Boyd Martin Clinic

Thursday, October 21, 2010

So the Boyd Martin clinic was amazing.  Really that's all I can say about it.  He is wonderful to clinic with.  Such enthusiasm (and in drizzling rain!) and he is able to explain and describe things in a way you can really understand.

So we left the barn about 6 am and it took us about 2 hours to get to White North Stables.  It's located in Chagrin Falls, OH which is just beautiful horse country.  The barn itself was a beautiful old barn.  Downside of that was the indoor was pretty tiny.  So that meant we were jumping in the outdoor ring.  And it was raining.  Oh well, a little rain isn't going to get in the way of me enjoying my ride with Boyd.  Tiffany and Bugsy were up first in the training/prelim group.  And unfortunately I didn't get to see much of their lesson at all.  Rachel and I were in the group right after, so we had to head up to the trailer to get ready.  Kaye was ready to go!  She would barely stand still to let me tack her up.  Anyway we finally got tacked up and headed down the driveway to the riding ring.  Kaye and I walked some circles outside the ring to warm up while Tiff's group was finishing up.  Finally it was our turn!

After we had all introduced ourselves, Boyd sent us out onto the rail to warm up at a trot.  After a few big trot circles he asked us to trot as slowly as we could, almost but not quite walking.  And then back to a forward working trot.  Then we were given the cue to canter.  At the canter we worked on both lengthening the stride and then shortening it.  Then we got to start jumping.  We started over two low (like 1'-1'6") verticals, set an easy 3 strides apart.  We trotted through them a couple of times and then we cantered through.  The first time at the canter he asked for 3 forward canter strides.  Then we had to come through again only putting in 4 balanced, shortened strides.  That was hard for Kaye.  First of all, small fences, yeah she's not a fan.  And we all know Kaye would much rather take a long distance than a short one.  She's very hard to shorten up once she starts jumping.  I think we might have gotten the 4 strides once.  Maybe.  Oh well.  Then we moved on to a low 1 stride combination, then go down and make a big roll back turn to a gate and then a right turn back through the 1 stride, stopping before the oxer that was five strides after the combination.  Kaye was not too happy to be stopped before the jump.  But we turned in the air nicely over the gate.  So that was cool.  We did another little mini course with the gate and the oxer to the one stride and then around to the two little mini verticals.  The final thing we worked on was the two corners.  First we jumped the one and then did half a figure eight back to jump the second one.  Where I proceeded to have two stops.  All my fault I know.  Finally I came around and jumped it and then we looped around and jumped the two corners together.  Which Kaye and I did perfectly.  So that was a good note to end on.

After we took care of the ponies, we headed inside the barn to get something to eat.  That was pretty cool, we all got to sit around and talk with Boyd.  And then after warming up a bit we headed back down to the ring to watch the rest of the lessons.  Tiffany was getting a migraine and so Bonnie took her and Billy over to South Farm to stable the horses.  Astrid, Rachel and I stayed back to watch the afternoon sessions.  It was really cool to get to stand in the ring and listen to everything Boyd was saying.  So worth standing in the rain for hours :)  For the last lesson of the day we headed back to the barn to watch some dressage rides in the indoor.  Sarah from South Farm had brought over her chestnut horse, Gorta Glen, to ride in a group with a couple other ladies.  Sarah was really the only dressage rider in the group.  She looked great with Glen.  After the last lesson finished we headed over to South Farm to feed ponies and tuck them in for the night.

Luckily our first ride on Tuesday wasn't until 11:15, so we didn't have to leave quite so early in the morning.  We made it out of the barn by 8:00 and so we were at South Farm about 9:30.  While everyone else was unloading the quad and helping Tiffany hook up the trailer, I headed into the barn to give the ponies their breakfast.  Kaye had managed to eat her grain at some point during the night, and Bugsy sort of picked at his.    They all were enjoying the hay though.  Once everyone was grained, we climbed on the quad and headed out to the cross country course to watch the first lesson.  Tiff was able to watch a little bit, but then she had to head back to the barn to get Bugsy ready to go.  Tiffany and Bugs were the stars of their group.  They both just went out and did everything without any problems.  I especially give Tiff a lot of credit because she was jumping some things that she had never seen before.  Like the coffin complex, and the double banks.  Everyone was very much impressed with how well he had gone.

