Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A few riding updates!

All has been pretty good on the horsey-front.  My adorable Puffin pony got sold to a kidlet, so YAY for him, BOO for me:(  I got to sit on super fancy Belle the week before last; she has a MOTOR and a half, that girl does.  She looks like Tiki except with bigger ears and 4 white socks.  Her breeding is full Hanoverian, but he looks like a dang Thoroughbred all the way.  She's petite and narrow like the muffin man, and I LOVE to ride her.  Didn't ride out at event barn last week or this week due to me volunteering at another schooling 3 phase event, and this week event trainer is at REBECCA FARM competing her lovely Trakehner gelding in the CIC3*.  WISH I WAS THERE!  Next year ... I will totally be going to Rolex, Rebecca, and Inavale.

I rode a really, really, really nice horse named Hannah the time before I rode Belle ... and let me tell ya ... I've never been run away with; I shut that crap down before it ever has a chance to get revved up.  But Hannah's TROT is like a freaking 12' canter stride, no joke.  If there were ever a horse with the potential to run off with me and I'd let it happen because she's so sneaky about it, it's Hannah.  I was pretty much exhausted after trotting her for half an hour, and I wimped out and only cantered one way.  I truly believe if I'd let her go the full length of the ring and not just stayed on a 20m circle, I probably would have had a very hard time stopping her.  Event trainer says this mare has FEI dressage potential.  I believe it!  Also on that day, got to ride super handsome stallion Sky again.  I feel so blessed every time I sit on that horse, he is AMAZING.  I've only ever ridden him in the dressage tack, but that is AOK by me.  His movement and power is just breathtaking, but he is such a gentleman; when I ride him, I use a mullen mouth happy mouth snaffle, and I never even have to TOUCH his face, he's that soft.  I LOVE how much I am learning there, very thankful for the opportunity to be there.

Ms. Mare has been AWESOME.  We had a few good rides after the show, and then the month of July was a combo of vacation time, and injury time for Jade.  She got a nasty looking puncture wound on her upper leg and was off for a week or 2, so I have only ridden her a hand full of times since my last update.  Rode Saturday, and with the exception of her geting a little strong at the canter, she was picture perfect.  Today, I decided to test her bravery and jack up the baby jumps to actual big girl jumps.  Substantial crossrails, a solid 2' vertical w/ flowers, a 2'3 post and rail, and a 2'6 vertical w/ a brush box.  I normally jump her 18", and have hopped over 2' on one or two occasions.  I decided it was time to bump it up a notch!

With the time off she's had, her dragging right has made a bit of re-apperance, so in my flat work, I actally kept a right bend the ENTIRE ride so she was physically incapable of popping that shoulder and dragging me right.  I trotted her over a bunch of random poles, working on maintaining her straightness through her body and feeling her responsiveness to my leg.  I began to incorporate the little 18" vertical and then the 2 bigger crossrails into my flatwork, halting, bending right, and moving off my right leg after each jump.  I was pretty happy with her!  Progressed to the 2' vertical, then the 2'3 post and rail.  

The first few times over that one, she did get a tad anxious and try to canter the last stride or 2, so I went back and forth several times, then just went back to the crossrails for a bit, then came back to it and she was better; trotted to the base.  I let her walk for a bit, then just decided to Go For It.  

I was banking on the fact that the height would back her off a little, but hopefully not TOO much.  I told myself no matter what happened, if she went over it, we were done.  Well, she jumped it great, but knocked off the pole.  Probably because I talked myself into a last minute panic and tried to grab mane, but ended up jumping all up her neck.  Le Sigh.  That's what happens when I live jumping poles and 18" little things.  I also TRIED to work on what event trainer has had me do; shorten my reins enough that I can PLANT my knuckles in her neck approaching the jump, then NOT move.  Just sit still.  But she wans to rush the base, so I have to RIDE her to the base still.  Sigh again.  I got off, reset the pole, then came again.  This time, I grabbed my martingale strap (which is a poor substitution for my neck strap, but you work with what you've got!), and even though she did sneak in a last minute canter stride this time, she jumped it perfectly.  I let her walk for a minute, then I HAD to finish up over a crossrail, then back and forth over the 2' vertical so I reinforced TROT to the base, NO cantering.  She got it. I was very happy with her.  ME, I wasn't all that happy with; either she was just putting in a big effort with her body, or I was just seriously off my game, but I felt like I was pretty much behind the motion on every jump.  See, this is our usual jump height:

So it was probably a combination of her being impressed w/ the jumps, and me being defensive.  But overall, a great day :)  Very proud ... little maresy is growing up to be a big girl:D