Monday, December 19, 2011

YaYa Dirty Santa

We talked, ate, played dirty Santa until our checks hurt from laughing - a fitting year-end party for the YaYa Sisters Riding Club - hosted by Kathy B in her beautiful home on Sunday evening.

We missed a few members last night but (l-r) in our 2011 group shot are Paula, Cathy, Kathy, Rita, Juli, Judy, Janet, Krystal, Sherry, Joan, Christiana, Tammy, Lila, Donna, Patty, Nancy, and Marsha.

Tammy didn't give up until she located the DS.

And, our group sure can COOK.  And EAT.

Weather permitting, we will ride the range at the Walkerosa Ranch on New Year's Day, so mark your calendars.  Just the beginning of many wonderful rides coming in 2012.

Meanwhile - The holidays are in full swing at the Wild Orban Ranch.  The Orban Twins turned 13 on Saturday and had several friends over to ride, watch a movie and eat cake.  But also wanted to have the Saturday Party Lesson (worked out for Mallory and Me with our new Friend Mary since we got a lesson too) and we managed LAL as well.

Now that the birthdays are past, we even cut down a cedar tree in the pasture to use as our Xmas tree this year.  And help clear a couple of Eastern Red Cedars (scurge of OK) from the Wild O Ranch (Ivy needed to cut a little practice tree first).  I guess I better start shopping NOW.

Is it time to panic? 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I am not in Kansas Anymore

But I just got back from my last trip of the year.  Just in time for Steve's birthday tomorrow and then the girls' birthday on Saturday.  Then I can start the Christmas preparations.

Last weekend was packed with horsey events but no actual riding.  The rescheduled parade started the weekend early on Thursday evening and the Horse club accompanied Peanut the wonder pony in his 2nd annual outing.  Again he is The Cutest Pony EVER.

The 4-H Horse Club banquet was Saturday so I met other board members Friday to set up and have a lovely lunch with the 4-H ladies.  Then, we had a great visit from Jetta (Steve's sis) and David Friday night. 

SaturDAY we spent at the banquet - food, awards, elections, wooden nickle auction, and fun.  Ivy is the new Historian and Alaina was re-elected as VP (she took over VP mid-year when the post needed a mid-year replacement).

Saturday night was spent in Owasso at the ODS/GCC Party where we played DIRTY SANTA and found out our year-end standings.  Ivy and Pico were most improved as well as 14 and under First Level champs winning a cool chair and lovely leather halter.  Alaina/Sister and me/Splash recieved 5th place standings and very nice show pads.  Then - HUGE surprise - Splash and I won reserve VINTAGE Intro Level and a cool bag (thanks for my very considerate friends who were not quite old enough).  Kathy B does a great job choosing awards!

Just when you think no more fun could happen in one weekend, I joined my WY Hot Flash friends at Tami's to have a Dirty Sock Santa, along with Michael Jackson Wi as well as a bit of wine and yummy food.  I think photos should have been forbidden during the MJ Wi exhibition....

It looks like the weather will be fine for riding in the Sat. Party Lesson as well as for the girls to play around in the yard with their friends in the afternoon.  Next week, cold is expected.  Maybe I can squeeze a ride in tomorrow in between the big party preparations. 

Finally, and best of all, the annual YaYa Dirty Santa - Fun - Food - Christmas gathering is Sunday afternoon.  I can't wait.

Monday, December 5, 2011

December is Here

And it is snowing on Monday evening and the temperatures are BELOW FREEZING...  OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

My formative years were spent in South Florida so I am very wimpy about the cold.  However, I have riding boots and riding breeches designed for sub-zero temps so I will have to be brave, but only if it is above freezing.  By late January, I will have the courage to say "it's almost 40" as I head to the Rocking C for the Party Lesson and LAL.

Meanwhile, it's beginning to look alot like Christmas.  And December is already flying by.

Mallory and I worked our mounts Friday - Clinton Anderson groundwork and some riding in Mallory's hilltop arena.  Splash is dull and resisting energy in the ground work but, even so, seems to be improving energy under saddle.

