Saturday, March 30, 2013

This and That

Not much to report...been trying to get back into the swing of things after being gone.  Work has been super busy and while I like the $$ that comes with extra hours, I don't like being tired and having less pony time. 

We had a couple good flat rides this week, Buddy was reasonably forward and listening well.  Thursday I decided to jump him, as the two cavallettis and a cross rail were in the arena.  Apparently not jumping for two weeks = crazy horse!  Buddy launched over the cavallettis and I had to stop him in the line to remind him of his manners. We trotted in and trotted out of the line about 7 or 8 times before he got it and calmed down.  From there we moved on to cantering the cross rail and he wanted to run at it.  Every time I asked him to wait he would flip his head and get pissy.  We got a couple decent ones and called it good.

Friday one of the other girls was riding while I was, and she had put the cross rail up to a 2'6" vertical so we tried again.  He was pushy and cranky during our flat warm up, but remembered the cavalletti exercise from the day before.  I let him canter down the line since he was being good then we moved on the the vertical.  Same thing from the day before; wanting to run at it and getting mad when I made him wait.  The first time at it, he was way off to the right trying to fit the last stride in and smacked the rail pretty hard.  But that helped him learn as the second time when I asked him to wait he was better about it and less pushy.  Third time was the charm!  Nice quiet fence where I could sit back and let him go without feeling like he was a freight train.  We ended there and he got a bath since the weather's been so good.

Today he got the day off and when I went to the barn I found that he had used his free time to do a little remodel on his stall.  Knocked the top board of his half wall off.  He seemed very proud of himself.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Pony sick

It's like being homesick, but I miss my ponies more! I'm sitting in the airport waiting for my flight back to Oregon and I can't wait to run out to the barn this afternoon.

I had a great time on Friday, riding at my old barn and I went back out Sunday morning to see some more old friends. But being there really made me miss Buddy and I was dying to ride him in one of the lessons going on. It doesn't help that I had gotten a text from Connie saying Buddy had been cranky and pinning his ears at people. It makes me both happy and sad to think he's missing me. Only 8 more hours Bud!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Back in time

I'm still in So Cal and managed to run out to the barn I rode at in middle and high school today. Talked for a bit with a couple woman who were there when I was and my old trainer. I was offered a horse to ride tomorrow and luckily I have a pair of boots with me, but no chaps or helmet. I think I can borrow some, so I said yep! I'll actually be on a horse that was there when I was (over 8yrs ago) and I'm glad to see he's still going.

Monday, March 18, 2013


It was awesome!! Just walking around the grounds and watching the regular classes was so much fun. We got there around 11:30 and the Grand Prix didn't start till 2, so we had plenty of time to hang out. I wandered down vendor row and drooled over all the pretty tack and clothes I can't afford.

Dad and I got seats in the stands right along side one of the most difficult line of the course. It was fences 3,4,5ab, and 6. It was a long curvy bending line....5 strides from 3 to 4 both giant oxers, then 5 or 6 to a one stride at 5a and 5b. Then it was a 4 strides to fence 6, a skinny dragon vertical that was taken on an angle. So many riders had trouble down this line!

Out of the 40 riders there was only 2 clear, with another 2 having only time faults. Time was a big factor and a lot of people were over the time allowed. Being able to watch how powerful and talented all the horses was amazing. Antares F, McLain Ward's horse has an amazing front end. I've seen videos online of him but the action in his front end in person was incredible. He just cracks his shoulders and knees up, I don't know how McLain rides it.

I didn't get as many pictures as I had hoped, I was so caught up in the action that I forgot. I did get some from the jump off between Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (who won) and John Pierce.

I did decide that no matter what, I will be showing at Thermal at some point in my life. It's going on my bucket list!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Enjoying life

This past week the weather has been great!  It's still a little cold in the morning but its been warming up into the 60s.  And now that the time changed its light till after 7 so I've been spending most of my evening at the barn.

On Sunday Amy had a lesson on Buddy, and while he was a bit of a pill for her, they ended well.  She's still trying to get used to him as he's almost the complete opposite of what she had been riding.  He was fussy with his head, but that's because she needs to relax and let go; trust that he 's not going to run away or do something naughty.  I can see a lot of myself in her when I first started riding Buddy.  The locked elbows, not sitting down and pushing him forward...makes me realize just how far we've come.  She has another lesson today that I should be able to watch.

I'm leaving Friday for 10 days down in sunny CA.  I've managed to convince my dad to drive the 2.5hrs out to Thermal with me on Sunday to watch the Thermal Million Grand Prix.  I'm so excited!!! We are leaving first thing Sunday morning so we can watch some of the hunters before the main event. I'm going to try and take lots of pics.

