Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
So I went ahead and ordered the custom helmet cover for my skully. I know, I know -- I shouldn't be all involved in the shallow stuff about eventing; it makes me a silly person; I should be concerned only about the riding and the horse; et cetera. I know all this. And I do work really hard at riding and at working with my horse.
But ... picking colors and helmet covers and saddlepads and splint boots and polos is SO MUCH FUN. :) It's not work. I guess I didn't really get enough time dressing up dollies and Barbies as a kid, because I'm having so much fun with dressing myself and my horse now.
What I've ordered is this: Chevron cover, in royal blue with white chevrons and a white button, royal blue ribbon.
I have a royal blue square AP pad that I've had forever -- why I didn't realize that I don't know. It's clean and shiny now, so I'll use that.
I definitely want a pair of royal blue splint boots, too. Those are cheap and easy, so I don't need to grab them until closer to show time.
The really fun thing now is shirts for me. :) And here's the poll, too. So. I am thinking about two different styles:
1. White polo with royal blue chevrons on the left sleeve (I'll be buying the polo and then applique-ing the chevrons)
2. Royal blue polo with white chevrons on the left sleeve
I'm leaning toward option 1, just so that I won't be the rider who got dumped in a bucket of blue paint, but still be in the blue-and-white-chevrons theme. What do you all think?
Anyway, looking forward to riding tonight. Starting to think seriously about how I can get a Schleese or a County dressage saddle for a good price. I think it starts with "list my Courbette and see how much I can get for it."
Second, I haven't wanted to weigh in "officially" on this debate, just because ... well, for me, there isn't a debate. I recognize that there is one in the greater horse world, though -- or at least there are a variety of choices made by a variety of people out there.
I learned to ride at lesson-type barns, first in Texas at a hunter-jumper barn, then in California at a pony farm and Pony Club, then on and on from there. In every situation I ever rode in, helmets were mandatory, especially for people under 18. So I can't really remember ever riding without a helmet. I've never seen a picture of myself on a horse without a helmet, either. So my background is different from some people's -- I know there are people out there who didn't grow up wearing a helmet. Also, my discipline (if I can call it that at my level) is three-day-eventing, which is big-Big-BIG on safety gear. So that's my background.
When I bought Reveille, one of the first things I did, even before she'd been delivered to me, was go out and buy a new helmet. I figured that I was buying a two-year-old and that there were inevitably going to be some falls, so I should probably be absolutely sure that my helmet was up to taking those falls.
And boy ... did I ever take those falls. Two in particular actually tested my helmet. One wasn't terrible, but I did crack the brim of the Tipperary helmet I had bought when I got Rev. (And my left pinky finger, but that wasn't under my helmet.) I should have replaced it then, but I didn't. Shame on me.
The second fall was much more destructive. The reason I bring it up is because as I was hanging out with the barn folks -- TW, TD, the working student, and the vet -- the subject of this fall came up. I told TD to tell the story, laughing that I wasn't really there and that the working student would get a better idea of it from TD's perspective.
What I didn't count on is how different TD's version of the story is than MINE. I knew I'd hit my head pretty hard when I fell, but I didn't realize exactly how hard I'd hit it.
In my version of the accident, everyone had just left the arena, I got bucked off, I hit my shoulder first (shattering my collarbone), hit my head hard, and then hit my hip hard. I lay for a second or two to sort of take stock of what had happened, managed to get up via my uninjured left side (still alone), Reveille followed me out of the arena, I saw C and told him to get TD, told him I thought I'd broken my collarbone, and then I went into the tack room/office, TD met me there, and the rest is pretty clear.
In TD's version of the accident, everyone had just left the arena, I got bucked off, I hit my shoulder first (shattering my collarbone), hit my head hard, and then hit my hip hard. TD had just finished lunch and was getting up to come back down the steps to the barn. N passed by and saw me laying on the ground, not moving, and she ran to get TD. TD, TW, and N came down, TD came into the arena as I was kind of coming to, asked me if I could get up. I managed to get up using my uninjured side and the wall, C came in and took Rev, we walked toward the tack room/office, and from there the stories match again. I suspect TD's is the correct version of the story.
Seriously, folks, this is weirding me out. A lot. All I can think about it from this vantage point is this:
THANK GOD I WAS WEARING MY HELMET.
I suspect that if I hadn't been wearing it, I suspect that the six weeks of recovery I had from the collarbone repair surgery would have been chump change. I suspect I'd have had a serious head injury.
That, plus the fact that it's a habit by now, just like wearing a seat belt in a car, is why I wear a helmet. That's why I think everyone should wear helmets, every time they get on a horse, regardless of their experience or expertise level.
However. I won't try to force my choice on any other adults. MT and TD don't wear helmets much, I think because they are usually confident in the horses they ride and because they find helmets uncomfortable. Fair enough -- they're both adults, they're professionals, and they know the risks. And TD does usually wear a helmet when she's jumping anyone but her own horses. MT wears a helmet when he's on a particularly crazy horse -- an Irish Sport Horse he had in last summer/fall comes immediately to mind; that horse could launch MT like a rock out of a trebuchet. ANYway ... as I said. They're adults and they're professionals.
I'd still be utterly devastated if either of them had any kind of head injury. They're each one-third of the support of the entire barn ... if you've ever seen a tripod or a three-legged stool with a short leg or a leg missing, you know what happens. Everything falls over.
I'd be horrified as well as devastated if it were my horse that caused the fall that led to the injury. Mortified. I do wish MT would wear a helmet when he rides Rev. Even though she doesn't really buck under saddle any more and hasn't in a long time, she's a horse. Things happen with horses.
At any rate ... my general rules are these:
* I wear a helmet at all times when riding. I've occasionally forgotten or registered my ballcap as something on my head - ergo helmet is already on, but when I realize I forgot, I get off immediately and put my helmet on.
* None of my peers (i.e., no one but MT or TD) are allowed to even sit on my horse without a helmet on.
* If I see a minor riding without a helmet, I'll ask them to put a helmet on or dismount. If the minor won't do it, I'll find someone in charge and see if I can press the issue. If the minor's parent or teacher doesn't care enough to make their kid/student wear a helmet ... well, I've done all I can. Tragedy lurks.
* I'll encourage any peers I ride with to wear a helmet when riding.
* But -- I won't be a helmet nazi. If an adult chooses to not wear a helmet or to not require their kid to wear a helmet, that's their choice ... even if I think it's a stupid one.
What I don't get is WHY anyone wouldn't choose to use all the protection they can get, knowing that all horses are unpredictable sometimes, that accidents happen, and that head injuries are notoriously tricky. Find a comfortable helmet; try lots of kinds on and find the one that's best. Protect your sexy sexy brain, as my boyfriend puts it. :) Your soft, gooey brain. You can't toughen up your brain or your head the way you can the rest of your body. You can't put your brain in a cast. Once is all it takes.
I really believe that high-level and/or high-visibility riders ought to be more conscientious than the rest of us, since they are role models, like it or not. They're teachers by doing. Even the natural horsemanship leaders ought to wear helmets -- awesome communication with the horse doesn't always mean you'll stay on or the horse won't get bit by a snake or stung by a wasp or something. I'd support the USDF and USEF if they were to make a rule saying that everyone at every level must wear a helmet whenever mounted. The idea that dressage riders get marked down for wearing helmets, as if it makes them afraid of their horses, is absolutely ridiculous. This is a tradition that really ought to be broken ... and that statement's coming from a rather traditional person. If anything, riders in helmets ought to be scored better for their responsibility.
People might think that helmets look dorky, but ... honestly, it's easy to overlook, and just consider this: how dorky do you think you'd look in a hospital bed, hooked up to breathing machines, drooling, with a vacant expression on your slack face?
Ounce of prevention, pound of cure. Wear your dang helmet.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
I actually have a pretty good idea of why my canter aids aren't working -- I wasn't getting my inside seatbone in the correct position. I realized this morning that in the lesson I just wasn't doing this one step I'd been doing on my own, and I think that actually did me in.
So the prescription for the next several rides, for me, in addition to rein contact and light, subtle leg aids that don't deaden her to my leg, is going to be 'canter departs, and lots of them.' I know I can do it. I know I can. So I just need to keep practicing, so I can get them immediate and as automatic as the trot departs.
I'm definitely wanting to ride again tonight, but unfortunately, reality intervenes -- I have to work late. Plus, I imagine Rev will be happy to have a day off from the bridle (assuming MT didn't ride her today, which isn't a safe bet at all) after getting her teeth floated -- I know I would be, if there'd been that much vibration in my jaw for that long. Not sore, but probably sensitive. I can take ibuprofen, but she can't, really; I doubt bute is really warranted here. I just feel like it's not all that well tolerated and I don't want to use it for her unless I have to.
