Friday, February 3, 2017

Wanted: your advice for teaching lessons

One of my adorable kid students getting a lunge lesson

I am teaching lessons as part of working for LCTS and it's a blast! It's incredibly rewarding to help others learn and enjoy horses. The creativity in selecting and designing riding exercises is neat, as well as having to customize each interaction to the rider and horse on that given day. As a plus, it surely has improved my riding.

I would love to get your suggestions and advice on giving lessons. Perhaps things such as:

  • your favorite types of lessons, and why
  • specific exercises or activities 
  • mounted games
  • out-of-saddle homework or other activities
  • suggestions for teaching certain types of riders/learners
  • any other general or specific advice or suggestions

Thank you so much!!

Laurie teaching an adult who rides occasionally. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

How to video yourself while riding alone

Some bloggers are blessed with friends and barn-mates who are excellent photographers that seem to be available to capture pics regularly (I'm looking at you, SprinklerBandit).

But many of us do not. Enter your smartphone! With just a few little gizmos, you could be in business to photo or video yourself while riding!

We're a work in progress lol.

Step 1: Materials

You'll need:
  • A smartphone. I have an iPhone6.
  • A wireless shutter remote. I bought this one for ~$5.
  • A flexible tri-pod. I bought this one for ~$5. 

Note: these gizmos had fine reviews, but they are cheap and I doubt they'll last very long. One little horsey nibble and they'd be done. There are more heavy-duty ones available worth considering.

Step 2: Set Up

The wireless shutter remote connects to your smartphone via bluetooth, and is compatible with most phones' built-in camera. Or there are compatible camera apps you can download if needed. I attached an extra-long rubber band to my remote to help prevent me from losing it.

The beauty of the flexible tri-pod is that it can attach to rails, posts, and jump standards. Or you could set it up on top of a mounting block or plastic chair seat.  You could play with angles and get all artistic if you like. 

Step 3: Action!

For video setting, just click the button to record, ride on, then click button to stop recording.  Or in photo setting, just click to snap photos.  It does take some trial and error. For example, both these next photos are screenshots from video that was mistakenly taken upside-down!

Majesty and I jumping 2'9"

Laurie having Majesty bow while I'm mounted

And my patriotic dress-up photo shoot with Hannah was awkward! But oh well, its media and its fun.

Hannah is red, white, and blue-tiful!

Hope this post helps others who maybe struggle with collecting media!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Rains & Rivers

The rains this winter have been heavier than usual, but since I go to the barn during daylight hours, its a workable issue. Our barn has held up pretty well, and there's few things lovelier than a bright morning after some rain.

Horses and humans alike are sloshing around the facility.

Nolan surveying muddyville.

Hannah thinks her back yard is still habitable.

The creek behind our facility is dry most of the year, but fills up from the rain and provides a great schooling opportunity.  All the horses in training at LCTS have gone knee-deep in the river.

Our coming 4-year old Roy took to it easily.

Henry was skeptical at first, but then enjoyed himself!

As it dries up between showers, we are left with some ponds to play in.

My student, A, pilots Majesty into a beautiful pond in creek bed before a lesson.

And of course, rain means grass which means grazing! Doesn't Hannah look great? She has kept her weight well this year. 

nom nom nom

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The 2016 Recap

Well the second half of 2016 passed by without any blogging. Such is life sometimes, but here's the summary:

My husband was severely injured on the job, and I became a medical secretary/chauffeur/caretaker. He is still recovering, albeit slowly.

I have a new job - and it's the best job ever! I am working at the barn for my trainer.  =)   What started as an exchange of lessons for help turned into a real opportunity as her business expanded.

Keeping it colorful on a client horse, and cheesin' with the boss at a show!

I also help retrain and rehome ex-racehorses for the Thoroughbred Rehab Center. West Coast friends: I'm your new hookup for some really talented horses!

First ride on this mare - she was the first to get adopted from our group!

Hannah is doing wonderfully. She continues to be sweet and patient but also game and joyful. We both had a blast in our second horse trial together last fall. We have become a really good team.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year!

It's time for Eventing In Color to stage a comeback!  And what better time for a fresh start than the beginning of a new year?  Wishing all readers a very wonderful 2017!

Sarah & Hannah

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Catch Up Post #3

This should be the final catch-up post to bring you current.

A few months ago I stopped working. Taking time off has been nice. I don't currently have a timeline for returning to work. I'm taking time to heal, and am grateful for a husband who not only supports this, but suggested it to begin with.

I'm enjoying being a housewife. Cooking and cleaning and running errands is a lot less stressful when you have all day to do it. I'm also spending much more time with family, visiting friends, and doing projects that make me happy.

I'm spending A LOT of time at the barn. I'm assisting my trainer part time in exchange for lessons, which is good for the budget and amazing for my soul (and riding skills!). I get to groom and ride a number of wonderful horses. It truly is awesome and I want to do it forever, but we'll see.

Hannah is amazing. She is just perfect. I constantly think that I must have saved children from a burning building in a past life to have the blessings that I do, and Hannah is at the top of the list. She is sweet, snuggly, has a sense of humor, and is totally game for everything. Plus she is talented as all get out.

I haven't done any showing since that HT last August. I've done some more XC schools, and its been a "3 steps forward, 2 steps back" kind of thing with my confidence. I'm not in any rush; it takes what it takes.

I don't have any goals right now, but I'm starting to get the itch for showing. We shall see what I can swing!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Dr Schacht Clinic Recap

The other weekend I rode in a clinic with Dr. Christian Schacht. I've audited and clinic'd with him previously; he always refreshes and re-energizes my enthusiasm for dressage. This time I took away several nuggets about using my body more effectively and subtly. Here are my main takeaways:

At the trot, do not squeeze with both legs at the same time. Rather, do one leg at a time, alternating in rhythm, that goes with (not against) the movement of the horse's rib-cage. Alternatively, you can use inside leg only.

The down transition from canter should be heavy outside seat, with minimal hand.

On a circle, look out over your horse's outside ear. Point your bellybutton in the direction of your horse's flexion.

Do not pick up the canter when leaving the rail (at my level), as you want to be able to release the inside rein which you cannot do if you are leaving the rail for a circle.

When thinking of stretching down, really think about lifting the withers up.

"Tense him" on the short side to prepare for extended anything. 
Then "hold him" by keeping the contact - do not lose it all out the front.

Never pet the horse with the outside hand.

Hunch! Hide your boobs! Round your back! No straight back, as that leads to stiff hips and less effective seat aids. A bucket of water attached to your hip should spill out the back, not towards the front.

Think of posting up and backwards, not forwards.  

The horse's body moves in 3 directions:
up and down
forward and back
side to side
Riders mostly ignore the side to side motion. We need softer, following hips to ride properly.

Dressage is a performance; the judge is your audience. 
Be sure you have clear, penetrating eye contact with a smile and a confident attitude. 
Do not channel "gee, sorry to take up 5 minutes of your time"...
Instead, channel "you will watch *me* for 5 minutes! Huzzah!"

Karen of Not-So-Speedy Dressage participated with her horse Izzy, who is just as gorgeous in real life as he is in pictures! We got to spend some fun time together which was awesome. 

Me, Dr. Schacht, and Karen.