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On Hands and… Well, Hands

Oooooh first lesson recaps!

photo - yep, my hand's in a brace.

yep, my hand’s in a brace.

So my hand, it’s a thing.  I may have partially dislocated my thumb about a week and a half ago.  (Diagnosis via text message courtesy of my friend who is currently a physical therapy student.)  It’s still really hurting, more now than when it was actually swollen, so I’m seeing my doctor today to find out what’s actually wrong with it (and if my friend guessed correctly).

UPDATE: I have indeed (most likely) partially torn the tendon over the top of my thumb.  Doc added metal splint to brace and I am not supposed to bend it much if at all.  Ice, heat, advil, etc etc

Long story short, Burns jumps like a deer sometimes and I missed grabbing mane and OH HAI BIG HULK NECK.  It stung a little, but in proper form and without realizing initially what I did, I continued the lesson:

One of the things we are working on is turning with outside aids, so that’s why the ridiculous bending lines.  One of the places we frequent is Loch Moy, and their stadium courses are always super twisty-turny.  Really fun, but never pretty.

I didn’t end up riding the rest of the week because of my hand, as well as a certification test I had to take on Friday for my job (I failed, but it wasn’t required to pass so no worries – still gainfully employed).  Monday, though, I really needed to get back in the tack.  What better time than with a hand injury to get a lesson on lunge?  I’ve been trying to get one in for a while actually, but my trainer was at the World Equestrian Games, and I was on vacation, and yada yada.  Things get busy, ya know?

It did renew my feelings that this winter is going to be all things repairing my seat.  Dressage seat boot camp, if you will.  Related:  who else will be doing No Stirrups November?!  I am!

One of my very nasty habits is using my hands to balance.  Not in the hauling on his face sense, but I move my hands around a lot and tend to make them my default aid to try and rebalance the horse.  100% ineffective, because a) that’s just not correct, and b) I am not strong up top.  I’m not strong in general, really.  Burns has a very strong front end and is very famous for falling through the right shoulder.  I’m very famous for slouching through the right rib cage/shoulder.  Friends, this is a BAD, bad combo and it is all the strugglebus for us to go to the right.

Here, my trainer coaching me through lifting my pelvis out of his way on the circle to the left.  Bringing that around to the right, she is also having me over-exaggerate my position on the circle by putting my left butt cheek in the middle of the saddle, stepping into the right leg, and pulling my left shoulder back towards his rear.  You can tell when I’m not getting it, because he starts looking like a giraffe even with the neck stretcher… but when I got it, I swear his back lifted by about three or four inches.  He’s a serious tattle-tale:

Over the next few months I would like to take my hands out of the equation as much as possible, and then re-learn using my hands.  If the Spanish Riding School makes you do it for a whole year no matter how good a rider you are, then certainly I could use all the help I can get.

And to think, silly childhood lesson program once gave me a ribbon for “Best Hands”.

And just for funsies, very short vid of Burns clearing our very first 3′ oxer together a couple weeks ago!  In this exercise, our group was reviewing the change of canter and balancing for your fence approach, so my trainer had several poles lined up beforehand.  In the previous runs, at ~2’7, she started removing poles one at a time and we were expected to keep our mounts balanced up as if they were still there.  After raising the oxer and replacing the poles, and one instance of Burns crashing through the fence because he was too lazy to notice it had gone up, we have this:

 fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck my equitation ugh 

BAM! Hello NOVICE!!  What are you working on in your lessons lately?

Getting on the bandwagon right quick…

You can now Follow my blog with Bloglovin!  Yay!

Wordless Wednesday

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Our Little Home

Photo - The day we closed!

The day we closed!

Back in March of 2014, we completed the purchase of a little Cape Cod style house in suburban DC, on the Maryland side.  It’s all brick, super sturdy-feeling, and über cute.  There are four bedrooms on two floors, plus one finished room in an otherwise unfinished basement, and two full bathrooms.  Kitchen, dining room, and living room round out about 1,200 square feet.  All in all, it’s a perfect starter home.  So of course we plan to stay in it for 30 years, because, why the hell not.

We purchased it in a short sale after looking for maybe 6 months.  It was the second house we saw, and the second offer we put in.  The short sale took a little under a year; short sales definitely aren’t for the faint of heart.  Our real estate agent, Jim Roy, was also my boss at the time, so we had a very good idea of what to expect and it still tried the patience quite a bit.  I’ll be doing a post about our experience in the future, so stay tuned.

Photo - The pull-back shot.

The pull-back shot.

So far, we really do love it. I have been here by myself the majority of the time we’ve had it, due to Nathan’s deployment. I’ll admit, I wasn’t all about all that yard work while he was gone, and the grass got quite long at times. He’s back now, though, and already has it looking pretty spiffy on the outside. I’m not much for cleaning, so the inside is… interesting. 😉 You know what they say about horse people – your home and car are always messy, but at least the barn is spotless!

I just picked up some paint chips and books this weekend from Home Depot.  Planning to stop in at Sherwin Williams and Lowe’s too.  Don’t worry – before we paint anything, you’ll get to see it in its “before” state!

I suppose, introductions are in order

So I’m Liz.  This is my new little getaway on the web.  I’m an eventer, wife, veteran, cat friend, government employee, homeowner, and after years of hiatus – a writer.

Photo - Burns - Riding Without The Horse

Burns – Oh the torture.

Like the title of this blog suggests, I am indeed riding without the horse.  That is to say – I have plenty of horses to ride, but not THE horse.  I’ve never owned a horse; I’ve leased, but never full-time.  My trainer in high school used to tell me she wanted me to catch ride, because I could sit on anything and do well.  It’s just always been this way.  I can’t say I’m too disappointed about it, but it’s hard to scroll by those gorgeous Thoroughbreds on MidAtlantic Horse Rescue and not wish I had the funds to keep a pony.  I make do.  This is where “the barn,” the one I’ve been bouncing around years to find, comes through for me.  I needed a horse to event, and it just so happened the wonderful boarders of a big ol’ weirdo mutt named Burns needed someone to ride him.  As an instructor in a huuuuge program, I can school the school horses as much as they need.  I get to drop knowledge on lots new and experienced riders, and it’s really fun and I learn things from my students and fellow instructors all the time.

I mentioned Burns, who is the closest I’ve come to THE horse so far.  We’ve been together a year (next week is the official anniversary!), and done a lot in that time.  He’s sometimes a jerky, mostly really fun Quarter Horse cross with a big neck and a big jump and not so much of the dressage, although it’s getting better.  Incidentally, I am nearly the same.  Leasing Burns comes with a ridiculous(ly awesome) entourage in the form of his parents, their trainer (and my friend), and his other riders, and I’ve never seen myself ride so much as I have this last year because there’s so many people around to video!  If you’re wondering, it helps.  A LOT.

I suppose none of this actually tells you why we’re here.  To be honest, that’s something we’re going to have to find out together.  I loved to write – I love to write – and I am finding that life is moving faster and faster with little to no input from me.  I think I’d like to change that.  So this is an experiment.  This is a place to put down goals and be held accountable, meet other people who might be like me, and just share.  I like to share.  I would make a good 5 year old.

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