Friday, April 20, 2012

The Ever Elusive Consistency...

Frustration.  I am feeling tons of it at the moment...especially during flat work.  I can't keep a consistent contact, a consistent in front of my leg, consistent name it.  And, I am getting frustrated.  I also haven't had a Boss lesson in about 3 weeks - vacations and work schedules have gotten in the way of that and well, it has left me feeling as though I am starting at square one.
Uncle John giving me instruction on how to 'do it better'...
Okay, maybe not square one, but definitely square 4 or 5 on a square of 10 scale. Knowing me and the kind of rider that I am, I will guarantee you, I am thinking about it too much, trying too hard and not riding properly.  Actually, I know that is what is going on.  I have been so worried about her head, that I forget that I need to use my legs to get her into my hand, there by correcting her head.  Simple when I sit and think about it.  How does the saying go...? Easier said than done.

Not to mention, yesterday was one of the most infuriating rides I have had in a while on her.  She had absolutely zero desire to jump and rather plowed her way through, yes through, the jumps.  Which in turn led me to have strongly 'encourage' her over, which lead to her turning into a demon, which lead to me getting more frustrated, which lead to a complete meltdown on both our parts. 

I stopped - literally stopped - for a good 2 minutes and then started again.  Hallelujah, I had a horse again.  I forget sometimes that she is only 4 and there are going to be growing pains along the way....and even when she is 'well schooled' there will be growing pain.

We are headed to Uncle John's tomorrow morning for a session with a couple other boarders from the barn - if the weather holds up - and then the plan is to take her to a little schooling show on she can start to get used to that sort of atmosphere.  The hope is that exposing her to low key show environments, going to an event won't be THAT big of a deal. Ha.  Yeah right.  It will either go really really well, or be a complete disaster.

Funny - when I mentioned my ride last night to Uncle John - he said 'don't worry about it, they won't all be perfect.  You know, sometimes, it would be interesting to get the horse's perspective on what made a ride so shitty.'

I hate it when he says stuff like that...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bold, Brave, Willing, Scopey...

Lookin Good!!!
I consider those to be pretty good adjectives to be used when someone is talking about your horse.  Those would be the four xc coach would have used to ' described Colby at the end of last weekend.  Oh - I would also add in "You both look focused".  Thanks Mom!!

She surprised me all weekend at her boldness to jump anything, do anything I asked her to.  She didn't back off from anything (except the water for a split second and we know how that ended up). And is so willing and game to try anything - that I keep forgetting that she is 4. 

While Colby does show some enthusiasm after the jumps sometimes - as in bucking and carrying on - I can live with that.  The biggest issues for now, are with her rider.  Namely:

Going confidently through the splash!!
1 - I have to give more when we jump. Big big big fault of mine, I know - always has been and probably always will be.  So, I have to really work on exaggerating my release for the next little while and not hold as much.

2 - I have to ride more from my core and lower body and stay off her face.  Again, bad bad Young Rider habits I am trying really hard to break.  No stirrups for the rest of my life, here I come.

3 - Her jumping canter needs to be more powerful, more together with more impulsion and not 'some wimpy looking dressage canter BS."  (Thank you John.)  How do I do this? By keeping her in front of my leg and off her face...d'uh. 

All that said, she is slowly, but surely - very surely - coming into her own and is almost a little too confident in herself. That scares me.  Her talent and scope are crazy and she is becoming more level headed with fewer mini freak outs...except for the whole cow thing.  I don't get that.  Even just yesterday we were hacking out after our school and had to pass the ever dreaded cows.  Took me 5 minutes to get her to take one single step forward.  I mean really Colby?  You'll jump any scary looking fence I point you out, but then have a breakdown when it comes to the cows.  Silly filly.

We've set our first event date - July 8 at Canterdown!!!! (one of my favourites!!!!) and in the meantime will take her to John's and out to as many small schooling shows to get her feet wet.  It will either go really really well, or be a complete disaster!!!
Colby showing off how talented she is....

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How Not To Ride Through Water...

I was fortunate enough to be able to spend the Easter weekend at my xc coach’s farm, about 20 minutes up the highway from where Colby usually stays. Taking advantage of the long weekend and gorgeous weather we have been having, it was decided Colby would be having a sleepover at Uncle John’s.

The purpose being, to have a boot camp of sorts and introduce Colby – who turned 4 in January – to changes in terrain (from dirt to grass and vice versa), solid obstacles, little banks and drops, get comfortable going up and down changes in grade, etc. Part of the ‘etc.’ consisted of getting her toes wet again in the water.

She was introduced to water late last summer so we weren’t starting from scratch. Not that I thought we were going to have any issues – the mare is so bold and brave, she constantly surprises me by taking to everything with ease. Our first day there, we had about a 30 second disagreement conversation about which way to go and then - she daintily stepped in and splooshed around. In her defence, it was a little on the deep side (maybe up to her knee) so, I would have been a little cautious too. Shortly, she was calmly walking into and out of the splash like it was no big deal. Day 2 - she walked right in without any hesitation. She was trotting into and out of the splash comfortably.

Day 3. No more playing nice. We approach at a canter and she would have 2 choices, to go forward OR to go forward. This sequence of photos tells the story of How Not To Ride Through Water.

Redemption!!! This is a much better stick attempt on my part!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Spring Boot Camp

This weekend will either go very very well - or will be a total disaster. 

The filly and I - well, technically, I can't call her the filly anymore because she turned 4 in January, but whatever - are packing up and heading the short distance down the 401 to my xc's coach's place for the long weekend,  Welcome to Eventing 2012 boot camp.

While it would be fabulous to have the unlimited amount of resources some of those other guys have - and have the luxury of having been in Florida for the past 3 month, I do not...not to mention sending a barely 4 year old to Florida would have been the best way to spend my $$, but that's a different story.

We make the best of what we have...and what we have, is John's incredible farm and property to school on. You name it, he's got it!!  The plan is to really give her a run for the money, give her a lot to look at, get her feet wet - and hopefully her rider stays dry!! - and let her open up for the first time since last fall.  We have been incredibly lucky this winter with the weather and there are portions of John's property that are completely dried up already. Fantastic.

What do we think?  Will the devil or the angel show up?  Your guess is as good as mine!!