Welcoming a new horse

Yep. Title doesn’t lie. We now own three magical money pits. Who’s the new third horse? Knots! Maggie and I worked out a deal, and now he’s mine-all-mine!

 

With that awesome news out of the way, we had a dressage lesson this morning. The sky was pretty ominous, but we went for it. Then S texted us when we were halfway there saying that we shouldn’t come if we aren’t already on the way. That’s always a good sign.

Anyways, we got there and it hadn’t started raining yet. I tacked Knots up and we got right to work, no slow-mo bs when the rains are coming. Warm-up was walk/trot transitions and working on keeping the outside rein connection. I’ve been dropping him as soon as he tries to take up the contact, and that silliness needs to stop. He warmed up really quietly. No tossing of the head and limited stumbles. Just ambling along at the same pace.

We went to the canter and mostly the same thing: balanced, even pace and accepting contact. And me not throwing away the outside rein. We cantered in the other direction and then took a mini-break while Maggie worked with Bear.

Then crazy things happened! S suggested we work on leg yields. Apparently I’ve been thinking about the leg yield wrong this entire time… we needed to be straight, not bent around the inside leg. Knots has no problem moving off the leg, but he wants to be bent. Moving off the right leg was better. To the left I wasn’t giving enough outside aids to make him stay straight, and so he was just bending and then moving. Not a leg yield. We did some circles to re-establish that he had to listen to my outside rein and that helped a lot.

About that time, the weather took a nasty turn. It started raining steadily about the time we started cantering. When we were finishing up the leg yields, the sky started throwing down lightning bolts. We got off at that point and finished up.

All in all, it was a nice morning to reflect on how far we have come. I’ve been riding Knots for three just over three years, and taking dressage lessons for two. We have learned so much, and I had a horse that was immediately relaxed and trying to figure out what I wanted, instead of our initial bracing and running. Good things ahead 🙂

 

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Baby Bucks, Cross Country Jumps, and Jellybean’s First Show

Guest post, as promised. Jellybean is starting a new adventure with Ashlynn. She is riding her in lessons for now, but if all goes well, Ashlynn will be leasing her this summer. Rumor has it Jellybean is even going to Pony Club Camp at Pine Hill! Ashlynn will hopefully be giving us her perspective on Jellybean’s thoughts and keeping us entertained with their adventures.
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Sorry for the late post—life is always busy for me. I’d like to introduce myself first, before we get to the exciting parts of Jellybean’s past two weeks. My name is Ashlynn Helm, and I’m the rider that has started working with Jellybean since spring break-ish. So far, I’ve only fallen off of Jellybean twice—but I’ll get to that later on. I ride Thursday evenings currently, once a week, and hope to ride more this summer and next school year (being a senior will have its perks, like two or three off-periods in the afternoon which equals more ride time!). Jellybean has already improved me as a rider, and hopefully I can also help her as she grows and matures.
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Photo: Sydney Sund

The past two Thursday lessons have been out in the cross-country field as practice for the show Saturday. The first Thursday went okay. At each jump, Jellybean would stop and look at it, walk over, and keep going. The second time over consisted of a long spot. After that, Jellybean trotted right over. She’s a quick learner.
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Photo Credit: Sydney Sund

The second Thursday, only a few days ago (the 5th), Jellybean decided to show me her version of “bucking.” When most people hear the word buck, they think a nose in the dirt, back feet flying, violent attempt to get a rider off. Jellybean? She has the head part down, but her back feet only do a small kick out. This is good and bad, because while she doesn’t buck violently, as soon as it works even once, she’ll just keep doing it to get her way.
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Now for the most exciting part of this post—Jellybean’s first show! Jellybean was super excited when I arrived to the barn to get her ready. There were all these different horses and people around, and she could definitely tell something was happening. In the warm up arena, Jellybean wouldn’t focus at first, but this was partly my fault. I was nervous, and that made her more nervous—leading to the first fall. Jellybean threw her head down to buck, twisted, and I flew off into the dirt. I got back on, we worked on a 20m circle until she was actually paying attention, and then started we started over a small cross rail. The first time over, Jellybean launched over, which I wasn’t expecting, so back down to the ground I went. After I got up, we continued to work over the cross rail and a vertical, and then we were ready to go.
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Photo Credit: Stephen Hyvl

We competed in the ‘We Have Just Begun’ (12″)  class, and in our group of 6, placed third. I even earned a Sticky Seat Award. The first round of WHJB went well, except for a startle at the brick wall jump and at a banner. The second round was a bit more interesting—a slight disagreement, baby bucks, and an attempted startle—but we both survived. [There are some videos that I’m hoping to be able to link soon]
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Photo credit: Jacob Gilliam

Overall, I think it went well. Jellybean survived her first show, got a fancy ribbon, and got some learning experience with the chaos of the warm-up area. Hopefully the next show will have less bruises and scary objects.
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Check back for more adventures soon!