The Archives 10/23/08 – 11/11/08

So, Bali seems to have taken Lauren’s wishes to heart. Lauren has said many times in lessons that you want to work on the things that your horse is worst at….so, Bali is a lazy creature, so we want to bring out the snorting, fire breathing side of her.

Well, Bali heard that. She has taken it to heart when Lauren comes. Or maybe it is the time of day, or the light, but 2nd lesson in a row where she was all buckity-buck! It has been the case that we are riding when it is sun-blinding to go west in the ring.

But, it is not mean spirited. So, we rode through the initial hump back, trot fast portion, she was nice and bending, then we went to canter. It was a bit slow and uninspired, so I tapped with the dressage whip. UP goes Bali’s back end, in a big, tail-swishing buck. Unacceptable I say, and tap again….Up goes the back end again. Tap, up, tap, up, tap, bolt-attempt. Come back to trot for 2 steps, mention that is NOT the correct reaction, canter, tap and get more forward. With a couple of steps with sulky-mare ears.

But, she forgot that she was mad, as always, and she finished quite nicely. We are starting to get a better stretch down AND out, not just down and curled up. It is available a bit earlier in the ride as well.

Lauren was impressed that we’ve been working on baby-appropriate counter-canter. Of course, with Lauren to witness, we only had it one direction last night….which I attributed more to baby-badness than to anything else. I was really just using up some of that spook-energy as I warmed up when we did that, and the other lady was wrapping up, but Lauren did notice it and called out.

This was probably my last “at home” lesson for the winter. Light is getting too scarce and lessons are cheaper when we haul to her farm. So, we’ll be hauling over on Tuesdays for lessons in that horrible, huge indoor with perfect footing….terrible. It is just a lot more time involved.

Bali is still a big puppy.

So, Bali was the only horse I rode last week! I had a very light week for riding, but on Friday, when I was going to ride Pico, Pico was well…Pico and was not wanting to be caught.

I am sure I could have managed it, but Bali was all “take me, take me, pick me”, so I did. So she got ridden a second time that day.

We did more jumping yesterday. A line, vertical, 4 strides, oxer, one stride, vertical. idhokie built it up gradually for me, and we ended at 2’8″ for them all (rising oxer). It rode best at that height, then we started to lower it again for ending.

Bali is getting a bit easier to move up, and is definitely enjoying this job.

I do need to decide how I want to tweak the wool in her saddle. It needs a bit of adjustment. I was mulling that over yesterday when I finished riding. I have the plan, just hope I didn’t screw up by not ordering extra deep gussets on her saddle.

Dressage lesson w/ Lauren tonight. Her arena is the absolute nicest, most wind/sound proof arena I have ever been in. Patricia, if you are reading this, COPY THAT ARENA!!!!

Bali was fabulous, yes, yes, boring I know. Another gushing report about my Baliboo.

Tonight, the fireworks at the beginning were missing, which was nice. I was loving the mirrors and ended up trotting enough while warming up that Lauren called out “don’t wear her out before we start!”, but I was really playing with getting her to open her throatlatch more while we were trotting. And the mirror was just what I needed!

We worked on riding short diagonals, from quarter line to wall, from wall to quarter line, from center line to ql, from ql to cl..etc. Focusing on using 3-4 strides to go from the diagonal to the straight and using that to engage. At the trot, it was easier, at the canter, I tended to rush the straightening, but she straightened me out on not being too quick I grasped the exercise.

We also worked on adjustability in the gaits. Starting with a 5 trot, bumped it to a 7, then to a 3, then to a 5, with me working on being more subtle in the adjustments. We did similar adjustments within the gait at the canter.

Then, we’d done a fair amount of trot and canter work, and I didn’t want to end with Bali soaked before hauling home, so I wanted to go back to working on the very small walk circle, an exercise to develop the walk piourette. We’d done a bit of it last week, but I’d gotten a bit confused on my right/left inside/outside based on which way we were going. I wanted to do this again w/ Lauren helping because it was helping me get a feel for this. And, when we were going right, it was easier for her and she could maintain that tiny circle and it feels almost like leg yielding. To the left, that is Bali’s hard way…that right hind is weaker/less flexible/whatever, and so it was much harder. She would try to walk faster “run away” from it, but after we got a few decent steps, we went to leg yield down the wall, and that was HARD! Really, really hard for Bali. But, she started to get it and we ended with some nice stretchy circle.

