The Archives – 8/17/08 – 10/19/08

8/17/08 – Puddle Jumper show report
The round where Bali demonstrated that she needs more Harley Davidson exposure.

(in case that doesn’t work )

And, her last round of the day….

With the jump off! Because the jump off is important at 2’3″

There will be stills next week probably. I can also check the show photographer’s site.

Alas, I cannot remember his name or website, so I’ll look later.

I was giddy at how good Bali was!

I found the website…

Bali looks bored.

OK, so squishy has inspired me to document my day better.

We got to the show at 8:30. I took Bali and handwalked her around the ring and showed her every jump. That took about 15 minutes and then I walked back to the trailer, tacked up and was left with only 5 minutes to go into the ring. Crap. I’d meant to leave myself more time, but I trotted a bit, then we started hopping over the fences that I worried might cause looking from a horse at her first show where she had to jump! I was very pleased because she did not stop at any of them. I had to apologize to 4 because I took the long, winding path out of the ring so I could hit two more “scary” fences.

I couldn’t go first because I had not even looked at the course. EEK. It would be bad to go off course and be eliminated when Bali needs practice.

Warmup was course B, and there was a triple. Bali has never seen a triple, I think we’ve only gotten to 2 fences in our baby-gymnastics and that was ages ago.

These are speedbumps…18″ to 2′. So, even if she had a real issue, I could boot her over from a standstill if necessary.

The first was a little oxer (or it might have been a tiny vertical that went to oxer in the Novice class to 2’6″) right by the judges stand. I went in, not sure if I’d be trotting or cantering to fences, but for the “california warmup” I did about 50/50. Next, was the triple, 2abc, she stalled out…that line of poles in front of her was just too much. I think I circled and came again, from a trot. She was very crooked but made it through all 3. These were crossrails at this point. I’m not so much remembering the puddle jumper course though, it was different than the novice courses. But, she made it around, with no drama. She was happy and willing, and I was pleased.

Then, it was the first round, we trotted a bit, all lead changes were through trot, and I did not fix them all. Since there is no time allowed, we of course, made the jump off in the puddle jumpers (hmm, this seems oh-so-ridiculous after reading Squishy’s real jumper course and how it rode). Once again, I rode for long lines, hunter-like turns and we trotted where necessary, but it was “clean”. We got a ribbon too…5th (probably only 5 horses/ponies). Bali will never beat a kamikazi pony.

She felt good enough to do the novice, I did not feel we’d be overfacing her.

The course was very windy, I’m wondering if 4 designed it that way in an attempt to slow down the pony riders and those dead-serious women in their 40’s who are determined to win a ribbon…. I was not riding for ribbons. We did the warmup again, to get any kinks worked out, and that was the bucking round, where the bike’s on the road backfired. If that warmup had been nice, I would have left on that, but it was ugly. Bucking between the fences. So, we came back for the actual round. Again, it was a jumpoff class. And amazingly, she went clean, not a single rail down.

But, since it got us this:
I’m pleased.

Oh, and this

We had several gacky jumps too, but hey, she is 4, and this was her first time to jump fences away from the home field.

Today, I took Bali to Culpeper. First, I have to give credit where credit is due….the footing in the rings I rode in was awesome. We were doing ticketed warmup in the pony ring, but Bali is barefoot, so I worried a bit about what I’d find. She is fine barefoot, but I don’t do rides on gravel roads or rocky trails. Plus, she is a really nice mover barefoot, and as one of the trainers I ride with mentioned…it might change how she goes.

Anyhow, Bali handled the circus atmosphere of the A show like she’d been doing them for a year! Michael’s 7 year old held her for me while I went back for my tack (I thought he’d have a stall, but he’d brought all horses in one trip), which was fine, since the child was sitting on a bench against a wall and was quite adept at backing off a kind, but slightly pushy horse.

I tacked up almost immediately, and we found a nice rock by the concessions to use as a mounting block.

I am to get “some really huge spurs”. Bali is S-L-O-O-O-O-W. And, he noticed (as everyone has) that she blows me off when it means more forward.

