Saturday, September 27, 2008
I spent all Thurs. afternoon doing homework and then went out to the barn late afternoon. I took Grady out the XC course (he walks out quite nicely now, or atleast he has been lately) and rode him in one of the big open fields. He is SO much happier out there, he just went right to work. He's very forward, very solid, very responsive, and actually quite eager to work. We worked on transitions and simple changes for a bit, and then I let him gallop a few laps around the field. After the gallop I brought him back to trot and worked on stretchy chewy circles. The concept has finally seemed to *click* with him, and I was very pleased.
When I got back Jill and Tess had just gotten there. Jill wanted me to come riding with them so she asked Patty (barn owner) if I could ride one of her horses. So I got to ride Walter, a 7 year old prelim event horse that is the EASIEST horse I think I've ever ridden. It was very disorienting to get on a horse and have him autimatically go on the bit without even having to ask him. It was actually quite bizarre, but he was very fun to ride. We went out and went for a nice gallop.
Yesterday I rode Isis early and she was pretty good. Then I had a XC lesson on Sackett and it was AWESOME!!! We are starting to jump higher jumps and harder questions, and it's actually going really well. I pretty much did all Novice fences and a few of the easier Training fences. Rocky had me jump the hardest Novice jump Birchbury has. It's on an incline going into the woods, it's a skinny with a tree on both sides, and it's a very intimidating looking jump. Or I guess it's supposed to be, but I didn't think it looked very scary. Anyways, I jumped it perfectly the first time! I find that the hardest XC jumps for me are "square" roll tops where the top is flat. It's really hard to find the distances to those... But Rocky said that that's normal and that it's hard for most people.
Then I brought Grady over to Lindsay's and had an excellent lesson on him. We worked on getting a firmer connection to the left and smoother transitions. Our work was actually really nice. I discovered that my connection is much steadier going to the left if I lower my right hand. Isn't it weird how dumb little things like that can make SO much of a difference??!! Lindsay was also very impressed with his sudden improvement in stretchy chewy circles... She said that all the ones we did were worthy of atleast a score of 8!
THEN I rode Julia and had a great ride. First we worked on lengthening the trot, but the word extending is probably more accurate. We were doing WAY more than a lengthen. Then we worked on cantering and keeping her body straight. She has a tendency to push her haunches to the inside (something typical of more advanced dressage horses) so I had to really work on getting her straight. I was having a heck of a time until I started just *thinking* about riding a half-pass. Not actually DOING a half pass, but thinking about it. Suddenly she got straight! At the end we worked on leg yields and they were the most beautiful and excellent feeling leg yields I have ever ridden. Yay!! Lindsay was also very pleased with them.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I am LOVING my web design class. Once I have my current web design project published I'll put the link up here so you guys can see my work. Have I mentioned that I am going to be making Pferde Farm a website as my "big" web design project? I am so excited!! I've already been brain storming like wild.
My jumping lesson on Grady was AWESOME today!! Grady is finally starting to get over it and just JUMP. Before he would jump nicely, then when Rocky would switch up the program (like adding a new jump) he would put up a fight. We'd fight through it once, then he'd be cool. Then it would happen again the NEXT time we switched it up. But today he was really quite good the entire time. There were a few jumps where you could tell he was questioning or hesitant, but he never once refused. At the end we jumped a nice little course and I was praising him like he'd just jumped a clear round at the Rolex!
Monday, September 15, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Yesterday was quite a busy day. I rode Sackett first in a jumping lesson and that went pretty well. I still get a little thrown by larger courses of jumps, I need to get a better feel for taking each jump at a time without getting psyched about the next one. A course will start out very organized and then it will get sloppier and sloppier as we go! Rocky seemed to be happy with our work for the day, but I felt like I could have done better.
Then I rode Grady over at Lindsay's. I love it over there, it is so much fun. I tried Bev's Albion saddle on Grady and it seemed to fit him pretty well. I've had a heck of a time finding a decent fitting saddle for Grady. If I decide to buy this one it will be my 4th saddle for him, but I think it's the best fitting one I've tried so far. I am going to ride in it today and tomorrow and see if he seems to like it with a few days of use. The lesson went pretty good... He tried to pull a few fast ones but we worked through them. I am so thankful I have someone who is helping me with his issues!
