Saturday, August 8, 2009

Counting down to Aug 23 ...

I'm excited about the show, I have to admit it. Dropped my boots back off to have the stitching around the elastic fixed then reinforced, and am finalizing plans for Nicole and Kyle to ride with me, then one of my students to ride with Becca. My stomach doesn't drop to the floor every time someone says the word "show" now, ha ha. I think my parents are going to drive out and watch ... they haven't seen me ride in about 15 years:)

Rode Thursday and Friday. Thursday I hacked in the ring for a few while Susan from across the street and one of her clients rode in our ring. We then set off on our usual solo ride in the 1000 acres. LOTS of briars, felt bad about that. He was really good this time; haven't trailed out since I went on the walking ride with Nancy right after my 'forcibly ripped off the horse' dismount. It's not that I've been scared, it's the timing of everything. We got into the meat of the trail, and I dropped my stirrups (was on the buckle the entire time up to this point). Was meandering with no reins, no stirrups, and then he almost stepped right on a bird that was nesting in the grass! That bird squawked and flew up, and Tiki bucked straight up in the air, lol. Fortunately, my new saddle holds me in nice and tight and is not in the least slippery. So, I didn't even bobble. Walked on for a bit, then picked the stirrups back up because we were getting into the 'looky' section of the trail. He doesn't spook or anything he is just much more alert. Up to this point, he'd been perfectly content to just mosey along; shortened my reins and he stuck his head up ... got up in 2-point and he happily stretched out in a gallop. That lovely little gallop gradually got longer and faster ... galloped over a little up and over hill and he practically flew over it. Sat up, leaned back on the reins and loudly voiced the "WHOA". It took us probably the length of a football field to finally stop. I wasn't wrestling him or anything, I was just being patient and gentle with him. He snorted happily and fell back into his ground eating walk on the buckle. Walked for a while, made him walk up a hill we've galloped up a few times, then decided to trot. The trot is the hardest gait for us on the trail. He either wants to walk or gallop, so when I try and trot, we end up in a teeny little race horse jiggy canter. I was persistant, though, and we trotted for about 5 minutes, until I got to the VERY overgrown section that looks like it's never been ridden through. It was a fast trot and not too relaxed, but at least it was a trot. Walked the rest of the way, and it was a HUGE walk. I stayed out of his face and let him walk fast, but did NOT allow any jigging.

Yesterday, rode in the ring. We had a little bit of a "Come to Jesus" meeting at one point, but it was needed. I had a bit of a revelation ... any bad habits this horse develops is MY fault. Yup, mine. I am the only one that rides him, so any things that I do, or behaviors I don't correct fall back on me. I rode with my crop and no spurs, so I could feel like I could really wrap my leg without worrying about the spur being in his side. He has a bad habit of NOT tracking up at the walk on contact, trying to trot off every time I shorten my reins, and suck back behind my leg when I try to trot on a circle. He also can be a pain after we've done a little work at the canter or jumped a jump or 2 if I want to walk again on contact ... he wants to do that dang racehorse JIG. So, I made him track up. If he lagged behind the leg, I smacked him with the crop. If he tried to jig, I did the Clinton Anderson one rein stop. If he sucked back at the walk, I used my crop. There was about 2 minutes total where we were just basically arm wrestling, but I got my point across, and he showed his sensible brain by giving in and giving me what I was asking for.

The nice thing is that after the flat work, which was pretty intense, he was good and sweaty, but not dripping. Trotted the cavs a few times, then got off and set my oxer as 2 single cavs on each diagonal, then raised up my crossrail to another 2'9 vertical. So, I had basically the same course from Wed, but had a 2 stride of 2'9 verticals, the center cav, then a 4 stride bending line to either cav single on the diagonal. Made up a course, then began. He got a little strong, was a little quick, got long to one, leaned in the corner a little, but overall not bad. I felt like I could have been a little better; got left a little bit on the one where he was long. Rested, regrouped, then went again. This one wasn't too good. He was deep to the cavs because I leaned forward and did nothing to help him, he got long to the 2 stride and dropped a pole, then got VERY deep to the 3' and I did not help him at ALL. Patted him in apology, walked for a minute, then went ONE more time so I could be more effective. I sat UP to everything. Still got a little quiet to the 2 cavs, but because I didn't lean forward and get in his way, it was fine. I could see we were very off coming into the 2 stride, so I REALLY sat and waited. Got a little deep, but I squeezed my legs to help him and he jumped very high up over the first, landed, and 2 was actually LONG for the first time. Luckily, I did realize this, and squeezed and was ready for the slightly long out. Finished with the 3', and I could see again the distance wasn't there, so I sat totally still and waited for the deep spot.

Overall, not bad at all, but still not stellar. It was fine to stop with, though. NOW he was dripping. Hosed him with his warm bath water, then let him eat grass in the front yard for like 2 hours.:) Had planned to ride today, but my car thermometer said it was 97 degrees and plus it was 4:30 before I made it back to the house, so begged off going to the barn today. Unless I get bitten by the lazy bug, plan to go tomorrow and hack him in the pasture so he gets a nice change of scenery.:)

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