Sunday, December 9, 2012

Visual Aids

So there's the one screencapture I made of one of the videos and below are some of the videos of my lesson today (that the post just before this one talks about).

This one is entirely included because of the way he trotted over that vertical and didn't even bother trying to jump. :)

So, after watching these, I have to say I'm kind of horrified at how my hands are moving around as I post, I thought I'd mostly licked that problem already (of course, that was before I had two months off of riding) and I've always had a bit of a chair seat problem but I thought that was improving too...apparently not. So it's likely a good thing we're going to work on focusing on me and my equitation for a while because I think it needs a lot of work. I foresee lots of riding with no stirrups in my future. :)

Most Amazing

I don't know if Kieran just felt particularly 'on' today or it was because I chose to warm up by walking and trotting outside of the ring instead of inside the ring but whatever it was...well, he was really 'on' today and stayed interested in what we were doing right up until the end.

Basically, Jessica set up a course for us to trot or canter through, whichever we felt comfortable, and mostly I was supposed to decide what our path would be and how to get there (and when my path didn't always work out the way I intended, we spent some time talking about what happened and how I could improve it. Mostly we got hung up at the bending line pair of jumps she put in the middle of the ring).

It looked something like this:

Basically, along the left side was a combination of three jumps. It was something like the two on top were one stride away and then it was two strides to the one in the corner (and the one on top started out as a crossrail, that's what the red line is for).

The two jumps in the middle were on a bending line (started as crosses and then became verticals later) and were probably the most difficult part for us because we kept swinging a bit too wide most of the time. The vertical line in between them was a vertical jump she made using two barrels and there red lines show poles Jessica put up near the end of the lesson to 'funnel' us toward the middle of the jump and encourage Kieran to really pick his front feet up.

The thick line on the right side was a vertical the whole time and the thinner line was a ground pole set out a couple of strides. They were not all this close together but as usual, this is not to scale.

Anyway, it ended up being a fun lesson and it was nice how even in the beginning for the little crossrails, Kieran jumped over everything. Sometimes with crossrails, he just trots over and is like, "seriously? this is boring yo". Though once near the end of the lesson he totally just trotted over the vertical on the right even though it was like two feet.

I can't detail everything we did at this point but generally it was nice to see that we were working together well and that, for the most part, as long as I didn't focus too much on the "omg that's crazy" (which is what I did when Jessica made the "funnel" jump the first time and then lost my focus on what path we were doing), we could get through a 'course' fairly decently. And Jessica says now that Kieran seems to know what his job is, we're going to work more on focusing on my equitation over fences since it's kind of...well, at least I stay out of his way mostly? :)

There should be video soon, Jessica took some  with her iphone, I just have to wait for her to send it to me. I am hoping after Christmas I will have a new camera again.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Back in the saddle!

So after about two months of no riding, I got back on (finally!) on Sunday. I admit, I was a little afraid, even though I hadn't injured myself in a fall off my horse. Just...I kept thinking, "but he hasn't been in work at all and what if he's all wiggy and stupid and I fall and break my collarbone even worse or something OMG maybe I shouldn't."

Still, I had scheduled Sunday as a lesson so with Jessica there keeping an eye on us, I got on and we actually had a nice ride. Just walking and trotting and going over poles but it was good and Kieran was very careful with me, if a bit lazy, actually. We're definitely both out of shape though!

Our ring looked something like this:

Basically, the ones in the upper left corner we were supposed to do on a circle (and as the lesson went on, Jessica began raising the poles so alternate sides were lifted), the ones in the middle were spaced kind of weird so Kieran had to really pay attention to where he put his feet (like, short short short trot, long long, short short), and then the ones on the right were to start with, they were spaced pretty much perfectly for his usual trot stride.

