Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
So I groomed and tacked him up in record time in the main barn since it was soooo cold. So e made our way to the indoor and refuge from the wind. I hopped right on and away we went at a walk. When I first get on my horse is the time of when I asess how he's feeling and his energy level, I can tell at once how the ride is going to be based on those factors. He had a spring in is step and was well in front of my leg so I was happy that this looked to be a promising ride. After our normal warm-up routine, walking for 10 min or so and then trotting in both directions for another 10 min and then cantering both directions for another 10 min or so. During the warm-up I worked on some shoulder in and leg yielding just to get his body warmed up and more pliable, as much as possum can be. We then trotted a few crossrails and went right into the meat of our work out. I asked him to trot some fences that were around 2'9 or 3ft, asking him to get in deep to them and really making an effort to snap his knees up and using his neck and back for a nice clean jump. Only once did he knock it down and I really think he just misjudged the height of the fence and knocked it a good one so much so that he tripped on the landing. No need to reprimand him on that one because I think he got the hint and the next time we jumped it he made sure to clear it by a large margin.
As were were cantering some fences and putting mini courses together, a boarder at our barn was riding her QH mare at the same time. On a walk break both Possum and I were puffing and the woman made the comment that it looked like I wasn't having to work as hard keeping him at a normal pace and put together. My eyes about bugged out of my head when she said that. You have no idea how much that means even for one person to say that. Possum is not an easy horse to ride and make it look pretty. He's hard to keep packaged together and moving in a balanced manner. I usually use the analogy that he's like driving a dump truck on a highway of sleek moving Mercedes and Audi's. Hearing that comment was nice because it meant that all the hard work we'er been putting in lately is starting to pay off, even if one person notices it, it's working. We finished up by jumping a small course of about 6 jumps and then cooled out. After a few walk laps around the arena I had the bright idea of walking around outside along the paddocks and making a loop back to the main barn to untack. Big mistake, when we made it back to the barn my feet were frozen, I couldn't feel my ears and my face was wind burnt. I untacked Possum and gave him a few treats for a job well done and then bundled him back up in his blankets and threw him outside.
So to conclude....it's rare that Possum and I get compliments of any kind, but when it happens around a specific area that I have been working so hard on, it feels like I just won the lottery. Even though this year it looks like we will be doing very few shows because of finances, it's nice to know that we are still working towards a goal and slowly taking small bites towards that goal. It was like a breath of fresh air blew on us and filled our tanks of otivation so that we can keep going in our education.
Monday, January 4, 2010
So the roomie and I lounged around the house for most of the weekend expecting enormous amounts of snow which did not come, but it kept snowing so it scared us into staying home. Yesterday I woke up and was determined to make it to the barn. I look out my window and finally the blizzard has arrived! SO I pick the snowiest day to go to the barn. I got dressed in snow pants and jacket and mittens and hat and herded the dogs into the car. Away we went, down the road at a snails pace. We arrived at the barn a half hour later when it's usually a 15 min drive. It was snowing and blowing so hard that it was coming down sideways and pelting my face. I grabbed Possum's halter and headed for his paddock. It took about 10 minutes of digging out his gate so that I could open it enough for him to squeeze through. We were both squinting our eyes against the driving snow. I'm pretty sure both of us were happy to finally make it to the barn. I stripped off his blankets and gave him a good grooming, one to get the dirt out and two, to stimulate some blood flow in both of us. I tacked him up and we headed for the arena. I could tell he had some pent up enrgy since it had been just a eek since i ride him last, i felt like a bad horse mom.
We took a while warming up since it was cold and snowy and both of us were kinda stiff. He was moving nicely off my leg and I didn't even have spurs on. I worked a lot on stretching. Getting him to reach down and out and stretch his neck and back. Possum is a pretty stiff horse generally so it always takes a little to get him to stretch, but he was actually doing well. After we had warmed up in both directions at the walk, trot and canter I decided to refresh us by doing some flying changes across the diagonal. As usual, his good side was a piece of cake, but to my suprise his "bad" side was also really good. He didn't rush or twist his body and he did nice clean changes both front and back in unison each time. I was so happy!
We just fiddled around with jumping. There were some pretty big holes and soft sport in tne arena from having some slightly frozen ground and being chewed up. So my plan was to warm-up and then just put one jump up to around 2'9" or 3ft and just keep working over that one jump focusing on my position, rhythmn, pace and straightness. I noticed that going to the right he has a tendency to drft towards the rail over the jump, since the jmp was set about 8 ft off the rail. So we worked a lot on keeping him between my legs and straight and even. I also had to work on not leaning in on the corners especially in my "bad" direction which happens to be to the right. All in all it was a good work out and I think we were both happy with it. I cooled him out and brought him back to the barn. I kicked myelf in the ass for forgetting a whole bag of carrots that I has bought special just for him the last time I went shopping. I gave him his grain for dinner and then we made the long trek back to his paddock where I had to do some more digging to get the gate so that I could squeeze him through. I was all out of breath afterwards and my ears no longer had any feeling. I really don't mind the snow, it's actually very peaceful looking and sounding, but snow just makes everything 10 times harder to do. Harder to push a wheelbarrow, harder to drive, harder to ride at fast speeds etc... But the good news is that the snow has stopped and I'm waiting for the sun to shine. I hope to get out and ride my horse more this week, but again that depends on the temps and the weather. Unfortunately I don't get put of work until after 4 and it's waaay dark when I get to the barn so the temps have dropped a lot. Ohwell, suck it up, I live in Maine and I should be used to this by now.