Bareback #2!

Rob’s tail braid came out, leaving a beautiful wave.

I rode Robbye bareback again last night – to considerable improvement from last week’s bareback ride! I can already see how riding bareback once a week is really going to help my seat and equitation.

I think the short part is growing…

We started out working on lateral movement – I faced her to the wall, then asked her to move over. She still hasn’t had the lightbulb moment, but she did move over accidentally a couple times, so we stopped with those.

Next, we worked on trotting, then changing rein. She was okay, but the exercise was mostly for me. I can really feel the balance change when she changes bend – it’s very very obvious when you’re bareback and scared, as I was! A combination of increased security on my part and increased balance on her part is going to make rein changes a lot prettier and smoother.

Overall, it was a really fun ride. I was afraid that getting my bareback confidence back was going to take forever, but it seems it won’t at all. Everything with horses seems to take a shorter time than I think it will…or maybe I just lucked out with a very trainable horse 🙂

Yogi likes to rub his face in the mud, lol.

Equine Affaire Pic Spam

That’s me! That coat is the one that Julie’s mom made for her when she first started showing O.O
One of the members of our club, Match, got a really cool design clipped into his side.
Our club. See the awesome shirts Kathy had made for us?
Yogi in the petting stall.
Baby mini butt.
Baby haflinger.
Nervous Louie.
Still nervous…
Still nervous…
Looks awesome!!
Sweet historic saddle for sale.
I had all my tack at home to clean and Hero decided it was her new bed :3

SPHO Spring Show and dressage lesson

This weekend was great! The Standardbred group’s Spring show was Saturday, which we took Louie and Yogi to. Yogi did perfectly, of course, but Louie was the real star – he was just amazing compared to Equine Affaire. I’m so glad he got to go and get a good show experience.

I showed first of the club, on Louie in an adult equitation class. Louie was nervous and shied a couple times, but nothing major. I got to ride in Kathy’s new saddle, which I looooove. So much better than her old saddle! Anyway, I thought we both did well, and we earned second place out of four entries.

Next was the elite equitation, which Yogi and Julie won. WOOHOO!!

Next was the adult standardbred equitation, which Julie and I both showed in. We ended up getting sixth and fifth, respectively, which I thought was a little…inconsistent…with the previous judging. Oh well.

That was the end of my showing. Directly after our equitation class. Julie rode Yogi and Kathy rode Louie in an open English pleasure class. Again, the judging seemed inconsistent – Julie and Yogi moved very slowly and steadily (it’s a pleasure class!) but only earned a sixth (I believe). Kathy didn’t place.

Lastly was standardbred English pleasure. Kathy and Julie both showed, again. Louie was even better, earning Kathy and Louie their first ribbon – a gorgeous white fourth (out of six, I believe)! Yogi and Julie earned a third.

Overall, it was just a really relaxing show. We know a lot of the people there, which is nice, and we show there often, so we’re familiar with the grounds and the processes. Louie and Yogi were so relaxed, and they were super happy with the long green grass at the trailer. Drama-free day!

I did miss Robbye quite a bit. It hurts my feelings a little bit (okay, a lot) that I’ve been working and studying so hard and yet I don’t get to show off my horse. Of course it’s not Julie or Kathy’s fault that they have standardbreds and I don’t, and Julie has been working really hard to get us a mode of transportation for 3 horses. Plus she’s been training me and Robbye more than she’s been riding Yogi. I was a huge grump Saturday morning because I had to leave Rob behind – I really shouldn’t do that to Kathy and Julie. New goal.

Sunday I got to work Robbye with some dressage stuff. First we did our first ever lateral work. She really has no idea what I’m asking for when I try to cue with my legs. We did some work from a halt (with her nose pressed up against the wall, ask her to move sideways), but the lightbulb hasn’t clicked yet. I’m thinking about working her on the ground today with that stuff. We’ll see if I feel like riding.

Next, we worked on changing her bend across the diagonal, in preparation for simple changes. Even at the trot, it’s hard work for both of us, but with that I feel like she did understand what I was asking her. She’s getting to the point where I don’t have to pay attention to her bend at all – she does it on her own. Wow.

Next, we worked on transitioning from a bent canter (on the short end, in a circle) to a straight canter (on the long side), while maintaining balance and rhythm. That was hard work as well. As we transition, I really have to sit down and maintain her rhythm with both my seat and my hands (lift), or she’ll fall out of the canter. Overall, though, I felt like the exercise went very well – I have so much more control at the canter, nowadays.

