Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Back to Work

I got back from San Diego on Saturday and went immediately to the barn.  To be fair it's on my way home and I only live 8mins from the barn.  I checked on all the ponies and gave all 3 treats.  Sunday I free lunged Zoe and planned to do a light hack with Bud. 

Jen was giving lessons and I rode around the other girls.  They were doing a a little course and she told me to join in.  We only worked on a couple fences, as I didn't want to interrupt the lessons and since Bud hadn't been ridden in a week.  We did a single diagonal fence, right to left, then a fairly snug rollback to a single on the outside going downhill.  I was holding Buddy a bit too much to the first fence, trying to keep him packed so we could make the turn and Jen got after me about it.  Once I let go and moved him up a bit it flowed much better and we were able to get a better turn. I think my biggest goal right now should be to stop picking at my horse and learn to ride the more forward pace.

Monday I was motivated after work so I rode both Zoe and Bud.  I haven't ridden Z in almost 3 wks, so I lunged her before getting on.  She was surprisingly good, both on the lunge and under saddle.  She had a couple little fits where she would put her head down and shake it while doing a mini crow hop, but after the first time I was prepared and it amused me more than annoyed.  We just worked on going forward and being straight at the canter and didn't do a whole lot since she's been out of work. 

I put the western saddle on Bud and channeled my inner reiner.  We worked on transitions and his stops.  There is something so fun about cantering down the long side as fast as you can and then sitting deep and saying whoa and having them stop.  Buddy doesn't have a sliding stop, but  he can stop pretty quick when he wants to.  We also did some lead changes and I rode most of the time with only one hand (a big step for me). 

Yesterday I gave Bud the day off and rode Zoe again, with the plan to pop her over a couple fences.  She warmed up well, and didn't have any tantrums.  I had just started going back and forth over a cross rail when I head a loud pop coming from the field behind the barn.  It's goose hunting season and there was someone shooting in the far field. I rode for another few minutes, but every time I heard a shot go off it freaked me out till I finally quit.  Zoe couldn't have cared less, but I had the willies.  The few jumps we did were good and I got a nice lead change out of her so at least we ended on a good note.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


As an early Christmas present, my mom got tickets for us to see Cavalia in San Diego.  It was awesome!! Even my dad (who is not a horse person) loved it.  We had great seats, only 6 or 7 rows up from the arena.

The did the acrobatics, vaulting, free lunging, driving, trick riding, high level dressage, and jumping.  They mostly had Anadulsians and Lusitanos, but also had QHs, Paints, a couple drafts (Perch and I think a Suffolk Punch), a mini, and a warmblood.  Ages ranged from 6months to 20yrs.  They had 16studs, and 32 geldings.

I think the think I liked best about it were the mistakes.  One of the vaulters missed a flip and fell off the Percheron.  She got back up and did a couple circles before trying again.  You could see her gather herself for the second jump but unfortunately she fell again.  The routine was over by that point but as she was leaving she walked up and petted and talked to the horse.

 Then during another act there was one man free lunging a group of 6 horses.  One of the horses (I think he was the 20yr old since he looked old and bossed the others around) decided to have a nice roll.  The man lunging kept going, then when the horse got up he walked over and pet his face.  You could tell that there was a lot of affection between the two.

The final oops was during the jumping portion.  There was a one stride set up with the first fence  set about 2'6".  The second was just a bamboo looking pole held up to chest height (4'ish) by two guys.  About a stride out from the first fence I could tell the distance wasn't going to be pretty....and it wasn't.  They got way deep to the first and weren't able to make the one stride.  The horse jumped to the side, right at the guy holding the pole.  Luckily the guy managed to get out of the way.  The rider stopped his horse and shrugged his shoulders with his hands up as if to say "Oops".  Again, the rider pet his horse before walking out.

It was nice to see that even professionals who do this show twice a day four days a week even make mistakes.  It was very obvious that all the horses were in great shape and well taken care of.  Almost all of them had boots or wraps on and everyone went in a snaffle.  If you ever get the chance to go see Cavalia, do it

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Whirlwind Week

First off, Happy Thanksgiving!! It's been a busy week for me.

Last Friday my plan after work was to ride Zoe, lunge Bud then clean and pack for our show on Saturday. However one flat and one very low tire on my trailer derailed that. Luckily Rick was able to change my flat and put air in the low tire. With an hour till closing time, I hauled the trailer over to Les Schwab and the wonderful guys fixed both tires for free!!

Saturday was very cold and wet and I was glad I spent the money to get Bud a day stall at the show. We got there early enough to eat breakfast and watch some rounds go. I had a 2' schooling round first, and Bud was pretty backed off in warm up. The footing was pretty hard and packed in the warm up ring and he didn't like it. Our round went ok, the lines were a little long and we had to scramble a bit to make them.

My 2'6" rounds weren't much better. Buddy woke up for the bigger fences but it was still hard to make the distances. I did have a couple "oh shit" moments but Bud held it together. Surprisingly our last round, the mini medal, was our best round. I only placed 6th, and both Jen and I thought I should have been higher. The girl who was 5th had a couple funky lines and her horse swapped leads a couple times. Oh well.

Sunday I flew down to San Diego to my parents for the week. It's been shopping and cooking, my favorite things after riding!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Showing off

Buddy and I had a great lesson on Sunday.  Both Jen and I decided since we've been picking on Buddy in our last couple lessons that we would take it easy on him and just try to have an nice rhythm and flow. We started working on a couple trot fence which Buddy wasn't impressed by at all.  We moved on to an outside line which was an easy 4.  We nailed it the second time thru then moved on.

There was a single set along the curve at the upper end of the ring that we did a few times by itself then put it in a bending line with a single on the outside.  It was 4 or 5 strides straight then turn and 2 to the single.  It was little nerve wracking for me, since it was hard to see the distance with such a short approach.  It actually rode pretty well.

We then put together a little course with a couple fun roll backs, an angled oxer, and the single at the top going the other way.  Buddy was feeling great; forward and in front of my leg.  The course rode well and after a few times thru we called it good.  It was a great lesson a week before a show!

Bud had Monday off, and the plan was to do a flat hack with him today.  But when I got out to the barn one of the other farriers was out doing horses.  Larry used to own Buddy; he was the one Connie bought him from.  I personally can not stand him and Rick and Connie (who used to be good friends with him) can't stand him either.  I decided that since the jumps were still up and it wasn't raining that I would pop Bud over a couple.  I put them up a hole from our lesson so they were 2'9"ish.  We  just worked on some of the single fences and didn't put anything together but Buddy was jumping great again!  I got a couple pretty deep distances and Bud hopped right over them without touching a thing.  I know I wanted to show off how far Bud's come and it felt like Bud wanted to show off too.  He was so good and felt great!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

One down, one to go

Phoenix got body clipped tonight.  He doesn't grow much of a coat, but he sweats a ton.  This past week it's cooled down and after almost every ride he's been very sweaty.  Anna's had to do a lot of currying and walking him with his cooler on to get him to dry.  I decided a few days ago that it was time he got clipped.  I had ordered new blades from Schneider's last week, as they  had a buy one get one free sale but they hadn't come in yet. 

I'd forgotten how wiggly Phoenix can get when I do his stomach.  His whole side will twitch and he dances around.  He also seemed sore when I did his right hip/stifle area.  I know he has arthritis in that stifle and has had it injected before.  I've been playing with the idea of getting it injected again but will wait to see how he does this winter.  Anna's starting to jump him a bit more, still just x-rails but she's taking a few lessons a month and wants to show him over fences next spring. 

I still have to go back and do touch up tomorrow, but it was dinner time and Phoenix was getting upset so I called it a  night. I'm also planning on doing a trace clip on Buddy but after our show next weekend and after my new blades arrive.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Don't text and drive

Ground drive, that is.  Corie has suggested ground driving both Zoe and Buddy to work on suppleness instead of lunging with side reins.  I took Bud out last night and let's just say I don't think he's ever been driven.  We walked around the arena like drunken sailors (which is somewhat normal for him). We mostly worked at the walk trying to stay straight and did lot of changes of directions.  I did work him in a circle both directions at the trot and he stayed soft in the bridle.

Tonight was Zoe's turn.  She obviously has been driven.  It was so much easier to get her to change directions and to steer.  She offered to both trot and canter on her own, so I worked her on a circle both ways and was even able to change directions thru the trot.  She worked really well being driven.  I was walking her around the arena to cool off and was answering a text when we passed the opening to the barn.  She darted to the right and took off down the aisle.  Luckily I stopped her, and no one was in the aisle.  We backed out and did a little more work to remind her that I'm in control.

Zoe says "It's dinner time, let me in!"

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Taking a step back to move forward

In  my lesson on Thursday I was having a hard time finding distances, and getting Buddy in front of my leg.  Jen had me focus on pumping my arms like a little kid to relax my elbows and encourage Bud to come forward.  We also went back and did a mini course of canter poles, working on moving him forward and then collecting. 

At first I was pretty upset that I'd been downgraded to just poles, but it's a lot harder to find distances to the poles than it in to the jumps!  Bud (an most horses) don't really care about ground poles so he was ambivalent about moving forward or collecting when I asked him to.  I really had to get after him, and we ended up hand galloping some of the poles then stopping after to get him to listen.  Once we went back to the jumps it was so much easier.

Again, I focused on relaxing and being fluid with  my elbows.  We then moved on to a little course and it was so much better than when we started.  Bud was tired, but willing and Jen even set some of the fences up a few holes for our final run thru.  We also talked and confirmed that we're going to our last schooling show for the season, Nov 17th.  We'll do the 2'6" pre adult hunter and the mini medal.  Can't wait!