topic, to move on before other things are great and to need to be reminded of the same things regularly. She is amazing and I’m so grateful to have her in my corner. We ran through first level test 3. It was underpowered. Which of course did not occur to me at the time. I have only ridden through it a couple of times. I now have 4 rides to figure it out before subjecting a judge to it.

That said, with some excellent coaching, our leg yield left improved. forward, forward, forward. But not running. Just forward sounds easy. Forward without rushing on a Mav, not as easy as it sounds.

Our canter shallow serpentine thing was not too bad. Whatever this weird thing is at first level, I’m not a major fan. Mav thinks it’s a change now. Which is basically my fault for starting changes. But hey, a maverick does things their own way right? And it took me literally years to get the changes on Miss H so I figured I should start early. Also spoiler, he’s pretty good at them already. Well on one side is good. I need not have worried. Really.

The change to lead through trot is still there even with changes started! Win!

My favourite part was the stretch. This is not the stretch in the run-through. This was the coached, try again stretch after already trying a few times. Regardless, it worked! I nearly left coach voice in this one, but alas I did not. Mostly because I’m assuming you are enjoying hearing the same 20 seconds of “Once I Saw the River Clean”.

I am enjoying slowly getting more out of him. He still loses his balance and tanks on the forehand if I do not manage that, but overall, the rushing is getting less and the outbursts are now few and far between.

This was supposed to be lengthen canter. If feels massive. It looks, well, it looks like a working canter 🤦‍♀️. A nice one tho! Clearly (as Amazing Coach keeps saying), I need to ride the canter bigger. This video is proof. Although then the actual lengthen canter is going to feel like I’m galloping on a racetrack. I will have to buck up and accept that. Straight sound effects on this one.

In all, I’m so proud of how he handled the new place. 100% chill in the x-ties and in the ring. He did not flinch at the horse in the mirror. I love the mirrors. The mirrors are so incredibly helpful!

He went to work and while he was nervous at the far end, you can’t really see it in the videos.

I pulled an early video, where I needed help from Excellent Ground Crew Member to go at all, to get an idea of where we came from. This is just over a year and a half ago.

A week later, we had a show scheduled, I did my first solo trip for a lesson the day before. It went great!

The morning of the show my body gave out. I landed in hospital with a kidney stone. I do not recommend kidney stones. Not a pleasant experience in any way and it has led to a round of further testing and Dr visits. I am sure there will probably be more on this later.

I do too much. I’m not 20 anymore. I also have a big show in 10 days. I'm resting as much as possible right now to regain strength. Now, just getting to the show will be a win! That does kind of take off the pressure. Be kind to yourself and others. You never know what people are dealing with that you can not see.

In a short couple of hours, life can throw you a curve ball. Look after yourselves and when you tell yourself, and others tell you, that you are doing too much? Listen to everyone. Slow the F down before your body decides to do it for you.


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