Sunday, March 27, 2011

Big Sis

My yaya sista's did the first ride of the season at Glenbrook on Thursday night - but I was flying back from Denver after a work trip to Laramie, WY so I MISSED it. And although cool, the weather was lovely. Hope everyone had a great time for me and that I can join in for the next one.

So, I had to wait until the SPL to ride and the weather was cool and misty all day - but did get above 40 so I shouldn't complain. Sunny's foot was looking pretty good on Friday so I thought we would take him along for Alaina to get started with a short ride BUT Sat. morning and there was a little blood again, so we took Diez instead. Alaina rode first Diez English and then Casper western (thanks Kathy). Ivy, Roxy and Maddy joined Alaina for the kid lesson.

Doc had an injection last week so Nancy didn't ride in the lesson - Call was recovered from her farrier attack so it was Mallory, Kathy and me. We warmed up with trot then worked a little shoulder in along the long sides and collection along the short sides. Sister was making some progress with left bend about half the time and showed minimal attitude for most of the lesson. After a short rest, we had a bit of "discussion" about returning to trot work and I had to get after her with some strong kicks. Canter right lead was fairly good, prompt and obedient transition for several large circles at A. Left lead canter took more than a complete circle - very resistant but FINALLY, left lead canter without kickout. Sister has a little trouble holding canter when changing from circle to straight line so Patty suggested staying on the circle to make things a bit easier. We finished with a practice test (Intro B) and discovered BAD HALT. So, before we even started the test, we worked on standing Quietly at X. Forward 10 steps - Stand; repeat - repeat - repeat..... Finally, Sister stood still.  The plan for the show next weekend is to make our halt at X as brief as possible. Hopefully, I will get a chance to practice halts a little before then.

Kathy and Call were looking really good so expect High Points for them next weekend. Mallory and Raffles had some really beautiful canter departs and had great impulsion, so they could give Kathy and Call some serious competition. Yippeee, my show friends are making progress with their mounts.

LAL was at Graham's (surprise) and we were an extra large group - 16 total including Marsha, Melissa, Larry, Susan, Mike, Deb, Ron, Patty, Nancy, Mallory, Kathy and me plus kids. Graham's loves to see us come in for our late lunch - haha.

I hope to get Big Sis over to Patty's for a lesson Friday evening before the show on Saturday and maybe will get a chance to ride this week. Cross fingers and toes. Yaya.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring, Spring Break and 3 Days of Horsey Fun

The girls were on Spring Break Last week and I managed to take Monday/Tuesday/Friday off to hang and horse around.  Rain on Monday soaked the arena so we missed out on riding both Monday and Tuesday too.  BUT.... Friday, the fun began.

The girls and I went to Rita's and met up with the Hays girls and boy to do a bit of jumping and to try Sister on her first trail ride (see picture of the Mini-YaYa's).  For me, that meant a ride down the hill and around the pasture and back to the barn.......  However, Rita says that a trail ride needs "trails though the woods, up/down hills, and over water/mud crossings."  Oh No.....  Can we say UD for Unintended Dismount? 

So, after some wild jumping girls and uneventful lunging, "we" mounted up and headed down the first STEEP hill, across the culvert/bridge and up the hill to the WOODS.  Down the BIG hill to the FIRST water crossing.

After a brief discussion regarding the wisdom of actually crossing the water, Sister LAUNCHED herself and took me with her. It was a blur to me but I have been told that there was whiplash backwards and then boomerang forward and by the time I could focus we were almost into the woods and I was hugging Sister's neck with my hands somewhere near the bit. Somehow we stopped and I sat up. NOT in the saddle. But not in the dirt either although the neck does not provide the most secure seating. So, NO unintended dismount by a technicality. Rather, an unintended dislocation. My "friends" were laughing so hard they almost fell out of their saddles. But, my adorable daughter Alaina came to my aid and held Sister so that I could Intentionally Dismount without injury. Sister and I walked back and forth across the "creek" several times before I got back in the saddle to continue the TRAIL RIDE. Thereafter, Rita and Comet blocked the launch trajectories so that Sister had to "walk" across water/mud crossings. Six or so crossings later, I was ready to call the ride a success and head back across that first crossing (Sister walked nicely) and up that final STEEP hill (Sister wanted to blast up but didn't go as fast as she wanted or as slow as I wanted). Back at the barn, I intentionally dismounted the normal way. Whew....

Mallory, Roxie, Maddy, Kathy, Amanda (in from West Texas) and Nancy joined us at Patty's for the SPL and LAL. Kale went along so that we could all eat at Graham's. Call had a run-in with a BAD farrier last and was off on the right front - DARN - Kathy and Call had to miss the first ODS schooling show of the year. Sister and I worked on bit contact and leg yield into corners in preparation for Intro A and Intro B at the show. We practiced Intro C with just half 20-meter circle canters each way. Sister took right lead fairly well and was slow to take left lead but no kick-out - yippeeeeeee.

The rain predicted for Saturday afternoon missed us so Alaina tacked Sunny up for a little walk-trot in the dried arena after 2 months of recovery from his foot injury. His foot is much better so its time to try to get him back in shape without causing re-injury. Cross fingers that he can slowly come back into work this month.

