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.