2013 Memories

2013 Memories

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Perfect Weekend!

This is going to be a long one, but here we go! What a great weekend we had at the Horse Expo! After a long day at the barn yesterday getting him all bathed and packed we hauled out to the fair ground last night. Both ponies settled in great and after setting up his stall and getting situated I took him for a nice walk in the arena just to let him stretch his legs after standing in the wash rack all afternoon. As usual, there were no issues and both ponies were happily munching their hay and had drank water. Horse like these two making traveling and showing so much less stressful!
All settled in!
This morning I headed out and took him for another walk around the place where he of course had many fans watching him. He is usually a personable guy but he was all about being right by me and just hanging out all day. He even wasnt munching on they hay in his stall because he was pretty sure the longer he looking at me all cute the better chance he had of coming out to hang with us, adorable! Just before 1 our favorite helper showed up with some braiding string that I had forgotten and she got to work putting up his forelock while I re braided his mane. We tacked up, hopped on, and walked the ponies around outside since the the warm up arena was super crowded and figured that Dolly would probably warm us up anyways. While we were walking around Dolly actually came out and introduced herself so we got to chat with her a little. She was very complimentary of our horses already and said that all of them already go on the bit (the topic of this session) so asked us what we would like to work on. Mary (our wonderful trainer) also pointed out to me that Dolly will actually be one of our judges at Heart of the Valley in May, it will be fun to show her our progress.

Because when we had talked to Dolly prior to our session she had noted that all of us had mentioned some struggles with, or involving, lateral work that was a main focus of our session. The cool part about our group of horses was that we had Mary and Rheiny (showing 4th level), me and Pony (showing 2nd level), and a western dressage lady (I think showing 1st?) so between all of us we were able to show the audience the different stages of of movements such as the half pass and flying/simple changes. We started with all 3 of us on a circle, with Dolly in the middle, turned in facing her and had to leg yield our horse on the circle. She was very complimentary of Pony and kept telling everyone that he was just showing off! One big point that I took away from today was that I need to be more in tune with my position in our lateral work, well in general too but really in lateral work. The horses want to follow your weight and if you are asking your horse to move off your left leg but are also sitting to the left you are making your horses job much harder. After moving into the trot we did some shoulder in where she noted that tracking right she would like to see more bend (already know that!) but tracking left she was pleased. After showing the audience going down the long side she had turn in to face them and do each movement so that they could really tell the difference between them. We then moved on to the travers along with the half pass. Pony pretty much has solid travers and Dolly loved that right off the bat I was really riding him on 4 tracks and made a special point to say that is exactly how I should ride it. Next up was the half pass, Pony and I haven't done much of it but recently have really improved on it at home. We didnt get nearly as nice of a half pass today as we do at home but because of how we were having to show the audience we were coming onto it at an awkward angle (and not how it would be in a test). Dolly still said that we have a good start and although we didnt have enough bend to put in a solid 3rd level half pass she said she has no question that we will. Along with making sure we sat straight, or slightly towards the direction we were asking our horse to go, she also got onto us about keeping our eyes up. She said it is a super common habit that people who ride alone get because in her words "People think staring at their horses head will make them go around better!". I didnt realize how much I try to look down until she kept saying to look at her. It is definitely something I will try to pay attention to more and make a better effort at not doing. After doing our lateral work we got to move into the canter. She said he has a nice rhythmic canter but that she would like to see him moving more uphill and knew that it was a constant battle for us and said to just keep working on it. To end the session we did a few changes of lead across the diagonal. Mary got to lead the way with her pretty flying changes and the first time across Dolly had us just do a change through the trot where she complimented our nice steady transitions. For the second time across we did a simple change where we had a nice canter to walk but I didnt set him up well for the walk to canter and ended up getting the wrong lead before correcting it. Our final time through she wanted us to do two simple changes across the diagonal. We have never done this before and I was super impressed that Pony laid down 2 seriously nice ones! Dolly was very impressed and said we had beautiful simple changes that would have scored really nicely! Our hard work is paying off!

Waiting to get braided, he loved checking out his sign.
At the end she complimented all three of us and said we were all very nice balanced, coachable riders and she wanted to take us all home with her :) She told me that Mystic is a very nice horse and will do very well at 2nd level. Everyone loved him of course and he had fun at the end walking along the outside fence stopping and saying hi to all the kids sticking their arms up. We actually had quite the crowd watching our session by the end with the stands full and many more standing. Alanna texted me and told me she got 700+ pictures of today so I am sure there will be many to follow once she can go through all of them!

Alanna sent me a few to tide me over :)

Getting some love after a great, hard ride!

All hosed off and ready to be braided for turnout. He was hamming it up for cookies :)

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