Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Why is this so difficult???

Man, oh, man. Why is it so hard to get lessons scheduled???

So I have been trying to set up a jumping lesson for this Saturday for a full month! Do I have one? Nope!

See, my horse show accomplice and I had this all set up. Her horse is at her house (and no trailer) and I'm at the barn with the action (and by action, I mean that I harass the two other women that are trying out eventing with my incessant planning.) So every so often, I pick her horse up for a sleepover at my barn, and we pack in as much as possible. Usually a lesson, a trail ride, and sometimes schedule the horse massage therapist so she can drive one place for both horses.

We started with the H/J trainer next door, but nope, off at a horse show. Now this has months of trying to schedule, or actually scheduling and having them rained, and after all that effort, we've gotten TWO lessons like four months. UGH... Plus I can't afford her private lesson rate, so I have to coordinate not only with the trainer's schedule, but jumping friends to share the lesson with as well.

SO... I decided that maybe the summer should be a little like a series of clinics. There are plenty of trainers a reasonable distance for hauling over there for lessons. Since I lost my awesome "guarantee of an evening lesson unless she's away for an event" Eventing trainer (moved to a fancy place in Kentucky), I have been reluctant to go trainer hunting, and sort resigned myself to the convenience of walking next door. (But not if I can never get a lesson!) So I made a list of jumping trainers to try over the summer, and starting emailing. Figured I'd be sure to find someone that could squeeze the two of us in on that Saturday.

Big barn eventing trainer- off at Invale

Dressage judge/eventing trainer- off schooling cross country that day, but did schedule for Th 6/28

Pony Club barn trainer- yes Saturday will work, but she's out of town, so I wait five days for the time, only to get oh, sorry, no. Turns out she's off at the same H/J show as Fancy H/J trainer next door. Also said most evenings would work. I ask for Tues or Thurs? No response. I ask about TONIGHT (now Tuesday) or Thursday. Response is offer for Wednesday. Really, if that worked for me, I think I'd have mentioned it!

Back to Dressage judge/eventing trainer- SO sorry, can't do Thursday 6/28. Now this is the first legitimate excuse that I've hear from a trainer: it is her birthday, and she forgot! I relate. And understand that she would also have plans! She suggests Sunday the 24th. That would be great, right? Horse Show Accomplice will be there still. Well, except for the fact that I already have a dressage lesson set for Sunday morning!!! At least my dressage trainer (who is absolute gold!) has been consistent in her availability and kept us progressing (even if not over fences).

Ugh. So now I am a week and a half away from the Big Eventing barn's cross country clinic, and I still don't have even one jumping lesson on the calendar. I really was hoping to have a confidence builder or two before having to display my crappy equitation on my green horse in front of the Big Eventing barn and all of its auditors!

I had such great plans for this spring! How is it that I've only gotten one jumping lesson on my horse and one cross country lesson? My, oh my this horse industry has a complicated schedule!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

One step cancelled, but another step ahead!

Well our lesson got cancelled. Or I guess I should say, never scheduled. The trainer had a clinician coming in this weekend and had too much going on for the lesson. I did get to take Bear out with a friend for a cross country lesson at Jack Rabbit Flats with a local eventing trainer. We had a blast! He was so much fun!

Our last school he was getting a little worked up, but it was VERY busy that day, and one of our stable mates was having a complete melt down. This weekend was perfect, we were the only group out there, and we had another friend audit from horseback so it made it nice to always have a horse to stand with. We also had the bonus of a horse husband to take video! I have lots of good footage!

This time around the plan was to trot into things since we’re not really cantering full courses yet, and just see if we could: 1) jump more challenging fences than last time, 2) put more together. We did both!

We started the easy stuff that we've done before:

Then moved on to the unknown:

After two wiggly refusals, we added the sort of narrow and scary ski jump to our resume.

Plus we did the "too-long-for-one-stride-but-too-short-for-two-stride in and out",

and the taller banks on both the bank section and the water.

The bonus was that he was so calm and keeping a good canter rhythm to the fences that we actually cantered most! I let him come to a trot any time we needed to rebalance or make turns, or if I thought we’d get a better approach coming in slower. All in all, we cantered far more than I expected!
At the end we put together a real course. Moral of the story, I’m out of shape! About 9 jumps in, I got tired and sloppy. Bear told me he did not approve of crappy riding when he was also getting tired! Here was our course:
Straight line through a tiny log, less tiny pile of logs, to the 2ft rail. Turn to the 18 in natural cross rail. Turn again to the 14 in hay bales, straight line to the 2ft ski ramp. We then skipped past the scary bench, and crossed over the two ditches, and straight to the 2ft wine barrels. (This was where I really felt sloppy and winded. I rested some weight on his neck cantering away, and he made sure to let me know that was not ok!) So I took a break and trotted to the next area. We went up and over the bank, then over the hedge (2ft-ish? Still growing…), and over to the in and out 2ft2. Unfortunately is so far away you just me running through the grass! From there we came back around to the water where he promptly came to a halt on the down bank in, gave it a good look, and then popped right in! So we circled back to catch it again with less hesitation. All in all it was excellent considering the limited amount of jumping we’ve done!
We still need to work on him not flinging his head in the air when he’s excited, but his canter was nice and balanced, and his rhythm was fantastic! This was a harder course than what we’ll have waiting for us for our Elementary debut, so we are more than prepared.
I love schooling at JRF because they have such a variety of little stuff! I still have another 4 or 5 jumps that are lower than 2ft6in that I can work up to next time. I am looking forward to getting another jumping lesson scheduled now that we really have a groove with cantering fences.

I have postponed the first horse trials to July. No one else from the barn could go to this June one, and if I went all alone to Camelot now, I wouldn’t have the money to go next month to Eventful Acres when I’d have friends going! So even though we are ready, I’ll be holding off for social reasons! Still hope to hit the August HT at Camelot as well. We’ll see. I may need to limit myself to either a second HT or finally getting to Training level at an end of summer dressage show. Can’t imagine I’ll have the time and money for BOTH! Oh I wish I had a money tree…

I am summer fever (too late for spring fever!) so bad right now! All I want to do is ride, think about riding, plan my next school, show, or lesson, or come up with my next goal! Wish I could work half time in the summers! But then I’d have no money for all this crazy expensive horse stuff…