Friday, May 29, 2015

catch-up + proof that water is a thing Izzy can do

Just a quick catch up here from our lesson at OF before last week's MD Horse Trials at Loch Moy, and a few words on our first lesson after with Dan (tho there is exactly zero media evidence from that ride, boo). 

I had actually questioned whether we should even go to OF that week. Isabel had been working incredibly well - but also pretty intensely in the past 2 - 3 weeks, and I was starting to worry about burn out (or at least any soreness). 

But the mare was fine. Better than fine, actually. And we kept the lesson pretty light anyway. We did a couple smaller fences to warm up but trainer P kept us to a minimum. Isabel was kinda snarky for the fences anyway - like we were making silly mistakes and she was getting sassy after (again). Me thinks she feels too important for smaller fences now unless they're part of a grid or something like that. What a princess lol.

After a couple warm up fences P set everything up to competition height and ran us through a single course. 

this is our 'giddy up' face
Most of the efforts went well, tho I had a tough-ish time getting the right striding down an outside line. I planned for 5, but when it came down to it I should have adjusted for the 4. Got 4.5 instead. Came back around to get the 4, but jumped in pretty tightly. Should have adjusted for the 5... and got 4.5 again. Ehh.... these are my problems tho, not Isabel's, so we kinda left it at that. 




I was actually worried that the fences were set too low for BN and wished they were a little higher. Which is CRAZY for me bc who am I and why am I asking for raised fences? I guess it was about not wanting to be surprised or unnerved by the height at the show tho. 


Turns out that the Loch Moy stadium fences were actually right around this height too, so it was all good. Not sure if they were set a little soft (some were definitely bigger than others) or if my eye is just starting to adjust to the fences we see in lessons with Dan - which he claims are around or above novice. 


Anyway, after the lesson P was kind enough to allow me and B to hack over to the xc course to take a quick spin through the water complex. We weren't sure whether B would see water on the intro course, and obvi Isabel's problems with water are well documented on this blog. 

PROOF. it will happen guys - one day water will not be a problem.
But of course she's seen this water complex a few times by now and had zero issues trotting and cantering through, plus going up and down all the banks. Good mare! Now we just need to build on this confidence so that she can face unfamiliar water with equal aplomb. 



Moving on to a different lesson earlier this week (after Loch Moy): barn mate K and I rode again with Dan. It was kinda nice having another person in the lesson again bc while I got a TON out of last week's private with him, it was a little pricier than I budgeted for and just omg so much work! lol...


We spent the whole ride over a single exercise after warming up over another small fence and cavaletti. Before the furthest right part of the one stride was set up, we went back and forth down the line getting 5 then 4 then 5 etc etc. Dan actually told me not to move into canter too early for the 5 strides - that the small collected canter necessary to make the 5 work was very hard work for the horse and Isabel can't yet sustain it for very long. So I need to be economical in my approach to avoid any flattening in our canter.

His specific directives included really focusing on lifting Isabel's shoulders - particularly through our final turn to the fence. He also wanted us making the necessary adjustments quickly - as if we were in competition. No circling - everything should be done promptly. And if we were cross cantering - so be it. 


The exercise then moved to practicing each of the lines above, and ended by putting them together. First, down the one stride then to the oxer in 4, right turn to the diagonal back to the one stride (we got this in 5). Then we turned it around: down the one stride, bend to the diagonal (only got it in 6 in this direction), left turn to the oxer then 4 to the one stride. 

This second direction was naturally harder for my right handed pony and we frequently came into the oxer cross cantering and had to gallop for the 4. But we made it work. 



I also really focused on softening my hands and releasing over the fences. Novel concepts here, folks. Dan wants the rider to allow the horse to carry itself through a gymnastic exercise. In other words - once we've gotten to the first jump of the one stride I should be able to just float my hands forward and let Izzy take care of the rest. 

We talked a little bit about how tight I was at Loch Moy (especially evident in all the photos) but he thought that had more to do with the pressure of being in competition. In any case, it'll be a work in progress I guess. 

So that's pretty much it on the riding front through the week. Princess finally got a little bit of time off - then we'll have a couple lessons this weekend (including a bio-mechanics lesson, yay!) then back into show prep mode next week for Waredaca on the 7th!

12 comments:

  1. Looking good!! And great jumping exercise from Dan as usual!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. he really does like shaking it up - tho at least this one wasn't as hard as some other recent exercises haha

      Delete
  2. Isabel's opinion about unfamiliar water actually makes a lot of sense. Henry's just like "LET'S GO, WITH RECKLESS ABANDON"! I mean, for all he knows it could be 10' deep. Isabel is obviously more concerned with staying alive, she's gotta make sure it's safe first. Mares... they has the smarts. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha mare smarts are a good thing - tho i suppose it's a double edged sword. what we really need is something between Henry and Isabel - confident enough to get into the water, but not necessarily jumping headlong without a care in the world lol

      Delete
  3. Oooh, I think I may steal that exercise from your semi-private with Dan. Chestnut mare looking pretty fantastic going through the water complex!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oooh definitely do! not too complicated to set up, and challenging enough to feel educational - but not necessarily suicidal haha

      Delete
  4. 'who am I and why am I asking for raised fences?' - LOL. This is me.

    Izzy looks pretty confident in the water now, hopefully she clicks on pretty quick that there are no water monsters lurking in cross country water! Our red mare had a massive aversion to it too and then all of a sudden found her brave pants. Is Izzy funny with ditches too?

    PS: That exercise from your lesson with Dan looks super useful, will have to try it too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. she's pretty confident in that exact water complex since she's seen it before and understands it, i guess. but those pictures are actually from the day *before* our recent event, where we still had problems. i think she'll continue to get better tho. re: ditches, she's never had a problem with the fake kind (that are filled in but just weird looking) and jumped her first real one just fine last week. so hopefully we don't regress there lol

      Delete
  5. Hooray!!! Lovely ride!!! And look at her splash through the water!! She needs to give Max some how-not-to-be-a-big-chicken tips!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha thanks - tho she's not always quite so brave, but i try to encourage it whenever possible lol

      Delete
  6. I'm so afraid of getting caught unprepared for the fence height at a show! I feel like BN stuff is never actual 2'7" though...or maybe 2'7" just always look bigger at home??

    Lovely drop into the water there!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you might be right about the size looking bigger at home - or just not being set to max height at shows. except i'm pretty sure i've seen them stick the fences at shows and they still looked small... so maybe we're just tricking ourselves into thinking 2'7" is bigger than it actually is? haha idk!

      Delete