Huge thunderstorms were forecast for Saturday so Claremore postponed the parade scheduled for Saturday evening but we headed to Inola hoping to finish the Party Lesson and Lunch before the storms rolled in.  Mallory and I were halfway through our lesson when the monsoon started - no lightning - so we continued our ride.  Splash was pretty good for leg yields out in the circle, had good energy at the trot, and even had decent transitions.  Canter to the left is still labored and hard to keep.  Afterwards, the horses munched hay in the trailer with rain beating down while we lunched at Graham's (the temperature was near 60 so they were happy to stand and wait). 

OSU won the bedlam game Saturday night as the temperatures started to plummet.  Footing was beyond soggy on Sunday, so we didn't brave the cold.  I guess WINTER is here but we have the YaYa Christmas gathering to look forward to in a couple of weeks and, hopefully, a New Years Trail Ride at the Walkerossa Ranch in Inola.  Stay tuned for details.  YaYa - Yeah.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving means cooking, baking and eating....  Mighty preparations..... Fabulous Food.....  Wonderful Family Visiting....
Then, suddenly, its the day after Thanksgiving - the sad day that we bade our friend Christian fond farewell.  We will miss Christian's beautiful barn keeping as well as his horsetraining advice.  Sister owes a huge debt of graditude, without Christian's help last year, I wouldn't have been riding her and Sister would have had to move on down the road.
The weather on Sat. was very rainy and the girls and I went to Patty's for the party lesson together.  We worked on shoulder-in, travers, renvers (very hard for all of us) but we made some progress.  Splash was fairly good; correct canter leads; some bend and pretty good leg yeilds.  Hmmm, hope this trend keeps going.

The YaYa Sisters will gather at Kathy B's for the annual party and dirty santa gift exchange on Dec. 18.  Mark your calendar!  YaYa!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

TC Likes to Escape

Every time we take Sunny (TC's pasture mate) or Pico/Splash (next-pasture neighbors), TC walks through the electric tape to see where "they" got to go.  Who knew he would be so restless in his retirement? 

I had another KS trip last week and fritered away Friday w/o any horse play/work.  But, we DID manage a party lesson on Saturday a the Rocking C with LAL at Graham's.  Roxy, Ivy, and Alaina worked their horses at 10 and Mallory and I took the 11 o'clock.  We worked short but the work was good.

It could be that the Clinton Anderson ground work has been influencing Splash.  Or perhaps Splash forgot his main mission (standing still as a beautiful pasture ornament).  Splash was forward, responsive, picked up correct leads, and was relatively "on the bit."  Wow - if I didn't know better, I would think we were making progress.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Time Flies When Its the Weekend!

November weather was windy but mild and I played with the ponies three days in a row.  Alas, we didn't get the Saturday Party Lesson since Patty was in Stillwater to help with the equine special olympics but I am hopeful that next week will work out for LAL with my horsey friends.

After a couple of days in Kansas, I had Friday off so Mallory and I met for lunch in Catoosa and then worked some Clinton exercises on Raffles (Mallory) and Sister (me).  Sister was very responsive for ground work including yeilding the hindquarters and forequarters, lunging, backing, and de-sensitizing.  We added flexing on the ground and then I mounted up and tried some "one-rein stops" from the walk and trot - I did not try that at the canter.  Sister was a little snarky with one rump-hop the first time I used the "spanker" end of the lead.  Overall, she seemed to get the concept and we ended the lesson with cruising at the trot.

Saturday morning and - moving like a herd of turtles - the girls and I took Splash, Sunny, and Pico over to Che' Cheval spend the day while Steve held down the OSU football fort at the Wild Orban Ranch as they stomped again.

The girls rode their horses while I worked Splash in the round pen - lunging for respect.  Although better than the first attempt last week, Splash just couldn't bring himself to comply.  So, MUCH later, he finally realized that he better get with the program so we could stop before we dropped.  Whew!  So, THEN we mounted up and went to work in the big arena with Mallory and the girls.  We worked on walk/stop transitions mostly trying for submission and no back / prompt trot-off.  Then to took a lunch break before moving on to the next horse victim - Sister.

Sister is getting much better with her ground work and we breezed though the basic warm-up exercises and then Mallory tried to teach me "yeilding the forequarters."  Sister seems to get the concept although there was a lot of operator error on my part.

