Saturday, December 7, 2013

Back on the wagon! Er ... horse.

Pretty girl today

I've gotten in some great riding time!  3 rides in the last week, woo hoo!  I rode Jade on Wednesday, and she actually was pretty spooky.  When I rode her last Saturday, I was in a T-shirt ... and we both sweated pretty darn good!  When I rode Wed ... I was wearing a long sleeved shirt/vest/polar fleece top/a pretty warm coat.  Took the coat off to ride, but it was COLD and there was a bit of a breeze.  She knew something was up, and pooped 5 times in the washrack while I tacked her up.  And NO, that is not an exaggeration;)  I took her straight to the ring instead of to the roundpen, and it then took me 15 minutes to get to mount.  Le Sigh.  She was just spooky and being a bit of a witch.  I stayed patient and didn't yank on her at all, but I did progress to making her longe in a super tiny circle at the end of the reins every time she backed up/walked off from the block.  FINALLY she just stood there, no drama, and I got on easily.  She was very tucked up, and not on any of my aids at all.  She either trotted a hundred miles an hour, jigged at the walk, or flat out crow hopped because she did NOT want to work.  I never gave up, and I just kept her moving, all the time.  The second time she crow hopped, I finally growled at her, smacked her hard with my hand and sent her FORWARD.  From that moment, she finally began to get with the program a little bit.  She was VERY mouthy with the loose ring bit I was using on her, and she kept rooting around and mouthing incessantly.  She didn't get behind it as much as with the kimberwicke, though, so score!  I didn't try any lateral stuff with her because she was just so spooky and dramatic.  I put her on a constant figure 8, didn't deviate from it at all, and FINALLY she began to come on the aids.  It was a massive light bulb moment for me when I mentally shouted at myself to regulate my posting!  I quit following her rhythm, posted high and in a tempo I liked, and she began to follow me.  Yay!  I did several canter transitions both ways, and cantered just like 6 or 7 strides, then went right back to the trot work.  That was good, believe it or not, she didn't have time to get hollow/fast/head flingy.  Ended when I could feel her settle into the contact, stop rooting, and get in front of my leg.  Good girl!

My second ride was completely unexpected!  I went over to the other barn, and the trainer was riding.  She told me to get a pen and paper, and I wrote down all that was expected of me in order to earn my 2 monthly lessons/weekly riding time.  Yay!  She is a top professional, so all of her horses are simply lovely.  I love the fact that most of her sale horses are under 16 hands, yet her Rolex horse is 17.2!  And she's TINY.  About 5' flat, and I'd be shocked if she's over 110.  I took notes, we basically shook hands (she was riding, after all), and then she told me when she was finished, I could get on.  What?  Haha, I ran back out to the truck for my helmet, and when she finished I got on the very lovely 15.3 hand TB/warmblood cross mare named Luna.  Pretty little bay, a little bit of a spook, and simply lovely.  Trainer thinks she will make an Advanced horse some day, but she's only 6.  She's completed a few T events, and is almost ready for P.  Wow.  It was an experience, for sure.  Trainer nit picked and commented on my huntery ways for the next 15 or so minutes.  I was EXHAUSTED, lol.  All I did was trot/canter in a a 20m circle both ways, but the mare is crazy athletic, and trainer is 100% a perfectionist.  I was told to sit my canter better, not lean to the left, relax my right arm tracking right, open my chest more, and of course to slow my posting and sit back.  I was in a dressage saddle.  Her gaits are very athletic, and I could feel the power underneath me.  Definitely a sports car :)

Today, I rode Jade again.  She was pretty crappy again to begin with.  It was marginally warmer than on Wed without the breeze, but it actually RAINED last night, so the rings were super wet.  I brought some of Tiki's old equipment to use on her; his running martingale, and his xc bridle with a figure 8 and the single joint Myler bit.  The martingale is purely for my safety; several times, Jade flipped her head dramatically enough for me to have Audrey flashbacks (she literally smacked me in the face with her neck, causing me to fall and get a concussion), and I didn't want her to possibly feel "trapped" by a standing.  A properly adjusted martingale of any type will prevent a horse from smacking you in the face, but the running doesn't "trap" a horse like the standing can.  I wanted to try the figure 8 because she opens her mouth like Tiki did, and it can change the way a snaffle feels in their mouth.  I longed her in the roundpen and she was perfect, but when I took her to the upper ring to get on, she did the mounting block dance again, so I just went back to the rp and mounted there.  Rode her up to the ring, and she spooked several times.  As soon as her feet hit the footing, she began jigging sideways.  I kicked her with my outside leg to get her going straight, and she popped her shoulder and tried to yank her head down as far as possible.

Now, to be fair, this is the ring S said Jade doesn't like.  I didn't care.  The mare should do as she's asked no matter WHERE you are, so I stuck to my guns and kept going.  She jigged incessantly until I finally clenched my knees so tightly against the saddle I got a hip cramp, but it got my point across and she finally walked.  I was SO glad I had that martingale; she was just beside herself with the puddles/cold/'scary' ring, and she tried to stick that head straight up like a giraffe.  The martingale did it's job, though, and she seemed almost confused when she couldn't get her head up too high.  I got her walking all around the jumps, then trotted, and she finally quit trying to go so sideways (for the most part).  She also tried to drag me around like I was a little kid, and I began to do the Clinton Anderson one rein stops.  Gee, I remember a certain little red head I used to have to do the same thing with!  She decided pretty quickly that those suck, lol!  All of a sudden, I had a mare willing to work :)  I kept my posting slow, weaved her in and out of the jumps, kept my outside leg on so she couldn't blow it off and skitter sideways, and rode until she totally gave in and got between my hand and my leg.  As a reward, I walked her down to her comfortable ring, and trotted 2 big 20 m circles in the middle of the ring.  She was pretty dang good.  I had to spin her about 5 times rather than hang on her mouth to keep her slow, but the trot work was better than on Wednesday, for sure.  I cantered her both directions on the circle which is a tiny big deal because she is VERY confused about cantering circles.  She tries to blow off the outside leg and drag you to the rail.  I kept my reins together, my outside leg firmly pressing, butt planted firmly in the saddle, and she cantered well.  Ended with another few minutes of trot just on the rail, and let her be done.  Just to "torture" her a little bit, I took her back up to her spooky ring for the cool down walk and she did holler for her buddies a few times, but she didn't try to spook/spin me off, so I consider the day to be a success! :D  Gave her lots of pats, brushed all the mud off her she'd accumulated riding in the wet ring, cleaned the dirt off the tack, and put her back out.  Good girl!  Bad start, good finish, it will be like this until she gets in the routine.  I will ride her in the same tack setup on Wednesday; the ring will be dry and HOPEFULLY it will be warmer, so I can better assess the bit/noseband set up.  Thanks for reading my novel, y'all have a happy Sunday!! :)
Jade on Wed

1 comment:

  1. Ha, thank you for making me not feel like I have the only mare gone batty this winter. I really like your constant figure 8 idea, it gives you a set course to focus both of you on. Its amazing how if you set your post tempo, the horse will (usually) follow it.