Roo

Adventures of Roo, Super ‘Stang!

Roo is ready

Recently, I took Roo for his first off-property trip in nearly a year to a Micah Deligdish clinic at Maven Sport Horses in Powder Springs, Georgia. We attended a Ryan Bell Knol clinic there in early 2019 when the weather turned very cold and windy and the wind tried to blow down the indoor arena door to “get” Roo. With that as our history there, I watched the weather very closely before I committed to this clinic. My anxiety pushed me to prepare with loading practice (a special snack of Senior on the trailer has helped Roo’s interest in loading immensely!), asking for an ideal ride time based on our typical loading time, and riding consistently to make sure there was no extra energy available to feed Roo’s anxieties. In addition, I visualized the trip going well – easy loading, quiet unloading, safe travel – there and back. I loaded the deck in my favor by asking my mother who is a Reiki Master to send us energy toward a good experience.

This is what I wrote on Facebook that day . . .

It was a big day for Roo. He went on a field trip to Maven Sport Horses where we rode in the Micah Deligdish Clinic. (Bonus: Micah is an Equinety Ambassador).

Thanks for all the encouragement. It was a SUCCESS from the beginning right through the middle all the way to the end.

 Roo loaded like he wakes up and gets in the trailer every morning. When we were packed up and ready to head home, he took a moment to think about getting back on but instead of saying “no”, he put his big boy pants on and marched on to brave the trip home. What a good pony!

 I am embarrassed to say that I was so focused on having a good loading experience, that I nearly didn’t absorb the lesson! I didn’t miss it all~ I did get some clear ideas on how to work the tension out of Roo and we hit on where I need to work on myself. I’ll title the lesson: It’s about the reaction.

While all travel went according to plan, I had not considered much about taking the actual lesson so I ran into tension in Roo and a lot in myself. During my ride, I found myself having a hard time “hearing through the past”. By that I mean, I was anticipating and looking for past behaviors and not really present – with the horse Roo was at the moment or listening closely to what Micah was saying. This was a clear example of all people listen through their own filters – in this case my fear filter, fear of what has happened before and could again and fear of riding badly, embarrassing myself and my beautiful horse.

Fortunately, Micah has a method and she wasn’t too surprised to find resistance. It’s hard to take a lesson with a new person and it’s hard to teach a new person. To help ease some of the tension in horse and rider, she moved us right into exercises.

They went something like this:

  • Exercises can be used as a daily warm up.
  • Think “dynamic stretch” and move your horse slightly outside of his comfort zone in the bends (some over bending at warm up is okay).
  • Keep consistent contact.
  • Don’t throw away the reins in lengthens/mediums/extensions. Ride into the contact – more snaffle than curb.
  • Exercises can be done at all gaits. We started with a good trot.
  • Each segment might be done a few times until you are warmed up enough to move to the next part.

Do several serpentines, focusing on having a good change of bend during change of direction. Variations – change the size of the serpentines. Here’s where “dynamic stretch” comes into play. Do this until you feel a comfortable change of bend.

Ride down center line, leg yield to the wall (more about crossing the inside leg under the body than the sideways), “more” on the short side, shoulder-in on the long side and back up the center line to leg yield to the wall, travers on the short side, shoulder-in on the long side and back up the center line, leg yield to the wall, “more”, diagonal change of direction. Repeat on the other side. Think of each side of the arena as a segment: Each segment might be done a few times until you are warmed up enough to move to the next part.

An exercise we used to work more on longitudinal suppleness was a square using half the arena. Really go on each side and collect a few steps (not so many that cause you to get “stuck”) through each corner. Work on this in both directions at trot and canter ideally until the forward and back is easy.

It was a full ride and at the end Roo’s tension was gone. By thoughtfully working both laterally and longitudinally, the whole horse was suppled. Yay!

Micah was okay with training things in the same spot each time – for her it’s okay that the horse learns a spot in the arena where something happens. I’ve always been concerned about Roo learning that X happens here and would anticipate X happening there every time so I have not done that on purpose. As a result I’ve struggled to come up with a good warm up routine (because I didn’t exactly want a routine!). However, I’ve done some training that X happens here unintentionally anyway so I will start using her exercises to improve my warm up. I would like to say I have already started using the patterns but the weather has been so hit or miss since the clinic that I’ve hardly ridden…

Other things:

  • Micah suggested introducing spurs, which I have never worn on Roo. If we move up the levels as hoped, spurs are required to show at FEI levels…
  • We talked about the quick responses needed to improve everything.
  • Most exciting things Micah said that day, I can see glimpses of the PSG horse in there. And, he’s got a great trot.

