The past week has seen part of Team Taco (minus Taco) journey to Kentucky for the MidSouth Eventing and Dressage Association meeting, plus some actual riding here at home in Tennessee.
I bundled Carol and the dogs into the car on Saturday morning and we drove to Lexington, KY in time for the afternoon lecture at the MSEDA meeting. The lecturer was Heather Blitz, an international Grand Prix dressage rider, and her topic was a philosophy of biomechanics and training that she calls Mind Your Riding. I won't try to recall the entire lecture here, which was about two hours long, but I found some of her concepts especially eye-opening. In particular, she described a method of maintaining the rider's center of gravity somewhere between the waist and mid-thigh through core engagement and thigh strength and leverage. She also explained what the horse's forwardness and balance mean to her. Her definition of "forward" refers to the horse's state of mind and means that the horse is "switched on" and that the horse and rider have a mental connection. Good balance for the horse means that a medicine ball would balance in the middle of a seesaw with its fulcrum just behind the horse's girth. She illustrated these concepts, plus several more, with photos and video of herself riding. The entire lecture was fascinating and I would really love to ride in a clinic with her... so stay tuned to see if we make it!
After a lovely dinner at Lexington's Atomic Cafe and the annual MSEDA business meeting on Sunday morning, Carol and I took our seats at the awards luncheon. Taco and I had earned my first-ever year-end award. We were second in the Senior Novice category for 2009.
I will treasure that red ribbon for years to come!
Now that I've returned to Nashville, and the weather has been marginally better, I've been able to ride. The ground is still rather wet, but I can do some long slow distance work. I got on and hacked the other day, despite the snowflakes that were drifting around, because I finally had a chance to ride in between the snow and rain and travel. Taco was a bit fresh but I practiced keeping my center of gravity low and lengthening his strides at the walk, which settled him. I think we both felt a lot better after that.
I rode today, too, which presented another problem: wind. It was about 32 degrees and the wind was whipping down at Panther Springs at around 20 mph! I hate wind. And Taco was, shall we say, a little wired after I tacked him up in the barn and ventured out the double doors into the wind tunnel that was the great outdoors. After leading him to the mounting block I peered at his slightly wild-eyed face. Hmmm. Maybe a little lungeing was in order. So I went back into the barn for the lunge line and we hit the round pen. Wheee! Lots of bucking! After a few minutes his eye had softened right up and I got on. No problemo. Another winter day conquered!
If the weather holds we will have a nice stretch of 40-degree days without rain for the next week or so, and we can get some work done. After all, the average daily high around here in early February is 50 degrees, so is 40 too much to ask? Fingers crossed everybody!
5 hours ago