Posted by: shannonc | April 1, 2010

So behind!

I have been so delinquent in posting!  The pony has been very busy!  Let’s see, I’ll try to give the short-shorts.

One – I need a widget for a competition calendar sidebar.  I have seen them around somewhere, maybe in blogspot.  If you know of one, I’d love to hear about it!

My goal this winter was to up my own dressage skills so that I could do a better job of helping the pony understand what this strange flatwork thing is that I’m asking of him.  After almost 2 months of torture, I mean solo schooling, the pony came back into work and the two of us continued with the same classical dressage trainer I’d been riding with.  In addition, I’ve been taking monthly clinics with another classical dressage trainer.

So, here we are, three months later – our brand-spanking-new event dressage test should be sparkling with perfection, right?  Nope.  WTF!  It looks so easy when everyone else does it!

Fortunately, jump work started up this month, just as I was about to pull my hair out over riding on the flat.  We had a very funny first lesson, but suffice it to say I think the pony was as relieved and grateful as I was to kiss dressage sweetly goodbye for a day.

It will be very interesting to see what we have come UNH.  Entry status has been posted and we’re in!

Okay, more pony adventure profiles:

The vet

The pony sniffed the air last year when the vet was still 20 yards from the barn – and in her car – and Was Having None of That.  You want to look in my eye?  I keeeel you.  He was slightly better in the fall and much much better in his first round of spring shots this year.  The second time the vet came (with her assistant) this spring, she came only to give Blue shots, but I wanted her to evaluate the pony’s soundness on the longe line because he came out feeling very weak, tight, and sometimes uneven behind this year.  Here’s how that went:

I get him out with a minimum of suspicion and snorting (trying not to giggle) and stick him on the end of a long line in his halter – my longe line is in the trailer and I don’t want to take the time to go get it. I am hoping for the best because the pony’s conversion to acceptable longe line behavior is recent and I’m a little concerned he doesn’t have a bit in his mouth.

I take him in the front paddock and get him out on a circle behind the vet’s car. Vets are standing by car and the pony gives them the absolute hairy eyeball each and every one of the 50 times he passes by them. I am laughing by now because he’s so funny to watch. We go both directions and he’s as high as a kite – trying to be good (when he is not trying, he attempts to barge forward off the circle and run off with human bouncing along behind, or he bucks *into* the circle) – but bursting out in little canters and bucks and head flips, then returning to big pony pointy-toed trot, goggle at vets, rinse and repeat. I so wish I had this on video. At one point the vet looks over at me and says, “does he have Arab in him??”

Finally we stop. Vet #1 looks at vet #2 and says “hell…I didn’t see anything…did you see anything?” Then she looks at me and says, “Shannon. I don’t think that pony is hurting anywhere!” She says it like, “you have problems…but not that problem!”

Then she tries to palpate his back and he won’t let her touch him unless I’m standing on the other side. Because she’s the VET, Mom!!!!!!

***

The first jump lesson.

We warm up and start simple coursework, adding a couple of fences and turns at a time.  The ring is set up with all showjumps except for one honking max BN hanging log portable in the center.  It’s just sitting out in the middle of nowhere without anything on the sides.  While we are warming up, the pony spooks at it.  I have to agree with him that it looks quite funny and out of context.  It also looks a little large and solid for this time of year, so I am glad the instructor is sitting on it during our school, making it a seat for the day.

Oh, but I always have to be wrong about these things.  Instructor stands up to formulate the next course.  I cringe, the pony pricks his ears.  I so know that log is about to go on the course and I’m not, not not mentally ready for it.  Sure enough.  “That oxer…and around across the diagonal over this log…”

I so do not trust the pony over that yawning log without wings that I decide to trot it, and I get into my Don’t Trust the Pony position, telegraphing:  I will ride your tail and put my feet with their little east and west toes on the dash so that hopefully, you do not stop, and if you do, we do not part ways. 

And he locks onto the enormous, solid, scary looking log and pops right over it without a second thought.  I am so impressed with him that I get carried away telling him how wonderful he is and fail to remember there’s another jump on the course.  This silliness brings much giggling on the part of the instructor but also a stern warning that this is a new season, and the time has come to stop being so grateful that the pony jumps at all, and start asking more of him.

Of course, as soon as I lose my singular focus on Getting Over the Jumps, I know I will curse us into having a ton of nasty stops.  The problem is, I ride Mr. Personalities…plural.  Recall King Oak sj.  Eight bold fences.  Fence 9, plain blue and white rails, the pony throws on the brakes and deer-jumps it. 

The last fence!  Who does that??!?!

As for the dressage…last Joy clinic tomorrow.  I think I will have lots to sort out and a report will help.

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