Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cramming

We're in the last two weeks before Ringo's and my move up to Intermediate and Kiki and my debut together at Beginner Novice at Three Day Ranch. I have the exact same feeling that I get in the last two weeks before exam week at school... it's time to start cramming!

For Kiki, the focus will be on the jumping. Her flatwork is, at this point, not at all embarrassing for her level (though man does it still have a long way to go), but I've only jumped her three times since coming to California, and twice over jumps no bigger than 2'! Bec gave me a lesson yesterday to figure out how much homework we would have over the next few weeks, and I think we were both pretty happily surprised; Kiki actually jumped around a 2'3" - 2'9" range course with relatively little fuss. Of course, she has miles and miles to go until she's feeling really solid, but she's a blast to jump (like a little rocketship!) and is very tidy and clever with her front end, so even when we got to some pretty ragged distances I was never really afraid for my life. We also desperately need to get out cross country schooling, which hopefully will happen this weekend.

For Ringo, I've got to get not only some good jump schools but also some serious flat lessons and a few gallops in. I definitely trust Ringo's ability more (that's a no brainer at this point in time!) but, at Intermediate, there is also just so much more to prepare. We've got to hammer out our counter canters and our transitions on the flat, get a little fitter on the hills, and maintain the confidence we currently have in the jumping over bigger and bigger fences. It's a lot to do, but I'm feeling up for the challenge at the moment!

Ringo jumped great yesterday (even if he did nearly have a heart attack over the section of carpet someone had laid over the fence line that was waving slightly in the breeze - the horrors!!) and I was really proud of his counter canter work today. It was interesting, because I warmed up the counter canter doing some pretty hard movements, doing full figures of eight, three and four loop serpentines, and 20 meter counter canter circles all while maintaining the lead. I did alot of over and counter bending and made sure he was moving off my leg, and everything checked out great; he was feeling awesome. Then, I went to go repeat the movement that I had to do for the Prelim test at Twin-- a shallow serpentine loop just out to the quarter line and back-- and he immediately switched out the first time I tried. The more I thought about it, the more I think he genuinely did not understand what I was asking him to do; it was very interesting because he is so so clever that I don't think I've ever run into a schooling problem where he didn't understand before (usually it's that he understands a little too quickly!), and as such I definitely tried to approach fixing it not with a sense of punishment but with a sense of encouragement. It paid off, and by the ned of the school we were doing shallow loops out to the center line and back with no issues. Good man, Ringo!

Hopefully both Kiki and Ringo will get out for a gallop on Thursday at Rainbow. Fingers crossed. . .

3 comments:

Andrea said...

How old is Kiki anyway?

KBG Eventer said...

I watched the dressage video from Twin Rivers, and I wasn't going to say anything but I thought Ringo looked a little confused about the serpentines too! :)

Take this with a huge grain of salt, but when I was watching the video I thought you perhaps needed to make the loop just *slightly* more curved. Now, like I said...grain of salt because I've never ridden the test myself, but I watched my new horse do that test with Allison Springer a couple of weeks ago with good scores on it. She made it a little more shallow than your figures.

I could see that he was going to swap coming into your second serpentine loop. He just looked a little confused about where he was going.

But anyway good luck! Ringo and Kiki are stars.

Katherine Erickson said...

Andrea, Kiki is turning 6 in just under two weeks - very exciting!! She was started pretty late (summer of her 4 year old year) and has taken it very steady since then. She's and American-bred ISH, and the Irish blood has definitely made her a late bloomer; I think she's only just now finishing growing and starting to find her adult balance.

KGB, I may have gone a hair past the quarter line in my test, but only just; I think the solution, as I saw yesterday, wasn't to cheat the movement by making the loop shallower but to introduce my horse to the movement before actually trying to perform it in a ring - a serious flaw on my part! Thanks for your advice, though =)

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