Sunday, 27 April 2014

Videos, Critiques, and Suggestions!

I'm posting these videos hoping for some positive critiques on what Koda and/or myself can work on.  We're just starting out our season and are not in shape at the moment, so please be kind with your comments!

Starting canter work (left lead)

Trot work to the right.

After watching this I've noticed that Koda is slightly off on the right hind :(
I looked at it the following day after seeing the video, and it seems like he's worked out of it for now at least!  Here's hoping it was just a tweaked muscle caused by coming back into work.

Transition work to the right.

Even though right now it is taking a while for Koda and I to get into work mode, once I have him there he does try his hardest to do what I'm asking.  I got some more video from A over this past week when it felt like he was really reaching under himself and pushing from behind.  In the footing that we have in the arena (EXTREMELY deep), it's a lot of work to get going in it.  I want to do work on the roads to build up our wind and stamina (trot sets anyone?) without a fight on my hands, and then save the arena or the yard for true schooling.  

In other news, does anyone have ideas on how to make boxy solid type jumps on a budget and are light enough to move solo?  I'm thinking something with jump poles as the frame with tarps stapled over them...

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter Long Weekend = Riding Time!

The weather is really starting to warm up now, and riding has begun in earnest.  I've set out my summer schedule as follows:

June 14-15 Cygnet Dressage Show in Grande Prairie
June 28-29 Valleyview Dressage Show (tentative)
July 5-6 Noel Clark Cross Country Clinic in Grande Prairie (tentative)
August 2-3 Alhambra Clinic in Red Deer
August 15-17 Alhambra Summer Horse Trials in Red Deer (tentative)
August 26-31 South Peace Clinic and Horse Trial in Grande Prairie 

Now, I know I won't be getting to everything, but the idea is to get Koda out there more, but still keep it within a type of budget and my available vacation days.  The plan is to get out as much as we can, get used to hauling and have a set schedule for how we handle our ride prep.  I'm starting to do something new with Koda when I first swing a leg over.  Since Koda works best after he's got his blood pumping and he is focused on what we're doing (or trying to do).  The minute I get myself settled in the saddle, we are off into a nice brisk forward trot.  Toss in a bit of change in rhythm and pace, perhaps a circle or two to bring him back to me if he drifts off, but constantly getting him moving and having him focus on what we're doing and not his surroundings.  

**Video will be posted soon!**

For the past few rides over the long weekend, this warm up has been working beautifully.  After a few laps in either direction, we'll go straight into work, be it transitions, lateral work, circles and serpentines, or whatever.  I'm also tossing in some canter work at the beginning as well to just open him up a bit before getting down to business.  The great thing is, once I have him, he's with me and there.  He'll toss in a bit of attitude with a swish of a tail, or a slight head shake, but with a quick admonishment from me (either voice or quick whip flick), he's back on the job and trying his heart out.  

**Video will be posted soon!**

The plan for the upcoming weeks is to build up our strength by focusing on dressage and road work for Koda, gym time for me.  As long as we don't get any big rain, the snow should be gone and ground should by dry by May which means I'll be able to ride in the yard again.  We'll introduce jumping in May once we get ourselves back into shape.  I've been lucky, Koda has come out of the winter not too out of shape, is just right to start building his muscle back on.  I want to try to keep up with his musculature changes with conformation photos as many of you do already.  

 Thanks to the FiancĂ© for coming out and taking some video for me.  I find it's the best way for me to critique myself and see what I need to fix in my riding.  After watching these, I NEED to get my lower leg under control and keep my contact consistent, particularly when asking for upward transitions.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Retro-active posting

Hey everyone!

Lately I've fallen off the blogging wagon, but we're back and rarin' to go!  Keep your eyes peeled for some retroactive posts from the past month or so :)


NSRider and Koda

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Spring Time Tantrums

Since this winter has been colder and more bitter than most, I haven't had much of a chance to get out and ride, let alone handle, Koda.  He's pretty much been running amok in the herd with minimal handling since the end of November.  Now that it's warm enough to ride and be outside without having your skin freeze, conditioning has begun.  Of course, Koda being the type of gelding he is, is ok with this, but only to a point.  Heaven forbid I stop him from doing something that he is adamant about being 'right' on.  It really started to show when we went down to visit the farrier.  Koda was being a pretty big stink about things over the summer he wouldn't blink an eye at or care.  After talking it over with the farrier, we figured it was due to him not being handled very much in the past few months.

Wooly and showing his hay belly

Cue the start of reminding Koda of his manners

Later that week, it really started to really warm up and the road leading to the barn finally cleared up enough to ride on.  I tacked up and planned on doing some walk-trot work down the road, not too far (don't want another hissy fit scenario like last year) but enough to get a good workout.  Well, apparently Koda was okay with this except for the last bit.  We were having issues with trotting straight when heading away from home, so we would head away then head home, away, and home, etc.  He finally had some nice straight work heading away and I decided to end the ride there on a good note.  When I halted him to dismount, Koda starts flinging his head all around, letting me know of his general pissed off feelings.  He's gone up on me in the past, so I was not having any of that.  Since I was already dismounted, I decided to handle it from the ground.  Every time he flung his head around, mr. attitude had to back up away from home.  We went about with this for several minutes until he finally settled.  I popped back up in the saddle and we had a nice and easy walk back to the yard.

Silly pony.

For the next few rides I'm going to have to be hyper-vigilant on how I allow Koda to act while I am handling him.  I know he has a slightly passive aggressive personality, kind of a lazy dominant attitude, but I need to keep start up bad behaviour in check before it can grow into something more dangerous.

This past morning, we went to the arena and lucky for us, the Ag. Society kept the round pen up so that we could use it that morning.  I haven't round penned Koda yet, so I thought it was a perfect time to get his feet moving and to re-establish some manners.  As expected, Koda was a bit slow to start, reluctant to move out and throwing some 'tude.  Now, I don't really round pen as some would use the term.  When I round pen, I'm essentially loose lunging my horse, seeing him move off my physical cues from the ground.  While we worked through walk and trot work, Koda was great, no fireworks.  When I pushed him up into the canter, he threw in a few crow hops towards me, and I was having NONE of that.  He received some big pressure to move his arse around that pen (got to love the trusty cowboy rope) until I said stop.

At the end of it, I was extremely pleased with Koda, and he seemed to think that I was okay too (personification, I know).  Since we both worked up a sweat, I decided to ride Koda bareback to cool out.  He was pretty good considering he hasn't had that done in a very long time.  I want to start riding him like that more often.  When I had Dillon, I would sometimes school him bareback.  It was a GREAT time, although he was a bit more like riding a couch than a two by four.

Friends again