Sunday, 26 March 2017

Weekend Happenings

Saturday was our adventure a few km up the road to an open jump schooling day. I'm of mixed feelings about how it went, but am overall glad I decided to go.

It was a new place for both of us. There was a large outdoor arena full of xc jumps, and an even larger(!) indoor full of show jumps. The barn really went out of their way to make it a good schooling course. Lots of different lines to take, and almost every jump was full of spooky fill and decor.

The owner coaches as well and seems lovely. She and her students were so welcoming and nice I'm now seriously considering attending an adult only eventing camp with them if Bridget behaves herself in the next couple of months. It's mid summer in the interior of our province at the Chase Creek event site, so a gorgeous place. Our barn is mostly kids and teens, and while I love them, a weekend riding and learning with other adults sounds tempting,

Anyway, on to my ride recap. Essentially, we warmed up like crap. Bridget did her standard cannot-go-forward-in-new-place routine, and her tantrum may or may not have scared the innocent bystanders. On the plus side my timing and technique for sitting rather large bucks while still applying my stick is getting really good!

Typical. Thought it was a cute pic, but reposting in a more appropriate context because she's actually got her tongue sticking out.

And...the jumping. Since B was being such a pony, we were encouraged to start over cross rails. And we basically stalled and sucked back and generally Hulk smashed our way around. It's good she never actually stopped at anything, terrible that every.single.stride. was underpowered despite all my efforts to the contrary. I think there is photo and video evidence coming. I may need to burn it.

The jumps were raised. The general consensus was that actual jumps = Bridget taking things a little more seriously. Also, I need to ride her like the pony she is and make those feet move, or else! Alrighty then.

I was seriously frustrated, so when EC was shouting "Ride her like the rotten pony she's being! Get after her!" I did. I dug a little deeper and after a couple of messy fences, had a couple of decent rounds. I still needed to put out more energy than I should have, but the pony went and did her job. And you better believe I made her gallop between fences :)  So, we quit there. Pony had used up most of her energy on evil, and I needed to grab that good note to end on while I could.

So, that's the story of how we showed up and only jumped a 2' course, yet still considered it a win.
Actual pic on the day. Can you see her excitement, even as horses gallop around her? ;)

On the plus side, the other horses found things at this barn very spooky, but B just napped quietly in the sun beside me while I sat and watched the rest of the riders deal with spooky new place drama and the kids played around her. So there's that. It's unlikely I'll die in any bolting/panicking horse scenario with Bridget, plus she makes an excellent dog.

Sunday, I hopped on with the intent of really schooling the forward. The weather was awful, really wet and very windy - a good old Pacific coast March storm. I opted for the arena.  As is often the case lately, as soon as I got in the arena, person who shall remain unnamed decided she needed to lunge her horse in the covered end of the ring (its only half covered and that's the end without jumps in the way). I think her horse is a bit of a handful and she's cautious so likes to work him when someone else is there...understandable, but its a time and space consuming process and, really seriously, must she wait exactly until I tack up every time? Such is life at a boarding barn. It's not overly interesting being stuck on a slightly bigger circle than the longing horse, nor can I make myself believe its overly safe. Being out in the elememts felt like the better option, and since we were going to get wet anyway, I switched it up and took B for another fitness hack. She shocked me by being super forward and giving me zero reasons to pick any fights with her. We had a fantastic gallop on the trail, which set the world completely to rights again, soaking wet or not.

Perhaps this is where we're going wrong.

I wish I understood why B's work ethic doesn't accompany us to new places. Maybe in the past I was easier on her off site because she was young and green, so she thinks the rules dont apply. Maybe because no one wants to be THAT person in the warmup. Maybe she needs to slow it down to take everything in? Maybe the trailer makes her sleepy. No clue, but its definitely a thing we need to stop, before it drives me completely crazy.

Eventing camp next weekend was cancelled due to our awful weather this winter, So, we've just signed up for the MREC 2 phase instead, in hopes of giving ourselves a fun and positive schooling show prior to the season.  I'll either do Starter (2'3") or Pre Entry (2'6") depending on pony behaviour/rider anxiety/EC's level of determination. After our less than stellar jump schools of late, the goal obviously isn't any impressive move ups, it's getting the pony forward and consistent again and for me to have some fun out there.
Reposting fave pic from last spring for inspiration, because B was so full of it here I actually had to take her for a canter to burn off a little steam so we could hack safely to our pace clinic!

14 comments:

  1. Ugh, schooling the go button is my least favorite activity... but you can't get anything done without it. Hopefully the lesson sticks!

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    1. Schooling the go button is pretty much my daily struggle with B. In better news, 2 years later we've gone from can't move at all ever, to an average 5 minute or so check in at the beginning of the ride. Off property though, all bets are off :)

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  2. Oh wow, can I ever relate. This is exactly what Savvy does approaching anything new (i.e. learning haunches in or approaching a dreaded grid) and no amount of leg/crop/flappy arms/cursing will get her forward. Once she has a chance to figure out her feet then she is forward again. It really sucks. I am thinking of buying spurs (but I bet she will just buck like a lipizzaner on the spot and still not go forward!) If you find a cure, please pass it on to me!

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    1. I so wish I had a cure. I'm hopeful that further consistency and trips to new places, doing new things will be helpful. Re: the Lipizzaner thing...yep, story of my life this weekend :)

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  3. Sounds like there were some wins in there though! It is always nice to have a non-spooky pony. I feel you on the hard work of forward though, when I ride Henry I am exhausted and so sweaty... I almost always nap afterwards.

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    1. I was so tired, it felt like I ran and jumped the course myself!

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  4. Awesome that you were able to get B going despite the pony-ness and get a win out of it!! My guy can be less motivated off property too. Idk why. Maybe a weirdly presenting confidence issue? Idk. Anyway tho sounds fun about the upcoming two phase!

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    1. That idea has been in the back of my brain for a while. Sensible horses like ours like to take time to think things through rather than reacting/acting...so yeah, could easily be a confidence and miles thing.

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  5. I don't own a pony but installing 'go' off the leg is a work in progress with Carmen, so maybe it's a mare thing?

    True story- I was in a workshop today and someone was saying that her daughter didn't want to watch My Little Pony because there were bad ponies in it doing mean things. Before I could stop myself I said 'but ponies are EVIL'. :)

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  6. Ugh, ponies! But it's great that you were able to eventually jump around successfully! I think Emma may have hit the nail on the head with her suggestion that Bridget is expressing a lack of confidence with her sticky go button off-property. She may just be a thinker who needs more miles?

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  7. Non-spooky pony is the best!

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  8. lol @ the "using her energy for evil" oh, Bridget.

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  9. Oh pony! That meme made me giggle. Also, too bad we can't mad scientist Bridget and Katai together since new places give Katai LOADS of energy. I think if we could combine them we might get the perfect energy level ;)

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  10. haha I love the running pony commentary!

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