2017 arrives, but it still feels like 2016

Whew. The holidays were a blur this year! The weather went crazy and almost everything got cancelled. On the Jellybean front, I rode her a few times and Ashlynn resumed lessons, but an exciting new opportunity came along, and Ashlynn is working on deciding whether she is going to permanently take on a new project:

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So this closes the chapter of Ashlynn and Jellybean. I think they both learned a lot, and I’ll be brainstorming about Jellybean’s next job. I might spend some more time riding her and take her to a few shows, or if the right person comes along I may lease her again. At this point, she has a great foundation. The biggest challenge to the interested rider is her sassiness. She needs a rider who will not tolerate her shenanigans.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on where the blog is going and what my thoughts are about it. It started as a great place to write about the daily accomplishments with Jellybean. She doesn’t really have daily accomplishments anymore (unless we count eating…). She will be turning six this year, and she is well into life.

I’m still working out how to balance running my new business (koenigediting.com check it out) and work at the barn and ride my personal horses. Its quite the challenge. While I’ve been riding twice a week or more, I haven’t had time to also blog about it. And sometimes riding recaps are hard to write. I like having a place to share pictures and videos, but I’m also posting a lot to instagram (@atindalla).

All this to say I’m not sure where all of this is going. So I might not write as much, until I figure it out. As always, thanks for coming along for the ride. Hopefully I’ll get a little bit of direction soon.

 

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Jellybean’s recent adventures

After the past two shows and Jellybean’s mostly grown up behavior, I was expecting a similar trip October 22nd at Topsider. Jellybean, however, had different plans.
The week leading up to the show, Jellybean became increasingly difficult to work with. I blamed the slightly cooler weather, and we worked through it. Then Saturday came…
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I arrived at the barn to find an adorable looking Jellybean sticking her head out of the stall she stayed in for the night. After putting her in the cross-ties, I put shipping boots on her and left her there to help the other riders find needed items. I returned and found that Maggie had put a blanket on Jellybean. At this angle, it fits, so I’ll let it look good.
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After everyone was loaded in their trailer, we went on our merry way to Topsider. Jellybean was content with pulling out her hay all morning. Katy, Olivia, Tyla, Hannah, and I studied our tests, as our rides were in the afternoon, and we also ate lunch.
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Soon enough, it was time to warm up. Jellybean was excited, so we walked around and did some trot-walk transitions to chill out. We had a few good canter transitions, then Jellybean was done with everything and started freaking out with every canter transition.
We chilled out for a little bit, then it was time for the Beginner Novice A test. Jellybean was wriggly as we walked in, especially by the judge’s stand again, and where the sun was shining in the arena. We trotted until the judge rang the bell and off we went. This test went well, as seen in the picture of the test below, except for one moment where we had “rodeo time.” When I asked for the right lead canter by the judges stand, Jellybean went sideways and we cut the circle nearly in half. We finished the test with a nice trot down the center line, and a square halt (even though it was slightly off the center line).
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While waiting for the second test, Jellybean figured out a way to amuse herself. First it was bit chewing, then flapping her lips.
When time came, the warm up for Intro C was rough with lots of head shaking and explosive canter transitions. She calmed down a bit and I thought we would be okay with the test…Oh how wrong I ended up being. Stepping into that ring, Jellybean was semi focused and after the halt, she slowly but completely lost it. I’ll let the video speak for me on this one.
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Overall, I would say that the show went okay. It also made me realize how much better of a rider Jellybean has made me, and how much she has to really work on.
Now for the schooling story from Sunday. Even though I am not going to do the High Point show in December, I went for the experience. This was Jellybean’s first visit to High Point and she did well, except for when there were ponies escaping riders. Then, Jellybean wanted to race with them as they ran away (we didn’t) and had to watch instead. She’s slowly learning her manners. When it was finally our time to practice, Jellybean was ready to go. We started with a small log type jump, which she went over easy-peasy. The next jump was a coop, which she also did fine at, and then we continued on to a bank.
At first, Jellybean did not want to go up, but after watching Joe and Knots do it she was fine. Then we had to conquer going down. Now, I’m not sure what exactly goes through a horse’s mind but I do know that going up should be as easy as going down. Jellybean disagreed, and we had trouble with going down for a bit before moving on. Knots and Amanda had to show her a few times before we got it.
We did another coop, then a green box jump. Surprisingly, Jellybean handled the box just fine. (from Amanda: the green box is probably the largest jump on course, and its the one that usually terrifies people.)
After doing the box, we moved on to a small wood jump (I’m not sure how to describe it?) When Jellybean comes up to a new jump, she first walks over it, then launches over the second time, then will relax and be fine with it…I, however, forgot the routine completely.
The first time, we walked. The second time, launch. I was not prepared and ended up in front of the saddle, holding onto her neck. (I do not recommend this position of riding at all.) After struggling to get back into the saddle, Jellybean shook her neck and I fell off. I’m tough and stubborn, so I got back on and watched everyone else finish. I couldn’t do much other than sit there since I was slightly dizzy and I couldn’t put my right leg in my stirrup. It ended up that I had twisted my knee, bruised most of the right side of my body, injured my lower back, and received a minor concussion. I should be good by next week and the adventure of No Stirrup November will begin again with the crazy mare. Wish us luck yall!

