Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I finally got some pics from the Freeman Farms show.  Unfortunately the memory card that had the pics of Buddy and I isn't working and we might not be able to get those photos.  But here are some of my favorites of Zoe and Nik and Bud.

Such a pretty shot!

Trying so hard!

Love her look at the photographer!

Trying to figure out what class and course I was doing

Zoe loves Buddy

Yay Mare!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Gymnastics and Dressage

I let Buddy have a couple easy days, after our jump school on Wednesday.  Yesterday one of the other girls at the barn and I set up a small gymnastic; a few trot poles, to a bounce, to a one stride.  We started with just the poles to an x-rail bounce to another x.  After we each did it a few times, we added the last one as a vertical.

Bud didn't have a problem with the gymnast, and I tried to work on holding my position and keeping my eyes up.  The other mare ran out at the one stride so we shortened the distance.  It made it fine for her, but then it was a little short for Bud.  Oh well.  At that point Buddy had gotten tired, and wasn't jumping the first fence, making it hard to work thru the gymnastic.  I smacked him behind my leg with my crop, and while he jumped the first fence, I wasn't able to grab the reins back so we did the line with only one hand.  It was fun!  I did feel my position slip forward though, so more work is needed!

Today I helped the 4H girls run through their dressage tests for fair. One of the girls is doing Training Test 3 and the other two are doing Intro A.  I ended up reading both tests a few times while the girls worked through them.  After I hopped on Bud bareback and did both tests.  The Intro test was our warm up, and it went well. 

We had a little trouble with the Training test.  The one loops confused Buddy at first, but after schooling them a few times I think we got 'em.  In the change of rein at the canter, Bud wanted to do flying change, instead of trotting at x.  He flipped his head when I got after him.  In our focus on our flying changes Buddy has really started to anticipate the change, so I'm going to have to work on schooling the simple changes/trot transitions on the diagonal.   I am happy that we were able to run the Training test bareback and have it be more than halfway decent!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Feeling Good

So that whole give Buddy time off/break from jumping thing?  Not gonna happen.  He had Sunday off, spent a couple hours out in the pasture with Phoenix and I lunged him Monday.  Nik rode yesterday and he was good for her.  Today I took him out, and since there were jumps already set up in the ring, we jumped a bit.  He was just as fired up and forward as he was at the show.  I dropped my crop about 10mins into our flat warm-up...didn't need it at all. 

We didn't really work on anything in particular, just having a nice rhythm and waiting to the fence. He nailed every lead change too!  We ended by doing some of the low cavalettis that were set out with out my stirrups. I definitely need to get back into the habit of doing no stirrup work.

After I finished with Bud, I got Phoenix out.  I haven't ridden him for a while, and while he's been good for Anna, I wanted to get back on and see how he feels. He felt pretty sound, and we worked on some lateral work at the trot.  At the canter, we worked on going forward and letting him stretch down thru his back. I decided to do a couple flying changes (his used to be automatic).  He did a couple little "feel good" crow hops after the first one, but when I asked for the second, going the other direction, he full on bucked. I lost my reins, and the only thing I could see was the arena fence line fast approaching.  It was one of those moments where you think "Oh this is going to hurt."  Somehow I was able to grab the inside rein and turn him from the fence and got him to stop. 

Once my heart rate was back to normal, I called him a few choice words and went back to more lateral work.  Lots of leg yields, shoulder in,  and figure 8s. We ended with some simple lead change work, making sure he was cool and calm before picking up the new lead.

The boys in the field on Sunday.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Freeman Farms Show

I woke up at the lovely hour of 4:30 today and had the trailer hooked up and loaded (minus ponies) by 5:15.  Personal best!  Both Bud and Zoe loaded fine and we made it to FF by a little after 7.  We were the first to pull in, but by the time we had Buddy tacked up the parking lot was full.

I schooled Bud first, and he was in go pony mode. We schooled everything in the ring, and after deciding to let him go for the big boy strides, we had a pretty good ride.  I got off him and on Zoe while Nik got on Bud. We went to the indoor to school, but by that time we only had 15mins before they closed the ring to set for the first class. It was a mad house! Little kids and ponies everywhere!  I did a short warm up with Zoe and popped her over a couple x-rails.  She was nervous, and looky, but not necessarily bad.

In our first x-rail round the plan was to canter the whole course.  We started out and she almost stopped at the first fence.  She managed to get over and regrouped and tried to canter the next fence.  Same thing.  Poor little mare was so nervous!  I decided to just trot the rest of the course, and by the end she was better.  After talking to Jen, we decided for the other two classes to just trot.  Why push her?

The other two round were much better!  She relaxed and plodded along like no big deal.  We did another x-rail class then an 18" round. She actually jumped some of those, and I had her canter around the turns then trot the approaches. She ended up winning both the second and third rounds!

Nik's walk trot classes were pretty big, but she got a 5th in one.  She looked great, but she's still working on posting diagonals, and that's what got her in the second class.  Unfortunately Buddy was  a little too forward in the trot-a-pole, and jumped the first pole and cantered off.  Nik recovered well, but she was shaken.  The judge let them start over, and the round was perfect!  She used all her space, went deep in the corners and had a nice trot.  While not the ideal first show experience, Nik didn't seem discouraged after she got over it.  It was great to see her push on thru  while Buddy was being a brat.

As soon as she got off Bud, I had to get back on him.  He still had energy! Seriously, if I hadn't feed him Friday night and Saturday morning, I would swear someone had given him rocket fuel.  He never has this much energy at home!  In our hunter rounds, I'm pretty sure we were the fastest but not the prettiest.  I had to work hard on getting him to come back to me and balance in the corners. In our first course I almost made one of the cardinal sins of jumping...forgetting the last fence. We had to do a lovely swervey thing to get to it.  Oops.

