The Adds

This weeks lesson had a decided different feel than last weeks disaster hour.  O was super on the flat, and really just needed some light adjusting here and there.  I focused on keeping my body quiet and efficient.

Trainer then announced what we’d be doing over fences…we’d be doing work on adds down a few small lines.  In case I haven’t whined about it enough lately, my horse has a very large stride, and is often blows through my half-halts between jumps in favor of doing what she pleases.  We have been drilling the adjust-ability idea hard lately, and switched up the a mullen mouth pelham bit to help emphasize the importance of her listening to half halts.

It was shocking to realize that my horse was really coming back to me between the jumps, instead of bulging and pulling at me.  Sometimes it was overkill, even to the point of breaking to the trot a few times during a half-halt.  Not what we were looking for, but the response was correct.  Now to add a ton of leg on my end of things.  The jumps were teeny tiny, but overall the lesson was fabulous, and it felt great to have a horse so responsive and quiet.  Yay us!

I’ve even included a sweet 1ish minute video of us over tiny jumps.  Because I know you all want to watch that.  HA!  Have a great weekend everyone!

 

 

A Good Ride

With O’s first off site schooling this friday, quickly followed by two days of showing at the same venue, I was looking forward to getting some kinks out in our lesson this week.

We flatted, it was brutally humid and the first day all year to be in the high eighty degree range.  Needless to say O and I were a little sluggish.  I might even go as far as saying it took me an extra ten minutes to tack up.  Oh yes, I was moving that slowly.

Anyway, threw my butt in gear and started working hers.   On the flat we had minimal disagreements, and while she carried her head up a little high for me, it wasn’t bad.  On to jumping we went!  The course was nice and swirly with lots of turns, and different approaches.  It only took two jumps to realize that I just needed to sit quiet and enjoy the show.  O felt wonderful.  She was actually jumping, versus rocketing over the jumps, she was quiet, got her simple changes easily, and let me put her at the base of the jumps.

HALLELUJAH!

We finished our courses.  O got her legs clipped (much to her utter panic) and she’ll be waiting for me at the venue on Friday.  Yay!

Good ponies get more grazing time!

Good ponies get more grazing time!

 

Before back.

Before back.

Before Front

Before Front

After front (she would NOT let me clean up that front right-super frustrating)

After front (she would NOT let me clean up that front right-super frustrating)

After back.

After back.

Weather man is calling for 3 days of rain….for all 3 days I’ll be at the show. Awesome.

To the Left

My horse and I are both right sided. I am left hand dumb a lot of the time, and she struggles going to the left far more than to the right. Actually at this time we are working to the left about 70% of the time, to the right about 30% in our hacks. Trainers recommendations since it is obviously an issue for both of us.

Currently my life on the flat.

Currently my life on the flat.


Last night in our lesson I couldn’t stop my left hand from taking an adventure around every corner. I’d be thinking left bend, outside rein, lots of inside leg…. and then my rouge left hand would be all “it’s okay, I’ll just keep getting higher to help”. Mind-hand-habits collided and I ended up back at the walk to try to reteach myself how to bend my horse left. Fail on my part.
reins
After the hand-that-always-rises incident on the flat, it seemed fate that we would be doing bending lines today. Bending lines with the add by the way. O was better, but we are still struggling with the happy medium between half halts where we are supposed to be maintaining the pace. However we had zero giant leaping incidents from a stride away, and ended on a fairly nice note. We were both exhausted.

My agenda for the week now includes even more of going back to basics on the left to try to undo my nasty left hand habits and crookedness. My equitation has really been under fire lately, but it’s good. At least we are to a point where we can focus on that kind of stuff. Anyway, We’ll start at the walk and see how it goes.

In cuteness news, I won a stuffed icelandic horse giveaway from Behind the Bit and Blessi ngs–Life with an Icelandic Horse. I’m actually a big fan of this breed and have seen them at a few demos. Such adorable and powerful little horses.

Olive giving a ride to her new stuffed friend!

Olive giving a ride to her stuffed friend!

Kudos to O

Last night O and I were able to squeeze into a group lesson with two other adult ammies and we had a great time.

We did a nice but quick warm up on the flat and headed straight into jumping. I was excited to jump for the first time in two week, and obviously O felt the same. She bounded down the lines and left me half halting like crazy and to little effect. After the first round my trainer have us the go to let her stride out and get the stride versus the add we were looking for in the exercise. She laughed saying O’s mammoth stride just wasn’t going to fit. Next time down in the 4 made a much happier pony and a less grabby rider. After she relaxed and began to accept my leg without galloping like a loon we moved to this twisty, winding course with two new jumps for her to mentally work through.

