Two of my favorite things - Horses and Hounds - a Half Arabian Gelding and two Rhodesian Ridgebacks.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Lesson with draw reins
Saturday I drove down to see Blu for the day. It was a fairly uneventful drive but I’m always on the lookout for unusual sights. It might make for an interesting topic on its own, now that I think about it.
Today I saw sky divers.
I even drove by a circus near Livermore but luckily that wasn’t a preview of my lesson to come.
Since it was a daytrip I didn’t spend a lot of extra time at the ranch, but I still got a lot accomplished.
In case anyone is wondering, preparing for a show isn’t just about riding. Having a trainer makes things a billion times easier, that’s for sure, but to get ready for a show I still have to 1) have the right horse 2) have all the tack and people clothing that’s required 3) have the horse clothing and equipment necessary to keep the horse comfortable and clean 4) have all the appropriate paperwork completed, signed and mailed with copies of my horse’s registration papers as well as copies of the two competition cards I have to have (Arabian Horse Association and United States Equestrian Federation) and last but not least 4) PAY for it all!
The previous weekend Sharon and I had worked with Todd to pick the classes we planned to enter in the Gold Coast Arabian Horse Association (GCAHA) show in Watsonville August 12-14. This weekend we signed all the papers and picked some TBA (To Be Announced) classes that weren’t officially scheduled but that we hoped we’d be able to request. Once we had them identified I called the show Secretary and reserved the TBA classes.
The GCAHA show will be the first “rated” show that I will ride Blu in (Todd was the only one to show Blu in Santa Barbara and at Rancho Murieta Blu was just a spectator) and I’m really excited. And yes, I’m also nervous. I now totally understand Sharon’s worries about disappointing the trainer if you don’t do well. I used to tell her not to worry about it, but now that the ‘boot’ is on the other foot I should really eat my words. Because I’m really worried about screwing up!! But I’ll do my best to remember my words to Sharon, and our mantra all along has been that we’re doing this for FUN!
Along those lines, and to get a bit of practice in, we’re planning on going to a schooling show in Gilroy this Sunday. A schooling show is a much more casual type of show than a rated show. It is judged, but the competition doesn’t count towards a horse’s points accumulation (his official show record), and you can use training tack, which you can’t use in a rated show. I hope that we’ll perform well at the schooling show – not necessarily that we’ll win but that we won’t screw up and Blu will get the right leads in the lope! That is my personal goal for the schooling show. How it goes will then tell me what I need to work on before the Watsonville show.
Oh yes, I did actually RIDE during my visit!
Getting back on track….I had a GREAT lesson. Blu has improved yet again, and in just a week this time. I’m going to have my work cut out for me in keeping up with him. He’s getting ridden 5 times a week and I’m just riding once or twice a week.
Sharon was nice enough to film my lesson. I shortened it into just a couple minutes of video – I’m sure no one wants to watch the whole thing.
In this lesson I needed to work on getting Blu into the lope, and on the correct lead. Last week Todd had talked to me about collection and that when Blu was fully collected in his jog if I released and held my body appropriately it would “allow” Blu to move into the lope (I'm simplifying of course). To me this was critical in that I wasn't “asking” Blu to lope, I was “letting” him. And to me that meant he would want to do it and it would be mutually beneficial. So this week I was thinking about that and when I told Todd that the conversation had made an impression last week he said “that was LAST week! He’s already moved on.” Yikes! See what I mean about I’ll have my work cut out for me keeping up with him?!
This week we were in draw reins (they’re reins that are clipped to rings on the cinch and go through the rings of the snaffle bit to my hands). That means I have two sets of reins. The regular reins and the draw reins. It makes coordination a challenge, to say the least. The draw reins slide through the bit and don’t have direct contact and the regular reins were much looser than I’d been using before. But it was good for me to ride without feeling like I had a firm hold on his mouth. Different. Challenging. As is almost everything it seems.
So much to remember! And it changes quickly, too. Yikes.