Friday, February 2, 2018

ok maybe let's chill on the grids for now....

The last time I wrote about grids, I claimed to be "pretty convinced that Charlie would be very well served by weekly grid practice from now until the end of eternity." This may be true, but it figures that when we returned to our weekly lesson with upper level event rider K, and the subject at hand was grids yet again..... It figured that maybe I need to amend that earlier statement.

So. The updated version: Yes, perhaps weekly grid practice would be great for Charlie forever and ever.... But bi-weekly practice is..... ehhhh..... probably pushing it.

the sainted pony himself, illuminated by cold early morning sunshine
I'm not quite sure what was up with Chuck this ride. He was a little blah. A little bit phoning it in. Any number of environmental factors could contribute to his ennui (or, at least, my anthropomorphic perceived sense of his ennui).

The weather has been yo-yo-ing like crazy, and this morning was by far the coldest it's been during a ride in a couple weeks. And I suspect he maybe didn't tank up sufficiently on water over night or with breakfast (he drank a TON after our ride) and maybe was feeling a little dehydrated?

same pony, same indoor, just roughly ~14hrs earlier. yea, we tired of this monotony! 
Or maybe he's just bored and cranky with facing the same exercise again and again? Idk. It didn't help that we biffed it BIG TIME our very first pass through the grid after what was otherwise a pleasant, albeit unremarkable, warm up on the flat.

Trainer K had us going right away with a cavalleti to a large cross rail oxer (as seen in the below photos) at a bounce distance. And Charlie got those clod hoppers of his all tangled up in the cavalleti and barely squeaked out over the oxer.

turning was challenging on this day lol
It was obvi a little bit of a wake up call haha - but I think it also set the tone somewhat for the ride, and we found Charlie just a little bit sluggish and behind my leg. A little bit uninspired.

the grid was two sets of cross rail oxers with one stride between, then one more stride to a regular cross rail. all with bounce risers in between. so it rode as six bounces
He was a very good boy tho - very very very good. And this was probably our most challenging gymnastic to date, ever, in terms of number of elements and the distances between them. Six total elements, all at bounce distances. Three with some degree of either height or width (tho at least only in a cross rail configuration).

trainer K wants to see Charlie lift more through the grids. this is resulting in me holding my hands up high throughout
The risers between the jumps themselves were introduced slowly, but Charlie still kinda wants to get low up front and a little dive-y with the bounces. And while I seemed to have some of the timing figured out with my body to help communicate the idea of "lift" to Charlie through one stride grids... Apparently at bounces I kinda get a little rigid and can't really adapt as quickly between elements.

which... i don't really love that habit. tho i'm also simultaneously slipping my reins, which... maybe renders the whole thing pointless anyway? lol
So we had a couple trips in a row where one thing or another wasn't quite where we wanted it to be. Not coming in with enough trot. Or kinda drooping a little in the middle of the grid. Or drifting a bit. Tho we had one really nice, forward thinking trip through. After which, K said we'd just do one final pass and then be done. That "final" pass being what you see in the gif below, that was kinda... not quite as good as the time prior. A smidge labored...

not as forward thinking and fluid as it could be, but not bad either. it's hard work.
So we did it once more, again, and Charlie almost ate shit and died over the last riser (pictured below).... Tho again, he pulled out some latent athleticism to somehow pull himself up and out over the final element. Good boy.

apparently a LOT of horses hold their breath through bounces. i was happy to see charlie blowing with each landing tho
After that, we pulled out all the risers and took down the final X to just a ground pole, and let Charlie cruise through with just the one stride between oxers and no bounces. In other words, a much easier, watered down version that he could just traipse on through to finish feeling successful.

pictured: charlie nearly eating shit and dying after catching a front toe on the cavalleti. hard to see in the darkness, but the vertical standards for the next jump are literally right in front of charlie's face
After which we decided to maybe change the subject to something else other than grids for the next lesson or two inside. Sigh, poor big awkward horse! These gymnastic exercises are legitimately taxing for him. But he usually honestly seems to enjoy figuring them out - like solving a puzzle.

and.... somehow charlie managed to recover and get out alive. this pic is just moments after the above. good boy, sir
But I think having a couple tough moments knocked some wind from his sails and he started wondering why he was working so hard in the first place.

