Sunday, January 24, 2010

Back from Maryland

Okay so as always I had a great weekend in Maryland at the expo. I went with my friends L and S. My good friend J who as you may remember gifted me with my wonderful mare met us up there with a friend of hers. We arrived Friday night and just spent the evening catching up with J and relaxing at the hotel. Saturday we hit the expo all day. I was a little dissappointed in the shopping selection as it there was less vendors and less products than in past years which I am sure must be due to the bad economic times. We all also shopped much less than in past years. I bought a water bucket for the shows which was on sale for a great prices, some cheapo half chaps for my few ventures into english riding (and hopefully some ventures into dressage...more on that later)m soem smaller clippers, and a t shirt. The clinics on the other hand I found to be much better than in past years. They had some new clinicians and some different topics covered. I watched s few english clinics since that is what my friend L rides and I must say I even learned a lot in those that can be applied to my own riding. Today we stayed at the expo until around 3 then headed home.

Our jockey/racehorse trainer friend Doug was involved in a demo with Steuart Pittman, an eventer, but he did it on Thursday before we arrived. Though we did get to see one of Doug's horses who he recently retired from the track in many demos with Pittman about turning retired TB racers into eventers. We even for to see him free jumped which is something I have never gotten to see in person before and was pretty cool. It turns out Doug's brother was also at the eventer giving a speech on sponsorship. It also turns out his brother is the owner of a big tack shop that I had first come in contact with at Equine Affaire and sponsors many big name riders.

So overall we had a fun weekend, but I of course missed my pony. Going to these expos and watching other people ride always make me want to ride even more. Plus L and I learned a few things we want to try at home one our mares. Tomorrow is supposed to rain, but the afternoon is supposed to clear up and be 55 degrees! So I am very much looking forward to that and hoping weather predictions are correct as far as drying up by the time I get out of school to ride. (knock on wood)

Anyway I will quickly catch you up on the riding I did before leaving for the expo. Tuesday Sat and I had a good schooling session. Her jog and lope were good and we did more shoulder in and out. We also worked on quarter turns which she did pretty nicely. Then since she was being a very good girl and I could tell she wanted to go I took out the barrel and let her run a few dashes which she very much enjoyed. Then K wanted to get on and do a few since she had not run a barrel in a while and her pony Smokey had been lame for the past 2 weeks so she was just walking him bareback. So we switched and I walked and lightly trotted on the finally recovered Smokey while K did a few dashes on Sat which she did nicely. She also did some awesome practically sitting down reining stops when K asked her to halt after some runs. She also did a couple of nice spins after being keyed up from the barrel.

Wednesday we had a jam packed lesson with R that was great as usual. We worked on extending and collecting the trot and canter as we have done in the past. We also worked on quarter turns at the walk, trot, and canter setting up a bit of a pattern. While doing the quarter turn pattern we worked on halts since Satin tended to swing her butt out instead of stop squarely because she was prepared to spin as soon as she was asked to halt. As I always this say this mare is too smart sometimes! She always anticipates and memorizes every pattern after one or two times doing it. Then we began to add 180s into the pattern. Her quarter turns were great and her 180s were pretty good as always better to the one side than to the other. We are definitely seeing improvement. We then worked on lead changes starting with simple then on to flying as is our usual routine now since the simple seem to be a good warm up for Satin for the flying. We had to do them a few times though since she swapped the front but not the back a few times or anticipated/rushed the lead change cutting the circle too early. It took a few minutes of working on it and trying a few times but we eventually completed the beautiful changes she is known for. After that we worked on counter canter something we had not worked on in a long time in or our of lessons though I had done it once or twice the week prior. She picked it up easily both ways and held it nicely as long as I asked and around the turns. I was very pleased since the last time I had done it at home it had taken a try or two to pick iy up and she tried to swap once or twice in the one direction. R wanted me to work on collecting it and having less of a head tilt to the outside on Satin's part. So we did each direction a second time and got it a nice more collected counter canter. I also let go of her head since I tend to hold it to the outside to keep the bend and prevent her from trying to switch on the turns. On the left lead counter canter she held it the whole time and even had her head tipped to the inside for most of it. On the right lead counter canter she again held it the whole time but had her head slightly tipped outside on her own though she did straighten it here and there. We also worked on an excercise where we go down the middle of the arena from one end to the other on the right lead for a few strides then the left or vice versa; order wasn't important. We had done this excercise in previous lessons except she had us go down one side of the ring and see how many times we could do each lead, get a stride or two of the right lead then left then right then left etc. This is something R suggested practicing at home seeing how many times we could do each lead or how many transitions from walk to trot to canter or trot to walk etc. She wants us to be able to get three changes down the arena by our next lesson, so we better get practicing since R has a small indoor. This excercise required sharp transitions and quick responses from my marem but I have full faith in us. We ended with some sidepass practice which went beautifully though R said all the excercises we had done in our lesson set her up to be ready to sidepass. So as you can see R packs a lot into a lesson!

I also consulted with R on the upcoming show season since CJHA is now adding games back to the prize list. There will be barrels, poles, and keyhole. As you all know my mare and I love games so I wanted to both at least on some shows, money permitting. So I asked R what she thought since I see some horses Satin's age and a year or two younger retired or semi-retired, so I sometimes wonder if I do too much with her. But, she is extremely fit, loves everything she does, and wants and loves having a job. She has not shown any signs of being overworked. R agreed that there is absolutely no physical reason why she could not do both divisions on the same day since the four pleasure classes are not tiring for her and there ate only 3 games classes plus she will have 2-3 hours in between. She said physically there is nothing to worry about, the problem is if she can mentally handle getting into pleasure mode after running barrels in the morning in the same exact ring. It will either be good and tire her out before pleasure or the opposite and get her hyped. She suggested trying it the first show and seeing what happens. So that is what I plan to do. I also as I have mentioned want to go to QH show and they are offering walk jog pleasure and walk jog horsemanship this year so I am thinking of showing in it or hoping to.

So Thursday I decided to take it easy on Satin since she had quite the workout the day before and just walk, trot, cantered lightly bareback. We finished up with some bridleless work at the walk just doing circles and figure eights and such. I want to get her ultra responsive to bridleless at each gait so of course the walk is the place to start.

Anyway thats it for now as far as riding. I also started classes on Tuesday. I have a jam packed semester with six classes. My three journalism classes seem interesting and fun as does my creative writing non fiction class. My religion class seems like it will be okay and I can tell I will hate physics but at least it is the last science class I will ever have to take!

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