Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Driving You Crazy With Stirrups

Another clinic weekend with David Blake. He came in the nick of time for me since for the past 2 weeks Zoe has been acting nutty on the longe line. She was hurrying around the circle and constantly popping into canter -- on the wrong lead -- and wouldn't slow down easily. It was driving me nuts and I was running out of things to do.

Consequently, it was a few weeks ago that I added stirrups to the saddle in which I longe her. Made sense since I was starting to ride her more. But you get the idea where this may be headed.

David longed her on Saturday, and she was displaying the same rushed behavior. He didn't have an explanation, though he was worried there may be something physically wrong, but no real indication what that might be. We didn't ride her on Saturday. On Sunday before the lesson I took the stirrups off the saddle because I was suspecting that they might be driving her nuts. Lo and behold, I longed her and she was perfect! She still tended to speed up, but she slowed down more readily and listened better.

I think the banging stirrups were driving her crazy. I told David I would give the credit of "fixing" her to him and not to simply removing the stirrups. But we all know what really happened. I haven't longed her since Sunday, so I will do that today or tomorrow to make sure the problem has really gone away.

Jimmy, on the other hand, was excellent as usual. I have so much fun riding him. We are working on our canter serpentines and simple changes. Next month I am riding second level for the first time. I hope I get qualifying scores! Basically, I better not make an error on the test. That tends to be how I lower my scores. Jimmy scores pretty well on his movements, so it does mostly come down to rider error.

I'd like to design a computer program for practicing dressage tests. Something that will let me control a horse figure around an arena in a test pattern, or will let me type in the movements in order, or let me draw each movement on an arena. That would be very helpful for me to memorize the major movements and sequences. If only I had more free time. Yeah, my free time has pretty much gone out the door since getting a second horse.

Oh yeah, I start Pilates lessons on Thursday with my husband and I am doing a Yoga Fitness class Tuesday evenings. Add that to my dog training club classes on Mondays and Tuesdays. No wonder my house is a mess. And I am supposed to run a half-marathon in January.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Zoe in April

This photo was taken of Zoe around April 24, 2005. She is just about to turn 3 years old.

Photo of Zoe in pasture.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


I just returned from a great weekend in Kentucky. We went to the Rolex Kentucky 3-Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. It was a bit rainy and on the cold side Friday and Saturday, but Sunday was sunny and the ground had dried considerably. It was a lot of fun this year. I spent my $500 budget on horse accessories and got things I needed. The horses were fantastic as well. There were quite a few eliminations by the end of the day Saturday, so the Sunday stadium jumping was shortened. It is still amazing that these horses are crazy enough to go over these huge jumps. I guess that's from the perspective of a dressage rider.

Sunday evening we went to stay with my friend who just moved to Kentucky about a month ago. She has a great house in a great town about an hour from Lexington. I was really impressed with the area. Her horse is boarded at an old saddlebred barn, which is interesting. The barn has an indoor riding track that goes around the stalls. One end is big enough for a 20 meter circle and the long sides are sufficient for doing shoulder-ins and leg yields. The wider long end can accomodate zigzag leg yields. It's a good situation for her. She moved from a barn that had no indoor riding facilities at all and she did trail riding exclusively. She's finding it a bit frustrating to be in a place where her horse has to be willing to bend. I think Ellie forgot she could bend. I gave my friend a dressage lesson and rode her horse a bit. Ellie is not used to having contact with the bit, so she will have to get used to accepting the bit and being soft in the mouth. MG certainly has her work cut out for her. Hopefully I will be able to come down once a month this summer to help her along. Plus, it is a great place to visit.

Last night I finally got to ride my main horse. He is so great. He came up to me in the pasture and looked happy to see me. It was a nice feeling. The baby, however, tried to stay just out of my reach the whole time. She was afraid I was going to put her away. I was only interested in riding Jimmy. We had a great ride, but he did seem a little stiff to the left. I am worried that he is developing arthritis in the left hock. Something to keep my eye on. If I can ride him every day or every other day, he stays flexible. It's these times when he is on rest for a week that he comes back stiff. Well, the weather is supposed to be gorgeous through the weekend, so we will get plenty of riding in!