More horse torture on Sunday when Ivy started Pico in the Clinton Anderson exercises.  Poor Pico isn't the sharpest tool in the shed.  So I jumped in to help.  We free-lunged in the round pen until he figured out turning in and following.  Then, we concentrated on de-sensitizing with the stick and string and some yielding the hindquarters.  Pico got to stand at the trailer and ponder things while I worked with Splash in the round pen.  We started with lunging and then moved on to yielding the hindquarters and backing.  We finished goundwork with flexing.  Splash is very stiff (especially to the left) and we had to lower expectations a-bit.  But, we did manage a little flex and then mounted up for more work to minimize head-bob in the transitions.  Some progress so, lets hope for more improvement next week at the long overdue PARTY LESSON!  YaYa!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Schooling Show Championships!

Kathy and Call
Kathy B and Call did us all proud competing in the GCC/SSC Horse Show held in Claremore Saturday afternoon judged by "r" judge Amy Jablonovsky - they are the Reserve Champions at Training Level!  Judge Amy's pet peeve?  Spreading and lowering the hands for stretchy circle and free walk - she calls that a fault.

The girls and I rode in the open show portion in the morning.  Alaina and Sunny rode T-1 and recieved a 58.75; Judge Amy says "quiet horse just waiting for directions."  Ivy rode Pico in F-3 for a score of 58.064; they recieved 7's on the first lengthening at the trot, the second canter lengthening, and the last halt.

Splash and I rode Intro C - for a 65.0%!  Since I was only doing one test, I decided to work Splash in the warm-up like I was riding a lesson - aiming for 30 minutes of "lesson" leading into the test without a break.  The show was running on-time so we went right in to the arena and Splash was a good boy.  Our first canter transition (right lead) should have been our good side, but was slow to develop and lacked bend; the second canter was hollow and above the bit (although prompt).  Splash was forward (YES!) and showed good bend in trot circles and was an "8" for the first corner after X-C, "7"s for both trot circles and the second canter circle.  Judge Amy says "Lovely horse has loads of talent - develop differences in the paces, smoother transitions."   Ya!

So - that really was the last horse show of 2011.  No more baths for the equines until next spring.

One more thing to report.  You can dress the girl up....  I bought some Ariat paddock boots last year.  They were zip front and half price (they were brown).  I wear them for shows only, and until this past show, with black half chaps.  A few weeks ago I found some Ariat half chaps on SALE for HALF price.  They were Brown so I was all set for my next show.  I put the new half chaps on over my brown paddock boots for my ride.  They didn't fit the same way my old pair did - they were very bulky under my knees and the zipper seemed to be in a strange place.  I figured I would need to break them in.  My knees got a bit bruised.  Good News!  Mallory pointed out that I had the half chaps on backwards.  They fit a lot better when they are worn correctly.  Whew - operator error.  HeHe.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Diez is dressed as a Foundered Pony for her trick-or-treat cruise around the pasture looking for grass treats.  The trick is on her since she hasn't figured out the one-blade-at-a-time eating technique.  Poor thing.

She is to old to trick-or-treat anyway.

Splash got another Clinton Anderson ground work session on Saturday before I took him to Patty's for our lesson.  Alaina and Sunny joined us and we both had really good lessons.  Alaina and Sunny very worked hard on his bend at the canter since he is very stiff - and made a lot of progress.

Ever since Splash's injury last year, he tends to throw his head up with every upward transition and really braces in the downward transitions - transitions into canter are really bad.  We did lots of halt/walk and halt/trot up and down transitions working to lighten the downwards and energize the upward transitions.  We made good progress in walk and trot and even some improvement in the canter.  I was really happy with our progress and will continue with the CA work as well.  We might even get a chance to ride the warm-up class at the championships next weekend. 

Mallory and I did some more CA work with Sister and Mario on Sunday and we ventured out with the girls to Claremore Lake for Roxy/Trouper's and Ivy/Pico's first public trail ride outing.  The girls did good jobs settling their spirited mounts.  So, Ivy, Roxy, Mallory/Raffles, Alaina/Diez and me/Splash made the trek along the west side of the lake on a beautiful fall day. YaYa! 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Aerobics Clinton Anderson Style

No riding for 3 weeks - the past 2 weekends were filled with the Junior Camp and the L Program/C Session. Splash was pretty sure he had made the jump via golden parachute into retirement. But NO. I got Friday off so Mallory and I decided to play with the ponies at Che' Cheval. With Mallory's help, we worked both Sister and Splash through several steps of the Clinton Anderson (CA) ground work program. Ivy and Mallory gave Sister a good start in 3 sessions several weeks ago and she seemed to retain a lot of the basics and really did well at: lunging/turning into the round pen, following, yielding the hind quarters, desensitizing w/ lead rope, sending, desensitizing with the stick/string (stage 1 and 2), and backing - all in about an hour.