Anyway, the other thing that I asked the vet about was her complete hollowness on the left side and her stiff right hind -- she's nowhere near lame, but she just doesn't want to bring that right hind under her. So I wondered if chiropractic care would help her at all. He poked and prodded, and then confirmed my worry ... she's sore under her saddle and through her quarters. He told me to use the P3 unit on her (the equivalent of a TENS machine) for five days, see if that helps her. It probably will help the symptoms, but ... the actual problem, I'm convinced, is my saddle. Sigh. MT's Hennig fits her better than my Courbette does, but it's still not quite right.
I have no idea what kind of saddle she needs ... what I do know is that I can't afford it. :/ Does anyone have a medium-wide, nice saddle they want to give me, outright? *grin*
Anyway, I did get some pictures of my poor girl getting her teeth done. :) This first one reminds me a bit of people I knew in college -- droopy lip, floppy ears, droopy eyelids, and front legs all splayed out to keep her upright. *giggle*
I hated to giggle so hard at the poor girl, but ... it's funny! She's trying so hard to put her ears forward, and she can't quite get it together ...
Monday, March 8, 2010
Starting with the best stuff: So we've been having trouble with our canter departs. And when I say "we," I mean "I." Rev can do prompt, balanced, quiet departs with MT, but with me, all I'd been getting is bouncy faster trots. My fault entirely. On Saturday, when MT rode her, he narrated his canter aids for me briefly. I'm not sure if he knew how much trouble I'd been having, but whatever the case, the narration made the difference. On Sunday, when I rode, I decided that I was going to try what MT had said and then make. it. work. And I'm damned if it didn't!! :D
We had a lovely, rhythmic canter that I felt would go on as long as I wanted it to without her falling out of it. Matterafact, she started to slow down at one point, and I was able to just squeeze and get her to not falter. What's more, I felt like I was riding it correctly! I could feel my hips swinging and my butt stuck to the saddle, and everything was smooth. Bliss!
It was a little harder getting the canter to the right -- everything with us is harder to the right -- but I got it.
And better yet, the person who'd ridden before me had been practicing cantering over ground poles; just two poles at about 5 strides. So ... we had a canter. We had ground poles. We had the inclination to play a little.
WE CANTERED THE GROUND POLES!! :D I know, it sounds like such a simple, easy thing, why would I be excited about it? Well ... yknow, you take your victories where you find them. :) It's the beginning of jumping! She jumped a teeny tiny bit, just basically a little bouncier canter stride, and I was right there with her. No problems. It was SO fun and SO rewarding! I haven't felt that delighted on a horse in a long time. Thinking about it still makes me grin and tear up a little. Yes, I know, I'm overenthusiastic. It feels a lot better than the edge of despair I'd been having, so ... yep, I'll keep it!
I'd also asked MT if it was realistic for me to plan on entering the crossrails class at the next event derby. His daughter (the super-high-level rider and oughta-be-Olympian) said, with some skepticism, "well, has your horse jumped yet?" She has, on the line, but not under saddle. MT made my entire weekend by saying "Well, let's start jumping her!" I asplode with excitement. ;) Seriously. SO FREAKING EXCITED. :) Jumping!!
So -- in other awesome news, it looks like this summer is going to have a lot of great stuff going on at the barn.
- In the first week of April, we'll have the first Test of Choice night. I hope to get our canter departs ready for Training 1.
- The weekend after the TOC night will be the first stadium/cross-country clinic of the season, at home. As long as our jumping is going okay, I am SO THERE. Finally I get to ride in a clinic instead of just audit!
- Lots of little shows starting up in May, and I will probably start out just going with some friends and paying the grounds fee to just ride her around, get her used to the environment. If I'm feeling froggy and up to it, maybe I'll post-enter a class, but ... still. No huge expectations.
- In June, MT, TW, and TD (Their Daughter) will be running a Camp. Two and a half days, two riding sessions a day, educational seminars in between, including how to walk a cross-country course and how to walk a stadium course and then how to ride the courses based on your walk. And more stuff too. This could not be more perfect for me. Heh -- they designed it with the Pony Clubbers and 4-H kids in mind, but I am SO going to join in. My friend Kate might go too, and hopefully Crystal -- we'll be the geezers of the group. :) Super excited about this.
- I think I'll be able to go to the derbies up in Bellevue and other places around here, too. And the Test of Choice nights go on every first Wednesday of every month, and I'm all in for that.
- And so much more. Just ... squee! :D
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
I got mine in silver, because the desert sun can be kind of brutal. I was excited about this version of the helmet because it's got venting, which lots of skullys don't, and because it came with a free schooling cover.
I have to say -- I love it! It fits like a dream, is comfortable to ride in (no hotter than any other helmet), and just overall, it's great. The only drawbacks I see with it are:
* The cover doesn't really fit: it doesn't cover the whole surface of the helmet (see below). It can cover the front all the way and be rucked up several inches in the back, or it can fit over the back and have the brim poking up from somewhere in the vicinity of my hairline. O.o Oh well -- it was free, and it's just for schooling. I'll get a snazzy blue and white event cover and a velvet cover for show. Not, of course, that I'm excited about that prospect, ohhhh nooo ...
* The harness is made of a sort of vinyl material that I can see cracking in the future. We'll see how it holds up.
Other than that, I'm downright chuffed! :)
In other news -- the first Test of Choice night is coming up April 7. I'm sure glad I got Rev into half-training this month. We need it. I'd really like to ride Training 1 this time, since I am beyond tired of Intro A and B. Of course, there are always, always things to improve, even in lower-level tests, and I really should improve certain things ... but I'd like a new challenge, I think. Depending on how our canter departs go, I might be able to ride Training 1 and Intro A -- one for a stretch, one for refining what we've been doing.
Monday, March 1, 2010
I was thinking, in my lesson last Sunday (not yesterday; MT and TW and D are all at an event), about the different types of intelligence. I was trying to explain to MT how it is that I could have been giving overpowered leg aids All This Time, and I'm not sure I was very clear. That said, the types of intelligence are (as commonly accepted):
1. Naturalist Intelligence (“Nature Smart”)
Designates the human ability to discriminate among living things (plants, animals) as well as sensitivity to other features of the natural world (clouds, rock configurations). This ability was clearly of value in our evolutionary past as hunters, gatherers, and farmers; it continues to be central in such roles as botanist or chef. It is also speculated that much of our consumer society exploits the naturalist intelligences, which can be mobilized in the discrimination among cars, sneakers, kinds of makeup, and the like.
2. Musical Intelligence (“Musical Smart”)
Musical intelligence is the capacity to discern pitch, rhythm, timbre, and tone. This intelligence enables us to recognize, create, reproduce, and reflect on music, as demonstrated by composers, conductors, musicians, vocalist, and sensitive listeners. Interestingly, there is often an affective connection between music and the emotions; and mathematical and musical intelligences may share common thinking processes. Young adults with this kind of intelligence are usually singing or drumming to themselves. They are usually quite aware of sounds others may miss.
3. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)
Logical-mathematical intelligence is the ability to calculate, quantify, consider propositions and hypotheses, and carry out complete mathematical operations. It enables us to perceive relationships and connections and to use abstract, symbolic thought; sequential reasoning skills; and inductive and deductive thinking patterns. Logical intelligence is usually well developed in mathematicians, scientists, and detectives. Young adults with lots of logical intelligence are interested in patterns, categories, and relationships. They are drawn to arithmetic problems, strategy games and experiments.
4. Existential Intelligence
Sensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life, why do we die, and how did we get here.
5. Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart”)
Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand and interact effectively with others. It involves effective verbal and nonverbal communication, the ability to note distinctions among others, sensitivity to the moods and temperaments of others, and the ability to entertain multiple perspectives. Teachers, social workers, actors, and politicians all exhibit interpersonal intelligence. Young adults with this kind of intelligence are leaders among their peers, are good at communicating, and seem to understand others’ feelings and motives.
6. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (“Body Smart”)
Bodily kinesthetic intelligence is the capacity to manipulate objects and use a variety of physical skills. This intelligence also involves a sense of timing and the perfection of skills through mind–body union. Athletes, dancers, surgeons, and craftspeople exhibit well-developed bodily kinesthetic intelligence.
7. Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)
Linguistic intelligence is the ability to think in words and to use language to express and appreciate complex meanings. Linguistic intelligence allows us to understand the order and meaning of words and to apply meta-linguistic skills to reflect on our use of language. Linguistic intelligence is the most widely shared human competence and is evident in poets, novelists, journalists, and effective public speakers. Young adults with this kind of intelligence enjoy writing, reading, telling stories or doing crossword puzzles.
8. Intra-personal Intelligence (Self Smart”)
Intra-personal intelligence is the capacity to understand oneself and one’s thoughts and feelings, and to use such knowledge in planning and directioning one’s life. Intra-personal intelligence involves not only an appreciation of the self, but also of the human condition. It is evident in psychologist, spiritual leaders, and philosophers. These young adults may be shy. They are very aware of their own feelings and are self-motivated.
9. Spatial Intelligence (“Picture Smart”)
Spatial intelligence is the ability to think in three dimensions. Core capacities include mental imagery, spatial reasoning, image manipulation, graphic and artistic skills, and an active imagination. Sailors, pilots, sculptors, painters, and architects all exhibit spatial intelligence. Young adults with this kind of intelligence may be fascinated with mazes or jigsaw puzzles, or spend free time drawing or daydreaming.
Now, me? I'm extremely intelligent linguistically and logically/mathematically. (More on the logic than the math, but that's another story.) Secondary are intra-personal and musical intelligences.
What I am absolutely not are: Spatially intelligent or bodily-kinaesthetically intelligent.
It takes a lot for me to learn a physical skill. Once I learn it, I can be quite athletic, but ... it's hard for me to take "okay, now squeeze with your legs" and translate that to "use the inside of your calf muscles and just tap the horse on her side a little, with about a pound of pressure, and then immediately release it." Because I can't actually *see* the pressure when I watch MT ride, I had no way of knowing what he was going for.
However ... after we had the discusson of "Is this how you do your leg aid? No? This? No? THIS? No? Oh god.", MT mentioned a conversation he'd had years ago with a clinician or teacher he'd worked with. The clinician said to MT, "Well, yknow, when you learn to use your leg right, your horses will go great."
So at least I'm not the only one, and at least I know now what I ought to be doing!
We also had some good progress with rhythm -- lifting my hands a bit seems to be hugely helpful. She finds release when stretching her head down and working through her neck in this position, so we'll go with it for a while, until the better position becomes routine.
So -- in other news, I've been tagged! :D onthebit tagged me with this meme:
Write 7 things about yourself and then pass is along to 15 bloggers!
Hm. I don't actually follow 15 blogs here, but you can have 7 things. Here you go:
1) I'm a published author and editor. I've worked for a variety of roleplaying game companies. So if you google me, you'll find a bunch of my books. I'm not entirely sure this counts as being a real author, but hey -- my words are published and translated into a zillion languages.
2) I love the aforementioned roleplaying games. I'm a cheerfully unashamed D&D geek! However, I don't play online games ... no attention span for them, and see above spatial ineptitude. ;) I've tried, and every time it's come down to "ack! Where is that damage coming from! Guys, help, I'm drowning, and I can't find the tunnel you all went down! ACK!"
3) I am a Detroit Red Wings fan. My favorite players on the team are probably Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall, with a fan nod to Justin Abdelkader. Of course, it's impossible to not respect players like Lidstrom, Zetterberg, and Cleary, too.
4) If I had the financial freedom to do so, I'd be a working student forever. I love taking care of horses, even the smelly parts. I love learning from MT and TW, and I'd cheerfully clean stalls from here on out in exchange for lessons and training.
5) I have a probably ill-advised dream of riding a musical freestyle dressage test to Shipping Up to Boston, by the Dropkick Murphys (one of my two or three all-time favorite bands). It's got the right rhythm, and it's so energizing. Why not?! Don't judges and audiences get tired of the same old instrumental, orchestral music? :) Let's bring a little attitude to the arena!
6) Although I enjoy dressage and I recognize why we're doing all the flatwork, all the heavy lifting, now ... I am SO ready to start jumping! Mentally, anyway. Since MT hasn't started us jumping, he must believe that I'm not ready physically, so ... I'll wait. But I am SO EAGER to get back to jumping!! I think I'll be better at it than the flatwork/dressage ... I always was. We'll see.
7) My dream horse is a red leopard Appaloosa sporthorse. I had a chance to have one, years ago, and I just wasn't up to the challenge/opportunity, so I missed out. I am just crazy about spots. :)