Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fantastic end to the show season

We've come a long way baby!

Annie has come a long way from refusing to move forward at the trot and having zero canter a year ago. 



She was a little grumpy for our dressage test, I'm not sure if she has memorized the test and the arena we do it in and she's anticipating the test, or if all the work taking contact in the canter transition is making her grumpy.   I got a buck into canter warming up when I asked for contact.   I'm still not getting the quality of contact and trot that I've been getting at home, but she's easier to warm up at shows, especially considering it was chilly this morning and she's not used to warming up on grass.  She was a little behind the leg and bucked a few times when I whacked her, so we have some more dressage to work on!  I need to focus on making her confident that she can go forward into contact into the canter and obedient enough that she doesn't buck when I insist. 




I was pleased that she was more grumpy with me then spooky at trotting into a new place! 

We're still working some kinks out when we trot into the show arena, she gets looky and then suddenly there's a fence in front of her and she doesn't want to jump it.  I really noticed a difference in my riding in our Green as Grass Derby course, where I was alert enough to make her go over her second scary fence and then brave enough to pilot her zig zagging body out into the XC field and over the fences all by herself.  We zigged and zagged and walked over a couple of the fences but I made her go.  I think it gave her a lot of confidence in herself and a lot of respect in me. 

I decided to add a second round for the derby and boy was I glad I did!  We hit the grass and she trotted boldly over her first two fences, then kept her canter and I let her roll.  She got STRONG but she was having so much fun going FAST!!!!  I wrestled her back to the trot to go up and down the bank and she was royally pissed, having planned to gallop down it so she let out some I WANNA GO FASTER bucks.    I was so excited that I forgot where my last fence was.  Oooops.  She looks fantastic in the video and so confident.

We got a little rest break between GAG and Starter so I let her take a nap in her stall. 

She was hit or miss for our Starter course, the first fence was bigger and there were a bunch of horses to look at so she ran out.  I didn't do a very good job of keeping between the funnel of aids and was more of a passenger then a pilot.  The next several fences were awesome.  Then we came into fence 7 which was near the judge's truck so she wanted to look at them and not jump the fence.  I didn't add enough leg, didn't add enough right rein, AND got ahead with my shoulders so I hit the sand. 

I was SO mad I smacked the ground with my hand!  LAZ came right up and boosted me back up into the saddle.  I remember thinking "heck yes I want a leg up!"  and I finished my course dead on.  I was madder then a wet cat. 

I got talked into doing a second round, and once again boy was I glad I did!  Annie was on fire!  I was determined!  What a brave little horse!!

So overall I felt like I knew what I was doing and I was in control and making decisions.  I failed at a few of those decisions, but I wasn't in a blind panic the entire way around the course!  Annie continues to need some support and guidance from me in a looky situation and I take forever to warm up on course but she really is quite brave.  Tickled pink!  I also noticed that I was only slightly worried warming up. 

The weather was in the 70s, the show was well run, and the food was fantastic!  Very excited to see what we do over the winter and where we come out in the spring.  BN here we come?!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Horrible weed whacker attack

Annie grows a ton of hair and sweats a lot, in our summer lessons at CAF she even sweats on her nose.  She doesn't get tired so I assume she's just a sweaty beast.

Last winter I ended up having to clip her so we could continue to go to lessons because we would work very hard and she'd get soaking wet even with temps in the teens (shudder, right around the corner).

I clipped her for the second time a few weeks ago.  Then clipped her again the day after that.   Then a few days later, then a week later.  I think I might be calling it quits, I don't think I can make it look any better!

Anyone who has advice on how to clip a straight line across the body is welcome to chime in! 

This is what it looks like.

This was my guide

 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November show.....sounded like a good idea when it was 78

Lots of fairly insignificant and slightly significant things have happened since Octoberfest but I've been too lazy to write about them, so here's it in a nutshell. 

I decided to sign up for one more horseshow before winter weather really sets in.  I've realized that I'm a reactive rider and not a proactive rider and while I was able to recognize this at Octoberfest I was slow to react.  I'd like to go into the November show with that in mind and see if I can improve my rounds. 

November show you say?  Well it sounded like a good idea when it was 78 and I was clipping 3 inches of yak hair off of Annie.  And touching it up.  And reclipping it.  And telling myself that next year I'm just going to pay someone to do it. 

Last week I had a good lesson working on gymnastics, the gymnastic was set in the middle of the arena so I could turn into it from either direction.  I found that the easiest way was off the right, which was unusual since she's much more difficult to bend to the right.  To the left I had issues with her bulging her shoulder out and running out.  I think this is because she's more bendy to the left so she can be overly bendy when she wants to be, so it's something I need to keep in mind when I'm doing flatwork. 

This week the weather has been slightly ridiculous.  I elected not to ride on Monday due to a high wind warning and tree branches on the arena roof.  It gets pretty spooky and I just wasn't feeling it. 

Tuesday the wind was better but we were feeling the edges of hurricane Sandy so it was raining nonstop.  I've found that Annie doesn't do well being cooped up all day, add rain and wind and was a beast.  I ended up lunging her for 10 minutes until she snorted slightly less then had a tense and spooky ride.  Wednesday I figured she'd be fine but the herd came in with their tails on fire and Annie was once again a beast. 

That November show seemed less and less like a good idea.

Today she was much better, lazy even.  I did lots of cantering to make up for the lack of cantering all week and really worked hard on keeping the connection with my inside rein by TAKING the connection while bringing my elbow back.  For the first time Annie experimented with keeping her head down in the transition and not trying to pretzel her body into all sorts of shapes to avoid doing it.  Yeah Progress!!!!!  November show looking like a slightly less bad idea.

October HT wrap up

My BIG MOVE UP at the October show was a big fat fail.  This is me, dismounting off of Stella in the middle of a massive XC melt down...