So after we warmed up, she had us go over the poles on the right, then a few times through the ones in the middle. Kieran never had a problem with them, hah. Then we started doing the stuff in the corner and it was like, she had us start by circling around the outside of the poles, not going over them, until I had him in a really good trot and on a good bend, and then I could push him over into a smaller circle to go over the poles. He was generally pretty good and i was really pleased. It turned out to be a really good "return to riding" after our long break. :)

However, we've decided for at least the forseeable future, to try to go to doing two lessons a week instead of just one, so we can get back in the groove again. As such, we had another lesson tonight.

The poles were more or less set up the same way as above, except the ones on the right were spaced as canter poles and the ones in the middle were spaced so that the lower ones were spaced for trotting and the last three were spaced for cantering. We didn't use the ones in the corner.

So I got there early and spent about fifteen minutes getting warmed up and ready, we did a lot of walking (chicken!) and some trotting, mostly weaving around the poles and things in the arena and circles and things like that and really focusing on staying on the rail when we were out there because he likes to drift inward as we get closer to the corners so he can cut them.

When Jessica got there, she had us start by trotting through the poles and even spaced out as they were, Kieran went through like no big deal. After doing that a couple times, she moved into the canter part of the lesson (and I must've asked her like three times, "you're really going to have us canter?". i just had visions of sliding off his side or him getting humpy from the non-work and grouchy about cantering and doom but of course he was a gentleman the whole time). I don't remember exactly what came first, either she had us canter both ways around the ring with me in two point or she first had us do the right-pole exercise of cantering over them. Probably we did the flat canter first, then did the poles, but I'm seriously drawing a blank.

Anyway, he cantered over those poles just like he'd trotted over everything, no big deal. So we started on the middle exercise...

Basically, he was to trot in to the trot poles, and then in the middle where the distance shifts, I was to have him canter out. This is something where we'd have to be really on the aids and I'd have to be thinking ahead and preparing before we actually get to the point of "okay, you should canter now!" or it'd all fall apart. Anyway, we got it just about perfect on the first try. Both Jessica and I were shocked, but Kieran got tons of praise. I still remember the feeling of him immediately picking up the canter where I asked him to. :)

After that, he got a bit of a walk break and then Jessica had us come in to the middle pole exercise from the other side. This way, we have to canter in, then go down to a trot in the middle. This is difficult because once K figures we're doing "cantering through the poles!" he thinks he's figured it out and tends to what he thinks we're supposed to do instead of listening to me. :|

And indeed, a couple times through and that's basically what he did, "hey, we canter over these poles right? OKAY I'LL CANTER OVER ALL OF THEM." And the jerk didn't even touch any of the trot-spaced poles as he cantered through them, LOL.

So we went back to doing a bunch of trot and canter circles in the corner until I finally, finally felt him really listen to me and kind of get light in my hands and I rode him in to the poles and, well, it wasn't perfect, but he really did listen and did the transition when I asked him for it instead of continuing to canter through. So even though the lesson still had 10-15 minutes left, we more or less ended on that note, and just spent a while walking around and making sure he was all cooled out since it's chilly tonight.

I figure, if he follows true to form, if we try that exercise again this weekend, he'll have it down pat. He's not a horse that really does well in endless drilling, I've found. He gets bored. And if he does it mostly right one time and you tell him what a good boy he is, he'll get it even better when you go back to it later. I think he needs to let things percolate around in his little brainz for a day or two to get them. :)

And on that note, one more thing that needed percolating was lateral movement, apparently. Or, well, before our break, we'd been having hit or miss with me getting him to side-pass. A lot of times, it would be like, "you want me to forward, right? back? what the heck lady?" and finally he'd do like one step to the side and sort of crossing over and we'd be like, "that was it! good boy!" and have to end there lest we both continue to get frustrated with each other.

Anyway, while we were warming up, I asked him to step over to the left a few steps and it was like, an immediate sideways movement instead of the backward/forward dance we used to do before. It was beautiful. So after the lesson, I showed Jessica (didn't want to do it in the middle in case it was a fluke and messing up the good vibe we had going). So I first showed her going to the left, then I came back around to her and halted him and was going to ask him to go to the right but he started stepping over to the left again without any direction from me. This horse really does figure stuff out and think he knows what I want and try to give it to me before I ask for it. Which is, you know, both a good thing (yay, he's interested and learning things) and a bad thing (boo, he's anticipating and gets frustrated when his "right answer" isn't actually the right answer). Anyway, I just stopped him like it was no big deal and asked for the step over to the right and got a few.

