Wednesday, August 2, 2017

7/29-30/2017 Lessons: Getting All Jazzed Up

Last weekend, M and I drove to GP Trainer's for lessons. I don't have much video because her Pixio wasn't working, and we had our lessons back to back, but I do have some good media from the trip!

Saturday 7/29

Still working on finding these square halts.

Saturday's lesson covered simple changes and 10m circles at the canter... and jazzing Penn up a bit. Through our warm up canter work and our real canter work, Penn kept breaking from the canter, no matter the lead. As soon as we'd turn down the diagonal to simple change, he'd break. We'd get through 2-3 10m circles (go around the ring and 10m circle at P, R, C, S, V), and he'd quit. I'd be digging an inside spur into him, pushing him forward with my seat, and making sure I was allowing with my elbows, and he'd still break At one point, I cued for canter and he didn't pick it up, but there I am throwing my seat and shoulders at him.

GP Trainer had me put him together in walk, then lift both legs off, and pony club kick him. She said let him run off a little bit, praise him, and bring him back and repeat once more. She had me put him back together and cue politely for canter. He leaped off into it (in a good way), and we repeated the 5 10m canter circles to the right.

He did them wonderfully- I was able to use infintiely less leg, and got a bit more sit and collection out of them With a better response to my leg, I also got a better response to the canter-walk transition. We nailed them!

We repeated it tracking left- he is weaker left, but we still got all 5 circles. GP Trainer had me "threaten" him by taking both legs off halfway through each circle, and that was more than enough encouragement to get him to dig deep and continue the canter. I made sure to ask him to walk soon after the 5th circle, and it was a wonderful prompt downward transition.

We finished by going for a little walk down her driveway. Penn got a bath and turned out for the night, and M and I painted the town red by going to Applebees and Tractor Supply, with lights out by 10pm, haha.

Sunday 7/30

We rode in the outdoor for our Sunday lesson. On Sundays, the indoor gets taken over by cavaletti lessons, so we opted to work outside in GP Trainer's standard sized court. I want to do one of their cavaletti lessons eventually. I have trouble justifying it though. If I'm going to make the drive, I want two lessons with GP Trainer, and I just don't think Penn could do 3 days of work so we could include a cavaletti lesson.

We worked the trot halts some more since I continue to struggle with them. GP Trainer understood why I'm working them so much- 1-3 has a halt at X with a double coefficient (a side note, she's going to be riding one of her baby horses in 1-3 in a few weeks and despises the test, haha). Penn likes to rest a hind leg in the halt- the left more than the right.

That left hind ruining a beautiful halt. 

We worked on giving him a major halt half to get him to sit in the turn across the school, then letting him walk a step into the halt. It feels like he's taking a ton of steps into the halt, but she said it looks like he's just settling himself. I found thinking one step wasn't enough- I need to think about letting him take 1.5 steps. Enough that I'm not going to shut him down early, but not so much that I actually let him sneak out of it.

This is from Saturday's lesson, but whatever. It worked!

I rode some lateral work- SI down the long wall (at the angle from Sunday's test, which she said was good otherwise it doesn't look like enough from C), and half pass from corner letters on the rail to X. She reminded me to ride the end of the half pass- make him straight again. I rode a really sucky medium trot early on, but the laterals were good.

I moved on to the canter and did some shallow loops, and then tossed in the left lead half pass from 3-3.

It felt INCREDIBLE. And easy. OMG it was the best. It's not the steepest, and doesn't look like much when shot from the side, but I was thrilled with it. It is the first left lead half pass that actually made it down the line I wanted, the haunches didn't lead, the horse didn't break. I was able to start it (albeit slowly), and FINISH it. I can see where it needs more inside leg though to create more jump.

