Tuesday, May 11, 2010

No Cones were Harmed in the Course of the Weekend

This post is late because the weekend wore me out. We started NorthEast District 4-H Horse Show activities Friday afternoon and finished with the Laurie After Show Clinic at Prairie Lane Sunday afternoon. Fun horsey stuff but way too much dust inhalation.
We headed to Claremore Expo as soon as the girls got out of school on Friday with Pico and Sunny to have a practice ride before bathing/trimming/banding/braiding. But, the first thing that happened, after coggins check/check-in but before the horses were unloaded, was rider injury! Ivy was getting something out of the trailer and when she got flattened by the trailer door when the wind slammed it into her head and hand. Huge goose egg (but no blood), bruised fingers, crying/shaking/ice/Advil later, we went to a quick school function and then back to the show grounds to pick up the pace. Luckily, Nurse Charlotte determined that no stitches or hospital visit were needed. The Rogers County Horse Club has multiple medical personnel in the parent ranks, so we were covered.

Bathing/trimming/banding/braiding done, we were home by 10 and then up early to get back to Expo for the SHOW! The girls qualified to go to the 4-H State Horse show in Shawnee in June and placings were:

Alaina and Sunny – 8th showmanship, 4th hunter under saddle, 5th hunt seat equitation, 6th west pleasure, 4th trail, and qualified in western horsemanship (she will do it all at State)

Ivy and Pico – 8th hunter under saddle, 4th hunt seat equitation, 3rd hunter hack, 4th western horsemanship, and qualified in trail (she will skip trail at State since obstacles include flowers etc and Pico is Freako Pico).

The SHOW was SLOW – we were still jumping at 3:00pm; trail results for juniors were final at 8:30 pm. So we got home around 9 and they still had Western Riding and Reining to go….

Early Sunday morning we were off to Prairie Lane for our lessons with Laurie – I took Splash, Ivy took Pico and Alaina got to take the Dezzie Doo. Poor Pico never gets a break because Ruthie came to ride him too – he may be more wiped out than I am.

Diez is still shedding big-time so there was a tribble sized ball of horse hair when Alaina was done grooming. We got mounted, into the 8:30 lesson a bit late and just as we started the lesson, Splash sank his hind quarters into a sink-hole by C. Yikkes, he was “funky” behind (Laurie’s technical term) for a couple of laps until we changed rein and he worked it out. We shortened the arena away from C.

Then we got going on the lesson. Objective? Canter Depart Cleanup. Standing still, Laurie explained that for nice canter depart, you wrap your inside leg at the girth to suggest bend and “squeak” the outside leg back 4 inches or so before applying pressure and asking for the depart. Gives the horse a heads up to sharpen the response.

We started off with trot and worked to get more forward. I had warmed up with the German Neck Stretcher, but admitting dependency, removed it for the lesson. We worked circles around the “4 points of the circle” and finally got a bit of good trot. The idea was to “touch” the rail at the side cones and keep the circle round at the inside cones. Splash tried to kill the cones. Then we asked for canter departs and kept the circle. Splash tried to kill more cones and then just cut them off completely if I didn’t manhandle him around. Fun. He got better.
Then, we moved on to the rail and worked leg yield down quarter line to B (and E the other way) and asked for canter as we touched the rail (ideally at the letter) to canter a 20 meter circle. At B again, put 2 pounds pressure in the outside stirrup and close the outside hand to get a nice downward transition. Cool! It works when I can remember to do it. Ivy and Pico were riding with me and we alternated with the exercise. They got real JUMP into the canter departs. REALLY good. Cool! PS – they killed a cone or two too.

Then, after a quick tack change for Pico, Ruthie and Alaina took over the arena. Alaina and Diez worked on bend and transitions. Diez has a long standing mission of counter bending whenever possible. She also aspires to look like the Mongolian war horse of old with head high and mane flying (no nostril flaring since she is the old grey mare). And, although she used to be the energizer bunny, impulsion is no longer a given.

Laurie selected a serpentine type of exercise for the two so that both could work on changing bend while maintaining impulsion. Two sets of cones were set for each change of bend location with the objective of a stride or two of “straight” as they passed through the cones. Alaina really improved Diez in the bend and impulsion department and all were amazed that Diez is 30 and foundered badly last summer. Overall, wonderful lessons so thank you Laurie! We stayed to watch other lessons but my brain did not retain any more information. The girls took a gazillion photographs of other participants but major editing is needed.

YaYa’s were planning to have an outing this week to Oolagah to clean up the trail – looks like weather will require rescheduling. Hopefully, the rain chances predicted for the week will bring the needed rain without any rough weather. Cross fingers for the right mix and for another ride at Rita’s or Oolagah soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment