Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The rest of that long weekend

Friday afternoon I caught Chewie, and off we went to the round pen. Side reins 5 & 6, walk, trot, canter. Rode for about 40 minutes, pleased with everything. He was calm, and I certainly realized all the Romeo riding is teaching me to be more direct in my requests. I don't have to push Chewie nearly as hard to comply with my requests, but I can't say "please" too gently. Up to two point, asked for canter, he transitioned, quickly sat, arms moving with. He wasn't too eager to stay in it, so we moved in & out of the canter a few times. I finally was the one asking for a down transition, and called that done. Realizing I had about 15 minuets left to make it a full hour's work, I hopped off, walked him down to the rails, and raised my stirrups. We walked a bit, then trotted to the poles. At that moment, I musta forgot what horse I was riding! I put quite a bit of leg on him, and he sailed over the little cross rail. He cantered away, I sat quietly & told him, "shhhh", and he trotted. I got a turned neck & eye, with these big eyes of, "Geezzz Mom! I don't understand why you wailed on me so hard! I know how to trot over poles, Momma!" I apologized to my big baby, and we trotted over them twice more, with much less aids.

Saturday I got a haircut that too much longer than I anticipated. Came home, realizing there wasn't much time for both horses. Lesson on Romeo...
Brief walk warmup followed by a little flat trot work. He was doing a bit of head-tossing, avoiding leg pressure. We jumped the low crossrails a few times, working on inside leg to outside rein for bending. Robin set up some "markers" in the yard for turning at the right place. We worked on using outside leg to keep him centered on the fences, as he kept trying to duck out of the work. Bored, Robin set up a second crossrail, about 9ft or so from the first. The heights were the same. Had quite a few leaps over those, and realized we'd been on a lesson for over an hour. Romeo traded riders, Robin took a few jumps with him, and I got to pick on her habits, some the same as mine - shopping-cart hands, chicken elbows, and undetermined focus before fence #2. They finally cleared the series & trotted away nicely.

Sunday I enjoyed Easter church services, lunch with some friends, and back to the horses. Romeo & I worked on the jump series, about 45 minutes of work. Had a brief discussion with my neighbors about hitting golf balls into my yard (a heck of a suprise as I began my ride and a golf ball comes flying into the jump line). Bored with low rails, I raised the second cross up to 16" in the middle, about 25" on the side. Romeo sailed over with no issues, even jumping the higher side of the fence a few times. I reinforced to myself that, if I look at the jump line, he knocks a rail down; if I look up & ahead, he sails over them clean.

Caught Chewie, gave him a good massaging, scrubbing, Cowboy Magic, bath. While drying, he started rear-hopping in the back yard, kicking out, fussing quite a bit. So I took him to the round pen, and let him free-lunge himself. He took off like a twit, carrying on galloping around. Took me about 20 minutes to calm him down, and to end the head-tossing, hopping nonsense. It's hard to tell if he got water in his ears, was upset about not being ridden, or just cranky. Anyways, when we left the round pen, he was dry, happy, and calm.

Monday Came home, arena work nearly done. Helped the guys finish up the fencing, paid the remainder, and sent them away. Caught Romeo, and worked on the jump series again. No issues, no problems. One time, I looked at the second fence right before he went over it, and obviously messed up his balance. He took the whole thing down, moving the rails about 5" from the standards. OOPS! After I set it back up, we aimed for it again, and I made it very clear with eyes & aids that he wasn't going to knock it down again. And he didn't, clearing the second fence with air to spare. Total work, again, about 45 minutes. We cooled off with some long & low trot, and a few leg yields.
Talked to Robin. We're going to try & coordinate schedules for as many session as possible between now & show April 6. She challenged me to set up the second fence as a vertical, lowest cup hole. I'm absolutely determined to raise the rail tonight to vertical, and accomplish at least 6 clean jump series. Might scare the living daylights out of me, and I might grab a wadda mane, but I had an instructor once tell me, "That's why God put manes on horses - so we can hold on." I'll need to focus on a tall two-point, letting Romeo lift his front end up as much as he needs without feeling like he has to gallop over.

No comments: