Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lola's vacation home

Well here we are, a whole week into my Masters program, and I'm finally finding time to update the blog. Lola survived the LONG drive down here. We stopped about midway down to give her a 45 minute break to eat a "sloppy" with some electrolytes in it, and munch on the hay that she wasn't really eating while we drove, and to offer her some water. Aside from that we had a short gas station stop before and after, and one quick pee stop for me about 45minutes from our final destination. So with all that, it took 9 hours! Ugh... She did great. Luckily it was a nice cool day for driving. She didn't seem overly stressed, and she settled into the student boarding stables right away.

So the first day she got to just chill and take in the new surroundings. Monday I pulled her out and lunged her and worked her in hand just a bit. Tuesday we started back to work and she got a good ride. Wednesday she got an hour turn out. Thursday and Friday, more good training rides. I think this will end up being our pattern. Mondays and Wednesdays will be hard to fit in much of anything. In fact Tuesdays could get tough too. But Thursday through Sunday, I have the luxury of just enjoying being out at the barn and loosing track of time, which I inevitably do.

Saturday we did something awesome. We had a GOOD rider put a ride on her! Not that I'm a bad rider, but we'll just say that this rider has more experience at higher levels of dressage AND in bringing young horses along, AND she's just plain more talented than I am! I was very lucky to have the chance to see Lola go so well. This rider got a ton more consistency from Lola than I do. Where I get to see little glimmers of beauty her and there with a her feet flying every which way the rest of the time, this rider could keep her moving more the way she's supposed with only little bumps of chaos every so often. Green horses are always seeking to balance themselves and a rider that can create structure for the horse using their body to regulate the tempo. I can do this to some degree, but I'm also a work in progress. It was a huge treat to see her moving so nicely! The good news, it all stuck with her the next day! She was a fantastic steady horse when I rode her the next day! Let's see how long I can keep up the good work!

I am hoping to get her out on the trail soon. Since its a little complicated as to where we can ride and where we can't, I need to go out with someone that knows the trails the first few times. I'm hoping that this next weekend it might actually happen.

Monday, June 7, 2010

First jumping show!!!

We had a very successful little schooling show. It was a small show that was really geared to creating a safe environment for beginner riders and green horses. Perfect place to set Lola up for success.

The first class we did was a hunter course over just the ground poles. She did fine, she was just a little inconsistent by getting a little quick down one line, and her head was sort of all over the place as she kept finding her balance, but over all she felt like she was listening well and relaxed. The whole point of the first class was to get her in the arena, and get us both relaxed. Its no big deal, its no big deal, its no big deal...

Next class we did the exact same course, but trotting it over poles. Again, my whole goal was to create relaxation, focus on what I'm asking of her, and a steady forward tempo. We totally obliterated one jump! I mean come on Lola, they're cross bars! Actually they were quite easy to knock down because they were the hollow pvc type and were not weighted at all. A little knock or rub that would leave a regular wood pole in the cups sent these poles flying in all directions. Now that I've watched the video, I see that it wasn't nearly as bad as it sounded!

Third and final class (because we had been there FOUR HOURS for just three little classes) was the exact same course, just a maiden class instead of 18 and over. So my goal was to not destroy a jump (of course) and to get at least one line where she maintained a canter between jumps. She was understanding the idea of cantering away, but was unsure of herself and her stride approaching the next jump. Its fine with me that she trots to the base and jumps better because of it, but I do need to start challenging her. First line I just developped the idea of cantering away, but let her trot the second fence. Second line she tried to eat dirt. So on the third line, I suggested to her that she keep the canter. She got a little squirrely and started looking sideways, but still took the next jump like a good girl, I encouraged again, and, again even though she was looking to veer a little she jumped it from a canter. I was pleased! So we went right back to trotting, and finished the last line at a good trot to regulate her mind and rhythm after something new.

We ended up with thirds in both cross bar classes! Hurray for small schooling shows awarding our small training successes! I should also mention it was 95 degrees!! Officially summer, and I was officially beat!