Monday, July 18, 2011

Jumping lesson!

We trailered out to Busy Bee Ranch & Landfill (I always have to type that out, it cracks me up) for a jumping lesson this afternoon. Jasper, as usual, was a sweaty shaking mess when we got there but surprisingly he calmed down after I walked him around for 15 minutes. Like really calm. Like standing tied at the trailer without pawing or screaming. He let me groom and saddle him without knocking me over.

I dunno, it was hot.

Walked up to the jumping arena and there was no mounting block so I got on from the ground. And he stood there. First. time. ever.

It was hot?

We warmed up and Regina asked me if when I'm posting the trot if he likes it when I'm sitting or standing. Huh? She repeated her question and I admitted I didn't know, but that I've always tried to stay off his back because he's a baby. Um, was. Is?

So I started posting the trot sitting heavy like I had a 200 pound weight on my head pushing me down. He started using his hind end, back legs coming up underneath him. Then I switched it up and put all the emphasis on the rising part of the trot. He went back to his normal choppy trot stride.

THAT was a big breakthrough. All horses are different. Some like you to sit, some like you to stand. He responds when I sit and tries to bounce me out of the saddle.

On to trot poles and I got in trouble for not sitting in the down part of the posting and letting him bounce me out of the saddle. The second time it totally clicked. Connection.

We did some simple low stuff, talked about position when jumping which I totally needed (man it's nice to have eyes on the ground)!!!

We ended by doing trot-canter transitions. He had a lot of trouble with these before when I was riding with Jessica, and we found something that worked. I would kind of let him trot into them by giving him "get ready" cues for 2 or 3 strides then sit and ask. By that time he was ready to canter and would simply fall into the canter simply and smoothly. Success meant he didn't come off the bit. Yes, it's a good way to teach babies (especially TBs apparently) how to canter. I found out we're not a baby any more, and he basically does the transition and 3 strides later is on his forehand.

We would trot, and canter 2 or 3 strides or until he went on the forehand, then transition to trot again. Trot a few steps and ask for canter by sitting (there's that sitting word again), rinse and reapeat. And... he got it. He really did. It was easier for him to canter using his hind end than to do all those dang transitions. We got at least 3/4 of a circle each direction in the end.

Gooooooooood booooooooooooooooooooooy!!

It's great because I feel like I have lots of homework I can do on my own for quite a while. I am an eventer, after all. :)

As far as the tongue over the bit, Regina suggested something made out of rubber. Possibly a straight type of bar. Anyone have any experience with these? Is there really a difference between the Happy Mouth and the Nathe (besides $50 and that they're shaped slightly differently)? I know people rave about the Nathes.

I'm also looking into the Australian noseband.
Happy Mouth $25

Nathe $75

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Two years later and Jasper still sticks his tongue over the bit. I've been on every horse chat board known to mankind and no one seems to have any real solutions other than tying his tongue down. I've tightened his bridle up, made it loose, used those rubber ports, and tried all kinds of humane bits for his pathetically small mouth. He has a nice thin KK Ultra ($ca-CHING$), a nice thin French Link, and even a Myler. He goes about the same in all of them, nice and light with his tongue sticking in and out of the side of his mouth. I don't use nosebands other than for shows. I don't believe in clamping horses' mouths shut and it's not a solution to the root of the problem. Plus he gets his tongue over the bit with the anyway, they just don't stick out of his mouth as far. (I use a flash for dressage).

I found this bit and decided to give it a try. It's a 3 piece bit with a piece that sits on top of his tongue so he has to keep it in place. I put it on pretty snug.

It looks like a big D-ring when it's on.

He chomped and chomped at it trying to get his tongue over the top. After awhile I got on and walked and trotted around on a loose rein. Gradually I took up pressure on the reins and he slowed waaaaaay down, to the point I was pony kicking. A thoroughbred. We went around like this for a while and I finally asked him to stop.

What? What is that sticking out of the side of his mouth?

I jumped off.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Get in meh BELLY

Came back from a couple of weeks away and my horse has a BELLY. B-E-L-L-Y. He was galloping around the arena like a mad man and I couldn't even see any ribs.

I don't see no stinking hip bones.

^SEE? Belly!!
Oh, Mr. Hard Keeper... I knew you'd break someday.

Running when you're this fat makes you have to take a lot of rolling breaks. It doesn't stop you from running, just requires more breaks. We're at about 4 layers of sweat and dirt, sweat and dirt, sweat and dirt here.