The Archives 6/7/09 – 7/14/09

Bali is awesome.

Short report is… 1-3 62% for 3rd place. 1-1, 59.667% for no place.

I took them up on the waived coat today.
stretchy circle
a gratuitous ribbon shot
Slouch much? weak left side? leg drawing up? rider needs more yoga
But, Bali makes me smile…and this is proof why I suck as a DQ. One is not to smile while riding in tests.
But laughing is my usual response to things like this…

As usual, many thanks to the fabulous photographer Doug Gorton, and soon, thanks to Marit, I’ll have video.
First 1

First 3

6/16/09 Jump School at Home
Jump school…at home.

idhokie & Doug set a course (I carried jump cups and helped walk distances-LAME) and we did some jumping. Doug (as always) took pictures. So, I will share. My focus was on me and my arms on this ride. I’m happy to see the pictures as a checkpoint that what I feel is getting closer, is indeed, improving!

I started off, in my old position, but I’ve been really thinking about my arms since the jumper show a couple of weeks ago.

Starting, gacky jump, gacky rider…blech.
In the foreground, you have Romeo, putting in a lovely jump for an old man, but I am back there, working on the short reins/long arms…aka straight arms.
it is starting to work. I was watching live feed at Upperville and also finding stills of jumper rider’s upper arms. the upper arm is almost always perpindicular to the rider’s torso.
Still too long in the reins
Fence 1
Fence 2
Fence 3, playing with hands lower
Finally..getting more comfortable with that big release.

There are a ton of them, over the triple combination and after idhokie stopped jumping and raised them all for Bali.

Sunday, I headed out to a Rick Pelicano bombproofing clinic.

We had 3 from the barn there, Artienallie with Allie, Inverness with Sherman and I had Bali.

It was fun, but exhausting. 3 hours of 100% focus/attention on your horse and making sure you stayed chill and relaxed while getting your horse past obstacles like…
Most of these are introduced on one side, then moved to go between.

Mylar baloons
tires, then trash, then more trash and balls scattered
grass umbrellas
tarps to go over
rolled out thin rubber mat to go over
shredded tarp hung from PVC frame to go under/past/through
mattress to walk across
loud scary noise sound track (sirens, whistles, farm sounds, city sounds, etc)
smoke bomb
pushing around a huge ball (Allie was the star at this one)

There were about 25 horses/riders in the group. A mix of riders from a 4 year old, 2 months OTT TB, with an exercise rider on him, to dressage riders, to trail riders, etc.

The most disturbing was the woman on the kicker. She seemed to think that braiding the red ribbon into the tail meant that she had to make no effort to correct the bitch of a horse from kicking. I’d have smacked that horse more than a few times. That horse would kick out at her leg. ::)

Bali was fabulous. about 20 minutes in, she was approaching a mental overload, so I hopped off and handwalked for about 10. That allowed her to reset her brain and I got back on and we did the rest mounted. I think she could be my next Cowboy Mounted Action Shooting pony, for when Romeo dies off. She was pretty good with the gunshots…and the smoke bomb. The flares…we might need to fire a few off at home though.

A fun outting, but truly mentally exhausting.

No pictures though.
Bali was my lesson horse tonight, Sparkle is still recovering from her metabolic crisis of last week.

I’m entering a first level team for a Team show, and so I’ll take Bali, to take the pressure off of Sparkle’s recovery. So, with that in mind, we started out with leg yield.

Bali’s LY have gotten so much better recently, but still I need to work to maintain the outside rein to keep her on the bit and release in the inside. Finding the balance between the right amount of forward and sideways, but not running forward is tough. After the leg yielding and a short walk break, we went on to some canter work. Forward, compressing/lengthing, moving in and out off my legs in the canter, then transitions to/from trot.

We worked transitions a bit, then another walk break, and back to canter work for the 1-4 counter canter loop, that worked well, I need to make sure she doesn’t dive out to the right with her shoulder on the left lead loop. After we did both ways, we played around with why she likes to toss her head up at the canter transition. Lauren was thinking it was in response to my leg, not because she needed the balance, so we worked on her accepting my leg, and I realized that perhaps I can quit with the over-aiding now…she is now objecting and she knows her forward much better. She will get her canter. So, more moving in and out on a circle in trot, getting her soft and me asking for canter with just my seat.

I think with a couple more sessions, she’ll catch on, and I’ll be happy to be able to use more subtle aids…the challenge of the younger horses, knowing when to stop using some of the young horse tools and moving onto the trained horse tools.

Bali has been my lesson horse since Sparkle has been on rest while her inner thighs unlock from their charlie horse status.

We’ve been working on staying on the bit. Always. I must get over my hangups about this, and I’m working on it. Except on trail rides, I believe in letting them be chill on trails.

But, I need a fancy, gray welsh pony two year old outside my dressage rings. We ride past one and that little pony transmits mass amounts of energy (Sparkle’s bronco routine was right after we passed him today) and when Bali went past on Sunday night, holy shit…she does have a passage. And what a passage it is! Images of Isabell Werth being bounced out of her saddle during her schooling ride at WC in Vegas came to mind, there was no amount of sit to stay connected for the entire bounce there! So, my goal was to play with that energy a bit, yet keep it under control. I was playing, and have no idea if we were doing the right things, but I’d ask for trot, and until she started head twirling with the bounce, I did not try to pull back.

Learning to like that feeling of being on the edge of control, then figuring out how to produce that amount of energy, without fancy little ponies nearby, that is I suppose what the entire challenge is…and why so many of the best horses are explosive…

Lesson today again. I doubt I’ll get that much spring, but if we can have decent forward and more energy, I’ll take that!

As Bali ran out of gas a tiny bit early tonight, Lauren asked when that “passage” had been…Sunday night. Lauren wondered if she was feeling it a tiny bit still.

Tonight was just a nice lesson. The work I’ve been doing on getting her to lift her shoulders into canter, not her head, it is working. Canter departs are coming along, less aids on my part. But, they are not as forward/jumping into canter as they could be, so one stride AFTER the depart I would then kick/ask for more canter. It worked. canter, no head lift, more canter answer to leg, and still no head lift! Yay!

So, next item to figure can I get to lenthenings in trot? I struggle with them, and subsequently, my horse struggles. We might have figured out something that works. Ask for lengthening while IN leg yield. By keeping her hind legs actively crossing over, it makes the canter depart a very hard thing to do, and yet we both get the feeling of more push/length in the stride.

Yay for Bali.


About Mel

Random musings in a riding journal
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