They had added some flowers and brush to the fences after we had warmed up, and while I was a little nervous about one of the fences (hopefully I'll have pics in a couple days, it was almost solid brush, like an xc fence) Buddy didn't care. The classes were small, but we ended up with a 4th in our hunter round, and a 3rd in both the mini medal and our eq. round. 

I had signed up to a jumper round, but after our hunter classes I was exhausted.  We would have had a 2hr wait for one class, and I decided it wasn't worth it. When we went in the office to scratch, we found out that Jen had won a raffle and won $60 off an entry for another show they are having in August.  So we'll be back in August!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Riding without rails

The one thing that I always seem to forget about riding in the fields is how much harder to get a horse straight and bending without having an arena wall or rail to guide you. Buddy and I went out to the grass field again Wed. night and two other girls were already out there.  I put the German martingale on, since I haven't used it in a few weeks.  Buddy marched right along out to the field, and towards the other horses, but when I asked him to start to work and move away from them he got pissy.

Lot of dramatic head tossing (or as much as the martingale would allow) and shoulder bulging later, we started our trot work.  Since there's no fence or anything to really guide you, its hard to know what is the "correct" diagonal to be on, or which way to bend my horse.  We did a bunch of zig zagging across the field, trying to work on switching the bend and getting him to move off my new "inside" leg.  It is definitely much more work out in the field!

Once we picked up the canter, I worked on pulling him together.  He really wanted to to be strung out and on his front end, so I had to make a conscious effort to sit down and bring my shoulders back and my hand up.  No letting him pull me down!  Predictably, this caused him to brake gait, so then I remembered to put my leg on.  We did some big circles and figure 8s, with a couple nice flying changes.  I did let him gallop out a bit and worked on going forward and coming back.  We ended by doing a couple lead changes in a somewhat straight line, doing a change then 6 or 7 strides later changing back.  He's starting to get it!

Monday, May 14, 2012


I had  lesson on Thursday, and Buddy wasn't at all motivated.  It was the same issues we've had over and over...trying to get him to go forward and I have to ride every stride.  I think that since we've stepped up his work over the past couple months, Buddy has started to burnout.  After the show this Saturday, I'll give him a couple weeks off with just some easy hacks and field rides.

Rick was able to mow the field this weekend, so we went out tonight for our first ride of the season!  The field felt great, but the grass still needs to be mowed again so it'll be perfect.  We should have room for 3 different arenas...a flat ring, a full sized dressage court, and a large (200ishx300ish) jump arena.  The field is a clover/rye grass mix and pretty flat.  Hopefully we can start moving jumps out in another week or so.

Because of how the property is laid out, we had to take the long way to ride out to the field tonight.  The short way is still pretty wet, with some standing water.  By going the long way around the property, you have to open a gate.  I rode Bud down to the gate, got off, opened it and went thru then had a problem.  I can get on Bud from the ground western, but its a lot harder English.  I had to lengthen my stirrup but I was able to do it.  While trying to shorten my stirrup after I got on, Buddy started walking away.  I meant to pull on the reins, but ended up pulling my stirrup off my saddle. 

I couldn't get it back on while mounted, and was too lazy to get off and fix it, then get back on again.  So I put it over my shoulder, and dropped my other iron and did our ride without stirrups.  We mostly just walked the field, looking for holes and getting  a feel.  We did about 3 minutes of trot and
Buddy felt very forward and  happy. I'm hoping the field rides can help him decompress and refresh him.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Western Monday

I jumped Buddy a little on Saturday, and he was great.  There were a couple other girls riding western in the ring while we were jumping, so it was hard to put fences together so we just worked over a couple single fences. 

After my ride Rick brought out a western saddle that a friend of his is selling and that Rick is doing some repair work on.  It's an old Crate roping saddle, and while it does need some work, it's very well made and should clean up nicely.  They are asking $500 for it, and if they would take payments I might be able to afford it.  It fit Buddy well, and while I don't ride western that often, I would like to have my own saddle instead of having to borrow one.

In that vein, I put Connie's saddle on Bud today and we played around.  He was pretty good, we had a nice little jog.  After we finished in the arena, we walked down the road to see how the grass fields were drying out.  I can't wait till we can go gallop and jump in the grass again!!

Friday, May 4, 2012


Buddy's had a pretty easy week after the show.  I did a couple light hacks, one bareback, and Nik took a lesson on him.  I was going to jump him today, but it's been raining off and on and since it's supposed to be sunny and in the 70s this weekend, I decided to wait a day. 

I had a lesson last night on Zoe, and as usual the little mare rocked!  We did our first full course, a mix of x-rails and verticals.  She really wants to throw her haunches in at the cater, especially going left.  Jen had me do canter circles with her, spiraling out using only my inside leg.  The second I put my outside leg on, she would throw her haunches in.  It felt very weird to drive from the inside leg and ignore my outside leg!

Jumping we worked on straightness, and going forward.  She wants to do the slow pleasure lope and is slowly starting to realise that she won't get punished for going faster.  She's surprisingly easy to find a distance on and we were able to get a couple flying changes!

On the 19th we are taking her and Bud to small local show.  I'll be doing the 2'6" hunters and a .75m jumper round with Bud, and then a couple x-rail and 18" green horse classes with Zoe.  Nik will be making her show ring debut doing walk-trot and trot-a-pole!  So exciting!!