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Trudi was snorty and seemed a little hyper as I was tacking her up, but I got on and she felt a little tired. We did a bit of nice trot work and she was bending well and nicely together. Bent got on her and then showed me what my horse looks like when a pro gets on. Trudi got some impressed remarks from the peanut gallery when he put her into her medium trot. I was the proud mama going "She loves that!" (Like he couldn't tell, DUH. Oh well, I'm a dork). He really put her together and pushed her a bit, and when I got back on it was that same feeling that my horse was shorter from nose to tail but taller from her back to the ground. She was jazzed after the medium work and pulling a little on the bit, but not so much that she was too heavy. We did just a bit more trot work, and she felt really powerful and her hind legs were very engaged. I was all bouncy and not sitting well because she was warmed up and I was not. A couple of walk transitions (I got yelled at when she got pacey - whoops - "She didn't do that with me, so you better fix it") and then she was done.

Some friends got some video (yay) and just a couple of pictures (same camera, so it's hard to get both because you have to switch modes). But the pictures are nice and I'll probably put up some video as soon as I have time to upload it.

A nice trot photo of Trudi and I (I'm almost sitting up. You have no idea the ridiculous amount of effort even this takes.)

Trudi with Bent- she is all "I can haz been put together?"

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Bent said my horse has beautiful gaits.


