Saturday, August 29, 2015

More outside time and some jumps

Today Dan and I met up with Amber and her daughter and their two little gray Connemara's. Such cuties. We went for a nice hack and then I left them to play in the XC field. Danny was a little up and I didn't want to interfere with their fun. So I took him up to the stadium ring and all the fences were little verticals. It was just too tempting. :)

So... we went in the ring and played a little. He's kind of starting to get it. :) We actually did a few jumps without any crazy distances. And we jumped the roll tops without standards (the little roll tops). And we actually cantered this whole line too! Whooo hooo. Good baby. :) 

Getting out of the Ring

 Ahhhh.... I so needed this! It's been a long time since I've been out it seems. It was soooo good to reset my soul. And Dan had fun too. We met up with Peri and played in the stadium ring for a minute and then went for a quick hack. Sooooo worth it. :)

Monday, August 24, 2015


So... the last three rides have been perilous!
I just can't keep the canter. And know, suddenly the left lead is the tough lead. It started when I decided to try a simple subtle canter serpentine. And as soon as I even thought about drifting out, he would swap. So I was trying very hard to keep the canter but he kept throwing in changes. (Some full, some half). So then I decided to just canter straight, off the rail. But that didn't work either. He kept swapping. Argh. Peri tried to help me with it and it got a smidge better. So then in my next two lessons we worked on it with Cindy. Cindy said that my outside leg was swinging forward. So I was telling him to swap. But the more I tried to anchor that leg, the more it would go forward. Sigh.. So then we tried to focus on my hips. When I focused on swinging my hips in rhythm he would hold the lead better and my leg wouldn't creep forward as much. SO.... it's ultimately my pelvis causing the leg issue. 
However... Cindy did mention that Dan was a bit of a smart alec and that he was looking for any excuse to have fun and do lead changes. ;)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sandra Hotz Clinic

Today was day 1 of the Sandra clinic. I rode Dan today and am going to ride Fleck tomorrow. It was a good day. Minus the puking. I went to bed last night with a migraine and woke up with one today. It sort of went away in the morning. I got up at 5 and we left at 6:45. I was able to clean my tack in the morning and was actually on time. We got there and I gave Dan a bath. I didn't want to bathe him without cross ties. He's SOOOOO much easier in cross ties. So we did. And then I braided. Oh man!! He is HARD to braid. They looked awful. Peri suggested that when they are that thick, I third them instead of half them twice. It did make a difference. It made them much prettier.

 Then I went to watch the others and the migraine came back. Ugh... I was going to go get Dan and get on early so I could work out some of the shenanigans first. But then Cindy found me and acupunctured me to try to help my head. It wasn't unbearable, but pretty close. I was hoping that the distraction of riding would help the migraine. And it did, a little. I managed to get through my ride but my legs weren't really working.

Dan was a bit on edge and wouldn't walk past the HKM truck. So I had to get off and walk him past. Then in the arena he was a tiny bit spooky at the people in chairs and then the table and chairs for Sandra at C. But he wasn't too bad. Sandra suggested that instead of fighting the bulge, I ask for a counterbend to show him the scary stuff and pet his neck with my inside hand. So we did and after one or two laps, he was fine.

We mostly just worked on bend and connection. He was awfully behind my leg today and I had to keep kicking and using my whip. It was exhausting. He's not usually quite that lazy. She teaches a lot like Cindy. She had me use my body position to help straighten him. She also said that he's overbent to the right, and stiffer to the left. So we worked on circles and bend. She wanted me to pet him with my outside rein when he was bent. And wiggle my inside rein to get him to bend. I really needed to use more leg but... they just wouldn't work.
Stretchy trot 
More stretchy trot
Trot work
Canter work

We also worked on the canter. And for all my stressing about the right lead... he picked that one up beautifully and we kept missing the left lead. What the heck?! Argh. But I was just basically running him into it. I was just not feeling the proper "ask" and accomplishing it. So we ran into it.

But we did get some really lovely work. Sandra said to just keep asking and eventually we would get  bend for the whole circle and then we could build on it. :)

So it was a good day. Afterwards though I ended up vomiting the 2 pieces of pineapple and 3 pieces of watermelon I ate for lunch. And then had to nap/veg in the lounge. But I did feel better and was able to watch Peri's ride.

Hopefully tomorrow is a better day. :)
Hee hee.. Dan is such a punk!
Oh... and we did have one buck when he broke from the canter to the trot. He wouldn't pick it up again so I went to the whip. On the fourth smack... I got this!

Stadium Goofies

Today Liz and I met up at Ashland for some jumping fun. She helped me with Fleck and then we swapped out for Dan and Party. Liz wanted to jump so we headed up to the stadium ring. We warmed up briefly and then she hopped around. Then she wanted to see what Dan did. Hee hee.. Oh my. I told her that he just still wasn't figuring it out. So we trotted up to the vertical and lo and behold.. he actually sort of corrected himself and jumped it pretty well! Whoo hoooo!! And then when we came back to it, he got in deep and deer jumped over it. Doh. 

Goofies to watch later when we're running prelim! 


Nailed it 

So then we did a little line and he was okay over the first one and then got long, so he took a flyer. So then we tried again and he got in fine to the first and short to the second, and deer jumped it. Doh. So we then trotted towards the coop, which he cantered the last two strides, but he got the distance and jumped it nice so we quit with that. 

