Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Anticipation

Last Thursday at my lesson we learned not to anticipate the jump. I had a very hard time with this seeing as my horse hardly ever wants to go over the jump. It is hard not to anticipate failure. I know it sounds harsh, but in all reality we have failed alot. Olly and I have been working diligently to get over the jump and follow in good form.
How do you follow your jump in good form when you are just so damn excited that he actually went over it? Let me tell you...

I set up a few jumps today, not the same way as the lesson, but the same concept...

...a small vertical with feed bags draped from here to Egypt...

...with a canter pole 32ft out.

I put the canter pole mainly for me. I wanted to be able to keep him collected and calm and not rushing after the jump. He tends to rush in and out. Talk about half-halts!

This is where Terri's lesson came in. If he lands on his left lead we follow to the left and take the jump with the tires.

If he takes the right lead we follow to the right and take the high crossrail with flowers. None of the jumps were over 2'3".

This exercise does a few things...one...I don't anticipate the next jump, second he doesn't anticipate the next jump BECAUSE we don't know which way we are going yet. It also helps you feel the leads without looking. I tried to guess which lead he was on before looking. By the third time around I didn't even have to look anymore. Most of the time when I do look down at my leads I am correct, I think it is just a confidence thing.
By the end of the whole session he was tired and sweaty and I was a proud mama! He never once tried to refuse the jumps. He took them head on and kept the forward motion. He never second guessed himself. A few times he did chip and reach for a jump (a few times I grabbed mane to prevent hitting him in the mouth) but over all he went over and never knocked one down. He was willing and confident!!! He has been making great strides (no pun intended) in his jumping.
Tomorrow we are going for a long, long, long trail ride.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Jim Wofford book in motion

This morning we got up and went for a morning ride. I had husband take some cinder blocks out to my "arena" to make a make-shift oxer. I need to build a few more standards to complete the line, but those will do for now. We started out with some trotting, which after a few strides ended in a canter, it took a few times around to get him to realizie that I was serious. When he gets so forward it is tough to keep him focused. I constantly have to change directions and gaits. And I try to avoid cantering until he settles in. It was cooler this morning so that added to it too. After we were ready to focus (about 30 minutes) we started with the line we finished with on Wed. He did it with ease (yeah!!). The next step Jim's (we are on a first name basis lol) book is to change the vertical into an oxer. I first changed it into an acending oxer so he could get used to the depth. I want to make sure he doesn't refuse any jumps. He is so sensitive with trust, if I keep him on a good path then maybe he will eventually just go with whatever I put him against.
video

After a few tries of the acending oxer we moved on to an oxer 18" high with a 2'6" spread. The goal is to jump wider than the oxer is higher. My thought was that he was going to over jump the oxer to compensate the width, to my surprise, he didn't. He jumped it great. I went back and looked at the video later and it showed that he jumped higher than he needed, but not wider. Goal accomplished :)!
video

At the end of our jumping session we went on a short trail ride. Olly loves trails. It seems more like a reward than a cool down. Fine by me either way. He deserved them both!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Gymnastic line of the day


So according to Jim Wofford this exercise will help your horse learn to jump correctly. It is in the begining of the book, actually it is exercise 2.  We started out warming up. I have decided to use a running martingale since I watched my last video over the flowers and he seemed "giraffe-y" (to use Stacy's words). It is amazing how much you can learn from watching yourself on video. I would advise everyone to do it. So, as I was saying, we started warming up and he didn't take too long to fall in and start bending. We did some dressage movements with circles at the walk and trot and a few laps at a canter both ways, then we decided to try the line. He did really great the frist time, although not perfect, he did do good. We went over it two more times and the last time it was amazing. I wish I had it on video. It always make me feel like I am on the right track when it all comes together. It took alot to make the decision, but I decided to end on a good note and be finished with the jumping. After doing such a great lne, it makes you want to keep going. I fought the inner urge and walked him out. I think he appreciated the rest and all the love I gave him for giving it such a good try. Next time we are going to make the vertical an oxer...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Go the Distance

So yesterday I was thinking about where I can get in some good long distance trail riding. We have a few places around here, but now that deer season is starting I am not so sure that I want to be riding around on an animal that could be mistaken for dinner to a hunter. I remembered that down the road from me, maybe a mile or so, there was a Boy Scouts "farm" or what ever you want to call it. I knew there would be no hunting there because of the kids. Now if I could only get permission. It looked like there was no one there.

