Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fun, fun:)

Soooo ... :) Nicole finally rode my boy! He was SO good for her. I just love watching him go. I ALMOST love watching him as much as I enjoy riding him. I had a bit of a realization Monday, watching Nicole ride Tiki; it's not rocket science, since Susan the dressage trainer said exactly the same thing I realized. His trot work is SO much better; I mean, MUCH better. It's time to really concentrate more on his canter work now. I've killed myself working on transitions the last 2 1/2 weeks with no stirrups, and those have really improved.

Tuesday, I had a GREAT no stirrups ride. I did a lot more cantering than usual, and it felt really good. But anyway, back to Monday! Nicole did a wonderful job on the flat; his LACK of forwardness actually took her by surprise. It did me too, at first. That's why I wear spurs when I ride him. I set up a gymnastic down the center of the ring; 3 bounce cavs, one stride to a crossrail, 2 strides to a vert, 2 strides to another vert. Set the crossrail high, and the 2 verts at 2'6. He went through well. The hardest part was the bounces because they were set on a short turn. Looked good! Nicole did a great job; it's intimidating to jump a horse you don't know through a long gymnastic off a challenging turn.

I slowly raised the last jump until it got to 3'6 ... that magic number:) Nicole went through 3 times at that height, then was done. Tiki got to where he really raced through the first, low part, but jumped like a rockstar over the high part. Once I get my stirrups back, I'll work him over some LOW gymnastics, and really make him wait and not rush to get to the high part. He does it so easily. I was really proud of him and Nicole; they did a really great job!

Yesterday, I set the poles down as poles, and worked on steering, walking on contact, trot/walk transitions, and lots and lots of circles. Alternated reversing through TOTF, and TOTH. I LOVE a horse that moves off your leg. Makes me happy:) Walked through the pole gymnastics, then alternated directions off it at the trot, focusing hard on proper bending and soft contact. Picked up my canter on the straight lines, nailed the lead every time, and came to a halt/back. He has a bad habit of LEANING on my hands and trying to snatch the reins through my hands when I'm halting or doing a downward transition after he's gotten "woken up". By the end, he felt great. Soft, supple, and oh so willing.

Today, I rode him in a super comfy bareback pad and a halter. Went into the pasture and walked hills. It was the best he's been in weeks in there. He'd been spooky, jiggy, and a general butthead in the pasture the past few weeks. Today, he was as perfect as he could be. Tomorrow and Friday are my final 'no stirrup' days, thank GOODNESS! I'm ready to have them back:) Not sure yet what I'll work on; will update after I've done it!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Only one week left!

One week of no stirrups left! Whew! I'm ready to take them back, lol! Friday, had a great ride. I let him 'free longe' because quite frankly, I was too lazy to hook on the longe line. He ran around, bucked, squealed, then stood still. I hopped on, and picked up contact at the walk. He STILL wants to just JIG on contact. I spent a lot of time again at the walk. Worked really hard on spiraling, and leg yielding. By the time I picked up the trot, my legs were TIRED! Trot felt nice. Worked hard on my trot/canter/trot transitions. Did some shallow serpentines at the trot, as well as some spiraling. He felt really nice at the end. Cantered poles and felt pretty good. Today is Sunday, and I am still a little sore, lol! Working this next week once again without stirrups; hoping to get in a little more canter work, and maybe a couple of crossrails. Heck, if I don't push myself a little beyond my comfort zone, I won't accomplish what I'd hoped to accomplish, which is improving my strength and balance, NOT just bruising my nether regions!;) Love my boy, bet he will be SO excited to have me with my stirrups back:)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Continuing on ...

Sooo ... several things!

1. I had an "incident" at Regionals. I was warming up one of our team horses that belongs to the young lady that showed my horse at the PW schooling show. He was LOVELY to flat. He is quite big bodied, and stands about 16.2 or so; he's a TB. I felt GREAT as I trotted into a warmup crossrail ... and then it was awful. Coming into the jumps, he stopped, leaped, and SERIOUSLY unseated me. I mean, my leg FLEW backwards, and I got so left behind at every jump. At every single jump, my confidence level just sunk lower and lower:( Finally, it was so bad that he jumped HUGE over about the 6th jump, and I got SO left behind that I landed behind the saddle. Fortunately, I was able to kick my feet out of the stirrups and jump off, but still, it was quite an embarassing display.:(

2. I decided after that little incident that that was NOT going to happen to me again! So, I took the stirrups off my saddle. I've been riding without them ever since. It's been rough, and I seriously feel sorry for my horse! It doesn't help that he's been wild lately because the bo's are trying to preserve the pastures, and when it rains, is rationing turnout. So I guess Tiki's going out probably an average of 4 days a week:( I understand it, but I definitely don't like it:( The timing really stinks, since he's been so fresh, and I've been without stirrups.

3. My sitting trot has really improved! So has my downward transition from the canter:) Poor boy is like a ball, all bunched up behind the bit and jiggy. He's probably bummed about not having any massages. Not sure if THAT'S the issue, or if it's the turnout. Either way, I longed him the other day before I rode so his back could loosen and warm up before I got on, and he was SQUEALING (like he used to a year ago, lol). Had a really good ride, though, and I'm doing a lot of work on lateral work, and walking on contact, since he HATES that.

4. PRAYING I can scrape together the funds for a trailer this summer so I can do the things I really want. Wanting to do a hunter pace, and also a clinic with Jeff Cook. The clinic is in June, and I'm seriously considering leaving my stirrups OFF until then, ha ha. I NEED to be fit, so I don't embarass myself or Janet. I've gone running once ( I HATE to run), and I just need to make that a minimum 3 day a week thing.