Was it perfect? Nope, but it was light years better than it used to be, I'm so proud of him. :)

Anyway, I'm just really excited to be back riding again and I can't wait to see where things go!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Just a little pony time

So, I haven't made it out to the barn a lot lately due to a combination of being unable to do a lot of activity anyhow because of the whole collarbone issue (for a while I didn't have much mobility in my arm and I'm still restricted on lifting weight/putting pressure on it). Still, I've been missing being with my horse and today was really nice weather so I pushed myself into going.

Plus, I needed to take down his supplements and retrieve his grazing muzzle since he broke the clasp. Anybody know where to get clasps like the one on here? I figure there must be a place to get them so I don't have to replace the entire thing.

Anyhow, it was nice just to go out and see him, I have to say. Like, I didn't realize how much I was missing 'horsey time' until I got out there. So I led him into the barn to do some grooming (he's gotten quite fuzzy as the weather's cooling off and the days are getting shorter!). His tail was kind of a mess but we got that taken care of too. I'm glad to see his hooves look to be in pretty good shape, though he's due for the farrier soon.

In the barn, he was kind of wiggly and snorty. I think a combination of not having been taken out of the field in a while and having to just stand and be still and the barn owners had their truck and trailer outside with the engine going as they got ready to take their horses somewhere. Still, I just ignored it and acted like the activity outside was no big deal.

Then I took him over to the round pen for some free longing. I can't ride yet (and I don't want to make my first ride back after he's not been ridden for about six weeks and I'm still kind of healing to be done more or less alone so....there's that) but I figure it's about time to start working him on the ground at least and getting him back into the idea that he has to listen. ;)

Wouldn't you know that he started trotting nicely when I asked him to, cantering same way, came back down easily, and so on. All the transitions up and down were pretty good. A couple times on the "waaaaaalk" ones were iffy but he's always been a bit iffy there and I think it's because when he was trained to do this they didn't have him walk so it doesn't actually make sense to him and we don't actually do this sort of thing enough for it to really stick.

So I didn't do that for long as I figured there was no point today. Think I'll go back a few times at least to do it again for a more significant period of time just to get him moving and such before we start riding again.

And that's it! :) All in all, it was a good day.

Friday, October 19, 2012


I was almost going to post that the vet told me I'm not cleared for riding for another 2-3 weeks.

Uh, the doctor did. LOL. Unfortunately. :(

And then I woke up not feeling well this morning so called out from work. Looks like my plan to go out and see the big pony will have to wait until tomorrow, alas.

Monday, September 24, 2012


I broke my collarbone last week. Not because of anything having to do with Kieran does mean I won't be riding for a while, so you guys probably won't be seeing any updates from me for a few weeks. Sorry!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Three Lessons in One

So there might come pictures or video from today but I have to wait till Jessica sends them to me. Anyway, for the time being, here's a drawing of what the arena looked like today:

Basically, the one on the left was a bending line that we started without much bend and after we'd done that well, Jessica made the turn a bit sharper and had us do it again.

The one in the middle was a 2'3" vertical with one Kieran-stride down to the crossrail and a bounce to the next crossrail (or it could be ridden back up the other way depending on whether we wanted to have Kieran open up as he came out or tighten up as he did). The one on the right was 18" oxers (poles on each of the 'cups' in the jump blocks on the side that has two cups) with I think two strides between them, but ground poles before and after a 'bounce' out so Kieran had to 'wait' and watch his feet because he gets excited going through things and gets big and then he messes up.

So today he was just really really 'on'. He was listening well, even when he was getting big and wanting to get strong, if I sat back and half-halted, he came back to me. That sort of thing. Even just walking in our warmup, he was really pushing from behind and not trudging along and making me work at getting him to move out.

So we did the bending line first and he was really a champ at that though after Jessica made the turn sharper, I had to really work at looking ahead to where I wanted him to go so he'd stay at the center of the jump. And I just remembered as I said that that those jumps were actually crossrails (so Jessica said, it would be easier for me to 'see' the center to keep us focused on it).

Then we did the center exercise and Kieran was really good at it though he did want to get too big and get a little sloppy over them or I'd half halt too late going in to it (from the top to the bottom) and he had to 'fix' things a few times because he'd listen to the half halt and back off and then not come in as good as he could have. But it wasn't bad and he's really smart about figuring out these questions we're putting to him as long as I stay out of his way, hah.

Anyway, to work on the 'wait wait wait' thing we moved on to the exercise on the right which the first time through...he totally whacked himself on the first jump and you could tell he was totally offended by it. But it was entirely because he tried to blow through it despite me telling him, "yo, dude, relax". So after that, he went through much nicer and we were able to finish by going back to the middle exercise and getting a good run through for it.

I would actually get more detailed on everything but that was this morning and I've been out in the sun all day at an arts festival since then so my brain is mush. :)

Jumping Lesson Last Week (9/9/12)

So here's a bunch of pictures from our lesson last week. Jessica set up another 'course' and then would tell us different sets of jumps to do until we were doing all of the jumps in one go.

We did have a moment of "this is why you must have impulsion going into a jump" at one point, because at the little one-stride, we didn't and Kieran caught one of the poles between his front legs as he went over it and ended up basically tripping over it and falling down. He was okay, though and got immediately back up and started eating grass like nothing happened.

Anyway, what I like about these pictures is that...yeah, I'm still throwing myself up and forward out of the saddle a lot instead of folding the way I should...there's also several pictures of me doing more folding and less throwing, so at least I'm slowly improving? :) (Also, more pictures of me LOOKING UP over the jumps!)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

All the Poles Are Belong To Us

Man, do I have a lot of video for you!  So tonight, Jessica set up two sets of poles for us, one in two corners of the ring, kind of like so:

Basically, the idea was that we could trot a few times each direction over the top set, and change which end we trotted over so Kieran had to either go short or go long depending, but also the turn meant he couldn't just bull through them. Oh, bonus was that the top set started out with each side alternately raised. So like, the first one has the right end raised, the middle one had the left end raised, and the last one had the right end raised again. So he really had to pay attention to where he put his feet.

After he was doing that reliably, we moved down to the bottom set of poles. Here, they were all flat on the ground, but we were supposed to canter through them. We, uh...had a few issues.

Trying it from the other direction worked better and then we were able to come back around again and do it from the first direction.

That done successfully, now the poles are raised on one end similar to how we started. We trot through first so Kieran realizes they're raised and then we're supposed to canter through. It isn't pretty. (after a few repetitions of this, Jessica figures out the problem seems to be that we come into it fine but after we hit the first one something in my mind says "we're jumping!" and I start leaning forward and I kind of drop him and he just goes, "yeah, can't make that turn, I'm out!" Once I started thinking about sitting up straight through it and making a wall with my outside rein, we did much better.

Of course, you have to start all over when you change directions...

But we got it after a couple tries and then Jessica changed it from having just one side raise to basically making a series of teeny tiny crossrails. We did alright coming from the left but true to form with every other exercise tonight, it was more difficult going to the right so by the time we got this last time through, we were ready to tell Kieran what a good boy he was and call it a night, even though it wasn't perfect. (Plus! This was a lot of hard work! Both mentally and physically so we didn't want to push it too far either)

Of course, Kieran does actually like just getting to jump so as a reward for a job well done, I let him pop over this crossrail that was left set up on the other side of the ring. :)

Anyway, that's how our lesson went, the good, the bad, and the ugly, LOL. :) Even though we had some bobbles, I think it was a really good night and it was nice to go back and work on something a little different from what we'd been doing in previous lessons. I think Kieran thought so too as he was really pretty interested and forward tonight and even though everything was low, he didn't do the "I'm bored and just going to start knocking stuff over bleh" thing. I mean, yeah, we knocked stuff over, but not because it was boring! :)

Finally, there's a few screencaptures over here in this album if you want to check them out.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Traaaaaaail Ride

Took a trail ride today. Actually brought my camera along, though I admit our trails aren't terribly exciting, they're still pretty with all the green? :)

Heading out the gate off the farm.

