Monday, March 13, 2017

kindergarten graduate

Ok. It's official. Charlie has "moved up" (terminology used somewhat.... loosely here haha) in his work. Meaning, we are now transitioning out of the "Introducing Charlie to Jumping" phase, and moving into the "Ok So We Can Jump Things. Now What?" phase.

enjoying daytime turnout even if it's cold and even if there isn't actually any grass (the green is a lie!)
This is EXCITING!! But. Um. Haha. Well. It's also the phase in which I transition from riding as a purposeful "bump on a big bay log" and become an "actual participant." Also known as, "Ha let's watch Emma make some terrible rider decisions on her very green horse!"

Except. Lol, joke's on you, there's no actual media proof ;)

white boots automatically = fancy, right?? isn't that how it works?? too bad the hinds rubbed him :(
also, i reconfigured our half pad shim situation again, with bigger shims up front and small shims in the middle. this has improved the saddle's clearance, and also helped adjust the front-to-back balance. my hope is this will reduce the saddle's likelihood of adding to charlie's downhill tendencies
Anyway tho. As I mentioned yesterday, we had a solid lesson at OF this weekend that unexpectedly turned into a private lesson. Trainer P put us through our flat work with a vigor and focus that we haven't had since our last dressage lesson with Trainer C, and Charlie responded really well.

sweet dopey face <3
Big takeaways include keeping the outside rein steady and full, while also remembering to give and soften the inside rein. Open the rein and show him the bend, sure, but then soften and straighten - even on a circle. Don't just hold him there - he's got to learn to carry the bend from my inside leg instead of my inside rein.

also did i mention it's been cold? kept this sweet ass quarter sheet (a hand-me-down from Wick, sadface) on for the entire ride
Right now there's a pretty noticeable difference in Charlie between tracking right and left. He's almost relieved to track right and softens very quickly. Tracking left tho is a lot harder for him, bc he's basically always falling left through that shoulder. And the increased difficulty means a less happy dinosaur, and a greater likelihood that we'll fall into a tar pit.... #stillaworkinprogress

also. i fucking did this again. took my horse off the trailer without unclipping him. i'm an idiot too - twice he started backing up and then immediately went back in again. instead of thinking "Hm that's unusual, I should investigate!" i just kept asking more firmly that he back up. so.... he did. ugh. emma. try listening to the horse next time, mkay? also these elastic thingies are stretchy AF
This cropped up in our jumping too - when about half way through we got mired down in the deepest darkest stickiest ugliest tar pit that we've seen in a LONG time. Ugh. It was not pretty. And so frustrating bc he gets to this point where he's basically like, "bring it on, bitch!" and I honestly feel pretty helpless as a rider. We worked through it tho. And homeboy found god. And we proceeded with the ride. Sheesh sometimes he's a real drama queen!

admittedly bad pic but you can see the two oxers, 60' distance. final jump height right smack between 2'3 and 2'6
But anyway. Back to the original subject haha. The whole "Charlie has moved up" thing. We're to that place where trainer P says she's not gonna "waste a lot of time with little jumps" and get right on along to "giving him something to jump." Obviously it's all relative bc a "little jump" is a cross rail and "something to jump" is still just a ~2'3 oxer. But now the cross rails are just the first warm up jumps, and trainer P pretty quickly builds right up to the "bigger" fences.

We started by working back and forth over the above line in each direction, with ascending oxers either way. Trainer P would still like us trotting in where possible bc that's more educational in terms of getting Charlie thinking about where his feet are. But tracking left (with the aforementioned dinosaur in tar pit issues), cantering in was easier.

Trotting in called for a quiet and compressed 5 - which was really good practice for both of us as I start relearning my eye for jumping. Cantering in was a true 4 (60'), which really is quite easy for Charlie but maybe mentally challenging for Emma haha. I was very proud of him when he kinda fumbled the jump in and I maybe wasn't committed to the 4, but Charlie went ahead and did it anyway. Good boy. Already learning that sometimes I make poor life choices lol!

two-stride to two-stride line from last time, but this time as actual jumps. ridden towards the camera
The other exercise for the lesson involved building up to the above triple, two-to-two line (30' distances), which you may recall from our last lesson (where we never quite got it right). We got stuck in our tar pit round around this time, since as you can see, riding the line in the direction of the camera necessitated a left handed approach. Le sigh. Again tho, we worked through it.

Once we were back on track, I still struggled with executing the turn. This is where the whole "I can't just be a bump on a big bay log" thing really cropped up. The horse is not great to steer right now and the "bigger" jumps only amplify that. So I couldn't just grab the neck strap while Charlie sorted it out - bc we had some major bobbing and weaving happening through the line.

We started with just the first two jumps, and Charlie tried his damnedest to run out to the left in between. Which led to some awkward jumps, but damn it if we didn't jump. Got through it a couple times, finally getting straight. Then added the third element and that sneaky pony ran out to the right.... Le sigh. Arguably my fault for a subpar turn and then a lost position after an awkward in jump... but still. I was quiiiiite annoyed with myself for showing him the exit. Oh well.

After that, tho, I worked a little harder on setting our turn up better and earlier (more outside aids - almost thinking counter bend!) and Charlie nailed it a few times. Good boy. He really was quite tired by this point too, but I was super happy with him for finally figuring it out, even if he first tried to figure out evasions instead....

Charlie: "yes i understand that there is a veritable mountain of hay behind me.... sure. but. it's not good enough."
So it was a challenging lesson haha. I'm still gonna categorize it as "Each jump lesson is better than the last" bc that's still true - Charlie worked over bigger and more complicated exercises than ever before, and he honestly made pretty good work of it. But there's no doubt tho that as I become more responsible for giving him a good ride and setting him up.... well. The chances for error increase haha.

It's cool tho. I'm honestly not gonna be super hard on myself bc I haven't jumped anything significant in a LONG time. And my confidence is shit right now. BUT. But. I'm starting to feel my position coming back again. We jumped from a LOT of awkward places in this ride - but I only truly lost my position (meaning: not able to recover and ride the next stride immediately after a fence) just once or twice (once being when we had the run out).

Sure, if there were media evidence I can promise that it wouldn't look particularly pretty (I got left behind a fair bit bc getting ahead of this horse is very high on my personal "no-no" list) but I was mostly able to slip my reins and keep my lower leg under me so that I still could stay out of the horse's way. Small steps, y'all. Even if they're ugly steps haha.

At least the actual jumping part is finally pretty easy for the horse haha!

27 comments:

  1. Hell yes, Charlie! And Emma! Super exciting forward progress. I can't wait to watch your debut in a few weeks <3

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    1. ha yup!! should be a good day - interesting if nothing else lol!!

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  2. Congrats on moving up! Hahaha, time for a reminder sticky note on your back trailer door: 'Is your horse untied?'

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    1. omg right?? i think the issue is that i connect his leadline to the hardware under his chin, whereas the trailer tie goes up on his cheek. so if i'm not paying close attention i apparently forget to unclip the cheek piece when i attach the lead.... amateur hour over here lol

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  3. Staying out of the horse's way is probably 90% of what I strive for in my jump lessons. You guys are doing so great!

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    1. ha thanks! staying out of the way IS hard. it's even harder for me bc i'm trying to balance that with actually influencing the horse (positively) simultaneously lol. like rubbing my tummy and patting my head at the same time....

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  4. Move him up, move him up! Exciting stuff!

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    1. ha he's a movin! just gotta keep it going in the right direction ;)

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  5. I love Charlie's brain. You ask him to back up, he hits the end and tries to tell you it isn't right but if you insist he will do it anyway. Very Trusting. Or just hates confrontation. Either way that seems like a good trait to have in an eventing horse.

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    1. ha yea he's a seriously good boy. a saint, really. an no - not at all afraid of confrontation (see: dinosaur in tar pit), just pretty easy going about most things lol

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  6. Go Charles, go! So exciting to be jumping 'real' jumps!

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    1. ha it definitely feels a lot more 'real' in some ways - especially mentally, in terms of needing to get my ass in gear and do my job lol. thankfully we have all the time to just keep practicing and smoothing things out!

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  7. This is so exciting, wish I could be there in person for the debut event! And le sigh, I'm going to bet that trailer tie thing will probably happen to me when I start to haul out...lol

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    1. i've legitimately never made this trailer tie mistake before, EVER. but these newer elastic clips are shorter than what i had in my calico (which were honestly much too long anyway) and i've been clipping them to the cheek instead of the chin. so i guess it's easier to overlook?

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  8. That would be me with the trailer tie. Think and logic are hard sometimes

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    1. i'm a huge fan of creating nice systematic routines.... but the downside of just 'going through the motions' is that sometimes i inadvertently skip steps or miss things...

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    1. soooo exciting!!!! so much harder tho haha

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  10. oh charlie. his face, hes such a good dude.

    I have done that with the trailer tie (more than once) and runkle just stands there and goes "you a dumb, mom"

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    1. ha i'm sure Runkle and Charlie could share loads of stories about their respective owners' shortcomings should they ever have an opportunity to meet! ;P

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  11. Go Charlie! And yes, he looks super fancy in the white boots.

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    1. thanks! i love the look of white boots, but am not sure these will work for him, le sigh...

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  12. I actually laughed so hard at the trailer tie photo, haha. What a good sport Charlie is. I feel like this was the conversation that took place:

    C: "Uh.. you sure you want me to unload, I'm still uh... tied?"
    E: "Come on Charles, we have fun stuff to do!"
    C: *big sigh* "Alright then, kid."

    HAHAHA.

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  13. Eeee big horse jumps Charlie! Also, LOL-ed at the trailer tie debacle.

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  14. This post just makes me think: Charlie and Emma are perfect for each other.
    Meant 100% as a complement and I think Charlie would agree.
    Charlie: "again? Whatever you say, boss."
    :)

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  15. Yay Charlie! He's come so far and I just love his brain!

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  16. What a great guy for still listening to you and just breaking the tie though

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