Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Rosin-Schmolze-Tini . . . Dirty.

Redemption at the Jersey Shore. Hope and I made the trip to the Horse Park of New Jersey for a second attempt at securing my final qualifying score at training level. Molly wasn't attending HPNJ that weekend so Kristin gave me some much needed guidance in the warm-up. We schooled two things in the warm-up; softening and then asking for more forwardness. Our test was improved from my our previous outing, but it left not just room, but hallways, closets, and basements for improvement. Torrential rain and severe lightning delayed the event. SJ rewarded a forward ride, which was both difficult and intimidating in the wet footing. The course was diagonal line, bending line, diagonal line, combination, and final oxer. The combination consisted of a fence angled into the fence line and then a bend to a one-one-four. Of course she jumped me out of the tack on the first and the combination became a 2-2-4. How we jumped through the combination clean I can't explain. We finished with a rail and some time. First fence on cross country was uber-soft. The second fence was a massive ramp on a down-hill. A combination of slick footing and not enough impulsion and pace produced a 'stop'. Second attempt was golden and the rest of the course only got better. Everything comes down to speed. I am not fully aware of Training speed, but feeling a little more educated following this run.

I am almost there, a sweet spot. My lessons with Molly have been incredibly constructive and are paying off in dividends. I am just waiting for that outing where everything comes together. My catch-up with Kristin gave me more homework in the mean time. Great combination of education and experience.

Worked two doubles before HPNJ and two after. Its been exhausting, but worthwhile. Back to cleaning and drying out tack and equipment. Dirty.

Fair Hill in two weeks. Cheers!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Summer, Set, Go

Catch up. Moved home to lower Delaware for the summer to work. I try to get to Molly's for a lesson at least once every two weeks when I can afford the 6 hours of driving and have the time. Molly has been so accommodating with my schedule which has been unreliable and often unpredictable. So goes the restaurant business. As always I am still finding the balance in our quality of canter. I have been disciplined in my position as I fight bad habits from breaking babies and it has been paying off, especially not leaning forward and dropping my inside shoulder in canter transitions.

Hope and I went to HPNJ I with the hope of prepping for a run over the challenging MDHT I course. Long story short, I have minimal time management skills. I got there late, rushed to dressage warm-up and produced my worst score yet. In SJ the rails we coming down everywhere. Hope would have gone clean in our best trip yet except she had two very unexpected refusals at the last two combinations. They were completely unexpected and I think it was experience on my part and confidence on hers. Despite the harder of dressage tests and a very tight and difficult SJ, the organizers produced what felt like a soft xc course. The drive home lent time to make a plan for the following weeks. Pull the MDHT entry for sure. Can't get off for the MDHT II. Fitch's Corner? If it was a two day yes, but missing a friday-sunday work schedule at the beach; not finacially viable. So that leaves HPNJ II followed by Fair Hill. I am finally understanding what it takes to have a prelim horse and more so, I am seeing that I am not there yet. Canter, canter, canter.

Following a shift that ended at midnight, I loaded Hope at 530 after I did morning chores and shipped three hours to Unionville for a Jimmy Wofford clinic. The ring was small and there were six riders total. Although the lesson as a whole was productive, Hope threw in two stops. Throughout the lesson Jimmy drilled one idea; We can't be perfect unless they do their job. Progressing won't be easy unless the horse knows that jumping is much more convenient than not jumping. The other lesson was that it's not about how you come to the jump, its the reaction you having on the landing and following one of three plans; add, wait, or reduce. The same ideas Molly has been drilling me on in recent lessons. I had to leave the lesson early to make it home on time to work my dinner shift. So for the time being I have more homework before a redemption round at HPNJ II.

Until then, Cheers!

P.s. - Look forward to some big updates in September!