Sunday, February 28, 2016


Today, J and I hitched up the trailer and loaded Ashke, then headed to pick up L and her horse Satori. We rode with L the first time a little over a year ago at the Teller Trail. Satori is Lusitano and Arabian, and absolutely full of character. We planned to be at her barn at 8:45 but arrived about 15 minutes early. L wasn't sure how Satori would load and we wanted to give her plenty of time.

Satori took about ten minutes to load and it amazed me at how calm and patient L was. She didn't rush him but also didn't brook any nonsense out of him either. Once he was loaded, we headed out. (J had loaded all of L's things into the trailer or the truck while we loaded Satori. She's good that way.)

We were the first riders to arrive at Circle Star, but not by much. J deftly parked the trailer and we got the boys set up with some grain, some hay and water. Then we gave them a good grooming and saddled up. I decided to try a saddle pad I had purchased when I got the Trekker, to see if perhaps some of my issue was with the pad. To make up for the fact that I wasn't going to be using the BOT for today's ride, I gave Ashke a bit of a rub before we started our ride.

We spent the morning working on flatwork (dressage). We warmed up in pairs (there were 6 of us total) and then they asked me to ride the Novice test.

Couple of things to consider. We ride in a 40 x 20 m ring. The numbers come up quick. We handled most of it much better, however, after our first canter when we transition down at C, I really need to slow the trot. I didn't get any stretch across the diagonal. When I loosened the reins he gathered speed rather than reaching down. This is something we can work on. This rushing also caused me to be a bit behind the eight ball in asking for my right lead canter at F. We really didn't get it until closer to A. That was all because of the rushed trot across the diagonal. This was also the first time we did the loop to the quarter line and the counter canter back to the rail in both directions without breaking. Our halts were fairly good, except for the one at DX when he knew he was supposed to back up and instead I was asking him to stand quietly. We still need more work on immobility.

Some of the take aways in the flatwork were: the turns at E and B are squared off turns, not loops. As is the turn at K and the final two turns at B and X. After the final salute, the test is not over until the rider has exited at A. This means riding forward and turning either direction at C, then riding on a loose rein along the rail until A. (I obviously didn't understand that I was supposed to ride forward and to the rail.) Overall, I felt Ashke did a great job. He tried really hard for me, although he also was trying to predict what I was going to ask him for next.

I thought we looked pretty good.

After the flatwork, we ate an amazing lunch, then worked on the Ease of Handling phase.

This is at the trot, but we also did it at the canter. Kitty saw that we were collapsing in on the left barrel (the circle is way smaller) and told me to weight my outer stirrup to help keep me straighter in the saddle. I used that concept on the three barrel and it seemed to help.

We also did the three barrel at a canter, which I was so proud of Ashke. He pretty much has the idea, now I just need to get a walk stride instead of a stop for the lead changes. I think that will be a fairly simple change.

Gate forward

Gate backwards

J said that the auditors watching us were pretty impressed with how well he did the poles.

We moved outside and one of the visiting trainers taught the proper way to jump.

We did have an interesting exchange where she told me to post and I told her I didn't.
Why is that so strange?

This was worth every penny I paid for the clinic.
We have been trying for over a year to get me over a jump without destroying my horse.
I finally got it together and we cantered it easily.

Jumps will now be a steady part of our evening rides. Just one, but the jumping with get us really comfortable and the work will be great for Ashke's butt. I have no desire to jump more than a crosrail in practice for the WE obstacle.

Ashke did great cantering between obstacles when asked. He was able to canter obstacles I didn't think we would be able to do this year. I can't wait for Expo to see how he does. It won't be perfect, but it has to be an improvement. He has come so far since September, it just kind of floors me.


  1. I love that lateral work over the ground pole. I am going to work on that with Gem. Any insider tips?

    Congrats on the jumping!!

    1. If she is already started on sidepass and you are just improving, the biggest issue is to make sure she steps far enough over the pole that it is in line with your heel. That gives her enough room to move sideways without touching the pole. That's always the biggest issue is not hitting the poles.

      If she hasn't started on sidepass then I would start her by walking over the pole close to the end and sidepassing one or two steps until she clears the pole. Then increase the distance as she catches on. Once she realizes she is supposed to step down the pole, then you can start her at the end.

    2. Also, work on keeping her nose pointed in the direction she is moving. It is easier for the horse to cross over and much easier at speed.

  2. You looked so awesome and it sounds like a very productive clinic for both of you. I'm sorry I missed it. The videos did show me, however, that you are correct that I should change over from Novice to Introductory. I did not remember that the canter loops to the quarter line were in the Novice test. I actually don't know if Eddy can do that. SO looking forward to Expo!

    1. I also think intro this year would be good for Eddy. It is disappointing that there is no canter in the intro dressage test, but it will help both of you gain confidence as you move forward with this sport.

  3. Maybe that visiting trainer had read this article:

    1. Either way, I don't post. One, I never learned to post as a kid. All of my riding was done bareback where one keeps their butt flat on the horse's back and moves with the horse, even at a trot. Bouncing could cause major pain, since my mare had shark fin withers. Two, posting really aggravates all of my back issues. And causes extreme pain, plus I'm not good at it and since I am rhythmically challenged, "posting on the diagonal" ends up being more like the ball tied to the string on a paddle ball paddle. Third, Ashke HATES it. Even when it is being done correctly. And I listen to my horse. He wants me to sit quietly and let him do his job without losing my seat connection to him.

      Judge me all you want - his is the only opinion I care about.