Monday, October 15, 2012

Octoberfest day two

Octoberfest day two was the hunter show, I had a hard time making up my mind about doing hunters or jumpers but after seeing the jumper ring boy was I glad I brought my fancy coat!

The two foot jumper course was between 2 feet and 2' 6" with a triple one stride one stride and then another one stride.  None of the jumper people complained so I guess this was normal. 

Got out to the hunter ring early enough to school around some, Annie did great. 

Our first round was UGLY.  Annie was distracted, spooky, and gawky.  The arena drag in the arena next to us and the 50mph winds didn't help.  We squiggled, we spooked, we stopped, and we got rung out. 

I did 3 more rounds, each improving, and each a learning experience.

I am just not very good at riding my fences AND paying attention to Annie.  I get motoring toward a fence and I'm not really looking at Annie to see if she's distracted or if she's straight enough.  Then I'm not fast enough to make a correction. 

So I need more work on riding straight down lines, it's harder then it looks.  Much harder.

I need to be a more active rider paying attention to my horse and not just looking at my fence. 

I'm a big chicken and that hasn't changed. 


Octoberfest day one

Well, Octoberfest has come and gone with postive and negative experiences. 

We ran into an issue right away when I ended up being stabled in an entirely different barn from my trailer buddy and my tack stall.  Even though we both put who we wanted to stable with, and I put that my friend was doing dressage only so she was on a seperate showbill I guess that wasn't enough.  Eventually we got it all fixed up.   

Dressage warm up was fantastic, Annie works better in an arena full of horses and just goes to work.  I'm really  learning how to enforce the "pay attention" button and I'm thinking several strides ahead and not taking no for an answer. 

Annie shows her green when you expect her to work right away in a strange arena.  She wants to gawk and stare and drop behind the leg.  If you give her a lap to settle in she's fine, but this really doesn't work for a dressage test.  I used some very strong half halts and a few boots to the side while in the ring to really remind her that she knew better about yanking the reins loose and being gawky.  I didn't feel like it was our best test but I felt like its the test where I've ridden the strongest in and fought for a good ride and not just settled for staying in the ring.  I ended up with a 40 which included an 8 on gaits and a couple 7s so I guess it was a better test then I thought it was!

I had asked the organizer if I could add in schooling rounds via email and was told yes so I added in a crossrails round.  I had the same issues in the dressage ring in the stadium ring, Annie wanting to gawk and look.  I made it over all my fences just fine but ended up with a refusual for a squiggly balky thing in a corner. 

I asked in the office for clarity and decided to ask for more clarity on COTH since I've never had the issue come up before.  The CT was run by HJ people and since each discipline has different rules I wondered if they were reading from different rules.  It's not that I'm fighting the judge or that I'm angry, I'd just really like to know.  I got a ton of different answers from different people, so I was even more confused.  I understand that I'm at a schooling show and I certainly appreciate lenient judges who let me school, but I'd like to know if I got a pass on something that I wouldn't otherwise so I know for the future.  My answer is that yes it was a refusual, but many judges would ignore it but some wouldn't, and I should be glad that the judge was paying attention enough to notice it.

So now that's clear.

I asked for a second schooling round, was told no because I hadn't prepaid.  Which is fine, and is again something I've never had come up.  I'd asked for and added schooling rounds and brought a check by plenty of times.  So I take Annie back to the barn, untack her, and head back to watch the rest of the rounds.

Then someone comes up to us and says that we can add a schooling round in anyway and I needed to get in there.  So I run back to the barn, tack Annie back up, and hustle back over.  To find them taking the course apart.

They put the course back together,  it's a good thing they did because the ring was supposed to be open for another 40 minutes and there were still people over in dressage.   I school again with much better results, and then they let another 7 or 8 people school.

The starter course being put together was maxed out, flames, panels, gates, and several of the fences were over 2' 3"  So I backed out.  After my bad lesson I wasn't feeling very positive. 

It turns out that several trainers lodged a complaint with the course designer and he ended up taking out most of the filler and lowering the fences to 2' 3" but oh well. 

I guess I just confirmed to people that I'm a wishy washy chicken who is probably never going to get above Starter level. 