After Tiffany's group finished, it was lunch time and time for Rachel and I to get ready.  Since Kaye had been blanketed all night, she didn't need much grooming, just a quick brushing.  I got her tacked up and then got myself dressed.  I figured we would have time to walk down to the cross country course and start warming up.  But after we walked around the building, we saw that the car had already left.  So Rachel and I booked it to the start.  There were three of us in the group this time.  And we started by just trotting on a nice big circle. Of course Kaye didn't want to trot, she wanted to gallop.  I had just gotten her back to the trot when Boyd asked for the canter.  And Kaye was off to the races again.  I decided to keep her on a small circle to try and  get her to relax and slow down.  Well Boyd wants us on a large circle and he wants us to go into a light seat (aka two point)  Yeah, not exactly helping my case to get Kaye to stop trying to race.  So I kinda just pretended I didn't hear that part.  Then he had us pop over a little beginner novice coop from the trot.  Of course Kaye has to try racing away afterwards, but as soon as I started to turn her she slowed right down and came back to the trot.  We jumped the baby coop a couple of times and then Boyd had us move up to the novice coop.  Slightly bigger jump, so Kaye was a little bit happier with it.

So we jumped the novice coop a couple of times off of each lead and then Boyd had us loop around and jump the hanging log.

Yup that would be a training fence I'm jumping.  Pretty cool huh?  And then we looped around and jump another training fence.  Luckily with all the turns and loops, Kaye was staying pretty manageable.  After that Boyd had us put a little course together.  We started over the coop, galloped across to the novice house, then a right turn to the training rolltop, another right turn to a novice rolltop, another right turn to a training coop in the tree line and then finally gallop back to the training log. 

Well Kaye was really enjoying those galloping lanes.  After the second rolltop I couldn't even get her to turn or anything, we ended up galloping past the jump and had to loop back around to jump it.  She definitely hasn't forgotten about landing in a flat out gallop!  LOL  After we all did that , we headed over to the bank complex. 

Boyd had us start banks by just stepping up and down a tiny little baby bank.  Then we moved to trotting up the beginner novice bank.

After we trotted up the bank a few times, Boyd asked us to turn around and trot to the down bank, and then walk the last two strides and walk off it.  I won't lie, I was terrified at this point.  See I had fallen off X at a down bank while schooling at Jackie's about 4 years ago.  Completely my own fault, because I want to lean forward and go into my two point.  And so I tumbled off his shoulder and unfortunately I got tangled up in his legs and he stepped on my calf.  Luckily I wasn't seriously hurt, only bruised, although I did have to use crutches and stay off the leg for a week or so.  But ever since then I have been scared of down banks.  And I hadn't jumped one since then.  So yeah I was shaking a bit for this.  But Kaye was awesome and she walked right down the bank for me!

Wohoo!  I love my mare!  After we jumped the beginner novice down bank a couple of times, Boyd had us go around and do the novice banks, which was a bank up, one stride and then a bank down.  ran through that a few times and then on to the training banks.  We only did the training banks up, which was fine with me, not sure I would have been comfortable doing the down banks.  The training banks are a double bank up and then we looped around and did the novice up and down banks.

And so we finished up at the bank complex.  Time for the water!  First we just walked through.  Then Boyd had us step up the one novice bank and then we turned around, stepped down that bank and up the opposite one.  So we did that back and forth a couple of times.  And then we were to jump down into the water and then out over the opposite bank and then jump the coop that was a dozen or so strides away.

Well we did the banks just fine, but complete fail at the coop.  I did exactly what I do at home, I got scared for some reason and pulled Kaye off to the right.  Not just once but three times.  Finally the other girl had to give me a lead over it.  Just pisses me off cause it makes Kaye look bad, which I hate especially cause I know it's me.  Anyway, after that embarrassing moment we looped back to the water and jumped the training bank down into the water.

Then we ended the cross country lesson with another little course.  We started out with a log and then the first coop, gallop over to the house, and then right turn to the rolltop, loop around to the novice banks, left turn to the second rolltop and then left down to the water, training bank into the water, novice bank out and then finish with the coop.  Kaye and I did great until we got to the freaking coop.  Again we kept having run-outs to the right. Which I know is my fault, I've created a habit because I do that all the time when I'm not sure about a fence and so Kaye was taking advantage of me.  Like I said before it just pisses me off, not the way I wanted to end my lesson.