So that made me happy.
As I was tacking up, I noticed she'd lost a hind shoe. Crap. She was shod YESTERDAY. Come ON. Vet said she'd be fine- good footing- she was.
Trudi came out feeling good- not too hyper, a little timid, but not spooky- in fact, she did not spook even once. She was just slightly backed off and seemed a little intimidated by the stallion finishing up, but she listened to me and behaved perfectly. I still ride with my upper body all hunched over and looking down. The walk after the trot was, in the beginning- "Very bad". We were trying do do a bit of shoulder-fore on a small circle, and I was all messed up, and Trudi was jigging. Bent sent us out on a bigger circle and whenever she would get fast, he would tell me to relax my seat and bend her immediately to make her stop it.
Trot work was fab. Rhythm was great, and she was steady in the bridle and consistantly stretching to the bit. Bent had me use a little more inside leg now and again to increase the bend, which also slowed her down a little, then he told me to play with the bit to keep her round and add a little more leg to add some forward energy. This helped make her step under and bring her back up more without getting too quick. It was kind of tricky but quite interesting. We had some lovely suspension here and there where I asked her to give me even more in her back, and she was like "Ok, here you go". Canter was very good till she got a bit tired, then she got a little quick.
My posture was much better in the canter- I seem to sit up a bit more easily.
Overall thoughts- super horsey. I am SO proud. On me- I dispair of ever looking elegant. I mean, HONESTLY. This is the same drum I've been beating for years now. Why is head up, shoulders back, elbows in, thumbs up, IMPOSSIBLE???? How can my horse look so good when I look so bad?
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Well, I feel really sick now, but had enough of a break from it to ride better today. Sadly, there isn't much video (a nice lady shot some stuff but they are mostly short warm up clips with Trudi going BLEEEEH). Bent tightened my cavesson like 3 holes, and said it was still loose. Trudi was like "But I don't like it snug..." She got over it pretty quickly though and was totally fine.
We did some baby collection stuff in the trot- "Slow. Slower. SLOWER..." We did get a few steps here and there of some actual collection, in between the walking and the fussing. After a couple laps of this each way she got to do lenghtenings, and she was much happier. Canter today was fast, but we didn't do any warmup beforehand and she's not usually balanced till we do a half dozen canter transitions, so while it would have been nice to show a better canter today, I know it's there and I'm not too concerned.
Overall impression from Bent is that I need to keep her rounder and ask for more, which is cool, I'm just not always sure how much more- but the sessions are kind of a guideline.
Amusing insight of the day-
Trudi: "Huh? Whazzat? Whazzat? Huh? Ooooh, whazzat?"
Bent: "She's like a puppy. You can't keep her attention."
Pretty much Trudi in a nutshell.
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Bah, I be sick and injured. Only slightly sick, and slightly injured, but still, I feel slightly sorry for myself. Was grabbing some dinner last night after primping my pretty pony, and as I turned away from the counter, my hand grazed a kitchen knife that had apparently been thrown in the sink handle first. It caught in my flesh, and my reflexes went *ouch, flinch*. I jerked my hand up and then it started to come back down when the knife, still stuck in my hand, made contact with the counter, which drove it in a little more. I came to my senses enough to yank it out at that point, but it was a stupid freak accident. Hello, self inflicted stab wound.
So my ouchie is about a half inch wide and a half inch deep, and hurts, but at least I don't seem to have done any permenant damage. I put a bandaid and antibiotic ointment on it and wore a glove (purple) to keep the bandaid in place. I was quite the girl today in my pink rubber wellies, red coat, purple glove, and chestnut horse.
The cold/funk that kept hubby (sick), child (sick) and me (taking care of child) home on Thursday decided to come after me, so that sucks, especially since it was very cold today (we had snow flurries).
So at last, the clinic. Trudi was somewhat spooky but not terrible - I was fairly relaxed - maybe just from being under the weather, but in any case it was a welcome change.
Bent started us out doing some flexing and keeping a deep bend at the walk while keeping the inside rein steady and playing the outside rein. Kind of a flip from the usual "keep the outside give the inside". He hopped on her and put her together, and got her to take a strong contact on the bit, which was really nice because she is often so tentative.
The work was circles at trot and canter, slowing the tempo of the trot and keeping her really onto the bit, and the canter was too quick but otherwise nice. My timing was off in the canter so I couldn't get the jump I wanted in order to collect her. There are times when I can get the jump, then take the energy and use it to float through the stride, and it gives me really good control over tempo, amplitude, and distance. But that was my problem, not hers. My position was mostly meh- somewhat better I think, but I wasn't really thinking about it as much as I should have and I was doing a lot of sitting on my pockets...
Overall not a bad day, but our session went quick. More tomorrow.
Comment for the day- "When this horse is good, she is really good. She should be this good ALL the time."
I know, I know.
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My pony was great. I was pretty good too. I was less nervous than usual- probably partly because I'm starting to have faith in my horse, and partly because this is like my 7th clinic with Bent. She warmed up well outside even though it was very windy- did some stretchy walk and slow relaxed trotting. Inside the wind unnerved her a bit at first, it was really howling down at C. But she started to focus on the work and we had a very good ride. Bent said she's looking a lot better. He said "Good" a lot, which is a good sign, and seemed a little surprised. When going to the right, he had me flex her left and shorten my left rein, to straighten her. He also told me to quit bringing my right hand toward the left side of her neck, and thanks to Nadia getting some video, I can SEE what he's talking about. If I just put my elbows at my sides where they belong it would help a lot. :) I think my upper body is much better- I still need to bring my head back so it aligns with my body, but overall I sat much taller and straighter and had the strength to hold it longer. Trudi was very good with her back and worked hard- can't ask for much more than that. I can see that I'm not riding her in quite as short a frame as I thought, so I can shorten my reins a couple of inches and not be cranking her in too much. Tired and sore, more tomorrow. ^_^
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So my goal for this clinic was to simply be able to canter Trudi away from home. I was planning to ride in the indoor, but a couple of people double-dog dared me to ride outside, so I did. I was worried because there isn't a fence enclosing the arena, but Trudi only looked around and held tension in her body- she didn't really spook or try to run off, so I was very proud of her.
The first day I coldn't get her to relax for much of the ride, and my own nerves brought out old flaws and even new ones. Bent had me go around with my reins dangling, and then had me take them back up, and told me I was riding with my left rein too long, and my right hand too far to the left, which puzzled me because I wasn't crossing over her neck, but he said I was holding my left hand farther out and it was upsetting her balance. Trudi, surprisingly, didn't want to turn left very well at the far end of the arena- normally she doesn't turn as well to the right.
We did do some canter work that wasn't too bad, and that made my day. We blew the right lead once but took it about 3 times, and the canter was a little fast at times but decent overall.
On the second day, I was a lot less nervous and had slept much better the night before. The person that was supposed to go before me didn't arrive at his scheduled time, so I went early, and Peggy and Val saddled Trudi for me. Trudi relaxed earlier in the session and we had some super trot work, just keeping a good connection and doing lots of circles and serpentines. I started to see what Bent meant about my left rein getting too long/right rein getting too short because I would see Trudi's left forefoot come forward farther than the right. We had a walk break, then trotted figure eights, and he had me make the circles smaller and smaller, till we were doing about 10 - 12 meters.
Trudi started getting tired, and we managed some good canter to the left, but we blew our first try at the right lead (Bent: "You know she did that because you lost the left shoulder." D'oh.). She picked it up when I asked again, but was really scrambling and uneven, and when she was uneven at the trot and fussing with her head Bent had us trot a little more till she was good and then quit. Overall it was a much better session though and he said she's really improved in her body and her trot has gotten much bigger.
And I have homework- right lead canter (ah, my nemesis) left rein (henchman for evil right lead canter). I have a couple to assign to myself- like the greatest struggle of them all- fixing my upper body (ok, Bent didn't assign this one, I did), and riding outside (preferably without walls, which give us support).
And here are the pictures. The weather was a little hot, but very beautiful. I'm really proud of my little mare.
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Post mortification, things are looking up a little. My optomistic side is back (thanks in part to my sweetie) and I rewatched the video and looked through the
again. Still need so much work, but I'm able to see more good things- eyes are up, so that's a start. I don't think I really look too big for Trudi- I was kind of worried about that. I could tell on the video that I was helping her with the way I was riding. I could see her inside hind responding when I rode it up under her, and Bent mostly had positive things to say regarding that- he said "Good" or "That's nice" several times. The only corrections he really made were to keep the outside rein and step to the inside a little more. He told me to keep doing what I'm doing to get her steadier in the bridle, but definitely to try some different bits. Trudi has built a lot of muscle so I must be doing something right- and I think she's just so pretty...
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Clinic started at 8 both days, and went till about 5 on Saturday, and about 2 today. We didn't dazzle anyone with our brilliance, but Bent put Trudi together for me and I felt what she SHOULD feel like- which is about 6 inches shorter from head to tail, with all her parts firmly connected. He suggested I try a different bit, because she has not been steady and firm enough into the hand, so looks like bit trials are in order (hooray) :P. Except for some violent shying, she was pretty good. We didn't get to work on her canter, but maybe next time- I didn't even ask about it because we were having a tough enough time with walk and trot, and our canter right now is pretty awful.
Trudi got on and off the trailer well, except going home Saturday- she thought about not getting in but Val shooed her in for me. My apologies to her for my crankiness. I've been moody and whiny and coming across as very negative, and didn't realize it. The things I should have said and didn't-
her place is well maintained, the barn is lovely, the indoor has wonderful footing, the outdoor is huge, there are runs for your pony to wander around in, the water troughs are always full of fresh, clean, water, and Trudi seems happy there. Also, they got in some nice hay, and I was wrong- it's locally grown.

So, a bit of R&R for me and Trudi, and maybe some pics later.


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