Saturday, August 31, 2013

Don't Wait

Forward, forward, forward was the motto for yesterday's lesson.

We even want those big ears forward!

  Everything with Tia is easier if she's forward, engaged, and I'm not waiting.  We started on the flat with transitions.  Her upwards are pretty decent, but she likes to plow down on her front end in the downward transitions.  We did a lot of walk-trot-walk transitions trying to lighten her front end by keeping my leg on and my hand a little higher.  We got better but still need to work more on them.

We did more counter canter and she's come a long, long way.  We can hold it all the way around the arena now, and even turn to cross the diagonal.  Way to go mare!  Next week I'm going to start taking some fences on the counter canter. 

Over fences we started by spiraling out on a circle before going to a low trot fence to make sure she was forward and engaged.  She really doesn't like trot fences and I have to make sure she's using herself or else the fence is ugly.  I'm hoping that there won't be a trot fence at medal finals.

Trying get her mane to lay on the right. 
We then moved on to cantering a single outside vertical on the right with a long approach.  The right's her harder side, she wants to bulge out and drift to the left.  I have to control her shoulder in the corner than rider her forward to keep her straight. If I let her wait, or was tentative to the fence she'd get crooked and strung out.  Everything is much better if I just rider her forward.  It took a few times thru to get it but we managed.  On the landing side the push button hunter in her wants to immediately change and fall in thru the corner.  I made sure to support her with my inside leg and hold her which she did not like. 

We also worked thru a line with an oxer that was pretty close to 3ft.  I was prepared to be scared of it, as I really havent' schooled that high for a while but for whatever reason the line flowed really well and it was no problem for us.  Tia woke up for it and has some hang time over the bigger fences.  We luckily found some padding options to make my saddle work on her so I wasn't getting jumped out of the tack as much as I was in our last lesson in the Wintec saddle. I still need to work on being able to ride the bigger jump a bit better but since we're showing at 2'6" I'm not too worried.
Oregon State University oxer.  Go Beavers!

In Buddy news he got his shoes put back on yesterday and I'm going to take him out tomorrow to see how he feels.  He's been out of work for a month and I don't want to rush it.  And since I'll be focusing on Tia for the next 3 weeks we'll mostly be doing lots of short, dressagy rides with Bud.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Medal Finals Here We Come!!

Nothing better than getting home from vacations to this:

We qualified for our first medal final!!


I pulled Buddy out of the pasture tonight, after over 3 weeks off.  He was disgusting and covered in dried mud.  And to make it worse, he's shedding out his summer coat.  Our grooming session just transferred his grime and hair onto me.  He's due for a deep bath sometime this week.
He felt ok, still a little foot sore.  He was mostly tentative in the canter so I didn't do a whole lot.  I'll see how he is over the next week or so. I don't want to rush to get him back into shape and make him sore or worse.  Jen and I have talked about the possibility of taking Tia to medal finals instead of Buddy since it doesn't matter what horse I use.  I talked with Tia's owner, and she doesn't mind.  I have a lesson on Friday on Tia and we'll start planning. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Girl and her Horse

I'm on vacation with my family, going from San Diego down to Mexico and then up to San Francisco. It's been wonderful and relaxing. 

I've been getting updates on the horses from Anna and Connie. Anna has a friend whose a photographer and had a photo shoot at the barn the other day. This is the first pic and I'm totally in love with it.  
They say that every horse deserves to be loved by a little girl once in their life, and I'm so thankful I found Anna for Phoenix. Can't wait to see the other pics!! 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Looking Forward

Not much has been going lately, but we're staring to look forward towards fall.  I rode Tia yesterday, did a little jump school in the sand arena then went on a field ride with some friends.  There's a section of land in the middle of the fields that has a holding pond for water used in a bean and corn processing plant. Worst smelling thing ever!!  They pump the used water out to the pond, then use it to fertilize a field of corn and grass.  Sheep are run in the grass field and usually the horses don't care about them.  Last night they were pretty close to the fence and half the flock ran away while the other half moved towards us.  Tia was terrified.  She stopped and snorted and was shaking.  I took her to the outside of group so she had two horses between her and the sheep and that seemed to help.  The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful.

Scary, scary sheep
Tonight I caught the end of Anna's lesson where they did a 2' vertical!  Apparently early in the lesson Phoenix stopped at it, but Jen said Anna had him trotting so slow they were almost going backwards.  They looked great when I was there and Anna was so proud of herself.  Nik and little A also had lessons which I missed but both apparently did well. 

