Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Shoulders back, leg on, hands forward

Lend me wings
That has been my mantra over fences with Mr. Prisoner.  If he is soft the jumps go well, if he is crazy I do my best to stay out of his way and let him figure it out.
Spring is glorious this year
He seems to be getting the idea and on Sunday we had one of our most consistently good jumps schools to date.
Warming up

Smiles for days

Pretty sure we have the same expression here
Sunday was generally a pretty great day, Alyssa came and played too!  Her and Bacon were awesome!  I mean seriously check out her leg and Bacon's knees!  The course I'd set actually rode really well.
You know it is me with the camera when the photo isn't centered
Not to scale
You could ride every jump in both directions, ride the lines or just use each jump as a single.  Fun times, lots of courses.  After helping Alyssa and another barn friend, I warmed up Prisoner and popped over some small warm up fences.  He was so good I almost stopped then and there.
No world beating form here, but I like how soft it is

Gate like no big deal

Just cantering over it

Never tire of his blaze face
Alyssa was nice and put the oxers (darnit Blogger how many times do I have to tell you that is a word?) back up (they had gone down for the rider between her and I).  He wanted to get excited down one line, but we pulled up and regrouped and then tried again.  Other than that life was good.
Possible pink overload
It took a few tries to nail the downhill bending line and when we finally did I called it a day.
Something about this picture speaks to me, #jumpingintothefuture
Wheee, best day!

Blame it on my gypsy soul (incase you were wondering what my shirt said.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Work that booty

When the hubby looks at pictures of Prisoner and Bridger he always comments on how Bridger gets his hind foot all the way to his front hoof and Prisoner doesn't (in the trot).  So I have been working on pushing for more trot most of the time.
Bridger doing that warmblood thang

January, first week of riding after the snow melted
February (matching game on point)

February (current blog header)
March (loving that engagement)
March (like the more open neck here better)
March (today)
It seems to be working because now he tracks up even in just a regular working trot.
Last October
This picture was his biggest possible trot last year, and now that is a more regular trot for him.  I'm looking forward to seeing how his trot continues to improve as his hind end gets stronger.  I think I might compile a slomo progression video of trot clips, the things equestrians think are cool.  Things I do to keep him from just rushing include using my leg like a big hug instead of kicking, pushing my hands towards his mouth so that he can stretch over his topline and cover the ground with longer steps, many transitions with in the trot to help him keep regaining his balance, etc.  

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Lesson time

On Tuesday we went back for another jump lesson as Steph would be out of town for the rest of the week.  We ended up doing grid work which was really fun as she sets them on an open stride to keep us from riding backwards.  Sit up, leg on, giving hands.  It was exactly what Prisoner and I needed.  He was straight down the line everytime, no questions asked.  At one point there was a placing pole he didn't quite understand, but he puts in such an honest effort and thinks and figures things out that he quickly fixed himself.  The final grid was a x-rail, one stride, x-rail, two strides, oxer, one stride vertical, no stride, x-rail.
St. Patty's day in a pink coat, no worries I had on a green shirt

See? Very green.

"ok mom you just hang on, I got this"

Awkward rail/jump, but he got it done
Awkward rail moved

He likes to feel the wind going by

Dem knees

Up to an oxer, hello scopey

Landing gear
So much love for him, look at those knees, those ears, that lip

Vertical added one stride past oxer

New facebook cover shot I believe
Oxer up to three feet, whee!
Omg his neck usage...I may be biased, but I think he is brilliant

All the kisses for that cute face

Oh hey check me out not eating mane...fist pump ya'll!
 You probably guessed it, the amazing Alyssa came and took all these awesome photos!  Seriously though, what would I do with out her?!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

No Fight

I went on a trail ride.  I enjoyed every moment.  That insidious fear never even tried to rear its ugly head.  To some of you this isn't a big deal, but to me it is the world.  I've had very few trail rides with that level of mental success and relaxation.
He learned how to stay on the trail.
 He was fine in front, behind, next to, whatever.  Brave boy was brave and led the way most of the time.
Looking towards the mountains.
 I had a grin on my face most of the time, heck all of the time.  My cheeks were sore from grinning.
Cutest pony ears
 We walked and trotted and I think we will go again next week and include some gallop sets.
For you east coasters this is about as green as it gets here.
Seriously guys he is so brave and smart.

