Monday, February 23, 2009

Finally a post - two lessons, more food, and an award

Things have been so busy I just haven't had a chance to post. Ten days flew by faster than I thought. Evenings are busy with riding horses, and then with playing with girls, and work has been crushingly busy. So there has been no time to write. I imagine that I won't get this post done in one sitting, let alone one day. But let's get this started, shall we?

Both horses are coming along well for me. I had a lesson last Friday on each horse and my trainer was basically happy with both, but less so with Kaswyn than Albert. Kaswyn was up first and I showed her how I was warming him up and riding him low and deep. She thought that was a very good idea. However, after she saw me warm up she pointed out to me that I ride the left lead canter differently than the right lead. I had been complaining that I thought Kaswyn was not giving me a true canter at times and was four-beating, and she said that while she would admit that his canter isn't three-beat 100% of the time, she said that I need to trust that it's not as bad as I think. And also that my riding could be making it worse, or at least feel worse than it is.

She said that I'm overly cautious, and that I need to ride the left lead with more confidence. She said "Trust his canter, don't be so scared that it's not there because most of the time it is." I think that was just a nice way of saying "Um, you need to sit your butt down and RIDE and not worry so much." Since the lesson I've been starting the canter on the right lead (I used to always start to the left) and then go to the left and try to keep the same feeling. And it's really helped Kaswyn's canter a lot.

We also worked on the canter half-passes. I'd been working the half-passes deep also, just trying to get him to move laterally for some suppling and strength building. They were more schooling half-passes since I wasn't asking him to sit and push through them. She watched and said that while that was okay for the first one or two passes, I should really ask him for more collection because he was tending to get flat instead of having a nice jumping half-pass. We've been doing that since the lesson and I think it's been helping things.

Albert was great in his lesson. She was very happy with his frame and tempo, and asked what I wanted to work on. I told her that I needed her to check the leg yields at the trot to make sure that they were correct. She watched me do a few each direction and then said that they were technically correct, like a 6, but why not get more spring and expression and go for an 8? She had me do an exercise where I trot a three loop serpentine, and upon crossing the centerline each time add two ten meter circles, one in each direction. This will encourage Albert to be softer in his bending and have him step more under himself. After we did a few of these serpentines in each direction the leg yields were better.

I haven't entered the show yet (by the time I post this I will have though!), because we just had Coggins drawn for Kaswyn and Albert on Monday. As soon as those get back I'm entering the show, with Albert going Training 1 and 2, and Kaswyn doing Fourth 1 and Prix St George. Should be interesting. I'm way excited!

While Dr. B was out to draw blood for the Coggins, I had him give Kaswyn his spring shots. Everyone else in the barn just got the rabies vaccination because Susan can get the shots for cheaper through work or something. Kaswyn, however, got everything because he gets so swollen and sore from his shots that he has to get shots of banamine and dexamethasone when he gets his vaccinations.

I also had Dr. B take a look at him to evaluate his weight. I explained that Kaswyn still didn't have as much energy as I thought he should, and hadn't really put on any weight since we switched grain and put him on alfalfa cubes. Dr. B upped his grain and said "Give him as many alfalfa cubes as her will eat." I asked if that would colic him or anything and he just laughed, saying that alfalfa cubes will not make him sick. Dr. B thinks that as soon as spring rolls around that Kaswyn will put weight on and we'll have to cut him back, but for now he needs more food. So we're soaking a few small buckets of cubes every day and making sure he has some available to eat all the time. I'm also adding some Red Cell to his grain too, just in case he's anemic. Hopefully he'll start getting fat and sassy soon.

MiKael over at Rising Rainbow was kind enough to give me an award -

Van Gogh Award

"Apparently, this Van Gogh's Ear Award is for blogs that are making a difference in the blogosphere. It's creator said, "We are all artists in our own way, be it art, photography, writing, philosophy, comedy, or blogging, and we all go a little crazy sometimes. But if you ever feel so crazy to cut off your ear and give it to a prostitute, "Seek Help"! Always remember you're unique. Just like everyone else."

So thanks to MiKael! I'm supposed to pass this on to some fellow writers, but I confess that I haven't had time to even keep up with most of the blogs that I follow. I'm going to do a quick check and hopefully I can find some deserving folks who have not received the award yet!

Jewel at Viva Volte, because she's a fellow Arabian dressage rider

Stacey at Behind the Bit, for her well researched and insightful articles

Grey Horse Matters, because of her fantastic pictures and thoughtful posts

And Anne at Smells Horsey, because I should really read her blog more often!


I'm finally finishing this post up, and not much has changed since I started it days ago. It's freezing here but I'm still working horses because that show is only three weeks away! Yikes! I will hopefully be having two lessons, one on each horse, later this week. At some point before the show I'm going to see if I can get a lesson at my trainer's place, because her arena is full size and ours is small sized. I figure it might be smart to ride the horses in an arena that is the same size as the show ring. It might not be possible, so I might have to wing it at the show!

Just thinking about the show is getting me a bit nervous. I have to gather all of my horse showing crap and make sure I don't forget anything. Muck tub, stall fork, buckets, coolers, wraps, clean horse brushes (yes I do have separate brushes that I take to shows and use only on clean horses - no I'm not a freak, I just have keen attention to detail), all my show clothes, etc etc . Oh, and I've been working Kaswyn exclusively in the snaffle. At some point I'll have to put the double bridle on him again. Maybe next week?

The fun thing is I'll be bringing our new video camera to the show, so if I can get someone to video my rides I'll post them here for everyone to critique! Whee! And no fair saying "Your horse is skinny." I know that already.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Thanks so much for the award, I'm flattered that you thought of me and will pass it on to some others.
Sounds like you're having good lessons and are really busy. Getting ready for a show is fun as long as you can keep the nerves down. I'm like you I like everything packed and ready to go ahead of time, yes even the separate show brushes. Have fun at your show and I hope your videos come out I'd love to see them. Good Luck!

20 meter circle of life said...

Thank you!! We Arabian Dressage people need to stick together

Linda said...

I showed two horses for a while - one at PSG and the other 1st and 2nd - it was a lot of work, but I became more confident at the shows - not enough time to worry I guess. And the interesting thing was that I think that riding at different levels made me pay more attention to the basics. You are lucky to be able to ride different levels - it is so much more interesting. And you are learning from both horses!

smellshorsey said...

Thanks so much for the award! You've got so much going on and have managed to keep posting -- you've put me to shame.

Yes, practicing in one size dressage arena and showing in another is nobody's first choice. I hope you get to catch a ride to your trainer's.

I thought I had enough room for a dressage "arena" (things work out differently on paper than they do on the ground). Our dimensions are a little bit off, we have to duck under tree limbs at one place and cut a corner at another.

I visited a friend recently and she had not only a full-sized, perfect arena but also mirrors. Some of us have it all -- and some of us are learning some kind of valuable life lesson, I'm sure.

Thanks again! And good luck!

Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr