Sunday, August 9, 2009

Little bit of this and a little bit of that

Another beautiful day. All this nice weather is uncanny. Clearly September is going to be shithouse to make up for the sunshine we are having now. So Lately I have been unhappy with how Connies saddle has been fitting- having started to tilt to the left and on invstigation I found that the packing needs to be re looked at. I had this saddle just recently changed from the god awful CAIR panels to wool pack and the wool has settled more on one side. So much for jumping Connie today.

So I schooled her bareback instead. I used to be able to ride for hours bareback, but man alive a bit of walk, some leg yields and some shoulder -ins and my legs wanted to die. It's good for me though, will give me iron tighs of iron. Trotting focused mainly on a steady quiet hand and not bouncing of the side. Haha a few times I nearly went too far. I was quietly a little impressed with the fact I stayed on at all to be honest. Connie hasn't done any schooling since she was turned out at the end of January but she hasn't forgotten a thing, and all of the flexing and yielding work I did out on hacks has really stood me in good stead. My biggest complaint was that she wanted to go behind the vertical and bareback I couldn't ride her forward enough to pick her back up. It was mostly after she got tired, she did some beautiful work before then.

Had a few canters and she was been sticky with the right lead so I asked her to flying change on to it and she did a little buck. I have never put my knees so hard into a horse to avoid bailing. Cheeky mare. Obviously she is too well fed, with all this extra energy for airs above ground. I have to say she is pretty genuine in her naughtiness, she stays straight and never goes for the second buck. I had only just started work on soft canter work. She wanted to travel around with her nose poked out and I had just started to ask her to travel rounder even at the canter when she was turned out. I used draw reins for one session to help give her the idea. Well she has retained it, her right canter- after the rocky start- was fantastic, I could just sit on her balanced as and she went as she was told. The other canter wasn't as good but she got there. She is going to be a really fantastic little horse one day, she has such a neat attitude to life. Shame about the not jumping though. Didn't think I had the thigh strength for jumping without a saddle yet especially if she went for a stop and pop.

Oh and then I jumped Kate! First time I have properly jumped her since I trialled her. Couple days before I had been working over rails on the ground, trying to figure out what worked best for her. She wants to run to the fences and of course the natural instinct is to grab some more contact on the bit which is the opposite of what you should do. So over poles I was just trying different things and I think I kind of got her figured out.

So today when I jumped I wwent with that method. And it's basically a really long rein (feels like it to me) and then just cnter to the fence. And in my head I really focus on staying the same and maintaining the canter. I say this to myself- ride the canter, ride the canter, ride the canter because that keeps me focused in on her cnater and not chasing spots. Anytime I tried to 'help' her I made a complete hash of it and she was very forgiving. Anytime I just left her to it, and completely did nothing extra except for leg on take-off, even if she did run herself deep to the fence, it was all good. She is the poster child for less is best. Sometimes I did need to move her up a bit to the fence to get to the longer spots if I'm too quiet in the corner. It's been such a long time since I had a horse willing to take a flier so I'm always expecting the chip in. She surprised me a few times :)

I think Kim summed it up best when she said "Oh man, you have a horse that expects nothing and gets it right, and my horse expects everything and we still get it wrong". She has the dubious pleasure of riding Rascal whose old rider had an immaculate eye. I think half of it was though that the jumps were too small, as soon as they went up and Rascal actually jumped it was a lot better.

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