I rode Julia next... She is tons of fun to ride. It's so nice to be on a big, flashy, well trained,horse - and she actually behaves!! Maybe someday Grady will get there, but he's not there yet. I think Lindsay was impressed with how well we do together because Julia is NOT an easy horse to ride. She's well trained and knows enough that your cues have to be dead on to get the correct results... Plus she's just a, well, a b****y mare!! I am so happy I get to (finally) ride an upper level horse that I really click with.
I rode Isis in the late afternoon. She was very good and we worked on more transitions. I upped the difficulty a few notches and I was very pleased with how she responded.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Well I finally got my act together and got some videos of Isis for you guys. Actually, I had my dad video tape me because I wanted to see how Isis's lengthenings/ leg yields/ and medium trot were coming along. As you'll see in the videos, her gaits aren't that great - particularly her canter. I love her to death, but she just doesn't have any brilliance in that canter!! her leg yields are functionally correct, but also not brilliant. When I watch Grady leg yield in the mirrors in the indoor his inside leg literally crosses a good two feet over his outside, but isis just kind of steps across. *shrug* Anyways, enjoy! Please ignore how utterly retarded I sound. Infact, turn your sound off!!!
I had another jumping lesson on Grady today. Lynn joined us with her baby horse Natalie, an awesome Oldenburg. We started with a grid (eventually built up to two feet) and then added additional fences on. Grady was a bit thrown off by the "turn/jump/turn/jump" thing because so far he's just had to work through a grid... There was one jump with white (OMG!!!!) poles that he found scary every time. I rode him hard towards that fence and he'd be fighting the whole way over!! Rocky said that I have to be like cement to get him over those fences. Lynn was laughing at me because of how "cementy" I was!! She was like "there was ALOT of 'grrrr!!' in that ride!!"
You'll see two simple changes, a canter lengthening, and a trot lengthening in this video.
You'll see two leg yields to the right
You will see some medium trots across the diagnol and then a leg yield to the left (my tricky one)
Another leg yield to the left
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Then I had to tutor for the first time. It went pretty well over all. Fortunatly I'm with a group of other tutors that I really enjoy. I worked with a girl on her english paper for about a half hour and then I worked on the computer with another lady. She was taking an online class about computer concepts... Well, the problem was was that she really wasn't even sure how to get into her online class. So she hadn't done any of the homework for the first two weeks. I worked with her for about three hours. She was super nice and I was tutoring the subject I enjoy, so it was a good experience, but it was exhausting... I literally had to teach her everything from opening a file to how to do her homework. But that's ok, that's what I'm there for. And she'll get it - it'll just take time. At the end she gave me a big hug and thanked me about six trillion times, so that was really nice. It was also in front of my boss and that can't hurt anything!
I worked at the library through the afternoon. I was close to brain dead by the end. Typically on tuesdays I go to Birchbury after the library, but there's a show this weekend, so I figured I'd better try to get my homework done before the weekend since I wont be able to work on it then. I'm also getting other things like paper work, answering emails, and other stuff like that done too. *sigh* I hate having to choose homework over my horses. My only consolation is that my classes this semester are the classes I need to get my career going, so it's really just a short amount of time before horses can be the focus. Stay strong Kristie!!!
Yesterday Lydia and Taylor dropped in at the library and gave me some prints of pictures from Otter Creek. Two of them were of the downhill portion of the canter stride, so neither where that great, but I scanned the other two which are both ok.
Monday, September 8, 2008
My jumping lesson went really well today. We worked on a grid with bounces and then added that grid into a larger course. My sharp turns after fences are greatly improving (Rocky continually told me not to run through the arena fence), and ever since that fence snafoo at the show, Rocky has been having me practice alot of sharp turns. (The turn wasn't the problem though - it was my memory!!) I over jumped the first bounce we did and Sackett tried to jump two jumps at once... But after that our bounces were quite smooth.
And guess what, somebody GAVE Rocky a 3rd Level dressage horse and his $5000 custom made saddle. Yes, GAVE!! Lucky!! Yes, I am extremely happy for her... I just can't wait for the day when someone will be giving ME free 3rd Level horses! The horse's name is Arthur and he has been consistently scoring in the mid 70s at 3rd Level. *sigh* Some people have all the luck. Of course, she is a trainer with a great reputation and lots of experience... So I guess I just have to wait my turn!
