Tuesday, 14 October 2014

More trot than hot

The weather here is so changeable at the moment. It was 17 (c) today , is currently about 5 and this time next week it will be 35. The pony's coat doesn't know whether to go or come. This is her on the wrong side of the garden fence after yet another mane scrub on Sunday

Here is another terrible video, but it was a beautiful drive.

Monday I worked so a quick lunge was all that happened.

Today I went and drove at JC's. We had a good drive out and then I got to go out with JvR and Arnie, one of her gorgeous Fjord horses. He is new to harness although he is about 9. It was great to see how much he has come along. I want a Fjord! 

Looking forward to the weekend when I am having both a ridden and a driven lesson with an instructor from the UK.

Saturday, 11 October 2014


Twilight Ride 11.10.14

The quality of this video (and the riding therein) leaves a lot to be desired, but it is the video in which I discover that the canter may now be better than the trot?!? Also other interesting facts like I kick my pony a lot - not OK, that pony is sweet and forgiving ( well I already knew that), and that being videoed is a good way to get tense. I also noticed in one walk section how very floppy my core is, oh dear, time to fix that. The whip I have here is the jumping type, designed more to give the pony a mental jolt rather than a physical one, she hates dressage whips. This looks a bit yahoo but is more successful.

Next week I should have a new phone that takes awesome video and lets me edit them. Excitement.

After our ride, guess what, we stripped coat......

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

When you realise you weren't watching. Plus updates from the last three days.

Today I finished my entry for the State All-Welsh show. I ended up entering two led classes, one ridden and two harness. I may be slightly batty, especially since the pony still looks like this:

Lines, half her winter coat still attached and a two inch section of no mane. At least it is trying to stay on the right hand side now. Please note, however, the fashionable white welsh show halter! We were practicing her led trot out. Oh dear, she got fit since I did this last, I can't keep up and she did some very shifty manoeuvres. I like to think of as Welsh high spirits. That part of the pony's brain can go back in the box please!

She looks slightly better in her tack:

Pretty ears for Mum. I think I need to buy a half pad or numnah, any thoughts?

We also had a great ride. Excellent response for ask and RELEASE for bend. She SIDE PASSED. We cantered on the correct leads. She halted without falling over. yay!

After our ride I was trimming her feet and pony was being BAD. I got MAD. I then narrowly avoided an unintended urine shower. Note to self: actually watch what the pony is doing and work out why. She tried to tell me she needed something, I wasn't listening. Sorry pony.

To recap recent days

Monday I went back to the CDE state champs. The weather was horrendous. Photos were limited

Phoenix, K and L.

Wind gusts of 87km/ hr were recorded, it was grey, windy,dusty and hot. Then it got cold.
The horses were amazing. So proud of Hew ( gorgeous 16hh welsh d), Phoenix (13:2 arabian pony with spings on her feet, I love her, meets all my childhood horse ideals :) Danny (the exuberant and talented fjord horse), rocky and drew ( welsh ponies, I was helping out with these two a bit, they were tandem and amazing) and any others I forgot, and their drivers. It was a challenging daw and win loose or eliminate they did their utmost. I survived the weather and learned stuff. Gotta get out there one day.

Tuesday I took Aba out for a drive at JC's. She was great. We kept up with Phoenix and did 8 km in thirty minutes and her ten min recovery heart rate was 48. The day was beautiful. Her dislike of the float has been overcome and all went well. My carriage has also been raise by PC, thanks a lot!

After tonight's ride and hour of coat stripping I m exhausted, my two point lasted only 37 sec today, I blame the dressage saddle....

Sunday, 5 October 2014

2pointober, Spring Cleaning and Combined Driving State Champs

Today was a mixed bag. I started by trying to clean up my section of the feed shed the result was a hay explosion. Note to self: more small bales this season, having to resort to round bales creates too much mess.

I then rode the pudgy pony. She looks so odd in this photo because I am starting to train her mane to her wrong side as the all welsh state show is looming. This side of her neck is weird. She is also standing with legs to the four winds.

Please note the cross country saddle. Today I took my baseline for Vivacarlos' blog challenge "2pointober". Embarrassingly short at 2min26seconds. That isn't half a cross country course. The aim is to work on this over the month of October. There are prizes but given the competition is in the US I am really competing against myself.

We worked on the exercises from my last W.E. Lesson. Mainly inside bend with bigger requests and bigger releases and shoulder in into 8 (or 10 or 12?) m circles. We did a little bit of canter, 2 point canter is preferable to dressage canter! Also riding in 2 point seat on a trotting welsh cob is some sort of torture.

So very itchy....and liney. Go away winter coat.

All that by 12 pm.

I then visited my friends one week old Cleveland bay x warmblood colt foal. Oh my goodness, soo cute, he has the longest legs I have ever seen! She currently has a 17hh warmblood, a 16:3hh Irish draught horse and the dam of the foal, 16:3hh CB x WB. Too big for me.

My horsey escapades wound up with going the State Combined Driving Championships.

I was supposedly helping my friend who was competing with a tandem ( for those who ride not drive: one horse in front of the other). I don't think she needed much help. I did film her dressage test and tomorrow will help her cool her horses out at the check point between the Marathon and the Obstacles. I also learned that just like with singles you MUST disconnect the traces before the reins. Sorry MW!

Stay tuned for the excitement of the MO's tomorrow.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Novice on novice or lucky my pony is hard to freak out.

