Thursday, April 26, 2018

Quiet Rein Outreach Show Day 2

Both Peebs and I were pretty tired and sore for day two of the show.  I had gone out early in the morning to feed him, but when I went back to the show around 9 to start getting him ready, he let out a huge sigh and glared at me. I took him out for a hand walk and graze session for a while, hoping to loosen him up and make him happy.

Non-huntery hunter courses.  Round 1 on the right and round 2 on the left
The show was a lot smaller on Sunday; they were just running the outdoor ring with hunter classes and the two derby classes at the end of the day.  I was able to watch a quite a few rounds to see how the courses were riding.  The courses for hunter day were much more equitation like, with a lot of singles and some long bending lines.  The only actual line on course was a diagonal line set in four, but about half the riders were getting it in five.  My trainer wasn't able to come on Sunday, so my plan was to see how Peebs warmed up and, thinking he was tired, aim to do the five.

I got on a little early for our warm up and spent a lot of time walking him around.  We did a short trot set and he felt stiff in his body, not wanting to bend and soften.  So we went back to the walk and worked on bending and trying to get him to relax.   A little more trot and canter and we popped over the warm up fences.  I couldn't find a distance to save my life and decided I just wanted to make it over all the fences and wasn't expecting any greatness.

Absolutely in love with this shot from the show photographer. Bought in in digital and print
They ran our flat class first, after another division's flat class.  They had us preload while they pinned the other class so we got a good long walk around the arena before we were being judged. We hadn't ridden in the outdoor before, but I figured Peebs wouldn't care.  He did stare at the judges booth at the far end of the arena, and at a woman flapping a trash bag right next to it (seriously?!?) but didn't spook. The flat went about as expected, #notahackwinner. He was still resisting bending his neck, but his stride opened up and felt smoother than our warm up.  We pinned fifth out of seven or eight.

Had to buy this adorable one too
Before going in for the flat I had told the back gate ladies I was warmed up and ready and could go in whenever they wanted me to.  They had me down for going last in the rotation, but since almost everyone else wasn't ready I got bumped up. They also thanked me profusely for introducing myself and being ready. Our first round went a lot better than I was expecting.  He did try to slow down going past the gate to fence one, but didn't break.  Two to three was a long bending line that rode well, and we managed to get the lead.  He was rolling right along and didn't feel as tired as I expected so I changed my mind and went for the four in the diagonal line. It was a little long, but felt good.  We did have to do a simple change after the line, and never quite got the same rolling stride again.  I saw the short spot to six and that followed us to a chip at 7. But overall I was happy with the round and we nabbed third for our efforts.

Peebs was definitely more tired for the second round and we didn't flow as well. We chipped in to the diagonal line from two to three, and I should have sat up and added for the five strides.  But I tried to gun him for the four.  He did it, but it was very long and we landed in a heap. We took a couple of strides to recover and fix our lead but I kept seeing the short distances.  He was starting to ignore my hand and lean on me so between fences four and five I sat up and checked him hard. Wasn't the prettiest thing ever, but it worked.  We finished the round strung out and tired, but at least he was listening. We got a fourth.

Our last class was supposed to be the derby, but we would have had an hour or so wait and both of us were exhausted. So I scratched. While I was sad to miss the derby, I so happy with how Peebs had been all weekend that I wasn't too upset.  There will be other derbies. There's no point in doing a class when both of us were exhausted. Peebs is such a trooper for putting up my ammy moments and I felt like I needed to give him a break. I definetly don't want him to ever get sour; his attitude is one of my favorite things about him.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Quiet Rein Outreach Show Day 1

Saturday morning dawned bright and early, and I was at the barn by 7am to haul out to the show.  I had loaded 95% of my stuff Friday night, but had to grab Peeb's hay pellets and buckets and him. He loaded pretty well; he had to think about getting on for maybe 30 seconds before I smacked him with the end of the lead rope. I was somewhat worried that he and Cinder would be too attached and he'd scream for her once he realized she wasn't coming.  But he didn't.

I lucked out at the show and scored a stall in the barn instead of the portable stalls.  The barn had 16x16 stalls bedded deep versus the 10x10 canvas stalls on grass.  And their barn hand ended up cleaning my stall! Peebs settled in and immediately started eating his hay and didn't care about the automatic waterer.

I went to check the rings and realized we had gotten bumped from the outdoor ring to the indoor.  This show has two rings going on Saturday, with jumpers in morning followed by equitation classes from 2'-3'6" in the outdoor and the walk/trot to 18" classes inside.  They had so many entries (over 120 vs the 65 they had last year at their biggest show) that they had to move our 2' classes, and some of the other eq on the flat classes to the indoor. I was slightly pissed as the indoor is small and dark, making for tight turn and not so great pics, and the show photographer was only working the outdoor ring.  Because it's all about the media, right?

Hope you like blurry screenshots
Peebs was perfect in warm-up.  Awake enough so that he was forward and moving, but not so much that he was hot or spooky.  It was a bit of a madhouse schooling, but once again, Peebs don't care. There was about 15 in our division, combined short/long stirrup, and they decided to split it and give two sets of ribbons.  I love it when shows do that.

