Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April Showers.....

 RAIN!  Thunder, lightning, and lots of rain.  We were dry - dry - dry until Saturday night since the big storm on Friday night was just south of us.  Then, in 2 days we got the years worth of rain.  The Easter Bunny had to stay indoors on Sunday.

We managed to ride on Saturday morning at the PARTY LESSON!  Sunny and Pico got to go for the girls lesson and I took Splash.  Kathy/Call and Mallory/Raffles joined Splash and me - they were looking mighty fine.

The new plan is for Alaina to RIDE Sister for the dressage schooling shows and I will get back to work on Splash.  That way, Diez can bask in her retirement.

The next dressage show is next weekend and I sure would like to ride between now and then.... so cross fingers for a little drying before the weekend.

Splash was a little miffed at being dusted off to go back into training.  So, I lounged him a bit before the lesson.  And, I used the german neck stretcher too.

We did the usual warm up and Splash was fusy in the bridle but we perservered.  For
 trot work we tried collection along the short end and the suggestion of extention on the long sides. 
Collection without STOP was a challenge but we "drafted" off Kathy and Call to get some fairly nice trot along the long side.  Then for canter, we tried to get counter bend to get better stepping up behind.  Left lead was fairly good but we had a little trouble with right lead - not to bad after such a long break.  Let's hope for improvement in the next few months.  The good news is that Splash felt sound.  Yeah!
With the serious mud, it may be weeks before YaYa's can ride again.  But I am game to lunch instead...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Show Girls

After Sunny's injury in January and Pico's sudden illness in February, the girls didn't get a chance to ride their regular mounts in the Will Rogers Classic.  But, at last, Pico and Sunny were good for the show today.

Pico was a little Freako - I know, its a big surprise - the wind was causing strange noises from the metal roof at the Expo.  But Sunny was pretty good for a horse that has been out of training.  Ivy showed Sister in Halter and Showmanship too.

The girls had a great time with their friends and I enjoyed seeing some of my favorite show mom's.

But I didn't get much of a chance to ride so Splash and Sister have been missing my riding.  And, since I am off to Kansas on Tuesday morning, I guess it will be next weekend before I'm back in the saddle.

Sure hope the YaYa's ride this week even if I am in Kansas.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sister's New BFF

Alaina - Sister says that she would much prefer a lighter rider. We will have to see.
We had several fun horse evenings lasts week -

Monday - the girls hit me up to ride before my car was parked so I rode Splash, Ivy rode Pico (jumps of course), Alaina rode Sunny a little and worked Sister in the round pen and then did a little riding too.

Tuesday - The neighbor twins came over to ride and Rhett tried Sunny and then Diez while Riley made Splash walk and trot a bit. Both Ivy and Alaina jumped poor Pico who is wondering if jumping is the only thing 12-year old twins want to do. Then the 4 of them did a little trail ride around the ranch.

Wednesday - I took Splash to Rita's for my first YaYa ride this year - Rita, Nancy, Sherry, Kathy, Judy, Julie, Christiana had a sunset ride with yummy eats after. Splash was very good and the girls made fun of my efforts to skip the steepest slopes to spare Splash's haunches from strain - don't want to re-injure him now that we are riding again. They are pretty sure I am just a scaredy-cat.

Thursday - 4-H ride night - we took Pico, Sunny and Sister as well as our jump blocks/poles. Ivy worked Pico (jump-jump-jump) and Alaina worked Sunny a little western before mounting Sister to see how she handles real work during a busy ride night. She was GREAT and Alaina worked the cross bars and caveletti - even got some good canter departs over the cross bars.

So, we finished the week with the Saturday party lessons (Ivy, Alaina, Roxy, and Maddie at 10; Margret, Mallory, and Cathy at 11) followed by lunch at Graham's. It was a real party day since Saturday was Patty's birthday but since Kathy B had planned a surprise party Sat. Night at Pepper's, we didn't let on to Patty any hint of our plans.

Kathy B took Call to the ATRC schooling show and had some great rides. Sister and I worked on bend into corners while we all worked leg yields and circles with bend. We tried right lead canter first (the good side) and Sister was fairly good on our canter depart then we did several 20-meter circles, continued down the long side and circled in the other end. Decent downward transition too. Right was Bounce's difficult side, but Margret looked good to me and Raffles gave Mallory some lovely canter work too. When it was our turn to canter left lead (Sister's BAD side), she took the depart in under 3 strides and we circled before going down the long side and cantering a couple more circles before we transitioned to trot and then walk. The best canter work for us to date. Sister finished her work with Alaina and some practice over cross bars (for Sister) and in jumping position (for Alaina).

