Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I Can Be Taught!

So, long time, no post.... again.

It just seems like a girl gets awfully busy and the blogging takes a hit. Don't you just hate it when that happens?
Anyway, where was I....

Oh yeah. I got a lesson! Or four!!! Who's excited???? Just me?

That's fair.

I even gave them a fresh bale. Moved it by myself.
 I attended a Ken Borden Jr clinic in WI with two ponies in tow. I figured that I needed to grab the opportunity with two greedy hands. And so both ponies were signed up, which unfortunately left The TiniBopper all by her lonesome.
Tini takes a nap
And she handled it like a champ. She called for the Ponitas a few times, then moseyed off the indulge herself at the hay buffet without bossy ponies to push her around.

When I pulled out of my farm at 7am, I could see green grass and grey clouds. There was an icky layer of sluch on my car and trailer, but nothing too serious (whew! Who wants to haul in the slush?). When I stopped at a barn 10 miles down the road to pick up another horse, there was several inches of snow. When did that happen?!?!

Fortunatly, I am made of stern stuff. Instead of saying 'nope, the roads are shit', I soldiered on and headed south. The roads were fine- freshly salted and plowed- and the trailer hauled perfectly. there was significant snow on the sides of the road, and it was grey and raining/snowing the whole way.  We made it after a short 2.5 hour haul, unloaded and I was even able to watch a lesson before I had to tack up for my first ride.

I had signed up for one private and one semi-private lesson each day (because I mentally balked at four $100+ lessons). My plan was that Tilly and I would have the private lesson and Delight would have the shorter semi private lesson, since she wasn't as fit or ready as Tillner... What with her saddle saga and all. 

Tilly was a show stopper. We have been battling connection issues and getting her truly on the bit. She has occilated from behind the bit to above  to stiff on the right then stiff on the right. Ken had us regulate the tempo - slower to the left and lengthened to the right- to really encourage her to use her hind legs instead of just throwing around her front legs all fancy-prancy like. He also had us really counterbend when tracking to the right to really encourage Tilly to take contact on the left rein. And it worked. Who would have guessed?

Delight was a pistol. I had her in a half hour semi private lesson, just in case she wasn't fit enough. 
She was fit enough. 
As we worked, it was obvious that she was bracing in the underneck to get out of bending, so Ken had us do a lot of forcing the issue- over bending to the inside while Delight raced around overtempo- to get her to give in laterally. The idea was to put pressuer on one side of her bit to encourage her to give instead of both sides and letting her panic and pick a fight. Ken even hopped on Delight - and remarked that she was wider than the 17h oldenberg. Whoops. 

On Sunday, I swapped rides- which is to say that I rode Tilly in the semi private and Delight in the private. Daelight was a much improved pony. We did a lot of leg yield to get her softer to the bend. Leg yield on the circle, leg yield on the quarterline with circles, leg yield on the rail with transitions. We eventually were able to move on to the shoulder in - with transitions - and lengthenings on the circle. She was sooo much better than the previous day. Thank goodness. 
Tilly had an easy half hour ride, working on changing the tempo to encourage her to really carry herself. We worked more specifically on encouraging the lateral bend in the canter departs. 

We left after an amazing lunch, and I have to say that I was greatly relieved to find Tini right where I left her. Both Tilly and Delight were happy to be out in the herd again.
So another successful clinic.

Of course, when I woke up on Monday morning to park my trailer and unload everything, there was more snow on the ground. Great.
Home Sweet Home

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