Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Christmas/New Years Update & Much Belated Show Report


It's been awhile since i've updated this. Life has been hectic to say the least between school, work, and my family. Trying to find a spare minute to sit down and relax for more than 10 minutes is rare. Lets put it this way, I could use a vacation!!
The horse show back in October (wow! time has flown) went pretty well. We got there a touch late, walked Baby around in the indoor, and she was doing really good, nice and chill, I was thinking things would be great. Her owner (who will furthermore be referred to as V) rode her first in two intro tests, she warmed her up in the warmup arena with a few other horses, and Baby was great. A bit of a looky-loo but not bad, she was listening. But, as soon as we got over to the indoor, and got inside where she couldn't see the other horses anymore.... oh heaven forbid! She was a bit batty, hot, tense, moving like a sewing machine. Oh Baby.
We got through the first test and then I took them over to the other side of the property, away from the other horses, to a empty grass arena and had them walk, and walk, and walk, and do a teeny bit of a trot and canter. We got Baby settled a bit. Then we were called back for the second Intro test. Baby was again OK till she saw other horses right before going into the indoor. *sigh* She was a bit better, but still very similar. I was very proud though of V for handling her so well! It was her first show ever and she was super nervous which didn't help, but she rode through it and got it under her belt. I told her the next one will be much easier.
There was then had a few hours to chill until my test, Training 2. By then a friend of mine and my hubby and the kiddos had shown up. So it was one big happy family (oh yeah and my Mom, the best horse show Mom in the world, was in town for a visit and thoroughly enjoying herself being the horse-holding, rag-carrying, camera-weilding horse show Mom that she is so good at! I love her). I got Baby ready and went to the warmup, she warmed up nicely with the exception that she would not stretch, at all. Hmmmm. Well, nothing I could really do to fix it at the show, just ride around it the best I could. The thing was, she has always been a fantastic stretcher at home, she loves it, and then works so much better into contact afterwards. So I had to push her a little bit more into the bridle to get a somewhat sorta connection.
Baby and I got called for our test, went over and she started to get a bit tense, i made her just walk, and walk, and walk while we waited. We went into the arena and I could really feel her tensing up, I picked up a trot and tried to get her working into the bridle and focused on me best I could before the bell rang, which wasn't much time! We got through the test, our two big bobbles was the free walk and the stretchy trot circle, go figure. I got a 4 on each. Ouch. She didn't want to stretch, and then in the free walk she was very inattentive and jigged towards the end. The other low mark was one of the trot to walk transitions, that was totally my fault, I asked her to walk and used a bit too much leg in the down transition, so she jigged into the walk and it was very unclear. Otherwise, I tried to make it as accurate as possible and do my best as a rider, because I knew the relaxation was not there!!
The judge awared us a 58% for the test.... ouch! I was aiming for a 60% or higher. Oh well. The judge comented that there was not enough jump in her canter (not surprising considering she is used to working on very hard ground and the footing in that arena was soft and deep in comparison!), and that her trot lacked suppleness (yup, I totally agreed with that). The judge mentioned that I hang too heavily on the left rein, causing the horse to tilt her head to the left. So I've been trying to pay attention to that since, I think it's because my left leg is weaker, so I try to compensate by overusing the left rein. Man... I need a lesson so bad!!
Baby and I in the warmup prior to our test
Since the show, or, since the daylight savings time change, I've gotten to ride maybe 5 times. :( It's not been fun. With all the stress of the holidays and other issues at hand I've been missing having my own horse something fierce. There just isn't quite anything like being able to cry your frustrations into the mane of your horse. They just stand there and let you get it all out. And you feel so much better afterwards!! I'm really wanting to put down a deposit this coming year for a 2013 in utero foal. Hubby says that I need to pay off my Jeep first, but that's a good year off at least unless he decides to help me out. I understand in the big picture, one year is not that long, but it seems like forever right now. Oh well, what can you do?
That said, the ponies are obviously enjoying their winter break, getting nice and fat and fuzzy. Baby's owner and I did get together right after thanksgiving (before it snowed here and got bitterly cold) and had a jumping day. I set up a little one stride in and out. I was riding Magic, the little QH mare I've been training. To my knowledge, she'd never jumped before in her life. I set up just one jump first, a teeny 12" verticle. I had V take Baby through a few times, and they did great, I instructed V to stay up out of the saddle over the fence.
I then decided to try to take Magic over the fence, the first two times she just plowed through the fence, sent the rail flying! The third time, I gave a good squeeze a stride out, and whadya know! She picked up her feet and hopped over it perfectly! I did it a few more times both ways to confirm the skill, then we set up the second half of the in-and-out.
V and Baby went through in a few times, and did really well, Baby knew exactly what she was doing and was a complete pro going through. Which was perfect for her owner, who hasn't done much jumping. I coached her on sitting up, grabbing mane, and keeping up out of the saddle so that she wouldn't get left behind over the fence! By the last time she went through, she was starting to get it! She had a huge grin on her face and said she may just be tempted to switch from dressage to jumping. At this point I put in my little sales speech for Eventing, hahahahahaha! ;)
Then, I took Magic through the in-and-out, I think the first time she kinda plowed through it. But, then it clicked, and as long as I gave a good hard squeeze about a stride and a half out she aced it!! The one time I didn't, to see if she had the idea on her own, she plowed through the first fence. Ooops! I was so tickled pink, I would have never pegged her as much of a jumping pony, but she seemed to really enjoy it! She also is really starting to show aptitude towards dressage, she is really getting the leg-yeild down, in the walk at least. I haven't started schooling it at the trot yet. Her canter still has a lot to be desired, but that's more of a fitness issue than anything. The day we jumped she gave me the best canter so far, controlled, balanced, not rushing around like a freight train. I was amazed! Goes to show that looks can be deceiving. I can't wait till spring time and I can start to ride her a bit more and get her in better shape. Who knows, maybe I can do a few dressage schooling shows, I'll have to talk with her owner and see. 
Last little bit of news that I'm very pleased with myself about: after the jumping day I decided to try and find some more poles and whatnot to jump with, since we only have two wood poles and a couple tiny wimpy pvc poles for two sets of standards! So, crusing around on craigslist I found an ad for old fence poles, as many as you could want. Horray! So I went and picked up 20 poles, wooohooo! They are 8ft poles, so a little shorter than normal jump poles, but for our small arena it will work out perfect. The only other option was 16ft and that wasn't gonna work lol. Then, I stumbled across an ad for empty plastic barrels!! Oh happy day! So I went and picked up four of those, and now we have plenty of fun stuff to jump and play around with. I'm super excited and cannot wait to get to use them :) Next project is to build a few sets of jump standards and then we'll be golden!
So, long post, but that is what's going on in my horsey world. Updates will probably be sparse over the next couple of months, but I'll try to be better about poking my nose in here from time to time. 
I hope everybody had a wonderful and merry Christmas, and a joyous New Year! For grins and giggles, little Maggie bear says hi too :)


The jumping day sounds like a lot of fun :) And you know what, I'm proud of Baby. Even if she was a brat, it had been so long since she'd last shown! :) I still think you need to contact Teresa! :)

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