The Archives 1/3/09 – 1/26/09

Bali went to do a gymnastics clinic with Stephen Bradley today. I really like him and since I’m missing out on Camp Denny, I have been scheduling lessons locally.

These are available for the next 7 Saturdays also, so I will try to get to as many of them as I can.

For me: the shorter stirrups are working nicely. Once I adjusted, and dealt with sucking it up to the initial discomfort, it is a lot more stable.

I need to continue sinking into my heel though, especially as I work on a bigger release over the fences. My timing is just a smidge off on the release and so I was trying to work on that. A few that were just right, and others where I lapsed back into my bad habits. Too long reins, then attempting to take back with a big arm movement, and then a big forward shove with the arms to prevent hitting the horse in the mouth.

We had a couple of runouts. The second time I was slightly more prepared for it and was able to turn it into a stop (so far, everyone I ride with agrees that forcing a stop is better than allowing a run out). Bali felt fantastic as the lesson progressed. She just kept getting sharper and at the end, he had more in a half-seat, much lighter, more forward and riding to an oxer and letting HER find the right spot. I was to stay in half seat, following hand in canter and let her figure it out a couple of times. For the single fences, we were halting on a straight line after the jump as well.

I really want to do the Foxchase series, but I almost want to do the gymnastics more. I might sign up for the earlier lesson with Sparkle, then just roll from clinic to horse show…or that might be a bit too insane and I might make myself decide on one or the other. I just feel that I might get the positional work I need worked out more in the gymnastics clinic, and it will just make the shows easier later.

Choosing the 4.5 year old as the horse for the morning ride after 26 hours inside….perhaps not the brightest idea I’ve ever had.

I came as close as I’ve come to falling off in a long time….but, Baliboo realized the error of her ways, perhaps she thought me landing hard was smacking her for bad behavior, and she quit launching her self HIGH into the air.

I did decide that discretion was the better part of valor and we only did w/t for 20-25 minutes. 1) We were in a field, not the frozen ring, always more exciting, and 2) aforementioned exuberance from being inside.

Pico would have been a much wiser choice. But, Bali did manage to pull herself to gether, so it was not all bad.
Show report…short.

After the gymnastics clinic on Sparkle, I called 4OTF to find out where the Foxchase show was. It hadn’t started raining yet.

It was 1:30, 4 said if I got there at 2, I could get Bali into the Low Hunters.

I pulled into my driveway around 1:34, changed Sparkle’s blanket in the trailer, unloaded, turned her out, grabbed Bali (who comes to see me at the gate), knocked the mud off her, vacuumed her neck, and loaded her up. We pulled out of the driveay at around 1:56. We got to the show at 2:15 or so, missing the flat class, but that’s ok.

It had started sleeting/cold rain on the drive over, but I was there. I asked if they cared if I did not change, I was told it did not matter.

Quick warm up, Bali stopped at the teeny warmup fences. I need to figure this out, what do I need to change to NOT have that first fence be a stop?

On to a warmup round, we trotted, then the two rounds. We came away with a 5th place ribbon in the low hunters. Amazing…there were at least 9 horses in there, and well, the leads were not always right, and she was a bit expressive after a couple of lines.

I thought about doing the equitation, but there were too many people, it was too wet and rainy in the warm up area, I had just done a jumping clinic in the morning, and Bali was very well behaved. We called it a day and came home.

I wasn’t too tired until I came in, ate my leftover thai food, had a glass of wine and now I’m feeling like a nap would be fabulous.

Ah, I realize that I need to start doing a better job of planning my rides when there is no coach. I need to go in with a plan. I realized I had no plan as I entered the corners on the wrong lead, didn’t fix it when I should, etc. No excuse for that at this stage of riding.

Plan? Luckily 4 was there to remind me that I cannot keep R/L straight and to go the OTHER way on my first judged course. I went in the wrong direction and she called out RIGHT lead! Thanks to her, Bali got the ribbon in that one. Had it been up to me, it would have been off-course. DOH!

When I’m not doing both a clinic AND a show in one day my plan is to ride the green hunter division w/ Bali. Or move to the A/As. I think I’ll play around with Equitation and Medal classes too….but not all in the same day!
Despite the frigid temps and no truck or trailer, I went to the Stephen Bradley clinic today. Andi brought her truck over and hauled me in her trailer, and her new trailer is very nice!

They moved the clinic over to Locoshee, which was nice. An indoor and only about 6 miles from home.

I was running late, slept in a bit, then went to buy horse vitamins, hit the bank, and got back at 11:40…when I should have been on my way,we were riding in the 12:00-1:30 group. We tossed Bali in the trailer, zipped over, tacked up and jumped on. Bali was just a smidge up. Springy and looky, but we just trotted around a few times, then started trotting through the ground poles, which focused her.

This was the training level group again, so it was being built up a little bit faster than in the BN/N group. It was 3 trot poles, oxer, one stride, single, bounce, single, bounce, single, one stride, oxer. Of course, this was at the end, and each element was added individually.

Again, the focus was on me, which is good, and the 3 bounced fences were awesome, it was really letting me settle into what I need to do to stay with the motion and let the horse do what she needs to do. We had a bit of exuberance after the lines, but given the temperatures and 3 days off, it wasn’t too bad. Bali is very careful and pretty honest. We had no stops at all today, although I probably looked like a drunk monkey up there a couple of times…we were weaving so much when I let my reins slip too much and had some bad steering! But, I’m learning to keeping going, not stop & fix. Leg on is pretty much always the right answer.

With any luck, Locoshee will offer to host it again next weekend, it is easier for them not hauling over. Being inside was fabulous.

Then, we got home and since Andi is trying to ride 5x a week, I went out with her….which was ok. I had on many, many layers…and my heat hand warmers were still working. The foot ones were almost worn out, but I had added the Mountain Horse overpants and my carhart coat over my clinic layers.

Suzy declared me crazy for going in this weather.

ETA: Midway through the lesson Stephen commented on my “challenged conformation”…. and said that when a rider is that short, the rider gets to do some things a little bit differently since our size changes some of the things. This is something I’ve felt is true for a while, I think some (not all) of my “style” flaws during jumping are simply because I am not very tall. That doesn’t mean I don’t keep working to improve where I can, but it does mean I do respect my body and work with what I’ve got.

Ah…Bali has entered the hall of bareback horses!

I did a full ride last night, bareback. w/t/c leg yield, some of our exercises for controlling the hind end at the canter, and carried a whip…and I had no “I might get bucked off” worries.

The last attempt at a bareback ride, I had NOT carried a whip and was like a small child on a lazy pony….the number of all-out pony-club thump kicks was humorous.

Yay for Baliboo

I’m too tired to do a proper report, so you get a couple of pictures instead!

Bali says this bounce is TIGHT!

The grid gets more built up.

Wow, that last oxer came up fast! I need to make sure I clear that…

Whew, last jump of the day!

Many thanks to Suzy for coming along, borrowing *the* lens to put on my camera and freezing to video us! I’ll see if I can upload some of the lines to youtube.

This was the fourth in a winter series. Next weekend Stephen is somewhere else, which works out for me, I won’t be riding next weekend anyway.

I am really enjoying the series and Stephen is very good about having me skip some of the exercises on Bali. He had set them up to back horses off (lots of chargers), but since Bali does not NEED to be backed off, I sat out a few with that initial single/bounce combination, as he didn’t want to overdo it on her as a 4 year old.

About Mel

Random musings in a riding journal
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