Sunday, September 7, 2008
If you're interested in taking the test here's the link:
In other news, I rode Grady earlier today and he was pretty good. I rode him out in the jumper ring and he hasn't been out there for a couple weeks. The jumper ring is a complete hazard zone of jumps and jump parts laying in and around, so it's a great place for Grady to get his spook on. He actually did try a couple times, but I've gotten pretty good at preventing and correcting him when he's naughty. (Thank you Lindsay!!) He was "on edge" the entire ride, but he was absolutely obedient and was actually quite brilliant. He even walked over a liverpool several times without (hardly) any hesitation.
It's such a beautiful day today, I'm going to go out and take Isis for a trail ride soon...
Saturday, September 6, 2008
In other news, yesterday I rode Grady out on the XC course. The weather was cold and windy and I wasn't sure how well he was going to behave... But he was a super star!! I only rode him for 20 minutes because there was absolutely nothing more I could have asked of him. I also rode Isis and Sackett and they were both very good. My jumping lesson schedule has been a little hairy this week because of Labor day and Rocky's daughter's first day of kindergarten... But next week it will get back to normal.
I had to work all day at the library today and that was fine. Then this evening I rode Isis and dad filmed my ride. I wanted to see her lengthenings, medium gaits, and leg yields. I was really pleased with what I saw when I watched the video. I hope to post some clips on here later this week... So stay tuned!!
Friday, September 5, 2008
Well, so in my adventures of taking computer classes I ran across a feature of Word 2007 that I didn't know it had… The ability to make blog posts. So I'm giving it a try. Hopefully this will work; I've never done it before so this is more or less an experiment. It's kind of odd though and the blog post document is behaving in ways that normal word documents don't. I was hoping I could add borders and all that, but it doesn't seem to have that capability.
Anyways, have I mentioned that my sister graduated from basic last week? Here's a picture of her and my dad looking rather serious. My parents went down to her graduation, but I didn't since I have school, work, and (of course) my poniez. Did you know that dressage riders that are in the army can compete in their dress uniforms? I keep telling my sister that she needs to start doing dressage so she can ride in that sweet coat she's wearing.
Hmmm, I'm not sure if I'm liking this blog thing… Oh well, I'll try it this one time and if I don't like it I won't use it again. It's also annoying because it's catching all my grammar errors. Well, DUH, of course I'll have grammar errors when I'm writing casually.
Oh, and by the way, Lindsay and the rest of the competitors from Pferde Farm or down in Mason City, Iowa for regional championships right now. Good luck to them!! I wish I could have gone, but I didn't make it to enough shows to earn enough qualifying scores. Oh well, there's always next year! And if Grady continues in the way he's going now, he'll be absolutely FABulous by then! There is actually one show for qualifying for next year that is on the first weekend of October, so I'm very excited about that. And it's at Otter Creek… Grady seemed to be quite comfortable there. It is SO nice to be with a competitive barn. I'm going to go to practically all the shows next season!
Yesterday I was extremely tired and didn't feel very well. I was a little sick to my stomach and had a head ache. I know that on days like that it's better if I don't ride Grady. I just don't have the energy to ride as hard and discipline the way I need to. So I didn't ride him, I just brought him in and groomed him for 45 minutes. The one thing I definitely DON'T normally like to do is groom. My grooming is typically about 5 minutes max if I'm going to ride - just getting the dirt off before I put the saddle on. So Grady thought it was weird that I was just sitting there and brushing and fussing. I feel really bad though because I picked his feet and left a bunch of dirt on the floor and forgot to sweep it up. I had every intention to, but I was putting his stuff away and thinking about how nice it would be to just be at home and lay on the couch. So I forgot. So I feel terrible about it.
I rested for awhile and rode Isis in the evening. I went the "Anky van Grunsven" route last night and rode her for about an hour and a half. You know, a lot of people don't like Anky but I think she's great. We worked on pretty much everything: medium gaits, simple changes, walk/canter and canter/walk, haunches in, shoulder in, leg yield etc. Isis did very well. I think one of the most valuable and helpful things Lindsay has taught me so far about leg yields is that you DON'T look in the direction that you're going. My old trainer always told me that I should and it always felt extremely awkward. The other day in a lesson Lindsay was like "are you looking at the wall? Don't! Look straight ahead!" And it made a WORLD of difference. My leg yields on Isis are also far easier if I ride with my head straight forward. Whatta ya know.