Micah’s methodical approach was calming for my nerves – something I very much needed. Roo appreciated the thorough workout. He was relaxed as a result. We’ll attend again if and when she returns.

See you at the barn!

June

PS I’ve finally set up an affiliate page for Equinety on Facebook – – Roo’s Equinety Channel. Like it, if you want.

Roo’s Equinety link: http://TeamEquinety.com?aff=44

#teamequinety

 

Here Thar Be Dragons

Today Roo saw a dragon (or a turkey – same thing!).

Just after I took this relaxed photo and we started walking back to the barn the “dragon appeared” in the woods across the road from that big tree in the pasture and captured Roo’s full attention and worry like a magnet. He wanted to run and did spin but he allowed me to get him turned toward the back of the pasture. We walked away from the dragon but were stuck. There’s no exit from the field from that end~

Once I thought I could keep his attention, I sent him toward the barn again but again the magnetic pull of the dragon was too much and his eyes were riveted to that spot in the woods where he was sure the dragon lurked, waiting to eat him. I couldn’t get him forward but he would step sideways and again he allowed me to turn him toward the back of the field.

I considered getting off but then decided he was so worried that he was more likely to get away from me from the ground so I stayed on and tried again, only this time, when we got where he was starting to get upset, I turned him away from the trees toward the creek while asking him to move sideways. He did. We side passed with his butt to the dragon until he seemed calm.

When I felt I could keep his attention I pointed him toward the gate but kept a haunches bend for a little further. The whole thing couldn’t have taken more than 50-60 yards but with that distance he no longer seemed concerned with the dragon. The irony is that at first when he was so concerned we were probably further from the object of his fear than when he relaxed enough for me to let the reins out a bit! If that dragon could pounce from the trees about 100 yards away what could it have done from 50 yards?! I don’t want to know~

Anyway, we survived the dragon and now Roo has a good story to tell his pasturemates.

Oh Canada! September 2019

September 17, we flew from ATL to Spokane to meet Mike and Rita Tunnicliff who were coming in the next morning. We stayed at the airport Ramada which is a short walk from the baggage claim. They had several fire pits with gas fires burning so we got a drink and sat outside to acclimate.

The next morning, Mark picked up the car and our friends and we drove through Idaho to the Fairmont Hot Springs in British Columbia, Canada. We stayed in a nice hotel/condo surrounded by mountains. Mark and I got out and walked around a bit in the morning where a resident pulled his golf cart over to let us know a bear had been seen in the neighborhood that morning. We then noticed bear scat all over the place~ Eeek! We did not see the bear. Knowing that we had a sightseeing drive through the Kootenay and Banff National Parks, we headed out early, destination Canmore where we had a condo rented for 5 days.

We stopped in Kootenay NP a few times. The first stop we noticed that the fencing along the highway has stairs and gates for people to access the trails. The trail we chose to take was very short but took us to a creek / river with water so clear it is indescribable. Next stop included a trailhead for the Paint Pots over the Vermilion River.  “After tracking the bank of the Vermilion River for a short distance, the short jog right through forest leads abruptly to the meadow hosting colorful wetland Ochre beds.

The aboriginal people who inhabited the region traveled here to collect the vibrantly colorful soil for use as ceremonial body paint.  The unique area was justifiably considered sacred ground worthy of respect.”

Early settlers mined the area early in the 1900’s, and some of the equipment is still there. A small orange river borders the trail with small, multi-colored pools at the top – the paint pots.

Canmore is west of Calgary in the Canadian Rockies. It’s known for rugged summits like the Three Sisters and Ha Ling Peak. In nearby Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park, the Grassi Lakes Trail winds past a waterfall to two turquoise blue lakes.

To see Canmore for yourself, check out their webcams! https://canmorealberta.com/webcams

With five days to explore, we started with the most known – Lake Louise with turquoise lakes, red canoes, rustic tea houses and, of course, the Fairmont Chateau. Yes, the water is that color that you see in the tourist photos! It’s from glacier sediment that is suspended in the water. You would expect it to settle and it does but there’s always more coming so there’s always some floating to keep it that amazing color.