I guess I’ll try them on again. She did not object to spurs several months ago when I tried them, but she also didn’t react any more quickly, so rather than get myself in to a spiral of her ignoring bigger aids, I would stay away from them and attempt to use the whip to establish more forward. And, it is working pretty well, but perhaps when we go to shows, we can get out the spurs.

We only jumped the jumps in the pony ring, and that was enough. They weren’t made bigger either. But, they are hugely decorated, so it was a success. She stopped at a couple, and Michael says it is because I let her get her head down. I am to keep it up.

It was a good day, and a bargain for a show experience. One ticket for ticketed warmup, and one lesson fee, plus diesel….and I filled up for $3.99/gallon in Opal!

Bali got new sneakers! Actually, Old Macs…and they fit, and Bali appears to like them.

We went out on a trail ride Friday night, and did she ever display a fancy, big trot, on the gravel road. She seems to like them quite well. I took the wimpy route (no water crossing, but a dry stream bed) since I wanted to get her a few good trail experiences before we go back to water.

Going out on trail is allowing her to discover her inner forward! We went again on Saturday, and today she got trace clipped. She was great for that, but I’ll need to work on the ears…she is NOT crazy about the ears being done.

Soon, I’ll take her for a few h/j type lessons.

We went out and played around in the jump field. Pico is enjoying being back in regular work. I’m ok on her so long as I do not sit her trot.

Tonight I had a lesson on Bali. She was the worst she’s ever been, and the best she’s ever been.

The worst was exhibited by spook/buck/bolting across the ring several times. Bucking in response to the whip. Buckity buck buck. What is nice is that I’m mentally realizing that I need to harness this energy and shape it. My gut reaction to those sort of things is to sit up and slow down, as it feels out of control. I’ve been practicing USING her spooks and such on trail and in the fields to get it going. And, keeping my shoulders back when she bucks so I won’t come off.

But, all that forward got harnessed and she was forward, through and carrying some contact for more than 3-4 strides. I’m still working on being ok with contact. In many ways, I am destined to either ride hunters or western.

She is my pocket pony. When I turned them all out, everyone else went galloping off, and she stayed for some more cuddle time.

10/9/08 – on using energy for forward
It has been a slow realization, and not one that could be called a “lightbulb”…unless it is on the world’s longest dimmer switch.

Over the years, at the few dressage shows I get to, I have been making a correlation between ill-behaved, rank horses, but who are good movers and higher scores.

I have been playing with it on Sparkle and just recently on Bali. I know that they aren’t wanting to ditch the rider, but I knew I had reached a good mental point when I was annoyed that I had people who needed babysitting last week on trail…because I had to hold Bali back, and I did not WANT to….

The weird thing is that speed doesn’t bother me, when it is flat, not engaged from behind speed. But that feeling of coiled power underneath is taking some getting used to. There is only so much a flat, on the forehand horse can do, in the way of bad behavior. But, one that is all up, and engaged, can produce bigger movements…both the good and the bad!

Bali was fabulous all weekend. Yesterday we went out on trail and conquered the scary stream crossing that was the root of MY squishing on the 4th of July. We approached it from the other direction and it took a good 20 minutes, but she braved it!!!! Go Bali!

Today, we went to FPP to play. idhokie brought Pico along to give us a lead, and Bali walked right into the water at FPP! Then, she trotted through, up and down the tiny bank. She jumped everything I asked her to, even one of the chairs! Ditches, water, steps, logs, tiny coops, a brush fence (tiny) baby drops. Pictures will be coming soon as our photographer came along!

I am all giddy at how fabulous she was! Love my Bali!!!!

Thanks to Doug for taking pictures and to Suzy for uploading so fast!!!!! Oh, and double thanks to Suzy for providing the lead on Pico to make these all a ho-hum, happy experience for Bali!

A healthy log
This is Pico demonstrating the steps…Bali did them also (she is at the top in this shot)

And that ditch was truly a HOLE IN THE GROUND!!! OMG DID YOU SEE THAT HOLE?!? This was Bali’s first reaction, as she came to a grinding halt. But, after 2 or 3 passes of each ditch, she got to this point


About Mel

Random musings in a riding journal
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