I go to get Olly saddled and I notice that his fetlocks were a bit swollen. Freaked I tried to call Stacy, my first go to. I thought about texting a picture but I shortly remembered iphones don't get picture texts. You really need to look into another phone Stacy! Anyway, it looked like it was just from stocking up. It didn't really feel like tissue swelling it felt like a fluid edema. I called Terri, my instructor, to run my idea past her. She agreed and told me to ride him for 10 minues and re-evaluate.

Before

A bit nervous I climbed on and started towards the Boy Scouts of America. Whatta ya know, 10 minutes is exactly how long it took me to get down there, at a walk of course. I rechecked the fet's and sure enough the swelling was gone. Whew!! Legs and feet make me so nervous. You never know what is going to happen. It could be something as huge as a cross country course or as little as a twist in the paddock.

After

After getting back on and feeling more at ease with the fetlock thing, we are walking down a paved drive and we come to a pond. I really wasn't paying attention to the pond because I was looking at this HUGE open field that would be great for galloping sets. All of a sudden Olly excutes a not too shabby roll-back and takes off running at a high rate of speed. At the other end of the pond I hear a goose honking. I make him turn around and face his fears, after all is a goose really classified as a fear? He sticks it out and moves on.

See the culprit?

We move on down the road and in the distance there is a generator. Good someone to talk to about riding on the land. I walk up and he shuts the generator off and says "What are you doing here?" Ok, strike one, so I ask am I allowed to have animals here. He says "Yeah, that's not the problem, who are you?" After talking and being a polite as I could be, he agreed to let me ride any of the land as long as it was after 1700, no weekends and if I didn't "tear up the place." WTF???? Seriously? What can a horse and I possible "tear up?" Anyway I promised to behave and told him I would let him know when I was accessing the land so he would think I was half way responsible. He also told me a route that I can take from behind my house all they way to there so I didn't have to walk the road. Super! A well maintained path for the riding? Awesome.


We make our way around the paths to another open field. It was gorgeous. All I could think of is galloping away with my GPS. Olly must have been thinking the same thing minus the GPS, he was pulling my arms off. We CANTER a bit, which might have been a bad idea, since he didn't want to stop...


...but he did. And I don't mean like a gradual trot to a walk. I mean a freaking halt! Why? Maybe because two deer jumped out and he almost shit himself. See that is one problem with Hawaii. No wildlife, my horse has never seen a deer, racoon, possom or squirril to name just a few. He stood so still it would have seemed he wasn't even breathing. He was actually trying to figure out what they were. I could feel his heartbeat through my chaps. After what seemed like minutes, he started in their direction (the deer stopped and were looking at this huge animal too). He wanted to run, I think he was really curious and not afraid. Either way, not doing a roll-back and running WAS an improvement.


After relaxing from the deer I looked up and realized that the sun was setting and I had better get home. I only had about 20 minutes of daylight left and it was at least a 15 minute ride.


It is truely pretty out here in Va and I hope to see more of it. Olly and I are progressing exponetially which would have never happened in Hawaii, I am sad to say. I really do miss it there (the people and the land) but Olly and I are better here in horsey-land.

Flower power

In my last blog it stated that my horse WOULD NOT jump the flower vertical, even though it was only 18". So this past weekend we braved the cold weather and tackled the dreaded "flower jump." I had some left over fall looking silk leaves that I used to make a festive wreath last year that would work just fine. Bright yellows, oranges and everything in between. I took them out to our "arena" and plastered them around one of the standards and along the ground rails. It was for sure to make him stop and think. Sure enough it did.It wasn't a jump yet just a canter pole with one stride to a vertical. We entered it at a trot and out of it at a canter. Easy, right? Well now to ad a crossrail (I also dropped the vertical to a crossrail). This made him think, it looked different. Before even attempting and failing I walked him up to it so he could evaluate. We even trotted around it a few. At the frist attemp he bulked but went right over. I'll take it!!! At least the forwad motion stayed forward. Now all we have to work on is the departure.
video

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hunter over fences show...

