Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The mare!

Good girl!
Better; more relaxation :)

Defensive position, but soft reins.  You can see she kind of barrels through.
Longer stirrups, quiet hands, SHOULDERS BACK!  Go me ;)

2 more rides on Ms. Jade to report on.  Last week, I took her up in the jumping ring again, and she was good!  She's getting much more consistent up there since I've basically told her to get over herself, she's GOING to go up top.  All was well.  Since riding w/ trainer, I have become much more aware of what a horse SHOULD feel like, so I've been riding Jade very correctly lately, and she responds!  Before, I wasn't worried about where her head was, I'd let my arms get stiff, and upon looking at my pics, I see I'm sitting really far forward.  It doesn't feel like it, but pics don't lie, right?

I get on, sit BACK, and put my leg on.  She's gotten SO good about accepting the leg and becoming more steady through the contact.  First time or 2 I rode her, she curled up and got behind the bit, which is why I wasn't worried about her head.  At eventing barn though, ALL the horses go correctly.  Heads down, backs lifted, inside leg to outside rein.  I haven't accepted "no" as an answer from Jade, I put my leg on and ask her to stretch into my hand.  She's a fiesty little mare, so sometimes she will pitch a little fit, but for the most part she's been responsive to what I'm asking of her.  I jumped her a LITTLE bigger last week; over a 2'6ish crossrail (where the poles are set at 2'6 then crossed).  Before, it was the SMALLEST crossrail I could possibly set.  The 'plain' poles jump was fine, but the one with panels caused her to land and buck the first 3 times I did it.

As a result, I'm coming into the jumps a little defensive.  She WILL get you off if you let your guard down, whether it's via a spook, or a sudden hop in the air combined with a flip of the head.  That's why the martingale goes on EVERY time, and I've been asking her to round and come into the contact so she doesnt' spook so much.  She's developed a habit of landing randomly, then DRAGGING me to the rail, pulling right.  She only does it every now and then, but it's a pretty hardcore drag.  When she did that consistently the other day, I dropped it to a pole and made her walk it, staying straight.  Last week was mostly just coming in over jumps.  She hasn't been as good as she was that one time several weeks ago, when I could actually trot in/canter out a line, but she's not been too bad, either.

Today, I kind of kicked her butt a little bit.  She's been off about 10 days due to actual rain (YAY!), so I let her run around in the roundpen.  She bucked and played for a good 10 minutes before I got on.  Rode her in the lower ring due to really wet footing up top, but I'd had no plans to jump anyway today.  She was very heavy; I've been riding her in the waterford and she definitely likes it, but the brakes aren't great in it.  Wish I still had Tiki's little wonder bit, b/c it would probably be good to slap that on her once in awhile to tune her up.  I did a TON of canter transitions today.  She sucks at those, lol.  As soon as she canters, she tries to basically bulldoze you and run off or run you into the fence.  I worked on cantering a few steps, back to walk or trot.  I cantered a LOT today, and right now it's just a fight for every single step.  She gets so heavy and stiff, and she WILL try to DRAG to the rail tracking left.

As I tend to do, I had an epiphany after coming around the corner, and YANK to the right.  Trainer counter bends her horses a LOT.  I've been counteracting Jade's dive to the right by actually turning her into the rail and circling right.  Today, I just counter bent her!  Lol, it made the mare pretty peeved that she couldn't use that method of evasion any more.  I even bent her out at the canter on the correct lead, and she didn't try to drag me once after that.:)    Tracking left she dove to the rail again, so I yanked her little butt up and circled her pretty hard core.  She shaped up after that.  When I walked and she rooted, I used both legs and KICKED her.  The rooting improved.  I finished up by doing about 20 small figure 8's around the poles at the trot, just keeping my shoulders back, posting steady, and constantly asking for her to bend and carry herself.

I wore her out, but when she gets tired, she just gets heavier and heavier.  It was tough!  She wasn't great today, which S and I expected, but I didn't give her the opportunity to be bad, so overall an ok day today.  Probably riding on Saturday, so hopefully she'll remember what we worked on and just improve!


  1. Sigh, mares. Glad you guys are making progress. I find counter bending works great with my mare, especially to the right where she tend to overbend her neck to the inside,after a few laps she gets it, at least for that ride. I too tend to sit forward, the worst defensive habit ever lol. That's what makes eyes on the ground (especially with a camera!) Even better so you can really see what you can't always feel.