Then we gave the CA method a try on Splash. True, it was his first time. But, he was very resistant to the idea of giving respect or moving his feet. So, we worked with the lunging lesson/turn into the pen for a long time. Splash got sweaty and out of breath. I was sweaty and out of breath - but I needed a cardio workout. We had to stop with baby steps/looking to the inside. WHEW. We worked next with a little yielding the hind quarters and Splash did OK. Desensitization with the lead went fairly well and we finished with 3 backing exercises (tapping the stick, wiggle the rope, and marching). We took a lunch break. Our Sat. lesson with Patty is scheduled for 5pm so I hope to work Splash a little more CA in the morning.

Ivy and I spent last weekend with the L-Judge candidates at Lily Pond Estates in Kellyville. The focus for the weekend, judging Collective Marks and developing scoring methodologies. The collective marks are the frame around the picture of the test.  See the photos at the L Progam photo link.  Kathy and Call did a great job demonstratingTraining Level Test 2 and we watched several of our ODS members ride for the judge candidates.
The judge’s task is to place competitors in proper order rewarding training by classical principals, help riders properly develop the horse by giving accurate, helpful comments, and to enhance the quality of dressage riding and training.

The collective marks should be a reflection of the entire test and should be in the same range as the average marks of the test.
• Gaits – the natural athletic ability of the horse. Are the gaits pure – 4 beat walk, 2 beat trot, and 3 beat canter? Is there a tendency to lateral (pace) movement at the trot? Are the walk steps regular and distinct? Is the canter 4-beat or labored? Paces are collected, medium, and extended and should be regular not hurried. Gaits should maintain their purity even in transitions.
• Impulsion – willingness to move forward and to connect (use of topline and thrust)
• Submission – obedience and willingness. Does the horse look happy in his work?
• Rider’s Seat & Position/Rider Biomechanics – from a stable base (seat) the rider’s posture should be vertical when sitting all gaits and slightly forward in the posting trot, shoulders/hips level, hands independent of the seat and with steady, elastic connection with the horse’s mouth. Are the aids effective to accomplish the goals of the test? Is there harmony between horse and rider?

Remember – 8/9/10 are Good, Very Good and Excellent. 7 means Fairly Good and 6 is Satisfactory. 5 is Marginal – 4 is Insufficient.

Purpose of the Levels -
• Training Level - to confirm that the horse is supple and moves freely forward in a clear and steady rhythm, accepting contact with the bit.
• First Level – in addition to the requirements of Training Level, the horse has developed thrust, improved balance and throughness to maintain more consistent contact with the bit.
• Second Level Collection – to develop/increase the horse’s ability to lower and engage its hindquarters and moves with an uphill tendency.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

ODS/GCC Junior Camp at Lily Pond

Twenty campers gathered at Lily Pond Estates the weekend of October 14 for the 2nd annual Oklahoma Dressage Society/Green Country Chapter sponsored Junior Camp.  Ivy and Alaina both explored vaulting with Cheryl West and had dressage lessons with Laurie Hedlund and Robin Hessel. 
The short review is:  Great Camp, Wonderful Fun, and Excellent Education.
Both girls won their divisions; Ivy was First Place 12 and Under First Level Rider and Alaina was First Place 12 and Under Training Level rider.

The girls are already talking about next year.

I am off to Kansas tomorrow but I did get to ride last Wed. evening with my girlfriends - yaya.

Monday, October 10, 2011


We still needed rain but the weather over the weekend was beautiful and mild.  FINALLY, after weeks of shows (4-H and dressage), we got to have our Sat. Party Lesson - followed by LAL of course.

Kathy B and Mallory S were not able to make it but Nancy E and I rode our mounts in a much needed lesson after Ivy and Alaina worked English - Sunny even JUMPED.  The girls will go to the GCC Dressage Camp next weekend so they were getting ready.

Splash and I worked on canter transitions (our worst scores from Kay last weekend).  For some reason my left hand drifts down toward my thigh when cantering right lead.  So, working to steady my left hand, I concentrated on providing inside leg and hand to support Splash (and keep him from cutting in!).  Took three tries, and we made progress.  Left lead was not as difficult but the same issues are there.  Then, we worked leg yields and finally, canter transitions w/out the Mongolian War Horse Look.  Splash really thinks that he MUST throw his head up in the canter transition so we have more work to do there.  Then, with the "short cut" to La Mansion in Catoosa -  haha  - we lunched at leisure.  YUM.

The final hay hauling foray was set for the weekend so we raced out Sat. evening to prevent real rain from hitting Claremore.  Yippee, the barn is full.  Here's hoping for rain between now and next year's hay season. 

Sunday morning was sunny so the girls and I went over to Che' Cheval to work Sister a bit before the "rain" came in.  Ivy took Sister into the round pen and worked some Clinton Anderson exercises and Sister was very responsive.  Then, saddled and up in the big arena, Alaina (with Christian's guidance) worked on body control at walk-trot-canter.  Right lead was pretty good with minimal tail swish expressions.  Left lead not quite so good.  After initial resistance to bend and canter depart, got wrong lead once and then a big buck.  Alaina backed Sister across the arena and then asked for canter again.   Good Job Girlie!  The pair cantered circles and straight lines and practiced a couple more departs and finished on a good note. 

PS - looking forward to a YaYa ride Wed. evening - unless rain happens - either option is a good one.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Rocking C Show Report

October 1st is Kathy B's birthday and was also the latest dressage schooling show at the Rocking C in Inola.  It was a beautiful, mild day and the judge was Kay K.  Kay is not known for generous scores. 

Splash and I were scheduled for Intro C at 10:24 and we received our best score yet from Kay - a 59.00.  But then we had hours to wait for our next classes - T-1 and T-2 at 1:55 and 2:23.

T-1 had a few problems starting with my first left at C - I turned right..... minus 2.  Our first canter was "inaccurate" B to E and our stretchy circle wasn't stretchy.  But we did get a 7 on one trot circle - final score of 50.416.  T-2 was better with a 56.785.  Our stretchy circle still needed stretch but had good tempo and bend.  We need to work on halt w/o resistance and for more harmony with canter.

Alaina and Sister scored 52.5 and 53.0 for Intro B and Intro C.  Sister needs to gain consistency in the bridle and better bend but they are making progress and even won high point for juniors 12 and under.  Alaina got to ride Astari around bareback which made her day.

Ivy and Pico started with Prix Caprilli Wk/Trot 60.5 and PC Wk/Trot/Canter 56.956 - they need to maintain bend through corners to improve balance.  T-3 was 55.6 which included an 8 for the first halt but stretchy circle was labored and not stretchy.  F-1 also had a great first halt but Pico lost bends in the 10 meter half circles and didn't get stretch in the stretchy circle. 

Mallory and Roxy didn't get to ride but did come to hang out and it was fun to see Julie and her mounts ride Western Dressage.

After the show, we shared German chocolate cake from Graham's in honor of Kathy's birthday.  YUM.

The girls got to ride on Sunday at the 4-H clinic.  After pizza for all, they worked Showmanship with Mandy, barrels with Emily, and Ivy gave a little talk on Dressage.  The planned work on horsemanship levels was saved for the next clinic.

And, I got to ride with my yaya sista's on Wed. evening AND, the party lesson is on for tomorrow!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Jaime and Sunny

Sunny was just 2 and Jaime 16 in March 2003.