All in all though the clinic was amazing.  It was incredible to get to ride with Boyd, I really did learn a lot from him.  And I'm so excited to go back next year.  Hopefully with a lot more confidence and so I just go out and wow him with my skills.  


One More Week!

Monday, October 11, 2010

One more week to go!  God I can't wait till the clinic, so excited to have this chance to ride with Boyd Martin.

So this weekend I got a couple of opportunities to ride.  Friday I had the day off work as a comp day from all the extra hours I was putting in the last couple of weeks.  Still doesn't even out the balance, but it was nice to have the day off.  So of course, what do I do on my day off but head out to the barn.  Got there early to feed for Bonnie as she had a dentist appointment.  And then I decided to continue on what she and Astrid had started earlier in the week and clean in the tack room.  Very productively I went through my two cubbies and pulled out all my various tack and other things.  Set aside a pile of clothes and things to go home to be washed and set aside all my tack to be cleaned.  By the end my cubbies were looking pretty good.  And I also had a quite large pile of tack to clean.  Why do I keep buying bridles for all of Bonnie's horses?  Must stop now!  LOL  I am going to start enforcing the tack cleaning rule though.  The kids need to clean my tack after every ride.  And if they don't well then I'm going to lock it up in my tack trunk and they can find other tack to use.  Three weeks ago I told Vicky to clean Naughtie's bridle because it had mud all over it.  And it still wasn't cleaned.  So that's the last chance.  I will stop letting them all use my tack if it's not properly cared for.  Ok, rant over now.  Bonnie picked up Astrid on her way home from the dentist and then shortly after they arrived, Heather dropped off Ari. Bonnie head out to get sawdust and Astrid, Ari and I headed over to Luster's so I could have Joanne fix X's green blanket (finally!)  Of course while at Luster's I had to find other things to buy as well.  That's my one weakness.

We headed back to the barn and after school, Ethan and Victoria showed up.  Vicky and Ari got Fanny ready for a little bareback ride and I tacked up Kaye for a quick lesson before I had to go to work.  The diagonal triple was still set up in the arena.  We warmed up on the flat and then started over just a single fence.  After that Bonnie had me take her through the triple.  Was really good over the first two fences and then over the third I don't know what my issue was, but my position just went crap.  I started standing up in my stirrups and I really felt like I was sticking my butt up in the air.  Not pretty!  Weird thing is though, when I went through the triple from the other side, it was great.  I wasn't getting all funky with my position.  I just don't get it.  Oh well.

So I headed to work Friday night, and I found out that the schedule had been posted for the following week.  And lo and behold I was scheduled to work both the 18th and 19th.  Even though I put my request into the system on like my second day.  And Connie walked me through the whole process since I had no clue what I was doing.  So finally after getting a bunch of run around, at the end of the day I was finally able to talk to Ruthie, one of the CSMs.  Well since I was already clocked out I couldn't really do anything.  But she showed me how to go into the computer to see who denied my request.  And said I would need to talk to that person.  Alright, fine, I can do that on Saturday.

Saturday morning I was at the barn early, as Jim was coming to put hay up in the loft for us.  Three hours later, we had put up about 60 round bales!!!  At first it had only been Bonnie, Ethan and I moving hay.  Then Astrid and Henry showed up.  Astrid was a big help, Henry not so much.  Eventually we just told me to hold the door open and stay out of our way.  A couple of minutes after they got there Katie showed up as well.  So we had some more help.  And then towards the end Heather and Ari came to help.  Which was really nice to have some fresh assistance by then.  And moving around all that hay was not doing my knee any good.  We did finally finish with the hay and headed down to the tack room for some lunch.  Bonnie had the kids tack up and they all rode.  And then I had a short lesson on Kaye.  I got some really good flatwork out of her before we started jumping.  She was accepting the bit and work in a nice frame.  And I got two really nice canter departs.  So yay!  So then we started jumping.  First just over a single fence, stop, turn around and back over it the other direction.  We did that with all three of the fences and then went through the triple.  Bonnie had the first two fences set as oxers and then the third one that I had trouble with the day before was set as a crossbar.  And that fixed my weird position issues!  Awesome!  Jumped through that a couple of times and then the crossbar was changed to an oxer.  No problems, jumped it perfectly.