Well, it's off to the barn. He he, I have ALL my homework done for the week. Absolutely everything is completed and turned in. Quizzes are taken. Yesssss. And I have an A in all my classes so far. So I'm going to start working on next week's homework tonight so I can get ahead!! Incase you haven't noticed, I'm no procrastinator.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Anyways, life has been super exciting though!! School is (so far) going pretty well. I like the classes that I'm taking. I've decided that I don't want to go the college route right now (rather get a working student job at a barn or something like that), so since my parents want me to go this year I'm just taking classes that I want to take. So I'm taking Intro to Archaeology, Microcomputer Word Processing, and Web Design 1. I do like computer stuff!!
My riding has been going really well. My lessons with Lindsay have really improved Isis's work at home. She is solidly working at 2nd Level, really getting it together. Very exciting!! Even leg yields are going really well. Grady has been doing really, really well too. He's actually developing quite a work ethic. Lindsay is amazing!! And guess what?? I took a lesson with Rocky on Grady today. WE JUMPED!! Not kidding. We started over ground rails and then built up to cavaletti. Grady was being so good that Rocky just kept making them higher. By the end of the lesson Grady was going through a gymnastic that started out with an 18 inch cavaletto, than two ground poles, than a 2' one stride combination!! I could not believe it. And he was absolutely trucking his way through, he never once said no... It was very exciting. I'm going to keep up with the jumping on him, I think it's great for his brain.
Speaking of jumping, here are some links to some recent jumping events. The first link is of the jumping schooling show I did a couple weekends ago (yes, when I crashed through the fence - sorry, no pictures of that). I am on Page 6 and I'm the rider in the brown shirt. I like the look of the first picture but I look utterly demented. In the second picture I really like how Sackett looks but my left leg swung back. This is becoming less and less of a problem thankfully. My right leg is as solid as it can be, but my left leg sometimes swings back if I'm not thinking about it.
In addition, Trottbrook Horse Trials, Minnesota's only recognized event was Labor Day weekend. It's very exciting to watch and I hope to do it next year. We had about 8 people from Birchbury compete this year. Lindsay's student Jen was also there, and Lindsay coached her for her dressage. It was very fun and what makes it even more fun is that now I know TONS of people there. Jill did her first prelim event ever and she made it through with a 7th place finish. Lynn won her Training level division which was SUPER exciting. All the Trottbrook pictures are at the link below. Jill's pictures start on Page 27 of the Prelim pictures. I did Einstein's braids!! Jill's dressage test didn't go as well as I've seen her do... I think her brain was perhaps getting in the way a wee bit!! *smile* Her XC went pretty well, she had two refusals. The first was at a very difficult corner jump with a very hairy approach. As you can see, when she got over it the second time she broke the flag!! She also had a refusal in the middle of the bounce because she didn't have enough gas coming in. It was funny because while we were watching Rocky said "c'mon Jill, he needs more gas or he'll never make that bounce..." And then afterwards Jill said "We needed more gas to make that bounce!!" It was pretty funny. Lynn's pictures start on page 16 of the Training Level picture group. Her dressage test actually went quite well and she got a 35. Her horse is Good Bye Ruby Tuesday and she is so pretty!! Her stadium was flawless and her XC pretty much was too. Jen's pictures start on page 27 of the Training group (she got a 33 in dressage, but unfortunatly her horse, Loose Cannon, was so tired for XC that he almost didn't make it through and actually stopped a few times) and Avery and So Far So Good's pics start on page 44. Avery placed 7th and did FAR better in her dressage than she thought she would!
In other news, I rode one of Lindsay's upper level horses for the first time last week. That was incredibly awesome and it was SO much fun to ride a horse that is so well trained. My riding had to be ten times more precise than what I'm used to. Evidently that horse, a Hanoverian mare named Julia (but pronounced Hoolia), is kind of a testy sort so Lindsay was very impressed that we seemed to get along so well. I'm hoping that if I can ride her through the winter I can perhaps show her next year at 2nd Level. She is not only a very well trained horse, but she is very stunning too so I am very excited!!