40s, Clears, and Monsters

By Ashlynn
After riding the sassy red mare for this long, I have figured out a way to gauge her mood and attitude for the day. It’s either a thoroughbred mood, or quarter horse mood. TB moods includes wanting to be spooky, run and buck, ignore all aids, and overall be a brat. We usually work this out as we ride. Quarter moods are the more sensible ones, where she listens and responds with minimal sass, and everyone is happy.
Last Sunday at Pine Hill, Jellybean was in a quarter mood and handled her first horse trial like a champion. Despite a near collision in the warm up for dressage, Jellybean stayed cool and focused, and we went on to get a score of 40 for the test.
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Then we had to wait. Jellybean entertained herself by pulling the rest of her hay out of the hay bag, then we had to get ready for stadium. In the warm up arena, we stopped at each jump before going over—I just needed more leg. That’s always the answer, sit up and more leg. After going over each jump a few more times, it was time…after we waited for a few more riders to go. As we walked in, Jellybean was focused and ready to go. We ended up getting a clear round, and walked out of the arena happily.
After a long afternoon, a nap for Jellybean, and a relaxed warm up, it was time for cross country. Now, at this point in the day, Jellybean was tired of this. The sass was showing in near full force as we went out, and she was probably thinking it was plain stupid—why do this when she could be eating or sleeping?
The second jump we refused and then walked over/on. With leg, we went over the 3rd and 4th without any issues, and then…flowers. After the 4th jump, a simple log, there was a large jump off to the side with some flowers in it. Jellybean decided they were monsters out to get her, but after a quick argument she accepted I was right, they weren’t going to attack, and we made it past. Coming around the water, there was a large prelim jump with a shadow across our path on the right—it had to be hiding a scary monster! So we sidestepped forward and sideways to avoid it…then Jellybean saw a large sand pile to the left, and backwards we went. An older lady was off to the side, shaking her head at the baby horse shenanigans as we argued back and forth—I was pushing her forward with both legs and seat, Jellybean was going backwards and sideways. We made a circle, then finally darted between the two monsters, and continued on our merry way.
The next two jumps we went over fine, after jump six there was a bucket with some more flower monsters that we darted past, and then we came up to the last jump: going, going, STOP. We circled and attempted 3 times before the team behind us caught up and passed us, and then we had another refusal. As the golf cart drove up (most likely to tell us we were done), Jellybean decided the cart was scarier than the small box jump and we finally went over. Doesn’t that just figure?
Despite the x-country refusals and elimination, Jellybean survived her first horse trial and (99% of the time) behaved like a champion. Everyone was proud of her and I can’t wait to see how the next trial goes! There are some cool pictures from the show by the official photographer here.
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Dressage Lessons

Yesterday I had a dressage lesson with Knots. Knots has been really good lately. We have few moments of actual crap, and he’s usually giving at least 85% effort. Take a break… and he gives about 75%, but that’s easy enough to work with.

We have stopped fighting about the contact, and he mostly listens to my legs. We can usually respond to more than one aid at a time. It’s crazy, especially considering where we were. The only problem is that now I’m not sure what we should be working on. Twenty meter circles we can do. He doesn’t come round very often, but he is consistently bent around my leg and accepting contact, especially circle right.

All this to say, I’ve been getting bored. We just ride 20 m circles. I wasn’t really sure what the next step was, since I’ve never worked with a horse in this way. This is why lessons are so important. I asked S what we could be working on while we’re developing consistent acceptance and the beginnings of roundness. I’m not always a master of words, which led to the initial response about riding consistently, oops.

