Green horse problems

Cooper's second lesson

Here’s the lesson update! (With pictures!)

We worked on Forward.  Forward only!  Of all issues, that’s the one needing to be addressed first.

On my own, some of the problems I’ve had with starting Cooper in dressage are:

Undbendable.  Very resistant and tightening in the neck in the walk. Even tighter at the trot.  The canter – a sort of crazy flight around the arena, with a stop at any given time.

All green horses are this way – initially incapable to canter bent along the inside leg, or even to keep the canter for 2 full circles.  The challenge will be figuring out how to show him how to do it a bit more comfortably.  A learning experience for me too.  So much fun!

The first several rides, weeks, he felt very unsure of himself – as if not really knowing what was expected of him.

Now he seems to have found his place, calmer.

He’s used to the grooming and tacking business, with mounting and leading.  Some cute routines too, he can park by himself at the garden bench for dismounting.  Just silly, but useful, it really helps my ankles getting off from there.

Semi slow arena work improvement – I’ve taken advantage of the big grounds we have around the farm, and he’s had many rides out and about, walking the hills and just being happy in general.  Not day after day in the arena.

Some mixing it up with a little walking over 4 ground poles.  He’s not the most coordinated.  It’d be nice to work up to trotting over them too.

MONDAY”s lesson – no work on Any of the things just mentioned.  Riding forward only.  And more forward.  I even got a quick video clip of him trotting, so I could see for myself that he was still not forward enough.  Amazing.  It felt like it was all he could do…

To start, a few minutes riding with contact.  Sucking back, of course.  My fault.  Always my fault.

Cooper trotting slow

The rest of our time –  working on getting the legs to engage.  Mostly with the nose all stretched out.  A few good seconds here and there.  Here is one of them.  OK fine, he’s still pretty strung out.  But he’s working here!

Trotting faster

Some crazy bat flying canter for good measure.

Unbalanced but forward canter

Haha, eventually we’ll get it together!

Horse Happy Hour September 19

Horse Happy Hour With Jaworzno

How many of us are going at this whole thing alone?

Countless of adult dressage amateurs in small arenas across the country.  Across the world.  Chipping away piece by piece toward a better way of riding.  Toward a better contact, a better seat, a better transition up or down, in any gait.  That’s where it all starts, and somehow, that’s where it seems like we stay.  For a very long time.

It gets ugly sometimes.  Ragged.  And on some days we’re not even sure we’re getting any better.  Actually sure we’re not getting any better.  So, the next day, we go around again.

too far away~2~2

Creating a string of ragged little rides. That’s the problem with dressage. It simply cannot be coarse. You can feel it on top.  And if it feels as if it’s not going any better, yep, then you can be pretty sure it is not going any better.  Thankfully, there are some lessons to turn to here and there when the budget allows.

And no matter how coarse, saddle time is always Horse Happy Hour Time! At least for me.


More Weekend Fun

Great to have a lesson with Alexis yesterday!

As always, rider positioning must improve.  Yesterdays Keywords – ride into the wind.  With a tea-tray in your lap during canter.  And tap with the whip correctly.  Yep, that’s a lot to think about.  Good news is I’ll be shopping for a whip – none of the 5 I have made the cut.

Lighter seat, more forward angle on torso, giving him something to move into.  Pushing the hands forward.  In the end, with practice, there will be less tension and more forward than this below from a ride in July.

sort of tense trot

When you’re not fortunate to lesson very often, recycling the advice over and over during future rides is the way to go. Better remember it all…

It was a full house at the barn – usually so quiet, I also had Paris’ owners out to see the property. We talked. A lot. Next up will be to figure out which saddle will fit her best.

After the ride, in his pasture.

summer pasture

Starting the weekend early. And goofing with Jaworzno

Los Lagos Equestrian Center visit this morning.

Had the opportunity to ride Paris again.  Lovely.  Extremely forward.  Took advantage of me – but in style.  Very French, no?  That’s just fine; she’s a beautiful girl and a pleasure to ride.

The flying changes were put back in place after her rehab, she did one just for fun when set up just right. Although it’s sort of mandatory that the rider asks for them first.

Great to ride in the wonderful outdoor arena at Los Lagos, and such a treat  to get some pointers from Ana Gilmour all over again.  It’s been way too long…  Loved it!  And fun to see some old friends!

Really hoping Paris will get to come to Castle Rock Farm.  Such an amazing horse to get to know. Of course she’d be pampered to no end.

No pictures from today, but here we are at Blue Ribbons Farm again.

Cool down walk at Blue Ribbon

That’s Marie, her owner, walking next to us.

Tomorrow – super exciting morning with an opportunity to lesson with Jaworzno for Alexis Martin-Vegue at our farm!  She rarely comes up this way, and of course I am thrilled to get the chance to see how I can improve with him even more.

He had a rest day this morning to prepare.  We will need some extra umpf tomorrow.  Actually, we always need it.

Just goofing off in the stable with him this morning.  He likes any attention he can get.  One of the perks with being alone at a barn – you can pretty much come up with anything and if it goes wrong, well, then it just does.  His latest routine is to get to walk on his own to his stall.

He knows where to go

There he goes.

Walking into stall

Getting the cobwebs out

Close friends know I have a penchant for cleaning most things.

Therefore most of the cobwebs in the barn had to come down.  It’s a spider mansion so of course they will be back.  Soon.  But for the day, it was all clean and fresh.  At least the lower parts.

Not as fresh, was the riding.  So incredibly grateful to have another lesson.  Tried to make the best of it for weeks to come.  Must be rounder.  Coming more from behind.  With him, it’s like starting all over riding again.  Seat and aids become discombobulated.  While some horses will bring out the best in you, some will make you look like a pinching, nutcracking, willowy prune packer.  Or a briny clam.

Ride Like You Mean It

Went with the clam for the day.  Not good enough – “Ride like you mean it!”  – advice from the ground.  That’s what I’ll do for the rest of the month.  Nothing less.  Especially since we’re going backward, and work less together than in this picture a few weeks back.  How is that possible?

Jaworzno, always a love, sporting the cute look.


Third lesson with J. Coming up

Somehow pulling off another lesson next Monday morning.

Funds do not allow frequent instructional company in the dust bowl.  Squeezing it in any way.

Rest of the time, we will be mostly on our own.  Who’s going to talk about my elbows like this then?…

Canter Right

Other excitement of that week will be a visit from my vet.  Piled up a long list of questions.  Mistress of questions.  Wish I was made of answers instead. Posting them here for you if I get any new ones.

Met some of my readers at Chevy’s by the river in Sacramento last weekend.  And they’re not even riders.  Amazing anything of substance can be had from this little horse blog even from people not involved in this crazy life.  So glad to have you!  Thank you for taking time to check in with me and the horses!

Clean Silver Jaworzno, hung out to dry at the tree.

Hanging Out at the tree