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10th March 2010

6:35am: Lesson notes
Nothing better than arriving at the barn and finding a huge goose-egg just above your horse's knee. There is the World's Tiniest Cut on it, but it's not a puncture, nothing is draining, and I think he just bumped into something. Fortunately, he's been sound. He was also lit up like a firecracker last night after nearly a week off. Having 8 other horses in the arena most definitely did not help. HE was relatively well-behaved for the flat, but cantered around like a giraffe, trying to toss his head and play. I focused on sitting quietly and keeping my chest lifted to keep him from turning into a bronc.
We started jumping gymnastics as well last night. Started out with tiny vertical ground pole 6 strides vertical. First time through he very nearly stopped to stare "OMG mom! This is different!" but got his little rear booted through. After that, she put up the 2nd fence of the in-and-out, so we had a vertical vertical in-and-out with a placement pole in the middle, then 4 or 5 strides to the last vertical. My horse handled it like a champ.
Things I need to be working on, other than not bothering my horse during grids that he doesn't need my help through: LIFTING. Shoulders pushed down, chest lifted up, back of the neck stretching up. And pushing depth through my legs. I've been working on not losing the depth in my heel when the fences go up, and I finally managed to put those things together last night and of course, my horse jumps like a dream when I just get the hell out of his way.

No more horseshows until April. Which is good, because I have no money.
Current Mood: busy

14th February 2010

1:54pm: No seriously, still here
I've mainly been posting in my personal journal lately, so...sorry.

Anyways. We had a horse show a few weeks ago that was extremely cold and VERY small. Like, 20 horses. I ended up getting reserve in my division, but since there were only 3 people? Still, my horse was VERY good. I was pleased with the results. We (fortunately) did the schooling class, and he actually stopped at the first fence of one of the lines. Oops.

I don't get to ride as much as I'd like, and I was out of town for a week, but I'm pleased with him. There is a schooling show this weekend that I elected not to go to, since it doesn't count for points and we have shows the next two weekends in a row, but we DID go out last night and school just to basically have a lesson. Warmed up walk and canter out in the schooling area with a bunch of ponies, then went into the show arena and got coached.
Worked REALLY hard on keeping his neck straight and keeping his haunches in line and not letting him drop his shoulder and exit to a different county when he spooks. Trainer was sitting on the rail, and would bang on the kickboard or make funny noises when we passed. Worked on getting his trot more focused and engaging his little booty. Then we got a lovely canter working on the same concept, getting more flight time with his front feet and lots of impulsion from behind without speeding up. Then we jumped around a little to the left with the jumps low (2ft), took a break while C jumped her horse around. Then we did some work off the right lead, our weaker direction, and put the course together. I lost him a little in the end off a line when someone made a noise and he spooked, and got too choked up and he got tense, but we were able to recover, get him to drop his head down, and finish off with a lovely hunter-y round and a nice steady rhythm. Low jumps, but a fun course, and he was absolutely beat by the end. The whole "using our hind end" thing is HARD WORK. Down the last two lines I could feel him mentally stop and back up about 4 strides out and had to kick him down the lines. It's actually nice when my horse is tired enough that I have to kick him.

Anyhow, hopefully I'll actually get to hack him on Monday, and lesson twice this week before we go to the show this weekend. It's at the world's worst venue. The arena is long and narrow, and all the horses absolutely hate it. It's good practice though, and our favorite venue is drastically reducing the number of shows they're hosting this year.
Current Mood: contemplative

10th November 2009

8:21pm: Lesson notes
On the equine front, my horse and I have entered weird, winter mode.
We did a semi-private lesson on Saturday with my BFF and her horse Jake, which was decent. My horse and I spent some time arguing about the best way to go. His opinion was pacing and giraffe-head mode, while mine involved things like collection and bending and not being a complete and utter jerk. Yeah. Fun. Especially to the right. We managed to get some decent work in, even though the right is his difficult direction and he has an impossibly hard time bending that way, but we had progress on getting him to at least trot while holding himself balanced, if not completely correctly bent.
Then we jumped. One little vertical. Over and over and over and over. Apparently I needed to be drilled on holding his stride short to the fence (he tends to get long and fast and strung out). And try not to die in the process. I finally managed to get it, and my horse finally started thinking and accepting the challenge of fitting in the extra stride instead of just going long. Progress!

