Our Week At Boot Camp

   Last week as most of you already know, was spent in Bozeman at Holloway’s Pretty Good Horse Barn, with Meggan Holloway.
  The timing couldn’t have been any better, because while schooling cross country with Addie, on July 9th, she bolted. I only had one stirrup for aprox. .5 mile (give or take), and managed to stay on until she jumped the drainage ditch. I preceded to fall onto the bank of the ditch, and bounce into the ditch face first. That felt great (not really)! An ambulance was called, and off to the ER I went. Thankfully nothing was broken, and no concussion. We were really worried that I had broken my collar bone and tail bone. I was back and riding on Monday. My lower back is still pretty sore, but it will heal with time.
  So back to Out Week At Boot Camp. We worked on Addie’s “foot work”, because she is still learning where to put everything. It didn’t help that she grew at least 1.5″ since I bought her in February. Then she was barely 16.2hh, and now she is just over 17hh. And dang does she look good. No one recognized her, and I don’t think that her original owners even would have! I need to post some before and after pictures. Now she doesn’t look like a propane tank. The Mare now looks like a real sport horse!
  We worked on jumping four out of the five days I was there. We did a lot of grids and bounce lines, at the end she was doing them very well. Early friday morning before lessons and when we needed to leave, we worked on jumping ditches. Since the xc course was pretty much invisible due to how high the grass was, Meggan pulled out her fake ditch, and Addie never refused! At the end she was “galloping” over it at bn/n speed with no problem.
  On our way back into Missoula, Meggan and I talked about my goal of taking Addie novice at Rebecca Farm next July. Meggan thinks that if I do the August Mini Event and Stanton Farm on Sept. 11-12th at bn, and  if she does really well, she doesn’t see why I couldn’t take her around novice at the Oct. Mini Event.
To be successful at Rebecca at novice in July ’11 we need to do at least 2 recognized  H.T.’s before then next season. I am currently looking at the May events, and will be deciding on our first shortly.

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Following Suit

So  after just reading my friend’s recent blog entery, I am going to jump on the bandwagon too! You can check out her blog at Pura Vida Eventing.

Here are my goals for the rest of the Summer:

-Take Addie to her first schooling Horse Trial at BN on August 7th

-Dressage score in 30’s (swiped this one from Pura Vida Eventing)

-No refusals in XC or Stadium

-No breaking from gait during dressage tests

-Not hesitating or refusing at ditches

– Schooling some novice successfully

– Attend Buck Davidson Clinic at Jarba Farms in August

-Either go to the Dressage show here or go to Rebecca for H/J show

– Getting nice uphill movement with nice engagement of hindquarters ON the bit

– Go recognized at Stanton in Sept, go double clean xc and stadium and end on dressage score (BN)

– Take Addie to my C1 rating (and pass) the end of the summer or early fall

Thats all for the moment, but I’ll try to think of some more!

July 5 2010

  Yesterday was a lot nicer than it is today. I can believe the down pour we had. Good thing there is a nice, big indoor where I board Addie or we would have been outta luck.
  Addie was very much a mare while I groomed and tacked her up, even more so when I went to put on my Collegiate aka my Craptastic Saddle. I know it doesn’t fit, so I had stopped by Crazy Horse (the “tack” store) to see if they had a wide gullet in. To my despise they didn’t. If I could have I would have had them order me one, but because they are a consignment tack store I couldn’t :(. So I rode in the same arrangement that I used yesterday, and boy is that fun to get all on straight so she wont have anything else to get upset about.
  First we lunged. This is because The Mare thinks she is so aaaaaaalooooonnneee when we are in the indoor, and likes to scream and be stupid. Surprisingly she was pretty good on the lung, and just because I had her side reins already hooked up, I decided she could work for a while in them. It always seems to help set the mood for her, and then she doesn’t pull on her when I ask her to take up the contact when I get on.
  Wow, my mom just came in the door and gave me some Almond Joys! Yummy!
  Okay, back on track. Addie is really loving the french link instead of the Stubben KK. Go figure. I spend $75 on the Stubben, and just $20 on the french link that I bought for Dover last summer. Oh well, good thing I still had it.
   Her right lead is still kinda crappy, we need to really work on it, because it is her off side. Otherwise we had some awesome trot work, mostly on the bit and round, and she was very much in tune to me. So all in all we had a pretty darn good ride 🙂

My 4th Of July Ride

   Today has been an unusual Independence Day. It has been uncharacteristically dark, gloomy, and muggy while years past have always been sunny and hot. This year I had the chance to escape away to the barn and see my “pony”. I was just planning on lunging her with side reins, and give her a good grooming because I hadn’t ridden in two days, and the last time I rode her she was a compete a**.  Throwing her head up, down, side to side and any other way possible. Hollowing her back, not listening to half halts, or my other aids. Figured that it was just because there were other horses in the arena cruising around and jumping, and she was going to jump as well. I didnt think much of it because I had been thinking about getting her a different bit for jumping, or maybe just a running martingale. Then my saddle started to sit on her withers. I already knew that my Craptastic Saddle (that I bought in 2008 brand new and it was the only one that would “fit” the horse I had at the time and my long legs) it is a bit wide for her, but I had been using my quilted  Mattes Correction Pad which had been working out great. Now it is sooo wide I need to get the next smaller gullet. Arrgg.
  We no longer have an “real” english tack store in the area, the closest is almost 4 hrs away. I might be able to pick one up at the Consignment Tack Shop, because they got a bunch from our local tack store when they went out of business. So today I used one of my Navajo saddle blankets to take up some space inconjunction with my regular saddle pad and mattes, and boy that helped! It didnt solve anything, the saddle still was sitting on her withers a bit, and left dry spots on either side of her withers, but she was much happier. I also switched her to Dover’s old bit, a loose ring french link snaffle. I lunged her for about 10mins before  I got on, because she hadnt been ridden and to give her a chance to check out the “new” bit. She has been in Stubben’s version on a KK Ultra loose ring snaffle, ridden with and without a flash. Addie loves the french link! I tried it without the flash to see how she really liked it, and guess what?! She did wonderfully in it, and doesnt need the flash.
   I w/t/c her at large, and on 20 meter circles, both on and off the bit. She was very responsive, but the left was better then the right, but thats how it has always been , so no change there.
   Since she was so good, I decided that we would pop over these itty bitty jumps that had been set up (18″), and my gpa put the novice height fences down a few holes for us as well. There were some logs used as fillers that we hopped over, one vertical, a gate, a small square oxer, and a small corner with a “liver pool” set up underneath it. The only one she kinda hesitated at was the corner, but it was more because I didnt have enough impulsion in her trot. She contiued to pop over everything at a nice relaxed steady eddy trot (a little to relaxed really, but hey I cant complain), and then I precieded to take her over them all after twice around at a nice balanced canter.
  Addie has always liked to speed up at the approach to a jump, especially at a canter, so much so she becomes unbalanced and she takes a bad spot (despite my half halts) and ends up hitting it and/or knocking a rail down. Not today though! The only time she almost got a rail was when I was trotting her up to the jumps on the approach, so she was just being lazing and not really jumping. So today she really proved that she is ready to move up in height (has been consitantly jumping up to 2’6″, but mostly 2’3″), now she is ready to be consistantly be doing BN height. Yay!
 

June 30 2010

  Addie was definitely the Big Red Mare today. I didn’t ride yesterday, but dang she acted like I hadnt ridden her in three! She was definitely in La La Land today. I had to do lots of counter bending at the trot to get her head screwed back on, to remind her she knows how to be round and not bend like a 2×4. Maresy was madly swishing her tail during warm up at the walk, and bouncing like bees were attacking her. She finally she agreed with me that there wasn’t anything bothering her.
 Today there were two other horses in the arena as well. That was very exciting for her, because she believed she had a reason to scream at them a few times while their riders looked at me like “cant you just shut her up?!”. To say the least The Mare has a mind of her own and will scream until hell freezes over no matter how many times you “tell” her to shut up. Hopefully she wont ever do it in a dressage test.
 On the up side her canter work was pretty good, and she had some nice walk to canter transitions as well. Her canter to trot down transitions were another story. You would have never guessed we had just spent a whole ride on them the day before last, which were very nice if I may say so. Oh well. We did some free walking to cool her down which was wonderful, we then ended it on some turns on the forehand (which she apparently forgot how to do, but finally remembered) that were pretty nice as well.

  I thought I had figured out my saddle fitting issues, but they sprung up again today, so that didnt help my riding whatsoever. The pommel was really tipping forward. I switched from a SaddleRight pad I was borrowing from a friend to my Mattes Quilted Correction pad. That had helped for quite a while, but now I probably need to go a smaller gullet for my saddle (I have a crappy Collegiate Convertible Diploma I am trying to replace with a Stubben). Right now I have a X-Wide Gullet in it, so I’ll have to get the next size down and see if that helps at all. When I go down to Meggan’s on the 11th I am going to have her do a fitting to see what size she really is.