Thursday, October 29, 2009

Yay, something to blog about!:)

Oh, it's just my favorite time of the year ... rain, rain, and more rain. It's so hard to ride consistently without the luxury of a covered ring. I've done better than this time last year, since we DO at least have a ring, but I'm riding an average of 3 days a week vs 5 days a week which I'd prefer. This time last year, I'd go as long as 2 weeks and not ride at ALL so I wouldn't make huge holes in the grass. Longed him yesterday for the first time in awhile, and he was pretty good. For some reason the goober likes to cross canter in the back. Oh well!

Today, I set up an exercise that's been set at Patchwork for the last week. I have been dying to try it, but I was afraid the footing piles would get in my way; fortunately, that was not the case. Had to spend about 20 minutes moving jumps and cavs around, but it was worth it! Tiki warmed up VERY well (had a huge cold snap, and now we're back to the warm 70's again); his canter transitions are getting SO much better. He didn't miss a lead today at all, yay! Trotted beautifully over a cav both ways, then I began the exercise.

Left lead over a bounce to a 2 stride with the cavs. Circle left thru the center of the ring. Trot a 3 loop serpentine, focusing of course on bending and straightness. Trot left up the long side, then turn sharply to a 2'3 vertical set on the diagonal. 4 stride bending line to a 2'6 vertical on the long side, then 4 stride continuing left bending line to another 2'6 vertical. Right hand turn at the trot back to the vertical on the long side, back to bending 4 stride, keep RIGHT lead, circle through the center of the ring, then back the cavs backward: 2 stride to a bounce. He felt rock solid through that. Let him catch his breath, then did it again at the canter all the way this time. The simple changes during the serpentine were perfect, and the bending lines felt good, but over one of them, he jumped with his head straight up in the air for some reason. Finished the exercise, then did just the jumps one more time, and he was so good. Felt AWESOME! Taking him and his buddy Star to our IEA show on Sunday; I'm looking forward to it:) Hope he's as good as he was at the last one; it will be about 20 degrees warmer:)

Friday, October 23, 2009

A good week:)

Well, it's time to start weather-dodging here in GA. It has been *exceptionally wet and rainy here lately; the lake that literally experts were counting down the days until it went dry a year ago is at it's highest levels in YEARS. The news people literally were counting down the days until our drinking water ran dry, and now the lake that's closest to me is almost 10 feet above full pool. Amazing how things change! Rode Tiki Friday, then he got Saturday off, then showed like a champ Sunday. Gave him Monday off, and that turned into a Tuesday off as well since my son had his fall break Mon-Wed, and that meant I could sleep IN! Rode him Wednesday, and he was AWESOME. He felt so good I smiled the entire time I was on his back. He's much more easily coming underneath me and staying straight. He's light off my leg, and quiet during our rides. The canter felt very light and rhythmical, and I worked over some more small jumps. I have 3 jumps set parallel with the long side. Since there's still large piles of footing on the ends of the ring, I jumped the center jump off both diagonals. One side has a tall crossrail, and the other side I piled the cavelletti's on top of each other. He's starting to really listen and wait to the base of each jump. That's what I wanted! I cantered right lead over the caveletti, right lead over the vertical, left lead over the crossrail, left lead over the vertical. Rinse, repeat about 3 more times. I halted each time after the jumps so he stayed straight and listened to me.

Thursday I did butt work in his pasture. The baby was in a BAD mood for some reason. It started when a lone horse took off at a gallop across the pasture to join his herd mates. Tiki tried to take off as well, and didn't take it well when I told him NO. From then on, even though we were walking hills, he kept startling, trying to trot up the hills, and doing his level best to evade my leg. Let him finish with a FAST gallop through the pasture, and it felt ... angry. Sorry, Bud.

Today I managed to get in a ride before the rain; Warmed up fully in my 2-point, then sat and pulled him together. He felt great. Worked trot/canter transitions, and walk/canter transitions. Those are getting MUCH better! Schooled a few changes (which were OK), then cantered him 3 times over a TINY crossrail, asking for a flying change after each time. His canter coming into it was like a metronome, which is EXACTLY what I want:) Much better than yesterday. He'll have the weekend off because I'm training at a horseshow that he won't be at.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tiki update

It's been quite a good few weeks. The weather has jumped from HOT to COLD. It's only October 19, but last night I had to put Tiki's winter blanket on because it got down to 36 degrees. I've been doing the usual stuff with Tiki. I've averaged riding him about 4 days a week; 2 days flat and 2 days jumping. I've been concentrating on smaller jumps (nothing over 2'6) to try and get him to improve his form and his way of going. I've been working on landing and getting him back and straight rather than bicycling through the turns. Been working on jumping UP and OVER from the base of the jump rather than standing off and jumping flat. He's had a few more massages, and I do think he's moving a little more freely. Still, every single time C massages him, she says he REALLY needed it. Considering putting him on Adequan. It's expensive, but would probably be worth it. Don't know. Depends on how the money flows.

I took a BIG, BIG leap yesterday, and let Tiki participate in his first IEA show. For anyone new to this blog, I coach an IEA equestrian team. I have both highschool and middleschool, and these shows work by several teams converging on a show venue. The 'host' school is responsible for making sure there is enough horses for everyone (the teams each bring as many horses as they can). The kids 'draw' horses for each event and compete in equitation classes ranging from 2'6 all the way down to beginner flat. Our team had 3 horses to take; we needed a 4th ... I decided to try Tiki in that roll. I let him jump 2'6, the most advanced kids, and let him flat 2'6 as well. He was a rockstar ... he did 3 classes total and his kids finished 3rd in every one. That means the judge liked him fairly well! I may take him again in 2 weeks ... depends on what kind of trailer arrangements I can make. He's a big boy now:)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Wowzers ...

Yesterday was so much fun! I rode Audrey (total spook baby, ugh!), then Mick (good, but spooky too, double ugh!), then K and B showed up. Their horses unloaded like angels, and we all tacked up. Hacked up in the ring for a few, and I tried something totally off the wall. Trotted on a TOTALLY loose rein; I mean, NO contact at all. Went both ways, and he was officially lazy. Then decided I'd try the canter. It felt so weird! It was slow and quiet, and he tried to lean in through the turn, but really couldn't because he had NO support whatsoever. Interesting! B and K were impressed at how quiet my little muffin is, ha ha. Headed out the pulp wood forest with me in the lead, scary! Just did the usual loop, though, since I WILL get lost if I attempt any more navigation than that. We walked the whole way with the exception of jumping the little log at the beginning of the trail. Since B was wanting to gallop, I took them across the street by the powerlines; there's a nice little field there perfect for galloping 3 beautiful Thoroughbreds!:) So, we did! I love it when Tiki kicks it into that extra gear; it's so exhilirating! Took them to the pond where Star got Tiki in that one time, and I managed to get him in again, ha ha. Our ponies splashed up a storm and got all of us wet, so we then wandered in the woods for a few minutes and out to the power lines, then back to the field for one more teeny tiny gallop, ha ha. Good times!

Today, I set up a cav triple bar on one outside line, a 2'9 swedish oxer on the other outside line, and a 3' vertical down the center line. Warmed up like I did yesterday, on a loose rein, but I had a crop today, and he just isn't crazy about those, so he really was a little bit of a goober. Put it down, and he relaxed. He kept missing his leads! I think he was just distracted and a little stiff, though. It is time for Celeste to give him another massage; maybe this weekend. Jumped everything like a champ; didn't touch a thing!

Here is almost the last video. This is the exact same course from the last post, but at 2'6 instead of 2'3. This is the one where he rolled the pole off the oxer, but we still managed to win the class:)