Wal-Mart.  And Sunday of course it takes all day, but finally at the end of my shift I found Shawn and I was able to get my schedule fixed.  Thank God!  I mean seriously I would have quit before working those nights.  So schedule is fixed and that means just one more week to get the ponies (and me ready) and then we get to meet Boyd!  Squee!


Imperial Jade Lady

Friday, October 8, 2010

Rest in Peace Girl

Really still in a bit of shock.  Bonnie had text messaged me earlier this week that Jade was down.  But I never knew it was anything serious.  I kinda just figured it was a bit of a colicky thing and she would be fine.  Bonnie didn't really give me any details and then I didn't hear anything else from her.  Well it wasn't so simple.  I guess she went down Monday afternoon in the pasture.  Bonnie couldn't get her up, finally she got Rich over and they managed to roll her over onto a tarp so they could get her into the arena and out of the rain.  Dr. Maro came out and checked her out, drew some blood to test.  Nothing.  Bonnie figures she must have fallen or slipped or something out in the pasture and had spinal damage.  She hung on for a couple of days before passing yesterday evening. 

I really feel so bad for Ari.  Her parents had just bought Jade for her about a month ago.  She was already so attached to the mare.  And I know how excited she was about having a horse of her own to love and care for.  She was really working to help pay for her expenses, and she was out at the barn three or four days a week, cleaning stalls and taking care of Jade.  I can't even imagine how she must be feeling. 

It at least makes me feel a little better to know that Jade spent her last 6 weeks or so just really being loved and cared for.  It has been a while since she really had anyone pay that much attention to her.  Yeah, Bonnie and I always had a kind word for her, and a treat or two.  And when I had the time, I would get her out and groom her a bit.  But Ari really doted on her.  At least she knew that towards the end.

Good-bye Imperial Jade Lady.  I know Vinnie was waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge.


Heart Walk and the Joys of a Second Job

Monday, October 4, 2010

So I officially started the second job last week.  Tuesday I went in for a 6-11 shift and for the whole night I got to sit in the personnel office and work on CBLs (computer based learning)  I pretty much wanted to scratch my eyes out by the time I left.  Way too long to be working on those at once.  Luckily Thursday night I got to head out to the front end.  I worked with Barb for the night, who was super nice and really taught me a lot.  She even let me start ringing a bit towards the end. Friday evening I was with Barb again, a little busier that night so i wasn't too sure about hoping on the register just yet.  But I did get to learn how to take a WIC check, although I'm sure I'll need help before I can do one on my own.

Saturday morning it was over to Beaver for the Heart Walk.  Aunt Sandy asked me to walk on the hospital team.  Plus, I'm always happy to help out the American heart Association and all the doctors without whom both my Daddy and my niece Kailee might not be here today.  It's a good cause to raise money for and a really nice walk through Beaver.  Got to spend the morning with Aunt Sandy and Uncle Ralph.  Mom and Dad were there as well, but speed walking and I didn't have the energy to keep up.  As an added bonus, the walking campaign at Pitt had started that week, so I was able to rack up lots of steps for our team.

So after we finished up in Beaver, I jumped in the car and headed out to the barn to ride.  I was able to hop on Kaye for a short jumping lesson.  Bonnie had set up the diagonal triple like we had done last year.  Only this time it was set up as two strides, so it was actually a little easier than before.  And Bonnie set them up as oxers, which actually I prefer oxers over verticals anyway.  I think they are a little easier to jump.  So we started out just jumping the fences as singles and then Bonnie had me run through the triple.  Kaye was having fun that's for sure.  And I was too.  Actually my first fence wasn't too bad either which is a first for me.  So yay all around!  Ethan got on Kaye for a bit after I finished.  And then we untacked her and spoiled her rotten with peppermints.  And then I stripped out her stall, can't have my baby girl going in a dirty stall after all that hard work.  The nice thing now, is that Kaye is exclusively mine (and Bonnie's) until after the clinic.

After I finished at the barn, it was a quick trip home to get cleaned up and then back to Wal-Mart for the evening.  That night I was on register, but with another cashier supervising me.  Which really was no big deal. I mean yeah I needed a day or two just to get used to the register, but really, I've had 10 years of retail experience.  It's not that much different.  Then Sunday morning when I went in, I was officially on my own.