Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Quietly progressing

I have been making an effort to get the boys out more to go hacking and they have had a grid day which was interesting. Good for China who wants to take over to train himself to back off. It was set a bit short for bob so it was hard work for him and he isn't as careful once he gets tired but he tried really hard.

China is really starting to learn to get soft and operate over fences. Rounder and softer in his back and better behind. When I get to the base softly he's amazing but I have to do nothing. And I find it hard. My eye thinks we aren't getting there but he's actually covering the ground ok and I have to trust the canter. And he doesn't lock on hard so I feel he hasn't seen it but if I stay soft he's beautiful to ride. He's not spooky and he's super brave so he doesn't need a lot of supporting leg beyond maintaining a really high quality canter. 

My friend who owns the arena is away in Vietnam so I'm looking after her horses as well and of course when the owner is away this happens.

Too old to stitch but cleaned and bandaged and he's on box rest. Prognosis is really good, just needs time and Manuka honey.

Took the boys to the farm and Kim rode Bob and I rode China and did two days of hill work though the first day was very ordinary weather wise. I'd made the trip though so had to suck it up and ride in the rain. 

The next morning when we headed out Bob wasn't interested in another farm ride and was reluctant to get going. Then I was popping over a small ditch and China stood on his front foot and basically fell over. He was ok though and even let me open all the gates off of him. Then he got tired at the top and got worked up and jogged nearly all the way down the hill with a few sideways flails into a long suffering but now enjoying his farm ride Bob. 

Kim had a little jump on Bob tonight because she's a bit in love with him and he was good and it was good for her because she wants to do too much. Kate requires a lot of support at the base because she'll chicken out. But it just rattled Bob. Showjumping this weekend then Bob goes home for a three week break. And I'm not sure what the plan is for China. I know my mate wants to travel to a clinic so maybe will be able to afford to jump on that. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Winter jumping days 1 and 2

Both horses were schooling really well before the first show and I admit I was a
Little ambitious in my entries, but my trainer being smarter than me had me move Bob down to the 55-65cm class and she wasn't wrong. He was mostly just green with steering and control but super brave to all the jumps. I even sneaked him back into the ring to jump that height twice and get him cantering more consistently and he was really good. Then he went straight out and jumped the 70-80cm class and he had some rails but I was super happy with him. It was pretty apparent he learnt so much from those three rounds, because his technique got better as he went and he learnt to back himself off
More which isn't something that comes naturally to him.

Chinaman was a giant know it all dickhead. He's right at the stage where he thinks he knows everything about jumping and doesn't want any input from
Me. He was supposed to the 70-80 twice and that would be him but I was so annoyed with him I put him in the next class up, the 85-95 in the hopes the extra height would make him think more. He was a lot better in the second round and all in all

I was really happy with him. He's very bold though not Always careful. If you
Can keep his canter round and bouncy he jumps really cute and round, but open his stride a little and he's too weak to jump in a good shape and he takes rails. When we first started teaching him to jump I would never have thought he'd like the deep spot so
Much but there you go. As time goes
On and his canter develops I imagine hell jump in a better shape even from a longer spot. The fence size is certainly irrelevant to him, he's so sure of

The second day they both went in the 80 class first up and China was again a complete burger brain. To be fair the videos don't look that different just in the second one when I asked him to wait he would and we didn't nearly hit the arena fence twice. In the video after the Liverpool to oxer line you can kinda see I got both hands on one rein to turn him.

That should link to his 80cm. Bob was good in his 80 though terrified of the white sign on the fence and couldn't cope with that at all. Jumped all
The jumps fine, handled all the horses around but that sign!

He was good in his first 95cm class too, at times he's feeling really scopey. Plenty of power. I had a pretty terrible ride to the Double and he tried really hard to fix it and I'm very proud of him for that. He had two rails but he's literally been is sport horse training for six weeks so good progress bob.

Chinaman was much more settled in the second class And had some really good jumps. Much more rideable. I'm
Thinking I might have to school him the morning of shows but I hate that because I want them to feel full of beans and jump the best they can. More miles should settle him but I don't think he'll stay a snaffle horse for jumping some how

Overall I'm pleased at the progress. Bob can jump the same classes next weekend and China can do two at the 85-95 and hopefully be more settled. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Post show slump

Riding bob at the top of the world with my sister and my bestie. Ended up getting stuck at the top of the hill and going down a really steep gut to get to a track. Both Bob and China had green moments but were mostly really good. I struggled with Kim on my China though. I don't share well.

Not the point of this post though, because I've been jumping the last two weekends and I have loads of media and videos to share which show just how green the kids are but Bob especially has learnt so much from shows. China is in this know it all stage which isn't that fun but I'll talk about that when the videos are up. 

I just wonder if you guys get this same thing that I struggle with and its the worse the better the show goes, but where after the show you feel devoid of joy and mostly apathetic. It happens every time, like I have used up all my allocated happy and excited and struggling with the transition from possible outcomes to completed opportunity. It's not even like I'm unhappy because while I was ready to kill China he made up for it in the second class.

Real life is so shades of grey compared to shows 😕. Does this happen to other people? China just had the physio today and as expected with the increase in his workload and intensity of work asked for laterally and in terms of working over his back he was pretty tight and sore. Little scar tissue in one shoulder and and old sacro illiac injury on the right side but lovely and loose now 

Monday, June 6, 2016

A Little Bit Yessage

On Saturday Bob got himself a make over. I was a bit torn about whether or not I went all in with a roached mane and forelock but with the hunter type he is and his pathetic forelock I went all in. I love the outcome and he was incredibly well behaved to clip. 

That's a wheelbarrow load of hair on the ground. And I left a lot on!! The dressage day is Bobs first ever competition and only his second ever outing so he was a bit of an unknown quantity. He has come back from his break a lot more settled. Apparently he spent most of the month off asleep, so he obviously got a lot of processing done. 

He came out in his first test and was actually a lot better than I thought he'd be. He started to get crooked in his body after the canters but even though he was hella confused he tried so hard. The judge commented how he was hurried and when I read that I was like oh yea that's true. Because he's so big and wants to get crooked I have been riding him too forward. I need to now get him a touch slower and more supple.

And he totally suits the blinged out sparkle browband. And well, being an extra full it fits him well. He scored a 58% but regardless of the score I was super proud of him.

China I was actually abit disappointed with. I've been working so hard at home and his work there has been so lovely, I was a bit gutted he didn't show it. And I missed the left lead again 😫. I never miss at home, what is happening here! Still it was a massive improvement from last month and we made our goal of breaking 60% with a score of 61%. He just was quite tense and head flingy. Such a spunk though!

In the second test which was a lot more complicated I didn't get the best out of Bob. He didn't really want to work again and got rattled by the Level 7 horses being uber fancy and clomping around. He was pretty determined to get it over with as quickly as possible and basically just marched through the bridle. I was coming down the diagonal just feeling like my arms were going to fall off. Still, again he gave me some lovely moments of softness and he's exciting to sit on, very powerful. 

He scored another 58% with a 54% from one judge and 62% from the other, though perhaps the latter judge was watching a different test. Still the comments were positive about how he's capable of doing a lovely test and just needs to dampen the enthusiasm. One of our canter transitions was very very powerful, borderline a buck. Still he handled the atmosphere, stood in the yard all day, coped when China was gone, and wasn't spooky at all.

Nailed the halt anyway! 

I gotta say after three tests I was getting a little exhausted which doesn't say much for my riding fitness. China too much preferred a cuddle.

He warmed up well like he mostly always does. I even only cantered on the left lead. As I came through the gate I looked at the judges car and was just like man this arena is long I am so tired. He took a lot of leg as well but finally gave me some of the work I know he can do.

He still is a bit tense and lacks bend at times but he didn't fling his head and finally we nailed the elusive left lead first time. His right canter felt beautiful and the judges comments both said how lovely he was. He scored a 64% and very nearly broke into the ribbons, but mostly he tried his little heart out. 

That trot though! I have to be really careful because I fall into this trap of expecting a lot of him. He's five. He last raced in November, I've only been riding him some February. He's done one dressage show before and he has progressed heaps in that three weeks for a ten percent improvement in score. He's trucking a long beautifully. And next weekend, we jump! Hurrah!

Friday, June 3, 2016

More Stressage tomorrow

That's Bob warming up for a 7.15am lesson in a -1 frost (don't panic, that's Celsius not Fahrenheit). Everything is white because it's covered in ice and it's three hours later and I swear my sinuses are still frozen. I have dressage tomorrow with both China and Bob so obviously a jumping lesson is The best idea. China will go for a hack once I finish work. 

Here's China last night when I was riding at 5.15pm. Curse you Winter short days .

Yea it's been a lot of half light riding for me lately. I have made a massive gaff though. I sent bob home for a month to chill out before the winter shows started and he's gone backwards a lot in that time and he's really not ready for the level one he is entered in. At the same time I don't want to learn four dressage tests. 

China continues to excel and make my little jumper heart swell with happiness. He turns up everyday and tries his butt off and learns so quickly. I still don't have him as far as I'd like and that's driving me nuts but he is looking better. 

Everytime I ride him I feel like I've been Given a very precious gift. I feel like his training is coming on really well though I definitely need a lesson to make sure I'm on the right track. He had a hack scheduled for after work for a nice cruisey blow out and then I need to clip bob and clean my gear for tomorrow. I'm thinking sparkle browband for Bob might distract from
Our inability to travel straight.