Pre Show Lesson

This is a recap since I've already had my horse show but I wanted to seperate and analyze my posts.

I was finally able to get a lesson in last Wednesday, and it was a frustrating one. 

I've been having and continue to have problems with Annie launching at her fences a stride early and then I get left behind and get jumped loose or catch her in the face.  If I keep my leg on and get into my position when I think she's supposed to take off I get left behind, but if I put my hands on her mane then I lose control and she runs out.

She ran out multiple times jumping across the diagonal, and I couldn't figure out how to keep her straight and release.  Eventually we got over the fence but then she ran out at the 2 stride just because she learned she could. 

Some placing poles helped with her leaving early but I didn't have a very positive feeling after the lesson.  The next day I decided to school dressage in my jumping saddle and pop over the fences again to iron things out but ended up with the same refusal issue.  I feel like I get her going to the fence and then she gets really wiggly the last stride away.  So I really wasn't looking forward to the show or feeling very confident about it. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Figure 8 no go

This is Annie playing Hide and Don't Seek ME.  I'm not quite sure she understands the game all the way. 

Last night's ride I had a very fresh Annie who is still adjusting to the cooler temperatures.  We did lots and lots of hand galloping in my dressage saddle trying to work on our canter transitions for our next dressage test.  Annie is quite sure that there is ZERO way a horse can make a trot canter transition without using its head and neck for leverage.  I've been getting all sorts of pretzeling, angry faces, and bucking when I insist on keeping contact into the canter.  She has a very obedient hot off the leg transition, and will go right on the bit as soon as she takes it, but we have a missing piece I'm working hard at getting and she's working hard at not getting. 

I also discovered that she can't stand the figure 8 bridle I had her in.  I'm not sure if it puts pressure on her nose, if she doesn't like having her mouth strapped shut (she keeps it shut on her own so I have no idea), or what.  I ended up getting off her, removing the noseband, and riding her without.  POOF instant on the bit.  I think I might mess with it again after the show and see if I can figure out why she doesn't like it, it's a shame to not use a nice bridle.  I'd like to show her hunters in a D ring just to fit in a bit more so I'll see if she has the same reaction to a bit change. 

I finally have a jumping lesson on Wednesday which I'm looking forward to! 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Meh ride

I was saving this space for a summary of my latest lesson, but I was unable to get either an away lesson at CAF or a home lesson with Rachel.  So this is a photo of Annie trying out my figure 8 bridle.  Notice that she does not look pleased.  She was kept in all day and was grumpy, although if she were outside in the cold temps and pouring rain I'm sure she'd complain about that too.  Sheesh. 

So I turned her out in the arena to stretch her legs while I did stalls and so she could get some of her kicks out after being in all day and maybe get used to the rain on the roof.  I'm not sure why rain over your stall is ok, but rain over the arena roof is NOT OK. 

Don't get me wrong, she's not a bolter like Nikki (ahhhh, those were the days), she might get a little jumpy and spook in place a bit but that's it.  Her problem is that she doesn't want to put her head down on the bit, or go on the right rein.  All ears must be on the spooky door, and any monsters that might drop off the roof.  She'll trot around fine but she certainly doesn't look like she enjoys what she's doing and there isn't any soft to be found unless I brought a pillow into the arena. 

These are what I call "meh" rides.  Every now and then your horse is going to have an off day and he is going to be all "meh" about being ridden.  Not bad, just not good.  I don't necessarily think of this as a schooling opportunity although maybe that's not the right idea.  I think of it as a get it done and as long as it doesn't  happen often no big.  I never get really good rides out of anyone after they've been in all day, especially if it's raining hard while I'm riding.  I really probably wouldn't bother to ride at all on those days, and sometimes don't.  Tonight I used it as a "I'm going to ride you even if you don't like it" learning opportunity.  So I'm looking forward to a jumping lesson next week, I'm not a big jumping without instruction person and it would be awful nice to get a lesson before my next horse show.  Tonight, meh.


 Hello all,  Life has been busy and I have not felt I've had anything worth blogging about.  Or that my blog is particularly interestin...