Tuesday, June 10, 2008

O'Connor Camp Day 3

Today we started again with the bull... which has been officially named "rooster on a rope"- but today Karen was really trying to see if we could end up riding bulls- one hand in the air, moving the bull all over- left and right up and down- CRAZY BIZ. David also brought out this stool thing that helps strengthen your core muscles. It was kinda like a hula hoop but sitting down and super awkward.
After the bull and the stool we went on to do some of the natural horsemanship stuff from yesterday. David said tomorrow we were going to try and put the front and back yields together at the same time. He took one girls horse and showed us what he meant:
Pretty much a leg yield thinger.

After that we went into our groups to ride on the flat. I was put in group two- of four. Not quite sure what that means but hey there you go. We had to name our groups so given that we have a 13.2hh palomino pony and then a bunch of big brown horses we named ours "Goldilocks and the four bays". So my group rode with Karen first. We did a quick review of the yields while mounted. Wes finally had a tiny bit of an issue when asking for the "head down" yield. A small kick out and a tiny buck with a tad of backing up left and right- but unfortunately he got over it on his own. I would super love Wesman to freak out like he does at home and everyone to see it and FIX IT! But he is more or less being good so I guess that's a good thing? Anyway- after all the yield reviews we went to work on direction! They had us on a 20m-ish circle and they set up a pair of tennis balls about two feet apart at four points on the circle. We were to ride though the tennis balls without touching them. After a few times of all of us hitting the balls Karen decided that anytime we hit one we were punished. I hit one and had to dismount and mount from the ground- but only once. After we all had some form of punishment for hitting the balls once or twice we shaped up and did it quite well from there on out. One of the horses was being pretty resistant to the yields when we were working on the circle so Karen decided to hope on and assess the situation. After that the rider and the horse really had a better understanding of what they were to do-wasn't prefect, not magic, but it was clearly better.-- We still didn't get to canter.

After the first riding session of the day we ate some lunch and talking about jumping. It was really focused on what changes from flat work and what doesn't. A really hard concept for a lot of people to understand was that the amount and type of contact really doesn't change from flat to jumping.

We then moved on to another riding session where we would get to jump! Our group with Amy this time and again began the lesson with a review of the yields. We talking a lot about position- esp the lower leg. She stressed that even though your jumping now the line from shoulder to hip to ankle shouldn't change. The only real difference is that your shoulders can be in front. She talked about how often people will put their lower leg out in front of them but that in fact this only gives you a false sense of security because when your leg is out in front of you your body goes back leaving you behind the motion when you jump. Amy talked about jumping position and how your lower leg position shouldn't change when your out of the tack. Also, specific to our group (we all had trouble with that keeping the same contact thing) she talked about releases. Apparently we were all super fans of planting our hands on the neck and forgetting about riding our horses. After a bunch of talking and a whole lot of walk trot and canter in jumping position (one of those if you cant feel it yet, you cant stop-feel the burn kinda deals: awesome!) we actually jumped. We started with ground poles and worked up to some little oxers. We were to trot one fence, halt, then go on to trot the next. (They were on like a 5 or 6 stride line.) The little pony in our group was having an awesome time being a poky little booger heading away from the barn and a bat out of hell heading to the barn-- sooo Amy asked Karen to hop on and see what she could do about the issue. After Karen rode the pony the little girl got back on and OMG it was so much better.

After we were done riding for the day we cooled out our horses and went to have another lecture given by Max. This time she taught us about braiding and then it kind of turned into some more generalized grooming topics. She taught us how she braids all of the horses- needle and thread- interesting. After we learned how Max braids Karen decided that Friday we all have to go to our riding session braided. Heythanks.

Then there was a surprise visit from David's horse- Walk on the Moon aka Dan aka Prozac. David had no idea he was coming and when he saw him immediately decided to do a demo of his whole tackless riding gig. He also showed us some of the longeing-ish stuff over a vertical- seriously that horse can jump. -- I guess Dan is going to Hong Kong for the para-olympics in Dressage- super cool!
So tomorrow I would like to assume that my group is riding with David and Cathy--but around here you never know!...

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