Sunday, January 18, 2009

Most Insane Ride Ever

However, just because it was insane, doesn't mean it was bad. ;-).
Long post comin' up here. Get ready.
So. I've been trying to get Daisy to step under herself, and to do that, I was doing a TON of circle work, running the bit to get Daisy to drop her head, and when she did, squeezing to try and get her to move her legs under herself. Yesterday I had my first lesson with Jean's (expensive) (But very good) trainer, Karin...She actually owns Bubba, Jean is just free leasing him until the day he dies...but anyway, she came to give me a lesson. I tacked up and got on and we started with just trotting over some cavalettis, pictured below.
The pole on the cavaletti is actually screwed in, so you can turn it over and over and over to different heights. They're practical, and I like them. They don't go higher then about 1 1/2 feet...anyway, she had me trotting over them for a little while, raising them higher and higher. Then she set up a course like below(like my diagram?;-)):

First there was a cavaletti, stood up to full height, then a pole on the ground, then two cavalettis right next to each other, with a ground pole laying on them and onto the was quite strange. Anyway, we went over it. The idea was to get Daisy to really pay attention and be forced to use her back legs, because she had to jump, collect herself, and jump again really fast. She felt crazy. She was using huge jumps and she would canter over, and then there wasn't much room left on that end of the ring you came out at, so I had to get her down to a trot and turn her. I think Karin thought I was a litttttleee weird for owning such an unbalanced horse...well, not unbalanced, just not-fluid...fluid movement, you know? Anyway, then we went to just walking circles and she assessed the Daisy. The whole time I was riding the way Jean rides Bubba; working to get her to keep her front legs in, not stepping far with them, and pulling in her back legs. Karin however, said that I should be riding her sitting far back in the saddle, instead of on her withers, which off-balances her. It was so true! The minute I sat back farther, she put her neck down nice and far, and stepped out with her front legs, which (I know now) is what she should have been doing. So I need to remember to sit back farther and give her a little more room to stretch.

Then came the actual insane part. Karin set up the three cavalettis at the end of the ring, turned so that you would ride through them while turning at the end of the ring. It looked like this (roughly):
When a horse canters (three-beat gait) they always have one front leg pulling out farther then the other, depending on the direction they're going. If they're going left, the left leg goes out, and if they go right, its the right leg. These are called leads. They do this so that they can turn...its like the inside leg has to go farther to get around the bend. Every horse prefers one lead over another; it's like being right or left handed. Daisy is left "handed". She would MUCH rather do the left lead instead of the right, and when we ride on the road, she always picks up her left lead on straight-aways. During the lesson, no matter what, she tried SO hard to canter left lead, no matter what directions we went in. Karin had me canter her over the cavalettis in the right direction, trying to "force" her into the right lead. WELL. Daisy did not like that. You'd think she'd just give in, since it stresses her body doing left lead when she should do right. No way. She doesn't think like that. She would refuse the jump, veer off to the left when she got there, run around them, etc. One time she veered off and almost ran into Jean and a tractor. Another time she was inches away from running over Karin (at which point I was really afraid she'd get mad and quit on me...but she just kept saying "It's alright, just try again."). So Karin gave me a long crop and she stood at the first cavaletti (right lead) with a long longe whip. When I rode Daisy by, she snapped it so that Daisy wouldn't run off. It worked. Daisy *flailed* over the was very very rough, and I almost fell off a few times, and she was DRENCHED in sweat... But we did it. The point was to get her to get used to using her left lead canter, and not just using it on the ground, but having to push herself with it, and build up back leg muscle. Then we did it on the left lead, and there she was much better but still kinda bad because she was racing through. But it was better. We ended with one straight line of cavalettis, which she was fine at.

I almost fell off a few times, and I thought Daisy was gonna quit on me (lol) but I'm glad I did it. Even though it was hard, I learned a lot, and I think Daisy liked it. Apparently, if we do it more, she won't be that bad of a jumper (Karin says)...She was taught by Karin when she was owned by her old owner (the one before Jean) and she was doing pretty well, apparently. Anyway, now we have something (FUN!) to work on!

If I hadn't had that lesson, I would have kept doing incorrect circles, convinced that I couldn't jump until I got it right. Now, to get it "right" I need to jump! Even little cavalettis are fun. :)

Alright, sorry this was so long, I'll leave you alone for awhile. :)


Anonymous said...

that is really cool!!!!!!! it sounds like it turned out good in the end and i know how that feels to finish good. :D i hope you jump at the fair in another horse show this summer and i would love to come and watch you and then you can watch me at our fair!! :) hahahaha only if u want to!!!! anyway very cool and i hope to see you soon!!!

junglemama said...

Your amazing! Not sure I would even get on a horse again.

Anika said...

YAY!! *claps* sounds funn! i love learning something new and fun on a horse, especially when it seemed like you'd never get it, and then you do. lol

At camp, we couldn't do the "jump ring's jumps" which were actual jumps for the demonstration to parents because 3 other classes already had to use it. So we did a cavaletti course instead, which was disappointing cuz we went from like 2.5 jumps or more to cavalettis, but it was okay, sort of...grappa was being so hard to move forward, it kinda sucked a lot actually. lol, but when we did them in lessons they were fun! hahah that was such a pointless story. try to get a video next time! (:

Rawhide and Alli said...

My horse trainer (Ashley) told me that if you are cantering clockwise the inside leg should be the right lead and if it isn't right, the canter is bumpier and off balance, fyi lol

Michaela said...

congrats! sometimes when a horse favors, a lead, it's because they have more muscle on that side. indigo's a leftie too. =] j7ust keep practicing, but don't push her too fast or she'll get bored. i do a lot of gymnastics work with indigo because he too is unbalanced. like, after a jump, he always picks up the left lead even if i ask for the right. it's really annoying because on a diagonal, there's no room to turn in the other direction, so he just throws himself all over the place no matter what i do. it's really annoying, but he's getting there, especially now since the ground here is too hard for jumping, it's a great time for flatwork. well, good luck! and keep me updated, i might just try some tips on indigo. :-)

Mellimaus said...

I know what you mean...Daisy lands after a cavaletti and picks up the left lead when it should be right, and it feels so strange because she's struggling to's like "Get a grip and use your right!" lol...

Unknown said...

Wow. I just read all that and actually understood it! Very interesting.

allhorsestuff said...

Mellimaus my sweet girl...I have something for you over at my place..maybe you should come o by and see for yourself eh?!

Misha said...

wow i learned a lot about horses just by reading this post! lol! that sounds like a fun (yet challenging) lesson! i'm reading a book now about horses. it's pretty short, but it is SUCH a good story! it's called Eagle's Wings. You should read it :)


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