Wednesday, July 17, 2019

sometimes we jump bigger too

Phew it feels SO GOOD to be getting back into the swing of things. Mid summer is usually sorta a recess period for us, a time to regroup and zero in on bolstering the basics, ya know? And after taking a little time last month to reassess Charlie's overall health, soundness, wellness, etc, I'm really diggin our new routine.

nothing like a refreshing rinse after a ride, right?
Which, naturally, includes a healthy serving of our favorite fruits and vegetables: LESSONS!! This week's episode is all about our latest round with jump trainer P at our own home barn. In case you're keeping track at home, our last ride with her was June 1 where we worked over relatively smaller fences but more technical lines and angled fences.

it was a big group on a hot day!
Since then, we had our epic xc lesson with Sally Cousins at Windurra; the gallop and pace clinic with upper level event trainer K; the disastrous dressage schooling show; the resulting hail mary vet appointment; a quiet rehab period followed by a major overhaul of Charlie's conditioning program; some super duper fun solo xc schooling at home; and finally the excellent dressage lesson at Hilltop last week.

Feeling up to speed now? Good haha. We've been kinda busy, and I'm loving it. Or at least, loving it when the busyness feels like it's contributing to my and my horse's overall well-being and training.

this is not a picture of me. rather, this is an unedited, uncropped screenshot of the video i take for my friends
This jump lesson with trainer P was no exception, either. It was almost like one big giant reunion too haha - the group was HUGE. Way bigger than it's been in months. Usually there's like, 3 of us. Sometimes 4. But on this day we had 7, spread across roughly three levels.

God bless trainer P tho, bc she is apparently endlessly tolerant when it comes to resetting all the fences a million times. Tho, by the time it was the T group's turn to do the final course, I took pity and hopped off to at least help with a few of the jumps lol.

this is me. yes, back there, behind rachael. same phone taking the video. same jump in the arena. taken from more or less the same position. and yet.... wow. quite a bit of difference in the footage. le sigh. c'mon guys, zoom is your friend. and like, it really doesn't take a lot of effort to adjust your position by a few steps so you have a clear view of the jumps! don't be that videographer!! /rant
Anyway. This ride was maybe just a couple days after our Hilltop lesson, and for whatever reason Charlie was just feeling super. Totally professional, clicked into gear, in front of my leg, eager to go forth and do the things.

Part of it might be some of the changes Jess at Hilltop had me make to my ride that made Charlie's job of going forward a bit easier. Honestly tho? I think it's the new conditioning routine. We've been clocking some serious saddle time and mileage ever since coming back into work after doing Charlie's stifles.

which is a shame, really, bc don't we need more epic shots of the most majestic charlesaurus in our lives?!?
Every single ride has included some variable combination of long slow hacking miles (yes, miles) and either a session of proper schooling or more speed work. The result is a horse who... honest to god feels pretty good to go. And ready to go when I say the word. I like it!

The lesson started off in kinda a low gear tho, something that might not normally work well for Charlie. Since we had such a varied group, trainer P introduced us to all the lines with jumps relatively small. Not like, completely microscopic. But.... Ya know. Not generally of a size to be interesting to horses used to T.

very low resolution due to post production cropping + zooming, but i'll take it <3 charlie pinged through this triple like a total rockstar!
Charlie for his part was a total saint and aced everything. Well. Except for the very first jump, a simple vertical with a trot pole out in front. Homeboy was 100% distracted by some fly or another, didn't quite realize that, Yes Sir, I was aiming him for the little fence, STEPPED on the placing pole, nearly died, then jumped out. Ahem. Cough cough, not our finest moment.

After that, tho, there was no stopping him. Surprisingly tight 90* turn to an end jump? Ok! Diagonal line in 2? Sure! Little triple of 1-strides? And another triple of 2-strides? Done and done!

ditto the above. this oxer was fucking giant and you can't even tell lol
Tho there is one downside to warming up over everything at a pretty low height :: my canter honestly wasn't quiiiiiite good enough. A little too long and flat, not quite enough bounce per ounce, ya know? It's just hard to really press the horse up and into the bridle when the jumps don't back him off at all. That is totally a cop out and a solveable training problem, I know I know, but it's true.

So when the jumps went up to proper T height (we even had one 3'6 in there, woo hoo!!!) for the full course, it was in some ways a little tricky. At a competition, your warm up fences would get up to height too -- you wouldn't just get into your course without that, right? But this was just a lesson with limited time etc, so that's what we did.

that's ok tho, even crappy footage > no footage any day!
It honestly didn't really matter tho. Charlie didn't really seem to notice the difference in height (which, ahem, meant he did in fact knock the high vertical placed as jump 2 -- which, sadly, you can only barely see in the video) - he just cruised right on along.

Tho bc our canter wasn't quite right, I ended up getting to a kinda long spot into the triple of 1-strides. Trainer P likes to set these grids at pretty compressed distances, so getting in long is nottttttt quiiiiite how you wanna do, lol. But to be perfectly honest, I didn't really believe Charlie would jump if I tried for one more. So we went for it (2:00 in the video).

footage of sleepy ponies makes it all worth it, tho, right??

And? He totally did it! And actually really jumped the snot out of the whole line - making the adjustments and answering the question. Goooood boy!

Same story for the final little triple of 2-strides. That's typically a more difficult distance for Charlie bc he has to hold it together for longer (compared to the 1-stride lines lol). Plus these fences were set a little lower than the rest and were thus less impressive. Again tho, he just went ahead and did it.

It's been a while since we did full course work at this height so it's always really reassuring when the horse goes so well for it. This wasn't the most technical ride in the world, but who cares, right? It's such a nice feeling when the horse just goes and does the thing.

Here's hoping we can hang on to that feeling bc I mayyyyy or may not have made some impulsive choices regarding our upcoming calendar LOL. Meanwhile, hope everyone out there is coping well enough with this heat wave bleh. It's brutal!


24 comments:

  1. We’re also having a heat wave and , frankly I’m loving it. But ask me next week. Lol. I also suspect that my heat wave is your normal summer temps. It’s fun to do the thing. Lately I’ve been itching to point Carmen at some jumps. If that happens and I don’t post it means I’ve died. I love how mature Charlie is these days. Well, except for the fly- that made me laugh.

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    1. ha omg you should totally try some jumps with Carmen!! cross training is where it's at, right??? and tbh while this heat wave has kinda got me feeling a little wilted, our winter also ended long enough ago to be entirely forgotten. in your shoes i could totally see appreciating a little warmth ;)

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  2. He's such a boss! Makin' it look easy, Charlie. Sounds like a fun ride.

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  3. Beast mode! Sounds like you've been having an awesome time!

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    1. he's been an absolute blast to work with lately, i love it!

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  4. you're def doing something right, he looks fabulous. Not as tar-pit-bronto.

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    1. thanks, he feels really good too - the extra condition is really helping i think. and also the bigger jumps LOL

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  5. I feel ya with the videoing- I mean...MOVE ONE STEP FORWARD AND ZOOM damnit. My only critique with the video is that you should've had the sleepy music going like you did while tacking up/hacking, and then suddenly switched to Godsmack or Papa Roach when the jumping footage began lolololol

    But seriously, you guys looked great despite the insane heat (it's approximately 5,000 degrees here in NC)!

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    1. ha omg i will keep that music recommendation in mind lol --- still just learning how to play with audio! and yea this heat is intense, i can't even imagine how much more brutal it is down your way, ugh!

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  6. I had to laugh when you were talking about how much harder it is to jump smaller jumps. I have the same issue with May. 2' vertical? May as well just PLOW DOWN to it. 3' oxer? Oh I can jump round and nice.

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    1. ha ain't that always the way tho!! i swear the hardest things to jump are ground poles and cavaletti!

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  7. Bad footage definitely better than no footage, I say that from experience of being in the no footage camp!

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    1. lol for real tho. i'm such a media ho, honestly it's kinda #shameless. but still. like. for real. i thought the kids these days were all like digital natives and what not, accustomed to creating content for social media etc. sometimes tho i'm not so sure!! ;)

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  8. You guys look great (even in the background or super zoomed and blury)! Those are some legit jumps! I have the same problem when I warm up Cosmo, he doesn't care over the little stuff so he gets strung out and flat and I get yelled out, or I package him up and we go backwards to it and I get yelled at.

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    1. soooo basically yea, we just get yelled at a lot LOL. i feel ya on that. and like, even in real time i can kinda feel and know the issues and still am just like, 'eh it'll resolve itself or it won't!'

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    2. Oh yeah, I usually know as we are taking off which mistake I have made. I just have to let it happen and get them out of the way during warmup and not later on course.

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  9. I'm always so worried about moving up because I'm struggle bussing so hard over the speed bumps! But then once you do, it's like ten times easier because the horse wants to help out finally.
    You guys look great! So glad things are coming together for you guys!

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    1. dude the move up is so hard to commit to. like i feel like i need someone standing behind me with a cattle prod or taser or something to tell me to just "DO IT!" in time, i guess. in the meantime, tho, charlie definitely agrees with you on feeling like he's more eager to participate with the jumps up a bit

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  10. So this is my life with the hubby. All pics of him are centered, zoomed and he looks amazing. His pics of me? Uncentered, somehow blurry and I look either 50lbs heavier or like I’m dead. Ugh. But...as someone with no media ever I’d take crap footage over none any day!

    Your new routine with Charlie is doing amazing things. Wow.

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    1. the routine is working and i LIKE it, thank the lort lol. and yea the unequal effort in video / picture taking drives me bananas. like, it's not that hard. just, like, use your eyes. keep horse in center of frame. ideally, get horse to fill frame. boom. that's it lol!

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  11. Oh Charles <3

    So glad he is going well, and you're both having this amazing Summer. So jealous!

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