All posts for the month March, 2012

The Process

Published March 20, 2012 by gofullthrottle

I know I know Every post says amazing lesson. Today’s ride (not a lesson) I have started to discover how much I am enjoying the process. Coming to Florida I was having a lot of difficulties with my left canter piroutte, he would anticipate each exercise and drop the left shoulder and rush the piroutte. It was a major frustration for both me and the over achieving Welmingh.

My first lesson with Susan I said the two main things I would like to focus on our pirouttes and getting his amazing trot to be amazing under saddle. Until I met Susan I dont think I have had a coach that really got the most out of his trot. Not once have I been told to kick him to make him go forward and get him light off the leg. We do that through the exercises asking him to balance, sit and go forward. Without kicking in the past 6 weeks I am finding that my horse is significantly more ridable. I am using less spur and less leg, he is so responsive to the leg that we are able to school medium trot in a shoulder in with ease. (I am sure if Susan is reading this it still needs more) He is moving more through his shoulders in all of the lateral work than ever (Krack C half pass here I come).  And most of all exciting is that he is letting me ride each and ever step of the left piroutte now, he is patient and listening to my aids. (piroutte pictured below for my non horsey readers)


Welmingh has finally put on enough weight that he looks like a normal horse again. He lost a lot of weight on the trip down. Overall I am very happy with our progress and cant wait to see where we are 6 months from now!




1 yr Anniversary

Published March 14, 2012 by gofullthrottle

It was one year ago today that Welmingh and I had a major dismounting miscommunication. As I confidently rode around around the pond today on a long rein I started to think about just how far I have come in a year.

I want to tell this story because riding in Wellington I rarely see a rider without a helmet, top hats are no longer the norm in the show ring.  I often still read things on the internet that say “I am a good rider, I dont need a Helmet” I see trainers on my Facebook without helmets and I cringe to think they are a role model for the next gen. I am a good rider and I have a relatively safe and well trained horse, what happened a year ago is a moment in time that every rider knows about and dreads the day it could happen.

It was a cold winter day and my horse tends to be a bit inattentive in the cold to begin with. There was a lot going on in the arena and I made the decision to get off in order to be safe. I dropped both stirrups and swung my leg over, and in the very moment my leg was over his croupe he moved. My leg kicked him and off he went like the well trained dressage horse he is. In the few seconds it took me to fall to the ground we had made it to the center of the dressage ring, I could feel each of my fingers leaving the reins one at a time although it were slow motion. My final landing point was near B  on my head. I was wearing a helmet and I remember laying there in the dirt struggling to remain conscious. Thinking about how many horses were in the arena and that I was now in additional danger of not only a loose horse but also the other riders. I couldnt move. I didnt want to move.

My coach came running and there was another rider and friend that was a physiotherapist that came over. All I wanted was to get my helmet off, it had smashed my glasses into my face and was now very uncomfortable, not to mentioned filled with dirt. Turns out I could feel my toes! Yay! I lay there for a really long time and finally managed to move. I was met with a glass of water and some asprin and a car ride to the ER. My poor dad. Another trip to the hospital due to my antics. Although I must admit he has been great about not giving me lectures on all of the crazy things I do that end me up there in the first place.

Lucky for me when I head to the ER I have generally done a good enough job I dont have to wait. So for those of you thinking our medical system sucks I can assure that it works the way it should.

They told me I could go home but was not allowed to stay alone. My dear friend Maureen ended her date early and came over to spend the night. Thats a good friend. I woke up in the morning with the worst headache of my entire life. And I still have it today.