Lastly, we did a couple sorta simple changes. We would pick up the canter at the beginning of the short end, circle at that end, canter the long side, then trot sometime during the short side, trot down the diagonal, change reins as usual, then ask for a canter on the new lead. We did this twice, and it was very messy both times. Finally, we simplified it to just trotting down the diagonal, asking for a canter before we hit the wall. She did it great one time, and on her harder lead, so we stopped there.

Great lesson, as usual! Julie said that my sitting trot has improved drastically and that she has nothing to critique in my equitation, which is a huge compliment, of course! I’m sure when I find another instructor she (the new instructor) will tear my equitation apart, lol.

Bareback

Rob and I worked bareback yesterday. She was very good, but it seems that I’ve lost some of my bareback skills since last summer. Tsk tsk, Annye, especially since it was helping your seat so much!
I’m going to try to get into a lesson plan this week. With that, my current weekly plan consists of two jumping rides,  two flat rides, a bareback ride, a dressage lesson, and a day off. Holy cow.

Consistency

Pretty blaze.
Robbye continues to amaze me with her consistency. Every day she’s better, and she hasn’t made any apparent steps backwards in the past month. Incredible.
Wednesday there was standing water in the outdoor, so we worked in the indoor. Louie got to wear the pleasure driving harness for the first time! He thought he was going to die, of course. He’s just so so sensitive. But Kathy ground drove him around the arena, and they seemed to make progress. I’m hoping that one of these days Louie has a lightbulb moment and decides he can trust Kathy. That would make her life so much easier.
Robbye and I worked on downward transitions – especially from a sitting trot to a walk – and I feel that they’re already getting a lot better. I’ve been trying to exaggerate my seat cues and minimize my rein cues for the downward transitions. I’ve found that she’s actually very sensitive to my seat and leg cues. Who-lda thought.
Next, we tried adding a little “height” to our jumping, since we hadn’t done much more than poles and very small x-rails. She was great, of course. She really has started putting a lot of effort into picking up her feet, even as we transition from trot poles to actual jumps.
We finished the night with a very small (18″?) vertical. She tried, but she was so mentally pooped at this point that she didn’t do extremely well. Ah well, at this point, in my opinion, the effort counts.
Beautiful illustration. Each of the diagonals can be taken on their own or as an easy bending line.
Yesterday, Thursday, I set up an elaborate poles course out in the outdoor. It was really fun to just make up a course and then have her do it – our control is amazing. I also think that she was really enjoying herself.
For some reason, though, she kept hitting the cavaletti in the shorter bounce. Eventually she actually broke both of them. I’m not sure why she had so much trouble with them – maybe they were set too short? Maybe she couldn’t see them? I don’t know. We stopped jumping when she landed right on one of them and completely split it in half.
We ended with some really nice canter – collected, controlled, poll down – into a beautiful simple change – her first, as far as I can remember! It was from her bad way to her good way, and it took her about four trot strides, but I’m still very pleased.

First run through of our Dressage Tests

We worked on flat stuff last night, again. It was a great ride. We started out working on walk > halt transitions, which were 500% better than the night before (progress!). Then we did our normal trot workout, really focusing on pole down.

Next, I wanted to run through our dressage tests for the year, just to see where we are. All three of us (me, Julie, and Kathy) first ran through Intro A (the easiest one) a couple times. Yogi was okay, but very strong. Robbye was okay, but very crooked. Louie was okay, but very confused – he didn’t really know if he was supposed to be trotting, or cantering, or pacing. So overall, okay.

Then, Julie read Robbye and me the Intro C test, which includes canter. Overall, I was very pleased with her – I definitely think we’re going to be able to show 3-gait this year. Her trot > canter transitions are really freakin good. Instead of transitioning around a 1/4 circle, I was aiming for an individual letter and transitioning there.

She also picked up both leads correctly, even without an exaggerated ask. I think we may be over the lead issue for the time being.

Julie had one piece of schooling for me – she thinks I’m sitting in a very huntseat position, which is negatively affecting our dressage. She says that it looks like I’m looking for jumps – I’m not in 2-point, but I’m in a forward seat. So, I tried to ride the test with my hands back and my butt in the saddle. I bet that will help with the pole-down I was trying to work on!

Two things I learned about Rob in our ride last night:
1. She isn’t at the point yet where she can just trot into a dressage test without warming up. After we warmed up, we stood for a good length of time while Julie and Kathy did their tests. This really affected the quality of our test, and especially how she listened to me. Gotta remember that for shows.
2. I think Rob wants to jump! She kept thinking we were headed to obstacles, as we were riding our tests. Makes me happy that she seems to like it so much.