Friday, March 8, 2013

"It's an easy four"

I'm convinced that sometime in the last week some one stole Buddy and replaced him with another horse that looks identical but is forward, light, and responds to aides!  Buddy was awesome in our lesson yesterday.  We started by trotting in and trotting out of a line with two tiny verticals.  Normally he couldn't care less about trot fences, so I wasn't expecting it to be a hard exercise. Well, he jumped the first very well and so strong down the line we had to circle so I could get him to trot.  Same thing the second time thru, only I was able to halt him a stride away from the second fence, then back him up and trot it.  By the third time he figured out what we wanted and we had a nice line.

From there we did a small, single oxer on the outside.  He started out a little behind my leg, and we got a couple iffy spots to it.  After one lap around the ring at a hand gallop, he was much more adjustable and we nailed it.  We took at walk break at this point while Jen adjusted some of the fence heights and made the oxer bigger and into a Swedish.

Jen gave me a little course to do, starting with the line we warmed up with.  She said "it's an easy four."  Well, nobody told Buddy that and we zoomed up the line in about 3.25 strides. At the second stide I thought "Oh shit" and started praying. I thought we were crashing thru the second fence for sure, but he somehow got his feet under him and made it over.  We went to do it a couple more times, and he was so strong I had to hold him all the way down the line but we got the four.  When did my horse suddenly have big boy strides?

 During another walk break Jen and I talked about how that now that the fences are going up (we were doing 2'6"-2'9"), and he has to use his body correctly, that he's opening up his stride and really jumping with a lot more scope. The down side, is he gets tired quicker and we can't do as many jumps per lesson. We ended up doing only about 45 mins, but it was productive.

We went back to do the rest of the course Jen set, minus the line, so we could work on some of the turns.  It was a single diagonal plank fence, to the outside oxer, to another single diagonal with the new box under it, then a quick right hand rollback to another diagonal.  There were a couple times he wanted to get quick and lean thru the turns so we circled, but over all he was great.  When I asked him to move up, he did, and even though we had to circle he came away better balanced and packaged.  We had one fence that he was sitting on his hind end to so much, that I felt like I was riding Phoenix.  Buddy tend to be down hill, but yesterday his front end was so lifted and up.  I'm not exactly sure how to ride it yet, but I like it!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Better and Better

Buddy's dressagy, lateral work just keep getting better and better. Our ride yesterday was great.  He was fairly forward and willing to work which is always a plus!  We schooled leg yield, and for the first time I felt him really step and cross over and move off of my left leg. It felt great, like a really dressage horse! He wasn't quite as good moving off my right leg, but now I know he can do it so its only a matter of time.

We also schooled counter canter again, and its slowly getting better.  He also gave me lead changes from the correct lead to counter canter in both directions.  He gets grumpy going left to right, but did it.  It's so much fun!

Good ponies get kisses!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Stepping it up

This past week had been a whirlwind!  My hours at work have been upped (good for the wallet, bad for pony time) and I've had dinners/parties to go to all weekend. I had a couple easy hacks with Buddy in which he was pretty good.  Worked on his lateral work. Since I've been riding Phoenix I've realized that Bud's lateral work is seriously lacking.  Phoenix has pretty decent leg yields, half passes, counter canter, and lead changes.  When I was riding him all the time and showing, I didn't pay attention and realize just what nice lateral work he had.  I've decided that there's no reason that Buddy can't have it too...or at least be better than he currently is.

One of things I loved to do with Phoenix was doing a flying change from the correct lead to counter canter.  I once actually got him to do a three tempi change!  It wasn't anything that would score in the dressage ring, but it was pretty fun.  I was working on counter canter with Bud on Thursday and for fun asked him to switch from the correct lead to counter canter and HE DID IT!! I was shocked considering it was from right to left, which is usually his harder direction.  I had him do a couple strides in counter canter than patted him and told him he was such a good boy. Now that I know he can do it, I'll start working on it more.

Saturday I set up a few fences in the outdoor, including a new pallet/brush box thing.  We had some equipment deliveries at work, and they came on half pallets that to me looked like perfect jump filler.  I drove my truck down to work and loaded one up.  I plan to paint or stain it once the weather warms up so it will hold up better to the rain. I measured and it's right at 2'6".

 Right when I was going to get on Saturday the sky opened up and poured so we moved inside.  I brought the brush box in.  I had it set next to a jump while we warmed up, and Buddy didn't so much as twitch an ear at it.  We schooled over a vertical at first then added the box.  Buddy jumped it no problem.  I love that I can take him over new things and he doesn't care!  We have a lesson with Jen on Thursday and the box will make an appearance there.