We miss you Jaime.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tulsa State Fair 2011

The weather is about as perfect as weather in Oklahoma can be in September.  The girls completed mighty show preparations without much help Friday afternoon getting the trailer cleaned out, gathering tack/cloths/etc. and washing the horses (I was busy at a social gathering for a friend turning 40).
So off we went Saturday morning bright and early (really O-dark:30) to the Mustang Arena at the Tulsa Expo for the Tulsa State Fair 4-H/FFA horse show.  The girls showed well and both horses were good.  Ivy and Pico were really good - 2nd in hunter under saddle (could have been first), 2nd hunt seat equitation (was the best), 2nd western horsemanship (was 2nd even against all those western horses) and 9th in western pleasure.  Pico was relaxed and consistent with smooth as silk transitions all day long. Alaina and Sunny were not as sharp (her allergies were BAD). But still, the pair did well for the most part - 4th in showmanship (could have been 2 or 3rd), 4th hunter under saddle, 4th hunt seat equitation, 6th western pleasure, and 9th (last) in stakes. Alaina studied the 9 to 11 pattern and then rode some mix of patterns for western horsemanship - she couldn't get it together once she realized her mistake but Sunny gamely did what she asked.

I got my equine therapy on Sunday when the girls and I loaded Pico, Splash and Diez and headed to Cheval Lake to play with Mallory, Roxy, and Maddie.  Ivy worked Sister with Mallory's help using Clinton Anderson methods.  Roxy and Trooper, Maddie and Misty, Alaina and Diez, and Splash and I got started in the big arena.  When Ivy was finished with Sister, Alaina switched over and ran Sister through her walk/trot paces.  Mallory worked on one-reign stops, and took R, M, and I on a mini trail ride while I worked on stop/back/walk transitions with Splash. 

Ahhh, a horsey fun weekend followed by short evening rides with the girls in the Wild Orban Ranch arena both Monday and Tuesday - the weather is just to perfect to skip any opportunity.  I will miss out once again when the YaYa's ride at Rita's tomorrow.  But, NEXT WEEK! Count me IN!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rogers County Fair Update - 2011

The Rogers County Free Fair is History! 

Next Weekend?  The Tulsa State Fair 4-H/FFA show at the Mustang Arena at the Tulsa Fairgrounds on Saturday.  Come on by and keep me company!
Splash and I won Adult Hunter Under Saddle and Hunt Seat Equitation, and came 3rd in Adult Showmanship.  Splash was also Champion Appaloosa Gelding for Ivy but stomped her big toe in exchange for that beautiful plaque.
Alaina's Placings on Sunny:  2nd Halter Palomino, 3rd Hunter Under Saddle, 1st Hunt Seat Eq, 2nd Trail, 5th Western Horsemanship.  Ivy and Pico placed:  2nd Hunter Under Saddle, 2nd Hunt Seat Eq., 1st Hunter Hack, 6th Western Pleasure, and 4th Western Horsemanship.  Very Nice Riding at this last point show of the 4-H season.  We had the Youth Fun Show on Sunday and had a great time.  Roxy joined in so I got to hang with Mallory (when I wasn't on annoucer duty).  Ivy/Pico and Alaina/Sunny both won their heats of theTennis Ball Ballance race and Alaina won the final as well as the Jr/Sr championship.  Then, Alaina and Sunny showed everyone how to canter balancing an egg on a spoon held in her teeth - very impressive but I missed the picture.
Splash was still miffed about his mane treatment last weekend so I just gave him a light banding job; he wasn't thrilled when the clippers quit working on his first ear and I had to finish the job with nail scissors (not pretty unless you like that "chewed by a beaver" look).  Our showmanship was decent in parts but Splash showed his pushy side when we had to trot around the cone to the judge and stop (very tight pattern) - then stood mostly square for inspection followed by a non-pivot (clearly the weakest link, so I have to work on that - any ideas for training pivot?).  After donning my new-blue riding shirt with the palm-tree ratcatcher, we had a pretty good ride in hunter under saddle - Splash had good impulsion (mostly), was steady in the bridle (mostly), was moving out nicely (mostly), and took correct leads at canter - only dropped to trot from left lead canter for a stride or two BEHIND the judge.  Woo-HOO!  Hunt Seat Equitation wasn't quite so good, but the pattern was accurate if a bit resistant in transitions.  Even so, lots of fun to WIN although I would have been fine without the announcer calling my name followed by "the old lady" before announcing our placings.  And my YaYa friend Joan (AKA the Duchess Bovina) dropped by in time to watch our classes.  The rest of the show was more relaxing for me (I was DONE) and more YaYa sisters dropped by to say hi - Thanks Kathy and Judy - Next year, we will ALL ride.  Judy (Princess Rides while Navajo Steers) can just point at the trail pattern and Navi will Just Do It while Kathy (AKA Countess Loves a Paint Mare) and Call will be ready to dominate in the hunter classes.

