Monday, February 21, 2011

Allison Springer Clinic-Day 2-Part of course

Fixing corner part of course! This is the third time.

Allison Springer Clinic-Day 2-Course


Allison Springer Clinic II-Day 2-Coffin course


Allison Springer Clinic II-Day 2

Warm Up

Allison Springer Clinic II-Day 2 Jumping

One of the first things I noticed as I walked into the ring was the gorgeous course set up! There was a lot to take in at first: the cavaletti lines set up in different spots, a 1 stride to 5 stride line of verticals, a square oxer, vertical, triple bar, the Aloha brush box under a vertical, corner, and a triple with the liverpool in the middle like a coffin.

Yesterday was fun!

We started once again with transitions within the gaits. Allison really drilled prompt and correct transitions. I found our trot/canter transitions much easier, and he was really coming back and forth quickly at the trot and canter. "Slow trot? Yes ma'm! Lengthen? Got it!".

We worked on separate parts of the course first. Of course we did the cavaletti, and we got it down much quicker obviously. Then we moved onto a figure eight pattern over the vertical and oxer. My need to become stronger and better with the closer distance showed up right at the beginning with this exercise.

Next we moved onto the coffin. I trotted it first and had to go over it a couple of times before he stopped pinging up over it and feeling a bit spooked. I had practiced over it a couple of weeks ago for fun. He got over the novelty of it quickly, trotting on it after two times. We put the whole coffin together, and he was great! The bounce cavaletti from the day before and warm up was the canter we needed for the coffin. Allison repeated bouncy canter a lot all day! We had a lovely ride through the bounce and one stride cavaletti and cantered right through the coffin easy peasy.

The corner was teeny and not a big deal except for my issues with the closer distance. We got it right twice and the move onto the full course.

The full course consisted of a right hand turn to the vertical, right hand around to the 5 to 1 stride line, 'gallop' on to the triple bar across the diagonal, then collect back for the coffin, back to the 1 stride and then a bending line to the oxer, rollback to the corner, another sharp rollback to the Aloha jump, and then the corner the other direction.

This course was so much fun to ride, and I really think it was some of the best jumping I've done on Ti. I got lost once prompting a "Be a thinking rider!" from Allison. I also flubbed up the corner, and it took me 3 times to get it right and continue onto the rollback-corner line.

This weekend really built on last month and the coursework wouldn't have been nearly as good without the foundation laid on Saturday. I always heard about how cavaletti were good to practice, but I didn't really know any exercises to do with them. Now I have something to work on, and I realize the need to practice A LOT over them. Definitely not just once a month for the clinic, and I even should be working over them multiple times a week. Maybe I should buy a book with cavaletti exercises! I'm also going to try my hardest (which is going to be challenging without a trainer for the next few weeks...until Bill gets back) to work on my riding to the closer distances. And it's really got nothing to do with learning to see my distance or a ride the distance but keep riding the CANTER correctly to get the closer distance.

I got a lot to work on, and I'm sad the clinic is over! :( But I really want Allison to be able to see an improvement when she gets back. And I want my jumping rounds to improve at my next event so I have great news to report to her.

ETA: One exciting thing about this weekend was the fact that I was getting the lead changes pretty consistently! (Or at least trotting and fixing it quickly). She only had to get onto to me a couple of times about getting it done. And we had some really nice ones both days!

Allison Springer Clinic II-Day 1 Jumping

We warmed up using transitions within the gaits and talked again about how we are the trainers of our horse. They need to respond to light aids and know that they'll get a release of pressure when they respond correctly. Being in front of leg was a big deal all weekend. It's a simple concept, but it's not always easy.

The group concentrated on cavaletti exercises for quite a long time. The lesson started with three fanned out cavaletti ridden over on a circle at the walk and trot. Everyone had to concentrate on maintaining bend through the caveletti and making sure the horse's were using themselves. It helped us start thinking about the "bouncy" feeling of a connected trot or canter. Then we moved on to cantering a short cavaletti bounce. I felt like my dressage lesson helped me to think about using my seat and thighs for straightness and turning because we did quite well the cavaletti exercises. In order to get and maintain the bouncy canter through the poles, I had to lighten Tiamo and have him hold it without trying to pull and use the reins to keep it slow. We would shorten for the bounce then canter on a few strides and come back again. After that, we all did the bounce cavaletti, circled back around and did a forward diagonal one stride, right turn back to a short one stride made of flower boxes.

The jumping began by cantering a vertical and oxer in the steady two stride line then putting the two together and using placement poles within the line. We ended on the two stride to a long 4-stride done in 5, back to the forward one stride cavaletti, and the short 1-stride flower boxes. I had to concentrate on keep Tiamo straight and riding him light and forward up to the base of the jumps.

A phrase Allison told me a lot both days was "Lighten and soften him". When he is light and soft then I can add leg to the fence and ride forward to the closer distances. The thing that became clear is my need to work on staying strong, waiting, and adding leg in the closer spots instead of 1) Leaving strides out or 2) Tipping, taking my foot off the gas pedal so to speak, and jumping weakly off the ground.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Allison Springer Clinic-Day 1 Dressage

Tiamo was trained and ridden by Allison for most of his life, and that's who we got him from so I was very excited when my friend at the barn decided to organize a clinic with her! We did one last month that was a big success, and she is back again this weekend!

This morning I started off with a private dressage lesson. Last month, one of things Allison had me work on was slowing Tiamo down and not letting him cart me around. He is "deceptive" in the fact that he is never actually running off or feels heavy in the hands, but he likes to start taking over sometimes. My tendency is to go into passenger mode and freeze, and it's something I've always been working on that's gotten much better over the years. This morning I worked on really getting him on my aids instead of just in a nice looking frame. I learned that I have the tendency to get tight and too strong in my right arm, leading to a weaker, less effective right calf and thigh. My left leg is much stronger and effective. Ironically, I have *always* liked going to the right more than the left.

Things to remember about my position:
Keeping the right hand level with the left.
-To do this I have to feel like my right hand is lower than the left.

Staying strong in my stomach and lower back
-This is deja vu from my lessons with Kim. She says the exact same thing about letting my stomach pump in and out. This also makes me frustrated at myself because I know I need to get my core stronger. And I'm writing this eating a (small!) piece of chocolate cake.

Keeping elbows in, using wrists for flexion
-She didn't mention this as much which I was happy about because I've been working on this every ride.

Sit on my butt! And let my hips move with the horse
-Self explanatory. I can sit my butt in the saddle and be still, but I have to learn to truly sit the trot by following his movement with my hips.

As far as exercises go, we mainly concentrated on us being straight and controlling the shoulder by using my seat, thighs, and outside rein and trying to NOT use my inside rein nearly as much. This lesson highlighted my overuse of the inside rein, especially to the right. She was a stickler about the trot/canter transitions and not letting the first stride be long or the trot get faster (deja vu of Kim again).

Later...Day 1 and 2 Jump Lessons.

Friday, February 11, 2011

November Dressage Lesson

This was my first dressage lesson with Bill in 6 months and after Tiamo had been there a couple of weeks in training. We wanted him to get a good start back into heavier work and jumping, and he looked great after his month there! Bill told me he had a lot of fun riding him which made me very happy.

We (or I really) have made some great progress since then! I cringe a teeny bit at these videos now, but considering my rustiness, I think it was a good lesson. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 (Bill riding him) Part 4

2011 Plans

I haven't updated this in forever. I'm just going to pretend that months and months haven't gone by and just start fresh. I don't think anyone reads this anyway, but if someone does and wants to know what happened between September and now, then comment and let me know!

The new season is starting up, and I'm very excited about it! Coming up next weekend is the Allison Springer clinic at my barn which should be great. The weather is looking very nice for that weekend as well (mid-50s).

Allison Springer Clinic (2/19-2/20)
Poplar Place (3/25-27)
Chattahoochee Hills (4/9-4/10)
Poplar Place/Area III Championships (5/6-5/8)
O'Connor Clinic at Holly Hill (5/27-5/30)

That is most likely the Spring schedule although things could possibly change. Tentatively, I'm also thinking....

Greg Best Clinic (6/7-6/8)
Champagne Run (7/15-7/17)
Pony Club Festival (7/23-7/26)
River Glen (8/6-8/7)
AECs (9/7-9/11)
Middle TN (10/8-10/9)

The schedule after August River Glen is especially iffy depending on where I decide to go to college in the fall. I have it narrowed down to my top two choices now, but it's a tough decision! First, I'm trying to plan second visits to both so I can attend classes and/or spend the night in a dorm.

Also, I'm going to try to post later with videos of our first real dressage lesson that was back in November, training plans, goals, etc.