Wednesday 7 September 2011

Fiesty Flatwork & Jumpty Jumping

Another fantastic weekend/start to the week's riding!

Saturday was our flatwork day with help from L. The day was a scorcher 30C still at 6pm! So we waited till 6.30 to get mare in and it was 7pm before i was in the saddle, even then a bit of trotting and the poor beastie was well sweated up (as was i but that is besides the point - teehee).
L set us straight to work on serpentines using the whole arena, she made me go straight from one side of the arena to the other, she had me keep the mare straight and set her up for the turns better so that she doesn't fall into them. After an up and down the arena she had me add volts/small circles into the mix when i met the side as we turned. She made me make the circles smaller and smaller until on our bad side we ran into Kika's brand of trouble although i knew we would once L had us decrease the size of the circles...Two mini rears later I remembered to release the reins and we moved on again keeping the circles smaller on our "good" side and my chicken self giving her slightly larger circles on the "bad" rein. I didn't let the rearing upset us or dwell on it as i had anticipated their arrival with the decreasing circle sizes so we worked around that hiccup and kept going. She settled right back to work as i knew she would and didn't attempt any circus tricks again afterwards - she had said her piece, I had listened so we were back on speaking terms again, ;)

We moved up to cantering, where I have to work to keep my shoulders back, sit into the saddle, keep my heels down and my inside hand soft, this is all well and good on the good side. I felt she kind of took the mick out of me on her bad side, she wouldn't settle or canter correctly and in the corner of the ring where we turn slightly back on ourselves (we were circling) she was inclined to prance and bounce instead of canter smoothly around the bend. I know that it is her bad side and as such more difficult for her, she is in no way helped by this being my bad side also. I think I mentioned in a previous post that i sit very crookedly in the saddle when on the right rein (as it happens Kika's bad rein). L explained it to me in such a way that when i change rein it is as if my body position does not move, so i am still sitting twisted as if we were going left...if that makes sense *wibble* So to counteract this she has me stare at her with my head and whole body turned in her direction as i try to get Kika to canter correctly under me - not an easy task, but one we will work on!
I did get one good circle out of her on her bad rein in canter, whereby she struck off calmly and on the right lead and then kept calm and not bouncy on the turn from the side across the arena to complete the circle. This accomplished we called it a day and encouraged herself to stretch out and elongate her back to cool down.

Sunday was her day off so she spent the day lounging in the field - Happy Days!

Monday was our Pole Work/Jumping day. As I'd the day off I arrived at the yard for about 4pm to help L set up the fences she wanted and stick around while she schooled her two rides around them to move poles etc etc. Then N went in on her mare for her schooling session while i tacked Kika up. Then it was our turn and the poles were dropped to trotting poles on the ground. L had explained to me what i was to do as K worked the trotting poles, she didn't know the French term but it is called a Parade in German/Luxembourgish not usre which and from her description to me it sounded not unlike a half halt - which by the way I have never quite understood or mastered for that matter. She wanted me to hold Kika together/gather her up just before the pole and then as we were going over them to squeeze with my legs to make her push from behind - or at least i think that was the purpose of the exercise. She said we were doing well and I could feel Kika really picking her feet up over the poles when i could get the finger squeeze and leg squeeze timed correctly - it really was great.
So then L asked if i fancied jumping again today, to which i said yes please - might aswell attempt this technique over a cross pole as this was where K had struggled the week before. So round i came to the pole and then cross bar, no problems. So after a few more L had me ask for canter after the cross pole and keep K going to pop down over a straight bar. The first couple of times K insisted on striking off on the wrong  lead in canter so we had to come back to trot circle, get the correct lead and then pop down over the upright (wasn't high, prob no more than 60-70cms i reckon). When we finally got it together and right L changed direction, she moved the ground pole on the cross and we had to jump that down then canter round a loop and jump the straight bar up - we managed this much better.
A double up the longside of the arena was then re-constructed (had been demolished for the trotting poles), a ground pole was placed a little aways from the first part and we trotted into it landed in canter and continue don nice and smoothly over the second part. We came around again to to the same and Kika got herself all hett up tried to canter the trot pole and jumped ground pole and first part of the double as a spread then bounced happy out to the second part and sailed over it. We tried it again and she again got herself all excited, bounced and tossed her head into the first part, I managed to keep her at a trot although it was very messy and my turn into the fence was unforgiving - so we were both to blame, although I'd wager i tensed and didn't do much to help keep her head...
So L moved to position herself in such a way that we would have to turn around her for the approach to the fence and had me stop before we reached the ground pole - typically as she was standing there and i didn't want us to trample her i had started to ride better so Kika behaved better. I had thought there might be a fuss at being aske dto stop and no jumping, but as i was calm she was calm - result.
So round we came again and this time i was to keep the canter going and come down again over the earlier upright then turn back on ourselves and up over the cross pole we'd started out over. All went well till the turn back to the final cross pole, where i took it too tight and we know Miss Kika doesn't like turning tightly (yes the turn was on her "bad" rein) so bouncy bouncy she went and i knew i wasn't in enough control to tackle the cross pole so steered her away from it coming back to a stop. We tried again starting with the double, down over the upright and although i gave her more room to turn this time she still wound herself up and got all bouncy so again i didn't let her jump. L suggested we come back around and take the cross pole on it's own once more which i did from trot first - no issues. So calmly i was told to canter her again and just do the cross, it wasn't perfect but i t was a lot calmer!
So we finished on that note, when i asked L about it afterwards she said K and i have a similar problem to her and her mare O. In that the humans in the partnership are anticipating bad behaviour at certain times so the horses figure - sure why not give them what they are obviously expecting us to do. Silly chestnut mares - too smart for their own good!
But it wasn't all down to Kika, the first attempts turn was way to tight and even as i did it i knew we'd run into trouble - plenty to work on and as always mostly msyelf!
If i can sort me and my horrible riding habits I've no doubt Kika will come around, cos when i can get it right it is magical!
Have only felt glimpses so far, but the holy grail is not so far out of our reach anymore. Correct riding is on it's way!

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh comments! Glad ot hear you two are getting everything sorted out, it sounds like you are really starting to get in her head! Congrats on a successful week, keep it up. -Leaf and Jiff :)


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