Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Three great rides

Yesterday was a tiring day for me at the barn. I didn't have anyone to help me, but I managed to groom and ride three horses in 2 hours and forty five minutes. I blew off cleaning the tack (I know, shocking!) but I really needed to get home because Craig needed to pick some things up at the store. One day of dirty tack won't kill me, right?

Anyhow, everyone is coming along really well. I started with Skyy and he's beginning to settle down and is becoming more consistently on the bit. The canter still feels a bit weak and he has to rush at times, but it's getting stronger. He was a bit pudgy when he first came to the barn but he's started to lose weight already. We can't work very long because he gets winded and sweaty, but we managed to get good work done.

Skyy is scared to pieces of the washrack. We tried to rinse him the usual way with him facing out of the washrack but he kept bolting out of it and into the barn aisle. Good thing I decided not to cross-tie him or he'd have probably gotten hurt. We've changed tactics and now he faces towards the back wall of the washrack. He's got no place to bolt to, but that doesn't mean he stands still. He still dances around and snorts loudly at the water, threatening to spin around and run to get away. Yesterday he about lost his mind when someone walked into the barn during his rinse. I just ignore his antics, tell him that he's fine and just keep spraying him. If nothing bad ever happens to him he'll calm down eventually. I just wish it weren't such an ordeal.

Kaswyn was my next horse, and he is really doing well. He's gotten the idea that he's supposed to go forward without me pushing him all the time. There are still things we need to work on, but he's getting stronger every time I ride. It feels like I have my old horse back.

Last up was Albert. He's such a smart, good boy. We have been having some issues at the canter with one of the movements from First Level Test 4. At the canter you have to head across the diagonal, but instead of changing directions you do a shallow serpentine loop from the corner to the center of the ring back to the corner on the same side. You're supposed to keep the same lead. This movement shows increased balance at the canter and sets the horse up for counter canter work.

Also in the same test, you head across the diagonal, but in the center of the ring you trot, then pick up the other canter lead and change directions. So the beginning of both movements are the same, but halfway through they get very different.

Well Albert was just all confused about what I wanted from him. Once I had schooled the shallow loop a few times he was convinced that we'd be doing that loop every time we headed across the diagonal. So halfway across the arena just as I was preparing to trot and change the bend, he'd throw his shoulders back towards the wall that we just came from and run. I can understand his confusion, because the differences in the aids are very subtle for both movements and for a thinking horse like Albert it's hard for him to just slow down and be patient.

It took a few weeks of us working on this, but last night he finally got it. There were a few times that he ran into the loop without me asking, but by the end of the ride he got it. The thing about this horse is every new thing makes him tense and rushing, but they also make the old things that he used to be tense about all better. Like the lengthenings and the leg yields used to send him running, but now they are no big deal. It's great to see this horse get better and better.

I'll be having lessons on Kaswyn and Skyy on Friday at 7:30 am. Yes, AM. I have the day off but I have stuff to do later so I have to get riding done early. I'm very excited about my lessons, but I think Susan was a little bummed that I wasn't going to do one on Albert too. First, I don't think my trainer or I have time for three lessons. Second, I'd be exhausted! And lastly, of the three horses, he needs it the least right now. I really want to coordinate with Susan so we can take the horses to my trainers barn for rides and lessons. It would be so much more productive to work in an arena that is the correct size for showing.

Speaking of which, show entries for our last show before Nationals are due this Saturday. I have one show and three classes to qualify Skyy for Nationals. I need two scores of 62%. I hope I can do it, because I have to work the weekend of the next show, and the show after that too. I'll be showing all three horses at this show. I'll have three classes every day over the three day show. Albert is totally ready for this. Kaswyn is much more ready than he was for the last show. That little booger better not hurt himself again or I'll be very put out. And Skyy? Well, we'll just have to see what happens.


Stephanie said...

Good luck at the show! Try not to spread yourself to thin, lots of snacks and lots of water :) oh and have lots of fun!

Looking forward to hearing all about it. BTW: what classes are you riding them in?

dressagemom said...

I'm showing Skyy in Training Level tests 1 and 2 (test 1 twice), Albert Training Level and First Level Test 4 (First Level Test 4 twice), and Kaswyn 4th level test 3 (twice) and PSG. Yeah, I'm nuts.

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