Thursday, April 30, 2009

Gina Comes to Stanford

Gina was very kind to come up to Stanford on Tuesday to teach me and a few of the Tally Ho people. We had a good lesson and I hope are prepped for Galway this weekend. Here are some photographs, courtesy of Rick and Cheryl Hyman (Rick and Cheryl's Website):

Monday, April 20, 2009

Twin Rivers Horse Trials

This past weekend was Dually and my first real outing of the year at Twin Rivers in the JYOP. It felt a little weird to be just starting out now, as the spring season in California is actually on its way to winding down (Twin being the major spring three day for the area). The courses definitely reflected this, with the Prelim horse trials course being long (3300m!) and full of questions. It would be a good test for the Intermediate Dually and I hope to do in a few weeks, though I did worry about his fitness a little bit as we've only done done two gallops this spring!

Dressage day found me and Dually up at a pretty uncivilized hour to get ready for our 8:15 time, but I think he ended up looking pretty smart (though, in my hasty preparations this past week, I was unable to clip his beard or his ears - I could only imagine the looks I would have gotten from Suzi for showing up to a show in such a manner!!) and we got out to the warmup with a good amount of time before our ride. I experimented with more warmup time this weekend and I think it was quite helpful, as I got to do more suppling and gentle work before having to ask him to become more collected. In his test, he was on his best behavior in the trot work, scoring all 7s and 8s. He got a little tense in the walk and then when I went to ask him to canter from walk he exploded and tried to buck me off! Fortunately he didn't try to exit the arena in this little escapade and even landed on the correct lead so we were able to carry on fairly smoothly, but the canter work as a whole did definitely suffer a bit. A 37 left us equal 5th in a very closely placed division.

For cross country we also got to go bright and early on Saturday, which was a blessing as it ended up being blazingly hot later in the day. I got to wear long sleeves when I went, though, so no complaints! Dually was very fresh and perky in the warmup, and went out on course guns a-blazin'. He was absolutely incredible through the first section, firing off the ground with great scope and requiring very little riding other than steering - fun for me!! I think I've gotten a lot better about being quiet when I can be and letting the dude find his own rhythm at the beginning of the course, as he has gotten the tendency to become quite strong when I try to manage him right from the gate. We did have some "first run of the season" moments later on in the course, where I was a little off the mark on judging his rideability and the quality of his canter coming into some combinations, resulting in us being a bit underpowered. All in all though it was so much fun and I was really happy with the way Dually felt. We came in quite slow, but I couldn't have been happier with the dude's performance.

Sunday promised even hotter temperatures than Saturday, so I was pleased once again to get to go in the morning. I was worried that Dually would be tired, as he definitely had been blowing hard at the end of his go yesterday, but he was actually quite a handful in the warmup, with his spring allergies driving him insane and making him a little difficult to steer! Bec Braitling was really kind to help me in warmup, even though she's never really seen me ride before, and her comments were very helpful in getting Dually settled and jumping on task during our extremely brief warmup: I had misjudged my timing and only had seven horses before I went when I arrived! Dually went in and was an absolute star from start to finish. I could tell that his allergies were still bothering him, as he was head tossing and acting up between fences, but to each jump itself he was 100% focused and jumped his little sneakers off. It was one of our best show jumping rounds to date, and I couldn't be more proud of the guy. That round moved us up two spots to finish the weekend in 7th. Yay Dually!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Twin Rivers Schooling Show

Well it sure feels good to be back! This past weekend Dually and I had our first official outing of the year at the schooling show at Twin Rivers. We got to do a cross country school on Saturday with Gina and then a Prelim combined test on Sunday. Dually was absolutely fabulous during the cross country school, making all the prelim questions look simple, taking care of rusty me in a few places, and even handling some Intermediate questions with ease! It was really great to get out again, and lovely to gallop and let D blow off some steam after such a long time in the arena.
Sunday was the combined test, with Dually doing the Prelim. I had also signed up to do an extra intermediate dressage test, but hadn't seen a time for myself, and had even checked with the office and been told that they had had no record of me doing so, and so when I headed down to the warmup at 2pm it was for a nice half hour warmup before my 2:30 prelim dressage test. To my vast surprise, when I arrived I was informed that they had been waiting for me for some time to arrive to do my intermediate test! As I was the only one who had signed up to do so, the judge was waiting solely on me and was going to leave when I was done. It wasn't really the relaxed situation I had been hoping for! I was told to go warmup and come back to do my test so the judge could go home. I went out into the warmup, very aware that the judge and her scribe were standing there at the ropes watching and waiting for me! Needless to say, adding that to my already extant stress surrounding warmups did NOT lead to my best possible test preparation! I warmed up way too quickly, basically only giving Dually just enough time to get really lit up and wild before calling it and heading back over to the judge. We went into the arena and Dually was NUTS! It was one of the most out of control tests we've ever had, and the judge even laughed at us at the end. Not a great start! But then we were able to head back into the warm up and get actually unwound and then properly prepared for our prelim test, which was extremely relaxed and obedient. It was definitely good to notice how long it took to get Dually actually prepared: around 45 minutes, longer than I had initially scheduled for (thank goodness that ring was running super late!). The final product was a super steady test, certainly not brilliant by any means and lacking a lot of accuracy that will come later in the season as I can combine our newfound connection with actually practicing the movements of the test (!), but far more rideable and connected than I've been able to get in the ring in the past. We scored a 39, with very consistent marks reflecting the steady nature of the test, but some higher scores on the more accurate moves hinting at the possibility of better scores to come.
I quickly sponged Dually off and changed his tack to head back to the showjumping and walk the course. It was a very simple course, with a lot of longer bending lines. The jumps were fully up to height, though, and so was a good test for us as it was only one of two or three courses we've done at height so far this season (and the others were both in one lesson with Gina a few weeks ago!). Dually was one of last horses to jump, and went in and laid it down! He was foot perfect from the very first fence, jumping just as well as he did at Galway this past fall. What a good boy! Our next outing is scheduled to be at Twin in two weeks.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Photos from Gina's

Up and Over! Dually and I mastering the scary "toothbrush."

Neat as a pin!

Dually showing off his unusual style =D

Dually's luscious tail

Dressage... ish.
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