Friday, May 31, 2019

Riding at Home

Well, it's a bit more exciting in my mind, but.. it works. I had wanted to put up some grids and jumps at home so that on occasion I could toss in a few rides at home and practice with grids. It's hard to do them at Ashland and I can easily set stuff up at home and do them. So.. I pulled out my standards and a lot of them were broken. So I mentioned it to Peri (not even thinking about all the jumps she had!) and she offered me as many of hers as I wanted!!! Yahoo!!! So I took 5 sets from her, 8 poles, and.. forgot jump cups. But I've got 3 pairs, so... I at least had something to start with. Oh, and I got a barrel from her. So...yay! I was really super excited about doing grids. :) 

So this morning, my truck was in the shop and I had a cancellation for my morning, so.. I had time. I fed ponies and then went and set jumps up. And... I'm trying to do my homework and be good, but... what I walk does not seem to correlate with what the measurements are supposed to be. So... I need to clarify that because... I swear I know how to walk strides. I think I don't understand the actual distances in feet for the striding. But I'll figure it out. I need to pull out my grid book and just use their grids. But since I didn't plan ahead and only had 3 jumps worth of cups, I just winged it this morning. I put in a three stride with poles on the ground, so I could practice getting the right canter. Yet... I think I did it wrong. I think I measured for a 3 stride off jumps.. not a 3 stride of canter poles?? So I don't know, we ended up making it a 4 stride to get what felt like a collected proper canter. Then I also set up a 2 stride to a one stride and then added the barrel on a bend before or after. 

So... when the boys were done eating, I took them both down to the front field because I didn't want to deal with them screaming at each other. Poor Fleck had to stand tied to the fence. But after we rode, he got to come on a short little walk about with us. :) Which made him happy I think. 

Dan and I warmed up a bit, but... that footing is tough. It's got so many little tufts here and there and ant hills. And it's good for Dan to learn how to balance and watch his feet, but it's a little nerve wracking. So we managed to get our warm up in and then I did some cantering and tried to get THE canter. I didn't quite get it, but my poles line was also riding funny. So I ended up making it a 4 stride, and that felt better. So then we carried that canter into the grid. And it was great! It felt a bit tight, but he was able to rock back and bounce on through. So then we tried again and we definitely did NOT have the right canter. He pooped over the first one, totally landed far right outside of the grid. Sigh... So we did it again and we got it pretty much right every time after. Although it was definitely tight. So I definitely need to find out the right measurements. 

So then we did the barrel. Ha! Dan did NOT get the concept of jumping it at first. I tried trotting it two or three times and finally cantered to it. Then he understood better. And once he realized it, he was looking for it and jumping. So then we incorporated it into the grid line. It rode well and was fun. 

So then... we decided to quit with that but I wanted to do some simple changes. We did walk to R lead canter to walk to L lead canter to walk to R lead canter. Yay!!!! Then we did it walk to L lead canter to walk to R lead canter to walk to R lead again. Ooops. We did that sequence again and go the L, R, L correctly. Then we did one fancy trot and quit. Well, we did pony Fleck around the farm for a few minutes to cool down. I wanted to see how the back looked now that Mike mowed it. It looks great! But the bugs thought so too! It was awful. There was like... 9 deer flies on their faces in seconds. Ugh.

So yep. It was a nice quick ride. Probably an hour total to tack up, ride, untack and hose off. :) So I'll definitely be doing more of that. Now hopefully we can get some rain so the ground isn't rock hard! 

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Introducing the Flying Change!!!!

Oh man!!! What fun today! So.... I had a dressage lesson with Kelly since I missed my dressage with Cindy and then jumped with Kristin Tuesday... (And yes... I realize I have a lessoning problem, but... I need help y'all!). 

So.. we started off with making sure Dan was forward and staying forward even when asked to sit more. Kelly is always so encouraging with her extra tools of encouragement. Danny loves it! Today it was just a noisy pop timed with my leg aids and then the trailing lunge whip behind him when he forgot. So we got a trot on a small circle and got some engagement and worked on getting Dan to sit and use those hocks but also be soft and hanging in his neck. Without dropping his withers. It was fun. And a lot easier when I had the help of Kelly keeping him going. Tracking to the left, he still feels "broken" in his line of bend. But I think a lot of it is my darn left hand crossing the withers and my right hand being too lifted. It's much better if I can use that outside rein aid with my hand low. And it is even more helpful when I use my inside leg and then slightly take my outside thigh to help block the bulge. I've got to be careful to not go overboard, but... just to be there just in case.

