Friday, February 1, 2013

FRICK! Its Cold Again.

 First, I would like to thank all of you with your input about the cruise position! It was insightful and I figure maybe I was a little too harsh on the position. However, I still prefer two point over anything. While I understand it might be easier for some riders when tired and the track uses it, I still don't see why it needs to be implemented over a XC course for myself and my horse. If it works well for others, have at it. Just my personal opinion though :)

Now though, a month before our first show, I would've liked to be schooling twice a week and riding 3 other days, but alas mothernature is a bipolar bitch and decided to torture me.

3 days ago it was 76 degrees and I could do this....

All ponies unamused. So meh.

 ...and I was SWEATING while riding. Sweating. In January. Last February, we had 3 days of NINETY degree weather. And then it dropped back to the 20s. Um, What.

True to the pattern of basically all winter, temps plunged back down to the single digits yesterday. The low last night was 5 and it felt like -5 thanks to the 20mph winds. It was miserable. Thus I no ride. I'm not a boss about braving frigid temps and wind and its just too damn cold to get anything productive done.

Thankfully, 3 days ago I did a little jump school. Since A and H were riding we kept the jumps low, but I set up one larger line (skinny, 6 strides to a swedish, 3 strides to oxer) and worked on fundamentals with the lower jumps.

Ponyface was kinda lazy, bored and grumps. Better than rushing between the fences I suppose. I truly think he is just so bored with anything lower than 3ft he just doesnt give a flip anymore. Win?

My favorite exercise is the 'bounce box' since it sets them back on their bootays and its really fun!

We set up a ton of options for lines. Bending, diagonal, 2-3 strides. It was really fun despite the low fences, & Pronto and Fancy seem to be improving!

He really isn't even trying. He's just like meh, bring on the 3'9 stuffs plz. HOPEFULLY this week (supposed to warm up to 50 again, who knew) I can set up a pretty big course.

I plan to take him over the 2'9 class as a warm up, since he always jumps pretty shitty at first and they don't have any warm up fences in the warm up ring (GASP WHY. why.). Hopefully he picks his feet up. then there is two 3'6 classes, one for speed, one for penalties, and I think I will only do the penalties 3'9 class. I'm lucky that these fun college shows are so close to me and cheap. I think for the whole day last year, minus gas, I spent $80 on entry fees for 5 classes.

This is from the 3'6 speed class last year at the same show. Is one of my favorite pics!

I also have a pupdate for ya'll! Levi has been awesome at the barn. He absolutely loves it and the other barn dogs. He stays right with me most of the time and even when he goes off to explore he always comes to 'check in'.  It is the cutest thing. Every 10 min he will come find me to let me know hes still around. I swear that dog is a genius.

Staying warm this morning

My guard dog :)

He's my special baby already. The tack whore inside me is bursting to come through and get him a fancy leather collar with one of those nameplates on the collar. They're kinda expensive (for a poor college grad) and not necessary at the moment so I'm putting a little away to save for a rainy day.

Tonight if I get bored I plan on sketching a portrait as an example for my contest. We are at 96 followers, and only need a few more to get to 100!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fad Attack

 I appreciate all the feedback about Levi :) He's been great so far!

Thanks to a Facebook post by Virtual Eventing Coach, highlighting how Jimmy Wo disproves of the 'cruising position' fad that eventers seem to be very taken with, my post will focus on that.

I for one can't stand it (haha, pun) and was relieved that a respected professional rider & coach dislikes it as well.

For those non eventers, or not familiar with the cruise position...

...This is it. All joints locked, heels up,  butt and crotch far ahead of the pommel and hands braced on the neck.

Does anyone else see the glaring flaws in this? Am I crazy? ARE YOU SERIOUS EVENTERS? Why. Why. Why?

All my life I was taught the 2 point was the most effective position for the gallops between fences....

....Butt off the saddle but not ahead,  knees and ankles bent, body slightly crouched and forward, hands either on neck or floating.

Effective. Safe.

People argue that the cruise position gets the rider off the horses back and allows them to conserve energy galloping.

I disagree. Does the 2 point not do the same thing? I don't see my ass in the saddle at all.

