Saturday, March 2, 2013

Aiken Adventures- A Week of Training

A week of training sessions to prepare the girls and Diem for their first ever Training event at Sporting Days!  This week was another busy one; Monday Beacon had off after Pine Top while everyone else got out for a light flat school following their somewhat relaxed weekend.  Tuesday Diem, Devi, and Ari had an excursion to Paradise Farm for an in depth cross country school.  My friend Katie Murphy joined us there with her two horses and we got a whole lot accomplished: ditches, combinations into water, bank steps up and down, trekhener, coffin, sunken road, corner, and various skinnies and steering questions.  All three horses were super with the gold star going to Diem who was super relaxed and confident at every question; he even got to school a fun Prelim combination that consisted of a brush, two strides to a drop, two strides to a wedge- what a good boy!  Wednesday was a light hack day for the ones that had gone cross country schooling while Beacon and Stew really schooled the dressage stuff.  I worked Beacon with Therese again and achieved some wonderful developments in both the trot and canter. Afterwards, I took a field trip to play videographer for Therese in her lesson with Boyd. It was a wonderful lesson to watch; she has a very cool young, imported Irish horse and they made some great changes in the quality of the footwork for the show jumping. I really liked the lesson he taught, but I think I will stick with the program that Debbie has us on as it is working so well.

Speaking of Debbie, Thursday I organized a clinic with her and rode all three of mine- what a great day of learning!  Devi was a bit opinionated and I actually had an uncharacteristically difficult ride on her: a direct result of a little bump up in her grain, some alfalfa mixed in with the new hay, and her realizing apparently overnight that there were a lot of boys around!  We still got a lot accomplished but, jeesh!, I was a little nervous that she wouldn't be able to retain her focus for the weekend.  Ari started out beautifully, got a bit excited when two horses trotted by on the track, but settled back down to get some serious work done.  The mare is a bit unconventional, but she can JUMP, and Debbie loved her.  Beacon had a FANTASTIC jump school!  We didn't need to do to much because he was jumping so well (yay!!)  Debbie has some excellent exercises to get him to think a bit and use his body better and they are really paying off.  The best, in my opinion: a tiny trot jump to a short one stride, to an oxer that you slowly make larger and wider.  The catch is that the oxer is made from two panels and a very fair groundline.  On the approach it appears to be a vertical, so when they get inside the combination they sort of pause as they figure out that it's an oxer which causes them to push off the ground and strrrrrrrrrech across the top.  Brilliant!  I am so happy with how he is progressing in this phase that I'm almost looking forward to show jumping at Full Gallop next week (almost).

Friday was dressage day for everyone to practice the pieces of the new training test, really focusing on the lengthenings and the new smaller figures.  Devi was a bit tricky to keep focused again, Diem started out soft and finished up really well, Ari had some lovely moments opening up her trot, and Stew was super- his canter has gotten so much stronger.  Beacon lucked out and just had a light hack day, although gauging by the way he danced and did a parade strut the entire time perhaps I should have galloped him!  Marissa came by to help with horse show prep (bathing, braiding, tack cleaning, trailer packing, etc) and then everyone was put to bed for the night in anticipation of a very early morning (Diem was scheduled first for a 7:30am ride time!).

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