The Archives 2/24/08 – 4/1/08 Little Miss Sparkle!


Why Little Miss Sparkle of course!

Sparks had me worried that she’d done a suspensory in January, but she hadn’t. She’d just whacked her inside splint bone hard…or someone whacked it for her. She was ouchy on it, and then pissed that she stayed on stall rest for a month, but she is all better now and fucking awesome.

I adore her. Today, she was forward! Yay for forward Sparkle pony. She is often more into the slow, but as I’ve been learning more about true forward, I’m getting much better about rewarding it instead of impeding it.

We did many canter/walk canter/halt/canter and such transitions today. She did some solid counter-canter, worked hard on some of the simple changes (through walk) that will be in 2nd level tests. The laterals were not bad either. She felt fabulous and seemed quite happy to get back to work. Inverness cooled her out for me so I could hope on another horse.

Some canter, where I’m grinning like a kid because I LOVE riding her. And leaning a bit forward….hmm, must fix that.


I opted to ride Sparkle tonight. I didn’t ride this morning, was tired. But, got home, set up a calendar for lacrosse, h/j shows, vada shows and pvda shows and decided I wanted to hop on a pony.

We worked on a lot of 1-1 pieces. I also did some canter/walk/canter, but since I had neglected to use a saddle, I had to grab mane. It is really good for my abs to ride bareback, but it is a bit looser. Sparks still feels really nice and forward. I’m thinking I’ll enter her in the 3/15 schooling show, doing 1-1 and 1-3.

Sparkle has been getting ridden on Bali days. I decided that I need to economize my movements, which includes getting additional saddles out.

That 3/15 schooling show was full, so that was out, but I’m working Sparkle to get stronger so we can go show.

I used that pattern on Sparkle, but I used it for flying lead changes. She has some seriously crisp *simple* lead changes (through walk, c/w/c) but I have yet to figure out how to convince her without a gallop, that I’d like a lead change while cantering. I will no doubt need to get professional help on this one. And I will, but meanwhile, I figure doing the lead change over a pole on the ground isn’t going to hurt and it is not going to break the counter-canter-which has gotten very pleasant.

I still adore riding my Sparkle. She is just FUN.

I really, REALLY hope that Sparkle decides jumping is fun when I have Bali’s new jumping saddle…which will fit Sparkle as well! I keep thinking that the slightly too-narrow fit was probably why she didn’t care for the jumping. But, instead of buying a saddle, I just quit jumping her, except for in the dressage saddle, which she does well enough, but it is not good for me.

Tonight, I rode Sparkle and I am really digging this new forward trot she’s found! It is pretty cool. Her walk can still be a bit sluggish, but she has found a seriously forward trot over the winter. The ride was short, but I still managed to get in counter canter, and worked on a few circles of canter keeping her poll up.

The downside to this new bigger trot is that it is (of course) not as easy to sit.

But, I need to get my entries in for a couple of shows. Find out how much improvement we can get in scores, although, the cynical side of me wonders how much her “type” is going to matter…I shall remain optimistic that it will not, and will start to pay attention to judges that seem to not care for her.

Did I say something about this trot being harder to sit? Oh yes, I did. Although, today, I think it was more me being tight in the back due to the last week of back spasms. Because I mentally regrouped, and just started sitting trot from the walk instead of going from posting to sitting, and it was better. Then, later in my ride I was able to go between sitting and posting.

But, I love this horse! She has such a fabulous work ethic, and what is funny is that as she is getting fitter and more athletic, she is getting “hotter”. She is snorting at things, and acting all “up”, but since she is still inherently practically perfect, she is funny. I do have to remind myself that she IS a horse, when I expect her to do something truly ridiculous and she does not.

