Monday, April 30, 2012

Cornerstone Hunter Show

The show went really well.  We got there plenty early and were able to school in the show ring before the show started.  Buddy was motivated and in front of my leg, so we worked on using our space (our arena at home is much smaller than the show ring was!), and having a nice rhythm.  There were two outside lines set up, one a 4 and one a 5, but when we schooled we got 5 and 6.  Both lines felt comfortable (to me) with the extra stride added, so that was our plan for the day.

We had a huge wait between when we schooled to when I actually showed, like 4+hrs.  Buddy got tied to the trailer with hay while Jen and I got breakfast, watched some walk-trot classes, and took naps in the truck.  I did take Bud for a walk and let him graze for a bit. I've shown at this barn before, but its been a few years and I had forgotten how slow their shows always run. 

Once I got back on for my rounds, we warmed up a bit and popped over a couple x-rails.  Our first round was ok, Buddy was actually a little fast and we ended up getting 4 and 5 strides in the lines instead of our plan to add.  There was a long ride to a single diagonal oxer as the last fence that was our downfall.  It rode towards the in gate, and Buddy got long and strung out.  I didn't have my leg on, or my shoulders back and we broke to trot about 3 strides from the fence. Dang it!
So tired!

The second round was much better, had a more even flow, but we still got a weird distance to the single oxer.  Something about that fence was not working for us.  By our third round Buddy was tired, and I had to push a lot more to keeping him flowing.  We still managed to get the 4 and 5 strides, but it was a lot more work.  Finally, in our last round we nailed the distance to the single oxer (it was the first fence in the course) but we fell apart after that.  Bud was done and we ended up getting a very long 4 then adding to get a 6.  There was a short approach to the last fence, and as soon as we came around the corner I felt Bud back off, so we ended up trotting that one.  We got a 6th for our first round, a 4th in the second, and a 5th in the third.  Didn't place in the last class.

We ended with an eq. on the flat class.  We had had about a 30min break after our last over fences class, so Buddy had recovered a little bit, but he was still pretty tired.  Our canter to the left was icky.  He was strung out and I had to work really hard to pull him together without letting him break to the trot.  Going to the right was easier, so I could focus more on my equitation.  Somehow we placed 4th out of 9. 

 While things may not have gone smoothly, I'm still very happy with how it went.  Buddy didn't care about any of the fences, didn't look at anything, managed to get the "big boy" strides in the line (except that once) and we nailed every single lead change!  He's earned a well deserved day off today!

Back home with his ribbons

Friday, April 27, 2012


The first being that Buddy and I are playing hunters on Sunday!  We're doing the 2'3" division at a local hunter show.  We had a lesson last night and while he wasn't doing anything bad, he wasn't doing anything good either.  He was basically asleep the whole time and no amount of me kicking, smacking with a crop, or squeezing the life out of him was going to get him to go forward. In hindsight, I should have gotten my spurs!  Oh well!  At lest away from home he's more forward, so hopefully we won't have the same problem.

The second Hunter is an 18yr old, strawberry roan, TB named Hunter, at our barn.

Who knew TB's came in strawberry roan?! His show name is Strawberry Daiquiri.

 He's a former champion A circuit hunter who had a suspensory injury and is now a beginner lesson horse.  He can do some xrails, and small verticals but not a whole lot.  He's normally great, just point and shoot kinda horse.  There's a girl leasing him who is learning to jump with him.  Due to her school schedule she hasn't been able to jump him much in the past month.  In her lesson on Sunday, Hunter was being very naught, for him.  He kept flipping his head and yanking the reins away.
I got on him today to school him.  He felt very supple and forward (for him)! The jumps from my lesson last night were still up so after a quick warm up we played over a few x's.  He really wanted to go, so we worked on waiting and stopping straight after the fence.  Once he calmed down a bit we canter a few fences.  You could tell he was having so much fun! He was arching his neck and prancing a bit.  It was so sweet to see the old man have a good time! He reminds me of Cuna.

Back in his glory days

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Catching Up on the Other Ponies

So this blog is about my adventures with Buddy, but I have to give some updates on Zoe and Phoenix.  Phoenix is being leased by girl for 4H, and they had their first show this weekend.  She showed him in trail, showmanship, and English Eq.  Phoenix has never shown in trail or showmanship before, but I have schooled some of the show trail obstacles with him. 

Trail went pretty well. Anna was very nervous (it was her first show ever) but Phoenix could have cared less.  He was a little hesitant about crossing the bridge, and didn't want to stand next to the gate so Anna could open it, but he had no problem walking and trotting over poles!  Considering the first time they practiced showmanship was 15mins before their class, they did very good.  They got reds in both
English Eq was their best!  They just did walk/trot, and they nailed it.  The judge did tell Anna that she has to work on her sitting trot, but considering Phoenix is so bouncy she did well, and they got a blue!  I'm so proud of both of them!

