No students all week… lets have some fun!

Our last week of summer camp was last week, and this week is a “mini-vacation” of sorts. No riding lessons or students in the morning or evening! What could we do?

I rode Knots this morning and we worked on the same fan/bounce exercise Maggie set up last week. Last we we practiced it with some tiny crossrails, and it hard not to rush, especially with such a need for steering. Basically, you ride through the bounce and then the outside jumps are five strides and the inside jumps are six, even though some of us… ride a four-stride and a five-stride.

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Terrible fuzzy drawing, sorry.

We warmed up with a super lazy walk/trot/canter. Knots had already eaten breakfast, but he was feeling sluggish. He also kept staring at Gracie devouring his hay… I haven’t been jumping with spurs, so we just went with it. I spent some extra time moving my hips with the canter, maybe I can stay away from the chiropractor for a bit longer. Long story short, crooked horses make or cause crooked backs and painful hips. But, what came first, the crooked horse or the crooked back?

Anyway, I set the cross rails up to about 2, 2’3″ and the verticals to 2’3″/2’6″ (who measures anyway? even though we have four jump sticks now).We warmed up over the two outside jumps, just one jump at a time. Then we put it all together. Through the bounce, over the outside jump, around, back over the other outside jump, and back through the bounce. Its kind of like a keyhole. And! There are videos!

 

Knots was being very relaxed, and I was trying to sit up and let him figure it out. I did push a little on the second video. We are really starting to build an adjustable canter, and its making life so much easier!

I think the rest of the week will be some more riding and a lot of catch-up/scheduling things, but looking forward to fall I think there will be a bit more time to focus on some horse training.

Oh! And since you loyal readers care about more than just horses, Robert asked me to marry him last weekend, and I said yes! I’ll try not to put too much wedding fun on the blog, but who knows what we will decide to go with?!

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Jellybean News

Hello all! It’s Ashlynn, back with some Jellybean news.
I’ve been on vacation, and am currently on another right now. While I’ve been at home, though, exciting things have been happening in Jellybeanland. As an overview: lease began, new training, and tricks.
After the first vacation, Pony Club camp, and a show with Tank, I started helping with barn camps and riding Jellybean. We also signed a lease, which means I have a lot more riding time with Jellybean. On the flat, we’ve been working on listening to my legs more, especially my right leg, and using the outside rein. We tried to figure out poles, and we pretty much have them down for the most part…I think. Our current training goal is to prep for an event this fall. Our other long term goal is to master flying changes. This will take a bit, as it does need some foundation work first.
Since I have more time with Jellybean, I have also decided to teach her some tricks. I have started to teach her how to “hug”, and more tricks will come soon. It was fun to teach her, after she understood what was going on.
Hopefully, Jellybean is being good back in Texas. When I get back, I will start to post more as we progress with our goals.

On a real schedule

So this wild thing has been happening as I have started working at TBS. I actually ride on a schedule, almost every day. Its crazy. In the last two weeks, I have ridden Vinny four times and Knots six times. Wild. I actually ride more than I have time to write about riding…

I’ve been having one jump school each week for each horse and then flatting the other rides. We have worked on courses the last two weeks, I have a hard time thinking during the courses. Practicing having my brain engaged through the entire process is key. Practicing over all the jumps in the courses is also great for focusing on my position. I still need to sink further in my heels over the jumps and relax a bit. I still look tense in the air.

Knots is sooooooo much more relaxed. While he has a lot of impulsion, he isn’t rushing to the base of the fences, he’s waiting for them to come to him. I can actually half-halt, and I’m just using the snaffle at home. He is much more confident over height, and as we keep working, he is starting to jump a bit rounder.

No pictures of flat work unfortunately. Its apparently too boring for people to watch or take pictures of :(.

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On the flat, Knots and I have moved back into side reins and we are trying to build up a bit of strength in the canter. Oh and keep trying not to be tense. And actually maintaining contact on the outside rein. I suppose the first point is what I want to be working on, but the second and third points are what I end up doing.

Vinny and I have been working on the right lead canter departs and building enough strength to hold the canter in the dressage arena. The Intro C test requires less than three quarters of a 20 m canter circle, but one has to actually pick up the canter and hold the correct lead. Preferably without pulling my arms out of the sockets.

The campers helped set up the dressage arena last week, so I’m hoping to move the flat rides into the arena and work on some of the test movements.

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As a bonus, last weekend we were able to do some conditioning out at Indian Spirit Springs. Knots and I trotted a lot, up and down some hills, and then we cantered up a couple of hills. His breathing was really good, and (as usual) he still has lots of energy up until the end. This makes me feel better about BN in a couple of weeks. It’s going to be terribly hot.

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After the show, I’m looking forward to fitting in rides on Gracie and Jellybean. #goals

And suddenly it’s summer

That’s kind of how Texas goes. Rain, rain, rain, then suddenly summer is here. This week has been the first week of riding camps and the first [full] week of Amanda bootcamp.

Amanda bootcamp is pretty straightforward, I’m just trying to get to a shape other than round for the July 3rd horse trial. I’ll be taking Vinny and Knots, and I would prefer to not die on course. I’m trying to ride at least a horse a weekday and I’m running a mile every day in June.

Friday we had a big day. We picked up a trial horse for a client that I’m really excited about. Before the trial, Maggie and the kids rode. And of course I did something stupid. Life lessons here: morbidly obese horses and bareback don’t really mix. It’s hard to hold on when you have short legs and are basically riding a table. I tried to lope the horse off, and I got right of center. Down I went. Solidly painful splat. Go team… This also meant I took a day off from running on Saturday, but Sunday I was just fine.

Monday was a little bit crazy, we decided to ride at 7am. This sounds easy, but when your alarm goes off at 6:10 its hard to run, eat, and make it to the barn to be getting on about 7. It didn’t help that the footing was also crappy. I ended up walking Knots around in the dressage saddle for awhile and accomplishing nothing.

Gracie had a stressful day on Monday. She was ridden by a new intern, which of course ruined her ‘stand all day and eat with friends’ plan. Then she was moved to the fat kids pasture, where the grain is less abundant. She paced the fence line when I left Monday, and she was still pacing this morning…

Then the chiropractor came on Monday afternoon. She did Gracie and Knots, and some of Maggie’s horses. I always like chatting with her and hearing all of her interesting stories. And the ponies like her ;). She’s coming back to adjust Knots one more time before the show. Gracie was a bit indifferent about the adjusting, but Knots was very relaxed and pleased to see the doctor. No side eye for the chiro.

Tuesday went much better than Monday.

I got up when my alarm went off the first time, then I went running. I had time to eat my breakfast, and I got to the barn closer to the right time. I rode Vinny on the flat where we continued working on not running from the leg. He still wants to run when I ask him to move over, which leads to me holding the reins and holding his head up. He was definitely better today than he was last week.

Maggie mentioned she was going to have a jump lesson with another student, which I jumped in on. We worked over a crossrail-oxer thing and then added canter poles. Knots had a mental breakthrough. Instead of running through the poles, he listened to my half-half and balanced through them and had a nice jump over the 2’6″ oxer at the end.

One of the canter poles turned into a cavaletti, and Knots gave me the same great attention as before. This exercise is great for him because it helps him really get to the base of the jump and roll back and round over the fence. We have a lot of trouble with this, Knots thinks fast is best. He gets nervous when we go too slow. Normally he blasts through this type of exercise. But not today!

We finished out with a big single oxer. The other student has been struggling with trusting her horse a little, and so Maggie pushed the jump up to show her that she can indeed do it. I got to jump it too, and have a couple of pictures.

You can see in the left picture, we got to the ideal take off spot, but Knots didn’t quite lift high enough. On the right, we jumped high enough, but a little early. We both need more practice at seeing the ideal take off spot. My leg isn’t terrible, but I need to imagine pushing my butt back and moving my hands down as we jump over more substantial fences. Maggie said this one was about 3’3′, which is pretty fun 🙂 Go Knots go!