Friday, September 21, 2012


Rode the Tiki Muffin 3 days this week, like usual.  Tuesday I wanted to ride, but it actually RAINED, hooray!  So I rode Wed-Fri.  Wed I decided to do a jump school since the footing would be nice and soft from the 2 previous days of rain.  Dragged out the middle jumps from the gymnastics and set them up as an outside single swedish oxer, and an inside 2 stride line with the coop.  Left the 2 tall crossrails as a 7 stride line.  I still had the oxer set around 2'9ish in the middle, and the other one at 3'.  I warmed up with just some simple w/t/c.  I've totally subscribed to the Jim Woffard's idea of when you're jumping ... JUMP!  Otherwise, do dressage.  I just did the usual trot into a tall cav, then just keep jumping.  I worked on staying out of his way and feeling his mouth to the jumps so he doesn't blow past the distance and get too deep.  He likes to either gallop up and jump out of stride, or get quick in the last step to get too close.  We did pretty well:)  Once he did the line a few times, he wanted to lengthen and do 6 in the line, but I held him off the jump and maintained our rhythm.  Did pretty well at the oxer (I mean come on ... how many of us do well on a long approach to a single SWEDISH oxer?  By ourselves?)  We really only had one tragically deep distance, and one "miscue" where he was a hair long and I went for it ... but forgot to close my leg.  'Doh!  All the other jumps were fine.

Yesterday was a dressage school.  I began with walking on contact.  Progressed to shoulder-in/haunches-in at the walk.  He is doing SO well with the haunches-in!  So proud of my red head.  Lateral work is super easy for him, I just have to ask him correctly:)  The trot felt pretty good; I did some dramatic long side lengthening to some super slow sitting trot.  I then moved from the super lengthened trot to a more correct "collected" trot at the sitting trot.  He just felt so tight in the jaw!  I wish I could find that "magical" bit that helps him stay soft and relaxed.  I made sure I was soft and relaxed in the arms and hands, and I tried to avoid fighting with him.  I'm experimenting with using my seat a little more for transitions, and made sure to transition to the walk or halt after cantering.  I did my "thread the needle" exercise at the canter today.  When I came in on the shallow diagonal to do my half turn in reverse, I did a simple change through the walk.  He gets SO hollow in that downward transition, sheesh.:(  I lamented my woes to a friend of mine, and she suggested a trick to try next week.

Today was a longe session over a low cavaletti.  Tiki dork tries SO hard to not pick his feet up over it; he jumps with his front end and kind of heaves the rest of his body over half the time.  It's crazy.  He was lazy on the longe as usual; I actually had to pop him on the butt with the whip to get him to move.  I've been slowly shortening up the side reins each time I longe him, trying to achieve that elusive dressage frame.  When we do our Training debut, I want the test in the sand box to be up to snuff, which means that nose needs to be IN.  So, I scheduled a dressage lesson with Susan next Friday, woo hoo!  I'm long overdue for a good butt kicking, so will see what she has to say.  He was so preoccupied with trying to get the reins in his mouth at the canter that he forgot to try and cross canter, but it is so hard to get it and keep it on the longe line.  He also does not look at the cav and adjust himself at all; he just trots if he gets a bad distance.  Lol, today was good for him.  It's like a no stirrup day for me.  Not all that fun, but sometimes necessary.:)

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