Zoe is doing awesome as well.  I've been jumping her about once a week, over some bigger x's and some 2ft verticals.  She seems to take it all in stride, and other than being a little wiggly she feels like she's been jumping for years! I took a lesson on her a couple weeks ago and here's the video.  This was our 4th or 5th time cantering a line.

As for Bud, he's had an easy week after the clinic last Sunday.  I'm going to jump him today and we'll have a lesson Wed or Thursday, then next Sunday we're going to a little hunter show.  I'm still on the fence (no pun intended!) about what classes to do.  I really want to do 2'6",  but I'm not quite sure if we are ready.  

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Kevin Freeman Clinic

 I'm glad I went and I did learn, but I felt like we could have done more. There were 5 of us in my group, ranging from a couple very nice riders with green horses, another man who like me just wants to ride and show around 2'6"-3' for fun, and a teenager who seemed inexperienced with a green horse.

We started out trotting doing some walk/trot/walk transitions and some trot/halts.  Kevin critiqued each of us on our position.  I got dinged for letting my elbows come back and my reins get long.  He had me shorted my reins and try to think about keeping my elbows at the front of my body.  We did some small trot circles, working on turning from the outside rein, with a soft opening inside rein.

Then we went right into jumping.  He had a start by trotting a small vertical and he had a ride in a posting two point.  A few of us were a little sloppy to the fence (me included).  He wanted us to get right to the base.  For me, it came back to letting my reins get too long and Buddy taking a flying leap at the fence.  I had to work on keeping my hands firm and up and not letting Buddy cheat.

He added a second vertical to the line, in a short one stride.  Again, I had to work on getting Bud to the base and then put on my leg to keep him coming forward to the second. I also got in trouble for looking down over the fences and I had to concentrate on looking up, down the arena. After doing the one stride a couple times, we added an oxer at the end, again in a one stride. 

While the striding seemed short, I really had to encourage Buddy over the second and third fences to keep him going down the line.  I felt really discombobulated a couple times but Buddy was great.  After the oxer, a 4 stride was set up to a vertical.  Kevin told us that for some of the shorter strided horses, we might get 5.  Buddy was included in that.  Again, the first three fences felt awkward but after landing off the oxer I sat down and rode forward to the vertical in 4.  It wasn't as hard to get Bud forward, and the 4 felt very nice. 

We all went thru the gymnastic to the 4  a few times and then added a long gallop to a single oxer on a short diagonal line.  The goal was to use the momentum from the gymnastic to have a strong forward rhythm and ride it to the oxer.  He told us to not worry about finding the distance 10 strides out, but to have a balanced, rhythmic ride and the distance will come.  Long approaches to oxers are my downfall, so I was slightly nervous going into it.  In coming to it, I tried to just count the rhythm and keep coming forward.  It worked!  We had a nice distance to the oxer, and Bud felt great over it. 

We only did the gymnastic to the oxer a couple times each before the session was over.  We only rode for an hour and a half, but were scheduled for two hours.  It felt like we were just getting started, and that I still I had a couple issues I wanted to work thru. Buddy wasn't even that tired!  I am going to try and set up more gymnastics at home and try to work on getting Bud to the base while not chasing him to the fence.

Good pony!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


So last week Bud and I had a bad lesson.  We started out pretty well, but there was a 4 stride line that killed us.  It was long 4, and it rode slightly downhill, so Jen suggested making him wait and balance for 5.  It was a vertical to a 2'6"oxer.  We kept getting 4.5 strides and I would freeze.  I kept pulling him out of the line, but we did manage to make it over the oxer a couple times. This used to happen a lot with Phoenix and I, but not so much with Buddy.

It got to me, and I had some major second thoughts about doing the Kevin Freeman clinic this coming Sunday.  I jumped Bud again on Sunday, on my own, and we did the oxer without too much freak out on my part.  The vertical had been taken down, and I was to lazy to put it back up, so we worked on having a nice forward flow to the oxer.

I had another lesson tonight, and Buddy was awesome!  The line was back and I committed to it.  We did the 4, and it was bit long, but as long as I kept my upper body back and my leg on, it worked.  Buddy was actually pretty motivated  and wanted to move up in the line.  We put a course together with some pretty nice jumper rollbacks, again working on keeping him forward.  Except for one whoops moment where we somehow ended up almost jumping a standard, Buddy and I had a nice rhythm and groove. It feels great to know I can come back from such a bad ride and fix our mistakes.  Once again I'm reminded how much I love my pony!