Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Spring Training - Day 1

So day one of spring training was fairly entertaining - or so I thought anyways :)

Started the day riding - how else?  :)   I started with Jack, Chelsea had Charlie and Olivia had Athena.  There was also a reasonable collection of birds hanging out in the arena.   Should be a non-issue, but neither Jack nor Charlie - one who dislikes sudden movements and one who dislikes noises - have been ridden since Thursday. Fun.

I knew Athena would have no problem and Charlie doesn't usually get excited till the canter, so both girls started riding at walk and trot, and I schooled Jack.   Mr Jack was having a rough day -- there were monsters in his usual corner and birds (aka evil deamons plotting the end of his world) at the other end.  Scary.  Very scary.  But eventually we came to an understanding that he *could* in-fact move of the leg and bend even WITH all the monsters.  Sweet.

So with that one solved, I promptly traded horses with Chelsea.  Charlie's turn :)   So suggesting to Chelsea she, who has never ridden Jack before, may wish to avoid the birds, I left her to her own devices and moved on to Charlie.   Olivia has ridden Athena before and was quite happily warming her up.

Keeping one eye on Chelsea to make sure Jack wouldn't take advantage of her, I started schooling Charlie; I enjoy him more every time I ride him :)   Which admittedly wasn't saying much to start, but now we're getting somewhere *g*  So we have a nice soft hunter-pony canter going -- something we've been working on (Charlie tends toward the tense-tb-bounce more than the relaxed daisy-cutter canter).  All good.  Then BANG!   Kamikaze bird slams into the corner window *just* as we pass it.  Boo.  Poor Charlie's brain jumped out his ear, and not being allowed to break gait or accelerate, bounced in place a few times  before settling back into a slightly-tenser version of our previous canter.  Good boy.

Lots of praise, get him settled again, starting to come soft again, get to the same corner and BANG!  No, not Charlie hallucinating because something bad happened last time and *might* again, it actually did!  Frig.  Not. Good.   Sometimes nature just does not help training.  So we cantered around again -- I was really not sure what might happen if a THIRD one attacked the window, but fortunately they all stayed put and after a round or two I had my nice Charlie back :)   Part of why this horse is growing on me is that while he reacts like a TB, his brain comes back comparatively VERY fast.

hahaha and after that he was going really nicely.  I jumped him around a few little fences that were set up - he's got a super cute jump.   It's actually the first time I've jumped him and I was having a lot of fun with it.  Quick and scopey - my favourite combination :)

But it was time to move on - still lots of riding and teaching to do.   So I took Athena from Olivia and the girls put away Jack and Charlie and went and got their horses ready for the next ride.  Athena was feeling pretty lethargic -- I suspect the heat is getting to her in that coat :(    I jumped her around a little and faced down her own personal nightmare...   a CAT!   You know - the same cat she sees in that ring every day.  hahaha but sitting head-on it was absolutely terrifying.  Poor girl.   Once we dealt with that minor concern, we jumped the gymnastic correctly a time or two and then she got the rest of the day off.

Put her away in time to teach both lunge lessons.   With both riders focusing on a soft following back and keeping the body alignment straight with the horse -- easier said than done sometimes!   A lot of giggling, some trial and error, and some really great results!  Sweet.

Lunch was next (yummy!) followed by puppy entertainment, SMART goal setting, and taking care of the horses.

And then...   What else?  Time to ride!   They tacked up again - jump tack this time and Rebecca joined in with Louis as well.   The focus of this set was accuracy.  Of the the three Ps (Pace, Path, Position) we were working on the first two.   A very specific path delineated by narrow pylons and no deviation from rhythm allowed.  Made a seemingly simple pole course very challenging.  There were a few pylons flying at various points, but in the end - everybody got what they were trying to do!

And in the end two happy but tired riders put their ponies away, cleaned their tack, and headed home to get some sleep before we do it all again tomorrow :)


Post a Comment