Miraculously, that seems to have transferred to our lesson last night (notice how I never get time to actually just ride my horse any more?). We had some really good work, including our courses, apart from a complete lack of steering on my part to the 2nd jump of a bending line. My horse was like "dude, a jump? WTF?" Still, we managed improvement, and kept the same idea of keeping the front end moving UP and staying short to the jumps. Hooray!
Current Mood: exhausted

22nd October 2009

12:20pm: New injuries, horse show photos
My horse has a lovely new cut on his right forearm. I went out last night to ride, and instead spent half an hour cold hosing, clipping, and scrubbing the piss out of it. Then decided to get on him anyways. Bareback. You know, just wander around a bit?
It should be noted that I have not been on this horse bareback, in 3 years. He is large, slightly stupid, and has TB shark-fin withers. He just about fell over when I got on him, and proceeded to be a complete gentleman about the whole indignity. We walked around for about 20 minutes, worked on collecting and did some nice shoulder in both directions. I thought about trying ranvers for about 3 seconds, and decided not to bother, since I haven't done it in 3 years, and last time I tried it was on a horse that knew what it was doing.

Anyhow. Here are two photos from horse shows this summer behind the cut, extremely poor quality versions photographed from the originals.
summer 2009Collapse )
Current Mood: bitchy

11th October 2009

6:25pm: Horse Show
Last horse show of the season today. My horse was an utter spaz last night - we warmed up nicely outside, then when we got in the indoor some jumps were moved, loudly, and he lit up. But a good school anyhow.
Today was excellent. He came out a little stiff this morning, but we did a lot of walk work and canter, then walk and more canter, etc, and he loosened up well, but I decided not to do the 2'6" schooling so as not to push it. Looks like I should have - our first course's first half was GORGEOUS. Then we came around the turn to the diagonal line, he was a tiny bit crooked, and the fill had been changed from flowers to MORE FLOWERS and looked different. He looked at it. I went "excuse me?" and he stopped. Sigh. Well, that course was blown, but the rest of it was still beautiful, so I was overall pleased. Our second course was a little less put-together, but only slightly, and we took 2nd. And this show is triple points in the hunters, so I might actually be back in the points for the year. Sad about blowing the first course, but c'est la vie.
Came in the bottom of the hack. He hacked decently, for him, but it was a lot of nice horses and he just isn't good enough in the hack.
We got 3rd in the eq, behind the two other women from my barn, and that's double points, so hurrah.

All the work we've been doing at home on straightness has made a huge difference. I'm starting to be able to feel and control his straightness better on course, which makes a huge difference especially in the turns and ends of the ring. Everything flows more smoothly. Trainer was very happy with our courses overall and our progress. Am looking forward to next season, provided he stays sound!
Current Mood: exhausted

5th October 2009

7:09pm: Ways in which my horse redeems myself
And THEN I have a lesson like today's! Good heavens!
Went out midday, knowing there was no way I'd make it out to ride tonight, and hoping Trainer would be there so I could get a private. If not, oh well, I'd just hack. Luckily she was just finishing a ride when I got there and was happy to give me a private lesson. I LOVE private lessons with her. She spends a lot of time focusing on how to get your horse right - straight, supple, lifting through the back and the base of the neck. We needed that.
Spent the first part of the lesson walking veeeery collected, counter-bend on a circle to the left, working on getting him off his right shoulder and pushing his haunches out. The thing my horse does is brace and hold his jaw, and get behind the vertical, instead of holding himself up with his neck and back and actually practicing self-carriage. Trainer thinks this is due to too many years of inside-leg-to-outside-rein (not to mention draw reins), which fixes the BEND but has caused his spine to rotate incorrectly - instead of using the seat and leg to move his shoulder over. He also tends to get below the vertical too far, so she had me work on very carefully elevating him while keeping him hind legs moving and trying to get him to poke his nose out more.
Went straight into canter work from the collected walk. My horse was apparently a warmblood today, so very slow in the transitions (carried a whip to the right). He also kept falling out of the canter, but we had some improvement. Got a lot better at keeping my weight down on the right side and keeping my right hip forward.
Similar idea to the right, but with true bend instead of counter, and out him on a longer contact to encourage more nose-poking and less clenching of the jaw. Then slowly tried to elevate his head upwards without losing the long neck. Went into more canter work there, then right into working over poles on the ground, first a single and then the single to a line, repeat. I was actually really able to feel his shoulder slip to the right, especially on the turns, which is where we get into trouble on courses. The she bumped the poles up to fences and had me doing the line in 5. I did the whole thing with my stirrups loooong, practically carrying a loop in the reins, and good lord it turned out lovely. He got quick after one lead change, but we were actually able to work out from a long rein and I didn't have to TOUCH his face to get him to come back in the lines - just pushed down and stretched up. He would have just needed a touch more to make the lines in 4, but just a light stretch brought him back enough to make it in a lovely five. Ended on our second perfect line, with nice distances into both and a lovely loose rein.