After our chat though, she gave us some different things to work on, namely transferring the feel on the 20 m circle to other movements, including the leg yield and shorter time to change the bend. She suggested some modified figure eights, with a tear drop shape or along the rail doing a circle and changing directions, but smaller and harder for Knots to work on.

On some level I feel a little dumb that I had to ask these questions, but I was feeling unsure of how to continue progressing. It’s harder to polish than to start, that’s for sure. For now though, I’m feeling reinvigorated and excited for some flat work!

Weekend picture party

I’ve been posting a lot of pictures on my instagram (@atindalla) and the Diary of a Dusty Summer Facebook Page, so here are some of the recent highlights!

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Hanging out with Jellybean bareback!

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Gracie’s cut is almost healed, potential proud flesh aside.

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Vinny is such a good boy.

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Ashlynn and Jelly at Pine Hill Oct 2

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Ashlynn and Jelly at Pine Hill Oct 2

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One of the nemeses on XC at Pine Hill Oct 2

Stay tuned for a show write up! Ashlynn has promised me one very soon 😉

Riding Recaps

Busy weekend! Knots and I went to Pine Hill and then got in a lesson with our jumping trainer while Gracie cut her forehead apart.

Saturday was the schooling before most of the students head to the show this weekend. I was coaching some of the students with Maggie. I took Knots so we could have a nice positive outing after the terrible ride I gave him last time we were there. We didn’t do anything that was a real stretch. We jumped almost all of the beginner novice jumps, some of the novice jumps, and played on the “mountain” and worked up and down some banks. We also played in the baby ditch.

Mostly we ended up getting some great videos, thanks to Lachlan (!), and having good rides over all the rough jumps from the show. I did shorten the running martingale and ride in a regular snaffle without spurs. I’m torn about using the same equipment at the show, or upgrading to a kimberwick. And do I need spurs? Its always the thought that its better to have and not need than not have, but I’m not sure. I think the spurs add to the drama sometimes, especially if my leg isn’t quiet. The other thing I changed was the saddle. I have an older saddle that has better knee blocks than the newer one. It needs to be reflocked like I need to win the lottery, so I’ve been cautious about using it too much, and which pads underneath it. Problems to deal with sometime this winter.

No media from the ride on Monday. We worked on adjustability between jumps. I’ve gotten lots better at shaping the canter coming into jumps, but I’m still having trouble engaging through combinations and between related distances. We worked on a 4-5(?) stride bending line, with one side bent more than the other. No big jumps, just getting a good canter and having conscious thoughts between. Knots was really good. We are still arguing about how close to the jump we can get, and I need to be a bit more bossy. He can crawl underneath the jump and still round over, and I need to be more assertive about the deep spot sometimes, instead of being ok with a leap.

When we came home, I put Knots back out in the paddock and patted Gracie’s face. I noticed her forelock was all grubby, and then I saw the cut. I pulled her out to look at it, and then we cleaned it out.

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Tis but a flesh wound! She was going to be moved anyway, since she is having a bit of trouble gaining back some weight. Now she gets the isolation paddock and she has a shiny aluminum bandage over her boo boo. Sad Gracie.

Two Weeks Ago at Topsider Farm

Ashlynn here! Brave Jellybean had her first away-from-home show two weeks ago, at Topsider. It was a small dressage show, and she behaved like a champ—no bucks, bolts, or general baby-ish behavior. We rode the Intro B and Intro C tests, and received scores of 55 and 57.75 respectively. Score sheets are below.

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The only huge issues were not being sure of walking into the shade of the covered arena, which a leg on fixed, and then not being relaxed enough to walk, which was partly my fault.

Our next show goal is Pine Hill, which we are registered for. It will consist of dressage, show jumping, and cross country and will be quite an adventure. I can’t wait! Schooling is this weekend, and hopefully we’ll have videos and pictures.

Current schedule for riding is Mon/Tues, Thurs, and then a weekend day if possible. Two dual credit classes, 2 AP classes, a high school psychology class, and cross country running doesn’t make it easy, but it happens! Special thanks to Amanda for allowing me the honor of working with Jellybean during this time in addition to being my main trainer, Maggie for transportation and training tips every now and then, Jacob for filming and funding, and Leah for supporting and also helping with transportation. None of this would happen without them!

You can watch a video Jacob made of the dressage tests at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHKnLrykUtU