Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pony Party!

Today after work I met up with Casey to go riding. She is doing me a HUGE favor by riding Kiki. Colton has been working so hard to ride this rotten little pony and she is starting to run though him. He isn't strong enough to bully her. SO...I have a friend that I ride with that is petite and an awesome rider, Casey! As we are saddling up the horses, Colton is looking out my bedroom window waving...until he sees Casey and Kiki. Uh-oh. Not minutes later he was standing on the lanai asking why "she" was here and why Kiki was out. I had to tell him that we were going for a ride. I was worried that a tantrum might be brewing. Surprisingly, he was ok with it. Off we went. We started out by just warming up in my "arena." I set up two crossrails at about 18".

After warming up, we started out with the low vertical. And by low, I mean LOW!

It was the same concept as the other day. Over the low vertical across the canter pole and take what lead was given and continue to the next jump in that direction. Olly did fine on the vertical, but over jumped the crossrail. Mainly because he kept dropping his shoulder into his right lead and cut the corner, in turn that made our strides off for the jump. So instead of cantering out of the vertical we dropped back to a trot until we got the idea to leghten and shorten. He picked it up fast and we were on to the next set. Next up, Casey and Kiki! Just so y'all know i have never jumped Kiki. I feel that I am way to heavy for her and would never do that to her little legs. Casey, on the other hand, is small and a great rider. Just perfect for the job.

Casey took the vertical great, Kiki not so much. She barely picked up her feet to clear it. A 6" vertical transformed into a ground pole in seconds! A vertical is an understatement, it was more like a cavaletti! Miss Kiki!! Casey did a large circle and did it again. Much better. Kiki is actually not a bad jumper. If she were 10 years younger, we might have a little eventer on our hands. She never questioned the jump other than she just didn't want to do it. Casey made her turn, canter and on correct leads. Casey and I took turns perfecting our jumping. We changed up the pattern half way through. I wanted to make a line with one stride. Casey was all for it. We rearranged the standards to make what we needed. Olly was first. He did rush a bit, but we trotted through until we got settled and then continued on with cantering. He is coming along so nicely that we might have to start the whole counting strides thing sooner than I anticipated. FINE BY ME!

Next it was Casey's turn to make the little Chincoteaque fly. It took a few tries, but she made it. Boy are those ponies stubborn.

After about an hour all the bugs were worked out. Kiki and Olly were ready to go home and relax. I think I even heard Kiki thank us for ending the session.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Riding in the Rain

Yesterday I trailered out to Brandywine Farms (where I take my lessons) and rode for the morning. There were all kinds of jumps to explore. I was hoping that the weather would actually be what was forcasted, 69* and ended up being 60* and don't-look-up-or-you'll-drown rainy. Still, warm enough to ride. It almost reminded me of the Hawaii winters.
I was hoping that after our ride on Thursday Olly would be calmer. When I unloaded him from the trailer, he seemed ready to go. Don't get me wrong, that is one of the things I love about him, his forward (which is sometimes an understatment) movement. But as usual when I got on he was cool as a cucumber. I talked to Terri about this change in personality and she suggested that is was because when he is with the "herd" he feels comfortable and confident and when he is alone at home is is always on alert. Makes sense to me. I'll take it.
We started warming up by taking a look at EVERY fence that was in the arena. Only two looked normal. The others were eye-balled carefully. There were seven of us riding including me. Hannah, Casey, Darcy, Emily, Lindsay, Terri and I made the bunch. I love riding with all the girls. It makes it so much more fun.
It was only a few minutes until the sky opened up and we were headed to the indoor.

I love Casey in this pic! lol!!

We warmed up in the indoor for a few, trotting and cantering. And sure enough the rain stopped.

Back to the outdoor, Batman!!

After warming up we started over one crossrail, a bit of a what is that and then over. No problem. Then the line. PIE!

Moving on! We next tried the please-don't-eat-me green wall. It took a few swift kicks but he went over.

History was made. From that moment on he didn't refuse another jump. He put his trust in me. A feeling that made me smile from here to Hawaii.

We did alot of trotting in and cantering out of the jumps. Although we can canter, going over the jump versus counting strides is a big difference. We were just focusing going over new and exciting things. Strides will be later. We hit up the wall a few times and then Terri calls out "white barrels" and looks directly at me. Ummmm...I'm not going first!

Terri was confident that I was mostly the reason that my big red horse was not going over the jumps like he should. The anticipation from me was carrying over to him. No arguements there! "What you need is a packer," she suggested. O.k., remember how that went at the show...not in our favor AND it was way smaller than 2ft barrels. How can I say no, I mean, part of me was curious and wanted to try it again. This time Casey was my leader. The first time I watched her ride she was with us at the over fences show. I really think the judge had it out for our barn. I totally think she should have placed higher.

Casey and Breeze

But back to the jumping...Terri calls out "Sit, shoulders back and keep your leg on him." "Oh, and breathe!" I followed Casey and Breeze right over the barrels. HOLY CRAP! He did it! Now that was excitement. I felt like an Olympic jumper. I think that was the first time that he went over a jump without refusing it first. Sad, I know.
Next jump, blue barrels. Again, I wasn't going first. Hannah was the first off the line. She will jump anything. I wish that I was as good as she is when I was that age. One word for her...Fearless. And I still swear that she is older than 14.

Hannah and Neveah

We didn't need a packer this time, he not only went over the jump but cleared it by a mile. It would have been nice to know HOW high he was gonna jump. I had to hang on for dear life!

I didn't even get to my two-point!

At least he was calm after the jump he just cantered away, unlike one of the ponies...LUCY.
I rode Lucy at one of the barn shows, bareback. I have no idea how I did it. Darcy was hanging on for dear life, I mean not like grabbing mane or anything, but her legs were a-grippin' around those corners!! That pony would be great for an Open Jumping class, she can change a lead, cut a corner, and take a jump like nothing I have ever seen. I wish I would have gotten it on video. And Darcy...she rode her like a pro.

Darcy, ride her like you stole her!

After a few times over the barrels we called it a day. I think Olly had a great work out, two hours of jumping...he was WALKING on the trail to cool out.

Hannah and Neveah, Emily and Hailey, and Olly and I