Oh man. I love my horse.
Current Mood: pleased

4th October 2009

10:08am: Continued silliness
Well, Wednesday's ride was quite similar to Monday's. We had two horses that trailered in, both also SUPER hot TB's, one of whom was also being a complete idiot. Then the trainer tried to turn the microphone on, which has been acting funny, and sputtered just as we were walking under the speakers. Oh dear. That was that. My horse proceeded to try to buck and rear and squeal and generally act like a bronc, while I attempted to ride as quiet as possible and settle him down without beating him with a post for being such a nerd.
Trainer goes "golly, maybe I should take him off that 2nd cutting hay." YES PLEASE. He is wonderfully fat, but this happened last year as well after his injury then - got time off, got rich hay, got fat, got insane. I'm totally ok with my horse being slightly less hunter fat if he's actually hunter-rideable, k'thanks.
Anyhow. Our canter work was actually quite nice, if right on the verge of exploding, and our jumping was GREAT. We're still working on a gymnastic. The first time or two through it was just a pole in-and-out to a crossrail. When the first was raised to another crossrail, my horse overjumped by several feet (apparently with quite nice form) and fell out over the second x. Sigh. We ended up doing x-inandout-small vertical-one stride-2'6" vertical, and he was jumping FABULOUSLY through the whole thing. Minus the broncing on the backside. He also decided to SQUEAL and act offended anytime another horse jumped through it, which was adorkable.

Trainer rode him for me Thursday or Friday, and I'll go out in a few hours to hack his silly little brains right out of his head.

29th September 2009

2:51pm: Oh dear.
So I didn't bother to update here on the incident at the last horse show where my horse LOST HIS MIND as we were walking out of the barn, went flying backwards, dragged me across the concrete, fell on his ass, and fucked up his entire left leg from gaskin through pelvis. OH YAY.
Anyhow. He's been slowly improving, and we had our first lesson last Monday after a while of walking/light trotting. No jumping, just a little canter, and he was excellent.
Then LAST night in our lesson my horse was a royal pain in the ass. Of course, it was the first cold, windy, fall day, and as soon as I got on I knew life was going to be entertaining. And of course, my trainer had us doing sitting trot no-stirrup work, which is absolutely the best way to light my horse up like a firecracker. Whoooo boy. Here we are, trotting around the arena. I'm putting a gigantic slack in the reins and trying to sit nice and light and quiet and ask him to be slow. Meanwhile, my horse is jigging around like some crazy gaited horse with his head 5 miles high and his ears back and acting like I am trying to KILL HIM.
Me: "Whoa, easy, nice pony, look at the nice circle we're on, la la la, quiet thoughts."
Me: *headdesk*
Trainer: Well, I guess he's all better now.

Anyways. The lesson was halfway decent, once I could get him to put his head down long enough for the blood from to his brain to resume. And we JUMPED. Teeny tiny little X's in a gymnastic. Oh lord, the first time through I was holding myself veeeery carefully and waiting to grab the mane and hang on. Because, you know, I'm never QUITE sure what I'm going to get. He could be totally fine, or he could try to leave the county. Either way.
The last horse show of the season is a week and a half away. If we're VERY lucky we might be able to go.
Current Mood: cold

16th August 2009

3:13pm: The akward phase
You know when you are trying to grow your hair long, and you hit that point where it isn't short and cute, and it's not long enough to put in a ponytail, and you basically can't do ANYTHING with it? That's kind of where I'm at with Duncan.
Still, the horse show went well today. Had to re-install the brakes between classes, but only had ONE chip in the first class and managed to find all 8 the second round, correct number of strides and all. It was progress, which it usually is. He was pretty darn bright considering the 96 degree weather. They actually waived hunt coats, and I actually showed without mine (and gloves...which were in my pocket. Whoops. I put both on for the hack and the eq, thank you very much.)
First class we were 4th of 6 with the chip and the speed, and I came out feeling like I was going to puke from the heat. 3rd in the second. Smoother round, but not really as nice as it should have been.
Actually had some hope for the hack, as he was GREAT for the first half. The someone got up his tail after we reversed and he started being a jerkface again. Got 4th there. Managed a 3rd in the eq. Personally, I thought I equitated the hell out of the class, but apparently my contact wasn't steady enough or something.
Another day I am pleased with. Next weekend is Andrews!
Current Mood: exhausted

8th July 2009

4:26pm: Photos and video
A link to the photographer's website, where you can see our photos in teeny tiny. I bought the one cute one:

Anne Gittins Photography

There is also a very poor quality video of our Classic round that my boyfriend took - I wish I had gotten him to take some the day before from a better angle. Oh well. I enjoy it.