Definitely not the feeling I want to inspire in this horse - I want him leaving our lessons strutting like a champion, or at least seeming quite pleased with himself for being so clever.

#happytobedone
So between now and next week, trainer K will dream up other exercises for us to work on in the small indoor. And in the meantime, some things for me and Charlie to work on include continuing to refine our steering skills lol. Bc damn, this horse *knows* how to turn, I'm sure of it. But when he's behind my leg? It's like trying to steer a cruise liner. 

you done good charlie. you done good.
A silver lining to having a tougher time with the grids tho? Charlie has really improved his reaction times and foot work in getting himself out of dicey situations. Not that we didn't still love him just as much when he couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time. But. Ya know. For an event horse, I like that he's learning how to save himself more haha.

Plus, I do admit to being a teensy bit eager to see what else K has us do other than grids. I've liked her exercises and instruction a lot so far, even tho we've been a little bit limited in subject matter. And it's not like there's any limit to areas where Charlie and I need help haha. So hopefully a little variety will be just the ticket.

A little spring-like weather wouldn't hurt either tho haha.... just sayin!

17 comments:

  1. Omg, lol. That trip into the next fence, yo. Are those breeches ruined? Cause mine would be. Lol! Way to go Charles, pulling out the grit and making it work!

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    1. honestly? i'm kinda used to moments like that with charlie.... and our first seriously biff in the ride, our first trip through the grid, was actually quite a bit worse. he's figuring it out tho!

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  2. It will be interesting to see what she comes up with next. I bet Charlie sees her and think “oh no more grids” The temperatures fluctuating so much drive me crazy. So hard to grow accustomed to anything when it does that

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    1. yea i'm curious about what we'll do next too. there are so many choices haha! i get the sense that this trainer doesn't really love teaching in this indoor... but with the weather doing what it's doing we don't have much other choice. sigh.

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  3. very good. I still think he looks great and he is doing it (maybe not brilliantly at times). he def didn't look like Charlie a bit though. I bet horses get winter doldrums just like us.....you know? Also Remus hates drinking outside so always waits till evening to drink his fill. Drives me crazy....

    I still think you both look great. :) And YAY to skipping grids next time. My eyes cross thinking of doing that two times a week :) HA

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    1. thanks - yea he was a good boy and he did well through the grid. just missing that... spark of excitement we saw earlier in the week. more like he was just doing it like a chore. so we'll switch it up and see what else gets him excited!

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  4. I really think that this fluctuating weather is taking a toll on everyone!

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    1. i know it's taking a toll on me!! c'mon spring!!

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  5. Fingers crossed that not only does she come up with some awesome non-grid related indoor exercises, but that it gets nice so she can teach you outside in the great big open! Haha.

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    1. ugh my fingers are crossed! it's not looking like we'll get outside any time soon tho, unfortunately. dammit phil!!

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  6. Brightside - him pulling through is definitely showing some grit and resilience that is being developed! Even if he was blah about it all. "my anthropomorphic perceived sense of his ennui" - haha yes I am constantly doing this too (seeing myself doing the anthropomorphizing!

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    1. lol yup, the anthropomorphizing is real. even when i know sometimes i'm letting it bug me when it really ought not to. and also yea i'm happy that charlie has begun to show a little resilience and ability to get out of sticky situations. and i certainly don't blame him for being annoyed at sticky situations either... but it's part of the learning process i guess!

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  7. do you have any other social medias like Instagram??? Also that one picture where he almost face planted is crazy how he saved that.

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    1. Yea haha we definitely almost ate it that time..... Luckily he's getting clever with his feet! And no, no other social media. I have a YouTube channel for all things Charlie but no IG. #cavetrollstatus over here when it comes to social media lol

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  8. At least you got a cruise liner? lol My BOs had a mare for a while that steered like a whale. Like, you had to telegraph turns fifteen feet ahead and PRAY. (Fortunately, she was also slow as hell! lol)

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    1. lol aren't whales smaller than cruise liners tho? actually aren't cruise ships like... one of the biggest thing out there to turn? bc... that's what charlie feels like lol

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  9. I love that silhouette photo tho. Classy.

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