Video some friends got of the same trail area that I was in, I have got to get my GoPro fixed so that I can also make awesome galloping videos!  For all the fear that I have fought, I have actually gone that fast many times out there and in fact love it and prefer it!  Walking is much scarier, no joke, way too much time to think;)

Sunday, March 15, 2015


The tiny hunter Ogilvy debacle is finally solved and I have a regular sized jumper half pad in my hands (YAY MOM)!  Check out EquusNow for some great products and easy to use online ordering!  They are also on instagram @equusnow and have a great selection of Ogilvy colors!  They had a grey and pink pad in stock so I snapped it up, oh and they take Paypal, winning!
Classic Ogilvy shot

Matching the dark jewel browband
 The first day I rode in it Prisoner continued with his amazing dressage.  I have really been working on getting him to take longer strides in the trot and get that hind end moving.  It seems to be paying off as his hind feet are finally reaching up to his front feet.
 He is also getting more comfortable staying on the bit in the canter instead of constantly changing the contact.  Can I just say that I am really really really dreaming of a dressage saddle!?  I have two people coming to look at Diva and one to look at Bridger next Saturday, keep the good thoughts coming!
Pretty overload
I even have more fence post video for you.

Friday, March 13, 2015

This Horse

Today was lesson day and I can't wait to share the pictures that Sprinklerbandit got.  For starters, lets all have a  moment of silence for her iPhone skillz, these aren't screenshots from video.
ottb domination
His neck, his knees, his everything
I warmed up with a nice forward trot and canter, mostly just trying to avoid other people, there were 6 of us today, and one was a really squirrely youngster.  The jumps started out as piles of poles on the ground with flower boxes.  I was informed that I could canter them until such time that we lost privileges.  I was a little under powered the first time around, but he didn't get rushy.  He did take the lack of actual jumps into his own hands and decided the flower boxes were excuse enough to tuck his knees, he was lovely and landed on each lead we wanted though!
Wheee flowers
Magical map
We started over the oxer finished over the vertical.  Well the next time through I slipped into gallop position (damn you racehorses) and he threw his head in the air to charge at the jump poles on the ground.  We were relegated to trot.  The jumps then went up to actual jumps, ranging from 2' to 2'9" and we were able to do a mix of cantering and trotting (each on their own as opposed to the famous gait called a tranter).  I had to stay committed to riding straight and if he rushed just kind of letting him get in deep and figure it out.  By the end of the lesson we were straight and he was jumping really well, we were keeping enough pace that he didn't feel the need to rush and I could soften over the jumps.
More mess than magical
The course was really fun to ride, sorry that map is such a cluster.
Early in the lesson, this was eventually an oxer
Before we got straight and soft
Yay release and neck
Lets just look at him and not me
We talked about how I could get him around a novice right now and we would get the job done.  That said he would be fried and our shots at moving up and really unlocking his potential and talent would be slim.  So we talked about where our holes are and what work I can do (get our progress on the flat to transfer to the jumps).  I am happy to take my time and really teach him how to do what we are doing and to understand his body.  For myself I have got to stay committed to riding him the best that I can and not reverting into 'giterdone mode.  It is an easy place to go, especially on a game horse.  I've ridden so many rejects/problems/etc that that ability to get the horse from point a to point b over a jump and around a course is deeply ingrained.  I've been that person for people who need their horses to 'getoverit, the problem is I didn't get to balance that out riding quality horses or trained horses or in lessons.  I am really enjoying the opportunity to improve my riding and take things to the next level.
Thomas the lesson cat giving me some loves #imissmypatcat