Current Mood: amused
4:12pm: Horse show report
Day 0:
Aka Saturday. Not showing, but showed up early anyhow to hack my horse around the arena. It was PACKED, and early in the morning! I was on by about 6:30am, and there were about 20 horses in the ring. Thankfully there was no schooling allowed (aka no jumping), so less chaos, but phew. Especially since my horse typically does better when there's no one else around...I was pleasantly surprised by what a good boy he was. A little looky in the back corner (weird electrical boxes, etc), but VERY quiet. Sat on him for almost an hour anyhow to be sure. Ended up hanging around to watch for a while and take photos of some of the kids.

Day 1: Sunday! Again, showed up super duper early. Was on at 6:15am. Rode for a solid 30-45 minutes. Hung around FOREVER - cleaned tack, braided, helped D braid her horse Bear, etc. Finally got in the ring in mid-afternoon for two O/F classes. The first class was fabulous. For once we actually managed to find 8 fences with good distances and the right number of strides. Our corners were a little rough in the scary end, but I was happy with it. He only got a wee bit quick coming home, but it was never out of control. I was really hoping for a ribbon, but out of over 30 entries? Yeah. The company was just too darn nice.
2nd class was less good. Missed one distance, which was entirely my fault. I got off balance in the far end and ended up jabbing him with my inside heel. Vroom vroom. He got strung out and flat, and we chipped in to the funky single by the judge. Otherwise it was a good course, and I was happy with how he recovered from it.

Day 2: Monday. Exhausted. Showed up to find that my bridle was gone - accidentally got put on the trailer, which was en route an hour away. Rode in a bridle WAY too large for him tightened as far as it would go, but the bit worked. I don't even remember the ride. Braided his mane about the fastest I've ever done while I had one of the girls do his tail.
Had one O/F class, which was decent but definitely not good enough for a ribbon. Was hopeful in the hack, but outclassed, and I rode like crap in the eq on the flat.
The Classic! We did our first one ever. For those who don't know, you ride a first course and get a score. The top 12 do a second course, and the scores are combined to determine the winners. We were 3rd to last, and oh lord my horse was tired. Of course, the first fence was going AWAY from home, so I pretty much had no hope of getting him up on a decent gallop. Ended up with a canter that was too fast and too flat. Had a late lead change and two chips, which landed us right on the cusp with a 59. (The cutoff at that point was 58.) I regularly get beaten by the horse going immediately after us - she got an 82! So, no top 12 and no second round for us. Oh well. Based on the photos, my horse was jumping like crap at that point. All the first day photos show him with his knees together, jumping in decent form. The Classic round looks like he's climbing over every fence. Poor D.

Overall, VERY happy with how my horse performed. We're really close to getting it right, and I think at a smaller show we would have been in the ribbons at least once. Being outclassed is no fun. Being exhausted is worse. Lol.

Photos to come!
Current Mood: amused

1st July 2009

3:44pm: First times, or, how I got really dirty today
Went out for a noon lesson today, since I have the day off. We ended up jumping out in the big back arena, since the girls set a course. My horse refused the first fence the first time. Then it was fine. Then we did the line, and apparently should NOT have turned left. We're going around the turn, and all of a sudden I'm on the ground, AS IS MY HORSE. Um. We both clambered upright and he stood there looking confused and let me catch him. Got back on, did some more.
Anyhow. The important part is that my horse essentially fell down on me. Apparently he didn't land ON me. We were pretty low around the turn anyhow, and it was slippery. The girls watching said I pushed myself away from him so I wasn't underneath him when he went down. I'm only mildly bruised and bleeding, and D is fine. I hosed his legs really well and linimented the crap out of them, so hopefully he'll be fine.
Please note: this is the first time I've ever unexpectedly dismounted from my horse. It hardly even counts as a fall, really.
Current Mood: amused

