Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Weekend Horses

At the week-end Lydia and I were invited to visit about 2.5 hours south for a friendly competition/get together organised by Helen . In spite of a rather drizzly day (can you believe we had not a drop at home even though it's badly needed) we arrived as the riders were coming back from the orienteering part of the Trec, it was great to finally meet all these folks that I've known 'virtually' for a while. After a super curry for lunch the competitors started on the 'obstacles', a couple of small jumps, bending poles, ducking under a line of flags, walking over tarp etc After the girls had finished Lydia was very lucky to have a go on Polo, who was a superstar (thanks Hollie), and then got to play with Gandalph, Chester and Seraphina. It was a lovely day and really fired Lydia up. Thanks Helen and all the gang who made us feel so welcome. On Sunday Lydia and I worked Chapiro and he was a little star, it's hard for him to adapt to her as I use a lot of voice aiding and of course Lydia's aiding is slightly different but he coped well. After some pole work in walk and trot we then raised the poles so he was having to really lift and stretch, Lydia finished with her first canter on him and a daft grin on her face! Good week-end, Lydia and Polo (receiving sustenance from Tanya).

Ali and Seraphina on the course

Big 'G' (Lydia's fave)

A short, badly filmed video (I was too busy chatting oops)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

really showing off now

Yahoo the boy done good! First canter in the school and no problems, two transitions from trot to canter on each rein, every time correct lead and no excitement just calm and business like; I so love the boy :)) I'm so happy that he has a lovely balanced canter and that he seems to enjoy this work, makes me realise that I'm maybe not so rubbish after all as it's only me and him, nobody else's input. Can't wait for more although I mustn't be impatient. Sadly the batteries died on the camera before the canter work but I'll capture it another day.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

13th September 2011

Another good session, still a little tense when we start out but relaxing very quickly. A little leg yield and baby shoulder fore and an old exercise I haven't used in a while, basically designed around Kyra Kyrklund's stopping/starting and turning on a square principal (she designed her's from the same place I guess as Udo Burger and others....). Fundamentally you ride a line until you feel the horse trying to control the line (a shoulder leaning, a hind wavering...) at which point you change the line in an equal and opposite way to that which the horse is trying to take. Take as an example the horse throwing his 1/4's to the right, I would change the line by bringing the left shoulder around to the right and thus changing direction by 90° in the process and taking a new line across the school. We ended with some reinback which was improved after yesterday's session. Then we tootled off down the hill and had a trot back up, about half way up I voice cued canter and he didn't even hesitate.....he has such a lovely canter and I think it's nearly time to ride it in the school.

Monday, September 12, 2011

clever boy

I haven't done very much mat work with Chapsi for a while. Not because I don't think it has value (I know many are yet to be convinced) but because I haven't really needed it with the work we've been doing. However, as part of building up his strength behind I want to do more reinback both ridden and in-hand/lunge so I want to tidy up the aids and reaction time. As soon as I threw the mat into the school his eyes lit up! It's quite bizare because in a whole session of clicker work he will only get about two small hands of nuts but it certainly fires him up. Today he was on top form, straight on to the mat and standing square and after a couple of attempts he was backing from just my voice and then we tried a few with me stood at his side (to mimic the lunge position) and me sat on the mounting stool to his side each time he took a couple of confident strides so we called it a day and finished with a stretchy lunge. Very clever boy today. Oh yes and he will now let me spray the anti fly product onto a sponge right beside him and then wipe it over him....still a way to go but a step in the right direction. I was pleased that Heather OK'd my trot position, I've been panicking as the Barefoot is a very different feel to a treed saddle but if anyone is a good judge in these matters I'd say it's her.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

finding the balance

We've enjoyed a good week although, as ever, the weather has been at extremes. Moo has stayed perfectly sound and we started a little canter work again, if it all falls apart again then I know it's the canter causing the problems.

Chapsi has had some good sessions, trotting up our steep hill,  one using trotting poles which really helped him to pick up behind and then yesterday our best ridden session so far. It's a long way from perfect but I'm really excited that the things I've played with have actually worked. Chapsi is a little straight moving behind and so I'm focussing on getting the hocks moving and the pelvis tilting so that we ultimately end up with good lift through the withers and shoulders alongside a soft neck. Ordinarily this wouldn't phase me in the least but this is the first time I've attempted this without a bit. I'm still struck (or should that read shocked) by how many people will tell you that they only work from the back to the front and the hand has the lightest feeling when quite obviously when you see them work it isn't :(  am I being unrealistic thinking that this CAN be achieved without a bit, am I just too darned picky on what the true picture of lightness is?? I think I may cover this in a separate post.

So here is a video of Chapsi yesterday, I admit there are huge holes in his balance, he swings his quarters at times, loses his shoulders and we're not 'round' all the time but the energy and oomph are coming, perhaps we will find some paces in there!!! Oh and excuse lardy bum riding....I AM on a diet!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

la rentrée

Well almost and not too soon might I add! Lydia doesn't actually start until Tuesday as it's her first year at collège and they will be starting back a day later than the others. I would say there is an air of eager anticipation in our household right now but of course it won't last long once the first week's homework has been set.

My rentrée will be diet and exercise based in a huge effort to shift the six or seven kilos that have ungraciously welded themselves to my waistline, I'm dismayed to hear that our step class might not happen this year due to the ill health of the teacher, I really do need to join a class because I'm so darned lazy on my own.

Moo is still good and I'll start ridden work during this week. Chapsi is going well and it's amazing how a year on he seems much better able to cope (mentally AND physically) with the work. He's a little lacking in stamina during the ridden work (well who can blame him with fat momma astride) but we're up to about an hour's work most days and it's starting to tell on his waistline. The fly spray saga is slowly advancing, I basically hold it while I groom him and occasionally give him a little burst...slowly, slowly catchee.....

Today we did pole work on the lunge (well not really lunging, I'm more of a move around the school on the lunge sort of gal) and it really helped him pick up behind, reinback to trot and giravolta type work made up the rest of the session.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

1st September 2011

Tuesday I gave Moo a light warm-up and then some quite deep massage, I managed to get in behind his scapula (point of old problems) and found a very tight spot which he finally allowed me to get into. Yesterday I just did some gentle stretching with him as he seemed quite a bit better and today he seemed pretty good, yay!!! So just a little lunge to warm him up and then on to some stretches and light massage, hopefully I've sorted the problem but we'll have to see over the next few days. Certainly no ridden work for him until after the week-end.

Chapiro continues to impress! A couple of lovely sessions and I've upped the stirrups a hole and moved them forwards about 1cm which feels better, I could show you video that Lydia took but it would make you dizzy, lol, she definitely needs some work on keeping her hands still. I'll go back to the trusty fence posts next opportunity. Anyway, more on what we worked on.
The release when I ask with the unilateral rein is really coming on and aided by the touch of the whip at the shoulder stops an inside collapse. Injecting a little more energy can result in loss of the relaxed neck so I'll be patient on that and wait for him to build a little more stamina and balance before asking more oomph. We've had a couple of wanders about the place with Lydia on foot (she's a good gal) and he is very relaxed with her around and even went up the lane without a thought.
The fly spray saga continues, I can now spray near him or actually on to his rear end but he's a bit panicky about it all. I think I'll have to continue with water in the bottle until we have this thing licked, he was the same with the horse eating hose serpent but now he loves a bath....we'll get there I guess but every new situation seems a mountain for him to climb!