Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Lesson #20 Dressage

First im going to start off with a quick weekend recap....

FINALLY i got canter in both directions... WITH NO BUCKS... we stuck to a 20M circle defined by pylons because i cant keep him from dropping in without visual aids still. We also slowed down and got perfect leg yeilds to the right and left on the normal wall... the scarey wall not so much.

Now on to the lesson;

We did a lot of work with Trot poles there were about 3 sets of trot poles set up around the arena and we would have to do a circle over 3 once in the middle once on the small end and once on the bigger end. Then we would cut accross the diagonal going over a set then accross another diagonal going over another set. G tried to cheat a little on the circle by attempting to bulge out and cut the circle by the trot poles but with a lot of work and even more leg on we managed to get it.

We then did the circle exercise at the canter... I started out going clockwise got him into a canter (no bucks or kicking out) and it was a bit of a struggle to get him to go over the canter poles but we managed to get 3x and it was time to change direction.. which is when i started to psyc myself out thinking the new direction was his bad way... HAH in all the concentrating i didnt notice that the first way we went was his bad side... so when i asked for the canter we effortlessly went over the canter poles 3x on the other side. He got lots of pats and loving for this and i had a big grin on my face.

After that he was gung ho about the canter i had to keep bringing him back to a trot because all he wanted to do was canter... he would do it any time i put some leg on with his ears back listening to me so i know he was trying to anticipate what i was going to ask him to do so he didnt get into any trouble for that i just asked him nicely to bring it back and we carried on.

We did a bit of leg yeilding to the wall from the quarter line in both directions and shoulders in(? i think) along the long wall in both directions, which he did try to get fast and trot off but he was much more behaved than the last time we did it in a lesson.

My coach then asked if we wanted to do a few trot poles up to a little fence and immediatly my head started going into over drive and i got a little panicked... but i agreed and said as long as it was just troting up we were game for what ever. G did amazing all i had to do was direct him to it and keep myself balanced and he had no issues it felt amazing. We only did a little cross rail 2-3x then i walked him out and gave him tons of loving. We have come so far in our lessons i was so proud of both of us.

Last night after my lesson i reflected a little on where i was last year... around this time last year i was terrified to ride him he reduced me to tears a few times and i was contemplating that maybe he was in fact way to much horse for a greenie like me, But now we are doing little cross rails, our canter is coming along i have ridden through a rear, kicking out, bucking and bolting. I am so proud of where we are we are turning into such a great team! I am so blessed to have an amazing friend who knew i could do it from day one and pushed me through all my excuses and my fears.... and now im so lucky to be at a barn surrounded by supportive people who can see us going places and help encourage and cheer us on every step of the way.

I truly am blessed in the little horse world i am building. Including this blog i appreciate every single post you guys make <3

Tuesday- Off
Wednesday- Maybe a trainer ride
Thursday- Lesson w/ Jump coach
Friday- Off

Monday, 14 January 2013

Weekend Recap #2

This weekend was extremely busy and i am so tired and sore... but i think i managed to figure out how to fix some of my pictures so i am going to try to get caught up on some picture posting for everyone.

Friday i had to work both jobs so i was not able to make it out to the barn.

Saturday i was up at the crack of dawn to go and help out with the barn chores which was pretty simple other than being freezing cold. I didnt get a ride in since i had to run to Ikea to pick up some new bins for the feed room as well as pick up some feed for G since he is now inside and gets custom feed in the evenings. So currently i have him on Beet pulp, ground flax meal (human grade), Sweet feed and apple eh multivitamin..which will be getting changed to hoffmans once i run out. G already seems much happier minus the horse in the stall next to him hating everything about him lol.

Sunday i went out bright and early before work to drop off all the feed that i had picked up for G as well as the bins and helped put the horses out. Then it was off to Job #2. After work i was lucky enough to stop off at the barn to put a quick ride on G....and he was fantastic it was exactly what we needed right now just a good relaxing easy ride with no spooking no bucking... I can tell that he is much happier being in the barn just with how he responded to my aids.. i was even able to get him to leg yeild down the long wall without him getting to crooked or fast. I tried for a little bit of a canter he went into the canter quite nicely so i figured we would try a figure 8 at the canter to see if he would change leads or if he would try to stay on the same lead.... which he attempted to do and it was a very unorganized and unbalanced canter so we went to work on the leg yeilds. He did great though he was trying so hard and got tons of loving before i had to leave.

