Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Bit About Camp & List

Camp was really fun! It's good to be back though.
I had a really really super duper great instructor. I'm gonna miss her.

I worked Daisy with a Kimberwicke until Thursday. We worked on direct transitions Monday morning and they went well. Tuesday we did about 40 minutes without stirrups, and it helped SO MUCH. First we did stretches and things to loosen up our muscles and be more relaxed in the saddle, then we worked on walk/trot/canter a bit without stirrups and focused a lot on body position. It was really helpful, and my stirrups went down two holes; felt good. :) Probably should have done that earlier. Tuesday we worked a little on getting horses to track up, and Daisy actually tracked up! I was really proud, but it gets better. :D

We went to horse pond on Wednesday morning and untacked to swim. Daisy went in without too much fuss. It went down gradually with an area where you were able to stand (the horse could) with a radius of about 6 feet before it dropped off. Daisy splashed through all content and then suddenly she was swimming. She was surprised! She turned around in the water and went back to where she could stand. I made her go out again and she turned back again. On the third try, I was persistent and got her to swim her way for real across the pond. It was a really short swim-about 15 seconds-but I was still so proud that she did it! I don't think she really enjoyed it, but she did it for me and I was happy :). My good girl!

Wednesday evening we jumped cross country. Daisy didn't refuse the first jump, but all the ones after that she did. They weren't dramatic refusals; I think with a lot more leg I could have avoided them, but the jumps would have been messy. She would go to a jump with a really good canter, and then just before she'd falter and die out and stop. She'd stand and look for a minute, and then going back and trying again she'd go over fine. Once we did the entire course at the end there were no problems. My instructor said that she thinks Daisy's a good jumper, she just needs more miles and experience because she loses her confidence and sort of second guesses whether she can make it over by the time she gets there; not so much a fear issue. I was still happy with the ride; she jumped well when she did jump, and she got to gallop a bit and she really needed that :P

I had already said that I wished I could try Daisy in a snaffle, and so on Thursday morning my instructor got me a loose ring, double jointed (aka french link) snaffle bit for her. Daisy LOVED IT. I'm so so happy with that, and am definitely getting one soon. (SOON). She stopped pretty easily; she got strong a couple times, but had trouble grasping the bit I think like she normally does to ignore me, so I think for now loose ring is definitely the way to go ( day...bitless. ;)). We worked on extending and collecting strides. It went so well! I got a lot of tips. Once we'd worked on both, we did a cool little exercise. We trotted through two poles that were pretty spaced apart and counted how many strides we got in in between. Then we'd extend the horses trot and go over again. If we got one less stride (or more) we'd successfully extended! We did the same for collection. I thought it was a cool way to check ourselves. I was really happy with how Daisy rode over all in the snaffle.

That afternoon we rode again in pony club games--mostly walking or trotting races. They were fun! Our team won :). The best race involved walking your horse down the ring and stopping at the end, dismounting, and getting down on your hands and knees. There were three bowls, and you had to bend down and pick up a marshmallow in your mouth in one bowl, dip it in maple syrup in the second bowl, and dip in rice krispy cereal in the third bowl. You were of course forced to finish running back with rice krispies and syrup running up your nose :D lol!

Friday was so bittersweet.
We worked on flying lead changes (again in the snaffle). We each asked for the changes over a center pole, working on changing our horse's bend as we went. Daisy made me proud! Better even then some camp horses, she changed both her front and back leads in both directions. :) After we went successfully a few times changing over the pole, our instructor had us aim to the side of the pole, still changing in the middle but not over it. Daisy did it! :D I'm SO happy! I can't wait to play around with that tactic more and be able to get a real cue for it. yey! :D And then she got this shot:

Your thoughts?
I think she looks relaxed and in about as much as a frame as I've ever had her in! Her head is down perfectly and she's truly on the bit, and she's almost tracking up! I think I had her tracking up but she was relaxing so much she was getting dull :P. I think she looks really great! I'm a little leaning forward...but otherwise... :)

Sooo....I need to take note of a few things to remember to work on them in winter:
  1. Get a snaffle, lose ring, preferably double jointed (don't wait until winter)
  2. Get a dressage whip, and use it to "tickle" Daisy back just below her stifle to get her to engage her hindquarters more. The more she engages, the stronger the muscles, the easier it will be.
  3. When extending a gait, widen the hands and run the bit, half halting but squeezing and driving forward with your seat at the same time. Work in the ring extending on long sides and collecting on short sides.
  4. Squeeze with legs on the inside of a bend to get her to engage
  5. Keep hands higher up to encourage Daisy not to be so much on the forehand, but keep in the inside hand just slightly lower and give small tugs to get her to bend.
  6. Work on flying changes, really exaggerating body posture and how it changes when leads change.
Can't wait for winter and that arena. :)
Possibly more pictures to come, and more news on Lopez, the camp gelding I used in jump lessons :)


The Crusty Crone said...

I came over to thank you for commenting on my blog about the drawing and I read this post. Oh my, Daisy sounds like a very intelligent creature! How proud you must feel, the little darlin'. I kind of feel like I know her a little bit now, too.

Michaela said...

I started riding Indigo in my Dr. Cook's bitless bridle again and he is SO much better in it. I doubt you will need the snaffle to transition, but then again you know your horse better than I do. Indigo is a lot more relaxed in the bitless, and he collects a lot easier. It doesn't feel any different than a bitted bridle to the rider, and the horse response to the same aids because it is designed to apply pressure in different areas to get the same response if that makes sense, lol, IU'm really bad at explaining. I'm glad you had a good time at camp, I wish I could get Indigo to swim.


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