Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fine tuning

Today was the first lesson with my coach Anne! It has been so long since I've had instruction, that it really was time. We spent much of the time talking about the pony, what she does, can do, has done etc. She loves that I put lead changes on her, and thinks that it adds a lot to her value. She also thinks that we should put some hunter mileage on her and work on a lot of those fundamentals since they will play a lot into her foundation for the jumpers.

She gave me a lot of homework to work on before the next time she comes out to the farm. She wants crisper downward transitions, including after fences. She wants me to be able to halt within a line, or right after a fence. I then should be able to pick up the canter from a halt. We worked on this a lot over the summer, but I haven't been a stickler about transitions lately. Thats definitely something I need to keep in mind though.

She also gave me an exercise to practice counter-cantering. I will work on a 20 meter circle on the correct lead, and then break off in "corners" of the circle and do a simple lead change, do a ten meter circle on the new correct lead. Then I change my lead back to the correct one and continue on the circle. Eventually, when we get good at this, I would stay on the lead from the ten meter circle back onto the full circle thus counter cantering. If she gets unbalanced and flustered I just pull away into a ten meter circle, to say, "Its okay, see? You are correct." With this pony's intelligence, she will probably be tuned up by next week when Anne comes out again.

The farrier came out today, his name is Jim Bob and he is a very interesting guy. He watched me ride her around a bit so he could see what he could do to minimize her knee action. It took him all of ten steps to say "oh lord" and begin talking about how to cut her, and put those aluminum shoes on. He uses this power tool to help trim down the feet after he trimmed and scraped them down. I'm looking forward to seeing how she moves tomorrow.

Jim Bob also asked me if I ride horses for people. I said not professionally, but yes. He started telling me about a pony that he has. Large pony hunter, went to pony finals three times, and when the kids outgrew it it was sold (or maybe leased?) to people who jumped the poor thing into the ground. Needless to say the pony tore a suspensory. Jim Bob rehabbed him and sent him out to someone for them to rehab him and start getting him into shape again. They jumped him too soon, and he tore the other suspensory. Again Jim Bob brought him home and let him heal up. He wants the pony brought along correctly, because he knows that if the pony gets hurt again they "might as well dig a hole". His goal is to eventually sell him once he is all healed up. I'd like to help him, and will continue to talk to him about the opportunity.

Tomorrow I have two lessons in the morning, and then I will hack the pony, and jump Ritter in the afternoon. My first dressage lesson with my coach is at 7am, and then I have to go over to Townsend to lesson with Anne at 8:30am. I am really looking forward to working with her. She seems to understand my drive, and asked me what my riding goals are. We are going to continue our discussion of how she can help me achieve them. She was able to see how hard I have been working with the pony, and really wants to help me find a horse that I can move up to the 3'6" on. She understands that I have to work to get there since I don't have the money, but she also can see that I have no problem with that.

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