Sunday, February 28, 2010

To Fall, Or Not To Fall, That is the Question...

Yesterday as I peel myself out of bed and make myself some coffee I start hearing about the earthquake in Chile. Who couldn't? After about an hour my hubby calls me and says "hey there is suppose to be a tsunami hitting Hawaii," STACEY!!! I instantly grabbed my cell and text her telling her to GET UP! The text wasn't as polite. I wasn't sure if she had even heard. Luckily and thankfully she text me back saying she was on it. I followed the KHON2 live news feed for a few hours and then decided that the big worry was not so big, everyone was gonna be fine. Whew! After finishing my coffee I get my Carhart and head out to do some slow canter work with Olly. We start off with pulling and racing, not my favorite. After fixing my seat and lots of circles I decided to take my coat off and lay it next to the camera. We had some jumps to work on. Well, let me tell you this next part didn't go as planned. NEVER, NEVER take your jacket off while on a TB who thinks he is from off the track (he isn't he just thinks he is). I totally wish I had the camera on to film me. It would have been the most embarassing moment of my life to capture it but, it would have been good! As I am walking to the tripod, I decided to kinda hang my jacket a bit further out than normal. At first he kinda shied, but then recovered. Good Boy! So what do I do? Let's shake it a bit! OMG, this totally was not proof of me having a brain. He held for a minute but then started skittering to the right, I had this!!! I sat and rode him about 15 feet, then he spun. I had the reins in my right hand and the jacket still in my left, yup, that's right folks, I never even thought of dropping the jacket. Not even after I was laying flat on my back. I waited for a 3 count to make sure I didn't lose my breath. I hit hard on my left shoulder, I even have a pretty nice bruise on the inside of my left elbow. As I sit up I see Olly looking at me like, "Mom, I am soooo sorry, it was gonna eat me!" I got up and started walking to him and he hangs his head and meets me. I told him I was sorry and it was all my fault. I carried my jacket over to the camera, brushed te leaves off and turned ON the camera. This is the video I got. We worked alot on slowng down. I decided to keep the Boucher on him for the time being. I think that he will be fine with it. I think I need to fix my riding. Until I fix myself I really don't want to change bits. I can already see some habits that are carrying over to him. The speed is the biggest. He is now attacking the jumps with out pausing and I am now the problem. I remembered a lot of information at the lesson that I HAVEN'T been applying when I ride. Like Terri at Brandywine Farms said "the hardest thing is to do nothing on his back." And it is. After trying so hard to get him over those jumps, now all I have to do is nothing....seems too easy. But I am trying to break my habits. After about and hour of going slow, or trying really hard to go slow, Olly was in a sweat. It is hard work to try to exert litlle enegry when you are a big red horse. We walked home, I was on foot. He had worked so hard he deserved to not carry me the last 1/4 mile. After a good brushing and some sugar cubes, I went straight up to the bath with my homework and sat in some HOT water to try to relieve what aches would be there in the morning.
Today we worked on the same thing, no jumping and no cantering. Just a nice even pace at a walk and a trot. We worked in circles alot and collecting. He actually did better than I thought. He is really slow and collected with these two gaits, it is really just the canter we have problems with. My thought: Lets work in the trot for a bit and then make the canter our next project. I am going to set up some low verticals (2ft) and work on speed before and after the jumps. That will be next weeks project. In the mean time, over the next few days we are going to continue working on our flat work, trotting and cantering controlling our speed over ground poles. Our first show is March 27th. So time is ticking. I am curious to see what he will be like in the show ring.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Bits Galore!

The bitless, see how thrilled he is?

So after the bitless bridle tryout, we decided to make our way back to the bit closet and pick out something that wouldn't encourage bucking and head shaking. Next up on the list a French Link boucher. I know Olly likes the french links, but he seemed to have a bit of a high head and being speedy. I did try him in a kimberwike, which seemed to work out great, but I just don't think he needs that "strong" of a bit right now. The middle ground? A Boucher!

Olly and his Boucher!

Still snaffle-y, but with a little poll pressure to keep the giraffe mode in check. He seemed to like it. I did notice that he was more willing to run off a bit with it though. I think he is just testing it out. We started out with a little flat work, just to get used to it in his mouth and then we tried a few jumps. Nothing complicated. He would have done great if we weren't going 80mph. What is up with the speed? I have changed the food, which seemed to help for a short time and I changed his bit. I decided to go back to the barn where I took lessons before I moved. Brandywine Farms, I love that place, I wish Istill lived only 5 minutes away. The people are great and the learning curve is amazing.I packed up all my stuff at like 1445 in the afternoon and headed out for my 1700 lesson.

