Sunday, August 25, 2013

Unsuitable Horses and Unrealistic goals

I want to buy this horse here

http://cincinnati.craigslist.org/grd/4007070571.html

I shall compete him at PSG

Anyone who tells me that he can't do PSG is just a stuffy Warmblood loving DQ

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dressage clinic recap and reflection

Over the weekend I attended a Lou Denizard dressage clinic http://delantedressage.com/

He comes in every 2 months to Greystone Equestrian Center and is capable of teaching 4th level work.  What I like about him is that he seems willing to work with any breed of horse and type of rider. In the clinic there were several warmbloods, two arabians, a fjord, and a shire.  He had heavy emphasis on being even and through in both reins and helped several riders step the level of their work and their understand of what is correct and what is really correct.  He also focused on the egagement of the hind legs, asking the horses to step evenly with both legs in the transitions into the trot and canter.  He did quite a bit of counter canter work as well. 

On my Monday ride I tried to be aware of how even Annie was in the reins.  She likes to hide from the right rein and it takes lots of activation to get her to step into them evenly.  Lou had a rider leg yield two strides onto and off the rail a few times to make the horse more even and this was a good exercise for me to practice. 

I saw lots of really great sitting trot work so I did most of my trot work sitting.  Annie is a good barometer of my ability to really sit and if I'm bouncing around she will jog like a western pleasure horse with her nose BTV making grumpy faces.  Only when my seat is still will she step up the level of her trot.  She's a bit of a smartass and will "test" me by trotting more and more forward until I lose my position and get bounced loose.  Then she slams to a halt with a big sigh.  Last night she even offered up a medium trot down the long side, followed by a buck halt transition when I got out of position. 

Her forward energy was difficult to capture and I had to work hard to not let it leak out the front door.  When I captured it I had lots of power from her engine to manage.  Half the ride she felt fantastic and the other half she jack hammered away with her nose in the air. 

I had some really nice shoulder in work as well but her canter was a bit of a hand gallop.  I'm steering clear of lead changes until I have someone's eye on the ground and I feel like she isn't going to get out of hand. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Egg timer



This was the face I had last night for a moment.  We were on right lead canter and at the exact moment Annie decided that cantering on da bit was too much to bear, pulled an arabian and stuck her head straight up in the air to regain control of pace and speed, and careened around the corner we were faced with the other rider in the ring doing a shoulder in around the corner.  I think we may have cantered up the wall a bit and I may have used a bit of a pulley rein, but we did not crash.

Annie's at this in between stage.

We go along doing some really nice dressage.  She's on the bit, she listens to my half halts, she bends, she flexes, she moves off my leg and I feel like we stand a chance at having a reasonable Training level test and maybe see First level in the Spring.






Then I think she has an egg timer under her saddlepad where she reaches her limit of being a good dressage horse and the egg timer goes off and she switches from happy dressage Annie to Grumpy Annie.



 
 
Then she sticks her nose out and pins her ears when I half halt, wobbles across the diagonal, or my personal favorite, the canter sproing.

There we are cantering on da bit at a reasonable rate of speed and DING!  It all becomes too much, she grabs the bit, sticks her nose out, and tanks off.  Steering goes out the window, speed increases, and we bank the corners.  Extra fun when someone else is in the ring.

This is not the same as what I call the "post canter face"  which is basically Annie saying that we just spent a lot of time cantering, and she'd really like to canter again and not do this stupid trotting crap.  However, it must be a canter on her terms so nose in the air at hand gallop speeds.  Until we do so I get the post canter face where I stare at the inside of her ears for the rest of the ride.

Oh well. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A difficult course of no height and an old show is back baby!

Sunday Annie got to take another LAZ lesson and she was very happy indeed.  So happy she didn't want to do any on da bit trotting and kept trying to canter.  She bravely tackled 3 groundpoles at the canter despite my worrying that we were going to face plant over them.  Since we were in a lesson with some lower level people I got to do my first couple courses over groundpoles which was amazingly difficult trying to get the correct distance and not get left behind or ahead over a jump of no height.  Once the fences were raised I think it actually got easier! 

Then we got to go out into the XC field and do a little course of XC fences cold.  It was fun! 

After our lesson she got a massage by someone studying equine massage.  Which is interesting since I don't get massages after my lessons and I think I need one more then my horse!  For some reason jumping around with LAZ makes Annie walk a little tall and my dressage school after a lesson is always puncuated with lots of "THIS BORING CANTER!!!" The massage, lesson, and a Pentosan shot and I had a fire breathing chestnut mare Tuesday.  We did some sort of sproing thing because she accidentally got herself in collected trot in her tizzy and couldn't figure out what to do with it. 

For all the moments when Annie is a total cow there are so many more moments when she's a solid horse that gives me a lot of confidence.  She's not spooky, she has a ton of whoa, and she's not afraid to go.  She settles into work and seems happy to do it (Except for dressage that is).   Sometimes I find myself grinning like an idiot when I start off nervous and then realize I have nothing to be worried about on her. 

In other news DAN HOBYN IS BACK!!!!  They stopped hosting shows for 2 years during an instructor change but when the instructor took a job in another state they decided to host a "welcome back" CT.  Thanks to the kindness of other horse people Annie gets to hitch a ride for their September 1st show and I am going to enter her in BN and look at the pre novice.  Now before my fans (If I have any!) get all excited BN is listed as 2 feet and pre novice at 2' 6"  It'll be a great opportunity to go to a strange place and jump around and a real test of her bravery and my ability to pilot her around. 

Visit their Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/DanHobynStables?ref=br_tf for information about the show.  I'll be there, will you?