Im still working on getting the pictures up... blogger now isnt giving me the option to upload... wtf....

Friday, 11 January 2013

Change of plans

Last night i went out with the intention of having a lesson i was really rushed so i didnt have time to lunge him. Just before the ride i spent some time catching up with my coach and letting her know what has been going on with G. I walked him out and did a little trotting and we started in the lesson.

She had me doing circles at one end of the arena then every other time when we reached C we would head down the center line halt then go in the opposite direction. G had a nice bend in both directions but was bulging out against my leg and when i would put leg on he would start getting fast and grab onto the bit.

N pointed out that a lot of the fears that i had previously overcomb are starting to come back my position is suffereing im hunching forward and collapsing in my chest instead of sitting up straight. She also felt i was reaching for my stirrups and felt they should be shorter (obviously contrary to what my dressage coach says).

So we discussed her putting a few rides on G to help strengthen his canter leads and maybe help to teach him to move off the leg. So she ended up getting on him for the majority of my "lesson" and it became a trainer ride. She immediatly pointed out that he is a thinker i need to make sure that either the work im doing with him is complex so he is not allowed to get "bored" and start doing what he wants instead of what i want.

She showed me when it was good to allow things to slow down.. like with leg yeilding, i was having a hard time getting him to leg yeild facing the long walls because he would try to do what im asking but would either end up backing, walking into the wall or getting fast and ignoring my leg. She told me to not be afraid to use my whip, she would allow him to go a few steps then stop to let him think about it and to praise him, if he backed he got a tap with the whip if he walked into the wall he got a tap but 2 or 3 steps of the leg yeild he got lots of praise.

There was a small cross rail set up in the arena and everytime she went past it G would almost try to set himself up for the jump so we thought we would see what would happen if she took him over it... He was great picked up the right leads every time didnt hit the fence, didnt try to slow down or stop or refuse.

I have some vidoes but im still having some issues with my youtube account and struggling to get the videos up. After she was done riding him i got back on and we did a little bit of walk trot since he was nice and relaxed. We also worked on some patience... standing without pawing or trying to walk off without my cue.

I was quite happy that he was starting to be brought in last night because it hit -23C last night and G was nice and comfy in his stall. Tomorrow ill be out to learn all the barn chores and in what order they want them done so im hoping to be able to lunge him and get a bit of a ride in.

Saturday- Lunge/light ride
Sunday- Off
Monday- Dressage lesson

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Could i love this barn any more?

I got some great news this morning... well good news for me... The girl who was doing the barn chores on Sundays is no longer able to do it... so my barn manager asked me to do it!! So pumped!

What that means is a discount on board for me!!! Not only that but the arrangement i worked out with T the barn owner is G will be coming in every night and turned out every morning as well as getting custom feed... typically $500... however because i am doing barn chores i will get all that for my paddock rate which is $330.... no more waiting for him to dry off... no more turning him out in -30... no more haveing to wander out to the feild to find him....

Not gonna lie... this is going to be the best year yet <3

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Lesson #19 Dressage

Thanks to everyone who has been reading my blog and posting their thoughts. Most people are suggesting pain or something that is physically limiting his ability to canter on that lead... I genuinly do not think this is the case at all and i will explain further in this post. Just wanted to say thank you sometimes i dont think of things and its nice to hear the suggestions.

Last night i had a lesson with my dressage coach who is also an Myofacial Release whatevertheyarecalled for people and horses so i knew that if it was a pain issue or anything of the sort my coach would pick it up so before the lesson i advised her exactly what it was that we have been experiencing so she could watch a little closer and we could go from there.