Sunday the Oct 11th we went to our first hunter over fences show. It did have a few flat classes that we entered, but it was mostly jumping.
It started the night before, as all show do, with the banding and cleaning. I wanted to give Olly a bath, but the weather ended up really chilly that night. Little did I know that was nothing compared to the next morning. Terri arrived at my house at 1730 to pick up Olly. We had to leave a 0630 to be at the show for another rider to school. It was easier to get him the night before. I followed her back to the farm to feed Olly dinner and make sure he was settled in. It was hard to know that he would be staying the night not with me. How could have I boarded him before? It seemed like a crazy thought now. I enjoy having him right outside my window that it is hard to know that he was staying the night somewhere else.
Of course he was fine the next morning when I showed up. He was still in his ninja suit all clean. I know that it was only a schooling show, but I take it seriously. Banded, braided and ready to go. Don't even get started on clipping. Even thought it was a "just for fun" show you should still look nice.
0530 comes pretty early in Va. It came so early that "warm" wasn't even up. it was a whopping 42*. isn't that against the law? I mean can you ease a Hawaii horse into the cold weather? Va is rough!! Good thing he had his rain sheet and ninja suit on, oh, and he had shipping boots. He looked like he was from Hawaii! If they made Parka's for horses this is what they would look like lol. By the time breakfast was over it was 0630, time to load up. Olly is great at loading. Sometimes in a new trailer he will give me a look and I will say it's ok and give him a pat and that is all it takes. He is trusting me more and more everyday. After a 30 minute ride to the show, a quart of coffee and a quick prayer that the sun WILL shine today we arrive.
I sign up for my classes, which were $10 each (!!!), when I was younger (boy I sound old) they were only $3, I go to saddle up. Since I am here this early better use my time! As I head to the arena all I can see are these extravagant jumps. Hunter my butt! We are talking painted rock wall, lattice gate, purple, pink and any other pastel color you can think of, flowers and the list goes on. I already knew my jumping day was over before it even started. We warm up and Terri suggests we try a "baby hunter" jump (18"). i told her right at the get-go...he ain't goin'! We'll try a packer, she says. Ok but I am telling you he isn't a dumb boy. Little Oreo was chosen for the job. He is a 12h pinto that can jump the Empire State Building. Off at a trot he goes, Olly and I 10ft behind him. It was going ok until, literally, 2ft to go. I mean he should be at take off by now and well, we weren't. He planted his feet and I went crotch to the pommel. All I could think was DO NOT fall off at the hunter show with 50 people watching. I hear Terri (faint over my own thoughts) SIT!!! I jammed my heels as far as they could go grabbed a bit of mane and sat up. SHIT! That was a close one! I vowed by the next weekend he WOULD go over some flowers! I don't care if they were drilled into a ground pole. We are still working on the trust. I schooled a bit more and then back to the trailer we went. Our flat classes were a few hours away.
The first flat class was really great. We did all we were asked and at a very slow collected pace. I was so proud of Olly. As we lined up for the results, a woman walked up to me and said, ummm I am sorry to tell you because you did so well, but flash nosebands are illegal in hunter classes. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Are you kidding me?? I got 6th out of 6. Out of the 50 people that were standing around the damn arena no one thoght to tell me? Thanks Va once again! All in all it was just a schooling show and we were just there for fun, but it does make it nicer when you don't place....last.

The last three classes were just the same. under saddle and two eq classes. I ended up getting a 4th, 5th and a 6th. No last places, which was good. olly was in the zone, or should I say not in the zone. He was totally calm. I think it had something to do with me not being nervous. I guess if that is all that it takes then I will do what ever I can to keep it undr wraps.
At the end of the day we had competed in 4 classes and gained experience. I couldn't ask for more. I also had a Walmart craft center shopping trip planned for some brightly colored flowers ;)

See those stinking flower jumps!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dressage Show



We had our first Deressage show on Sunday. The plannign started out on Saturday afternoon. We went and practiced the test a few times and they the grooming started. I was a little nervous because i ahve NEVER clipped him before. I knew that everything would go smoothly with his body and muzzle, but I was concerned with his ears. I mean who likes buzzing in their ears? We were about ot find out...
We started with the ears just in case we needed to take a few breaks. He actually did fine. It didn't get bad until I had to get down into his ear where all the fuzz was. We did one ear took a break and then did the other. After that the rest was pie. Next was bath time. I love giving him a bath. He looks so nice. All clean, no dirt. He shines. Although I had to make sure he had his ninja suit on and a blanket and standing wraps just to keep hiim clean, he ended up pretty for show day.
We only showed in one class. Which was enough for us this time.




I have attached the video.

This weekend we are going to a hunter show to do some light jumping and equitation classes. More to follow.