We then moved to the canter. And wow. We got some really nice collected and rocked back canter. He felt pretty awesome! I didn't quite get his back up like the other day, but he was so soft and hanging in the bridle, it felt great. So then we talked about HOW TO ask for a change. We started with how to ask for the canter. Then we did walk to canter to walk and then canter the other lead. And one particular spot in the arena. This was on purpose, to help Dan realize we were about to try to do something there. So then we got on the right lead canter, got our nice happy collected canter. (SIT UP HOLLY!!!!) and then we came across the short diagonal to our spot on the wall and then as he went up in the stride, my aids switched to the left lead canter aids. So I switched both wide hands slightly to the new inside, turned my shoulders slightly to the new inside (but NOT FORWARD OR DOWN HOLLY!), and then pushed my left hip forward with a slight lift. And... he changed in front!!! And then we half halted and after a few strides he changed behind too. GOOD BOY!!!!! So we did that a few times and one time he swapped in front, took a stride, then swapped behind. Awesome!!!!!! So then we switched to the other way, which I honestly thought would be easier. And it wasn't. It was way harder! I'm not sure why. Basically I'm collapsing on that side. So Kelly.. (I almost fell off laughing.... she acted it out) told me to do a karate kick... herky.... scissor kick!. Basically, she wanted me to exaggerate the aid because I was failing miserably at it. Hee hee. It was funny. And it helped. The first time he swapped up front (maybe in the back, I don't know), but then immediately swapped back to the left lead instantaneously. Hee hee. We did manage to get one or two changes in the front end. He got lots of praise and we quit. :) 

Kelly said that he was actually really quite awesome. She said for the very beginning introduction to it.. he was a super star and got an A+. I got a B. ;) Ha!! I must sit up and engage and not collapse and get better body control and better aids. But she also said that the only way to do that was to practice and that I couldn't mess him up enough that he couldn't be fixed. So.. we shall practice. :) But she said that many horses don't get that far for awhile, so.. she thinks this may be his "ace in the hole" and that he may be a change machine. Hee hee. I kind of agree. :) 

So yep. Lots of fun. It was a hot day so we didn't do much else but hose him off and then I brought him home. I did buy him a traffic cone to play with so we'll see if he likes his new toy. :) 

oh... and this came today :) :) :) Phyllis Burchett is so talented!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Creating the Canter

Today we had a lesson with Kristin. It was our first one other than that one a long time ago with Fleck. Since Beth isn't going to the AEC's for coaching even, I decided it would be smart to ride with Kristin a few times to see if I liked her and so we could get a feel for each other before the AEC's. I'm pretty sure she will be there, so assuming we can actually get our last clean XC run and get qualified... it would be nice to have help. :)

And I liked her. We talked about a few things and then we went to work. She had me pick up a canter and canter through two cavaletti's 3 strides apart. We got the 3 but it was awkward. So then she had me go back to canter... then add some forward and then we added the rocked back part. I'm not exactly sure how I accomplished it, other than keeping my leg on, keeping my shoulders up and thinking of collecting him. And it worked, because then the 3 strides become very easy. In fact, I almost had to half halt to fit them in. Which, made my brain hurt, because.... I know, but... because it seems like it should be different. But anyways, so then we did that a few times...  I would get what I thought was the canter, and then "test" it by going through the cavaletti's. If it was an easy 3, there yah go! I had the canter. If it wasn't, then... I needed to fix the canter. So then we did some course work and worked on the same stuff. She gave me homework to do too. Basically the same stuff at home. Set up a cavaletti or small fences or even ground lines and practice my canter and striding.

Then when I got home I was pressure spraying some of the blankets and Dan had to help. ;) 

Monday, May 27, 2019

Dressage and a Swim

got up "early" (not as early as I meant to) to go ride before the lake

lovely quick dressage school.. then a bareback hack to the lake.

the leprechaun kids... jumped a few bareback.... scared and threatening to bolt back home.. got it together ;)

Saturday, May 25, 2019

8th Birthday Party

Awwww, my little baby boy is growing up!! How on earth is he already 8 years old?!?!

We had a fun day today! We went XC schooling at Chatt Hills with some friends. It was HOT!!! But not as hot as driving home with the heat on to keep the truck from overheating. Jeepers! I must get that fixed soon. 

We had a good day. We hacked all the way down from the top barns to the XC field and then warmed up briefly. We then all took turns jumping a few jumps at a time and it went super smoothly! Everyone did great! 