Silly goober. I really hope he figures this out. He's awful at it!!! And I don't know how to help him. But I know... he needs to learn how to adjust/rate better first. And he's still an awkward baby. 

So then we headed to the lake for a little splash party. Even after jumping in the ring, Dan was super hoppy and bouncy. :) On the way back, Liz left us and hopped over a few fences. And Dan used that as an excuse to get hoppy again. I decided that while it may backfire, we would hop down the bank and over a few fences. He was actually super good. He got a little fresh but was rideable and we accomplished it. 

So whoo hooo! Fun day. 

Light Hack

Dan and I went for a nice little hack Thursday with Kelli. He was quite forward and we kept leaving Arwyn in the dust! We just played a bit in the fields. Nothing too exciting as I was running short on time. But he was happy to be out and about.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

XC day!

Today was the FEH show. Our first year in 4 years that we didn't do it. But that's okay. The 4 year old test was a little bit too much for us. I probably could have pushed and done okay, but... why?! I could have also done the NEH (Future Event Horse and New Event Horse) but again, I just didn't feel like he's ready. He likes to jump and so far, it's been fun. But he (or more likely *I* ) doesn't know how to adjust himself to the fence. So if he doesn't get to the right spot, he can't figure out how to get over it without knocking it. Which is fine for stadium. And even fine for smaller XC fences. But... I'm not really thinking it's fair to do it to him at bigger XC fences. And, quite honestly, I'm a little afraid that in the excitement of a show atmosphere, he'll buck me off again. ;) I'm still a little afraid to let him canter a whole course, especially in a show atmosphere. That stride is HUGE. Fleck "bolted" today and my GPS clocked him at 25 mph. Dan bolted and it clocked him at 39 mph! That's a HUGE difference! So yep.. I'll admit it. I'm chicken. 

Plus, I really think it's in Dan's best interest to not push him. He still needs to walk to the fences and then trot/canter. He still needs to learn to control himself in the open fields. He still needs to learn how to adjust his stride and pick up his feet. If we had gone, I think he would have been over stimulated and he wouldn't have jumped pretty. And I don't want to scare him. Or hurt him. So we stayed home.

 But with that being said... that doesn't mean that I wasn't a little sad we missed out. And that doesn't mean that we can't work on our jumping. :) So we headed up to the jump ring and I dropped all the fences to tadpole size and we played around. We started with flat work and then trotted and cantered over two poles on the ground. He can judge the distance at the trot, but not so much at the canter. Then we jumped some of the fences. hee hee. Poor guy. He just doesn't get it yet. When he gets to the right spot, he can jump happily. But if not, he can't figure out how to adjust and so he knocks them. Doh. I'm no help either. I haven't gotten a feel for his stride yet. And I don't think his dressage work is balanced enough yet for me to really rate him most of the time. But it's okay. We're learning. We played over a few fences and he can jump quite nicely when he gets a lnoger spot, so he has enough time to pick his feet up. And he's non-plussed about it. He doesn't get too mad when he misses and he never thought about running out. We played with trotting and cantering. Cantering is definitely harder. But we had some decent jumps.

 So then we went for a hack to the lake. And... while we were out there, since Ann had set up some stadium fences in the field, I couldn't resist! So Dan jumped his first skinny and first stadium fence in the XC field. He knocked it down. And I think he broke the pole too. Doh! But!!! Then he cantered nicely and jumped the next vertical quite nicely. And he didn't bolt on landing. He was very polite. So we went and played in the lake. On the way back home... I saw the barrel fence. I couldn't help it. We walked up to it so he could see it and the goober almost walked over it. So then I turned him around and trotted up to it. I let him canter the last stride and he just sailed on over like it was no big deal. And then he realized that it was a big deal and he was hot stuff and he sort of galloped off like a big boy. I managed to wrangle him back down without too much effort. I made him jump it again and be a bit more polite on landing. And he did. So whooo hooo. And yes, I realize it was a barrel on it's side and small. But it is a big bright blue barrel and a skinny, so... kind of a big deal. It's his first time jumping a barrel. :)

 He's so much fun. I really hope that I can help him be a good happy clean jumper and not mess him up. It's time to start jumping lessons soon and get some help. :) 


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Open fields

Oh my!! He is so fun! 

Today we went to the XC field and worked on our flat work out there. Dan was very forward and energetic, but not running away with me. Almost. ;) But not. I had a hard time containing that shoulder, but I didn't lose it. We got some nice work even. I worked on the canter transitions and I wasn't quite getting them from the walk, but was getting them consistently at the trot. Whooo hoo. Fair enough.

So then I decided to try cantering in more than just a circle. And he was good. We cantered along the bottom of the field like if we were doing a XC course. And he behaved. So then I decided I would canter him over the 3 canter bounce logs. As he came up to it, I got smart, and pulled him off. Not exactly a fair question for a youngster. We haven't exactly mastered cantering single fences, much less 2 bounces! But I did think it would be okay to ask him to canter the two logs on a two stride. He happily did it, but his stride is so long, we ended up with a long 1. But he went happily. :) So then we quietly cantered the other log and headed to the lake.

He was a bit spooky looking at the lake through the woods. I was wondering what he was spooking at because I didn't notice anything. But then when we hit the lake in the open, I saw the fisherman on the boat. Hee hee. We splashed a bit and headed in.