We head down this driveway, cross in front of the trailer, and head in to the woods over on the right hand side of the picture

It's a lumber tree farm, so most of the trails are pretty straight and wide and the trees tend to be in rows.

MacGyver is just adorable here

See what I mean about rows?

It really amuses me that the dark part of Kieran's mane is half the thickness of the white part.

This was on the trail heading back to the barn and I had him turned away from it so we could get a pic. Kieran is saying here, " See. The barn is THAT way."

Then he straightened up. :)
Oh yeah, and my BO who was behind us took some pictures with her iphone.

This one shows off my snazzy half chaps. ;)

Her horse is spotted, too.

Does Kieran's butt make mine look smaller?

Sunday, August 12, 2012


So tonight started out well enough. Did some walking, did some turning on the forehand, did some trotting with spiraling circles. No big deal, all stuff we've done before. The idea that Jessica wanted us to work on tonight was leg-yielding and really getting him to listen to where my leg said go so we could maneuver better. We worked on it first from a halt and getting him to step over along a pole but he was just getting frustrating either because I wasn't doing it right or he just wanted to go forward or back instead. But we did get some decent steps so then we did it at a walk. See the image of how things were set up?

The ground poles over on the left were two parallel with each other and then the one kind of diagonal as a guide. The idea was come in over one and leg yield a couple of steps over so you're going over the middle of the second one. He actually did this pretty well. Please note, btw, my diagram is totally not to scale, it just gives an idea of where everything was set up.

After that, Jessica let us choose whatever jumps we wanted to trot in over and do a few in whatever order we wanted. So like, we started I think with that 18" vertical down at the bottom, but then maybe we came around to the two low verticals next to the fence on the right. Or we'd do that vertical in the center (which was 18" up until the end of the lesson and our last exercise when Jessica raised it a bit) and then trot around to something else. Or we'd trot into the one stride and canter out. You get the idea. It made for a nice break and just letting Kieran do something he likes without asking too much out of him.

Unfortunately, two things then happened that made the lesson get more difficult. One. Jessica started asking us to do more difficult exercises (mentally, that is, and particularly for Mr. K to have to listen to me). And Two...we had someone else come in and ride at the same time. Which was okay, but it was a distraction and Kieran likes to use that as an excuse to bulge his shoulder and try to bull over toward the other horse.

Anyway, Jessica had us start trotting in and cantering the lines more  and then coming around to one of the other jumps instead of just cantering around along the fence. Well, Mr. K thought he didn't have to listen for the turning and that he could just run through everything like a doofus and completely ignore me. So we started doing canter circles because...well, typically in the past that helps bring his brain back to what he was supposed to be doing but...he just wanted to flip me off I guess. =P They weren't pretty circles at all and indeed at least once he was so focused on "I DO WHAT I WANT OKAY" that we almost ran right into the fence before he realized "hey, that rider up there might know something". It wasn't very pretty and really felt a lot like a teenagery tantrum.

Did finally get some decent canter circles and him listening again so then Jessica had us do this last exercise, emphasizing that for it to work I was going to have to really have good half halts and make sure K was with me the whole way because of the hard turn we'd have to make (and the idea being if we turned too wide, I'd have to leg yield his butt over so we'd still be straight to the last fence).

Looked like this:

The first time through wasn't pretty and I wasn't as prepared as I could be and we went too wide for that third fence and didn't make it. So we came back around again and this time we were...slightly discombobulated, but hey...we made it over? The one thing Jessica pointed out that happened really good there though was that Kieran wanted to kind of stick in a little half stride at the end and kind of hop over it with his legs all hangy (he's done it before, being lazy) but right when she saw him thinking about doing it, I pushed him over with my legs and a smack with the crop (I was just trying to encourage him to actually go over properly, I guess, hah) and he instead picked up both his feet nicely and jumped it properly.

Finally, we did it one last time and it went really well. He listened, and we didn't have to kind of motorcycle around the turn. I told Jessica we'd have done it better if I had started thinking about the turn as we were going over the second jump instead of as we landed from the second jump but I do have a bad habit of "okay, we landed, now where are we going?" instead of thinking about it as far ahead as I ought to. :|

Anyway, here are some pictures, they're all from the first part of the lesson.

That's what he does when he's pleased with himself, actually. I think this was right after he'd trotted over the 18" vertical in the center instead of jumping it. Lazy pony!

One of the new jump standards. Oh, and us cantering the long line along the fence.

Tomorrow's plan is just to go on a nice, relaxed, ride on the trails and let him decompress a bit. We've got another lesson scheduled for Tuesday and I hope we'll get it together then. :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

So....looks like I need a new helmet...

So, last night's lesson started out pretty normal. We started warming up a bit before Jessica got there and when she did, she unloaded and set up our brand new set of four actual proper jumps that me and another boarder went in on. She ended up setting them up to look something like this:

And then she first had us start by doing some nice trotting on a long reing around the ring which Kieran did really nicely and relaxed and still pushing with his hind end, etc. Then, to wake the horses up, she had us hand gallop one at a time around the ring each direction. Allison (the other boarder) went first and then it was me and Kieran's turn.

Completely uneventful going to the right, but then we went around to the left and, uh. Well. See, I was using a new girth that was a bit longer (but without any elastic!) than my usual girth. And I apparently didn't tighten it up enough. And I must have put too much weight in my outside stirrup as we came around the turn at the top of the ring.

So we're going around and I'm thinking about how much fun this is and then, "...why is Kieran tilting to the side? No, he's straight....-OH CRAP I'M FALLING!" And you know, I roached his mane so I had nothing to grab on to and the saddle was literally hanging off his side and I went. Mostly hit hip and knee first, but also managed to smack the side of my face and head a bit on the ground so already ordered a new helmet, just to be safe. And also, apparently, managed to smack the heel of my opposite foot somehow too because it's actually the part of me that's most sore today, I don't even get how that works.

So, slowly got up, and we retrieved Kieran (he'd run away to the other end of the ring to stop and have some crisis eating to make himself feel better, hah), fixed the saddle, and then Jessica made me go take a little walk to get my gatorade and have a drink and wait for the shaking to stop before she let me get back on. That done, we did and then we had to trot in big circles around the circle of jumps and then when he felt relaxed again and not just running off at the trot, did some nice cantering in the same circle.

All settled again, Jessica explained that the rest of the lesson would be about using the jumps she'd set up to make fairly sharp 'rollback' kind of turns around and that we could do it at the trot unless our horses felt like they could do a nice, relaxed and together canter, no barrelling around.

At this point, I honestly don't remember all the various little patterns she made us do. Started out with just popping over two at a time, and then she slowly added the rest in (and keep in mind, they weren't any taller than 18" verticals).

By the end of it, we did this pattern last:

Basically, come in toward that center jump, make a hard right 90 degree turn to the bottom one, then loop around and do the last two on a bending line.

My thing to work with Kieran on was keeping a nice, easy, forward canter and really thinking about where I was going so Kieran knew where we were heading and could set himself up for it. Our last go-round was really beautiful, we were both ready and he gave my a great loop from that bottom jump to the corner one and just...

