Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tomorrow was/is better!!!!

After a good nights sleep and some thinking into my riding and what I am asking for from Sam I woke this morning ready to ride again. Sam wasn't very impressed that we were going to work before breakfast but today was/is meant to be another scorcher and I wanted to beat the heat.

First I lunged. I am not a fan of artificial aids but I remembered something that I used many years ago on Jackie and it certainly helped us then so I figured I would try it on Sam but on the lunge first. The name of the piece of equipment - I do not know. It is all elastic that basically goes from the bottom of the girth up between the front legs through the rings of the snaffle and around the poll. It is all one piece. I hope this makes sense. Anyway basically the idea is that when they put their heads in the air they feel pressure and need to lower it again to release the pressure. Sam figured it out on the lunge pretty quickly and his transitions from walk - trot - canter and back down again were all a lot smoother once he figured it out. I would not use this equipment often as I do not want him to learn that he could in fact lean against the elastic and pressure.

I then went and saddled him and asked for long and low and stretching walk straight away. Got it! Moved into the trot and the first transition wasn't too bad - no big leap. Still tension in the neck area but his head didn't come up as high and his first stride was from behind, Yes! He stayed pretty good in the trot in a prelim frame, soft, round, forward off my leg. I was on the left rein and I took sitting trot and he accepted this. I made the circle a little smaller and asked for a little more bend than normal and asked for canter - WAHOO no leaping into it! The left rein has generally been our really big leap into it rein. Now don't get me wrong they certainly weren't going to get an 8 in the dressage ring but compared to what we have been getting for the past few months - yes bloody fantastic. Another interesting point - I didn't put my lower leg so far back.

(Trot - canter transitions have been my bug bare nearly my whole riding life. I have no idea why but I have always pretty much well just sat there, given the aid and hoped for the best. Hoping like hell the horse didn't buck. Has a horse ever done this too me - yes but it certainly was never huge and I have always been able to ride through it. I don't know why I have always been so scared of these transitions. This time I really concentrated on what my body was doing and what I was asking for and RIDING the transition and look what happened!)

So we cantered a circle transitioned down to trot and did it again, and again it was good! and then AGAIN it was good! I changed the rein and tried to the right. On this rein he usually would stick his head out straight and stiffly canter off. Once again I took up sitting trot and put him on a slightly smaller circle, asking for a little more bend than usual. Give and take, give and take on that inside rein, inside calf on and off with the rein. Outside leg on slightly behind the girth and boom we were in canter. No where near the amount of stiffness that there usually is. We continued to canter for a circle then back to trot to try again. Again it was better and the 3rd time it was better!!!!!! I had to stop there, I figured he gave me 3 fantastic transitions on both reins - lets not push the matter and wreck what we got.

I cooled him down by taking him for a quiet walk down the road and into the reserve, around the dam - watching the little fish catching the insects on the water and having a munch now and again. I think he enjoyed the long relaxed walk home. We were about 40m from the front gate when his back shoe half came off. I was able to pull it off safely and I am glad it happened so close to home. Now I am begging that my farrier can see him tomorrow!!!

So I am hoping that we have started working out that canter transition!!!!!!!!

Sometimes a good nights sleep is all you need!

Saturday, January 28, 2012


I hate those frustrating rides! I had it all planned to work on transitions today. Halt - walk - trot and back down again. I wanted us to be forward and a little more off the aids than what we usually are. I visualised them in my head and what I would try and do with my body.

It was hot, still and yucky but sometimes it is going to be like that when we compete so I figured we have to be able to work in any weather. Sam was looky and more forward than usual. That will help I figured, nope, we had trouble even staying rhythmical at the trot.

I could feel myself getting worked up and I tried so hard to stay calm and not apply aids harshly. I had to give up. I had to dismount and go for a walk. I did some ground work with Sam - asking him to move his hindquarters, shoulders and to back up. I only did this for about 5min, hoped back on and could feel the difference. While he was still more forward than usual he was listening a lot better. By this stage it was dark and I was unable to get my lights to work for the arena so had to call it quits after about 5mins but I was happy where we ended. He was stretching down at the trot and a lot more rhythmical.

Tomorrow - tomorrow will be better!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Right on track!

So much has been happening!

I'll start from the beginning. I don't really do New Years Resolutions but this year I decided to set myself some goals.

Be more focused with my riding
Try to ride Sam x5 times a week
Attend x2 training days through out the year
Attend x4 dressage competitions through out the year
Have at least 1 lesson a month

So far this month I have had my lesson, entered a dressage training day for next month and I have tried to focus better during my rides. Due to our very hot summer so far I haven't been able to ride x5 times a week. I am generally exhausted by the time I get home from work, we try to have dinner first and then I go out to ride.

Sam is working well and we have started shoulder in. I think I am trying to make it more difficult than it really is but we will get there! I had a saddle fitter come yesterday to check my saddles. My Keiffer fit the best and only required a little more packing at the front. My Anky doesn't fit at all so I will try and move that on. He was very thorougher and explained things well. He also said as politely as possible that Sam is obviously very well looked after and does not need to put on any more weight! I was also concerned that he may be a little sore in his back but he assured me that Sam was fine and he could tell that he has been working correctly with the muscle that is developing along his back - YAY we are finally getting ourselves into gear and working properly!

I also registered myself and Sam with the EA - Equestrian Australia. This is the organisation that helps organise our international events, the Olympic teams etc. I need to be part of this group for insurance when I compete or attend certain training days. Sam also had to be registered and so we had to come up with a competition name, what other name could we have chosen but SUPER SAM!

So we are on track with our training, fitness, health, and I think this year is going to be a good one!!!!!

On another note we have a new addition to our family. Betsy! We met Betsy at our local pound. She had been there since Boxing Day. No history is known, we don't know her name, breed, age, training but we are getting to know her and she us. (We gave her the name Betsy) She came home about 3 weeks ago and has settled in very well. She is only little - 17kgs and is now a very happy dog. He tail doesn't stop wagging! She is a little slow with the horses - has no fear which can be a little bit of a problem but she is slowly learning to stay out of their way.

She was checked by vets before we picked her up and they aged her around 8 years old, no idea on her breed but we are throwing around the idea of beagle, staffy, cocker spaniel. She has certainly been loved in the past so it is a mystery why she ended up in the pound - very sad.


Surveying her new home

The face that is constantly looking up at you!!!!

We were a little unsure about getting another dog as we only lost Jack in November last year. I didn't/haven't posted about that yet as I am still not strong enough or ready to share that story. He was part of our family for 13.5 years and we think the best dog ever!!!!

Betsy is a very good girl and we love her already. She gives good cuddles and when her whole body wriggles with excitement you can't help but smile and laugh with her!