I went ahead and bought a 10 lesson package too. Great discount on the lessons, so I’ll be going weekly for the next quarter! If this works well and she keeps that lesson package deal I will do it again.

She said she wishes more people would jump the young horses and was saying that Bali’s musculature is developing nicely.

Soooo, the closing date for the November licensed dressage show has been extended to 11/10. I am toying with the idea of taking Bali, doing a couple of training level classes.

Should I? Shouldn’t I?

But, Bali is not a member, so she either needs a HID or a Lifetime Registration for USDF. As I look at the lifetime, I realize it was silly of me to get it on the other horses. I just don’t show enough to qualify for anything. Much less year end awards. So, $20 extra for a HID for Bali. Unless I think she’ll get breed awards, but she isn’t very forward, and I kinda suck at dressage showing, and she is a fancy breed, and again, going to 1-2 licensed shows a year is not going to get you anything in the awards category.

But, a couple of classes on the day I’m not at a lacrosse tournament could be fun…

Opinions of pros/cons welcome….I have a few days.

After comments against based on volatile weather…

Ah, but I go out in all sorts of crazy weather anyway…and so the freeze vs. stay warm will go on the list, but near the bottom. It is a heckuva lot warmer to be at a horse show than watching a lax tournament.


Outing at big venue for Bali
Show experience for me on 2008 USEF membership dues

More expensive than local show, $122 (eyeballing entry) for 2 classes, vs. $50 for 2 at a local.
Must get Bali a HID so another $20.
Possible freezing weather may make me wish I’d scratched.

Since it does not close until Monday, Nov. 10th, I’ll ask Lauren at our lesson if she is going. If so, how much is her at-show coaching.

Of course, the fact that I just spent $500 on a 10 lesson package doesn’t make spending $140 or so on a show a grand plan, but we are entering winter…..and I’m an American who must help stimulate the economy….right? And, compared to a H/J show, it is a bargain.

**when asked if Bali is a sales project…

Er, my justification to my husband, Pat, for spending more than I’ve ever spent on a horse….make that more than I’ve ever spent on all other horses combined, was that she is a sales project.

But, my story is that I’m selling her when she is 6. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. The market totally sucks for selling right now, and she is super fun to bring along.

I’m thinking I will ask Lauren and take her advice on it. She has seen Bali the most. She is also most likely to remind me that I can totally bring another nice horse along.

Tomorrow, Hunter show at FPP. Assuming the classes are run at reasonable times. I won’t have any pictures since Doug is taking a weekend off to go visit friends.

Today we went to the hunter show at Frying Pan Park. Bali’s first ever hunter show where she did o/f. She had one hunter show in March, where we did pleasure classes in a dressage saddle (we walked in go as you please).

She’s come a long way. The FPP indoor can be a bit scary. There are always spectators given what a popular park it is. And, bleachers w/ children and people and activity right next to the inside line was scary.

The first class was 2′, and we were using it as a warmup. Because I missed the actual 2′ warmup. I wanted to go in, get over everything at the speed bump height.

I had not been on her long enough, so it was truly warm up, and she was not forward or in front of my leg and died at the first fence. I trotted back up to it and she had a couple of bobbles over other fences, but all in all, it was what I wanted. Get in, get over all, get over my worries and nerves, and then ride in our classes.

We were entered in the 2’6″ division. Typical hunter courses. Outside, diagonal, inside, diagonal. Bali was doing better, but that inside line next to the judge and bleachers was ridden as a bending line…jump, move away from the people, turn back to jump that 2nd fence. Not surprisingly, she did not get any ribbons. Nothing terrible, just a really bad line in each course.

But, she got 3rd place in the hack. And we had entered the Handy Hunter, and she won! A HUGE blue ribbon for Bali at her first ever show! It was a fairly simple course. Inside line (woot! kept her almost straight) trot fence 3, canter away over 4, a gently bending line. Outside line, which I had realized needed to be ridden forward for the 5 at 2’6″, and then halt after fence 6. Canter the rest of the course which was bending line using the two diagonals, and then a 9th fence on the last diagonal. She did a nice flying change after the last fence to end on the correct lead.

So, 5 classes, 2 ribbons. 3rd and 1st. Not bad for a 4 year old at her first hunter outting.

Then we went and walked around FPP, walked and trotted into and out of the water again, and gave MD and another friend the “grand tour” of FPP.

We had our lesson tonight, and while Lauren will not be at Morven, she thinks that entering T3 and T4 w/ Bali is a good idea. So, I’m thinking about it.

But, since we had mentioned a test and show goal, we got a couple more exercises. I am truly enjoying working with Lauren. I was watching Bali in the mirror and Bali is looking pretty damned buff. Once again, in warmup, I got commentary from Lauren. This time on Bali’s very polite backing.

We started off the lesson trotting, and when attempting to lengthen, we kept getting canter departs, so we opted to do some cantering. Bali was very good tonight. The canter down the longside is straight, I’m getting more engagement. I tossed in a couple of the diagonal to straight exercises while cantering and then in a walk break, I produced a sorry walk/trot transition, so we spent about 5 minutes on those, I need to focus on getting her shoulders up in the transition. She is not to use her ears (ala neck) to lead the transition. We got 2-3 of those nicely, and then I was instructed to not work on that sort of thing too often with the lazy Bali.

Back to trot, transitions in the gait, lengthening, not worrying about how much. Then, after another short walk break, we discussed the new exercise. Bending on the straight line. It is more of a flexion exercise, but there is bending involved. We worked on coming down the longside and keeping a nice inside bend without allowing the hindquarters to drift. When we master this, we then move onto the single serpentine loop of T4.

As usual, we closed with working on the stretch. She’d rather see keeping contact and a 6 score for not enough stretch than a 6 score with loss of contact but more stretch.

I was very pleased to get good comments on how nicely Bali was using her lower back! Woot!

Oh, she had a LONG whip. I might need to get one of those. Totally illegal, and very useful for a short person. I could use it without taking my hands off the reins.

Eh, by virtue of being tired and procrastinating, I am not entering the show…I don’t have the entry papers together and USDF fucked up the entry and I need to retype in ALL the registry information for Bali. Most annoying, I suppose I could send it all, except HID, but I despise sending in incomplete entries. I like walking in, grabbing number, leaving.

Not to mention, I’ve got 12 people for Thanksgiving, and I’ll need to spend those entry fees on the groceries to feed the lot for the entire weekend.

But, back to Bali.

She had been very good. I almost wimped out of riding a 3rd horse, but then we wanted to set up a test light on the arena and it was nearing dark, and I decided I needed to be sitting on a horse to properly test the height of the lights. So, I called Bali, and had to walk partway out, but that’s ok. I think she would have come if it had been a straight line, but she had to go around to a gate. I briefly considered riding her bareback, but I just wasn’t feeling it for bareback…cold, windy, dusk, installing test lights at different heights, person on ground, 3 dogs and a cat, I decided to play it safe w/ a saddle. WIMP!

No jumping this week, which is fine. She looks very grown up with her election night clip job. If I were artistic, I’d figure out a way to do the Obama campaign logo on her butt. I am not artistic, so no worries that Bali will sport graffiti on her ass.

I thought we were past bucking when I tapped with the whip to insist upon canter.

I was wrong.

Our lesson was mostly canter. And, since Bali has a decent counter canter, and Lauren had been discussing development of young horses, lead changes and counter canter at a recent clinic, she decide we should limit counter canter in bali now, until we have flying changes. I had no agenda or plan, so we played with seeing if we could work on flying changes.

Not so much. We need to establish the walk/canter transition as a crisp, non-bucking event before we will progress to dressagey flying changes. I know she has them, we get them cleanly when jumping.

So, for whatever reason, her canter felt amazing tonight. But, I didn’t feel the love for insisting with the whip…until she hit my limit. At that point as we cantered around on the right lead I tapped her every.single.stride…saying You.Will.Not.Buck.Every.Time.I.Touch.You.With.The.Whip….and she didn’t. We stopped tapping, and she continued cantering.

We also played with a volte off the wall, but then using the wall on the next approach to get a nice walk transition out of canter.

So, while there was a LOT of drama about the walk/canter transition…and I do mean a LOT, she actually got me a couple of inches forward on a couple of those bucks…brat!…it was a good lesson because I now have things to work on this week.

Oh, and she had at least 10 deer ticks on her….I may end up pulling a lyme titer on her, just to make sure that if she does get it, we treat it aggressively, early.


About Mel

Random musings in a riding journal
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