Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rushing Fences

As most of you know I've decided to take a step back with Coaster and focus on some obvious holes in our very basic training. I am very pleased with the results that I've seen since beginning the Parelli program, but I still have my competition goals in the forefront of my brain. I love getting ready for shows. I love competing. I pretty much love everything about horse shows - even getting up before dawn to braid and walk courses!

The issue that I am having now is successfully bridging what I have learned recently with my competitive goals. The last thing I want to do is push myself and my horse too quickly, but on the same note I don't want to get stalled by not pushing enough. There is a local dressage show on May 25th that I want to compete in, and then I want to start eventing again in the fall. To me this seems like a suitable time frame, and it's not like I can't move it up or back need be. I just don't want to end up rushing my fences, so to speak, and end up hurt again...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

RIP Kingpin

Kingpin, ridden by Mike Winter and owned by the rider and the Kingpin Syndicate, died while competing at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event today, April 25 in Lexington, Ky. Kingpin, a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse, fell while negotiating Fence 10 and died at the scene.

He was taken for a complete necropsy at the Kentucky State Diagnostic Lab, but it has not been completed yet.

According to Catherine Kohn, Vetinerary Delegate, Kingpin bled into his abdomen, and as far as she could tell, had no broken bones as a result of the fall.

"He most likely died of natural causes, not as a result of the fence," she said.

The rider was sent to Georgetown Community Hospital for further evaluation, but has been released.

The pair competed for Canada in the 2008 Olympics.

--- http://www.chronofhorse.com/index.php?cat=40511032791602&News_ID=1392504094492122

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

So Much Great News!

I am so very excited! After all the crap that has gone on this semester it looks like things are coming together for at least this weekend. I get to go help groom/braid/warm-up at an A Show in Tulsa tomorrow through Saturday, then Sunday I get to go school cross country. Yeah, that's right! I'm going to go school cross country up at Longview Horse Park in Missouri. I doubt I will jump very big, but just to go out and school some cross country basics will do wonders for our confidence! Aaaannnnddd...the barn said that they will build me a ditch to school over on a daily basis. Then, to top it all off - my grandmother who had an aneurysm while in California last month gets to come home next week - she's been in the hospital and then a rehab facility out there (my mom pretty much had to temporarily move out there to be with her)...but they get to drive home starting Monday! And it looks like she will make a FULL recovery - which she had about a 10% of doing a month ago! I know this all sounds like a lot of rambling, but I can't believe it is all coming together before finals start and ruin my happiness!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Video Update

I thought I'd post a video (turn up your volume!) of what Coaster and I have been working on lately with the natural horsemanship. As you can tell this is groundwork with a halter and lead ("On-Line"). Basically what I've been working on is not micro-managing and using the cue "phases" so that Coaster will become lighter and more responsive. I guess I should have posted a "Before" video, because 2 months ago if you asked him to back up on the ground he would throw his head up, push into you and walk through the pressure - you can see for yourself how he is now. In the next couple of weeks I'll post a video of our freestyle riding - I'm still a little self conscious about sharing that with the public!! :-) I just can't wait to get back to competing again! I'm planning on schooling cross country several times this summer and then going to a minimum of two events in the Fall.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Progress Progress Progress!

I am so pleased with Coaster's progress! His cough is much better - Thank God! And I think he's really enjoying this new program we've been doing. Before I get on him I "play" with him on the ground from anywhere between 10 to 30 minutes working on moving him away from pressure, forward when I ask, back when I ask...basically anything and more that I would ask while in the saddle. Then, since I'm taking a break from hard work to go back to the basics, I get on him (bareback with a rope halter) and ask him to move around off my leg, forward, back, etc. I've decided that I'm not putting a bit in his mouth until I can walk/trot/canter on a 20 meter circle with the correct bend and transitions in the halter. This will keep both of us from bracing against the bit - which was our biggest issue. Also, if I can ride him completely off of my body then when we get the bit in, that will just be our safety net.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Confessions & Breakthroughs

Confession: I saw this picture of Megan Jones & Kirby Park Irish Jester on the USEA website and was hoping maybe y'all would see the big grey horse and think it was me and Coaster! Hey, can't blame me from trying!!!
Though I would personally like to see her plumb line a little bit more in line (shoulders over hips - hips over heels), who am I to critique someone's dressage position?!

I had a semi-huge break-through with Coaster the other day in his session that I am so stoked about. At the walk on a circle (on the line of course b/c remember I'm taking a step down to work on ground work - especially until his cough gets better), without the use of side-reins or any other device other than a rope halter and 12 lead line, I was able to ask Coaster to walk more through - bent in the correct way, using his topline - and guess what?! HE DID IT! All of a sudden, when I asked it was like wham! I knew there was an inner dressage horse in him hiding away!!! Now let's just see if I can get it again today ... well, off to teach lessons and play with ponies!

Friday, April 10, 2009


Coaster went to the vet today and got some good meds to hopefully open up his airways. I can go back to working him in about four days - YaY!!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Founder/Author of Centered Riding, Sally Swift, Passed Away

I don't know if any of you have read the Centered Riding books, but they are up there with my Pony Club Manuals as far as I'm concerned. The analogies and images that the books show have helped me not only in my own riding, but also with teaching. I think it is safe to say Sally Swift had a "life well lived." From what I've read she was fairly active (for almost 96 years old!) up until she got sick. If you want to read the full obit, you can find it here at centeredriding.org.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Not Quite Ready for Liberty Yet...

Well, yesterday I thought I'd see how much Coaster liked me and tried a little bit of liberty work in the round pen. I learned two things a.) my horse is pretty darn scopey and b.) he doesn't think I'm nearly as much fun as exploring the farm on his own! Literally in the first circle (my back was too him - absolutely no pressure) and picked up a slow jog of a trot and hopped right up and over the 3 1/2 foot fence surrounding the round pen - from that little jog of a trot! Seriously it might as well have been an x-rail! If he had been cantering or even had a forward trot I wouldn't have thought anything of it, but we are talking that western pleasure type jog that is more like a fast walk with two beats! Of course post jump he proceded to run around the farm for 10 minutes before he decided to walk back to me as if nothing had happened - needless to say I don't think we are quite ready for any true liberty work yet!

Other than that though I've been riding him walk/trot/canter in the halter, getting all of my transitions off my body - I'm very impressed with how much all of this groundwork has paid off!