Monday, August 23, 2010

WE'RE BACK!! (and we need lots of work)

We are officially back from the show. Izzy is even moved back to the barn from my friend's house. I'm not sure what I think about all that, but we'll get to it later.

First, the good news: Izzy traveled like a pro. She loaded quietly, was great on the trailer, and was a total doll at the show. I was worried about how she'd do with the stabling arrangement--12' x 12' panels with horses on three sides. I shouldn't have worried. She was great. Quiet, friendly, sweet.

I don't think I mentioned that there was a Karen O'Connor clinic on Friday and Saturday. (I'm really hitting all the big names this year... might see Ian Stark later on.) That was nothing short of incredible. She's tough but fun, fair, and incredibly knowledgeable. I'll definitely be cheering for her (from afar) at the WEG. Izzy and I didn't ride with Karen (because I'm poor and out of practice), but we did ride with Stephanie Goodman of Wasatch Sport Horses. She worked for Karen for several years, is an incredible rider, and is an awesome teacher. We are so, so lucky to have her anywhere close.

Here are some pictures:
This is Izzy in her new nylon sheet in her stall at her first-ever overnight show. She'd be looking at the camera, but supper is way more interesting.
Izzy and I having a lesson with Stephanie Goodman. I'm not quite sure what Steph is explaining, but it looks like Izzy wants me paying attention. (Notice that she's standing still. Yep, that's how relaxed the pony mare was.)
Ok, so box jump is kind of scary to me. As we discovered, it scared me a lot more than it scared her. Once I got that worked out, Izzy was totally fine jumping it.
Stephanie had us jump through this grid multiple times. It was great because it let Izzy work out her job while I figured out my position and aids. We weren't perfect at the end, but I learned a ton. (And I'm so setting a grid at home. We need practice and I'm going to learn to trot in if it kills me.)
I know. Those of you who know about jumping know this has problems. HOWEVER, I feel like I now have the tools to start making some progress. I've been realizing that as great as Cathy is for us with dressage, she's just too far away from jumping to help us with it in a substantial way. That was really disheartening until I realized that we also need oodles of dressage.

Stephanie talked about shortening my stirrups so I can actually use my body to stay with Izzy. She helped me understand my center of gravity and it's relation to my horse, so that I can raise and lower it to say in motion with her instead of getting behind and then throwing myself to keep up. I need to keep my body still to allow Izzy to use hers. I need to push my heels down and my feet ever so slightly forward to put me in a safer position over fences.

Also, I need to be more definite in telling Izzy what to do. Instead of letting her haphazardly negotiate the grid and then stretch afterwards, I need to give her directions, eg "Trot in, jump, canter ONE STRIDE, jump, canter out. I need to use my reins together to keep her from pushing out one shoulder. I need to give her a steady contact to go into and not worry about where her head is. I need to carry my hands up and my chin up to be more effective and I need to worry more about her hind legs than her nose.

See? Definitely enough to work on for at least a month.
We'll finish with a picture of Irie and his mom in their lesson. Who knew the pony could fly?

PS If you're on facebook, I have more photos here.


  1. What a great experience you had. Lots to work on - I love getting feedback like that. So glad Izzy is sound and staying calm and sweet. You've made tons of progress.

  2. It sounds like you really got a lot out of the whole experience, and you and your girl were able to learn together. That's cool that she was so nonchalant about the box jump...that looks scary to me, too!

  3. We used to jump hundreds and hundreds of grids. You can pose all kinds of jumping questions by changing the types of jumps, the heights, and the distances. Makes for great training.

    Sounds is if you had a really good weekend. You and Izzy look really good together. What a good girl she was.

  4. Yay for jumping!! Grids are such a great exercise, versatile, fun and let both you and the horse learn so much.
    Sounds like it was a great weekend!

  5. You and Izzy look great! I'm glad you had fun at the clinic and got lots of good feedback. I know absolutely nothing about jumping, so it all went right over my head. But it sounds very good.

    Irie is about the cutest thing I have ever seen. Next to Izzy, of course!

  6. Congrats! Sounds like Izzy is really maturing.


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