Resuming the doom spiral.

Work: 1/2x heat therapy only
Grade: n/a

Our pattern is to groom before the afternoon session. On Tuesday, he was grazing next to the ring. It seemed silly to bring him into the barn just to turn around and come back. So I haltered & went directly to what passes for work. Mistake. Despite the fact that he was 10′ from where he had been grazing, that the mare was in the ring with him, and that the “work” consisted of wandering about at the walk, he – as my grandmother used to say – had a fit and stepped in it. He started to pull, rush, toss his head & generally demonstrate protomeltdown. When I let him go, he galloped back to the barn as fast as his hooves would carry him. This lack of a hint of a sign of a shadow of progress cast me once more into the wallows of despair. We are sticking with heating pad sessions, which generally put us back in charity with one another.

I am waiting until I find the enthusiasm to try again. So far I always do. At what point does this go from admirable to idiotic?

Happy Kid on a Happy Pony

Pony Club is requesting free advertising.

Which I am happy to give….
I am a graduate B from Potomac PC in Maryland & Upper Valley PC in Vermont, plus, when I didn’t duck too fast, DC of Potomac. I still use things I learned in PC. Every rider should start in Pony Club, at least thru C-2. Every graduate A that I have met, I would trust with my horse. As a DC, I saw kids blossom under the no-adult, teamwork barn rules.

….for a price.
In return for the space, the snark. Not all was sweetness and light. I wish the horse world was more integrated. I saw too many outside trainers who resented their students’s PC activities, and vice versa. PC should be a base for all riding, not a USPC ghetto.  Also, several times I ran afoul of the PC Powers That Be. I found they took themselves too seriously. History does not record what they thought of me. Well, in at least one place it does, but I ain’t telling.

Work: day off.

What is your fondest Pony Club memory?

Boredom & Temptation

It is hard not to want to push the envelope, particularly when we are doing SO little. I think that in the past, people have seen a big horse and assumed a tough horse. In truth, he’s a cupcake. I find that he gets nervous & upset if he thinks that the work is going to be difficult or that he won’t understand. I’m trying to convince him that work can be easy. Really easy. Really, really easy.

What is your current riding temptation?

Work: walk/ground ex
Grade: gold star/bad day – apparently I am not convincing him of the above.

[A belated thank you to Writing From the Right Side of the Stall for the title. I got so excited about my initial posts that I forgot this.]

Ground Exercise 2: Crossrail

Walk quietly, calmly, slowly over.  I keep gnawing at the jumps because, in the velvet darkness of the blackest night, there is a faint, flickering hope that he may yet cart my sorry ass around Prelim &/or over a mini-prix.

Work: Yesterday, 1x, short walk but with dog for distraction.
Today, 2x, slightly longer walk/ground exercises.
Grade: A few silver star moments, mostly gold.

In my jumping days, we started each session by trotting a crossrail.  Always.  Whether the instructor agreed or not.  How do you start a jump school?

Ground Exercise 1

To turn 360o in a box.  Gives him a chance to figure out on his own that the large brown lump trailing behind him is his hindquarters. He needs to learn how to maneuver in novel situations.  For example, in the middle of an in-and-out after his pilot has an amateur moment.

Work as yesterday: walk AM; groundwork PM.  Silver & gold star respectively.

Do you incorporate groundwork into your riding program?

Little & Often

AM  Short in-hand walk, done after his heat therapy to maximize relaxation. Our route was halfway between the path to the water trough, which is a gimme, and the path up the hill, which caused his come-apart last fall.

PM  First day back to double sessions, so I groomed until his head came down & he yawned.  Then, we walked quietly to the ring, did a microscopic amount of ground work, declared victory, and came home.

Gold stars all around.

Anyone else out there on two-a-days?