Later that same day (evening), we gathered at Pepper's in Claremore to help Patty celebrate her birthday. We were all cleaned up and be barely recognized each other with our "cloths on" since usually we are covered with horse hair, green slime and dust. Very fun. YAYA.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Truck Trouble and Sister’s Big Weekend

 Oh, and we had a dressage show too.
The big red truck has been having issues and Kissee has checked it out a couple of times in the last few months – to no avail. Finally, its loss of power at dangerous moments meant another trip to the truck doc. We dropped it off early Tuesday morning and Wednesday, Darrel called to ask a few more questions and change the cue from “transmission” to “diesel guy” – several trucks before ours, and a fix by weekend unlikely. BUT we had a dressage show at Patty’s scheduled for Saturday. So, crossing fingers, I made arrangements to retrieve the unfixed truck on Friday morning and take our chances. Kathy and Mallory were on stand-by for either horse hauling or rescue operations.
Friday morning at the shop Darrel said the tech was just putting the truck on the lift – so we crossed fingers and toes in hopes of a fix before 5pm. Mid-day and the word was that diagnostics found nothing and the “educated guess” was that the accelerator sensor was having issues (pricey) and did we want to replace it in hopes of a fix. We did and got the truck back just before 5 in time to check it going to Patty’s for a “night before show” lesson for the girls.
We loaded Sister, Pico and Diez and I worked Sister while the girls had a quick lesson. Ivy and Pico practiced Prix Caprilli and Alaina worked on holding Diez together while working for impulsion, bend, and submission to the bit (all very difficult for a retired Mongolian War Horse). After Alaina finished with Diez, she convinced me to let her try Sister over the crossbar of the PC test. Sister did fine and in fact, took a couple of nice canter departs after going over the poles. So, Alaina and Sister did a few circles trotting over the crossbar and we quit for the night. Meanwhile, Ivy was washing (torturing) Pico. It was to cold to wash Diez and I was too tired to wash Sister – we went home.

The truck ran fine.

First thing Saturday morning and we headed to Patty’s at 7am. Ivy was scheduled to ride Prix Caprilli at 8:30 and we wanted to have a chance to school before the first ride. Larry and Patty had groomed the arena to a high finish. Lovely swirls converging on center line and swooping around the end of the arena at “C.” Yes, you guessed it. Freako-Pico did NOT want to STEP anywhere near such beautiful dirt. OMG.
Alaina and I took Sister and Diez into the arena with Pico to help him adapt to the perfect dirt. After Prix Caprilli (134 points/1st place), Ivy and Pico rode First Level test 1 (55.172) and then (after the arena was shortened) Training Level test 3 (63.6) and was high point baby juniors FL and TL. The biggest problem Pico and Ivy have is no stretch in the stretchy circle and getting lengthened stride in canter. Sister and I rode Intro A and B with some nice moments (hehe) – we scored 63.125 on both tests. We need steadier connection and more ground cover in the walk.

Really, I was pretty happy with Sister since she is making progress with left bend and fussiness in the bridle. Alaina and Diez scored 63 in Intro C and 60.416 in TL-1. The judge (Lyn Francik) says Diez needs more ground cover at the walk and better inside bend.

At lunch, Lyn suggested that I work on asking for canter with a whip – tap-tap-tap – when the bend is right and see if that helps get a better canter depart. I will have to try that soon.

The truck ran fine - so maybe it was the accelerator sensor.

All in all,a fun day with our dressage friends and beautiful weather before the BIG WIND came in Sunday.

Alaina has decided to aim for Prix Caprilli with Sister since Diez is not an option (5 degrees of rotation from her founder a couple of years ago excuse her from jumping). So, Alaina saddled and lounged Sister on Sunday to try a bit of “jumping” and trail work. Sister shows potential for both since she isn’t spooky and is athletic. Both girls worked Sister over a pole in the round pen both directions and Alaina worked the bridge, cavaletti, ground poles and the box out in the big arena. Ivy did some jumping with Pico and Alaina gave Sunny a light workout too. The wind was howling but the temperature was warm. A nice end to a horsey weekend. YaYa.
PS - Meet Ruthie's new horse Dreamer!