Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Visions of Rolex ...

I <3 ponies="" td="">

I sure wish I could FINALLY go to the Rolex 3 Day Event this year.  How ironic would that be?  Never could make it when it was a 5 hour drive, yet could FLY there.  Haha.  Not this year!  Hopefully my awesome new trainer will qualify again next year and I can be part of the crew then.  This year I will be sitting here at my kitchen table watching the live feed via my laptop.  Anyway!  As I sit here typing, I feel the familiar burn in my lower back that says I rode today:)  I rode 2 VERY different horses, but both were great!

The morning was chilly, but in the sun it was positively lovely.  Miss Jade came in from the pasture with a positive attitude and only had one "normal" poop in the washrack.  The barn was quiet, and the mare seemed happy.  Gave her a good grooming, then tacked her up in the same setup as Saturday; running martingale and a single joint Myler D-ring snaffle with no hooks or anything of that sort.  I decided today was going to be a low pressure kind of day, so I was pretty relaxed.  Took her to the roundpen, and she was trying to run off before I even had the reins secured, so I growled at her to knock it off.  Let her run it out until she told me she was done, and when I pulled the mounting block to her she didn't move a single muscle.  Yes!  Got on and walked to the 'scary' upper ring.  Kept as loose a rein as I felt comfortable with, and took a nice leisurely walk around that ring.  She spooked twice, all 4 legs splayed out like a statue, but no spin or anything, phew.  Took her out of the ring after that walk, and down to 'her' lower ring.  Just spent some time walking on a relatively loose rein until I felt her take a deep breath.  I then began to walk a figure 8 around the 2 jumps in the center of the ring, using my leg 95%, hand 5%.  I kept my reins pretty long, and just focused on pushing her into my outside rein.  After that, I went to trot around on the rail ... on a loose rein.  Ya know, I did the SAME thing with Tiki.  He would get SO fast at the trot, then he would freak himself out because he was so unbalanced.  With a horse like Jade, it's easy to hang on her face to keep her slow.  What she then does is balance off your hand, so then you feel like you're always in a pulling match.  You have to allow them to balance THEMSELVES.  She has to learn to regulate her pace without me getting in her face.  Enter the One Rein Stop.  Every time, and I do mean every time she sped up, I spun her.  Eventually, they get tired of that!  But it teaches them to have a little self control and balance.  So I did that both ways until I made it a FULL lap of the ring with no spin ... on a loose rein, yay!

After lots of pats and a short break, I put her on contact.  I went immediately to the trot figure 8 around the jumps (which was different).  I've been doing the figure 8's in the far end of the ring, this time I was smack in the middle of the ring.  Back and forth, gentle contact, and a nice outside rein half halt IF she sped up.  There were quite a few times when she came onto the contact and got SO light and lovely, I really felt the horse she has the potential to be!  I then decided to be brave, and picked up the canter and cantered the 8.  I did a simple change through the walk in between.  I did probably 20 8's, keeping my hands up and together, butt in saddle, outside leg keeping her from dragging me out of the circle.  Again, I was very glad to have the martingale because cantering does bring forth lots of head flinging.  I just kept rinsing and repeating until she took a breath and made a few very nice transitions.

After one more break, I trotted on the rail on contact again, then did a shallow serpentine, tiny circle into the rail, finish serpentine, then trot up over pole.  I did that both ways 3 times each then let her finish.  She just got better and better, again giving me moments of true contact and lightness.  I like her in this bit the best so far; she is behind the kimberwicke, she is WAY too mouthy in the loosering, and in this one she takes the contact and even gets a little heavy in it, which is fine.  Trotting on a loose rein will fix that ;)  With the figure 8, I never feel her get mouthy with the bit, the mouth stays shut (ahem, Tiki never figured that out.  He opened his mouth in a HALTER!).  S just got a waterford, excited to try that!  I will put her back in a regular cavessoon when I try it.  Just trying to get her wants all figured out; she isn't a complicated horse per se, she's just super sensitive.  I really enjoyed her today, what a good girl!

At the other barn, I got to ride a pony!  She is fat and furry and white :)  I loved her.  Her name is Kimi, and she's a connemara.  LAZY!  Good lord, I wore my spurs and carried a dressage whip and still I worked myself to exhaustion;)  Trainer came out and made me get her on the bit like a good little dressage horse.  Had some great moments there.  I had to work for every step, but still had a blast.  I would love to take her out and run her around the xc course, I bet she's super fun.  My position was better on the pony, but I'm still having issues keeping my shoulder blades pressed together.  When I was a dancer, NO trainer EVER had to tell me to open my shoulders, but after so many years of riding alone and riding greenies and spookies, I've developed a bit of a softness to my upper body.  The default position is shoulders open, elbows on top of hips, hands up.  Slightly different from the hunter hand position :)  I'm SO looking forward to integrating myself; right now I still only know a hand full of people, but I'm getting to recognize some of them.  Trainer is slowly beginning to throw some responsibility on me.  I think she's been feeling me out to see what I know, and is starting to understand I do know a lot, so is starting to treat me as one of the crew.

So, I appreciate the ache in my lower back.  It means I got to do what I love today.  It reminds me that anything worth having, is worth working hard for.  It gives me hope that some day I will again stand in the start box and hear that countdown.  Incredibly thankful for my life, and looking forward to what tomorrow brings! :)  Peace and love y'all.