12th June 2009

6:04am: Horse show update
Horse show report from last weekend, very delayed. We went to a small, schooling type show - no stalls, just trailered in for the day. I like it there because, well, it's cheap. And generally the classes are fairly small. However, I don't really like showing off the trailer. Whatever, it means I didn't have to braid my horse.
Had the world's fastest schooling in the morning - jumped the whole course ONCE, complete with errors. Also, every single fence basically had a pile of pine tree branches under it as groundline/fill. Blech. Somehow we managed to pull ourselves together for the actual class. In the first course we wobbled down one of the diagonal lines and added a stride - D was like "mom, where are we going?!" and I was like "D, where are YOU going, the jump is over here!" and we basically miscommunicated. Oops. Somehow the judge still pinned us second? Don't ask me how, the class wasn't THAT small. I think there were 6-8 people. Second round was good, but we added in a line and then he walked down the last line and left out a stride. It felt good, though, not like he was going to leave the county or anything, just a big, open step. Because he can add two strides with ease, it is sometimes easy to forget that my horse is, in fact, 17hh, and has an extremely long stride when he opens up. Overall, VERY happy with the o/f classes. Our hack was actually pretty decent. I'm having a hard time finding that place where he can open his trot stride a little and look nice while still staying slow, but my trainer thought I was going to place higher than last. *shrug* whatever. Sadly, also did 6th in the eq (a few other people didn't place), which was disappointing. Our whole barn did poorly in the eq that day.

In the meantime, lessoning well - had excellent o/f work last night. We managed to do the open numbers without feeling like he was rushed or I was pushing him to go faster, and just jumped out of the canter we had. Next show isn't until July 4th weekend, and it will be BIG.
Current Mood: awake

25th May 2009

12:14pm: Well then
Horse show report!
Friday night schooling:
The main idea here is CROWDED. This is a huuuuuge show, so we were schooling in the back tiny arena (Ring 2), set for hunters, as the main arena was still set for jumpers and the schooling area was busy with longing. AKA, no space to gallop my horse. He was being really quiet, so I thought i might be safe. I was wrong. He kinda tried to root his head and pull me off when we started jumping. I think it ended well, but it was so long ago I can barely remember.

Saturday: Day 1
Got there at 6am to find the grooms already longing like CRAZY in the schooling area. Seriously. 6 or 7 going at once! Wasn't sure if I could ride in Ring 1 since it was set for jumpers until I saw one of the trainers get on and go out there, so I went too. My horse was in full-out TB racehorse mode, so we galloped. Usually he'll swap leads from right-to-left when he's feeling seriously spastic and going sideways, but when he's swapping left-to-right I know I'm going to be on for a while. He finally calmed down, so I went back in, hosed him down, and braided. Silly me. I didn't show until like, 4pm. Of course, my division got moved to Ring 2 instead of Ring 1, but oh well. We had decent rounds. I was having trouble the night before missing the first jump of a line over and over; after years of him going WEEEEE and me having to pull pull pull for the add stride, putting leg on and getting on an open canter is still a relatively new idea. Our first course was mediocre (we skipped the warm-up round), but our second course was MUCH better. There was one nasty turn off an outside line coming home into a diagonal line. He got a little fast and flat off the first line, and I didn't get him back early enough to send him forward into the diagonal, and we chipped out. Overall I was REALLY happy with how that course went. No ribbons, of course. Stupid 20-person division. Cooled my poor horse off (*side note* - why do people insist on monopolizing the 3 wash stalls for 30 minutes to wash their horses while there are hot, sweaty horses just finishing whose owners just want to hose them down? Seriously. There were 5 of us circling around, waiting for the hoses.) Unbraided and went home at 6-ish. Gosh, I was only there for 12 hours!

Sunday: Day 2
Arrived at 6:05am. Got our horses watered, hayed, and fed again, and did my horse's stall and raked our aisle down. Was getting on around 7 when trainer arrived to school one of the kid's horses. We went to Ring 2 again, and I warmed up and jumped him around the new course. Had a pretty good school. Trainer had me enter the Intermediate o/f class earlier in the day just to get in the arena, and we were AWESOME. He jumped up nicely over everything, got the lines, had nice turns. And my horse was exhausted. Had one miss, but she was like "dude...*I* couldn't have gotten the canter you got out of him. There was nothing more you could have done." So I was pleased. And then I had to wear spurs. JUST as I got back to the stall and stripped his tack they started calling for the Adult Eq on the flat in ring 1, so my horse got a quick drink and a brush before I threw his tack back on and we went some more. Had a good ride in the eq - got 3rd (our girl that always wins won, a girl from another barn was 2nd, I was 3rd, and our other adult was 4th). Then my horse got a little break before our Low o/f and u/s. All we had were Trainer's long spurs, so she had me put them on really low. And I USED them in the warm-up. Lord, my horse was tired. Our oF round wasn't great. I (haven't ridden in spurs in 6 years or so) caught him over one fence, and he got a little long and flat, and we had a bunch of chips. Trainer assures me it was ok, and now we know I need to dig up my little spurs and re-learn how to ride with them.
Hack was going really well in spite of nearly 20 horses in the ring - I stayed on the 1/4 lines in between jump standards. And then some girl went through right on my horse's right haunch JUST as we were going through the standards, and nearly ran her mare into us. At the canter. And my horse pinned his ears, kicked out, swapped leads behind, broke to the trot....all directly in front of the judge. Sigh. No ribbon for us.