To my pleasure on the long approaches I felt like I was riding a really broke horse who went along soft and quiet. Problem was I would enjoy it so much that when we did approach the jumps I had a ton of horse in front of me. We got to a few sketchy spots, but O was totally willing and jumped it all. The best part of my lesson was my trainer yelling at me to take note how nice she was jumping, how slow and relaxed she was actually over the obstacle. Gone was my hurling horse, and in its place I had something that felt amazing! O definitely put her on her big girl girth today. Although I felt I could have given a better ride with distances, trainer was really happy with her, touching on the fact that now she’s jumping from pretty much anywhere and comfortably. Major kudos to O that I’m actually able to spend more time working on myself, and the distances knowing that she will take care of the rest (for the most part).

And since it was completely dark and I had no one to take pictures…here’s a picture from last week after a lesson!

20140221-083454.jpg

Rocking the argyle socks with crazy rainbow rain boots.

One foot after the other

We are officially in O’s second week in pony rehab. She’s gotten her 5 workouts a week, and seems to have taken to it well. Also, her belly is definitely looking better. Thank goodness her girth was barely making it on. I’ve been really pleased with her mindset and willingness, especially for a horse that was not fit at all. The hills still make her work a bit, but that’s kind of the point!

Are we ready yet?

Are we ready yet?

In one ride, she felt AMAZING, and was totally engaged and stretching her hind end. I even heard her clinking her shoes a bit. As strange as it is, for a horse that has been short in the back end for months, hearing her overstep was kind of a happy moment. In other news: thank god for bell boots. We still have all 4 shoes as of now! However, still trying to not get excited…the next time I saw her go this week, she was really ouchy. So who knows.

Rode a lesson horse for my lesson this week. He’s a nice fella, someone I rode quite a bit before the O purchase last winter. I had a rough time mentally, the whole time I’m going around I’m thinking about O and how I wish I was on her. Conclusion…it’s really hard to move on without your horse. As far as I know, O won’t be back into lessons until her full 2 months are up. So it’s probably a good idea for me to get over that about now, so I can stay in shape for whatever comes next. It did feel great to jump again.

We’ve been walking a lot lately. Inspiring some oh so nice horse selfies. I would fail as a photographer. Especially with my iphone. Ta-da!

During one of our outings!

During one of our outings!

An Educated Guess

Of course after our “breakthru” ride last week, I ended up having houseguests during the weekend and being very sick on sunday. So O got some lovin’ (and a killer workout) from my great friend who keeps her mare at the same place. The report was that O was reallllllly lazy at first, but was a good pony in the end. Yay!

I felt a bit better Monday so I went ahead and lessoned on Miss O. SO glad that I did. We had a rough start (it was grossly hot/muggy), but after we got going I felt like things were coming together a bit better than last week. I still struggled with keeping my shoulders (especially the inside) back. O was WAY better than I was, and once again it’s disappointing to realize that you are the one making the horse make mistakes. But my trainer had a great point. We are now to the point with O where when I ask for something, O is actually thinking it over and making an educated guess about what she needs to do. We started out months ago just wanting a positive reaction from my cues, now we have to fine tune it. It’s so fun to see all those lightbulbs so off between her ears! She’s starting to get it. Now I just have to be more precise as to not confuse her.

We focused on rythym, rather than “the spot” or distance to jump from in our lesson. Just ride the line, and the rest will figure itself out. I did really well over poles, but of course the first time we headed towards a vertical I ditched the motto for the day and basically screamed “OLIVE GO!” at the long spot while proceeding to crawl up her neck. She quietly said no, put in a baby step, hopped over the jump, and I ate a mouthful of her mane in the process. Opps! We gathered our wits (mainly mine) and spat out the hair in my mouth (I need to learn to close my mouth-I have it open a ton when I ride). The next jumps were amazing and she jumped them so cute and round. Ah! So proud of her, and I was proud I stopped stressing about the distance rather than the canter. Baby steps! Still totally embarrased by my first jump, but I guess that’s why you practice right?

At least I didn’t fall off.

Sweaty pony after her workout.

20130814-093500.jpg

One lesson down

Well we survived! After our first lesson back after almost 2 month off O and I were both exhausted! She was one sweaty girl (the weather didn’t help) and I’ll admit that when I dismounted my legs buckled a bit when I hit the ground. But overall it was a success! Lots of transition work, with some collection at the canter and trot to encourage to be more and more aware of my aids. We responded well until about 30 minutes in. I found out later than O had been sighted running like a loon in her pasture that morning…for over 30 minutes. So I’m chalking up our “fizzle” out to the fact that she was just wiped out.

Fingers crossed that it stops pouring rain long enough for the outdoor ring to dry someday soon. And that we can start easing O back into some jumps-baby x’s to start! As of tonight she jumped the canter poles like they were going to eat her.

Check out the sunset! Gorgeous huh?

20130531-104303.jpg