Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

And A Nice Day For It!

Lovely weather today. Warm but not hot and dry.

I was up at 6 AM to get The Boys fed since Chris was coming to give me lessons at 7:30. Warm enough then for a lightweight long sleeved tee.

Chris was just a few minutes later, pretty amazing since he was driving down from Massachusetts which is close to a five hour drive. We had a great lesson. The concentration was on exactly how to handle what I had concluded myself--that if I go too much to my hand on Tucker, I shut him down. The key is following his desire to take the bit with my hand instead of inhibiting it. I'm pretty sure that's what I was feeling on the downwards from the canter too and misinterpreting some of it as falling on the forehand. It's not always so. He's not diving into the bit but staying forward into it.

Chris had me do lots of transitions and we also concentrated on my position so that I didn't make the mistake of first falling every so slightly forward or second, getting my leg too far back. The leg back there is decidedly part of what ticks Tucker off and gets him backwards instead of forward. Now all I have to do is remember all of it. The basic difference between what Chris wanted and what Patrice wants is that Chris wants me to keep my hand down more than she does. I will investigate this at the clinic on Tuesday. No biggie as I am perfectly able to adapt to whatever a trainer wants, but I do need to get a handle on what the difference and consequences are.

Chris said I do look a bit "tall" on Chance, but not ridiculously so. He agrees that Chance is likely to grow and said he is a "cute little mover." I think as he develops some strength and really does find his balance, he will be an even better mover. Either way, he looks to have the potential to be a nice dressage prospect should I decide I'd like to lead him to that career.

On the right rein, Chance was definitely down and even a little round, so I was thrilled as it is the first time he managed to keep himself there with very little work on my part. I have to focus on the same concepts of following with him as well. Guess my habits definitely do transfer from horse to horse.

The left rein was a bit dicier. He was good, but getting him to bend correctly was difficult--not, mind you, as bad as when I first rode him--but definitely an issue. I honestly could have sorted it out on my own, but I was trying to follow Chris's instructions--just fine as a solution, provided I could keep my seat from falling to the outside--and I didn't quite keep myself centered enough. Too, Chance was a little more tired by then and as he lost his "forward," he tending to fall in more easily.

Again, no biggie. The fact was that Chance simply exaggerated all the little things I was doing wrong on Tucker, so in the end, it was a good ride for me.

By the time I went to church, it felt as if it was already the afternoon. We all sang well, went to a nice lunch, and then I headed over to the horse show to see how Kelly was getting on.

Perfect timing as she had not yet ridden her dressage tests. It was a weird set up with the dressage going on all day with riders just kind of fitting the tests in between their other classes. Since Kelly was in a ton of classes--don't know how she and the horse kept up the routine--she did not get to the dressage ring until after 2 PM.

The good thing was that I was there to read her tests, taking the pressure off there. Good thing I had insisted she use a snaffle as the judge was following USEF rules as she was supposed to, and several of the riders for whom kimberwicks and pelhams were the bit of choice for all their other classes were in a bit of a bind.

Kelly's horse, Sax, was a good boy for his first trip to the "boards." He wasn't on the bit, and he wasn't correctly bent all the time, but he was very obedient. The judge loved him and said so. Frankly, I can understand why. He is a beautiful mover and even with his head a bit up, his gaits border on spectacular. Kelly earned over 63%. The second test was better with a bit more steadiness and she was over 66%.

If we can get her to learn how to work Sax on the bit, those scores will be very realistic in the open, big shows too. This was a 4-H show, and not as severely judged as the open recognized competitions. The judge told me afterwards that in a few cases, she was much more generous than an open show judge would be about some of the head tossing Sax did at his halt. It's something Kelly needs to work on.

Hard to say if he is happy with the bit. I gave Kelly the lozenge snaffle for now, but he might be happier in something else. Guess we will just have to experiment a little with that too.

Hopefully, Kelly will get some good lessons in with Chris between now and August as her scores qualified her for the big State show.

I treated myself to an ice cream cone on the way home and have currently just about reached crash mode.

It is still beautiful outside. I think I will just sit around and enjoy what's left of the day.

My birthday. Not bad, not bad at all. *G*


  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Happy BIrthday from me too! Ice cream is a good choice to celebrate as it makes you feel younger, at least while you are eating it!


  3. the best way to spend one's birthday .. horsey things that work out well!

    and bit problems.... duh!

    but well done kelly on her first show!

    odd way to do dressage, i agree, but on the other hand if you're in a few things it stops you and the horse from totally switching off - nothin worse that 3 hours between classes!