Overall, an OK weekend - I'll be out of town for Part II of the show this weekend, so no more for us until June, which is mildly disappointing, but Trainer was happy and excited about how well we did, and she thinks we'll be competitive sooner than I think we will. Sadly, again, no photos - my friend who was supposed to come got stranded in some weird town south of here with a dead car battery?
Current Mood: tired

22nd May 2009

1:44pm: just a reminder...
A slightly more coherent note from Tuesday's lesson:

Remember to FOLD a little more over the fences. I've been focusing on keeping my ass UP and FORWARD and the photos all show that I'm not folding at the hips pretty much ever. I can keep my ass up without jumping ahead, thank you.

/note to self
Tuesday's lesson was a haze - I'm still struggling with the sinus infection I inevitably get after finals, and I pretty much couldn't breathe. Fortunately, my horse knows his job, and required VERY little from me in the way of effort. That's about the extent of what I remember!
Current Mood: amused
9:15am: From the last horse show
Just ignore me and focus on how cute my horse is
Current Mood: blah
6:30am: Mmm, summer
Well, so much for a pre-show lesson last night. Trainer was still AT the show. The one girl that works at the barn was teaching, and if I'm gonna pay for a lesson it'll be with my trainer, so i hacked outside instead. Was a decent ride. The only thing to note is that on the walk back in from the back field, which usually = super-fast-pacey walk time from Duncan, was actually relatively pleasant and mellow. And there were geese. Naturally, I aimed at them, because geese are like mobile bowling pins, and it wasn't until we were 5 feet away and they started to spread wings to take off that I went "oh fuck" and realized that if 3 VERY large birds decided to take flight under D's nose, we might end up several counties away. Cue geese taking off. Cue....nothing. My horse continued to walk along placidly. HURRAH.

/not really awake yet rambling
Current Mood: blah

10th May 2009

2:10pm: Horse show report
So schooling last night had the potential to be a COMPLETE DISASTER as it was windy like whoa and alternating between sunshine and rain. Somehow, it worked out. We caught an hour of decent weather and schooled fast. We all hit it perfectly. I got my horse on a big open stride for the long lines in the outdoor, and focused on getting him right back in the ends after the lines, then pushing the hind end up, getting off his back, and floating the reins to him around the turns, and then sitting and getting my shoulders back and adding LEG as soon as we got on a straight line to the fence to get the distances. And voila, it worked! We jumped around everything all of once, since he was essentially perfect.

This morning he was reallllly up, so we galloped and galloped and galloped and when he started trying to break back to the trot, we cantered for 5 more minutes. I needed him to be tired enough for me to be able to add leg and push him around the course. Ha. We got that, he was tired. First course I didn't get quite enough to the 2nd fence, which was a big oxer, and we chipped. Badly. Oops. My fault. Had a little chip into one of the lines, again, my fault. Otherwise he was PERFECT. Got the lead changes, stayed consistent, jumped nicely. 2nd course, similar idea - same stupid oxer on the outside, got myself set up BETTER to it, but not soon enough and got too handsy in the end leading up to it. Blech. My horse is such a good boy. The hack was alright, and he was tired enough for me to be able to push him a little, but his trot was just too short and his head was too high and I wasn't able to get him set up right. And good lord, the other horses were FANCY. We got 5th in every. single. class. And then 3rd in the eq - same as the last show, the other two adults from my barn were 1st and 2nd.

Overall, happy with how we did. If I can figure out how to adapt to him being tired and being able to use my leg more, it'll be awesome. K (our trainer) talked to all three of us after we were done about how we rode (last night, AWESOME) and today (well, but not winning), and about how the idea is to be able to adapt to every situation and work with what you've got in the moment.