My takeaway for the day is.... Get the canter far enough away, and make sure I'm making a difference.... He must go from a gallop to a more collected put together canter... then allow him to reach for it. I need to keep my shoulders up and back, my elbows at my side, and my leg on. And then we're pretty much golden. :)

We had a good time. We had a few stops, but they were more because I didn't get him collected/shortened/packaged enough and he was not being brave enough to take a super long flyer. OR... he was being too smart! Once we got the correct (or at least more correct) pace, he went and went happily! We also got to lead the two "big kids" off the down bank into the water and he went happily and without hesitation. We jumped the sunken road. We jumped the jump in the water. We jumped a few training fences, and some of the technical training stuff. 

It was a good day! And I think Dan enjoyed his birthday party. :) 

I'm so blessed to own this crazy, goofy, silly, funny, smart, talented and fun boy. :) 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Less Interference

Lovely ride today... Jumped... warmed up and couldn't get it right... then realized (with Kelli's help) that I was interfering. Dan needs to do his job and I need to stop messing him up. Get the canter and then the last three strides belong to him. It worked.. .no more near misses. :)

Lovely long hack after. Danno was foot perfect and a good boy

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Jekyl and Hyde

And I actually mean me!! Ha! Not Dan. Dan was a super star today. 

We had a great ride this morning. We did a little warm up trip around the little lake and then did some dressage. He was SUPER!! Our canter got straight and upright and even and round. We got some pretty decent hesitations in our canter pirouettes and were able to complete a 180 both ways, albeit baby ones. We had some nice counter canter serpentines. We also had some good shoulder in and haunches in (renver, travers??? I don't ever remember) and we also had some fairly decent attempts at half pass at the trot. At the end we decided to do a few mediums in the trot and he was READY!! Hee hee. I let him finish with a medium down centerline and he was on fire!! We even got the working trot before the halt :) yay!!

We then had a lovely hack and just chilled out. It wasn't too terribly hot but it's getting bad already. I was dripping sweat but at least I wasn't heat stroking!

And all was well with the world. I was relaxed and happy and loving life. 

Then I came home and ate lunch and then headed out to see 3 horses. Just three horses... And I got so cranky! Granted the heat and humidity were miserable...but I think my hormones are out of control. Sigh... ugh.. this is going to be a long cranky summer :( 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

ooooohhhhhh!!! A lifted back!!!!!

Today was FUN!! We had a great lesson. 

We started off warming up with a hack around the jump arena. And the sprinklers were on. He was alert but fine. So.... I guess it's just the noise and not being able to fully see the ones at Ashland maybe?? I do need to take Lucy up on a desensitizing session. 

We had a great lesson. It was a lot of trot and canter and a lot of work on me getting my body position in a way that enabled Dan to lift his back. I had fully relax my butt and thighs and legs, and drape... and really fight the urge to tighten. In my brain, when I drape and relax that much... I feel like I'm pushing down on him and that my butt is more bouncy. BUT.. i know this isn't actually true. And today... I was able to fully relax things and keep things where they were supposed to be for a little bit! And his back came up and he got so round and engaged!! Or at least he felt like it. (I will be honest.. it is a little disappointing sometimes because he feels like a million bucks but then I watch and it's like... oh, he just looks like a training level dressage horse... sigh). But his back came up and met my seat and there wasn't any bouncing. It was awesome!!!! And when I focused on being straight and tall and strong in my upper body.. and relaxed and drapey with my feet underneath me and my toes in.... he really awesome!! He got round and supple and I felt like I could easily correct the lean... It was really fun. We had some pretty good counter canter 3 loops too! We also had some really nice correct trot mediums and some canter mediums too!! It was so cool! A helpful hint on my trot mediums is that as we come across the center, I need to subtly change the bend and really ride him inside leg to outside rein into the corner... and think quick, not slower or shorter, for the downward. 

So yep. Lots of fun! Dan was hot and sweaty. Me too! Then we went for a cool off hack and as we were going around the outside of the jump arena while Jessica and Alex were teaching, this work truck came by. It was a huge white work truck and looked a lot like a slowly swimming iceberg or manatee. They were super polite and went very slow and quiet, but... Dan stared... and stared.. I was thinking "Oh dan.. keep it together"... He went "I'm trying.... trying... trying... NOPE!!!" and exited sideways. I grabbed the reins and was trying to pulley rein him as he was leg yielding at a rapid pace down the lane. Luckily I managed to catch him after about 8 strides and we didn't scare the lesson kids. Then there were two more trucks, although they were normal work trucks, that he spooked at. The second one he reared and tried to bolt and the third one he just spooked at. Silly rabbit!! But I'm glad he was still frisky. :) Maybe he likes his new food. 

He got lunch and grazed and then snacked on hay while I worked. He's a good weirdo.