Training green baby horses once they're past the inital direction and speed part isn't too exciting to update. Or at least it shouldn't be. The plan with Jadey is to still head towards competing at 3rd level end of 2017/early 2018 so I can focus on Vana. The main things we're working on with her are strength, flexibility, balance, rhythm, etc. You know, all the goodies.
She's naturally quite balanced in general so it's a blast to ride her. Also her mind is the best so she learns really well. Just make sure you have some plans and goals and be honest with her. No biggy.
We're specifically working on getting lateral work really nice as well as balance in the canter. I started adding in counter canter and she's doing really well with that too. We're not having blow ups like we did in 2015 and she's buckling down and being a great student. The addition of walk/canter transistions has her pretty happy and we still do some "no rein" things to work on our seat responsiveness. Oh and its fun too of course.
I got pictures and video from this day and then... it didn't upload. Corruption or some other such nonsense. Technology... you had ONE job!
We jumped the ponies this weekend and it was super fun. Well, more specifically my working students jumped Piper and Simon and then swapped horses to end the session. I set fences and played trainer as we went through things. Both horses ended up jumping around 2'9" which wasn't bad for Simon's last time jumping over a year ago and Piper hadn't jumped in about 2 years before she started baby duty. Simon was a rock star of course and packed the ladies around like a champ and looked so stylish.
I don't see us hitting the jumping courses anytime soon, but it's a nice break to give everyone and do some of the "less serious" things. Who knows, maybe we'll hit a schooling show once we find time!
This weekend was a local schooling show and I decided to take Vana, Simon, and Working Student to it and see what our baseline was for 3rd and 4th level. Naturally I was doing Test 3 in each of them because I'm a psychopath :P
Our tests were all in the morning. Working Student was doing T-2 and 1-2 and I had my crazy tests set up as already mentioned. We would be done by noon and I was pumped. Except it was the first cold morning and I don't do cold well. No matter, we had show coats and were ready to look fancy in order to stay warm.
I had busted my butt memorizing my tests the previous week at work and practically any time I had a chance. We'd tried them out once each in the nearby regulation sized arena so I knew we'd do them pretty well but Vana was pretty hyped to be doing lead changes and then pirouettes in the 4th level test. Oh well, time to see how we do!
My hips hadn't recovered from Regionals so my sitting trot was super tight and floppy but I faked through it as best I could and then died next to the trailer praying to the dressage gods to help me (pro tip: they didn't).
Our first test was 3-3 and I loved it. A wonderfully organized test and super kind if you're keeping your head in the game. It was just... yes. Me likey. I believe we scored a 65%+ on that one. After a short break we went back in for our 4-3 test and scored a 63%+. The judge was really complimentary even though Vana and I had a few "who's in charge" moments on the tempis and counter canter but we had a plan and I think he learned to be a little more obedience. It's also a REALLY long test so I was pleased that he did both tests practically back to back and didn't tire out like he had at Regionals. I was happy enough with my scores but had plenty to work on for homework but it was a good day.
I texted Trainer our results as I had been instructed to do and we rolled back home to nap. Trainer was at a clinic somewhere north so I didn't see her until the following week in our lesson where she said we did super amazing and to go ahead and get our shad and double bridle sorted out so we could skip through 3rd and 4th to PSG.
Wait what??? o.O
It was super amazing and exciting to see her compliment us that much and I was proud of our progress. The tests were both really fun and it's a blast seeing Vana enjoy himself as much as he does working and showing. I also felt like I did a good job of "showing" him when I could, "training" him when I needed to, and "riding" him as best I was able throughout the test to keep a much better flow throughout.
I guess we're going shopping!
Oh, did you want to know how Working Student and Simon did?
They did quite well for their first time out. Simon is the sort of horse that reflects what you put into a test (as evidenced by our low scores our first weekend out where I rode him like a sack of potatoes on the first day then sort of got my crap together on the next day to a "miraculous" 10%+ increase) so you really need a plan and to ride that plan. Working Student hadn't shown in YEARS and hadn't ridden in about a year so we didn't have high hopes for her except to school in a new place. Her T3 test was first and she didn't keep her focus too well but still got arounda 60%. The next test, 1-2, I called for her (it's a crazy test, seriously!) and she did better at catching her mistakes as they were happening rather than after wards. They're a brand new pair who have both had time off, but they did really well trying it out together and have lots of room to grow!