Next show is in two weeks, same venue. It's over two days, so we'll jump saturday, have one O/F class sunday, and then hack and eq afer that. If I can remember what we worked on this time around, hey, it'll be good.
Current Mood: exhausted

7th May 2009

11:21am: Photos!
One of my friends/coworkers was at the horse show this Saturday photographing K, another friend/coworker. He also got some photos of me and D - sadly, all on the flat, and mostly of us trying to be calm at the walk or BLAZING around the schooling area at a gallop. Here are a few - hopefully I'll have the rest (including my horse going sideways adorably) in a few days, and the one O/F photo I bought in a few weeks.
but we're OUTSIDECollapse )

Many thanks to CHB for the photos!
Current Mood: cheerful

6th May 2009

6:30pm: Progress, signs of
Side note/addition:

Let's all remember how my horse used to be like 3 years ago. The first horse show I went to, I couldn't warm him up because there was no warm-up area, so he snapped his leadrope and waltzed around the grounds before spooking at EVERYTHING and I couldn't get him around an entire course. Even last season we'd start trotting over everything at height=tiny with my hands wide to keep him straight.

This weekend, when our classes got moved from the larger, lower arena to the upper, smaller arena that my horse had never SEEN, we shrugged and went "eh." Walked in, trotted to the end, and cantered around the courses. Nooooo problem. He offered a little spookiness at the woodsy end of the arena, and by the judge's stand, but he didn't even look at the fences.

I <3 my horse.
Current Mood: accomplished

3rd May 2009

4:10pm: Holy sunburn batman
Well good lord, that was amusing. Just got done with the first outdoor show of the season. My horse got there Friday night, and I hacked him briefly until some groom started lunging in the indoor and SNAPPING the whip every 3 strides, and I thought my horse was going to land in the next county. *eyeroll*
Yesterday morning, had a lovely hack in the indoor in the morning. Then tried to take him outside later than day and I was pretty sure I was either going to die or kill someone. Finally got him settled down and walking nicely, and started to get off, when he starts flying (and I do mean flying) sideways. This woman is driving her golf cart directly at us, stopped and looking irritated at me because she now has to go around the 17hh panicking horse. Seriously? Horses have the right of way at horse shows, pretty much no matter what, right? I mean come ON.
Anyways. Finally got back on around 8 pm to school in the arena, because it is the longest show eeeeeeeevvvvvvver. I asked him to canter and he launched. Weeeeee gallop! Ended up schooling back and forth across a single and halting as hard as possible afterwards. Got some NICE courses on a big, open canter.
Got on early this morning and cantered around the big arena some more. Then I found out (after untacking and starting to braid my horse) that my division had been moved to the other arena. You know, the one we didn't actually school in. Hooray. Hmm, let's add a schooling class, shall we? My horse was a VERY GOOD BOY. Chipped in at least once in every class, hence no ribbons, but our courses improved each time and I was pleased. I also managed to get to a place where I could keep my leg on and squeeze him across the fences without speeding up afterwards, so our consistency is improving. The turns were hard in the littler arena, and it was harder to get up on an open canter to get down the lines and then sit him down to get around the corners. I've decided I hate that venue. Didn't ribbon in the hack, as he kept breaking into a canter at the trot. Fortunately the eq was better, and I got 3rd - the other two adults from my barn were 1st and 2nd, so we really can't complain!

Another show next weekend at another venue, which I like much better. So, hopefully our one show on, one show off pattern will hold and we'll rock it. So a show next weekend, then a weekend off, then another show.
Current Mood: exhausted

28th April 2009

9:57pm: Lesson notes
Saturday: My horse is a big fat weenie and was just a WEENSIE bit off on his right fore because of a WEENSIE little tiny nick on his upper arm. Stupid boy probably got himself kicked and was sore. So he got off until today.

Tonight: I love those days where the lesson just rocks. My horse was a fabulous, and the lesson was small, and I got myself riding effectively for a change. We were working on circling in trot, keeping the neck straight, pushing haunches out. All of a sudden his head drops and he stretches his neck long, pushes the base of his neck and his back up, and starts taking long, floaty strides. And my trainer goes good! Good! And then continues to be amazed, and says "wow, his trot is amazing." Hello, hunter hack horse, where did you come from? See, my horse CAN be fancy. We actually managed to maintain it all the way around the arena, though he got a little faster as he extended, and maintained the good shape in our canter work.
Jumping work was decent - nothing like "hooray, we're perfect tonight," but he was a good boy doing the lines and basically packing my ass around. Another lesson Thursday night, and then the show this weekend. Should be amusing, since it's the first outdoor show of the season.

