Thursday, April 30, 2009

It's good for the corn or something

RAIN - no yaya ride and the Sunday trailride is rained out too. Tentative rain date is June 14 (Sunday).

Do chickens come in out of the rain?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

April Show at the Rocking C

The wind was a constant pest on Saturday but we were happy to have no rain to spoil the show at Patty's in Inola. Roberta Clark was the judge on Saturday at the Rocking C Stables ODS/GCC schooling show. Splash and I rode in our second show of the season, Intro B and Training 2. We scored an 8 for our final halt, Splash was more than happy to make his favorite transition into STOP and he was straight. We received 7s on both rein changes across the diagonal and Splash was moving out fairly well.

Roberta says that when we get more consistent in our connection, our scores will improve but I was very happy with a 65.5. Training 2 was much better than our first show’s go because Splash was much less resistant and picked up both canters when asked and even took his bad lead to the right correctly, if unbalanced. Our only 7s came at the walk/trot transition at C (woo hoo) and in the left circle at B. Roberta says we need more NRG…. And canter departs need uphill jump. More work required.

Alaina and Diez had very nice rides placing 4th and 2nd, their best rides by far since she used her corners, kept Diez moving and only dropped gait once for a bio-break for Diez. They scored 56 in Intro B, and received 7s on both halts at X; Roberta says that they need much more NRG in the free walk and to develop more connection. In Training 2, A & D got 7s in both halts as well as the right lead canter and canter/trot between B and F for a score of 53.929. Roberta recommends more elastic contact and rounder circles.

Ivy placed 3rd and 1st in her tests and received a 61.5 in Intro B after jumping on TC two minutes before her ride time because she was busy playing with a dog rather than warming up her horse. So, Marilyn, Jean, Jill, Patty, Carol, and every one else who helped find, dress and get Ivy into the ring on time can claim a favor from her at the next show – thanks guys. Ivy and TC received 7s in both halts and both rein changes and the trot/walk transition but needs NRG in the free walk. For Training 2, I & TC scored 7s for the final halt and the walk/trot transition. TC bucked into the first canter depart, his bad lead, but Ivy rode through it and continued her test and scored 55.714. Of course, TC needs more NRG.

Shannean and Ruthie had good rides on Pico. Both girls are really learning to push Pico into the bridle for better connection and Pico was much better about spooking this show. I will have to get more information about their specific scores and Roberta’s comments, but I think they both scored 60 in their Training 4 test. Jessie did a great job on Denali too.

And naturally, I missed most everyone else’s rides, Kathy and Call, Marsha and Lilly, Liz and Latte, Hilda and June, Christiana and Ardie as well as all those fun junior riders. I saw bits of a few rides and they were looking good. Kathy had to leave early to take Call to the vet because Call was having an allergic reaction to something and her lips and face were swelling badly. She is still a little swollen but is recovering. Also, I got my first tick bite of the season, just behind ear in a difficult (but at least not embarrassing) place to remove.

So, the show was a success and the season is young. Best of all, we get to ride at Rita’s for our first yaya ride of the year this week on Thursday evening, weather depending.. of course.

Monday, April 20, 2009

What Day is IT?

So, I called Cindy tonight to tell her happy birthday after going to Kansas for 2 consecutive weeks - That's my story since I was a DAY LATE AND CINDY'S BIRTHDAY WAS YESTERDAY. I am also a day late posting to the blog. Happy Late Birthday Cindy! We sure wish you were here to partake of the Equine Theraputic Party Lesson.

Anyway, about the weekend's horsey activities. The girls and and I took Pico, Sunny and Splash to Patty's for a long overdue lesson day on Sat. followed by a late birthday lunch with Patty and the gang (thanks for the pictures Carol). Splash and I worked hard in our lesson - me without spurs but with a whip. We had some decent walk/trot transitions and OK canter to the left. As usual, the right lead canter was rough and we certainly have a lot of work to do there. We are signed up to ride Intro B and Training 2 at the show at Patty's next weekend. The girls had a good lesson on Sunny and Pico but will be riding TC and Diez at the show. So, we have some work to do this week.

Then on Sunday, Ivy and Alaina went to Marsha's place to meet Socks the newest Cullen family member. Star is a really good mama but very tolerent of us human friends. The girls took a gazzillian pictures so they could enter some in the state 4-H Horse Show Photo Contest. Socks has zebra markings, a dun stripe and dark tipped ears as well as a beautiful face. Very fun!

Ruthie and Shannean will be over on Wed. evening to work the Pico-boy and the girls and I will work our horses too. Fun to look forward to the show next weekend! Yaya!

Birthday Lunch for Patty - April 18

After our Saturday group lesson, we adjourned to one of our favorite places in Inola for lunch. We had a belated birthday celebration for Patty at Grahams.

Patty gives that great smile as we get ready to celebrate her birthday.

Cathy demonstrates her "never fail" technique to get the horses looking alert Not sure if it will work for Patty.

Kathy & Marsha - Cathy's technique certainly works on them.

A great gift for a horsewoman - muck boots!

The gang's all here. Carol, Kathy, Patty, Marsha, Cathy on back row with Alaina and Ivy on the front row.

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Colleen Kelly Biomechanics Clinic April 11

Marsha arranged an educational clinic with Colleen Kelly for the weekend of April 10-12. Saturday, April 11, proved to be a perfect day for the clinic at Rocking C Stables - amazingly beautiful weather, good company, good clinic. Colleen was an energetic and fun speaker who reminded us of things we know and tend to forget. In this photo, Marsha and LB make a great picture, don't they?

