Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Long, Lazy Weekend

When a bridge collapsed on our main north/south interstate, The Boy and I opted not to fight traffic for a weekend getaway and just hung around the house for our long weekend. 

Not so secretly it was nice to have 3 days with nothing on the calendar (aside from the barn) and I relished the chance to get errands done, tack cleaned and some couch time in. 

Saturday I had a great school on Prairie over some jumps.  I don't remember what we did to warm up, but we ended with a 15 minutes (!?) canter set figure-eighting over two jumps using the whole outdoor. 

My thoughts from that little exercise are this:

- omg ow my legs.
- Prair is getting her changes without freaking out (most of the time)
- omg ow my calves
- I felt comfortable asking her to take the long spot and she didn't freak out.
- omg ow everything.
- settling into a rhythm and just and cantering and jumping and cantering and jumping is really, really fun. (i sorta miss xc)

It was a super fabulous ride.  Afterward I walked the mare around the property on a loose rein and reveled in her laziness and cooperation.

When I got home I streamed some of the Devon show and had fun watching the Junior Jumper something.  I don't spend a ton of time watching the Jumper ring but it astounds me how much ugly riding there is.  And not in terms of perfect Eq, but just ugly riding.  It's like the more athletic a horse is, the less trained it appears to be and the more erratic/terrifying some of the rounds are.

Exhibit A was watching the jump off where o3 of the 5 riders eliminated themselves, 2 of them by falling off in between jumps.  How does that happen?

(The Boy watched NASCAR while I watched ponies.  Worked well since the commentary was drivel for both)
Anyway.  Sunday was house errands (booooring) and no barn.  Mare got the day off.  But Monday I was back out there in the pouring rain and inspired to put out the Dressage tack for the first time in.... months?

I meant to take a picture to document said feat, but I forgot.

S and I have been talking about putting Prair back in a snaffle to see how she is, but I haven't bothered changing bits on her brown bridle yet.  Black Dressage saddle made it easy to grab a black dressage bridle which was still outfitted with the Boucher, so I went with that.

Prair warmed up fabulously.  If anything, all the two-point and jumping has really gotten my calf on Prairie (and my knee off), which translated really nicely to my longer stirrup length.  Between the deeper seat on the Hastilow and a tighter leg, I actually enjoyed my sitting trot work and felt more effective in it for the first time in a while.  

I sorta just doodled around the whole ride, meaning that I didn't really do anything over and over again but just kept changing it up and playing.  I did want to concentrate on our lengthening/collecting in both the trot and canter so there was lots of that, but mixed in with lots of walk or halt transitions.

Prair was a little strong/stiff to begin with, but by the end we were doing three loop serpentines with simple changes through the walk, zig zag leg yields and even a few flying changes all without her trying to invert or throw a fit.  It felt pretty glorious at moments.

I finished with some trot lengthenings and after the first few rushy-downhill attempts I really sat up, half halted the mare nearly to a stop then felt her lift her shoulder and  fly.  It was fun.  It was short since we were in the teeny tiny indoor, but it was fun.

I called it a day at that, brought a very impatient Gus in from out of the rain and tucked everyone in with their dinners. 

I was home in time to stream the Pony Jumper Classic and day dream about a barn full of feisty jumper ponies.

I also decided that I should really attempt a combined test or two with Prairie some time.  I mean.  She can jump 3' no prob, and should nail a Novice level test... why not!  I just need to find one that we can actually get to...



    Also, go XC schooling. You know you want toooooo! ;)

    1. I do want to. I'm not sure I want to on Miss Drama-Llama queen of the bolters. :)

  2. Watching pony jumpers scare me! :-D

  3. I second Jenj, do it!! :)

  4. I'm a jumper rider, but not a scary one! I promise! I have yet to watch Devon (my trainer called me while I was driving home to remind me to do that) but I know there's some bad riding AND some bad course designing out there these days. I think American equestrian's gotta get itself put back together, because right now it seems like everyone's doing quick fixes and trying to make money and buying and selling horses like they're pieces of equipment and not living beings. That's why I'm happy to muddle along with Lex and get there when we get there instead of out trying to start winning again right now on some horse I don't even like.

    1. haha. I know there are really good, really solid Jumpers out there (I know plenty of them), I guess that's why I cringe at the ugly stuff.

      I certainly don't seem to see the scary riding at the top levels which makes me wonder why/how people embrace it as ammys. I guess the quick fix thing is one of the driving forces. Just seems like if I had a horse that could jump the moon (oh wait, I do). I wouldn't chase her into the big classes but let her learn and gain some confidence about jumping.

      Not saying everyone needs to play at 2'6" forever (though I might) but I shudder when I think about taking Prair into a 4' class. she could *do* it but it would be terrifying.

    2. TOTALLY! I am all about building a horse's confidence. And there's nothing wrong with playing at 2'6" forever! Whatever you want to do, yo. :) And just because a horse and/or rider CAN do the level 5s doesn't mean they SHOULD do the level 5s.

  5. I agree that there is some scary jumper riding out there. I really appreciate the riders who make an effort to ride correctly.

    Also, kind of scary that a bridge collapsed in your area.

    1. Totally agree. The smooth/fast/awesome rounds are pretty amazing to watch.

      The bridge was sorta insane. 4 lanes of interstate highway??? how does that happen?

  6. Some of those ponies were totally taking off with the kids!

    And there were a good amount of riders who were just plain scary.

    I am not saying I could do better but I feel like at those heights and caliber of a show, it should be better!

    btw- sounds like a great 3 day "staycation" :)

  7. Where do you stream this stuff?? I miss everything lol!

    Sounds like you had an awesome three day weekend. :D


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