Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Where to Go After the Show

I went home, regrouped, watched the videos a handful too many times, got mad, got angry, got sad and frustrated, and got back on my horse.

Sunday night I licked my wounds aboard Chewie, hunter saddle. We walked, we trotted, we went to the arena. He was a little sour, but I chalked it up to a 2-yr old temper tantrum of, "Mom, we'da won if you'd taken me! I hate staying at home alone!" Other than stiff & grumpy, he was a good healer.

Monday night, in some effort to try & make Romeo feel better, I left him to pasture, and rode Chewie again. He was a little less grumpy, but much less willing to work. Kept stumbling over long toes, refusing to pick up his front feet, or look ahead. After about 45 minutes, I gave up. I knew my boy needed a trim & new shoes, so I didn't force the issue.

Tuesday through Thursday I was out of town for work. I hear the boys missed me, and nickered for their feeders. Thursday, Chewie got a trim & new shoes. Apparently, in a continuation of his temper tantrum, he pulled back on his halter, broke the halter & lead rope. I found out later where he was tied was asking for trouble. I wasn't there, so all I can do is guess & buy a new halter.

Friday through Sunday I rode both horses. Chewie was downright nasty Friday. Head throwing, rearing, just incredibly disagreeable. Saturday, after a Romeo lesson (more in a later post), I rode Chewie (dressage saddle) for Robin to see. I figured he was either lame, sore, I was riding him horribly, making him mad, or he was just being a snot. For the first time in a while, it wasn't a sore horse, it wasn't a poor rider, it was just a snotty horse. Chewie was fussy, grouchy, and had no good reason. Robin encouraged me to ride him through it, pushing with legs & loose hands, forcing him to move past the grumps. He did eventually cooperate.

Friday Romeo was great. Nice & steady. I wanted to make things interesting, beyond just "warm up trot, fences until he felt perfect". Introduced him to leg yields at the walk, and a little at the trot. He wasn't great, but he sure did try hard.

Saturday's lesson, we worked on flat work only. Centerlines, quarterlines, "comings & goings". Translation - varying trot strides and improving collection. We also worked on a few spiral in, spiral out at trot, leg yields at walk, and plenty of circles. Romeo's learning to not only turn on leg pressure, but to "get off of the leg" when I apply it. Spiral in & out didn't make him incredibly happy, but he was trying...

Sunday, I focused on flat work, and a few crossrails. The leg yields went better at walk, spiral in & out at trot was much improved, fences were pretty good. He was pretty focused on me, which I appreciated. We worked for about 45 minutes, then I let him carry me to the paddocks, replaced the saddle with my bareback pad, and we walked around the yard, 100% relaxed.

Chewie's turn, and again, much improved. Side rein warmup, no temper fits, but a relaxed, loose horse. I climbed aboard (dressage saddle again), and had my old boy back again.. He tried once to be snotty, and I piqued him with my teensie spurs. He immediately perked his ears, and got to work. I got some serious trot, and a little "coming & going", and promptly decided that was a good spot for reward. We walked back to the arena, did a bunch of loose rein at the walk. I was satisfied he'd learned his lesson that snotty doesn't accomplish much.

Monday, Romeo, all flat work, plus went through Dressage Intro Test A (halt square at X not so good, weeble wobble), and a few fences. I lost track of time in the flat work, and when I got to fences, after a half hour of flat work, my boy was pretty tired. Pushed him through cross rails both ways, and called him done.

All the riding is great exercise, and I'm gaining more confidence. I think I'm ready for a Chewie lesson again. With two Sundays to go before the last Hunter Series show, I'll be incredibly ready to get back with Chewie in lessons, preparing for canter in the arena. Some days, I want to plan for the same show location & dressage series with Chewie. Other days, I want to plan for the same show location, but the hunter series at the same level I'm riding now, again with Chewie. I think when this series wraps up June 1, and lessons resume with Chewie, I will focus on canter both leads in the arena, mixing up flat work with crossrails, and we'll just see where we land.

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