Friday, October 28, 2016

Day... Made....

Hee hee.... I was working all day today and got this text from the hubs...


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Jumping Lesson

Hee hee. After my lesson today with Kelly, she mentioned that she likes teaching smart people but we tend to overthink. She said that because we like things linear it might be a good idea to go home and write down how he was and what the circumstances were. Hee hee... I think I can do that. :) 
So yep... Here goes. We had a fun jump lesson today. I figured out what the problem was. When we lope around the little stuff, like even BN lately, he's lovely. Because he's just loping around with no impulsion. But because he's so big and they are so little, it's okay. It's easy. However, when the jumps get bigger, I panic. Kelly raised them and it fell apart. Basically we get to a spot and we either have to chip and end up practically underneath the fence or we have to take this huge long flyer. We had multiple bad fences in a row and Kelly said she saw what the problem was. And not to panic, because it was a non-issue! Ha! Easy for her to say. But she pointed out that basically, we lacked impulsion. And that once we got the impulsion, the problem would resolve itself. And she was right. :) 

So... basically... when he's going nicely but without impulsion, we get to those icky spots because of the lack of impulsion but also because I tend to let him get a little longer and flatter right before the fence. However, if I have him going with energy and impulsion, we either get to the perfect spot, OR... I see the slightly longer spot but I have an engine and we can then move up to it. Without impulsion the move up doesn't/can't happen. Ohhhhhhhhh.... BUT... I need to be careful that I don't create speed instead of impulsion. 

So... we had a repeat of previous lessons, but it's okay because it's a good lesson. We started out with a nice lovely BN/Nov canter. Then I closed my legs onto my saddle flaps. And if I didn't get a response, smack with the whip behind my leg. Then he goes forward in response. So fine, but now I've just got speed. So the trick is to let him surge forward but into my connection. Aha! The other trick is to test my canter through out the ride. Because... ha ha... Kelly pointed out that Dan can go from lovely lopey hunter to Rolex speed demon to behind my leg and putzing in one round. :) So.. when I walk my course, and when I'm riding, when I have a long stretch of canter, test it. Test the canter. Close my leg lightly and if I don't get a response, smack him with the whip. :) 

So we did 3 or 4 little courses with the new thought and it was great! I created the canter in our courtesy circle and then off we went. And sure enough... I could see my distances now and ask for the move up if needed. Of course there were a few bobbles, some my fault, some just bad math distances no matter what we had done, but... it was way better. 

The other thing we worked on was closing my legs (not just my heels) around him. Kelly told me to think of squeezing the saddle flaps with my thighs and calves. And... interestingly, it feels very similar to how I'm trying to ride my dressage. I need to put my leg at the girth and keep it there! And it wasn't that hard to do in my jump saddle today. Although I'm feeling it now!! Literally! And I have to work really hard to hold two point for a long time, so... winter goals....  But.. that thought process in my brain seemed to really help with my landing gear. Mostly, every once in awhile I'd fall back to pinching with my knee, but in general it was better. Yay!

Oh, and... going back to the speed thing. I was getting a little too carried away and let him get a little quicker than I needed. Impulsion is SLOW! 

So.. my takeaways...

* Squeeze my saddle flaps and keep my legs at the girth
*Test the canter throughout the course
*Go for impulsion, not speed. Impulsion is slow!


Quickie at home

My lesson with Beth didn't happen today, which was fine, as I needed to catch up on work stuff. But I also really wanted to ride. So I tried to do both. Which didn't really work. I decided to make the time and ride at home, but I managed to only leave myself an hour to tack up, ride, untack, turn out, change clothes, and grab food. Doh! But better to have a 20 minute ride than no ride. :)

Danny was a wild hooligan again! The neighbors were working on cleaning up the trash (yay!!!) but that meant that Danny was jumpy. And Fleck kept calling for him, as I had left him in the barn. But.. we coped. We managed to get some nice work and some slight hill work. So... better than nothing. :) 


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Death By Sprinklers!

This seems to be becoming a trend! Egads!

Kelli and I had planned a nice dressage hack today, followed by a hack in the field. HA! Foiled! Well, kind of. Not really actually, but almost. :) 

When we arrived at Ashland they turned the sprinklers on to water the rings. Sweet...that's awesome. Now it won't be so dusty. Except.... Apparently Sprinklers are still terrifying to Dan. (It's fine... I don't blame him after the last few incidents!). So... He was on high alert and nervous but coping. The ones in the dressage arena's turned off and we thought all was fine. But then the ones in the jump arena came on. And you could hear the hiss and spit but not see them. That was NOT FINE! Dan was so scared. The poor kid was literally shaking. Every inch of his body was trembling. And he broke out into a cold sweat. He was bug eyed and staring and dancing. Of course this got Arwyn riled up and she joined in. We managed to get them tacked up and I told Kelli that once I got on, we were going to have to move because Danny does NOT stand still when he's worked up. He has to move his feet to get oxygen to his brain apparently. So I got on and Kelli got on. Danny was jigging and moving but not freaking out. But Arwyn did. As soon as Kelli got on, she dropped a shoulder and spun and went to bolt. So Kelli got off and was standing with her. Unfortunately, when Danny freaks out he needs to move but when Arwyn freaks out, she needs to stand. So... she stool while Dan and I played bouncy trots around the trees. Finally I told Kelli we had to move to the arena or something because Danny was getting too keyed up and I couldn't contain his stride in the parking lot. 

So we moved to the arena and he actually did okay. There was a few little snorts and spins and tiny little bolts but we survived. We did our bouncy pogo trot and it wasn't pretty. It was tense and very agitated. But we survived. Kelli managed to get back on and we both ended up having some really nice moments. Danny started to breathe and I got some really nice work to the right. I got him off my inside leg and he was soft and buttery! Of course, then I lost the left side when we tracked left, but... one side a day. :) Towards the end, he got a bit more keyed up again and tense, but like I said, we managed some good stuff too. We got some nice shoulder in and haunches in too, both directions!!

Afterwards we opted to be brave and hack out for a bit. The open field was okay, although Danny and I had to zig and zag so that Arwyn could keep up with us. But we tried to hit the woods and it was too much. Danny was going to end up bolting and they were both too on edge, so we turned around and went to the XC field again. They settled and I worked a little bit on the right lead canter. Kelli mentioned, like Beth and Cindy and Kelly, that I overbend him to the right and should focus on keeping his shoulders straight, his neck straight out of his withers, and then just ask for a little inside flexion. We worked on that and it's hard for me. My body wants to twist or something. But when I thought about riding that outside shoulder up and over, rather than just focusing on the inside shoulder, it helped. It wasn't the best canter because of the terrain and the inattentiveness, but I managed to feel what I was wanting to feel so yay!

Then we headed back in.When I got home, Dan about exploded off the trailer. Once I let him loose he went for a short gallop around the back field, then rolled, and then took off to the front field, bucking and snorting and carrying on. Then he came flying to the middle, took the creek in a giant leap, and landed galloping on the other side. Good grief horse!!! Hee hee. No more excuses for not wanting to jump the tiny fake ditch at Jumping Branch! Jeesh. 
He finally settled down and hung out with Fleck.

I'm not sure that I have much chance of saving him from his sprinkler fear. :( No pictures because... well, it was more of a "don't take either hand off the reins" kinda day than usual. :) 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Eventing Derby Fun without the Eventing Derby

Because I ended up going to the Mountains with Mike Saturday 
Yay! We had fun... but because of that, I didn't get to do the Ashland Show. But luckily for us, they left the course up. After I rode Fleck, I hopped on Dan and we went out to play. I warmed him up and took a few fences. And man.. it's been soooooo dry here that the grass was slick. We haven't had rain since I got home from my last acupuncture session, which was... at least a month ago. And we really haven't had much rain prior to that. So it's sooooo dusty and hard and the grass is shrivelling. So Dan slid into two fences more or less warming up. He's such a good kid though. One of them, he basically slid into, jumped, took the rail with him, but landed and carried on like it was no big deal. Such a good brain! 

So we decided to just be careful and do our course. And the rest of the field wasn't too bad. It was mostly in that one area. So Liz made us a course and away we went. He spooked a little at the hay bales and I had already walked him up to it earlier. But... we had fun! I definitely need to pull him back to a trot for the up banks. I wasn't helping him at all and while he's brave, he's not quite educated enough to make that decision at a canter yet. Not without my help, and clearly I'm not capable of helping him either. Doh! But overall it was pretty good. There were a few spots I got left behind on, but he doesn't seem to mind.

 Playing in the field
However, not on video... we did another course, and he got a bit heavier. After the hay bale fence he landed and got really heavy and then sort of bolted. I half halted and had nothing, so I tried again. He sort of slowed but then bolted again. So... I let him. I pushed him and made him do a whole lap at the gallop. It was another 35 mph gallop it felt like. In retrospect it was not a good training decision. Liz and Kelli said that maybe it was, as he wanted to go, and I made him go. BUT... I didn't MAKE him go. He wanted to go. I just allowed it. So... bad idea. But... I did make him settle down after and we jumped a bit more politely. And then we sat and watched Liz go and I made him go out and jump another 4 fences and he was polite, so... meh. Maybe he just needed to get his gallop on. :) 

It was a fun day though!