 Our first round was our best; we found nice distances and got all of our leads.  The only problems was I slightly misjudged the turn to the first fence, a single diagonal, so we were a bit crooked (they also used 8' long poles in the indoor and it through me off) and I got a 5 in the first outside line and 4 in the second.  They were set at about a 4.5 and my trainer said she didn't care what I did, as long as it was a whole number and I consistent. Oops. We never really found our groove in the second round and had a couple of chips and missed leads. The arena was so small it was hard to do a simple change and have enough space to get a good rhythm to the next fence.  And again I did a five and four in the lines. At least I'm consistent at not being consistent? We earned a 4th in the first round and a 5th in the second.  We ended the division with the flat which is not our strong suit but managed to eek out another 5th.

Our last round was the USHJA Outreach medal and it had a couple funky bending lines.  The last two fences were almost a boomerang.  The first half of the course was nice, but I got left behind at fence 6 and never recovered.  Peebs found the perfect distance but I thought he was going to chip in and was not expecting him to jump.  In perfect Peebs fashion, he didn't care and kept on going. He was slightly surprised to turn to the first fence in the boomerang line (a fence we had already jumped once going the other way)  and because of the narrow poles we missed and had to circle.  I decided to trot it to prepare both of us for the awkward turn, and it actually worked out pretty well. Needless to say, we didn't place in that class.

I untacked Peebs, cleaned him up, and headed to my hotel.  After I cleaned myself up and ate I went back to the show to feed him dinner and wrap.  It was about 6pm when I was finishing up, and they still had a couple of classes to go in the outdoor. I was just hoping Sunday wouldn't be as long.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Lessons on Lessons

We're heading out tomorrow for our first show of the season.  I feel totally confident and ready.  We've managed to do weekly lessons for the last month, which is super rare.  My trainer works a full time non-horsey job and has two kids so coordinating our schedules doesn't always happen.  And at the old barn we would have to factor in weather/daylight since we jumped in the outdoor arena.  The indoor at the new barn has made those factors null, which is awesome!

Best of all, our lessons have been super productive.  I feel like Peebs and I have figured each other out and now we're working on the refinement. Making sure he's super straight, working on lead changes/landing on the correct lead, tweaking my equitation, not just surviving and getting over the fences. It feels like we're making some big progress and I'm hungry for more. 

Feeling pumped and ready for our show season debut this weekend!!

A post shared by Molly Basney (@mollybasney) on

But I think my biggest achievement is finally starting to be able to do the whole "correct him and leave him alone" thing.  Peebs doesn't like to messed with; don't pick at his face, don't micromanage his stride.  And those are some of my favorite things to do. He's got a naturally nice rhythm and length of stride.  I just need to trust it and get him straight. As long as I don't let him drift coming out of a turn, the distance to the jump is there. My past two lessons have highlighted the fact that I am letting him go and trusting him.  In our lesson on Wednesday my instructions for the outside line we were doing were to get him straight to the first fence, then count to four while keeping my hip angle closed. And as easy as that sounds, it was super hard to do but once I got it, it felt amazing. I'm just hoping I can remember how to do it in the show ring!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Always Learning

Its been a month since we moved and not only am I a lot happier, both the ponies and I have learned a lot.  Like Cinder learned how to open the window in her stall, and that she can reach the latch for Peebs' stall from it and she learned how to open that too.  So far she hasn't learned how to open the snap I've put on the latch.

Don't let the innocent face fool you
I got her a hybrid halter and have started doing more ground work with her.  She wasn't bad, per se, but if she did get naughty, I didn't have much control with either the regular halter or rope halter I had.  And I couldn't find a stud chain small enough for her regular halter.  So the hybrid halter with knots was perfect.  She's learned how to pick up her feet while in the cross ties and that holding her hind feet up for more than 10 seconds won't kill her.  The ponies got their feet done last week and she got a "much improved" from the farrier. I've also started working with her and the clippers again and have pulled a little bit of her mane.  She was pretty sure that was the end of the world until I stuffed her face with cookies.  Then it was tolerable.

Peebs has made new friends (but that's not something new).  We've been turning him out to play with Helix, a 7yr old mustang.  Both boys tend to play hard, so there was some concern about them inflicting serious bodily harm on each other, but so far so good. Helix likes to be alpha, but Peebs doesn't really care as long as he can chew on his buddy. Helix seems fine with it, but will occasionally rear and strike at Peebs, who doesn't give a shit.  I wanted to start putting my ponies out with other horses so they don't become too attached to each other.  They were the only horses in the barn for a couple of weeks while everything was getting finished, and I was afraid of them getting too attached to each other. It doesn't seem like that's happened, thank god! No clingy herd bound ponies for me!

I've also learned that riding in a flat arena is awesome!  Old barn's outdoor was on a bit of a slope for drainage, and I didn't really realize how much it affected my riding.  You were constantly going either uphill or downhill and now that I'm on a flat arena it's so much easier to find the right balance with Peebs.  When we used to jump, we pretty much always did lines going uphill, so only in one direction, and now we're going back and forth in the lines and can school a lot more. And when Peebs gets strung out and heavy on the forehand, it doesn't feel like he's going to fall on his face going downhill, because there is no downhill!  I love it!