I have so much stuff to catch up on for June. Horse Masters Horse Camp was the weekend of June 16th and it was fantastic. Most of the month was spent getting ready for camp. Kasane and I were signed up for walk, trot, canter sessions — which meant she had to know how to canter before camp. Every available evening was spent at the barn working with Kasane and with Isis.
Camp was three days long with jumping and dressage lessons on each day. So, that’s three days of riding two hours each day. I managed to get my riding time up to almost 6 hours every week with both Isis and Kasane. I am proud to report that I came away from camp still able to walk and didn’t get too sore.
Three days of camping with a fantastic little mare. Camping is a misnomer because the facilities at Chatham Hall were fantastic. It’s a very ritzy girls’ school and it shows. The dorm was amazing and the horse facilities were great.
Our first day, Kasane was bouncy and happy to be out. She figure out how to use the automatic waterer. We did ground work with Sylvana before our 9:00 ride with Tish over fences. We rode again at 1:00 with Bailey for dressage. After our first day, Kasane was very tired out.
We had some of our best rides ever at camp. I was incredibly pleased with Kasane’s progress. I came to camp with a hunter pony and went home with a dressage horse.
More to come…
Sunday morning was the weekly riding lesson. My last riding lesson was last Sunday and it went well. Unfortunately, my back hurt so much the morning after I had to stay home from work.
Last night, I went to the company holiday party. Three hours of walking around in heels plus moving boxes out of my storage unit meant my back was a mess this morning. I took 400 mg of ibuprofen and rubbed my back down with sports cream before going out to the barn.
I warned my instructor that I might not be up to much riding before my lesson. We decided to focus just on walking and getting Isis to whoa.
Well, Isis had other ideas. I don’t know if it was the drop in temperature, because she is coming into heat, or what. I walked Isis once around the dressage arena and Isis immediately started her bouncy I-wanna-go-fast trot. I corrected her a few times by circling. Unfortunately, Isis was not calming down. I couldn’t ride like that today because of my back.
During my riding lesson on Tuesday, I did an experiment: I dropped my stirrup and rode as if I was in a dressage saddle. Big different on how Isis responded.
When you ride dressage, your seat is different then when you ride hunt seat. In dressage, you ride in a “balanced” seat: you sit back farther so that your upper body is up and down instead of leaning forward. Your stirrup length is also typically 2-3 holes longer.
Isis and I had a riding lesson this afternoon/evening. I hadn’t been able to ride on Monday. I had to make up time from Friday when I left early to take Stella to the vet’s.
My instructor asked me what I would like to work on. This was the perfect opportunity to work on problems pointed out by the show:
- How do you correct a horse who isn’t listening and is more interested watching everyone else instead of paying attention?
- How do you encourage a horse to accept the bit and bend when they start fighting you?
Isis was *great*. I mean GREAT. We were relaxed and rode the dressage test twice. She did very well. She’s learned where to stop and could probably ride the pattern by herself (even though we have only ridden it like five times). She stopped square and stood quietly. Only pulled on me once. Big improvement.
The second part of the lesson focused on jumping. Isis gets excited and tends to rush when we jump. I told my instructor when we first started jumping. First time over, Isis was okay, second time we approached she really started pushing to go-go-go. Tish had me trot Isis up to 20 feet from the jump, walk for a few feet, and then trot again. Solved Isis’ rushing problem. Yay!
A few times over jumps, Isis landed on the right lead after both the first and second jumps. After the second jump, we turned to the left. She switched her front lead to the left but her rear kept on the right lead. Feels really funny when she does that. Tish had me go over the jumps again to watch what Isis would do. The second time, Isis picked up the right lead over the first jump and then the left lead after the second jump in anticipation turning to the left. Smart horse.
She said Isis looked great over the jumps. She saw absolutely no problem with us over fences. (Excellent news!) My instructor gets this glint in her eye when we talk about what Isis might be able to do. It’s exciting when your instructor gets as excited about your horse as you are.
I’m going out tonight to ride again. What fun! I’m actually looking forward to riding on Saturday. I have a good feeling about the show. I’m so glad I took two lessons this week.