If anything the rider, precariously tottering, barely in the saddle will go AGAINST the horses natural gallop motion.

From experience, I can atest that this cruise position is crap. During the Brian Sabo USEA riders certification clinic, my instructor (not Brian), forced me to cruise and it was the most frustrating uncomfortable thing I've ever done in my life. I have a strong core & legs but there is NO WAY that I could stay with a horse balancing over them like that. Yankee was horribly confused, thrown off and couldn't make distances at all with me sitting above him, then coming down to jump. Perhaps I was doing it wrong, but she just kept telling me "GET MORE AHEAD, more more more" And I was like, DAFUQ. Have we regressed?

Secondly, with your hands pressed into the neck, ALL your weight resting on them, how do you have control of the reins? In 2 point I don't need my hands to balance and I'm free to lengthen and shorten as I please, QUICKLY and not disturb my position. To change rein length or control the horse, you MUST take your hands away from the neck, thus removing your stability.

Thirdly, the riders weight is greatly shifted when they come down to jump a jump. Wouldn't you think this would throw the horse off MORE than simply staying in 2 point and just releasing your hands over a jump?

Lastly, the cruise position makes it very easy for a rider to fall if a horse suddenly shifts, spooks, etc. With ALL your joints completely locked, there is no room for wiggling. Literally.

I just can't see a point in it.

I tried it and it just didn't work for us. I don't see how the mechanics of it truly 'save' the horse energy and how it could possibly be more effective. Perhaps it really works well for others. What are you opinions? Have you tried it? Do you like it? Hate it?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Barn Doggies!

So I've been witholding some cute news until I figured out if it was for certain or not...

I got a doggie!

Its been a year since my baby Tonka died and I decided instead of smalldogs, I wanted a medium size dog to come to the barn with me. I've always had dogs and hate being without one. My deluge of bad dog luck has been with me since I moved to MO and I'm hoping this little guy doesn't mysteriously get sick and leave me :(

I had a Chihuahua for 12 years in addition to various barn dogs while growing up. My favorite was a White Golden Retriever named Terra and she was the best thing. She was perfect: she loved being at the barn, loved the horses and always went on rides with me. I even trained her to pull a cart to help me haul water in winter. She's now 11 and lives in Ohio still and it left me wanting for a barn dog when I moved here.  Of course I loved Tonky more than my own life, but when he died it was terrible and I decided I was done with smalldogs.

Baby boy!

 I knew I wanted a herding dog and toyed between an Aussie, a Heeler and a Border Collie. For a really long time I wanted a Corgi, but they have such tiny legs that they could never keep up with a cantering horse on trail rides! I also have friends at the barn who have an Aussie and he is great, but my boyfriend already has an Aussie and she is my lady love. A friend from Ohio has a Heeler and he is literally the best dog in the world. All of my experiences with the herding group has been nothing but positive, and I really loved their loyalty and intelligence.

Since I didn't want to spend outrageous amounts of money, and support breeders, I scoured the shelters and Craigslist for what seems like months. I never really found anything that seemed promising.

I needed a dog that was good in the house (no chewing, barking etc) since I have a night job, and one that would stick around off leash.

A few days ago I found an ad for a Blue Heeler and I pretty much fell in love. I went to see him and took him home the next day. I was supposed to have him on trial for a week but 3 days in he's already attached and I absolutely think he is perfect for a puppy.

Gah, those ears. That face.

At 8 months he already seems like an adult and has yet to put a foot wrong. He needs to be fixed and is currently being treated for worms, but after a little TLC he will be perfectly healthy.

So adorbs. I can't even.

I took him to the barn this morning for the second time, first time off leash, and he never strayed from my side. Didn't bite the horses, stayed out of the way, and minded me when I called him. He is scary smart! On the drive home he totally fell asleep, it was adorable.

He gets distracted around other dogs, so I'm hoping a few trips to the dog park will teach him to listen to me when other doggies are around but I'm pretty happy I've found a little buddy to keep me company.

I know a lot of you have dogs that come to the barn with you. Cairo is my favorite so far that I've seen on the blogsphere (Kate's from Adventure's of Lucy), but what do you guys like/own?

I think a good barn dog is something all equestrians should have :)