We've been trying to find a schooling show on a Sunday to take the girls to, as little A goes to church on Saturdays.  There's one Oct 27 that we're going to aim for.  In the past they've had a costume class since the show is always right around Halloween.  So tonight I spent  a good amount of time trying to think of something for Buddy and I to be.  Since his show name is One Bud Wiser I've decided to go with a beer theme.  I found a beer glass costume for me and I think I'm going to make Buddy a keg (grey sleazy or sheet) with the Budweiser logo on it. 
I might be hand walking him for the class.  No drinking and riding!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

"If She Gets Irritated, You're Doing it Right"

I had another lesson on Tia on Thursday since Buddy's still a little too foot sore to jump.  The theme was basically to do everything Tia doesn't like; moving her shoulder over, bending lines, and counter canter.  During our warm up we were able to get a lap around the field of counter canter each direction which is huge for her.  I think the fact that the field is so big helped, I was able to soften and widen the turns to help her keep the lead.  She didn't like it but got lots of pats and was told she's a good girl.

We warmed up trotting over a couple crossrails and it was ugly.  Tia is not at all impressed with trot fences and will wait till the last possible second then heave her body over them.  I had spurs on, and was trying as hard as I can to jumper her off my leg/spur but to no avail.  We gave up and cantered the x, working on getting her outside shoulder in and being straight.

From there we schooled the first part of the triple combo again working on making her go forward to the fence and keeping her body straight.  The first few times we were really crooked and I was having a hard time getting her right/outside shoulder to move around off my leg.  Jen said to really get after her with my spurs and to make sure I moved my body around the turn as well.  Once we got it, I could feel her get mad and she had this short, choppy stride.  The third element in the triple went up and once I had her straight and forward it rode really well.  Jen said it all, "If you feel her get irritated, you're doing it right but if you get irritated somethings wrong".

 A big part of the problem was the saddle.  Mine doesn't fit Tia who has huge withers and the saddle normally used on her is a Wintec all purpose, which I hate.  The flaps are long and it has big knee rolls that made me pinch with my knee and made me unable to really put my calf on her.  To get my calf on her, I had to turn my toe way out and take my knee completely off the saddle.  Jen and I talked and we're going to raid the tack room and see if we can either make my saddle work with creative padding and/or trying some other saddles.

After the triple we moved on to an outside line in a short three, provided that I came in with enough pace.  Tia's deceptive, she had a big stride but lacks impulsion and tends to get strung out.  I had to have her up and bouncy coming into the line, then just steady her for the three.  Unfortunately because of the saddle I kept getting jumped out of the tack over the oxer.  I couldn't get up out of the saddle as much as I would have liked, and Tia's jump would end up launching me.  I felt so bad because I was popping her in the mouth no matter what but she didn't seem to mind. Thank goodness for school horses with iron mouths, right?

We then did a bending line from a diagonal vertical to the oxer that ended up being more of a S curve than bending line.  I had to take the first fence on an angle, left to right, going really deep then moving her left shoulder over. The first few times we just did the first fence to make her get it, as she was sure we were asking the impossible.  Tia has a lot of really nice training on her, is the perfect hunter, but can not stand jumps on angles, rollbacks, and other jumpery things.

The red crossrial was our first fence in the bending line, only it was a vertical.

To make it to the oxer I had to swing out to the right then straighten her up and move forward to it.  We were getting stuck during a lead change and kept getting awkward spots to the oxer which didn't help with my getting jumped out of the tack at all. Jen put down a canter pole next to the oxer and had us go over that instead to find the rhythm and get her moving forward.  After a few times Tia seemed to figure it out and we went back to the oxer. We were able to nail it, and got a nice line with a forward ride to the oxer.  We ended there since she was getting tired and had tried really hard.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Can Summer Be Over?

I'd never thought I'd say that but man has it been hot. I told Anna that I would give her a lesson today but by the time we got on it was 97*. She still wanted to ride so we did. 

I got on Buddy bare back and he felt better. Pretty much normal at the trot but still tentative and tense in the canter. He got better as we went along but since it was so hot we didn't do much. 

Phoenix says it's too hot to work, how about a nap instead? 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

For Better or Worse

Buddy's going barefoot for now.  After pulling/loosing his shoes last week, he chipped up his feet so bad that our farrier didn't think Bud had enough foot left to tack a shoe onto.  He said he could try, but suggested we wait about a month till he's next out for some of the other horses.  Since we don't have a show coming up and the fact that I'm going to be on vacation for a week, I said ok and we left Buddy barefoot. 

He's been ok walking on the gravel and I've seen him trotting out in the field looking sound.  I got on today to see how he was in the sand arena and he was sore.  Not horribly so, but not right.  I'm going to ride a little bit each day to see if he gets better.