photo by Hoofclix.com
Tales of Taco the Wonder Horse and his ammy rider on their way to a Training Three Day

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Thumbs Up!

And I don't just mean that I give Aiken a Thumbs Up, although I do.  I have been enjoying myself quite a bit and it is such a treat to be here.  No, what I mean is that a bad habit of mine has been brought to my attention: my hands, especially the left one, like to turn over so the knuckles of my fingers are up.  The ideal position, however, is with the thumbs on top.  There is something about having your hand in this position that allows the arm to move and act in the proper way.  On the other hand, the knuckles on top position creates tension and lack of elasticity at least all the way up to the shoulder.  I had thought that I had dealt with this tendency of mine, but apparently it's still there.

Thumbs on top, therefore, has been a theme in the last two rides I've had.  Yesterday, I had the much-anticipated privilege of my CANTER Mid-Atlantic auction lesson with Jennie Brannigan.  Jennie was very gracious to donate a lesson to the organization for their annual fundraising auction, and I was delighted to be the winning bidder!  Taco is a CANTER horse so it was all very apropos.  Anyway, I managed to find Red Oak Farm, where Jennie works for Phillip Dutton (a.k.a. PDutty), and got tacked up in my jumping saddle.

The idea was to start out with some flatwork for us to get to know each other, and then move on to some jumping.  Jennie welcomed me and met Carol and Amy, who both came along for moral support/ dog wrangling/ photography/ sports psychology.  And then we got down to work.  Jennie's style is very focused and she is quite descriptive about what needs to happen, which I appreciated.  And she immediately zeroed in on my position, especially my hands (thumbs on top!), arms, and shoulders.  "Ride every day as if you are at a show," she said, meaning that my position should get as much attention and be as correct as if I were in front of a judge during all of my practice sessions.  She also worked with me on straightness and on filling the space just in front of the withers with energy from the hind legs.  Taco went really well and I got some new ways to think about these important basics.

Then we moved on to some jumping.  As usually happens when I start jumping, my IQ dropped a hundred points when she had me trot the first little vertical.  I got a little flustered and forgot about some of the straightness and forwardness things I had been doing.  I calmed down and started thinking again, for the most part.  Jennie really emphasized adjustablity, pushing on between fences and then coming back but keeping the RPMs on the approach.  This helps to get him to the base of the fence and power nicely over it.  Then she had to remind me to release as he takes off.  Here we all are practicing those things.



As you can see, I got really spastic on the way to the skinny and Taco was very generous to jump it.  So Jennie had me do the line again a couple of times.  She wanted me to sit up and keep my leg on after the triple bar. I got better at this, I am happy to say.



All in all it was great fun and a good thing to do.  The things that we worked on meshed well with what Amy has been teaching me.  And Amy was able to come watch, so she knows what we worked on.  Of course, now she has backup for the various issues that she has been on my case about!  She was merciless about the thumbs on top today, geeesh.

I am very sleepy and tired and unable to write more now, but I will write later about the very constructive dressage lesson Amy gave me today.

And on a parting note, here is Taco's favorite part about Aiken: naps in the sun and sand.


14 comments:

Sarah said...

Yay Stacy!! Thanks for letting me vicariously join you in Aiken! Maybe next year you could go to Denny Camp for me?? :) It sounds like you're having a terrific week. Keep up the good work!!

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

"As usually happens when I start jumping, my IQ dropped a hundred points when she had me trot the first little vertical."

I am overwhelmingly familiar with this feeling! To borrow a Wofford quote I usually need a fence or two to get my butterflies flying in formation. :)

Seema said...

Nice napping after all that jumping

Lauren said...

Love then lesson video- lots of great info! Check your youtube links, though, unless you meant to post the same one twice. I imagine you were too tired to care! ;)

Becky said...

WONDERFUL! Go Team TACO!

I had a dressage lesson the other day where I was encouraged to stop thinking so much about what's going to happen, and start thinking about my horse's shoulders...what's in front of me. Once I got THAT figured out/working, the rest would come (or I could fix it more easily).

You guys look great. I LOVE hearing about you!

Megan Corbett said...

Um, did everyone catch the "this is one of the best horses I've seen in a long time" comment by JB? Oh, Taco.

Thanks for the video, Carol!

Great riding, Stacy!

Anastasia said...

OK-- video fixed. Thanks for all the encouragement, guys! Now I need to post about my dressage lesson yesterday and XC school today.

Annika said...

Yes I did catch that comment- and IMHO, he is one of the nicest horses ever! I have had numerous people comment on him over the years. I love him! I am glad that Stacy gets to love him, too!

Annika said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LC-B said...

I would think that you were in the perfect position for your Jenny lesson with Amy observing...BOTH have spent lots of time riding under Mike Winter's tutelage so similar systems at work. However good the lesson, Taco's photos are the scene stealer...SOOO happy all is going GREAT!

Anastasia said...

As far as I am concerned, he is the most wonderful horse in the world. :)

wz said...

Taco is so cute lying in the sun!

jessica morthole said...

Just discovering your blog and loving it! Love all the lesson vids and pics. Go CANTER horses :)

Anastasia said...

Thanks Jess-- we sure are lucky to have these CANTER horses!!