Thursday, May 31, 2012

May 31st - 9:17pm

Another day spent back in the saddle. After yesterday's dressage/position boot camp I was able to start from 8:00am on with a plan of what to work on with myself and what I hoped to achieve with the horses. Already I can tell a difference. Im not beating the horses to death with my leg to keep them going, the transitions are sharper and they're following their shoulders more than just going where I happen to point their nose. So much easier to ride them even if the postion itself feels so different. We did a short lesson with me on Justinian and Pez on Twilight. It was another "this looks simple but since neither of you can get it exactly right we're doing it" exercise. Canter a ground pole with three short strides to another groundpole (eventually became an x-rail) and before the next pole (probably 6 strides away) do a balanced correct 90 degree turn and come out of the turn as if you had a jump in two strides. This same question was asked at the last show and gave a lot of people problems. You had to ride dead straight through the combination or it came down then had to go straight 5 strides then turn to the next fence which came up in two more. I managed to get Justinian doing it almost correctly but I was still getting way too much drift with the body when I asked him to move his shoulders which would roughen the turn. On the next horse Herodes I started at square one and just walked at a jump (to give a barrier) and practiced the same 90 degree turn. Im sure Rodrigo thinks Im even weirder than before as I very methodically walked poor Herodes up to a jump and turned for about 10 minutes. At about 7 mintes I had the lightbulb moment of "holy bejezus I have an outside leg!" and we suddenly could turn. Worked the same exercise in the warm up periodically and we had the consistent good turns I hadnt had with Justinian. We started on round two of the same exercise and Martin was like "either both your spanish horses understand english or you're getting it now." Second compliment of the day! (First was a "Good" on Geologo). He gave me some tips on how to use the outside rein more effectively as well which made the turns even more smooth, balanced and helped take out the drift on the straight line. And then on the last time through Herodes tried to buck me off. Guess he felt like he'd been good enough for a horse who'd only been back in work for two days. Love him though. We rode till 2:00 then had a late lunch before doing the treatment work in the barn. After we got in the car and went to Baral which is about an hour away. It is where Martin keeps his weanlings to his 3 yr olds. The mares and nursing foals he owns are 5 hours away at Pringleys. Anyway we went there to free jump his on his 1.5 and 2.5 yr old fillies.  There are 8 but one had gotten a cut so we only worked with 7. It was their first time free jumping ever and it was hilarious. Some of them caught on really quick and some were terrible the whole time.  One we finally gave up with having go left and just let her jump the vertical and cavaletti to the right since it was the only way she'd go. You could really see who was a stand out and more natural over the fences with them all being brand new to it and going back to back. One 2.5 yr old grey filly was a total stand out. She figured out the drill right from the get go and jumped amazingly every time. She'll be coming to the farm soonish to get broke with a couple of the others. The mares get broke first and a little younger than the geldings because they'll all get turned out at Pringleys this fall to get bred and continue maturing. We just got the three yr old stallions in so have to get them started before we can go onto any other projects. Plus we will be making the trip to Pringley's soon to catch all the foals from this year and bring them home to wean and halter break. So all in all a very busy and productive day with some very busy weeks ahead!

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