The next 3 months were the worst 3 months of my entire life. The pain was horrific. When I was high enough on painkillers I could sleep for a few hours and I spent most of the next 3 months between sleep and misery. I tried everything I could to get the pain to go away. Every treatment under the sun. Nothing worked. I remember taking two percacets and crying because the pain was so bad. Crying only makes it worse so it was not a good situation. I spent most days thinking about delightful ways to end my life so I would no longer be in pain. Yes even on the antidressants. Pain sucks. To top it all off the pharmacy tech when questioned failed to check the book when I asked her to see if I could combine two drugs because the pain was so bad. That led me to a drug overdose. I am pretty sure that I can say that spending a day on the bathroom floor puking in intervals, with both what I call “inside headaches” and “outside headaches” was an all time low.

I am not telling this story so that you can feel sorry for me, I tell this story because until a year ago I had no idea what it meant to have a concussion. If this story helps people ride in helmets every ride then I am more than happy to share it.

On July 4th I got the Ok to ride. Much to the dismay of my father I was in the car and headed to see my horse just a few days later. I didnt even know if I was going to be able to ride but I certainly wasnt about to share that!  Knowing full well that Welmingh is not the horse you can ride when you are not grounded or present I took a moment before I got in the saddle. He was extra patient with me as I am sure not only was there some tension but I am pretty sure I held the reins a bit to tight. My coach started yelling directions almost instantly and off I went without even a moment to think about what had happened. And after 3 months in bed on pain killers I was certainly not fit enough to ride an FEI horse in a lesson for 45 minutes!!

Things that came out of this mishap, the realization that if I had gone through all of that just to ride this horse I had better make it worthwhile. We are both happier than ever in what I have coined as pony paradise. The ponds, the birds the large oak tree in the paddock it all seems a bit surreal but worth every moment.

Today my headache is very mild. I think it actually went away for a bit, unfortunately while out on a Friday night Irish dancing I hit it on the interior light in the car and it came back. Yes thats all it took.

Wear your helmet!

So much to do

Published March 4, 2012 by gofullthrottle

I am not sure how I have no schedule at all yet I am busy all the time. The shopping at the Derby is definately a step up from the rest of the shows, all the normal vendors are there plus a few more. The trilogy saddle people were there and the browbands by design are the two to take note of, the browbands are stunning and I am not sure that the website does them justice. The owner is also quite funny and awesome to talk to. I now have one of these browbands on my wish list. At her booth you can mix and match pieces and make your very own unique browband which is kind of fun.

I didnt stop at the Trilogy saddle booth, I still have one more saddle to try and I need to start making some decisions, I met with JRD again today but I waiting to get my boots back before I finalize anything, The zipper went in my boots on Wednesday so I am waiting to get them replaced.

I must admit I am disappointed in the Albion Saddle fitting, most of the saddle fitters here have been happy to come by and suggest saddles, they even leave them for you to try without taking any money etc. The Albion saddles were not working and as the saddle fitter realized she was not going to sell me a saddle she informed me that there would be a fee for the fitting. I was not informed of this upfront and since the norm in Wellington is not to charge a fee I didnt ask specifically if there was a fee for this service. Not only did she charge me a fee for the consulting she also charged me for travel, I was at the show grounds and she was there setting up anyway. Which is why I booked it on the day I did. I dont mind paying someone for their time. In this case I just would have liked to have been informed that there was a fee when I asked: What needs to happen in order to do a saddle fitting and trial? (Lesson learned)

I was out at the stable in my jeans and half chaps and my coach said “what is going on with this outfit” I laughed and responded “I live in Loxahatchee” which I have come to know is a bit on the red neck side. So she laughed and went on her way. I love that she is not so pretentious that its a big deal but is fun enough to call me on how ridiculous it looked,

So given that I had no riding breeches Welmingh and I went for our first ever gallop across the field. First ever mostly because in Canada the bugs are so bad the poor guy has a meltdown just being ridden outside. It was a lot of fun and I can assure you that we will be doing it again soon!

There is a new Cavalia starting out in Miami, I am hoping to go see it next week.

I am off to watch the Olympic GP tomorrow morning then I am going downtown to city place to explore the sites and perhaps play on the beach. It has been a perfect 30/80 degrees outside so perfect weather to spend some time on a patio socializing.