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!
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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.

Flying a Jellybean-kite

Spoiler alert: I’m pretty displeased with my position over basically everything, but in the spirit of documenting Jellybean, the good the bad and the ugly are all part of the story.

Friday we made it down to Pine Hill for some cross country schooling. Jellybean loaded right up on the trailer with the other ponies attending. She only pawed on the trailer until we headed off.

Once we arrived, the fun started. Jellybean was very concerned about the strange trees. Bellville features pine trees, and Jellybean seemed concerned that she could see through them. Not as many oaks down here. We tied to the trailer and then left the ponies to sign in. Jellybean was more settled with Quest and Cowboy by her side. She kept flipping from side to side and looking.

We tacked up and I was pleased to notice that Jellybean has grown into Knots’ jumping boots! Some people fit tack and equipment at home, but other people show up late. Sigh. We walked around while everyone else got tacked up and then we mounted. Jellybean didn’t really trot off, but she did jig all the way down the hill, mostly straight, but sometimes sideways.

This really amused me, since I’m choosing to take it as proof of her thoroughbred blood. When we got to the bottom of the hill we spooked at a person standing behind those fuzzy trees again. This was still amusing, because it was so out of character. Hmm. We trotted around and warmed up a little bit, still staring at everything. I got distracted coaching some of the students and Jellybean mostly stood there.

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I’m on the right, Jellybean doesn’t look crazy here

As everyone went over the log, we headed over to the start box and started rolling. Lots of coaching (Maggie was distracted at this point, she is having a bad run with stirrup leathers). I did take Jellybean over a couple of times, and I wasn’t very impressed with myself. I need to shorten my stirrups! It seems like my brain should have registered that after riding the weekend before. Especially because Jellybean is determined not to hit the jump with her hind end.

I also can’t explain what is going on with my hands. She was being really good though, she stopped being so excitable as we got started. She never really cares about what the other horses are doing, and so she was just going along.

The next jump was the brush, which she went right over, except when she decided to put her foot down in the jump (?). Again, shorter stirrups. I’m kicking myself. The next time was better for Jellybean:

 

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Not beautiful

Back in the woods lives the steep hill with a log on top. I decided to walk Jellybean over it, but forgot it was a BN log. Luckily it was a short log, and we managed to walk up and down the hill without drama. I don’t know that she has ever experienced such a steep hill, living in the land of flat.

Anyways, after that little bit, we spent the rest of the time helping the other riders and hanging out. We did play in the water at the end of the outing.

One more log to jump over after the water and we were done. No major dramas, just crappy rider position. Jellybean did a great job!

 

Cross country schooling with the kids

Weekend one of cross country schooling, check! This weekend we headed to the open schooling at High Point Farm in Plantersville. They have a variety of friendly, introductory cross country jumps in a large field on a windy hill. This was the first outing with some of the kids, so we made sure to start them off right.

We made it about 20 minutes down the road and had a tire die. Ok, we brought the floor jack and we had a spare. A nice guy who saw the trailer roll up let us borrow some kind of tire iron, because of course it was the one thing we were missing. Wham bam. When I was digging around in the trailer I realized I left my helmet at home. Whomp. A really great parent ran back and grabbed it for me. Our barn family really is the bomb.

As soon as we arrived at the facility, we got stuck in the mud. I always forget how poorly the facility’s parking drains. It doesn’t help when you have seven horses in the trailer. Just sink in the bog. Luckily, while we were getting warmed up, the dads came to the rescue and got us on good ground.

All good life lessons for the kids. How to overcome haha. Anyways, we got warmed up and Knots and I went over the warm up oxer. I was getting a little bit left behind, so I tried to fix my position. Unfortunately I didn’t realize that I should have taken my stirrups up a hole until I looked at the pictures. Oops.

We started over the starter jump. I jumped over the beginner novice/novice jump and then over the training/prelim starter jump! Weeee

Knots wasn’t really snapping up his knees like he often does. We were doing a good job of getting to the base of the jump. I was still a little shaky following along.

After the starter set we moved to the tires and jumped over those. Not too exciting, we have tires at home. He is so handsome with his clip.

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Next we jumped some barrels and played on the up and downs. I had a really good run through:

Things were going really well at this point, we jumped over the novice lattice thing, which gave us a little bit of trouble. I got left behind and landed hard, but we worked it out and had a nice jump.

We tend to jump pretty flat (right jump) but as we were getting a little deep Knots had to really round up (left jump). This was causing me a bit of trouble. About this point we realized we were running out of time, so we kicked it into high gear. I wanted to jump one of the novice combinations, the fake ditch and then four (?) strides to a bench. So off I went. I went off too quick for Robert to get a video, oops.

I jumped the baby ditch and got lined up for the bench and we got too deep. Knots rocked and jumped (a la pogo stick) and went over. Robert was watching and he said that Knots knocked me with the saddle in the air. Then we landed and as he cantered off he knocked me in the butt again. And down we went. I have a mental snapshot of being upside down looking at Knot’s hooves thinking, please don’t hit me as my head hit the ground and I rolled over my shoulder. Knots bucked up the hill until one brave mom stood in front of him and he was corralled. I hopped right up and went up the hill. My head was hurting, so I planned to be done for the day. I remounted and helped the kids get over the green box of death (which isn’t the ‘scariest’ GAG jump anymore).

I did a little bit more jumping when we got to the water, Knots and I jumped down in to the water a couple of times. Last time we were here, he wasn’t very into jumping into the water, but he didn’t care a lot this time. We finished up jumping the beginner novice/novice jump into stadium.

My head felt better, and I don’t think there are any concussion symptoms, so instead I just got to be a good example to the kids of what to do when you fall off. Another day in the life. We had a pit stop at sonic on the way home and finished out the day. Knots really enjoyed the trace clip, he was barely sweaty, except under the saddle (although, one of the dads pointed out he looked like a fat guy in a too-small sweater. oops). All in all a good day. We need some more work on going over higher jumps with appropriate stirrups. I need to keep pushing my butt back and bend a little bit more over the jumps. Thanks goodness for pictures. The new bit also made things more adjustable. You can really see it in the video, he was actually listening to the half half. I changed him from a regular snaffle to a slow twist full cheek. Now I just need to buy one instead of borrowing.

Dressage lesson this week and cross country schooling with Jellybean on Saturday, stay tuned!