The first schooling show of the year was on the first day of spring - and Sister and I received 59.4 and 58.8 on our tests. Alaina dusted Diez off and will be riding her this year since Sunny isn't back for real work yet - they had very nice rides in Intro C and Training 1. Ivy and Pico rode Training 3 and First 1 - their first time at First Level - they won highpoint for both Training and First Level (13 and under Juniors). Both girls did really well in their rides and also worked the Concessions to benefit the juniors as well as did a little running/office help. Marsha C did a wonderful job managing the first show of the season held a Honey-Do in Mounds. The only real problem is that with me in Intro and Ivy in First Level, our rides were spread over the whole day - we left the house at 8:30am and we didn't get home until after 8pm.

So, three rides on Sister in three days. Fun. Now spring has sprung and I am ready to YaYa!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring Forward

Spring in OK means weather of some sort.  Friday was hot and dry and windy - with the entire state under a burn ban, wildfires were burning and my drive home from work was smoky all the way.  Saturday was sunny and beautiful with no wind and the temperature was warm.  Ahhh, great day for the SPL (Sat. Party Lesson).

So, the girls and I joined Kathy B, Nancy E, Mallory S-B, Roxie and Maddie for lessons at 10 and 11.  Alaina brought Diez since the dressage show is NEXT weekend!  Diez is still trying to figure out what went wrong with her pasture pet retirement; but she was in luck and Alaina switched over to Casper once Kathy arrived.  Ivy and Pico ended their lesson with some fine jumping.

The new dressage tests have been issued and Kathy B has the book.  Each level has 3 tests including Intro.  But.... Intro C has a little canter.  So, Sister and I will do Intro A and Intro B next weekend.

Alaina and Diez plan to try Intro C and Training 1 and Ivy and Pico will ride Training 3 and First 1.  Wow, 2011 should be really fun.

Sister was pretty good in the lesson and we worked on keeping my hands steady (especially inside) and tryed to push into the bridle rather than pulling.  After shoulder fore exercises at the walk and spiral circles in and out at the trot, it was time to try canter.  Luckily, right lead was first and after preparation for depart, Sister took the right lead and cantered nicely for me.  Patty was impressed and so was I.  Left lead wasn't so pretty.  But, after resisting bend/setup, SIster took left lead canter with evil mare ears and serious tail swish - but no kickout.  All in all, success.  Time for LAL (Lunch after lesson) at Graham's.
A cold front came through and Sunday was cloudy and cool (not cold compared to sub-artic) and there was a threat of rain.  The girls had spent the night with Roxie so I loaded Diez, Pico, and Sister and headed to Cheval Lake just afternoon.  We had a great afternoon.  Ivy, Alaina, Roxie, and Mattie joined Jordan to play in the big arena.  Meanwhile, I lunged Sister before mounting up and joining the Girls and Mallory for some arena work.  Although we didn't work to hard, Sister took left lead canter first and with a little more grace than yesterday - and then did right lead canter too.

Its spring break this week and I have some days off.  So, it the rain coming down tonight doesn't swamp my arena, we should get a little more practice in before the show.  Even got to see the YaYa Sisters for birthday dinner at Olive Garden on Wed. Night.  With the Spring Forward, evening rides with my sista's is coming soon.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Equine Therapy is Good

After a work trip to Denver for an environmental staff meeting, I got home Friday evening and made plans for the Party Lesson at the Rocking C.  Pico is better but Sunny is still in recovery so Kathy B brought Casper for Alaina.  I brought Splash and Sister but planned to ride Splash for the lesson and just play a little with Sister.  Casper lost a shoe so Alaina rode him lightly and then finished her lesson with Sister.

Call and Kathy looked great and when Call passed us by, Splash made an effort to keep up - even rushing a bit (mark down the date).  Alaina and Casper have really improved (it was their 6th ride together).  Casper likes to have a fairly loose rein and Alaina is slowly gaining enough confidence to give him some.  Pico and Ivy looked good and they worked on contact - pushing into the bit to gain collection.  Splash and I worked on shoulder-fore down the long side and then tried for extension/collection along long/short sides.  We got a little and really had some fairly good trot about half the time.  Right lead canter was good, obedient and not to sluggish.  Left lead canter didn't start out so well (wrong lead/falling right), but finally, we got it together.  We finished with some shoulder in and stopped before we hit Splash's wall.  Confession - I was using the GNS!

Ivy and Kathy worked leg yields both directions and I helped Alaina get Sister into the arena (she was standing by in her saddle and I had lunged her a bit before the lesson).  Alaina mounted and after a short walking warm-up, they did some trot work both directions.  Sister is still very stiff to the left and falls left at every opportunity - especially, when going left into corners.  Alaina worked hard to help support the left bend and sometimes got it.  Alaina was a bit nervous about canter work but gave it a try.  Right lead canter was pretty good after a hesitant start.  Left lead was hard - wrong lead first try but then, they got it and did a couple of big circles.  Evil Mare Ears but no kick or buck. 
Not bad, so we all went to lunch at Graham's.

Sunday the girls gathered the horses, groomed and saddled for me so we could ride in the WOR arena.  Ivy worked Pico over a series of 3 jumps - slowly raising the bar for the 2nd and 3rd.  I worked Splash with a bit of trot to warm up and then a little leg yield into canter.  Both girls decided they wanted to give Splash a try and I worked Diez while they did.  Diez pretends she doesn't bend or come on the bit, but I insisted, but not for to long since she has been in retirement for several years.  Alaina plans to ride her for Dressage shows this year, so the Dezzie Do has to get with the program.

The YaYa's will meet at Olive Garden in Owasso to celebrate the Jan/Feb/March YaYa birthdays - that will be almost as fun as riding at Rita's.