Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Dressage Blues...

My event is this coming weekend and I have been getting excited as the date approaches. However, the last couple times I've ridden Coaster he has been extremely behind my leg. It takes nothing short of firecrackers to get him out in front of my leg when he starts this non-forward thing. I had a lesson today to work on the dressage test and I was not riding at my best, to say the least, and of course Coaster wasn't going to work well if I was riding like crap.

When he gets all strung out (which is fairly easy for such a big horse) I feel like I need to try to pull him together with my reins instead of riding his butt up to his chest. Now I've been riding for over half my life and I definitely know better but when I'm having an off day it is just too easy to get really frustrated over it all. I actually had to gallop around the ring (in my dressage tack!) to get him going. After that he was much better - or should I say I was much better. I was just having an off day, but I'm used to him making up for it in the jump ring, but he just can't do it in the dressage.

I'm worried that he's getting a little work-sour so tomorrow I'm going to go out into the field and do a little trailride along with some galloping. That way we aren't in the arena trotting in circles, but at least I'm going to get him out in front of my leg.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cross Country School

We went to go school the course where we are competing in November yesterday and I could not be happier with Coaster! Neither one of us have seen a cross country fence since Meadowcreek last fall and he didn't look at a single fence. We even jumped a couple of the preliminary fences. I didn't want to do too much though, just because we haven't schooled in awhile.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


We did the 3' and 3'3" jumpers on Saturday at a local hunter/jumper show and I was very pleased with how he jumped. The footing was really deep in some places and extremely slippery in others, so the fact that he kept his footing at all was an accomplishment! In the first division we got Reserve Champion (my trainer got Champion, so I guess I can be okay with that!) and then I actually tied with my trainer for Champion in the 2nd division!

We took 2nd in the first class, fourth (I think) in the second class because we pulled a rail, first in my third class and 3rd in the last one. If you watch the video you can see where my knee buckles over the top of jump number 5. For about half a second I thought about continuing on with no stirrup, but then I realized that my knee decided to stop working all together so that's why I stopped to regroup. It was just a schooling show, so there was no need to go balls-to-the-wall.

On the critical side, I'm thinking I may need to shorten my stirrups a hole or two. My toes seem to be turned out a lot more than normal (I can't keep perfect equitation with my leg because of my own conformation) and my legs seem to be wrapping around a lot more than they should in show jumping. Let me know if you agree...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Flyin' High

I had my jumping lesson today to get ready for the jumper show tomorrow. Coaster was awesome! The goal of the day was coursework with some height so that neither one of us are surprised tomorrow. As I'm nailing the courses she is setting up I noticed they were a little bigger than normal, but not really thinking about it. Ha.

After I dismounted I had to walk past the biggest oxer in the arena and realize that it is about 3'8"ish. And the crazy thing - that was our best fence every course we did! I'm on top of the world right now - not because of the height, because I've been there done that, but I'm just so happy with how well Coaster was jumping. Obviously all that flatwork is paying off beacuse he was a lot straighter and more adjustable than he's been in a long time!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Coaster and I are taking a step back to the basics. During Bikes, Blues and BBQ I knew I wouldn't be able to make it out to the barn to ride (the perils of working at a local bbq restaurant) so I had my trainer ride Coaster several times. After her first ride on him I received a phone call that started with the following: "Wow! Now I know why you hang onto that left rein!" She saw/felt how Coaster totally tricks almost every rider to hold him up by the left rein and not touch the right rein. Instead of forcing him to hold himself up in a training/preliminary level frame as other trainers have tried to make us do, she is taking us back to the basics of flatwork. At walk, trot and canter we practice "taking his head away" with a true or counter bend until he can travel without raising his poll, including transitions.

Doing all of this we have found out that Coaster's right hind is very weak. He can barely canter on the right lead correctly and forward! The other awesome thing we have found out, is that Coaster really wants to please his rider. Everyday we work on his flatwork there is marked improvement. That coupled with gridwork once a week, his strength should be up to snuff before too long...though my left arm hardly knows what to do when I'm not holding up my 1,300 pound horse with one arm!