Saddling up

The indoor, which was awesome in 38* weather and gail force winds

It took me 1h20min to get there, but it was worth it. After not being in a lesson for a few months and working hard on Olly, I had forgotten all the right things to do for myself. It was a nice change to be able to jump anything and not wonder if the horse I was on was going to go over or not. After only a few laps over the jumps I realized that maybe the speed that I was battling with Olly wasn't due to feed or open grass. It was my too forward seat. Now, I haven't been out to try out my theory yet today, but I have a good feeling that this may solve alot. Since that forward seat increases speed, it also throughs off our strides and the actual jump. I anticipate, he anticipates. Maybe that is why I have such a hard time getting him over those spooky jumps? AND!! If I am riding forward, and he refuses, I am on step away from going over his head. I haven't (knock on wood) lost it over a jump, yet. And I am striving with all my power and pride not to. So lter today if I can get my homework done and the wind DIES down to hurrican force level, I am going to put my theories to work.
Oh, and I would like to take a minute for a ProMo, I got these new sturrips, they have the flex bars on the side, they are AWESOME! My knees thank the makers of these sturrips. When we moved to Hawaii, I started running and the more miles I ran the more my knees started to bother me. Anything over 3 miles would kill me. After going to the doctor, he gave me stretches to do, which fixed the running part. Now I can run my five miles with no problems. BUT riding is another story. After a few times around the "arena" posting they start to ache. I tested a pair out and instantly fell in love. So thank you to my Mommy for getting me a pair!
The twinkle adds a nice touch.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bitless Bridle Anyone?

So I finally got my Christmas stuff from my mom. She got me a bitless bridle. I was totally stoked to use it. So Saturday I saddled up and headed out. I could tell right away before we even got into a trot that he was not feeling this new bridle. I set up my camera and got a bit of video. We started out trotting and he was moving out, but a bit flat. I tried to collect him a bit and he just shook his head. I could hardly put any pressure on the reins. We moved into a canter and that is when the fun started, not for Olly of course. After a few circles he was startig to feel more pissy. He did buck a few times, although they weren't rodeo bucks, they were Olly, get DQ'ed from your dressage pattern bucks. I noted them on the video. He also seemed to feel a bit speedy and didn't want to use his brakes. I really had to use my seat and legs. Basically, this bridle was a glorified halter, I may have better luck with a halter. He was being a good boy, nothing that was unacceptable, I was just trying to stay out of his way so the bridle didn't make him too uncomfortable.

Can't figure out how to get the video on here, so here is the link.

I really felt bad after about 10 minutes. He REALLY didn't like the bridle. He was confused on the reining, I mean he is totally used to direct reining and to have the pressure over the nose he just wasn't feeling it. We walked down our little trail with the creek. Which BTW, he totally went over without a fight. A few weeks back I said that I would post a picture of the "snake filled" creek, so here it is...

Yup, that's it....

We decided to go back to the house and change out bridles. On my way back, my brother-in-law was speeding down the lane and came to a sliding stop next to Olly and I. Apparently my youngest son, Travis, was having a severe insulin reaction and was needing my assistance. So I hauled ass back to the house and threw Olly in the back yard and headed in the house. We ended up in the hospital with an IV dextrose drip, but he is doing ok now. So I haven't been able to try out my new Happy Mouth French Link bit. I have 3 that I will be experimenting with over the next week. French Link D, Mullen Elevator and Full Cheek Mullen. I will have videos on each. Feel free to pick apart my video in any way. I am always open for a good critique.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ok, so let me tell you why I have blogged in like a month. I started back to school (nursing this time)and I would rather ride than blog...sorry. Alos my Great Dane had 15 pups and I have been taking care of them. They are all in new happy homes...well not all, I did keep one beautiful female for myself. Her name is Casey's Cup of Noodles. I named her after an awesome person I met this year. I think if our ages were a bit closer together we would be bestest friends! So since I am suppose to be studying, I am going to post a shit load of pics and a video to show you what I have been doing. Hopefully I can catch up later.
Fat Kiki