Jumping Ponies!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Yes that's right I jumped for the first time since Erie!  Woohoo!!!  We'll get to the details in just a minute.

As you can probably tell by the lack of updates, this holiday season has been a little on the rough side for me.  It's been really hard on me realizing that my brother's not here this year.  Not to mention the insane amount of hours I'm working each week between the two jobs.  So sorry for the lack of updates.

So let's jump into what is sure to be a massive post here.  Well several weeks ago, we had a big milestone where the Boy and the ponies met for the first time.  That meeting went pretty well I think.  The Boy is still not real sure about horses, but he's trying.  So that gets him a ton of bonus points right there.

As far as the riding goes, I've really been focusing on my dressage lately.  Actually since Erie basically.  But it's paying off.  I switched to the big boys spurs for Bugsy a couple weeks ago and it's really made a difference.  Of course Bugs isn't so thrilled with the switch but he's moving off my leg a lot easier and our laterals are so much better!  We've been working on adding movements to our repertoire.  Or well I have as Bugsy already has them down pat.  We've gotten some pretty decent shoulder ins, and a couple of passable half passes.  I've started working on the extended trot and dabbled with haunches in.  I'm still struggling on the haunches in, but we'll get there.  I've also had some really good dressage rides on Airy.  I was really pleased with the good shoulder ins and half passes I got from her.  She's not nearly as well trained on them as Bugsy, and actually Bonnie hasn't done any of that with her in a long time.  So it was pretty impressive how well we did.

And then the week before Thanksgiving I jumped again!  Astrid decided she was ready to jump a little and so we all moved a couple sets of standards into the arena.  After some dressage with Bugs I decided to tack up Airy in my jumping saddle and I'd join the kids in their lesson.  Well after I blew all the dust off my saddle and got Airy tacked up we headed out to join Carlee, Ari and Astrid.  I'll admit after so much time spent in the dressage saddle being back in the jumping one felt a little weird.  We warmed up on the flat first and then Bonnie had us all head towards a small cross bar.  Airy was not exactly impressed with it.  But she hopped over.  Then the next time around, just as we lined up for the fence she tried to take off, gave a little buck and next thing I knew I was eating dirt.  Silly mare.  Got back in the saddle and we did it again, this time I was prepared for anything she might so.  We ended up jumping a few low fences, but called it quits after not too long.  She didn't try bucking again, but she did give me some pretty wild rides over some of the fences.

After we all finished jumping the kids all took their turns cantering and then Bonnie asked if I wanted to take Kaye over some fences!  Like I would say no to that.  And that's when I realized that the last time I even sat on Kaye was at South Farm in early June!  Crazy to think it had been so long.  So Carlee and I switched horses and Bonnie put the fences up a bit.  Nothing to drastic, just beginner novice height or so.  Kaye had a blast jumping the (slightly) bigger fences!  We had three fences set up, one in the center and then one off to either side at a slight angle.  We jumped them all going both directions, then I decided to do a little course.  Started out over the center fence, off to the one on the left, half circle to the other and then back over the center.  Turned around at the other end of the arena and did the whole thing in the opposite direction.  Toward the end Kaye was really getting in to jump off mode!  I let her keep going in a (controlled) canter, but she was cutting her corners to shave time and everything.  The one fence she cut so close my leg actually brushed the standard.  But she was having fun and I was having just as much fun with her.  I'm really enjoying the opportunity to learn from Bugsy and work with the all the other horses.  But I do miss riding Kaye and just getting to have fun!

Thanksgiving weekend I had a wild ride on Buggers.  Bonnie and Astrid were heading down to Maryland to pick up Buddy and Little Cuddles.  I headed out to the barn in the morning and tacked up to ride with Ari, Maggie and Tricia.  I made my first mistake by forgetting to lunge Bugs before I got on.  We warmed up beautifully at the walk, moved forward into a nice trot and then started with some pretty good laterals.  We had a couple great leg yields and then a very nice shoulder in.  Then coming out of that Bugsy spotted the super scary, horse eating...orange cone laying on it's side.  And he took off bucking.  Really Buggers?  The orange comes that have been in the arena for years?  The orange cones that you have jumped over, ridden around and played with?  So when he finally settled down I hopped off and hooked him up to the lunge line.  Lunged the pony for about 10 minutes or so and then hopped back on.  Ahh, so much better now!  He settled down and worked really well for me, even though he was very confused when I tried to show the two point position to Maggie.  He could not figure out why I was doing that in the wrong saddle!  So things went smoothly until we got to the canter.  I picked up the canter and first asked for a lot of canter-halt-reverse-canter transitions.  Canter a circle, halt, reverse, canter two circles.  Then maybe half a circle.  And so forth.  Then I asked him to do a three loop serpentine of the arena with a simple change for every loop and then do a three loop serpentine back in a counter canter.  Halt at the gate, turn on the haunches and do the same thing off the other lead.  First time down and back was great.  Then on the second time as we were completing the third loop down he tripped.  And came up bucking.  And I'm talking big, snap his back type bucks.  I sat up, dug my back into him, dug my spurs into him (and remember I was wearing the big boy spurs, so he felt them!) and made him move forward.  Once he stopped bucking we finished the exercise and then I made him to it again.  He was a sweaty Bugsy afterwards!  Oh well, I think I made my point.  Hopefully. 

So it's been a good couple of weeks with the ponies.  Lots of other stuff happening on the non-pony front.  But I think I'll save that for a separate post.