The Archives 11/27/08 – 12/14/08

11/27/08
I rode in a clinic/lesson with Scott Hassler on Tuesday, and should have written this up then. I’ve forgotten the finer points…drat.

Anyway, Bali was really good. I’d only been riding about 2x a week for the prior 2 weeks due to life and weather, but she was really good. I mentioned that Lauren and I had been discussing getting the flying change down, counter canter is decent, etc, and he watched us warm up, and then we worked on forward.

I liked it, not one time did he tell me to use the whip (YAY! I hate the whip) but he was working with me on timing of aids, duration of aids, and releasing of aids for asking for more forward. At one point, I halted and he stood next to me and with a hand on either side of my rib cage demonstrated the different feel for constant squeeze and a one-sided pulsing squeeze, and that was interesting to take in. The tendency is to push back/lean into the constant and move with the one sided/pulsing. So, having done that, it was back to canter with that.

I really liked that he gave me some jumping thoughts for how much canter/energy to create. “Make it like you are galloping down to an oxer in an open field”, “tight bending turn to a fence in a jump off”…that helped me a bit. Then he went to assigning a ?? point scale. He had me started at “this is a 10 canter”, then went to 12, 15, 18. I had to mentally recalculate what that must mean.

Rather than nailing me on my hands, which do still move some, he said he liked how much feel I had, but to try to keep it into a 2″ box.

We ended up with a lovely canter, one flying change, and nary a buck. I did have on my spurs for the first time.

I will probably try to save up and afford him every couple of months, with Lauren in between because it was really good, and Lauren will be talking to him to help develop a consistent development plan for Bali & I.

It was fun, and today, Bali was quite nice at home.

11/30/08
I did a lesson make-up yesterday on Bali. I had wanted to take Sparkle, but the visiting family wanted to ride again in the afternoon and she is the main guest horse, so it wasn’t fair to take her to a lesson then make her carry around a nervous beginner.

Lauren was glad that I’d brought Bali as she’d had a chance to chat w/ Scott about what we worked on, and it is nice to be working with someone long enough that I just ride as I normally do, and she adds/corrects/guides what we need to improve. I continue using the exercises she has taught me, and she adds to them, or gives me new ones. I also go through things I’ve been working on at home, and she’ll advise on how to improve or wait on certain things.

I started adding in leg yielding, using the mirrors, and she gave us tips. Leg yield some, a step or two forward with straight, then back to leg yield. Adding that we could do that subtly in a dressage test to make it look better.

We continued working on forward from my leg, her being more accepting of my leg for forward, and less whip.

Bali must have been partying hard Friday night though, because she was tired. So, after 35 minutes of hard work, she was done. So, I asked Lauren to work w/ me again on the haunches in at the walk. I am still trying to not get r/l confused while developing the feel for what it feels like under my seat as the horse steps underneath properly.

Bali is such a solid girl that I have to remind myself that she is only 4.

The Bossy’s Bib seems to be be working and she is not getting rubbed, even with her shoulder being clipped.

The trace clip is also working beautifully. Just enough to keep her from being too hot, but also enough hair on her back and rump to not get cold. My horses do spend a lot of time out year round.

12/8/08
After a long weekend of NO RIDING! I was feeling very cranky, so tonight, despite not getting home until 7:30 in the dark and windy night, I decided I would ride anyway.

Bali had to look at the shadows some, but nothing bad. We were just working on keeping her focused w/ the spooky trees blowing in the wind, when the wind blew the loft door almost closed….and that is where my light sits! We both jumped a bit at that, then I realized what it was and considered getting off to fix, calling someone inside the house to come out and fix, or just keep riding. I decided to keep riding and after going into/out of the light a couple of times I decided we’d pretend we were at some fancy exhibition ride and that was our spotlight which we would go into and out of! Yes, yes, a bit silly, but that’s ok.

Bali was pretty good. Nothing excellent, nothing bad, just an average ride on a cold, windy night. I think we are in a short period of slow progress, which is expected. She’s had some big progress in recent rides and so now, we are keeping that new baseline and developing strength for it…at least that is what I hope.

I did opt out of riding Sparkle though. It was late.

12/10/08
Bali is pretty fabulous.

These weekly lessons are the bomb! I love it. But, because it is so frequent, there isn’t the same “lightbulb” type moments that you get from infrequent clinics. Just steadier progress…that can be harder to note.

Last night, we rode first and I’m wondering if the trailer ride wears Bali out. She was SO TIRED. And I mean, she looked like she needed a nap! So, it was no surprise that she was a bit lackluster. She was good, she was giving me a bit more when I’d ask, but there was not much energy for her to tap into. She did everything I asked, without protest, and was a fun girl, just tired.

So, Lauren was commenting on how tired she looked and I was hypothesizing that perhaps she is growing again. She is just 4. And also said maybe we are just at one of those plateaus in riding. Lauren’s comment as we wrapped up was that if this is even what 90% of our rides are, I’m pretty lucky.

