Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Big Day For Ky

Phew! Today was a big, big day for me and Ky. First, I finally managed to clip him after two days and three attempts (and several EXTREME tantrums on his part), thanks to a kind visit from our local vet and a little 'better living through chemistry.' (read: we tranq'ed him. heavily. and he was still kicking out by the time I finished.) I had to go very very fast before the drugs wore off, so he sort of looks like he got eaten by a lawnmower, but oh well. He won't catch a chill and die when I try to work him hard in the cold weather now.


I don't normally like resorting to drugs and am definitely hoping to do some desensitization work with him over the winter so that clipping won't have to be such a massive to do next time, but for the time being this was clearly the best choice. Ky!! What a little pillbug!!

(Ringo, on the other hand, was a perfect gentleman and ground tied for his entire clip - what a proud little bear)

While Ky was recovering from his tranq dose, I hopped on Ringo and rode over for a lesson with Kim. It was more of what we worked on last time, but it was good to feel that we've improved a bit even with only three rides between last week and now. I also thought I did better with my position... until I got tired. Suddenly Kim's reminders about my wandering left wrist went from every 5-10 minutes to multiple times a longside. D'oh! But there definitely was progress. I'll take it.

After giving Ringo many pats and candies for a job well done, it was back to the little dude again to do something very exciting: JUMP!! I've only jumped Ky a handful of times EVER, so I deemed it might be prudent to get a little practice in before my clinic with Eric Smiley next week. (you know. maybe.)

Now, I also haven't jumped more than a few crossrails in, oh, 10 months or so. So, I set up two exercises that I hoped would both have a high chance of success while letting me get my position and eye back. One was a simple trot in one stride to one stride gymnastic, which went very well! We even got up to 3'3" in the grid, which Ky did without even flicking an ear:

The other was one of my favorite exercises from my time with Gina: a deceptively simple little set up called "The Diamond of Decision." The Diamond of Decision is essentially a vertical surrounded by a diamond of placing rails. It looks like this:

The idea is that you make a figure 8 over the vertical, cantering over the placing rails straight-on and jumping the vertical on an angle. It is a good test of rider accuracy (because there's really only one ideal route through the exercise--if you slice or take too much of the turn, the distance between the rails and the fence becomes either too gappy or too tight), encourages the horse to be clever and jump from the base, and introduces the horse to the idea of jumping on an angle.

I was a little wobbly on my accuracy at times, and the exercise really made that clear to me without punishing Ky. There was definitely one moment where I got the turn wrong, got to an angle that was too steep, and pulled a rail... with my foot:

Whoops. Perhaps I need shorter stirrups in future, haha.

But in the meantime, Ky was so awesome!!! I quit very early, as he was perfect, clever, jumped beautifully, and has really done zero jumping since August. Definitely a good start for our preparation for Eric next week--good boy, Sprog!!


Niamh said...

he's lovely -- and what a scrappy little jumper... don't worry about pulling the rail, just think of Charisma and Toddy:)

Jen said...

You are a beautiful and soft rider! I'm jealous of how much a part of Ky you are jumping even though it's been so long for you. Great job! Have fun at the clinic:)

Katherine Erickson said...

Hahaha Niamh, I think if we can channel Mark Todd and Charisma we'll be doing juuuust fine. And I was so pleased with how clever and scrappy he was--he never even really felt discombobulated as he put in a shuffle here or there when I messed up the line. Good man.

Thanks, Jen! I definitely have a tendency to NOT be soft when I jump, especially when I get nervous (I get very snappy and stiff, and can really duck like you wouldn't believe in my less stellar moments). So, coming off such a long hiatus, I was really trying to be as soft as possible to forestall the return of bad habits for as long as possible. I'm glad it showed! Now if only I could keep my heels down...

Kate said...

Wow he is just so nice. He is a perfect example of a super Connemara. Have fun at your clinic! Tell Eric the exercises he gave me completely changed my riding and Lucy and I came a long way this summer because of his help :)

Katherine Erickson said...

Thanks Kate, I'll try not to get too nervous! And he really is lovely; the more I ride him, the more impressed I am by him. It's a lovely testament to the owners he had between now and the last time I had him that he feels so good and is so fun to ride at 14 years old.

Hillary H. said...

What a cute guy!

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