I then decided to be super clever and use a flying change to get to the right lead... Yea, I'm not so clever. It failed miserably because I didn't prep or plan for it well enough. We spent a good amount of time jazzing him back up (making him "itchy"), and then doing renvers in canter and being able to apply the same jazz up aids within the renvers and being able to collect him again. The next few changes we made we a mixed bag of unclean- however he started to change the hind end first, then the front. I have to remember to continue pushing him to sit through the change, not pushing him forward through the change.

We did a few to the right, which has actually become trickier to ride properly and he still bucks through them a little bit. GP Trainer wasn't concerned about it- he's finding the hop he needs behind to change. All of the mistakes he made in unclean changes she wasn't concerned about- he's sorting out where to put his body parts.

I did some more jazzing him up in the walk before the right to left changes, and inadvertently got a few steps of piaffe. I am not calling it that myself- GP Trainer did. Of course I don't have it on video though, M had to go tack up her horse. She said that's how she develops it- essentially walking the fine line of jazzing them up and letting them get frustrated in the walk until they offer it, and then praising them.

Throughout all of the canter work, I need to keep the inside leg on and really sit to produce the jump that Penn needs to do the work.

I finally got around to doing the right lead half pass towards the end of our lesson. I wish it was on video. I didn't hold my line- I let it get steep because Penn offered it so easily. I asked for half pass to centerline and he got very light in the bridle and floated across the diagonal from the corner to 15m sideways to somewhere between X and E. GP Trainer had to yell at me to finish it properly because I showed signs of simply enjoying the ride far too much and letting him fall out of it... I halfway succeeded in finishing it properly and was just tickled that it felt so easy for Penn. GP Trainer said the "tricks" come very easily when you've done your boring homework in finding straightness and balance. I absolutely cannot wait to ride 3-3 so I can show off his trot and canter half passes.

Fancy trot picture.

We finished with looking at the TOH (we were going to look at it after he got warmed up, but got sidetracked by changes).
  • The TOH left is OK, but she wanted him to take slower and bigger sideways steps because he's taking way too many tiny ones to get it done (like 6-7 instead of 4ish). I did a little opening the left rein and bringing the right onto his neck.
  • The TOH right is weak. I had to use the same opening inside rein, but she wanted me to step into my right stirrup, and to get after his left hind by taking my leg back and pretending to kick him in the stifle to keep it active. He likes to start well then fizzles out halfway through.
She said neither is really good enough for Third, they're still in Second level type collection. That's fine- I'll keep working on them!

I wish I had more video - I really rely on it to look back at exactly what she said for each movement and we covered a ton of ground in this lesson. We looked at all the things from First to Third (except medium and extended gaits). GP Trainer is lamenting having to ride First Level herself (it's apparently been years- she usually takes horses out at Third and then not again until PSG), and she is completely on board with continuing to show 3-1 and finish my Bronze (but not 3-3 yet, she thinks the canter is a bit too long for him at this stage), and basically only show 1-3 a little as possible. She also applauded me sticking with First at Championships and thinks I have a very good shot at Finals because I'm showing him two levels above our championship test (which we'll ride in a month and a half). She said to make as much of the 1-3 test of Third Level quality as I can- that will really bring in the good marks.

Penn didn't get a bath when we were done because...

Which deserves it's own post! :-D


  1. Applebees and Tractor Supply is totally my kind of night out. And swimming in the lake = so jealous!!!

  2. ooooh he looks so good tho!!!

  3. I agree!! Applebees and Tractor Supply sound ideal :)

    1. Both were useful- dinner and getting a new cob sized fly mask since someone can't seem to keep his on anymore!

  4. 1-3 really is an evil test! I read for someone a couple weeks ago and was alarmed at how annoyingly long that stupid test is!

    1. Haha! I remember thinking "there is a ton of canter in this". It took Penn a long time to get good at it.

  5. Penn being even fancier than he already seemed to me just makes me drool over him more. He's just the prettiest bay, Jan. Seriously.

    1. I agree that he's the prettiest bay!!! I know I was sad to give up my chestnut for a bay... but he's def a pretty one! And hey, I still drool over him too... lol