Friday, March 24, 2017

2017 Q1 Goals Review and Q2 Goals

I think the goals I set for the first part of the year were good, but we didn't get everything.  Oh well, they'll stay on our goal list and hopefully I can figure out a plan of attack.

The Peebs:

  • Continue canter work, especially to the right  We do work on counter canter, maybe once a week or so.  Peebs hates it with a fiery passion
  • Flying changes  Didn't happen, except that one time he offered one in front on his own then freaked out about crossfiring and panicked.
  • More lateral work   Lots of leg yielding, SI, and started on HI
  • Figure out how to stop rushing the fence going right up the long side of the ring.  HAHAHA nope!
  • Stay happy, healthy, sane, and sound  Check!
  • More work cantering fences without feeling like I'm going to die  I give this one a 50%.  To the left I'm completely fine.  Somedays we can't even canter to the right without loosing it, let alone canter a fence to the right.
  • Work on relaxing my hands and elbows  Again, a 50%.  I need to be more aware of my outside rein, but I'd say I'm not locking my elbows as much.
  • More no stirrup work  I did some, but not enough that I consider the goal checked off
For Q2 here are our goals:

  • Right lead canter.  It'd be nice to not go running up the long side counter bent with his head in the air.
  • If above goes well, start cantering fences to the right.
  • Keep working on counter canter.  Be able to pick up the right lead tracking left.
  • More lateral work
  • Stay happy, healthy, sane, and sound
  • Awareness of my outside rein...don't forget about it!
  • More ground pole work so I can work on my eye and seeing a distance.
  • More no stirrup work

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Alternative Circle of Death

I had a lesson last week and all we did was trot poles.  And it kicked my ass.  But it was a really good lesson and gave me something to focus and work on.

I've been feeling a little lost lately.  Our right lead canter is shit, but I can't figure out how to fix it. Obviously Peeb's teeth played a part in that, and he's getting looked at by the chiropractor tonight, but there's more to it.  I'm not super imaginative when it comes to exercises or ways to work through a problem when riding on my own, especially if its been a while between lessons. If only I could have my trainer at the ring every time I ride....

We were riding in the indoor, since it was rainy and I wanted to focus on flat work. Trainer set up 3/4 of the circle of death with poles at noon, three, and nine. She had the two outside poles along the rail, but the noon pole was sitting about ten feet in from the rail. I was a bit concerned because our canter right is no where near ready to attempt even part of the circle of death.

Glory at my paint job! Obviously not the indoor, but what I set up outside on Sunday
She had a trot the outside pole, bending to the noon pole then turning towards the wall before looping back over it then bending to the other outside pole.  So if we were tracking right it would be right bend to the middle pole, left turn around it, then right turn to the outside pole.  The goal was to get Peebs and me bending and thinking quicker. He tends to want to dump on his inside shoulder instead of moving up and around it.  This way we switch the bend up, and with not a lot of space in the indoor, I had to plan and be ready with my half halts and leg in order to set him up.  I also got called out on not having enough feel on my outside rein, and being late switching to the new outside rein in the turns. Which obviously doesn't help Peebs at all.  By the end of the lesson we were going pretty well and he was much more supple and willing to move up and around my inside leg.  While we didn't canter at all, trainer said the work we did (and the work I should continue to do) will help with our right canter issue.  If I can be more consistent with my outside rein, and he's more willing to move up and around my inside leg, a lot of our problems might be solved.

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Sunday I set the full circle of death up outside to play with.  I did the exercise from our lesson to warm up, but since I had more room in the outdoor (or maybe because I didn't have a trainer telling what to do) it didn't work quite as well. We did a little canter each way, picking up a pole here and there, before another boarder talked me into doing the circle. Going left was fine but I only managed to put two poles together going right before Peebs lost his brain.  Its going from the six o'clock to the nine pole that he wants to brace against me and rush, but the rest of the time he's fine.  Obviously we still have more work to do.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Worst Pony Mom

Peebs got his teeth done last week, a little over a year since he last had them done.  I knew I probably should have had them done sooner since he's missing a tooth and hadn't been done for a couple of years before I got him.  But the vet was coming out to do the barns spring shots and a few other dentals so I waited.

Our barn started using a new vet last summer, and while we all love our old vet, there were some things that were slipping.  He's always been super busy, but lately its almost impossible to get an appointment with him.  My BO had a gelding she sold last year that had a heart murmur and he couldn't hear it. He's in his late 70s and, while I don't think he's planning on retiring anytime soon, our barn figured it was time to look for someone new.  Luckily, everyone loves new vet; she takes the time to talk about issues and will text and email!

Say "ahhhhh"
New vet said that Peebs was way over due, and by her calculations, probably had never been done before I had old vet do him last year.  And old vet did a crappy job.  Poor Peebs had some big hooks.  Big enough to cut his tongue and cheek. NV said that could explain some our issues turning right; his teeth were so sharp it would prevent him from lowering his head and turning it. I knew he was needed them done, but not this badly.  And to add insult to injury, NV ran Peebs through some basic range of motion exercises for his neck and she felt that his neck and poll were out.  She suggested I call the chiropractor out for him. 

I felt like the absolute worst pony mom ever. Once the sedation wore off I stuffed Peebs full of treats, which he can now eat without hurting himself.  He's going to be on a six month schedule for his teeth, and we already have the next appointment scheduled. Sorry Peebers!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Death Plague

I've been out sick the past week with the death plague.  I'm not one who usually gets super sick from a cold, but this one had me out for a solid week. 

Nurse Eddie reporting for duty
I dragged myself to work last Monday, took Tuesday off, did a half day on Wednesday and went in for a half hour on Thursday till my student worked heard me attempt to talk and ordered me home.  She said she'd come in and work for me on Friday and that I was to go home and go to sleep.  Which is what I did.  I didn't leave my house till Sunday.

I was even banned from the barn.  I'm on self care, so I'm supposed to clean my stall and feed Peebs dinner but my BO (who's like my second mom) told me not to worry and that she'd have a couple of the high school girls take care of Peebs for me.  They even held him for the farrier for me. I did make it out yesterday to clean my stall and play with Peebs. 

So of course today when I had to back to work, it started snowing.  Is winter over yet?!?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Two Forward, One Back

I had a lesson last Friday where we were able to show off our new found skill of putting together canter fences to the left, as well as our glaring lack of that same ability to the right. Peebs warmed up well and we were able to do a few warm up fences before attempting a little course.

We started with the outside line to a single diagonal off the left.  The line rode perfect but turning to the diagonal was a bit hairy.  Peebs loves to over bend and drift way past our line in our left turns.  A couple circles with lot of outside aids, and thinking about having a touch of counter bend fixed 95% of our problem.  I just have to remember to do that every time and we'll be 100%! My trainer said that I'll know when I've forgotten because I won't be able to see a distance, but when I remember the distance is right there.  And she was right.
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We then tried to add a single diagonal off the right with a roll back to another single off the left on a short approach. This is where the wheels fell off.  While our cantering to the right in general has gotten a lot better, we still have a lot of problems cantering fences to the right. Peebs just couldn't that night, and every attempt to turn right led to a run out.  So we went back to the trot, which was no big deal. I tried to canter the pink plank, and it was ok the first few times, till Peebs got tired.  Then we went back to trotting that till he realized we were landing right and decided to have a mini bolt up the rail.  That freaked me out and we had a little walk break while I decided if I wanted to continue or not.  Trainer took the pole down so it was just the baby plank and we trotted it again and stopped him by turning his head into the side of the barn. It wasn't fun or pretty, but after a few times he got it and stopped before the barn.

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I was happy that I kept going and didn't let his bolt scare me off. I know the only way to get both of us over his issues going right is to just do it, but I'm half tempted to give my trainer the ride. Part of our issue is the both of us combined; me anticipating him being bad so I tense up, he's already tense then feels me get tense go he gets's an awful cycle but I know we can break it.

Monday, February 20, 2017

USHJA Outreach

Here in Oregon the main local h/j organization is the Oregon Hunter Jumper association.  They have membership tiers for those showing at the local shows (me!), those doing a mix of rated and local, and those doing just rated shows. This year OHJA decided that all of the local schooling shows needed to be part of the USHJA Outreach program for points to count towards OHJA year end points.

I was slightly pissed at first.  Last year, only three of the schooling shows were outreach shows, and they were all at the same venue run by the same show management. But it looks like this year all but one or two local shows have decided to become outreach shows. And while you don't have to be an USHJA member to show in these shows (unless you're doing special classes like medals or derbies) you might as well, and that's a $35 membership fee. My OHJA fees are $30 (for the local membership), so that doubled my fees.  I do like that you don't have to pay the full membership fee since these aren't rated shows.

What I do like is that they have jumper classes starting at .70m/2'3" and a 2'6" derby with options to 2'9". I'm hopeful that some of our local shows will have the derby since all of the other derbies in Oregon are the National and International ones held at the rated shows. I'd love to show in a 2'6" derby!

USHJA used to do year end points by zone, but this year has decided to do bronze, silver, and gold certificate of merits.  Bronze is 30pts, silver 50, and gold 75. Bronze certificates are mailed out when you've reached 30pts, but silver and gold are given our at the zone year end awards.

I'm excited/nervous to see how this changes our little local circuit, but hopefully it's all for the best. Here's hoping we can at least make it to the bronze level this year!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Subtle Signs

One of Peebs' biggest issues is his right side.  He has always felt slightly dropped right.  He doesn't like bending right; putting his nose in the air and tilting his head to the left is his favorite thing ever, after food. Cantering to the right can be pretty awful at times.  Cantering jumps to right is something we've just started doing, and again, can be pretty damn awful. He loves to ignore my hand, counter bend, throw his haunches to the inside, and run full tilt at the jumps. 

So imagine my surprise when a couple weeks ago during our last jump school when another boarder commented that Peebs looked really straight going right. Say what?!  This was maybe the second or third time I've ridden with this other boarder, she's usually out at different times than me.  We had had some really awesome fences going left, so I decided to be brave and canter the single cross rail going right.  He wanted to be strong and run at it, but after other boarder commented on his straightness, I realized that he was in fact, straight.  He was still high headed and strong, but he wasn't twisted left or throwing his haunches around.  And he didn't switch leads over the fence like he usually does. Huh.

Earlier this week I was riding when a couple other boarders came out and we started talking.  As I was sitting on Peebs it felt like he calked a hind leg to rest, and I pushed him forward a step to square up.  But he still felt uneven. I asked the girls if he was standing square, and they said he was.  For the first time ever, his right side felt a touch higher than his left. When I rode last night I tried to pay attention to his evenness, and again, he felt even if not slightly higher on his right side. I guess all of my work focusing on his right side is staring to pay off. Now, if we can just canter on the bit and not run at the jumps, we'll be golden!