Saturday, September 29, 2012

Catching Up

I haven't ridden much this past week.  One of my coworkers has been out for 3 weeks due to a sprained foot and I've been working a lot more (11 days in a row) to make up.  I've just been way too tired to do anything with the ponies besides grain them after work.  I did lunge Bud on Monday and did a quick bareback ride on Thursday.  Thankfully my boss gave me Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off!

Yesterday I took Bud out to the field planning to do a quick ride and maybe pop over a couple fences.  He was slow to warm up again, but once we started jumping he was great!  I had to push him and really get him in front of my leg to the smaller fences but after I reset some up higher he turned into a go pony.  I set 3 fences at 2'9", one Swedish oxer and two verticals.  We worked on some turns and rollbacks, and he felt great.  I did have to sit and pull him together thru the turns, but he moved right up to each fence and gave me every lead change I asked for.  I can really feel him starting to sit on his haunch and use himself more over the bigger fences and it feels like he's having a lot of fun.  It was exactly the kind of ride we both needed after a hard week!

Monday, September 24, 2012


A couple weeks ago a won a contest on Facebook with ThinLine. I had submitted a photo of Bud and I jumping with our Trifecta half pad. We were picked for Ride of the Month, and won any saddle pad of our choice!  I of course picked the most expensive pad they had, the Sheepskin Comfort half pad.  I got it this weekend, and Zoe got to be the test pony. 

It's a little big but looks super fancy


It felt great!  I really like the look and feel of sheepskin, and the ThinLine material really helps to absorb the shock.  Yesterday we just did some flat work.  We did some leg yields and worked on her flying changes.  They are definetly getting better!  Today we jumped and she was great!  I used bigger spurs than I normally do because I could only find one of mine.  She was really in front of my leg and willing to move forward.  We schooled a couple 2'6" fences and she felt really good.  She even jumped one of them pretty big and jumped me out of the tack a bit!

On Saturday I jumped Bud.  We did a nice and easy flat warm-up and I tried not to pick fights with him.  We just cantered all the fences, trying to have a nice rhythm and flow.  Some of the fences were 2'9" and he jumped them with no problem!  We only schooled everything once or twice, and since he was being good I decided to quit while we were ahead.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Reset Ride

For the past few weeks, Buddy and I have picked little fights with each other and just not connecting.  It felt like all the work we've done last winter and spring has disappeared.  He's been hollow, behind my leg, we can't find distances to the jumps, and just generally butting heads on everything. 

Normally I would think he's sore, or had sometime of body issues but he was checked by the chiropractor a few weeks ago, and was declared fine (if a touch thin) so I can rule out body issues.  He had his feet done the day after the chiropractor and while I wasn't there, my farrier didn't leave any word that anything was wrong, so again I can rule his feet out.  I will admit that I haven't been spending as much time with him lately as I usually do and I know he can get snarky after time off. 

On Wednesday I took him out the grass field to jump.  He was pretty lazy to start but I had a dressage whip and after a couple whacks he started moving better.  We actually warmed up pretty nicely and trotted a few little fences before tackling a couple bigger ones.  Bud tried to rush a couple of them, so tried to stop and back him after the jumps.  This is where things started to go wrong.  He threw a fit about having to back.  I'm glad no one was close enough to see because it was ugly.  Head up and swinging side to side, mouth gaping, me cussing him and trying my hardest to back him up.

Since I couldn't get him to back, I thought, well we can go forward. I made him gallop around the field  and then used our momentum to try a couple fences again.  He was better, still fighting me but waiting to jump.  I walked him for a bit, then tried one last jump and got a nice stop and back after.  I called it quits with that.

Yesterday I hopped on him bareback for a quick hack around the sand arena.  He was so good!  Trotted nicely and actually offered to canter before I asked.  He was more round and connected than he's been lately and was softer in my hand.  I'm hoping that our nasty ride reset everything and I'll have my regular Bud Bud back!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

What a good girl!

Zoe was great today!  We got a 1st, two 4ths, and a 5th. She had a nice rhythm, got almost all of her leads, and was complimented by many people too!  Yay mare!

When I got to the show this morning, I was the first one there so I wasn't sure where I needed to park.  I left Zoe in the trailer while I went to the office to ask.  When I came back, my trailer was rocking side to side and Zoe was throwing a major tantrum.  Apparently she doesn't like be hauled by herself.  Once I re-parked and unloaded her, I  notice a big scrape on her head.  I checked the inside of the trailer, but couldn't figure out what she hit her head on.  She mostly just scraped of the hair, but right under where the browband would go there was a tiny little cut that was oozing blood.  The barn owner's were nice enough to let me use their washrack and clean it up.
Don't believe that innocent face.  She can throw a mean tantrum.

Despite her knock to the head, she warmed up really well. We had about a half hour to school in the ring before the show started.  There were a lot of flowers, shrubs, and bushes by the fences that I made sure to let her look at.  She didn't seem to care at that time.  We didn't do a big warm up, just a little walk, trot, canter, and I popped her over a couple fences.

We had a couple hours to wait till my classes went, so I got off and we hung around watching and talking to Deb, her owner.  The barn owner came by to check how her cut was doing and said he had seen us warm up and said she was very cute and liked how chill she was waiting to go.  He was so nice!

