Friday, October 30, 2009

Another catch-up post

I didn't get a chance to do a post about the horse show last weekend as I had hoped (yet another crazy week, sorry Tucker fans) but I will at least give a re-cap. . . . It was a cold, rainy, windy day and my man was WILD. Wild for Tucker means he jumps like there are springs in his feet. I've told you all how brave he is, stopping is not an option in his mind, but jumping the 2'9" Level Zero and the 3' Level One schooling classes like the are a 4'3" mini-prix is most certainly acceptable to him. He's too polite to buck anybody off, so I think he just tries to get his energy out by jumping as hard as he can. After watching Alicia do the first round and seeing even the woman with legs of steel get jumped loose, I decided she could stay in the driver's seat for the day. By the third round he was better -- there wasn't two feet of air between him at the top rail of each fence.

The day got me a little frustrated, because I honestly don't think I could have handled him as wild as he was. Alicia did a fantastic job, of course, of reminding him to do his job without stressing him out or escalating his behavior, and we want our trainers to ride ten times better than we do so we can learn from them. But it's tough to see your own horse and think to yourself . . . that's a situation I can't handle. By the third round though, it did look like he had settled and I probably could have gotten on and showed at that point. So maybe when he's that fresh and we can't longe, Alicia just needs to stay aboard until he returns to earth.

We went to The Ridge Farm's new location in Asbury, NJ, and I promised them I'd give them a plug on the blog. They have a whole series of schooling shows over the winter and if you're in the area I'd recommend it. It's a beautiful facility, with an outdoor grand prix ring, a grass grand prix field, another outdoor ring, an indoor, and space for tents and (!) a grass hunter ring. (Hunter Derby, anyone?) The people were very friendly and the schooling show, although there was a small turnout due to the weather, was well run. My only criticism is that I wasn't allowed to longe my horse in the rings and wasn't allowed to longe on the grass because it was so wet. In the end it worked out okay and it was good for Tucker to have to deal with not being longed. They did tell me that in dry weather there is longing allowed on the grass, but if you have a really green-as-grass horse that couldn't deal with you hopping right on, if it's wet out, you might want to skip this one.

We've made a bit progress with our flat work. Alicia has been telling me this and I've finally been able to accomplish it successfully: asking for a bit of a leg yield during the downward transition really helps Tucker stay connected and keep coming forward through his hind end during the transition. Dressage folks -- any thoughts on why that works? Also, his upward transitions are much more fluid when I spread my hands. Again, not entirely sure why that works but I'll go with it for now. I've got a list of questions to ask in my lesson this weekend, and I promise I'll report back.

One last thing . . . I have a new blog to introduce you to. It's called She Rides, I Pay. Cute, right? It's written by the sister of a new boarder at Whitmere. I think the moms that read my blog will especially appreciate it.

Happy Halloween everyone!

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