Cathy laughs at one of Colleen's insights.

Splash thought it was funny as well, didn't he?

Kendall and Shade demonstrated a moving dismount as part of the clinic. The demo was informative and fun. If I keep telling myself I don't envy her those long legs, do you think I'll convince me??
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Saturday, April 11, 2009

ColleenKellyClinic - Easter Weekend Riding

I missed last week's posting because we lost our internet over the weekend and by the time the SBCglobal tech came out on Monday, I was in Kansas for the Agonizing Audit of Aught-9. So, the short story is that Patty was going to the show on April 4th and the 4-H point show was on April 5th, so the girls rode Pico and Sunny at the 4-H ride night on Thursday night and had a lesson on Pico and Sunny on Friday evening. Then, played around with TC and Diez on Sat. followed by show prep for Sunny, Pico and Splash on Sat. evening. The show on Sunday was a bit rough with cold, damp temperatures and cold north winds. All three horses were not on their best behavior even though the ride night in the same arena had been really good. Pico resurrected his snake impersonation trying everything to keep from going to the awful, horse eating end of the arena and Sunny bucked a bit. But, all survived and I had to leave first thing Monday for a week in McPherson, KS so no prep time for Splash and me in advance of the Colleen Clinic scheduled for the 10th and 11th.

So.... I got home a bit after 5:00pm on Friday evening, ate some pizza and headed over the Rogers' county building for the lecture portion of the Colleen Clinic. Colleen Kelly is an Australian clinician specializing in biomechanics - seat, posture and balance of rider. She is an Official Dressage judge as well as a coach for the Australian vaulting team and disabled national team. Her style is entertaining as well as educational and she is unabashedly proud of Australian Olympic riders and their recent triumphs. Colleen's husband Nick travels with her and videos all lectures and lessons.

The Friday night lecture included lists of the top ten rider mistakes and horse problems:
Rider - looking down, legs to far behind the girth, hands to high/not following movement, slouching, butt not in saddle, heels up, upper body not vertical, uneven stirrups, rein contact/uneven-strong-weak, and equip/other.
Horse - irregular, no impulsion, not on bit, on forehand, not straight, falling in/lost balance, bend/flex, tail swishing, fat/fitness, and equipment or other.

Regularity - most important thing a judge is looking for. Walk/92-95 beats per min., Trot/150-155 bpm, and Canter/95-100 bpm. Canter and walk should be in time with Jingle Bells while trot work should match Elton John's Crocodile Rock. Regularity needs to go with rhythm and tempo.

After regularity - P I S R / Paces (freedom and regularity), Impulsion (music), Submission (hand position), and Regularity

TEN COMMANDMENTS - Appropriate for Easter Weekend, since the movie version is on right now.. 1) Invisible aids, 2) effortless, 3) sit in center of saddle, 4) leg well stretched down, 5) heel lowest part of the body, 6) upper body vertical, 7) Hands - steady at trot / go with motion of canter and walk and stay low, 8) thumbs highest part of hand, 9) elbow follow @ walk/canter, and 10) harmonious.

Colleen challenged us to find out what tracking up was for the canter. I checked the internet and only found discussion for tracking at the walk and trot and found one reference ( the stated that tracking up does not really apply to the canter but suggested looking for 2 triangles and compare front leg and back leg triangle size - they should be about the same size at the working canter. Colleen didn't clarify this point during the lessons today while I was there so hopefully, she addressed it after I had to leave about 3:30.

Saturday started off with 3 demo riders and detailed discussion of several topics including the "sticker" turn, the fallacy of the 1 rein stop, the "nose up" stop and several equipment discussions. Colleen does not use spurs or whip and evaluated all three riders and found that all three had uneven stirrup lengths. Demo riders were Patty Couch, Laurie Hedlund and Anne Kuhnes. All three did a lovely job showing the details Colleen was discussing. Work through the corners was really interesting. When riding the corner looking out resulted in a deeper corner while looking into the arena caused a cut corner - a total of 2 meters difference. Also, looking left or right when coming down the center line caused all three to leave the track one way or the other.

Marsh C on Lilly, Kathy B on Call and me on Splash, shared a lesson and worked on several of the topics above as well as upward transitions and "straightness" of rider position. We started the lesson with a check of our tack and stirrup length. Colleen found that all three of us had uneven stirrups but she did seem to like Kathy's and my bridle charms made by Christina H a couple of years ago. Colleen raised my noseband an inch or so as well as both my stirrups.

All three of our horses were pretty sluggy and we did a follow the leader exercise telling the rider ahead which shoulder, stirrup, elbow, hip, etc. was higher and making efforts to correct the unevenness. I had some trouble getting Splash to move on without using the whip and cues were not invisible or silent and we did not look effortless. Then we worked on the "whistle whip transfer" the "flip-flop" upward transition and the "bee pop" in the corners to get more impulsion. These techniques really worked for Splash today and will hopefully work if I don't over use them.

Larry grilled up delicious burgers for lunch break and then I watched Patty, Heather, and Nicole work on leg yields and travers in the walk and trot using only eyes and weight in the stirrup. Very impressive. They also worked on the Sticker Turns. Nancy E was back in the saddle with Willy and did a really great job with Paula and Nancy's friend Clair. I really wanted to see all the rides but after my long week out of town, Came home and hung out with Ivy, Alaina and Kale. Tomorrow will likely be to wet to work on my new skills but hopefully will retain enough to make more progress at out party lesson next week.

Check out details about our clinician at: Marsha Cullen organized this clinic and did a great job. Thanks!