We started the lesson out with circles, one small, one medium and one large and we would start a large circle then sprial down do the smaller circle then do the same down to the even smaller circle at a trot focusing on rythem and keep the trot balance and at an even steady pace which G did great at. He was flexing beautifully clock wise and pretty deccent counter clock wise which is opposite of out canter issues which really helps to push that its a balance thing.

We did some laps around the arena trying to keep that steady pace and tempo down the long wall asking for a nice flex in all of the corners. We would focus on straightness while cutting accross our diagonals and some moving off the leg in our single bending lines.

Then my coach wanted to try to play a game of "leap frog" where the first rider is trotting around the arena and the other rider canters to catch up behind the first rider and so on... Counter clock wise was no problem for G he was a little quick but i still felt like i had control and we were able to do it a few times. Then we changed direction and it was a different story, the first time i asked i got a little buck (which was ok i will take the bucking getting less and less im perfectly ok with that) The second time i asked i got no buck but he more or less grabbed the bit and fought me for it he ignored my leg and left the circle i was able to keep him on the correct end of the arena but he then proceeded to ignore my seat and it took a bit to bring him back into a trot... which he instantly tried to drop to a walk. We tried one more time but he did the same thing... after a short walk break we moved on to leg yeilds at the wall.

G has such a hard time understanding what im asking so i have been trying to ask different ways but its trying to find whats the attitude and him trying to get out of doing it and what is the genuine attempts. We would leg yeild at a walk down the long wall then trot the short wall. The other girl did great... G would ignore my request to half halt and attempt to trot the whole way. So i would bring him back come to a complete halt and try to get him into it... again he would either back away from the wall getting 90 degrees from it or he would try to walk into the wall.... as soon as i got a few steps i would allow him to trot off...

Im happy to be back in lessons because its nice having someone on the ground with more experience than me to work with G. Everyone absolutly loves him and says that he will be amazing once we get him in the proper mind set. Last night i called my old trainer T and talked with her about whats been going on... she has known G as long as i have she has ridden him on multiple occasions, i explained the whole situation to her and we both agreed that its more of a stubborness issue that come from him being so weak on that side... he doesnt want to do it because its hard and because he used to be able to bring me to tears when he pulled stuff like this he is resorting to that again, so im trying to keep my chin up and i will give G a couple days off to mentally process the lesson as well as give his body a break because we have been doing a lot of harder stuff and he doesnt have as much muscle as i would like at this point.

Thursdys lesson is cancelled so i will be out there on Saturday to do lots of lunging on his bad side and to work on some of the stuff from my lesson. Im also going to bring out my dressage saddle and do the next few rides in that saddle just to rule out saddle fit as an issue.


Starting Saturday back to my 4 rides a week.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Weekend recap #1


I managed to get in a quick ride before going to work that night. There was some people who trailer in on weekends to use the arena in the arena but i was happy to see that all the jumps had been cleared out of the arena to make room for the dressage lessons. I didnt have time to lunge him but he did very well at the mounting block stood nice and still and waited until i asked him to walk on before going anywhere.

He was a bit fiesty so we spent lots of time walking the arena he is not used to there being no jumps set up. He spent a good amount of time spooking in one of the corners the first couple times wasnt a big deal but he started to do it every time so at the walk and trot i really had to push him into those corners. We did a lot of trot work focusing on contact and a steady pace.

Then we started our canter work and counter clock wise he was great and could go forever there were no bucks and no major spooks. However clock wise which is by far his worst side he tried to get out of cantering that way by giving me a few big bucks (big for my horse that rarely ever bucks). My back was sore after that ride from lifting my hands up to stop him from getting his head down. After he tried a few times to get out of having to canter on that lead and me bringing him back and asking again he finally cantered on that lead, it wasnt for long but we got the canter on his bad lead with no bucking so i called it quits for the day and wrote it off as a win.


I ended up getting off work early this day so i was able to get out to the barn before i picked my little guy up from his dads (they just got back from Disney Land) so i snuck out for another quick ride to try to work on our canter situation. I admit i was a little defeated with all this bucking nonsense from a horse that has never offered to buck and i have been thinking that it must be something wrong that i am doing but i tried to swallow my fear because G is the type of horse you allow him to be in control the issue just escalates. So i put on my big girl panties and a brave face and went to work with my horse. I made sure that i went out with time to lunge him so i could get him cantering on his bad lead as much as possible on the lunge hoping that that might make the ride go a little smoother.

