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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spring tease

Well we had a wonderful spring tease this weekend, followed by yet an other snow storm. Those couple days of nice weather made it all worth it! I had some really great rides on Gram over the weekend. I think for the first time we will actually be prepared for our Ryan lessons this weekend!

We worked on much of the same, half-passes, counter-canter, transitions. Sunday I asked for some half steps, they were ok but there is a lot more in her that I need to figure out how to tap into. We had two really fun rides. She was very responsive to my leg, which just shows that I need to continue doing the things that I am not a fan of like half passes. She is really understanding our walk canters to the left nicely. I still need to work on the downwards and her just dropping down on the forehand. The slight turns on the haunches is working, but still isn't a consistent 8 or 9. I would say the first one is always a 4, and then we get a 8. I am still working on building her strength to get a great upward and a great downward. We just are not there yet.

Sunday the mare was just plain angry in the cross-ties, but as soon as I got on, she went to work and again gave me a free and clean flying change! WE stretched and I called it good after only 25 minutes.

On a side note, it has been really nice having someone to ride with in the evenings, but I found out that my evening riding buddy will no longer be out with me! It has been really nice getting to know her and watching her ride her young horse. There is so much that we have in common, and at the same time I felt watching her riding and training, only helped me to improve my own riding and training! So I will miss her a great deal!

Friday, February 18, 2011


Now that we have finally had an entire week to work, things are beginning to fall into place. We had a semi- breakthrough last night. I realized that I can push her even more than I thought :) This seems to be a common trend for me lately. My baby is growing up and getting bored with my babying her. I just feel like the basics are so important that sometimes I feel like I focus on them too much, to the point where she gets bored and wants to work on tricks to be a fancy horse. She recently decided that she doesn't want to stretchy trot any longer... I went with it at first, then realized I was probably not getting her as together as I could if I could just get her to relax in the beginning of our sessions. Last night I set out to encourage the stretch. Once I got a few nice strides, I decided that then I could get to work. I worked on collection in the canter. For a brief moment, I found myself sitting in more, and not accepting her just a little effort. To my surprise instead of blowing up, she gave me more. In fact I got a bit carried away asking for counter-bend on the circle and she gave me a wonderfully clean flying change! I literally almost fell off in shock.

We worked on our canter walk transitions incorporating the quarter turn on the haunches immediately after asking for the downward. She responded really well. As I walked her out, I realized that everytime I think I am asking enough, there is always more inside of her. We have a really nice bond, so she trusts that what I ask of her isn't going to hurt (provided I never try to change her bit again). Of course it was 60 degrees yesterday so we both finished after only 25 minutes of work soaking wet, and I walk was longer than normal! It took her a while to dry, but she deserves the night off tonight.
I am just excited to go ride on Saturday! Also my parents purchased a new puppy, McCloud, a Chinese Crested that we will have the opportunity to welcome to the family!

Monday, February 14, 2011

What a difference a week makes

In the last 14 days, I have ridden 4 times... This does not make preparing for the show season very easy! After the blizzard, we then had bitter cold, too cold to make riding safe. So I lunged Gram one night in just a halter, so she could stretch her legs for a few minutes, then she spent the rest of the week bundled up like Randy from Christmas Story:

I went out to ride on Saturday and she was very good. Based on our Ryan lessons the week before, he established that I need to start asking for more in the half-pass, which means I actually have to practice them. This is when I wished I had mirrors at least across the short side of the indoor. I know I get crooked, but if I could see what I was doing I would be able to fix it myself and would be more confident in my own position. But that is why I am lucky to have Ryan coming back ever few weeks to tune us up!

Here is what I need to keep in mind:
1. no locking my left hip (when I start working too hard on the half pass I lock up which doesn't allow Gram to cross over)
2. no letting her dive... I need to keep her tempo reasonable, ok to be a little slower right now, so long as I get the cross over
3. Outside rein to the outside (Kathy lesson tool)
4. Left elbow, wrist -no more chick wings

In the counter canter I need to sit back, I tend to lean into her which makes it harder for her- sit in!

Walk-canter, canter-walk exercises. In the downward quarter turn on the haunches, to get her rocking back... again I need to be mindful of that stupid locking hip on the left!

That about sums up my homework until next week! I will hopefully get Donnie to video for a couple minutes over the next few days.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Blizzard 2011-Snowed in

Well, I haven't been out the barn at all this week, mainly because this is my street:
Our car is located in the garage to the left... yeah have been snowed in. Last night the city finally got to our little side street armed with an earthmover like tractor and a dumptruck. They were scooping up the 5ft mound and putting into the truck. INSANE. Since I haven't been riding at all, and I have a Ryan lesson this weekend, I thought I would devote this post to the insanity that is a blizzard in the city of Chicago...

And for good measure here is the barn the morning after the blizzard as sent by the barn owner: