Thursday, April 26, 2018

Riding in the Rain

Today was my day off and my Momma came to visit. It was a little bit of a frustrating day but it ended well. I was supposed to have a lesson at 3 in Athens and Mom was supposed to come in the morning. But then it ended up looking like rain all afternoon and hard and then Beth had the vet out so the timing on the lessons wasn't working out for that either. I could have had Mom come in the afternoon but I know she hates driving in the rain and/or dark, so I didn't want to change our plans. So she came in the morning and it was dry and pretty. We had a good morning and got lunch and hung out. Then I looked at the weather as she was leaving at 1 pm. It was supposed to rain in Loganville at 2:15 and in Athens at 3:15 and it looked like a pretty heavy sheet of rain. So... I called Beth and the vet was late and had just started on Josie and still had Mighty and Atlas to do after, so.... we finally just called it. I hopped in the trailer and headed to Ashland because I really wanted to ride before the show on Saturday. I knew I would get rained on, but it looked like there was only a short little window at 5 pm too. So... we headed to Ashland and sure enough it was slightly sprinkling when I got there. We warmed up and then it started drizzling steadily. But whatever, I was on, and I was riding. :) Dan and I had a good dressage school. We ran through both dressage tests and other than him falling to the center and hesitating for the left lead canter departs, it was pretty nice. Our lengthens need work as he gets a little above the bit but they were much nicer than they had been. By the time we finished it was raining, but still not pouring. We went for a super short little hack in the XC field and then headed home. 

I put them in their stalls with some hay to rest and dry and of course.. it stopped raining shortly after. And it is now 6 pm and it's currently not raining. Doh! Oh well. It looks like a little squall with possibly some thunder and lighting from 7 pm to 9 pm, so I'll probably turn them out after that. 

But we rode. And we had a good ride. :) And now I can give him a bath tomorrow after working all day and then get a (hopefully) good nights sleep before heading to Chatt Hills. I don't ride til 3:30, but I offered to volunteer before my rides, so... I've got to be there all day. :) Luckily she's being very nice and not making me be there right at 7:30. Cause... I could do it, but to also haul and get Dan into a stall.... That would be a super early wake up call!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Balancing Lesson

It was another soggy day but at least there wasn't rain AND I actually had the indoor on a day when I wanted the indoor. :) We had a good lesson with Cindy. We worked on nothing specific other than me balancing him and keeping his dorsal spinous processes aligned properly. It wasn't anything specific, but that image helps me balance him and myself better. We did some spiral in and spiral out and really pushed him into the outside rein. It was good! We also worked on walk to canter, which was hard. Especially to the left. He keeps wanting to throw himself to the right and pick up the right lead. But we managed. Not with him staying supple in his neck and head, but we got it. And we'll add the suppleness next. We also worked on leg yields and Cindy reminded me to not block with the outside leg. I seem to want to kick my right leg in front to avoid blocking him but it does block him some. When I think about using my right leg behind me, but not at the stifle... at the girth, he does better and gets rounder and more bent and I don't block him. 

It was a fun ride. :) We also had two lungers in the arena so we had to finagle around them too, but it was fine. Just made it a little tough to do test movements, so we didn't. But it was okay. I wasn't feeling super needy about doing them. :)

Gibbs Day 3 was still a super fun day, but I had to get tough at the end and ride with  the expectation of more.

We started with the cloverleaf again and despite not really letting Dan "see" it, he jumped all of it without being phased. We did the down banks too and he was right on it. Beth had me put the monoflap back on him and we let Alexa try the Conquest but she did not fare well in the conquest so we switched back pretty quickly. (Unfortunately... the not so great riding on my part was probably more related to the not so great riding vs the saddle, but it did sort of make me think....... ).

After the cloverleaf we went back to the water complex and did the water stuff. Beth made a good point. I asked if I needed to walk him through the water or could go in "blind" since he's seen it before. She said I could and he'd probably  be just fine, BUT... it never hurts to put money in the bank every chance we get. And she's right. For some reason my brain just seems to think that he'll learn that he has to walk through every water before he can canter through it and that by teaching him to just canter through it, he'll learn to trust me. But it makes sense that the more water he gets to walk through and realize it's not going to get him...the more willing he will be to trust me. So we compromised and trotted through it. :) Ha! Then we did the up and down bank and some courses including the water. And that's where the "ride tough" part came out. We were watching Rusty and he has this very nice balanced uphill canter... almost where his legs are "flailing" up above his shoulders. And I don't mean that in a bad way... but in a good powerful "let me at the jump" way. So... Beth told me that I was being too passive and just letting Danny lope around. Just because he was talented and athletic and could easily lope around doesn't mean I shouldn't work on getting a better balanced canter and "jump" in that canter. So I had to get mad. I had to almost get him fired up and hot off the leg and almost cantering in place to get him back in front of my leg and going. And it was kind of sucky. I hate HAVING to do that. It's frustrating. But once we got it he kept it and then we had some pretty nice rides. It took me a little getting used to it and not shutting him down again. We had some really ugly fences were I would get him rocking and rolling and then at the base I'd shut down and he'd be like "What?! ummm?" and shut down too. Or I held too much. Or I threw myself at them. But once we both got the hang of it, we had some nice fences. Beth said that when I changed the canter and the way I was riding, even the other girls were like.. 'Oh.... OH! WOW... that's an upper level canter"!. :) So... that helped me feel better. It wasn't that it was terrible. It just... didn't feel as awesome as the end of yesterday felt. But you know... progress was made. It was our first real XC school back. So... I can't complain. I was very proud of the beasty. :)

After we finished riding, we cooled off and then he got iced. I had the Bemer blanket with me and that made a big difference. He was much quieter and less "dancy" so the icing went better. Then I wrapped him and got to packing up. After I got a good chunk done and had his stall and a few other things left, Cindy had left so the paddock opened up. I tossed Dan out and went to work on his stall. Shortly after I got a phone call from Dawn, who was at the clinic too! I heard "umm.... Danny's in the fence"!. SERIOUSLY HORSE?!?! Again?!?! Do we NOT remember last time we were at the gibbs and rolling into the round pen panel. Sigh.. So I went running. He really got himself into a mess this time. He wanted to roll in the sandy stuff right by the gate in the pasture. So he did... and flipped over into the gate. But his head was in the corner too. Luckily, he's smart and was just laying there... kind of groaning which is new for him. A little alarming but.... he was fine. So... we pulled his leg out from the gate and he stayed still. So then... I was looking and realized that once we flipped him... we would end up flipping him so that his head was underneath the fenceline now. But I couldn't pull him or slide him so I didn't have a choice. So.... I grabbed the legs and Dawn helped and we flipped him over. Of course his head went under the fence....  But I pushed him down and told him to chill and he listened. And I was able to push his nose into his chest and he was able to pull his head out and then get up. Seriously though horse...... Good grief!!! Luckily he was just fine and although I was a little worried he would roll again, he didn't and we were able to get home safe and sound.