Friday, 27 November 2015

Ride Notes

Midge's polite streak ended this week and she was wild and VERY pushy, even on the ground. Do I need to start riding her 2x a day to burn off the energy? If only I had the time...my discouragement is still fresh with Ginger, so the not so great rides on Midge seem to have a bigger impact right now as far as beating myself up goes.

That being said, we still had a really great lesson this week. Rather than doing the square peg/round hole thing by trying to dressage on a hyperactive pony, instead we wisely opted to funnel that energy into a jumping lesson.

We started over single fences, then added in a 4 stride line, then a 3 stride, then put it all together into a little course of 10 jumps. There were barrels, Jimmy Wofford inspired low/wide oxers, a few verticals and a couple of cross rails. My focus was to be on creating an adjustable canter, and keeping a consistent pace after the jump. Straight lines and accurate turns as always, we tend to cut corners and get all unprepared when a jump 'magically' appears suddenly. Everything was about 18 - 24" so nothing overly big - we don't tend to multitask well when I am focusing on the jumps themselves so tiny stuff is our friend while we continue to sort out Bridget's canter and my lack of preparation.

I pull this mane every day and braid it over. And it still looks like this...I'm so close to giving up and letting it grow double sided and super thick.

 I don't think there was an entire course that went without either a (minor) pony or rider oops, but I was happy - we're a long way from pony who couldn't hold a canter (or turn lol), not to mention a rider who got all weird and nervous about jumping. Mostly importantly, we both had SO MUCH FUN.  Like all good ponies, Bridget is very brave and smart with her feet, so I feel quite confident about getting around safely. I still get a little anxious about my ability to ride some of the more random and enthusiastic efforts well, but even that is a pretty low level worry these days - she's becoming quite consistent and I'm getting a better feel for where I need to be/what she's going to do. EC has promised to set up a lot of grids to work on my position (in a month or two when Bridget is a little more solid) and I look forward to it, I think it will definitely help me feel more confident.

My other rides this week were not so great. We do need to dressage and pony was not pleased about that. She also can't bend left at the moment...unless of course there are jumps involved, then magical things happen. As for the actual canter, I can't believe we've been persisting with it for over a year now. Word to the wise - lazy welsh cobs who were taught to drive (and not canter with the cart) may prove to be a bit of a time sink as far as actually establishing anything beyond trot, particularly if you're very amateur yourself. Last night's ride was the worst in a long time, super rude pony tried to say she can only gallop along on the forehand with her head in the air.
Old photo to illustrate - Bridget still looks the same on a bad day, except there is now some pulling like a train, usually with a gaping mouth and lots of groaning and noises like I am strangling her.  
Lots of groaning and complaining took place every time I called her on her rudeness and did some spirals and transitions. Eventually she got softer and more willing. I guess I should appreciate that 'crazy' mood Bridget only equals the above nonsense and not anything challenging. Once she burns off the sillies, she goes back to being a little more agreeable (and the groaning/strangling noises stop, thank goodness). Knock on wood, consistent jumping lessons seem to be the key to unlocking her beautiful canter and it does make an appearance quite often these days - even on the flat! Maybe one day soon we'll have the perfect trifecta: Daylight, Sunshine, and Photographer, so this blog can be less boring and more pictures again :)

11 comments:

  1. Keep working on the bend the rhythm and the softness the canter will come

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  2. Grr, blogger. I was going to say that it has taken us 4 years to get that canter. I needed a lot more lessons and eyes on the ground. I wouldn't blame harness training, my mare was ridden first then harness broken and it has still been a tough road. Canter in harness has actually helped ridden canter a lot.

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    1. I don't blame the harness training completely, but the not being allowed to canter thing did mess with her a little - there are still days where she's like "Are you sure I am allowed to do this?" It would be interesting to try cantering her in harness now and see if she'll try - I bet it would be easier for her. Thanks for the tips :)

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  3. Sounds like you worked through it. I had to chuckle picturing the drama- groans and moans and flailing about.

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    1. I can't expect a good ride after a day off without working through a lot of silliness, so my own fault really. In a perfect world, after her day off we'd have enough daylight to hit the trails and blow off some steam that way before attempting to do any dressage :)

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  4. Wise words from Delwyn! My new coach D always puts ground poles down, even for flat work/dressage. It gives us something to aim towards and Apollo is a lot more willing to cooperate for some reason. Maybe throw a ground pole or two into your dressage routine? Seems to work wonders for the big guy! :)

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    1. Great idea. We used to do that and it really helped! I stopped recently because she is SUPER keen to jump all the things, ground poles included, but really I guess that just means I should be trotting and cantering all the ground poles until they are boring again. Glad you are having such fun with Apollo!

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  5. Again, this almost exactly mirrors my rides with Katai this week. Bursting with energy and slightly naughty. I tried to convince Katai that it was time to help me off the struggle bus tonight with a good lunge session. Crossing my fingers that she'll feel more like her normal self tomorrow!

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    1. Fingers crossed you had a great ride! Generally, I love B's new found enthusiasm, but there are days when yes, it's like please just help me off this struggle bus....

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    2. Fingers crossed you had a great ride! Generally, I love B's new found enthusiasm, but there are days when yes, it's like please just help me off this struggle bus....

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  6. ugh we don't always bend left either... sometimes i think we should be able to just do our dressage tests in one direction lol. that jumping sounds awesome tho - so cool to think of you two bopping around 10-fence courses like nbd now!!

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