I lunged him in his good direction for a few minutes then did a little longer on his bad side.. he was pretty good other than the head tossing going into the canter transition and other than needing constant encouragement to stay at the canter he was very good.

He was definitely not as patient this time at the mounting block but still stood still long enough for me to get on. We started out at the walk (again the arena was clear of all jumps) again he was spooking at the same corner so i spent a lot of time pushing him into that corner in both directions but still he would hop to the side he was also ignoring my seat and would speed up. Trot he was good, Canter counter clockwise was perfect no bucking nothing smooth rythmic and he didnt try to stop without me asking him too.

Clockwise was a different story he bucked harder this time everytime i asked and one time i had to turn him sharply to get him to stop and to get his mind back on me the other time i had to run him into the wall. I was so disheartened and i know he is weak on that side but i felt like there must be something i was doing wrong... this is typically where i would have quit and tried to find someone else to ride him and work him out of this, but i stayed on and we started doing figure eights at the trot, we did quite a few when i finally mustered up enough courage to ask for the canter again and it was perfect no bucking or anything we didnt canter for long but he got lots of pats and praise.

Im so glad to be starting lessons again i need to make sure that its not something that im doing wrong. Im also going to try to use my other saddle and see if he bucks under the other saddle as well... i really dont think its anything wrong because he doesnt do it every time and he doesnt do it in both directions only the side he is weak on. But i am very proud of myself for not giving up and not giving in... however from my back being sore from the ride the day before i did feel myself leaning forward and collapsing in so i will have to keep that in mind and make a concious effort to correct that again.

Monday-Dressage lesson
Thursday-Jump lesson

Friday, 4 January 2013

Scariest Place on earth

Yesterday i played hookey from my full time job so i could spend a day relaxing and riding it was +4 C here so it was a perfect day to get out and spend the day at the barn.

G was a tourist the entire time i was bringing him into the barn had to look at everying walking slower than molases, causing the barn manager and one of the trainers to make jokes about how pokey horses arent very good eventers (joking of course they would never say things to be mean he was just going that damn slow...).

We got in and i tacked him up and lunged him and i could tell from his cutting accross our lunge circle and throwing his head around that he was going to be nice and fresh to ride (lucky me)...

Now, our arena is heated but its the type that you have to turn on and it makes a lot of hissing and banging noises after the loud clicking just to turn the timer dial.... that combined with the snow sliding off the roof, the jumps set up in the arena, the fog that the heaters created and the dripping water from the roof made for an eventful ride....

It look a good 10 minutes of walking/circles/serpentines just to get G to settle down and pay more attention to me than everything else going on. There were tons of spooks... lots of slamming on the brakes... lets just say that by the end of 40 mins we were both exhausted me from trying to stay on and him from trying to do what i was asking even though we were riding in the scariest place on earth.

On the way back out to the paddock he got to relax and enjoy a nice roll in a big snow hill. Going to be a busy next couple of weeks trying to get him back in shape and ready for show season.

Monday- Dressage lesson

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

2013 Resolutions

I have been away for a while taking some time to myself and allowing G a little more time off, mostly because i lost my second job and had to try to hunt for another one in order to start my lessons up again but now the new year is back in full swing and i cannot wait to get back at it and get ready for show season.

Starting next week i will be having 2 lessons a week one will be Dressage and the other will be with a Jump coach. I absolutly adore both of these coaches and consider myself very lucky to have the opportunity to work with both of them again on a regular basis.

G will be getting started over fences within the next few months that should be an interesting experiene, we will probably be going to mostly eventing shows this summer.

As for my resolutions....

    1) stick to my 2 lessons a week no matter what
    2) Even if i dont have time to ride get out there and lunge G
    3) Go to at least 3 shows this summer
    4) Continue to work on my own personal fitness get to my goal weight and increase my cardio