Week day Rides

Wednesday: Thanks to a cancellation with a client with 6 horses... got my oil changed, added two horses, and got to ride!

Then Thursday I met with Kelli and we did some dressage and then a short hack. It took awhile to get him off my right leg, but when I did... It was LOVELY!!! Of course, no photos of that, but...


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Dan's buddy

Let's be friends Cleatus

And then.... It was awfully chilly when I woke up and went to feed. And Danny was puffed up and cold. So I tossed a sheet on him, fed him, and went in to change. This is what greeted me upon my return 10 minutes later. Little stinker! Look at that face!

Our Beginner Novice Debut!!!

I am just so proud of this little rugrat!!! He put in a most stellar weekend with only one slight little blip. He has come so far and is really learning and progressing. And with me as his Mom too!! ha ha.. 

There are so many "Proud momma moments" and I'm going to tell all of them! 
This was our first Beginner Novice 3 phase and only our 3rd 3 phase. His jumping and dressage has been so wonderful lately that I figured we might as well go BN especially since we could school the night before. And I really don't think that the problems are related to fence height. They seem to be ditch and water and looky things related as opposed to bigger fences. And I'm really glad we did BN because he could have probably have done novice even. Anyways.... back to the beginning...

We left Friday morning and unfortunately right as I went to go fetch him, Mike started up his new drone. It was a bit loud and sounded like bees so the horses were spooked. Which made it tough to catch and then load Dan. Sigh. But we survived and picked up another horse in Dacula and then headed to Poplar. Danny does NOT like being in a stall but he's going to have to figure it out. I think he was more upset that he couldn't interact than anything else. We hung out a bit and then got tacked up and went to go school. He was a little up but didn't offer to do anything. I warmed up in the arena and let him get a few canter laps. He wasn't bolting but he was happy to move his feet. Then we headed to XC warm up and he was a bit animated but didn't do anything. PMM (Proud momma moment) #1.We jumped a little bit but the footing was so hard that I only did one or two fences. Then we walked out on course and started to school. Dan jumped all of his fences on course like they were nothing. He walked in the brush covered start box like it was nothing. PMM#2. We jumped some of the novice fences because we could. Then we got to the big kid banks and he walked down the double downs happy as a clam. I had to actually pull him up a bit because he would have trotted off. PMM#3! Then we headed to the water. It was empty but starting to fill so it had a few little puddles. He walked right in and drank. Gross! So then we turned around and cantered in and even jumped the novice jump out. Granted it was little and there wasn't water yet, but still. Then I trotted him up to the ditch and he spooked and stopped but then after a few seconds went over it. After that he walked over it without flinching and then trotted over it just fine. We played over a few more fences and walked down and up another bank. Then I saw the training ditch. It was a ditch to a small row of barrels on a one or two stride. I walked Dan down and he threw a bit of a fit. His friends were leaving (although up until this point he was happy to go away from them and towards them and have them leave and didn't even care) and he thought it was big. It's also a trappy ditch. And bigger than I thought. I almost agreed that it was too big and pulled him off. I decided to make him walk through it so he didn't win completely which he did. Then I decided to try again and he balked once but then jumped it!! Of course on landing he immediately turned left and went to canter up to his friends. I didn't push the issue because he did jump it, so we carried on. Then we got to the second water after three more fences. The second water is trappier. It's looky and it's got a lot of terrain and a lot going on. The were starting to add water so that was a hose hanging in the air pouring water in. It was scary!! So it took us a bit but we got through it and jumped some jumps. Then we went to the other side of it where they had all the big kid stuff. There was a bank on either side so it made a little baby sunken road. Dan plopped down the one side and was about to go up the other side and then freaked himself out. Apparently there was a little trickle of water running along the bottom where the water complex was filling. It was SCARY!!! I couldn't get Dan up that bank to save my life. We tried letting him see it but he wouldn't even touch it. We tried following Moo but that didn't work. However, I turned him and jumped the other side up and that was easy peasy. It was the exact same bank minus the water trickle. I thought that I'd try going down first. He did, but man oh man!! He leapt about 6 feet in the air and landed on all fours. I pogo-ed up his neck and almost came off. Jeesh. But he still wouldn't go up it. So then I tried getting off and leading him up. Nope. I tried kicking the water around so he could figure out what it was. Nope. So then I decided that I would get back on and make him go up the other side and forget about it. But he was so worried that he wouldn't line up so I could get on using the bank away from the water that he ended up jumping up the bank (twice!) next to the scary spot. Only this spot had a log on top of the bank so it was way tougher. Goofball! But we got up the bank on the other side and called it a day. 

Dan got his bath and tucked in for the night and then me, Karen, Kendall and Caroline had a great dinner. And me and Karen had our own room which was quite nice. The next morning Dan was pretty clean. I got on for dressage and warmed up him in the big ring and he was pretty good. Then we went to the little ring for warm up and he behaved so well!! PMM#4! We had a lovely test!! The judge commented "Very well ridden" when I was leaving. I was very proud and got a bunch of comments from bystanders asking about him. Turns out it was indeed a very nice test! We scored about 4 or 5 8's, and I even got an 8 on my rider position!!! One of those 8's was our right lead canter!!! WHOOO HOOOOO. We ended up with a 28.25!!! MY best score EVER!!!!! I was so excited. We were first in our division and apparently first in all the BN divisions put together. :) Yahooo!!


 Of course then the pressure was on. I got on to warm up for stadium and he was rowdy!!! In his defense, the stadium warm up was a large sized dressage arena size with 3 jumps smack in the middle, right next to the stadium course. And it was packed. He was fine and then he would leap up and porpoise and scoot. Then he'd settle and suddenly do it again! eeks!!! We had about 6 of those and I got in a few fences and he felt great so I just let him stand and settle. It worked because we had a most lovely stadium round!! It was really pretty and smooth and ... just lovely! I was so proud. PMM#5. We kept all the rails up and didn't have any time so yay, still in first. 

We had a little breather before XC and then we were off. I was awfully worried about the water, despite the fact that we had schooled it the night before and he loves water at home. He was good in warm up although our very first fence he just about ran into before he jumped it. I don't know what happened or didn't happen but he woke up after that. He was pretty chill too although he was spooking at a Seminole Feed Flag hanging on the fence. ha ha! We got in the start box and he walked calmly out and then we picked up the canter. It was AWESOME. He was so rideable the whole course. He cantered politely and never once bolted or bucked or scooted. He was going to the fences and game. He jumped everything right out of stride and waited when I asked. We cantered and then trotted down the steep hill and jumped the coop beautifully before the water. I decided to circle around and went to trot into the water perpendicular to the flags. He slowed to a walk and scooted but went in without refusing. Then he put his head down and started to drink. Ha ha!! No Dan... Go!! So then we circled and he cantered right in through the flags and right out and we carried on our merry way. We kept up the same lovely ride until we hit fence 10, which was also lovely. He slowed and balked and we had a stop. And apparently 2 more. We *should* have been eliminated but they only gave us one stop for it. Which was quite nice but now I feel bad for the girl we still placed ahead of. :( Ooops. After the 3 "no's" I managed to get him in and once he got his feet in the gravel he was okay and we carried on. He jumped out unworried and we finished happily. Even with that, we still came in at 5:30 and Speed faults was 4:27 and optimum was 6:06. Hee hee. 
Just GO IN DAN!!!! 

So... we ended up with a 5th place ribbon (though again, technically we should have been eliminated). BUT... he was soooooo grown up for most of the event and sooooooooooo much better than at the last event, that... I can't complain. This time he said no to the water but I was able to convince him in 15 seconds as opposed to having to wait for a horse to lead us out. That's progress. Now don't get me wrong.. it's awfully frustrating because this horse LOVES water. He drags me in the lake fully tacked. He crosses creeks all the time, he canters through the water at Ashland, and even at Cedar Ridge never having been through the water, he trotted in on his own accord after dumping me and made me walk through to the middle to get him. So yes.. it's frustrating as I felt like I did everything right to prepare him. I suppose I should have presented him to the second water before attempting the flags also. Or rode more forward. Or pulled him back to a walk to allow him more time to look???? I don't know. But I'm hoping that it will improve as much next time as it has compared to the last. 

And like I said... otherwise, he really was SOOOO GOOD!!!!

Beth Lesson

Knees to eyeballs

tough ride, but once we got a good canter.... in front of my leg and in the bridle.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Blasted right Leg

right leg must behave....

long, at the girth, and close my upper calf and lower thigh. if he leans on me, use my spur almost like a cookie cutter and "rake" his side AT THE GIRTH and then go back to the long leg position. Rather than slinging it back and pointing my toe and lifting my spur into his stifle.

and voila! Lovely soft bouncy canter

Evening Ride

dusky hack and then dressage school