From racing to riding... the training diary of an off the track Standardbred

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Back from the show!

Sorry I did not post yesterday...or this past week at all. We were training all week! I was extremely tired from the show, and I had to get up early to help out at a college show this morning.

Our week was pretty busy. We went to HHF everyday except on Thursday... that was his day off. Each day was an improvement from the previous day! We did mostly walk trot with an occasional canter in the field which is one of his new favorite things to do! Our rides were pretty long and we got in the indoor everyday which was nice. Friday was our day to get everything perfect. We got there while there was a clinic still going on. We were told it would be done by didn't end until after 8. So we were ready to go, with nowhere to go. But at the end of the clinic, we snuck in and got to ride with the instructor. She gave us some kind words on how beautiful our horses were and she asked us if we would like to join in on the exercises they were doing. Ofcourse we said yes!! First thing that Jet and I worked on was figure-8's at the trot which was very helpful to get him bending, moving off my leg, and since he was stuck behind a horse that was going 2 mph, we got to get his stride shorter!

After figure eights, we worked on the cadence of the trot on the rail. We got a good rhythem going at the end, but it took a lot to get him going steady, consistent, and slow! I was thinking, "Is this the same Jet that I had years ago that I couldn't get to trot at all because he was so lazy?!" I bet when the warmer weather comes he will be his old lazy bum again! We then stood in the corner of the ring while the other riders cantered and jumped a few times. They left the ring after that and we got to practice by ourselves for a few minutes before my friends came in for their lesson. Thankfully, they knew that we were getting our last minute practice in and offered to give up some of their lesson time to let us use the rail for a bit. I love my friends (: I then cooled him out in the middle of the ring so my friends could have their lesson...that went until 10pm!! Jet got a good brushing to get him nice and shiny for the next day's show, and we headed back to the hosue.

Yesterday was in interesting day. The weather was fine when we got there but the rain slowly started to come down more and more. By my class, you could hear the ain pouncing on the metal roof. Lovely. He has only been in an indoor a few times and I thought the sound would freak him out. But it didn't! Just about everything else did though. In warmup, we worked on bending into our corners and slowing down to a reasonable speed. Our warm up was pretty good. He was listening pretty well. There were horses going in every direction and several instructors yelling at their kids. This wasn't a hectic show by any means. There were only eight or so horses in the ring, if that when I warmed up but it is a small ring so it was pretty cramped.

He was perfect going the the left, he was bending, flexing, stretching, balancing, and everything all at once! What a good boy! I was letting him walk a bit before going the other way and what do you know. Julie (my friend) showed up and Abby was apparantly very excited to see her. They ran right by the indoor door, screaming, yelling, and jumping around. They were not thinking at all that there were several horses in the ring, and a few of them haven't even been there before. We went right by the door at that very second. He spooked. Ugggh. Everytime we went past that door after that was a disaster. He thought the door was going a horse eatting monster... I swear. It wasn't like him really. I think he was just nervous.

So after that, we warmed up the other way. Let's just say that the first direction is his MUCH better direction (: He kept falling in on the corners and everytime I asked him to move over with my leg and seat, he decided to go a billion times faster instead. I can't really blame him since it was so hectic... but I would have liked him to pay a little more attention to me. Oh well, that just gives us something to work on!!

Even though he went by two open doors (one into the main barn from the indoor and one into the smaller barn from the indoor) he was freaked out by them. Going by the door to the larger barn, a person decided to almost run into us with a flower box. Just what I need, another door to worry about. But oh no, the door where everyone was standing was the door of death. So we worked on a circle that made it so we went past every door and we worked through it :)

Then we waited... and waited... and waited a bit more for our classes. Mary-Kate's classes were right before us so we watched her go. There were only two people in her class. I told you it was a small show! Katie kept bellowing to Jet which meant that she was NOT listening to Mary-Kate at all. I could only see them for a few seconds as they went by the door since I was in the barn because it was raining lol. But, I could tell that Katie was being a pill from how many times she called for Jet... it was non-stop. The other person in the ring was on a dead-broke lesson pony. Mary-Kate won Equitation, got second in pleasure, and I think they got second in discipline rail (?).

Next was our classes! We got in the ring and must have gone aorund the ring atleast times before the other horses came in because of rider changes. There were only three horses in my division. That same dead-broke lesson pony, and another dead-broke lesson pony that kicked. Anytime I was within 7 or so lengths of that pony, I cut the ring. She WILL kick and already had that day at a couple of horses... so I pretty much screwed my class to avoid that pony who was ofcourse, the slowest pony alive... but oh well. It is for fun, not the ribbons! Anyways... I placed second in my Equitation class even though I felt really confident about that class. Everything went well, but he was pretty fast... which is what I think cost us the class. The other two ponies already had several previous riders on them for jumping and they were slow lesson ponies anyways... so they were slow.

Therefore... in our pleasure class, we placed third which I knew would happen. But once we get that trot slower.... watch out pleasure ring... here we come! I gave him a little bit more rein and he decided to take it and toss his head repeatedly. when I tried to pick the contact back up more, he just fought me for the bit. So I worked with him through my seat and legs and even though he went faster, he was going how I wanted him to which is what will matter down the road.

Our next class was discipline rail. It is basically command bujt you don't get called into the middle of the ring if you mess up. If it was command, we would have won. We got third in this class aswell even though I thought this was our best class and that we deserved to win it... He was perfect in this class. I stopped focusing about how I looked and started working with him right away, then worrying about myself later. I should have done this to begin with! He was rounded, bending, and everything. He was just a little fast. One horse walked from the halt, and the other couldn't get into the trot. Our halt was perfect, our transitions were perfectly time... I honestly don't know why we got placed last in that class. I felt really proud about it even though we got last though. It really showed how much we have been working together.

Our last class was trail. I thought this was going to be a comedy. And it was. The course was extremely simple. 1. Trot over 4 poles 2. Trot through an L, back through it, and walk back through it to get out 3. Move a helmet from one standard to another 4. Halt and stand for 5 seconds. Before the class, I thought, "Oh gosh...I don't think he knows how to back up..." So we tried backing up and it wasn't pretty at all. I was most worried about the back up. One or two horses went before us, then we got in. We did our opening circle and headed for the poles. The poles were on the rail and since horses have been w/t/c on the same path all day long, it was worn down to the point where the poles were more like raised cavalities. Anyone who knows Jet known that he is clumsy. We get to the first one and he shied away from it. I wanted to bolt by it but I used my outside leg and wouldn't let him past it. Instead, we circled and tried it again. He sorta hopped over the first one, walked the second one, and awkwardly trotted the last two. I honestly think that he had no idea how to get all four feet over each one! lol. Something to work on!! After we trotted the last two poles, we trotted through the L. We halted. Then I asked him to back up. WOW WOW WOW! He definately surprised me!! Out of all the horses that did trail, he was the best in backing up! He was quick, straight, and turned when I asked him to! It was perfect. Not kidding, perfect. We didn't step outside of the L once or even move a pole! I love him (: I wasn't worried about the helmet at all. We got to it moved it, and walked to the end. We halted, stood for 5 seconds. Then exited the ring. We ended up with second! If we did the poles better, we would have won, but oh well. I am so proud of him! He got today off and wll get tomorrow off, then we will get back to work but not as ferociously as we were a few days ago.

Today was hectic hectic hectic chaos. I will post about that tomorrow.


Emily and Jet-the best horse in the world- (:

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