I got on about 15 mins before my first round and took her for a couple times around their grass ring to warm her up again.  In our first round she looked hard at some new flowers that had been added to one of the jumps and cut way in to the right.  I could see that we would be getting a very awkward, off center distance so I circled her and came back to it.  The second time around I used a lot of right leg to keep her centered.  She still looked, but went over.

Our second round was much better; no looking or trying to fall in.  I did get her pretty deep to one fence and she ended up knocking it.  Our third round was perfect!  Nailed every lead, had a nice steady rhythm and got good distances to each fence.  Unfortunately she tired out for our fourth and final round and decided that trotting a couple fences would be easier than cantering.  I also had a brain fart and forgot to collect her to the first fence so about two strides out I realized it was going to be really short.  Oops! 

I am so pleased with how she did!  She felt really good and each of the little bobbles we had were minor and mostly rider error.  There was a pro photographer there, so hopefully we can have some nice pics in a couple days.  Since this was probably our last show of the season I'm glad we ended on a great note!

Not pictured the bag of treats we got for getting first.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

It's a go!

I hadn't heard from Rick all day, so as soon as I got out to the barn I grabbed Zoe out of the pasture and saw that she had 2 shoes!  Yay! 
Seriously...the only thing I would change about this mare is her feet.

I tacked her up and we headed out to the sand arena to see how she felt.  The arena had been watered, and there was a couple little puddles left so I made her walk thru even though she tried her best to wiggle out of it.  We went back and forth a few times before she gave up and went through them nicely.  I picked up the trot and she felt fine.  We worked on transitions again and some spiraling in and out on circles.  She was little fussy, but not bad.  I'll take her out to the field tomorrow for a little jump session before the show.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Up in the Air

I'm supposed to take Zoe to a little hunter show on Saturday, so of course she pulled her shoe today.  I rode her Monday, just worked on transitions and going forward.  Someone had set up a couple sets of trot poles so we worked over those.  At first she was pretty confused about where to put her feet and kept trying to either jump them or canter over them. I channeled what we worked on in our lesson last week; keeping my hand up and having a nice steady rhythm.  She finally figured it out and after a couple nice times thru I let her quit.

There's a farrier who supposed to come out tomorrow (not my normal guy) and Rick's going to ask if he can put the shoe back on.  If he can, and she feels good we'll go on Saturday.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wiggle Worm

I had a lesson on Zoe tonight, and she was a total wiggle worm.  I pulled her out right at dinner time and she was pacing back in forth in the cross ties while we were tacking up.  She was pretty forward in our warm up, and kept trying to pop her shoulders both directions.

We started jumping over a couple x's, working on me riding her from my leg/seat to my hands and keeping her straight.  Jen had me go deep and a really leg yield her off my left leg to try and straighten her out. Zoe wanted to go any direction except forward. It felt like anytime I touched her with my right leg she would just blow out my left aids and go sideways. We probably did that x a dozen time before we finally got it. 

After a walk break, we went back to the x but added a vertical 8 strides away.  The first time she was a little confused about going to the second fence, and we got an awkward half stride where she had to launch over the second fence.  The second time thru was better; I just have to remember to immediately pick her up on the landing side of the first fence and ride her forward to the second.  We did the line a couple times before moving on to another line. 

I had to ride her pretty forward to the first fence.  Again she was wiggly to the first fence and I had to keep my seat on her to help keep her straight. She jumped the first fence pretty big (for her) and I had to scramble to put her back together for the second fence.  We got a short 7 but the next time thru was much better and we got the correct 6 strides. Once I remember to package her and ride her forward she really starts to open up and feels much nicer.

We'll keep working on putting line together since that seems to be her weak spot.  I've decided to take her to a little hunter show next Saturday, probably our last for the season.  We'll do the 2' long stirrup again.  I was given a video camera that needs a new battery, so hopefully I'll get one before the show!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Gymnastic Fun

A couple weeks ago I stumbled upon this site, Get My Fix.  Their 5-minute clinic section (while not having been updated recently) has some great articles.  I've bookmarked the one on grids.  Today I decided to set up Amy Millar (Captain Canada's Ian Millar's daughter) basic trot grid.

After warming Bud up on the flat, I started with a single x-rail trotting it back and forth trying to have a strong trot and make him canter away from it.  He was a bit behind my leg and lazy so I had to go to my crop a few times to help wake him up.  We started the grid with 3 ground poles to a vertical.  I tried to stay out of his way, but again Buddy was lazy.  I remembered what I learned all those months ago at the Kevin Freeman clinic about keeping my hands up and really making Buddy work to the base of the fence.  Worked like a charm! 

After a couple times thru I added the two stride to the oxer.  Let's just say I'm glad no one was around to see our first time thru.  Buddy was way backed off and had to take a flying leap over the oxer.  I just grabbed mane and tried to give him his head and not catch him in the mouth.  The second time thru I sat deep and pushed him thru the 2.  After that Bud seemed to get it and it rode well; I could concentrate on my position and not have to worry about the distances.

Adding the last vertical challenged us.  By this point Bud was getting tired, and not wanting to trot in well.  I had to go to my crop at the base of the first fence and push more thru the grid. We only did the full grid twice before I called it quits.  I didn't want to push him too hard, and I felt like one decent time thru was all we were going to get today.  Hopefully I can set up more of the grids before it starts to rain again and we can't use the fields.