Thursday, September 29, 2011

Actually proud of myself

And the Muffin, of course!  ALMOST called it and didn't ride.  Joyce has been extremely busy this week, which has meant lots of extra work for me!  I did an hour's worth of work before I even touched the first stall, so by the time I was done cleaning, I was done.  But, I pushed through, tacked him up, and took him up to the rock hard ring.  I dragged out 2 jumps from the enormous pile in the center of the ring, and put them at '6' and '12', perpendicular to the short side.  Basically, I had half of the "circle of death".
I eyed the jump cups closest to the rail, and guesstimated them at 3'3.  After placing a pole on them and realizing it came up OVER my hip bones, I thought maybe 3'6, but thought, "Nah, 3'3".  Pulled out the measuring stick, and sure enough!  I set the other jump at 2', and debated dropping the big one down to 2'9.  Then to 3'.  Then I gave myself a mental butt kicking and said if I'm really contemplating a BN trial in February, it will be the final one barring any problems.  Which means that my NEXT outing will be a N.  And if I'm showing at 2'11, I need to be comfortable schooling 3'+, emphasis on the +.  So I walked away and mounted.

After another good loose rein walk warm up, picked up the trot.  He is tough flatting at home in the wonder bit because he is SO quiet, and the wonder bit has a lot of "whoa".  I worked my butt off keeping him going forward, and spent about 15 minutes switching between big trot, toth, shoulder-in at the walk, and leg yielding across the entire ring at the walk; that was cool!  I didn't drill his contact today since I had already done that yesterday; instead, I waited until I felt satisfied he was working hard, then cantered up to the 2' jump off the right lead.  He twisted in the air, knocked the pole, and tried to go left on landing, but I stayed back, stayed committed, and kept him on a circle to the right.  To begin, I was working only over the 2' jump on a 20m circle.  Did it again, and nailed it.  Right lead probably 4 times, then reversed to the left where it felt even better!  I drifted a little bit so I could nail the distance, and then without thinking about it too hard, headed up to the "big one".  I sat UP, I maintained a rhythm, and I closed my LEG!  Yay, me!  Did it about 3 more times tracking left, then reversed to the right.  Right lead is MY weaker side because HE is a little bit weaker when it comes to jumping.  I've always been most comfortable tracking left even though our flatwork to the right is better because my right leg is stronger.

ANYWAY, didn't quite "see" the distances as well as I could have, and only had one "tragic" one, but STILL the boy jumped out of his skin to keep the jump up.  He felt amazing.  Despite the fact that he almost knocked the 2' jump down the first time, he felt amazing every time over 3'3.  I did put both jumps together both directions twice each, and I was pleased with how it went.  I was proud of myself for not wimping out and making it easier on myself.  I didn't use guide poles, I didn't use a neck strap, I didn't tie my stirrups to the girth, and I didn't lower the jump.  I'm trying to train my eye to see the jumps as "No Big Deal", and to view height as being inconsequential.  

It's been a slow process, but I'm getting there.  Even though I haven't had the $$ to do anything eventing related this year at ALL, I've kept up with keeping Tiki fit, strong, and well schooled, and I'm always working hard on making myself a better rider.  Hoping to introduce chiropractic care into the budget before the end of the year, and now working towards a HT in Aiken in February.  Until then, I have warming him up for his first IEA show of the new season next Sunday, and a lesson with Susan some time this month:)  It's all good!


  1. Enjoyed reading this! Do you have any extra info on wonder bits? My XC pony (See is having issues XC with almost not having enough bit, and I have him in a decent fast twist myler. How do you feel the wonder bit relates to others?

    Thanks :)

  2. Hi Reagan, thanks for your comment. I like the wonder bit a LOT. I actually use a waterford on xc because it is such a light bit, and at this stage of the game for Tiki and I my main concern is not "punishing" him for doing the right thing. Which means for me that if we ride up to a jump that scares ME, I don't pick and back him off the distance. If he has an awkward jump and I get left behind and catch him with my hands, it's not too tragic.

    That being said, we both are most confident over stadium because we've had the most practice at that. Consequently, he can be bold and strong and hang on me a little bit. I've tried him in a traditional 3 ring gag, and I felt like that was too much bit for him. In the wonder bit, I can maintain a good medium contact around the course, and if he tries to hang on me ONE good half halt completely lifts his front end.

    I think one reason this bit is really working for us is because his mouth is small, and the smaller diameter mouthpiece doesn't bother him. My friend's bigger QH HATED the wonder bit because the smaller mouthpiece was "too sharp" for him. For Tiki, the smaller diameter is just right for having a TINY bit of extra "bite", and just enough lift.

    FWIW, I have never ridden him in a twist, so I can't compare to a twist, but I have used in the past:
    mullen happy mouth loose ring (didn't like the mullen mouth)
    D ring with copper rollers (very stiff in the jaw)
    Herm Sprenger KK ultra D ring (LOVED this bit all around, just can't afford it)
    JP Korsteel D ring with bean (almost identical to above mentioned HS, and he does NOT like this. Stiff as a board in it)
    Myler D with hooks and a port (VERY resentful, got very behind my hands, and hated the feeling of both the port and the additional lift)
    German silver waterford (loves it. Use it out on xc and on hunter paces. Over time, may have to upgrade to wonder bit on xc as both our confidence increases.
    Myler D ring with single joint (he really likes this bit a lot; I can use lots of contact with it, and he seems to really 'hunker down' in it. We use this with dressage.)
    Hollow mouth single joint D-ring (meh kind of bit. He will take a hold of it and come into a nice frame eventually, but takes a while to soften up to it. No good brakes or anything in it. I keep this on a regular cavesson bridle to hack in.)
    3 ring elevator bit with waterford mouth (I used this several times, and while I eventually found 'love' for it, I feel that at this time it's too much all around whoa for us. If I upgrade to using the wonder bit on xc, may use this for stadium.)

    Sorry if this was WAY too much information. Be careful when you ask my opinion on something; you may get it!

  3. I appreciate the info! I don't mind the myler in SJ. It is our strong point too, and I can kind of man handle him if necessary (he is 14'3.) I might have to see if I can get my hands on one, and do gallop sets in it (best way to test my braking ability on him.)

    If you ever want a KK ultra, let me know and I can keep a look out. I am the queen of finding deals in the internet :)