Just a cute picture of Jade coming to me to check out what I'm trying to do in the arena. Such a good baby horse!
We had missed out on qualify for GAIG and SWDF at our two shows in August and September but that was alright. It's hard trying to qualify for ALL THE THINGS so I was happy to be chipping away at a plan while learning so much. The past weekend of showing had been a bit... something... so I went into this Thursday-Saturday combo with some new thoughts. The main theme was "Go Big or Go Home." There's no way I can get good scores without laying it all out there. The last weekend I'd played it safe and gotten well, safe scores. This time I was going to be brave, confident, and just DO ALL THE THINGS.
Not something I'm terribly good at when I know $500 in entry fees is on the line along with the pressure of trying to finish up our last 1st and both 2nd level bronze scores so I can send Vana into flying change land (aka his domain and happy place).
I told trainer this was my plan and she naturally agreed good naturedly that that was a great plan. Our first test on Thursday I had a plan y'all. We were going to do ALL THE THINGS and RIDE ALL THE THINGS. We made it to the first shoulder in where I... did a gorgeous renvers instead. It FELT so good after a bobble that I totes fixed in the corner before that I was all NAILING IT. But.. it felt off.. but no bell was rung so I faked it until I made it. Or rather, when the bell rang at the end of that movement.
My first rider error ever.
Now, this is me so I have NO idea what that means and so I'm thinking this is like -10 or something. So I go into RAWR do all the things mode and we just powered through the test. There were some really good moments, one moment where I felt like I was beating my horse for not doing a flying change during the counter canter (apparently I wasn't), and a few other things. But I was proud dammit. I'd SHOWN. Not just survived, not just ridden, I SHOWED!
So pleased with myself, we took our short break before our First level test and I bopped around killing time. I decided to check my score for fun and I stared at the board when it was a 63+%. Really, me? Umm... OMG YASSSSSS!!! (Apparently errors are only -2) Without that error we would have been either 1st or second in the class too!
Feeling pumped and oddly validated, I found Trainer and beamed stupidly at her. Again she was patient and congratulated me before I went to get my horse for round 2.
This time I was confident. Except Trainer couldn't read for my test. And I hadn't really reviewed this test since oh, August. I went into EMERGENCY STUDY mode and got into my warmup. Figuring so long as I didn't forget that stupid stretchy circle we'd be ok, Vana and I headed in.
Where I learned I had basically #tiredhorse
I convince Vana to participate JUST enough and we motored around the test. It didn't feel super awesome but it wasn't bad and we got another 64+% for our last First level score. Good old man! We also were in a tie for 3rd out of like a million horses so when we ended up in 4th place I was like woot!
The next day we did our Second Level test and Vana was a good boy like always. I was FINALLY figuring out how to cue him for his counter canter better while in the show ring but he was still a touch tired and we had a small fight over not flying changing so we scraped by with a 60+%. I believe this was the test where we got a "Bold!" comment for our second canter lengthening and I felt like a rock star. Moi? Bold? Yass! That was all we needed and scratched him from his First level test since Trainer agreed he looked a bit sluggish.
Final day was AWESOME since we didn't really need the score and I was told to ride it like 3rd level and do the prep for that. Our warmup was SO GOOD working on legit collected canter and Vana felt really good. At the end of the warmup a childish thought hopped in my head and I trotted over to trainer. Poor woman. I practically bounced as I realized after this we'd be 3rd level peeps and could we come do changes after our test. She thought a moment then granted me this "carrot" before we headed to our test.
This last try at 2nd level was much more consistent and while I had a few steering issues, it felt much more consistent overall and well, easier than anything else we'd ridden. Instead of feeling like SO MUCH was in the test, it was way more flow-y. We scored a 63+% and a first for the class. I also got a 7 for my position for the first time so all that core torture is finally paying off (although I still have to work on it even more).
Naturally Vana got loads of "talented horse" "powerful horse" "let the horse be awesome" comments so hopefully I can do justice for him as we keep moving up.
Oh and we went back into the warmup and nailed 6 flying changes. Old Man Vana was sooo happy.
October 2016 Autumn Classic/Regional Championships Test 2-3 (Saturday)