5. Planning now to give Tiki the entire month of July off. It is just so miserably hot outside, and the bugs are terrible. Unless the bo can get some sand in the ring, the footing will be dangerously hard anyway, and I think he will really just need some time off. I plan to step up our game until the clinic, then keep it up until the end of June; maybe throw a show in there somewhere.

6. We're having fun. Havent actually ridden in the ring this week; Ive longed him in the surcingle, and walked hills. Planning a 'real' ride tomorrow, but will longe first since I'm sure he's in tonight (rain possible). I just hate to do that all the time because it takes so much more time. Oh well, gotta do what you gotta do!

7. My equestrian team finished 5th ... by 1 point. The top 4 teams went to Nationals:( SO close. Oh well . At least now I can relax and focus on myself and horse for awhile:)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Something to blog about:)

Well, my goodness. Where to begin? I guess from the beginning!!:)

Soooo ... I had PLANNED the week off for Tiki while we were in Orlando. Did NOT plan for him to have the entire past week off since I had planned for one of my kids to show him in his 3' debut. But, an entire week of rain and miserable weather prevented me from sitting on him at ALL prior to this Saturday. I knew my kid that was showing him was planning to lesson on him Saturday, and I KNEW he would take a bit to settle in, so I gave one of my other kids a lesson on him first, lol. I asked her if he felt like a powder keg, and she said, "Yes!". She was half halting with her outside rein so hard, he was literally trotting sideways. The canter got a *little* forward, but not too horrible. This kid also tends to light a horse up a little bit, so considering that little tidbit, it definitely wasn't bad. Had her trot into a cavaletti, and I could see a switch flip in his brain. He got much quieter. Focused on the jumps, the girl looked great, and they ended on a good note.

He had about 15 minutes to chill, and then his 'show child' showed up to ride. We were confined to the covered, sadly, so he wasn't even going to get to school the course due to the sopping footing. Janet was trying to let it dry as much as possible before Sunday. His flat work looked GOOD. His trot was pretty nice. His canter seemed a little bouncy, but not bad. She jumped him around a 2'6 course of cavs and verticals (just like at home). Bumped everything up to 3'. He was good. Bumped up 2 verticals to 3'3. The cavs were as high as they could get at 3'. He was steady and beautiful. Asked her if she wanted to try 3'6, and she said "YEAH", ha ha. So, put up a vertical to 3'6, and she cantered up to it from a long approach. He was absolutely freaking perfect. Looked AMAZING over it. Stopped there and put him back in the roundpen with hay and water.

Sunday dawned gray and chilly. BTW, don't even know if I've mentioned that this was a PWF schooling show. I had 11 kids showing in it, and Janet and her daughter had a bunch showing in it too. Joyce brought Nicole's young, green baby, Sparky, and also her own mare, Trumpet to debut in the crossrails. Since it was a 3 horse trailer, I also had her throw Audrey on the trailer to make HER show ring debut as well in a hunter under saddle class. I REALLY wanted to show Tiki myself, but since I had so many kids showing, I didn't want to be distracted by worrying about myself. I was going to show Audrey, but in the last class of the day.

All went well, the schoolies were GREAT, and Tiki and Audrey stayed in their stalls all day. Bypassed all the schooling opportunities because I thought we'd have a chance once the jumps went up, but noooo ... so! Tiki went in the ring cold. I had my kid 'warm up' in the 2'6 division, and he was good, but a little bit inconsistent. GOOD considering he hadn't schooled. He was a rockstar in the hack, but no ribbon since he was competing against Janet's fancy pants ponies and green horses.

Then the debut ... 3'! My kid was a titch nervous, but went in there. He. Was. Amazing. Jumped around like a superstar. I have this youtube video of one of the rounds. I *think* it was the one he got a 2nd in. Did I mention he was pretending to be a hunter for the day? He got a SECOND over fences ... against Janet's green fancy pants horses, the A circuit winning Children's Hunters, and the Pony Finals large ponies!!!! SO proud. There were like 10 horses in the division. He got a 4th in the other o/f class. Put him "to bed", and put my super painful tall boots on so I could hop on Audrey and warm her up.

Hmm, scratch that. The show was running VERY late, and people were scratching out like crazy, so it ended up that I had to get on Audrey and go STRAIGHT into the show ring. NO warmup, no schooling, no nothing. We walked away with a 3rd. I was expecting nothing, so I and Audrey's owner were ELATED. She was SO quiet and good. It was a GREAT day. I was SO proud. Loaded them up and took them home, gave them today off, and will ride every day this week because it is supposed to be SUNNY:)

BTW, the pic at the top is after Tiki's 3'6 jump. My iphone can't take pics as quickly as my camera;)

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Well! It's been so long since an update:) And the reason is because ... I haven't ridden Tiki since Regionals! In fact, I haven't RIDDEN since Regionals, yikes! The Monday after, I relaxed at home before cleaning stalls. Tuesday, it snowed AGAIN. Ugh. Then Wednesday I had to hurry and get done so we could leave for Orlando. Had a GREAT time. We stayed at the Bonnet Creek resort inside Disney World, and it is such a beautiful place. I could live there. I took a day and went to Ocala to watch the HITS horseshow. Watched the level 5 jumpers and the high and medium Jr/AO jumpers. Wow. I don't know if Tiki and I will ever get to that level ... not sure I have the guts. He's probably got the talent, but I don't think I do. We'll see where we are in another year.:)

ANYWAY, got home on Sunday, stayed home Monday completely so I could clean and recouperate, held horses for the farrier all day Tuesday, and it rained Wednesday and today. More rain for tomorrow, but I'm going to try and get on. Well, he's supposed to be making his 3' debut in the show ring Sunday ... after a lovely 2 week break. Stay tuned for details on that!