Saturday, March 2, 2013

Aiken Adventures at Sporting Days

Brrrrrrr!!!!  That about sums up the morning, wish I had a picture of Marissa who came to groom for me in the early am frigidness bundled up like an Eskimo!  All in all, today was a great success for the first Training for Devi, Ari, and Diem and I was pleased with how everyone went.  There were a couple mistakes here and there throughout the day, but all three were game and competent and proved that they will be successful at this new level once some kinks get worked out.

Diem started out the day and it was so cold (the thermostat on my truck was just flashing ICE!) that I was afraid he would be very tight and potentially explosive in a very busy warm up arena.  To the contrary, he had a wonderful soft, supple, and sane warm up that I was very pleased with.  Even more exciting was the fact that it carried through the transition into the ring and he put in a lovely soft and accurate test.  Unfortuantely, I didn't feel that the score did him justice, but it is hard to be immediately following an Olympic rider on a very fancy young warmblood.  Either way, it was a test to be proud of for Mr. Diem and the fact that there were no warm up issues at all and he stayed so relaxed is just wonderful!  He put in a lovely, double clear show jump round, proving that when he stays relaxed he can be a wonderful show jumper.  He did get a touch stronger than I would like down one line, but was able to reorganize and settle back into a nice rhythm.  He was really brave and bold cross country, too bold actually, and then he turned cocky.  He locked onto a really large table that's been used for Prelim in the past and fought the bridle a bit, clearly annoyed that I was asking him to slow down and refocus.  We got up to the base of it where you can finally see how big it was and his eyes about popped out of his head and we had a runout through the right shoulder.  His cockiness immediately evaporated and I could almost hear him say, "Whoa!  Errr... sorry, guess I should be listening to you after all..."  We circled and he jumped it beautifully on the second attempt and remained a bit more humble for the rest of the track- still confident, but more courteous of my input.  He did a wonderful job through all of the technical elements and the other big tables, but I think a bit change is in his future for the jumpiung phases.  When that red head cockiness flairs up it would be nice to have something in my hand that he respects just a touch more.  Other than that little blooper, he had a really great and educational go; I'm looking forward to running Pine Top with him, and we have a little time to experiment with bits beforehand.

Devi thankfully had a better attention span today than she has had the past couple, although still not quite as focused as normal (sigh, the joys of mares).  She put in an average dressage test, but was a bit tight through her back which the judge nailed us for.  It was still quite cold out for her test and she just never really let go through her topline.  Still, she was obedient and trying and that is all I can really ask for.  She warmed up for show jumping beautifully, and put in a double clear round in the ring.  The show jumping wasn't quite perfect though, and I will spend some focused time on getting the footwork a bit cleaner and the rhthym more consistent.  She just got a bit jumbled coming to the in and out and lost the rhthym and focus a bit; she was handy to not touch a rail, but just a little greener than ideal.  Cross country, however, she handled like a star.  She was super confident and relaxed the whole trip, and really soft and easy to gallop and then recollect.  It was close to a textbook round and really made me proud of her.

Ari had a bit of a rushed warm up for dressage with the times being tight which was unfortunate because she really could have used more time.  It wasn't her best test as she was really tight due to the cold, but she was trying to be obedient.  The horse that was circling around the arena next to us was a bit explosive which also didn't help, but there were glimpses within the test of what will eventually be a very competitive horse.  The score was on the high side, but the judge's comments were encouraging, stating that she was seeing the talent that is within but not able to score higher due to the green-ness.  I have to be ok with that.  Show jump warmup was chaotic and the wind picked up and it was feezing!!!  She was a bit reactive to the weather change and the other horses, but settled when she got into the arena.  She put in a decent round but had an unlucky rail.  Cross country she finally breathed (I think for the first time all day) and put in a stellar round.  She was brave and bold and very rideable which I was very pleased with.  I think just being able to move freely between the fences finally allowed her to loosen up on this cold, windy day and she was able to settle into a comfortable rhthym.  Now if we can just get her to relax a little more around the other horses in the warm up arenas so that she can be breathing for the dressage  and show jump that would be huge!

A long cold day, but a successful one for everyone's first move up.  We definitley have some homework to do, but I am really looking forward to smoothing out the wrinkles.  All three of these horses have a lot of talent and will be very competitive once they sort things out.  This week will focus more on Stewart and Beacon's preparations for Full Gallop.  Debbie is due out again Thursday, and I will connect with Eric for some dressage tune ups early this week as well. 

Hope everyone is staying warm!!!  I'm on my second cappachino and now, after finally defrosting, heading back to the barn.  Ride On!!

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