Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Climbing Our Way Up That Dressage Pyramid and NYX Lippie Countdown Day Five

One of the things I love about Cupid is her willingness to please me. When I asked her to walk through water she did after realizing I was asking her to do it and I wasn't leading her into a bad situation. When I moved her to our current barn she loaded onto the trailer like a dream because she trusted me. Most recently Cue has learned the start of a turn on the forehand. She still needs to learn that both front feet can move but she picked up the general idea extremely quickly.
Because of her willingness to please and her intelligence, my trainer and I are currently working with her on dressage basics. Last year I had inquired about trying dressage with Cupid but nothing ever came of that. I quickly discovered that my current trainer is a dressage fiend. Not because she wants to see her riders compete and win in dressage, but because she's a strong believer that all horses should know basic dressage. This is a belief that I have held for a long time so there were no complaints from me when she laid out the plan to work Cupid through some of the dressage pyramid.
Cupid's eagerness to please, combined with her quirky nature and my haphazard riding style have made this journey interesting. We started our lessons with getting my saddle taken away. My trainer instantly realized that I was relying too much on my stirrups and not enough on my legs to support myself. I was handed the vaulting saddle and instructed to do as much walk trot work as I could to strengthen my leg. Thankfully, I was allowed to use two of the school horses until I figured out my balance without the saddle. Because Cupid is fairly levelheaded she didn't seem to mind the use of the vaulting saddle after I transitioned back to working her.
After almost two months of "bareback" work, we have finally transitioned back to using the saddle but still maintain the use of the vaulting saddle once a week. My balance has gotten so much better and Cue has finally figured out that darting out of the arena is not the goal of riding in the arena.
While working without a saddle, Cupid and I began working on the dressage pyramid. Cue quickly picked up that her walk and trot need to be adjustable. With the right instructions from me she has begun to perform a working walk, and a free walk in addition to a nice working trot. All three of these are performed consistently and with a nice rhythm. I would love to see her gain the endurance to maintain the working trot longer but she truly tries to give me that nice consistent rhythm. In addition to the walk and trot, Cupid has also started to perform a nice consistent canter.
Picture credit: http://www.fccds.org/the-scale-of-training.html
Our current focus is teaching Cue to engage her hindquarters and round herself properly, as opposed to picking her head up like a giraffe and hollowing her back. She has figured out that stretching down at the walk is much more enjoyable than sticking her nose in the air, but this has come with its own disadvantages. Cupid has started to hold herself on the bit, at the walk, even when I am riding on the buckle. Our trot work still starts with her pretending to be a giraffe but after a few minutes, she relaxes into a rounder, more engaged frame. We're still working on the trot but once we've mastered that I hope to start working on the canter and encouraging her to use her hindquarters more.
It's hard to believe that we're on day five of the NYX Lippie Countdown! If you're wondering why I'm talking about then please see this post. Yesterday featured the reemergence of a great color from last year so I was excited to see what today's color would be. The preview showed a bright, bold, hot pink shade which is always a good choice in my book. 
After opening the tab I was thrilled to see that this color was part of the soft matte lip cream collection. I had eyed these at Ulta but wasn't sure if I liked all the colors in the collection or a select few. The hot pink was one that I definitely wanted to try though! 
This shade is called Paris, which seems totally appropriate because it's bright, sassy, and a classic fashion statement. 
This shade does need a bit of a heavier application than other NYX colors, but it applies nicely and mistakes clean up easily. This shade was super easy to wear and lasted a long time. It complimented my skin tone nicely, it wasn't too bold but it wasn't too flat. Overal, this will be a color that I purchase once this sample runs out. Paris might join the ranks of my signature lip colors!

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