We took the hike to the Lake Agnes Tea House. It was a bit more demanding than expected based on the number of people who take it and were taking it that day but WOW the views were spectacular and so worth any effort. We passed horses coming and going which was an impressive feat since some of the trail was chunky rocks – not my favorite riding surface! When we reached the Tea House, we got some to-go tea and sat on the benches to snack and absorb the surroundings – trees, soaring mountain peaks and fresh air. We had help cleaning up our lunch – chipmunks and birds. After descending, we stopped in the Chateau (ignoring the signs that said guests only!) to check it out and have a drink in the lounge overlooking the patio and the lake. Gorgeous!

We stuck to the touristy stuff for the most part. It was shoulder season so not as crowded as it could have been. Weather was near perfect with sun and highs in the 60s.

Saturday we took the Johnston Canyon trail which sees about a million people per year. Thankfully, the majority of those people were not there with us! It’s a fairly easy hike with much of the trail paved or with catwalks attached to the cliffs. Again, the water in Johnston creek was so clear or turquoise it seemed unreal! The Lower Falls had a rainbow in the mist – took a bunch of pix to try to catch it. There’s a bridge over the pool to allow visitors to go thru a small opening in the cliff to get incredibly close to the actual falls. Unique!

The Upper Falls is at the very end of the trail and has a platform for viewing/photos. There was a trail up to get a glimpse from above but we didn’t take that. As we neared the falls, the Limestone cliffs on the right caught my eye because of the yellow-orange color but then I noticed all the holes in and below the walls. Must be a soft stone!

Sunday had us up the Grassi Lakes Trail (so glad a local suggested we start on the “hard” side since it was hard but would have been harder to descend) followed by a trip to Banff to visit the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, the gardens and do a little souvenir shopping. The views from the Fairmont were stunning!! Their flowers were richly colored and made a perfect foreground to the mountains in the distance. The Grassi Lakes Trail had the biggest waterfall of the trip and the most stunning colored lake!

Monday we split – Mark and Mike went to Lake Louise again to tackle the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse hike, which had its own very rustic tea house (built in 1927, privately owned and operated by the same family since 1959) and glaciers (surprise!).  The guys said the weather rough – very windy and even snowed a bit. By contrast, Rita and I stayed in Canmore and took a leisurely stroll throughout the town’s trails, including part of the Bow River Loop. We stopped for lunch, groceries for dinner and then fed the feral bunnies. The bunnies were so cuuuuuute~

Our trip home started with breakfast at a coffee house and a bus ride from Canmore to the Calgary airport. Then it was allllllllll day in airports, on airplanes, and delays due to fantastic lightning near Minneapolis. We arrived in ATL about 12:30 AM walking in our door about 1:45 AM.  Yes, it was a long day but other than my irritation at the change in how to find the bus to our off-site parking place, even all that time to get home was a pleasure.

If you have never been to Banff, go!

After this reconnection with nature, I’m all rested up. Can’t wait to get back to the barn to see Roo!

See you at the barn,

June

Equinety Affiliate:  Learn more and buy Equinety here: http://TeamEquinety.com?aff=44

Riding Moments

Roo
RU Marley a.k.a. Roo

In my last blog, I wrote something about now feeling like a trainer. This blog is about how I’m not using the alphabet, energy and hips.

Recently, during a lesson I was auditing, I inserted an idea – thankfully, the trainer didn’t comment and didn’t seem to be offended at the time. Later, we (rider, trainer, and me) had a discussion about starting with A, B, C and then moving through the alphabet systematically. I have a tendency to insert a letter willy-nilly! Usually, I’m inserting D or Q as a test to see if A, B, and C are in place. Really. My thoughts run along the lines of:  Is the horse off my leg? Is he off one leg more than the other?

Today, I listened to a video about energy shifts in the earth. The host focused on connect and redirect as ways to deals with the energy changes. I found it paralleled riding – of course!

She talked about the need to connect with ours bodies and observing out thoughts, letting go of negative thoughts and redirecting them to new positive thoughts. Again, works for riding!

This fits with light bulb moments before and after a recent clinic.

On the puzzle you build the outside edge first but if you cannot find ever edge piece when you’d found most of them you start building the middle.

The puzzle pieces are shrinking! It felt like I was working on a 500 piece puzzle and now that we’ve “advanced” it feels like there are a 1000 pieces to this puzzle called dressage!

Connecting the inside rein to the inside hind… My instructor emphasized that I need to stop drawing the inside rein down and away from Roo’s neck, particularly on the left. Chris said that the habit seems to be instinctive knowledge on my part – that on some level I know that the inside rein is connected to the horse’s inside hip. Haha, if only that were true! He told me that the drawing down of that rein seems to be occurring because Roo’s indie hip is too far inside on the circle causing him to be out of alignment with the geometry. So, it’s one more thing I have to be aware of and change in my riding habits.

Do you ever hear this in your lesson? Stop driving! My brain completely blanks when I hear that. Sigh. It screams, But I’m not doing anything. Truth! What it means is I am not connecting/not absorbing Roo’s back energy and movement through my own ; I have become stiff and unyielding through my lower back. In a clinic, I was told to lower my hips and suddenly my brain connected! So, that’s the phase I’ll translate “stop driving” to from now on.  I’ve been thinking “lower your hips” for a week now. My abs go to work to connect to the swing on Roo’s back. I’m still “not doing” anything at that point but I am in the flow and it’s made a nice jump forward in my riding.

See you at the barn,

June

Equinety Affiliate: Learn more and buy Equinety here: http://TeamEquinety.com?aff=44

Roo

Permission Granted

August – the hottest and most humid month of summer in the Southeast. On this first day of the winding-down-of-summer month, I give myself the permission to be myself and to take it easy as I see fit. That doesn’t mean not doing things but choosing to do things a bit differently; thinking a bit differently; and being kinder and easier with myself and my peeps (family, friends, Roo, etc.).

And how does this permission to be myself extend to riding, you might ask. Well, it means finally giving myself the permission to be confident in what I know about riding and horsemanship and my horse. It means not waiting for someone else to tell me how to fix, or even if I should fix, something not quite right during a ride. I am giving myself permission to be the rider/trainer that I am perfectly capable of being by owning what goes on in my rides as my doing and mine to correct as needed. It may not always work out that I’m perfect in my knowledge or correction but by taking the responsibility for it, I’m allowing myself the space to grow and learn.

I’ve been wanting to claim ownership of my recent shift in my feelings about my riding but it’s taken months to get to this point – the point where I feel I can now declare I feel like my horse’s trainer and not just a passenger!

In May, I wrote myself a note that started with “This week I feel like I’ve made the subtle shift from rider to trainer. Many times, I’ve said to myself and reiterated to others that “you are training every minute you are with your horse” but I have never really felt like I’m a “trainer” until now.”

Now just let that sink in and percolate while I explain. When I wrote that note to myself, I had just finished a lesson during which Chris used an analogy comparing filling a long balloon with air and bending it up in the middle but not letting the air escape at either end to keeping the horse contained in the front and behind which would cause the lifting of the withers.

When he explained things that way, I was able to put it into practice easily during the lesson (isn’t that always the case?!). I felt a big lift through the withers. He proceeded to walk with us around the arena asking when I felt my seat drop (ie, the dropping of the withers) at which time he’d tap lightly on Roo’s croup to “reinflate the balloon” and therefore re-activate the lift through the withers. All the attention on that particular feeling combined with the new descriptor/picture for it heightened my feel for the lifted or not lifted withers. The next day and the next day after that, I played with that concept and focused my attention on feeling the lift or not and making necessary adjustments. Suddenly, I just felt like a trainer.

The confidence that Roo and I can create that truly uphill, lifted feel has wavered in and out a bit since May but today in my lesson Chris really pushed me to consider changing my perspective and to see that it’s my choice to see things as a rider/trainer or see things as a rider/passenger. He asked me why I hadn’t given myself the permission to be the capable rider/trainer that I am… So, today, I made the choice to give myself the permission to be that, and so much more.

Today, I choose to be a confident communicator with Roo and in my self-speak. I expect Roo will appreciate the clearer communication.

Let me know what you think – will you give yourself permission for anything new this month?

See you at the barn,
June

#teamequinety

Equinety Affiliate site: TeamEquinety.com/Roo

Making Changes

I recently posted this Educational Experiment to Facebook . . .Lots of good ideas so far but I’m open to more!

In order to reach my goals I need to be better skilled at showing. Having not been super successful so far, I’m changing a few things and beginning to focus more on visualization (geez, what choice do we have in GA with all the missed riding due to the recent weather?!). I need a bit of help with this!

Yes, I can and do get this type of input from my instructor but I’m taking the initiative to get as much info and new ideas for myself.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to help me think thru the test, letter by letter… I will be specific – 4th, test 1 – since that is one I plan to show this year. I’m hoping for suggestions like, “On the short side: slight leg yield away from the rail and refresh the gait” or  “#24 Collect 4 strides before starting changes”. You get the idea!

If we assume rider/horse are supple, forward, and able to complete each movement, what would you advise to improve their test riding??

dr-arena-12019 USEF FOURTH LEVEL TEST 1

  1. A Enter collected canter

X Halt, salute

Proceed collected trot

  1. C Track left

H-X-F Change rein, medium trot

Over X 6-7 steps collected trot

F Collected trot

  1. K-X Half pass right
  2. X Circle right 10m
  3. X-G Shoulder-in right

C Track right

  1. M-X-K Change rein, extended trot

K Collected trot

  1. K-A-F (Transitions M and K) Collected trot
  2. F-X Half pass left
  3. X Circle left 10m
  4. X-G Shoulder-in left

C Track right

  1. M Collected walk

R-S Half circle right 20m in Extended walk

S  Collected walk

  1. H Turn right

Between G & M Half pirouette right

Proceed collected walk

  1. Between G & H Half pirouette left

Proceed collected walk

M Turn left

  1. (Collected walk)[MR/SHG(M)G(H)GMC]

15.C Collected canter, left lead

  1. H-K Medium canter

K Collected canter

  1. A Down centerline

D-E Half pass left

  1. E-H Counter canter

H Flying change of lead

  1. M-F Extended canter

F Collected canter

  1. F-A (Transitions M and F) Collected canter
  2. A Down centerline

D-B Half pass right

  1. B-M Counter canter

M Flying change of lead

  1. C Circle left 20m, 5-6 strides of very collected canter between quarter lines
  2. H-X-F Change rein, three single flying changes of lead, near first quarter line, near X, and near last quarter line

25.A Down centerline

X Halt, salute

Thank you for your input!

See you at the barn,

June

 

 

 

Boxy Situations

Box-insideRoo is an outside the box thinker! My trainer says it’s because he has a strong sense of self preservation which makes sense because, after all, he is a mustang. Even though he was rounded up as a foal he shows every sign of knowing exactly how to take care of himself – See food? Eat it! Find water – drink it (especially if it is dripping down your mane!).

There are a couple of common boxes in dressage – the “sand box” also known as a ring and “in the box” which is a description of where the horse is expected to be within his body based on the aids. There’s also the judge’s box  and the boxes on a test sheet but we’ll leave those out for now.

Boxes, real (think trailer or stall) or artificial (created by the aids), seem to make Roo a bit claustrophobic. In response, he leads with No and if that doesn’t get my attention, he follows with Hell No. Hell No used to work fairly well for him but either he’s gotten less emphatic or I’ve grown accustomed to that level so that now it doesn’t stop him from having to deal with being in whatever box he is presented with so he gives in and accepts his fate.

As a rider, my job is to make being in the required box easy and comfortable. I’m not always quick enough and consistent enough, though. Lately, some of his “not gonna” answers have worked to keep him out of the box. It’s become obvious in my rides and scores, which have gone down since June even though we’ve been showing at a lower level than we’ve been schooling. My bad! He’s only going to do what I require of him. . .so I need to require more.

Yesterday’s lesson took us back to setting the box dimensions and sticking to them. Roo said No more than once and even threatened Hell No but with the encouragement of my trainer, I persisted. My persistence and patience paid off in that Roo let go of the resistance and stayed in the box created by my aids. I did have to reiterate the box dimensions frequently but his objections became smaller and smaller until cooperation  and release were dominant. I’m sure the next ride will follow the same pattern but I’m relieved to know the issues we’ve been having are quickly fixed with my proper attention and perseverance.

I wish we didn’t revisit topics we have mastered in our training at some point, but I guess that is life! We’re heading out to measure the success of our returning to the box again in a week at the Southeast Schooling Show Championships. Wish us luck!

Roo is a cool character always but he’s the most exciting ride when in the box! How’s your riding going? Did it slide a bit in the hottest part of the summer like ours did? Is your horse an inside- or outside-the-box thinker?

See you at the barn!

June

PS We didn’t get any good pictures of the saddle pad at the shows but #Teamequinety anyway!

Snapshot 2 (9-23-2018 6-34 AM)

 

Officially Affiliated

NEWS! I’m excited about this. I’ve waffled about becoming an affiliate for a while so to have made a decision pleases me. Yes, I love the product, but I was uncertain for a while about making it official. Warning: very promotional material follows!

You may know that my mustang Roo has been an Equinety Ambassador for a couple of years and I love what it’s done for him – he’s all shiny, his hooves are great, and his recovery is very fast even in the heat of summer. I’m excited that you can order now online through my affiliate page: http://www.TeamEquinety.com/Roo.

Equinety Horse XL is an amino acid supplement specifically designed to deliver optimal nutritional support to your horse’s body, encouraging the production of additional healing, repair, and growth factors that jumpstart the natural processes of cell repair and regeneration. In a very short time using Equinity, you will notice beneficial results in your horse, such as a shiny coat, stronger hooves, a calmer demeanor, more focused when ridden, and a quicker recovery.

If you are looking for a supplement to boost your horse’s health, wellness and performance, look no further. But don’t take my word for it, read the many testimonials about Equinety Horse XL for yourself at https://www.teamequinety.com/Roo.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.

See you at the barn,
June

PS Where is your Equinety? You can see mine is in my locker!

20180831_081341

Please buy from the stores first (you will save shipping charges and you will also be supporting local businesses)! But, if you cannot get to one of the Georgia stores, please order online at http://www.TeamEquinety.com/Roo

Georgia Stores:

Acworth Feed, Acworth GA (770) 529-0319

CrossRail Apparel & Tack (at Foxberry Farm), Dallas, GA (404) 392-4324

Wildhorse Tack and Feed, Powder Springs, GA (770) 943-5493

#teamequinety

When is the last time you participated in a clinic?

Clinics are a tool to help build riding skills over a lifetime, but it’s so hard to commit to them.

We’ve all done it. We wake up for an early morning clinic start, realize how delightfully comfy our bed is, think about how much more fun it would be to ride than audit, and pull the duvet back over our heads. Riders may be sleeping in, but this doesn’t mean their riding is not a priority. There are many reasons riders skip auditing clinics – some are valid and others not. As our education options become increasingly online, you may be wondering what purpose auditing clinics serves, especially when videos of the clinicians teaching are uploaded to Facebook and readily available on YouTube.

Read on for some good reasons to make the time to attend clinics.

Clinics can save you time

One of the reasons that many riders skip auditing is because they feel that auditing is a waste of time. But watching others ride with good instruction can actually save you time and may serve as a map for your training. A good clinician will present riding issues in ways you may not have heard before, triggering new thoughts for you. Pay attention to how your clinician presents information and take good (not copious) notes*. The instructor will highlight the most important issues s/he sees that day. ”Does the clinician get excited about a certain subject? Does you clinician repeat terms or ideas frequently?

Clinics teach concentration

You’ve probably heard that there are several ways of learning, and while reading or doing might be the preferred methods for many students (aren’t we all students?!), listening is another important way of learning material.

Clinics are more than the sum of the rides

Remember that clinics are more than just the sum of their rides. One of the biggest reasons to audit clinics is that the clinician may present information that is neither outlined in books nor covered by your regular instructor – anything from important training tips or explaining changes in show rules. There are always a few points that still don’t make sense even after reading books and articles about the movement (or whatever other concept is confusing)…hearing the clinician explain or demonstrate it often clears up the confusion right away.

Clinics aren’t just about the person standing in the middle of the ring. If you don’t participate in clinics either as a rider or auditor, you won’t have the chance to ask questions (or hear the questions others ask) and you won’t be able to interact with others in your discipline. Clinicians may be the ‘experts,’ but you’ll be surprised at how much you can learn from your fellow participants.

Clinics give you opportunities

Go to clinics and ask questions! Speak up if you don’t understand something, participate in discussions, and don’t be afraid to talk to the clinician or the other participants after the clinic. A clinician can help you connect the dots, help you see the big picture. Pay attention to more than just the riding. Did your clinician mention a website, event, or company in passing that sparked your interest? Make a note and follow up on it after the clinic – you’re there because the instructor and discipline interests you and chances are that there are other concepts you’ve never considered. If nothing else, attending clinics and asking questions can help you form relationships within your riding community – especially important when you get to the show grounds and want or need support! Clinics tend to nurture cultures of community – riders simply support each other, right?

*Learning actually doesn’t stick unless you put concentration and effort into it. Try these strategies to help you remember:

  • Scribble, underline, and dog-ear pages.
  • Revisit your notebook (often). Handwrite new organized notes on cards.
  • Write a blog post about what you’ve learned from the clinic.
  • Incorporate what you learned into a talk (if that’s your thing) or into a conversation, or many!

 

You get to decide which parts of a clinic feed and fuel your interest; follow that interest!

See you at the barn!

June

 

Show Weekend

This year my riding/training mission has been simply to get Roo out and about, but I’ve had a hard time finding the drive to get it done. Late into the season, I decided to ride at schooling shows at second level in order to give us (me; Roo doesn’t care) goals. Going for second level scores means that we could qualify for Southeast Schooling Show Championships which are Sept 29-30 and participating in the Georgia Dressage and Combined Training Association year-end awards program.

In the light, I aggressively signed us up for two shows this weekend – one each day; both taking place about 13 miles from our home barn. I find that is I haven’t have strong incentive it’s much easier to stay at home and school or go out on trails, both of which are readily available at Foxberry Farm, where we board. They even host 3 schooling show per year so if I’m feeling terribly lazy I don’t even have to go off property to ride tests! Last year, I didn’t take Roo anywhere. Bad, bad trainer! So this year, we have to make up for that lack of exposure and get out to strutt our stuff.

THIS WEEKEND

When I checked ride times for the Saturday show, I noticed we didn’t have times! I emailed the show staff and then discussed it with someone in the know. She told me they have more than 120 dressage rides to schedule and it was likely a simple oversight. Well, the size of the show plus the rain forecast made me a bit nervous so I took our lack of times as a sign and I bailed! Instead, Roo and I schooled and practiced trailer loading – his very favorite thing!

I was told the Sunday show would be smaller so I signed up for second tests 1 and 3. Both tests flow nicely and I really like test 3 but need more than that to qualify for GDCTA awards.

Roo had an opinion about morning travel but we got there solo. He did very well upon arrival in the new environment. Admittedly, it’s not completely new – we’ve schooling there a couple of times in the last year. We met up with some of his herd friends so he was much more comfortable than if they had not been there. Arriving early allowed us to hand graze and explore a bit. Nothing seemed too alarming. Roo says that the grass was good but it’s still not the same as turnout~

Warm up went fine. Roo was tense-ish which played into the first test but he gave me a good place to sit so it was not bad. He’s at a stage in his training that even though it might be uncomfortable in a new setting he’s willing to listen to me most of the time. He’s matured enough to focus on the work more often than not.

Our first test (test 1) of the day had a couple of bobbles. After the first medium trot from H to P, the collected trot takes you from P to K. Well, Roo nearly darted out of the ring at A! Surprised me~ Oops. Then at the final part of the canter work, (F to E change of rein), Roo got a solid look at the wall of banners. He seemed to think they’d be worth reading so he completely stopped to get a good read of them. When I got him moving again, I apparently picked up the “right” wrong lead (it was supposed to be a counter canter from E to H) so we got an error. Seriously, I thought I had picke dup the outside lead but I must not have!

Test 3 came up faster than I expected! Even though I love the flow of that test I had a pilot error! At least Roo wasn’t inclined to exit at A or take a break to view some banners or any other things of interest.

RESULTS

Second Level, Test 1: 66.2%

Second Level, Test 3: 63.5%

 

  • While it wasn’t a 70% day, it was very successful!
  • We got off property (for both trailering and riding)
  • Roo handled new/stimulating very well
  • We qualified for Southeast Schooling Show Championships
  • We have 2 more scores toward the GDCTA year-end awards requirements

And,

  • We brushed off a little more of that “green” we’ve been carrying around for too long!

Thank you to all the Foxberry Farm family for the support and assistance today!!