Meanwhile, the weather is cooled down beautifully and my YaYa's are riding Wed. evening when I will be out of town - again..... My time to ride is coming..... Soon.....A girl (AKA YaYa Sister) can dream.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Splash Has a Bad Hair Day

But, it was for a good cause....  Splash and I were lucky enough to be a demo rider/horse pair for the B-session of the LProgram clinic held Saturday and Sunday at Bridle Creek in Sperry.  The requirements included "Braiding."
I have banded and done French and net braids but never those Button Braids traditional for dressage horses.  So, Marilyn B gave me a latch hook, black yarn, and guidance (watch YouTube videos and purchase Activator Gel) AND came over Friday evening to help me do the braiding deed.  Splash wasn't pleased but did look good.

And, he got a free perm out of the deal when the braids came out on Sunday afternoon.

I planned to really work Splash to get ready for the demo ride and we were off to a good start with the Rocking C show Sept. 3.  Alas, I had a McPherson/Wichita work trip last week and then the farrier came Friday..... So, Splash was not tuned up.  Ginny H and I were to trailer-pool Splash and Acca to Bridle Creek for the Sat. afternoon session, but first - we joined Maryal Barnett and the L-Judge candidates for the first half of the lecture Saturday morning.  The lecture with video examples focused on Training and First Level movements.  Ginny and I left the lecture early so that we could come back to Claremore to get the horses and head out to Bridle Creek in time for my ride time at 1:00 to demonstrate Training Level movements; Richal on Genna and Elizabeth with Theo were my partner demos.  Ginny and Acca were on at 3:15 to demonstrate First Level movements.  Marilyn and Jurgan, Jessie and Denali, Ruthie and Dreamweaver, and Marta and Chasqui also demo-ed.

Sunday's program focused on Second Level and was fascinating to a woman forever in Training Level - on a good day.  It was really fun to see my horsey friends and teachers ride as demos - Patty and Dante, Marilyn and Willie, Cynthia and Shadow, Sandy and Fancy, Heather and Studly, AND Kay on Odakai - Wow. 
I am really sorry I missed the A-session but I will definitely go to the next session in October.  The B-session covered:  1) criteria/purposed for Training, First, and Second level; 2) criteria for gait and paces; and 3) criteria for movements.  In dressage, the quality of gaits are dependent on rhythm, freedom, elasticity, suppleness, suspension, scope/amplitude, and reach/range of motion.  In the classroom, we reviewed the Pyramid of Training and listened in on the review of homework from the A-session - very interesting discussion between the judging candidates and Maryal.  Also, we reviewed the principles of increased engagement and elevation - the horse will develop both as training progresses.
Definitions - these are helpful for a rider of any level to consider when riding.
Purpose of the Test/Level - to evaluate the expected stage of training objectives as stated on the top of each score sheet.
Criteria - standard by which a movement is judged as stated in the USEF Rule Book
Test Movement - the section of a dressage test that must be assigned a single score - note that half points will be introduced next year.
Essence (of the movement) - The most important part of the sequence in the score sheet box; e.g., the "halt" or "canter depart".
Modifier - other elements in the box that might add or deduct from the score
Directive Ideas - explanations on the score sheet in the column after each test movement

Biomechanics of the Movements - Did the horse do "it" and How did the horse do "it."  Evaluate posture, bend, carriage, stride, energy, balance, and more - straightness, collection, frame, and engagement.
Training Level Purpose - to confirm that the horse is supple and moves freely forward in a clear and steady rhythm accepting contact with the bit.
First Level Purpose - To confirm that the horse, in addition to the requirements of Training Level, has developed the thrust to achieve improved balance and throughness and to maintain a more consistent contact with the bit.

Second Level Purpose - To confirm that the horse, having achieved the thrust required in First Level, now accepts more weight on the hindquarters (collection), shows the uphill tendencey, especially in the medium gaits, andis reliably on the bit.  A greater degree of straightness,bending, suppleness, throughness, balance and self-carraiage is required than at first level.