Thursday, February 4, 2010

A new year, a little late, but better than never!

This year has started off pretty well, on the horsey front.

Arizona is doing well. We did our first BN at Poplar Place at the end of Dec and he jumped clean and lovely in stadium.

2'6" is once again becoming a very comfortable height for me, a warm up height, if you will. I'm slowly upping the ante on myself- setting all the jumps on our home course at 2'6" just to get used to jumping around at that height instead of letting myself stay at 2' and 2'3" because thats what I have set up. I'm making the oxers wider and the back rails higher. I hope to be comfortable and competent at jumping a 3' course in the very near future- and I need to be, with Brandy's novice move-up coming soon!

I've found that H/J people make a way bigger deal over "height" than eventers. I, obviously, have a hard time letting that go. Not that we don't care that the jumps are 3'- we just focus on the correct ride TO the fence, instead of finding a horse that has the step and style to get there. A cow can jump 4' from a standstill, so a reasonably athletic horse should have no problem with 3'.

Anyway, my current jumping goals with Ari involve riding with more connection, bottling that energy and riding each and every step to the base of the jump. He is not going to give me anything that I don't specifically ask for, so I CANNOT let myself jump up his neck. Brandy and Lyra will "gimme" some bad spots- he doesn't. So, I'm concentrating on riding with a tight lower leg and letting it stay strong instead of collapsing if I don't see a good spot to a fence. He needs to learn to "sit" more and I need to keep from letting him lock his jaw, making him much more ride-able.

Here's his XC school at PPF:

And our last jumping lesson with Amy at Melissa's:

For dressage, we need to work on working uphill. Keep him poll high and jaw loose so he can't pop his nose out. I need to sit up taller (saddle fit issues have helped address this) to keep from getting in a vicious cycle of leaning.

Here's our dressage at PPF- we had a very interesting warm up including little white ponies zooming around at 100mph and Big Fancy Dressage Horses doing airs above the ground (on purpose) which led to us doing airs about the ground (not on purpose.) We got nailed for me not riding him uphill (shock), so that is our goal!

Brandy is doing great. Susan rode her at our last jumping lesson at Melissa's and she and Melissa both commented on how FUN she is. She's such a doll to be around- she just wants to do things right, and her jump just makes you go "weeee!" as is evidenced by Susan's commentary throughout this video!

Susan was hoping to ride her in the Novice group for the Jimmy Wofford clinic at Saddle Springs, but that got postponed. Bummer!

So anyway, Brandy's dressage needs to improve. I need to nag less, more outside rein, less inside. Once she is quiet, I can start to change the shape and ride her more "up." Jumping, I need to work on keeping her "up" and not letting her get strung out and heavy- she will take a half inch before the jump, land with an inch and it snowballs until she could potentially get dangerous- like on XC. I'm debating moving her up at Wolf Gap or MayDaze.

I'm hoping to bring TWO HORSES to MayDaze! Yikes, I need to start shoveling money away now. Luckily, the greatest groom ever, Schap, will be in town for that weekend to help me! Maybe she can take Shasta to Pioneer Valley the weekend of June 5.

Shasta is just a joy to be around. She has decided jumping is pretty cool, but she hasn't YET figured out that a 12" cross rail does not require the effort of a 3' oxer. I think that'll come. Once we can get some consistent work in, I think she'll come around very quickly.

I could go on about my "students" too, but I'll leave it at that to give myself something to write about later...


  1. At least Ari will jump from a less than perfect spot as long as you actively give him instruction. With my junior hunter, it didn't matter how well you rode the canter, if the distance wasn't perfect he wasn't jumping. We literally either won the class or I fell off! If he wasn't the fanciest jumper ever I would have sold him down the river long before I did. :)

    That is awesome that you are going to take both of them to MayDaze. With the weather lately I am beginning to wonder if I even have any hope with one.

  2. I love when my camp friends get blogs!!! :) It makes me happy.