Photos to follow 

Due to a busy work week, bad weather and my dog passing away Aba has been biding her time since our lesson on Monday. She really needed a decent workout and my body wasn't cooperating so my Mum and I took her out for a forrest drive. 

She moved when we put her to, nothing awful just moving forward as I did up the traces which caused her breastplate to get uneven and made everything difficult. I need to get a hitching rail put in as we had her tied to the shed post and if she wants to move to the side and forward she can. It is also difficult as you are pushing the vehicle up a slight hill when you put her to. With some firm advice on what was wanted she settled down and stood still, crisis averted.

That aside we were having a great drive, my Mum was surprised at how forward she can be when she is in the mood. The sun was shining and all was well with the world....until the puddle of death. This puddle is wide ( no way round it) muddy ( pony says no way though it) and large ( no way over it either, says miss A). As a result we ended up with some dodging sideways, turning around and generally baulking. I got out, waded the ankle deep mud at the pony's head four times then got in and drove her through it. Ta da pony, you can go through it. My shoes will never be the same :( I figured out that I have been nervous to use my whip in these situations but actually she needs that encouragement and it helps keep her forward and straight. No one got hurt today, I learned something and the pony was overall unfazed. We will keep working on this as long as the water persists.

The drive home was fast and enjoyable with some lovely canter sections. I am so pleased that the pony will canter then come back to a trot, walk or halt without getting feisty. Mum drove some of the way too. Water seemed to be the theme of the day as my girl needed cooling out so had a wash down, had her mane shampooed and replaited and her coat stripped ( still working on that!). 

I met my parents new dog afterwards ( just two days and a new dog has arrived)  so all in a great day.

Be watching out for my posts over the next two days as I will be strapper for MW and her tandem at the state CDE champs. There won't be much on the Aba front but I hope to learn heaps and egg some good pics.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Dressage in Working Equitation

Monday we had our second working equitation lesson. The pony had overcome her terror of Fergus the bull, although it took her the first half of the lesson to settle into herself. We were somewhat hampered by be waking up without normal feeling in my hands (severe pins and needles and pain). This happens on a semi regular basis and leaves me feeling a bit strange. By the time I arrived I had my hands back but decided to ride Aba in the light rider bitless bridle. It doesn't have the finesse of a bit but less likely for my issues to affect her. My instructor would rather it was a straight side pull without the ability for the noseband to tighten. We will play with that. 

http://www.lightriderbridle.com ( obviously this isn't Miss A)

The first half of the lesson we worked on dressage to improve Our skills to handle the obstacles. 

First take home point: I tend to ask then hold, I need to ask then release or I'm going to be holding forever. My ask is too soft, my release too small.

Secondly, after 28 years riding (minus a few in the middle) I do know which trot diagonal I am on, I need to think more consciously about this and stop looking down!

Once we had some bend to the inside we started working on shoulder in. Rather than ask Aba to bring her shoulders in from the outside track we turned down the three quarter line then let her quartes "glide" out onto the outside track. We would go on like that then about an 8m circle in two tracks, returning to one track by the outside track. Apparently we achieved this, I felt the shoulder in but thought the circle was pretty suspect.  

We discussed that a pony like Aba is well able to do a six to eight meter circle, a warmblood would need more like 12 for this exercise. Similarly Aba, even at this stage of her training should be doing an 8m circle in the corners of the arena. This led to a discussion of the outside leg. I tend to do nothing with my outside leg as it seems to make Aba more crooked.

When on a circle the outside leg lives in the wedge (a) the natural swing of the leg and 'on the girth' . Where exactly is dependant on the size of the circle, with subtle consistency the horse will learn this. The wedge (b) is behind the girth and with upwards lift here is useful for the lateral movements. On the girth there may be consistent or on off pressure. Behind the girth the pressure should be more of an upwards wave.

So, we got the basics of shoulder in, we sorted out the outside leg issue. We talked about release.

Then we got onto working equitation! 

1 and 6 garrocha barrels
2 gate
3a and b barrels for figure eights
4 corridor with bell
5 bridge
7a, b and c poles for side pass, 2m for training, longer once established
8 bull and garrocha ring
9a to e weave poles
9e and f halt and move cup poles

In this lesson we ignored the gate and worked on the side pass as our only sideways movement. Side pass took some getting from the leaning tower of pony that is Miss A. Once I started PUTTING MY WEIGHT in my OUTSIDE  STIRRUP this got a whole lot easier. Really side pass is like leg yield, the horse is bent away from the direction of movement (interestingly in western pleasure side pass involves no bend) Side pass also involves NO forward so the horse has to rock ?back to get the inside foreleg across the outside one without falling over. The side pass has a way to go but I suspect Aba will find this much easier at home when I am calmer! 

We started with trot on the bridge - the pony can't possibly trot down hill. We still need to work on a square and centered halt between the halt poles. The bull and garrocha seemed easier this time, I used the broom handle garrocha not the short stick. 

We also got two canter transitions onto the left lead, yay!

So my home work is
1. Side pass
2. Halt between 2 markers
3. Shoulder in.
4. Release! ( I know know why the pony LEANS on me)
5. Maintain forward on a 10 m trot circle.
6. Think about where my weight is.
7. Think about where my legs are and how they are asking.
8. Learn to feel my trot diagonals 

Now to find the energy to ride the pony!

Saturday, 27 September 2014