Seriously, this horse makes me so freaking happy. :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Letting go and Transitions

So tonight we actually shared our lesson with another boarder, but that was nice to have someone else in the ring to keep things interesting. Plus, a big part of the lesson (we did all flatwork tonight, Kieran was visibly disappointed there were no jumps) was using my seat and legs to communicate with Kieran and not so much with my hands (we had to really loosen up on the reins and only use them very lightly) to make transitions and turns. So you know, when he wanted to follow chasing after the other horse and I was like, "noooo, we're doing a halt transition now" that made for a good teaching moment. ;)

Anyway, both of us were warmed up by the time Jessica got there (she was running late) so we got started right away. She set up the trot poles like you see below (and the circles represent cones, though my drawing isn't to scale) but we didn't use them quite yet. The idea was that we would, indeed, do a posting trot around the ring and do trot->halt transitions. So I had to sit really deep to ask for the halt and try not to really pull back with the reins at all. The first few times, he slowed down pretty quickly, but we'd get half a dozen walk steps before he'd fully stop. But as we continued, the walk steps got less and less until he was halting pretty quickly and giving me nice ones to boot. Not perfect, but acceptable, and you could tell he was thinking about what we were asking him to do and trying to figure it out. Jessica mentioned to me that when I went to ask him to stop, I tended to stick my legs forward and my leg would come off of him and I should think about sinking my weight straight down and pushing on his withers (so to speak) and think of my legs coming back instead. I think my problem there is because I was really thinking about sitting back on my proverbial seat pockets and leaning too far back and pushing my feet forward to compensate. So once I started sitting more straight down, our halts improved.

After that, she had us do transitions within the trot so we would stretch out on the long sides and then kind of collect up on the short sides. Kieran figured this out really quickly.

And then we used the trot poles and cones for weird sort of figure eights. Jessica had the other boarder using the diagonally set up poles on the right and had me using the ones along the rail on the left. Anyway, the idea was to trot over the poles, then turn toward the cone nearest us, go inside it (inside being closest to the poles, not closest to the inside of the ring), turn a circle around it, then come around and do the poles from the other side. I drew a blue line to make it make more sense. Still, the idea was to use our legs and seat for turning. Kieran was pretty phenomenal here, really.

After this, Jessica spread out the distance for the poles on the right to make them canter poles. The ones on the left stayed trot poles. Here, the idea was to go over the canter poles, come around between the cones, then between the last two poles (parallel with them), then make a right turn (simple change) around toward the trot poles and somewhere before them, start trotting over them and go straight down to the fence at the top of the ring. I drew lines again to make it make sense.

So here we had to combine the transitions with the changes of direction and basically everything we'd worked on for the lesson. We went through first and then Jessica had us say one thing we did really well and one thing we didn't do so well. The first time, Kieran gave me a really lovely simple change in the corner but I waited too long to ask for the trot transition before the poles and it wasn't really pretty there.

So then, she told the other boarder to take what we said and you know, do it herself with that knowledge. Once she was done, she stated what her one good thing and one bad thing were and then it was our turn again.

We did much better this time with the trot transition but the simple change in the corner was a bit wonkyslow. Jessica mentioned after we were done that it was actually a really good thing because what happened was she said she could see Kieran when I sat to ask for the transition sort of prepare himself to give me a flying lead change there. Then I asked for the simple change and it took him a second to catch up. But anyway, he did really really well and I'm really proud of him.

I can't wait for our lesson on Sunday. :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Some success, some fail

Tonight I asked Jessica if we could do a gymnastic since...we haven't really done anything like that in a while and I thought it might make for a good 'different' exercise to do with Kieran and something that would make him have to think about what he's doing and stuff. (and stuff is totally a technical term)

So she set up a line of two crossrails, a low vertical, and a low oxerish thing. It went one stride (with a pole in the center to encourage him to canter), one stride, then two strides, then out.

We started out by just trotting in and cantering out. Then near the end we were cantering in, too...except about that time he got really weird where he'd go over the first fence and then duck out of the second one. That brought home to me that I really need to work on my leg cues as my leg really...wasn't there enough. But since we had been cantering nicely in and he'd been pretty darn straight and he'd already gone over the darn thing a half dozen times and I wasn't at all concerned about it, it was really weird. For a bit we thought he was just getting tired and argumentative but then Jessica realized that she'd adjusted the distance a bit for the last couple jumps but forgot to also adjust the distance between the first and second ones and so she'd made them a little close together and they no longer really worked as a one stride but it wasn't a bounce either (though maybe next time I should ask her to do a bounce so we can see what he does, preferably next to the fence =P) and he probably thought he couldn't make it (though a couple times I brought him right back around and made him do it practically from a standstill so he totally can. It wasn't even two feet tall, he could step over it) along with being tired and a little argumentative.

Looking back at the video Jessica took for me, he definitely lands from the first fence already ready to head out so it's not like he was ducking out at the last second, I just...couldn't figure out how to stop and redirect him. :/

Anyway, I put some of the video down below after the pictures so you can see what I mean.

After re-adjusting the fences for better distances, we went back through it straight twice and were able to end the lesson on a good note, and I included one of those videos too at the bottom. :)

First up, some pictures of us before the lesson properly got started, mostly just to keep showing off his new hairdo. The only thing I like about me in these pictures is that my leg looks good, hah.

Now for the videos, this first one would be a fail-vid.

Forgive the curse at the end, I wasn't really expecting it, that was the first one.

And here's the not-so-fail vid.

One thing I've noticed watching these so closely is that I really do have a bad habit of throwing myself too far out of the saddle and then coming down too soon.

We did discuss that we haven't spent a lot of time really polishing my position though I'm thinking that might be needed.

Jessica also mentioned it would probably be a good idea in the relatively near future for me to take a clinic or just a couple of lessons with another instructor so we can get another set of eyes on me since really...she's the only person that's been watching my riding for months now and while I know I've improved, it would be nice to have someone else be able to point out things for me to work on too as I'm sure they're there (like the throwing myself out of the saddle thing). She wants to be able to watch it too, which, you know, makes sense if we're going to come back from it and be able to work on things together, instead of it filtering through me and my hole-y memory. :)

So...that's the update. A bit of success, a bit of fail.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

His Mane is all Gone!

Yeah, so...lesson last week was good but I, uh, forgot to write about it. Basically, we worked on rollbacks and lifting around turns (so to speak) and by the end of it, Jessica had us doing a little jump course of five jumps (and one ground pole we had to canter over in the pattern). It was really hard work!

We were going to lesson today, but there was a massive system of clouds moving in and the sound of thunder moving steadily closer as I was getting Kieran and brushing him off so I called Jessica and asked to reschedule for Tuesday.

Anyway, I also cut all of Kieran's mane off last week but didn't take pictures (all except his forelock and a little tassle by his withers for a handhold =P) so since I had my camera with me today, I took some pictures....

Yes, those are chickens in the stall behind him. Why stall horses when you can stall chickens? :)

He really needs a bath. He sweats in this heat and then he rolls and it all just sticks to him so brushing is really a lost cause.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July 3 Lesson

This was a "work on me" sort of lesson, so mostly was supposed to be done in two-point and the idea was to come in to one of the "jumps" on one lead, then go make a loop (trotting)  to go the other direction and come around at the other jump on the other lead. One of my big problems is about thinking ahead (without overthinking it and getting flustered) where we'll be over the jump and only then do I think "now where are we going?" when I should've already been thinking about that. So a couple times tonight I managed to actually think ahead and be on top of things so I'm happy with that. Kieran wasn't too thrilled since the jumps never changed so we tried to keep it interesting by doing it from different directions and stuff like that.

Pictures are all screencaps and I uploaded one of the videos Jessica took for me. :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Just a screencap for now, more later. This is from my lesson yesterday.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

More cantering courses

We had a really productive lesson yesterday. :) Here's also some video of  our last run through the 'course'.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Cantering Courses

Well, without any changes of direction. But you know, still. :) Basically, today was about cantering a nice even rhythm over all of the jumps and making nice turns and staying balanced. We also didn't have so much trouble today with using the right lead so...that was good. Anyway, screencaps and video!

Happy pony!

Not bad for a drafty, right?

"Yeah, I totally got this."

Lookit my pretty trot

And yeah, I know. My leg. Swings. A lot. I don't know where that came from. But I think I put the saddle too far forward and that didn't help. Thoughts?