Notes to self: Remember to stretch and push down through your legs, and elbows in and down. Stretch chest and back of neck UP. Leg leg leg without clamping.
Current Mood: exhausted

19th April 2009

12:51pm: Outdoors, upcoming show
Have I mentioned recently that my horse is perfect?
Had a FABULOUS lesson on Tuesday. The jumping exercise we're doing right now is a little silly, but that's ok. Got some really, really good depth. And I was still in to much pain to ride on Wednesday. Ow.
Thursday's lesson was less perfect. Especially our canter/trot transitions. He leaned, I pulled, he leaned harder, etc. Woohoo.
We redeemed ourselves on Saturday though, when I hacked him outside. Talk about perfect. He was a little balky on the way out to the back field and starting, but got going REALLY nicely. He was actually holding his front end up while stretching through his neck and back, acting like a fancy hunter horse. Even when someone came walking out of the woods (one of the girls lives next door), he was totally cool about it. Did stretchy trot figure-8's. Ended up working on canter/walk and trot/canter transitions. Walked down a side, cantered a circle in the corner and walked up the next side, cantered a circle in the corner, walked up the next side, cantered a circle, etc. Both directions. Then changed it to cantering the outside, trotting the circle in the corner, picking up the canter and cantering the outside, trotting in the corner, rinse and repeat. My horse has TRANSITIONS. Holy crap. This is all good, because the next show is the first outdoor show, at a venue me and D have never been to, and apparently all the horses are usually INSANE.

Hoo-rah. He also has a new martingale that matches our fancy bridle for shows, and a shiny, pretty new blue/green/blackwatch plaid with my initials monogrammed in black and it is so friggin snazzy.
Current Mood: accomplished

2nd April 2009

9:55pm: First outdoor ride of the season!
Tuesday night: Bad lesson. Exhausted. Too tired to function as a human being most of the day, and hence in the lesson.

Today: Went out to ride. Realized Trainer is out of town Barn Girl (BG) was teaching instead. It has already been established that I don't ride with her; if I don't remember Trainer is gone, I just hack. Nothing against BG, but if I'm going to pay for a lesson, it's going to be with my trainer.
Luckily it was GORGEOUS outside, so I took D's butt out to the big jumping arena behind the barn. No jumps out there now, but the footing is good and it's nice to get him outside starting now.
He was completely stressed out at the start. I put his martingale on (I never use it at home) just in case, which was good. We trotted for about 10 minutes, which started with his head straight up in the air, trying to go sideways and break into a bouncy RAH RAH canter. Got some GOOD trot work in, staying straight and calm around turns, and then cantered. Basically played the same game as at shows - stand up off his back and canter around nicely for the rest of eternity (aka nearly 20 minutes). Was almost done cantering to the right when one of the girls came out on her pony, so he lit up and we cantered some more. Then one of the other girls came out with her pony to practice the in-hand conformation stuff. Which of course, is terrifying. Overall, D was awesome. Got some GREAT canter work in, did nice, long, stretchy trot, worked on the circle at a walk doing shoulder-in and half pass, let him canter once more around on a long rein, and then walked around with the pony a bit.
It was a LOVELY ride, though my blisters from the show are now considerably worse, and the weather was perfect - sunny and warm, but breezy enough to keep from overheating.

This weekend, will hack on Sunday (possibly Saturday, depending on whether I go to Equine Affaire or not..).
Current Mood: pleased

29th March 2009

1:33pm: Horse show
Hello, grand champion of low adults. Thank you, we'll take that.

Had a blah schooling last night, but I got to the show at 6am today and was on at 6:30 - rode for about half an hour, 15-20 minutes of which was galloping and cantering around. It was LOVELY because the show was small (spring break), and there were only a few trainers there longing horses that early. I had the main arena all to myself for most of the time. Getting to hack around ALONE is key, since my horse is antisocial.
The divisions were small, so I rode fairly early. The first course was really nice, but my horse basically put his feet down on a box on the backside of a jump. The first jump. THUD. Oops. We got 4th out of 5 or 6, I think. Second course felt great. We were late on one lead change, which apparently doesn't matter because we won. WTF? Hey, whatever.
The hack was only three people. A lot of the adults do one Low class as a warmup for the 3' division. Apparently, my horse was tired, because I was actually able to get his head low and push his stride out a little bit. Oh my god my horse is so fucking fancy when his brain is inside his head. And we WON. OK, only two people to beat, but if we even place in the hack it's generally a minor miracle. OMFG.
Yes, we got champion of the division. Yes, I'm thrilled. Not bad for the first time back in the 2'6" for like 2 years. The eq was not as good, got a wrong lead, but he was well behaved.

No photos sadly, but I bought one that'll be here in two weeks.
Current Mood: amused
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