Monday, February 24, 2014

Simply Complicated

Remember my past posts about getting good lateral leg yields out of my boy? How I thought it was just my weight aids blocking him?

Turns out it was something even simpler (and yet more complicated) than that.

See I have a short inseam. I'm 5'2 and while I LOOK like I would have an average inseam for someone who is 5'2... even Kerrits Kids breeches are long on me... my knee patch is more like a calf patch.

I was riding Ashe bareback, for which he was an awesome boy! And I decided to get some leg yields in as he was always better doing them bareback versus in the saddle. Tonight proved to be no different and he was perfect in going left to right (we're working on right to left) with no temper tantrums or feats of gumby. I also was perfectly (as one can be) even in my seat bones, as a little left or right and I slither off like a sack of potatoes.

It baffled me immensely so I had my trainer and I do some troubleshooting. After a few minutes I dropped my stirrups and Lo! we are leg yielding wonderfully again. So apparently he KNOWS how to do it, but his cue spot is just lower than where my leg can sit when it is in the stirrups....especially jumping.

So now I have the joy of re-wiring my boy to listen to a cue where my leg is. Thighs of steel from stirrup-less riding here I come!

Also would like to note that I now love the Blocker Tie Ring. He will always be a panic tie-er ( you wouldn't think of it this last time, he was falling asleep!) but after a great test run when my trainer approached with the dreaded measuring tape where he didn't A: break his halter, B: break the lead rope or C: both, I am grateful that I know I don't have to worry about him panicking while tied anymore. (Note: Yes I had always tied him to bailing twine before. No it did not break instead of the halter. The past few months we have been just ground tying but he has ADD to a certain extent plus a stubborn streak.)

My boy is both brave, and insecure all at once (tractors, ice falling off roofs and general hoopla at the barn didn't phase him, but heaven forbid I measure him with a cloth tape for a blanket)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Shifting of Weight Aids

As I had posted before, I have been trying to be extremely aware of my weight aids during riding especially during lateral aids. We've been working on it, and it's most likely going to get worse before it gets better.

That said, this past Sunday I had my lesson and instead of flat and lateral work, we decided to do a steady warmup of w/t/c and then just immediately start jumping. Ashe was raring to go, trotting off on his own as soon as my butt was in the saddle (which we promptly woahed and stood for a good minute much to his frustration). Thankfully he just gets full of energy and not ridiculous airs like some horses get when they are stuck inside due to the weather.

However this also meant that there was no trying to get him to focus on flat work with dozens of circles and leg yields in an attempt to get him to bend properly... unless I wanted a full blown fight on my hands.

My trainer utilized my new set up and worked out a gymnastic that would get us working on steering, weight aids, and jumping all in one. It was difficult, but in the end we got it perfect and I think he and I are going to work on it a lot in the coming months, both trot to canter as well as full canter over poles.

Here's a little video of us :) Please excuse the giant jacket on my tiny frame. It's COLD.

Here's to hoping for an early spring!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Little Bliss (and a New Jump Course!)

His sheath is back to normal (Thank goodness!) We believe he was stocking up there instead of his legs. Huzzah!

We've been working on lots of things as we get back into working for showing. Two days ago I learned he has a perfect stop for when I become unseated over a jump (took it really odd plus a mini buck had me on his neck). He takes such good care of me, even when I frustrate him.

Today we had a great ride :) I'm still learning exactly how I'm sitting off/blocking him with my seat so he gets cranky on the flat with me shifting around like a sack of potatoes. Our jumping is getting smoother again as well but I want to share my new favorite set up.

We don't have room for a full "regular" course, so I had to improvise based on a jump pattern I saw in a jumping book. The main portion down the middle of the ring is a bounce set with the middle rail just a pole on the ground (he's still learning how to balance himself) and then a long stretch into a ground pole. Then one jump on each side for a 45 degree bending line from the end. This was what I had seen in the book.

I then also added two jumps that could be jumped by going through the spaces between the angled jumps and the center pole.
       /          \

            -   /
       --  -

(note, distances and angles of key marks not representational of actual jump angles)

What is nice about this is that it has given me: bounce jump, bending lines that can be ridden both directions, single jumps, two jump sets and I can make numerous "courses" that deal with turning, change of leads and can be done both trotting and cantering (nothing above 2ft).

I'll work on getting some pictures when I can but he and I are loving this new pattern. He even free walks it without my input so I'm really happy he's doing his best to learn.

Here's to a wonderful new season of improvement!