I might be able to get jumping pictures this weekend. Looks like I’ve got a slot in the Sonya Clamptom clinic nearby at 10:30…and possibly the next day for coursework at 1pm…I’m hoping I can sweettalk my photographer into coming.

12/13/08 – Bali jumps big stuff!!!!
For a year old owned by a weenie A/A.

I took Bali over to the Sonya Crompton clinic today. First off, it was a bargain! $25 for almost 2 hours. Second off, we haven’t jumped in a while….third, Wildhack said I should try her.

We got there a smidgen late due to sketchy directions. The road was long, windy and quite narrow, and at one point we passed another large truck/trailer, but we managed by both rigs being quite in the ditch….I counted myself lucky that there was actually a fairly flat ditch at that point in the road!

It was ok, as the ring was starting to thaw, so Sonya wanted to drag it. It was still frozen, but the top was a bit better, so we started trotting around, some and went through introductions. There was Wings, ridden by her friend and Seamus, another 4 year old in our group, ridden by Patricia’s Charlotte. We started with a trot in grid as a pile o poles. It was a one stride. Bali jumped the POP :P. After a couple of times, she realized that the jumping over poles wasn’t necessary. We worked on more bend as we were following the line with a 12-14m circle, with a trot pole, that would then go to a figure 8 around another jump.

The POPs were raised up to crossrail to vertical and eventually vertical to oxer, and then we added a plank+square pole + bright white/blue box after our circle, and that was 😮 for Bali. She stopped twice, then Sonya dropped the top pole, and Bali did it. Then we did it a couple more times, ending with the pole back up.

On to an oxer after grid to a bending line to another plank fence, turn left, canter a LOW oxer. That was nice. The oxer got bigger and square, and it was building nicely.

Then, we showed them the brick wall and the brush boxes, and added them in. It was something like grid, bending line right to plank, go left, around to oxer, left, around to the brick wall, a long approach. After we’d gone over it a couple of times, it went to an oxer. We added in that brush box, and the jumps would go up each time.

We ended with the jumps being about 3’3″, and everything just flowed nicely. Bali was fabulous, the frozen corner was adding into my normal habit of cutting corners after a jump. I like to land and turn, and well….it was an icy corner and going straight into ice wasn’t appealing.

If I’m not too hungover from the work part tonight, I’ll go back tomorrow for a 1p session for full coursework.

I’m pleased as punch w/ Bali. And I really liked Sonya. I’ll have to work with her more.

I will not lie, when the jumps were going up 2 holes at a time, I almost got nervous, but I decided to use my critical side of the brain and drilled myself that we did NOT need speed to go over bigger fences. Overall, it was great.

Pictures will be coming! Doug came with us, and I feel a bit bad as Suzy didn’t have time to ride when we got back. I thought we’d get home around 12:30, but we didn’t finish RIDING until 12:45. And it is the season for Christmas parties.

12/14/08
Whee!!! Pictures from yesterday!

Starting out:
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Even the pole requires a jumping effort!
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I’m a good baby, but I AM still a baby
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Findin’ my groove
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Hi Doug! You’re gettin’ all this, right?
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I deserve cookies! Lots of cookies!
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The long spot looks silly when I do it, Romeo told me to try this, but I’m not sure why…
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Being buried to the jump is also less than ideal…
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Look at me, looking so grown up,
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but I’m only 4!
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12/14/08
Today the jumps started out pretty big. We had ONE starting jump that was about 2’3″, and then it was onto 2’9″-3’3″. There were a couple that those of us on 4 year olds got to go jump before they went to the over 3′ height. There was one square oxer, of panels, and it was just a crappy ride for me. The sun was glinting off it, just so, and I rode it to a terrible distance twice. But, the good thing is, Bali crawled over it for me, and Sonya yelled at me to kick on after landing in a heap, so that was good.

Anway, I’m tired and should have written sooner, but the thoughts I wanted to jot down are about the theme of today’s clinic. It was using the line of the approach to the jump to adjust the distance you’ll get. There was the medium, the deep (square the corner into the approach) and the swoopy line, for a longer distance. All horses, except Baliboo, ended on the squared, deep distance. Bali got to end on the swoopy, gallopy line. Story of her short, type-B life.

I need to keep my reins short…(DUH! you all say, did you notice the pictures you just posted?), and my hands up in the turns. the hands up in the turns is one where I have to remember to adjust between jumping and dressage, because there is a definite difference in how high my hands are when I switch between H/J lessons and straight dressage lessons.

I really did enjoy Sonya’s teaching and got her phone number. I will probably try to get over to her a few more times this winter.

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About Mel

Random musings in a riding journal
This entry was posted in Bali, Clinic Report, Riding. Bookmark the permalink.

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