After my ridiculous request of her to stand, ground tied w/ her reins under a small rock (no, I have never formally trained her to ground tie, hence this being a ridiculous request) so I could dash into the house to grab my sunglasses, she walked off, being careful to not step on her reins, and just looked at me when I caught her 40′ away. I rode over to the arena and started doing some of the first level movements to warm up. Then, we added in shoulder in and haunches in, tried for half-pass, realized I need to cover that in a lesson again, so I just abandoned that. Worked on canter/halt/canter, then canter/walk/canter lead changes, then counter canter. Her counter canter is getting very strong, and I am ready for a lesson to make sure I’m not overbending her to the outside when we are counter-cantering 20m circle, and to make sure we don’t speed up as she gets tired holding that and we are headed back to the true canter 20m circle.

I had a lessons scheduled for 2 Sunday’s ago, but I had to cancel that, as I could not even think of driving, much less riding.


Hmm, I think she is 9 this year, maybe 10. I’m having difficulty remembering which year I bought her. I bought her as an unstarted 3 year old, did my “wait until 4 to start” experiment on her, to her breeder’s horror, they were already a rarity in the App/QH world that waited until 3 to start their horses. I took her back to them to have her started as a 4 year old, and she has been in work ever since.

Unfortunately my husband admired the sliding stop a bit too much, so she came home with some SERIOUS whoa installed. That has not been excellent for dressage work, because she is a trier….an anticipating trier. She wants to do what you want her to do, and she wants to guess what it is that you want so you’ll admire how clever she is, when she came home, riding a downward transition used to always end up in a full halt, and it did not matter how fast you were going.

She is still going to slow down if she thinks the rider is off balance.

Pat does ride her a tiny bit. Technically she is his horse. He did pay for her initial purchase. He rode her 1x in 2007. Has ridden 2x in 2008 already. Anybody can hop on her, she will take care of them. I am the only one who asks her to work and do dressage.

When I did some jumping on her in 2006, she was obedient, but not keen on it. I think part of it is because the widest jumping saddle I have is still too narrow for her. I wasn’t willing to buy a jumping saddle just for her, because I wasn’t sure it was the saddle that made her not like it so much. She is better in her dressage saddle, and since Bali & Sparkle are the same size, the jumping saddle I ordered for Bali will fit Sparkle too, so I will see how she does, because she has seriously cute jumping style.

Sparkle will be 10 on July 4. I was entering her in a licensed show and her DOB is on her lifetime registration.

I have had a couple of rides and I’m all geeked about her….see above show entry. Anyway, we worked on haunces in, shoulder in, leg yield, halfpass at trot, canter/halt/canter transitions with lead changes down the center line, she was really working nicely for this and it was 3 strides, halt, 3 strides, halt, and we got 4 sets of those down the center line. Shen, after all this awesome work, I tried a halfpass from center line to a 15m counter canter circle and it was so smooth I just grinned and grinned. I forgot to do the other side on that one.

Then, for various reasons, I did not ride until today (although, I realize that is only 2 days off). I did set the arena up to do a geometry refresher. Cones at one end to mark a 20m circle, posts on the 20x40m corners and jump poles on the ground on the longside w/ no cones to keep me from bowing out. Then, I did something I haven’t done in years, I was talking w/ one of my buddies at work, who likes horses and wants to bring his boys out for a visit, and I totally geeked out on him about my planned geometry refresher. And, the reason he is my buddy and he can bring his boys out? He thought it was cool geeking out.

So, tonight, we did no lateral work, it was all w/t/c with various transitions tossed in, but it was all on the 2 20m circles, 4 10m circle figure 8’s inside the 20s, and one 15m circle (only did that at one end. I also worked on cantering square corners for a few lengthenings down the longside, then had only so-so returns to my working canter, not as nice as Saturday, but still, quite respectable. And, cantering 10, 15, or 20 m circles is all ok in her world. The 10 is still harder for her. Once I had my geometry ridden into the arena, I used the figure 8 to do canter to counter canter on the 20m circles. That has developed nicely and she did not fall out or get rushy once.

I’m looking forward to some lessons on her. JJ should be back from Florida soon and I’d like to get a lesson from her and I’ll get down to take a lesson from Debbie soon.


About Mel

Random musings in a riding journal
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