Saturday, April 21, 2012

Yves Sauvignon Jumping Clinic

 Roxie and Jasper in their big kid clothes.

Serena and Roxie picked us up Saturday morning and we drove 3 hours to Tulip Springs Eventing Facility in the Tri Cities.  Normally I am not a fan of the Tri Cities.  Spokane is on the east end of Washington State and is forresty and surrounded by mountains, lakes, and rivers.  Seattle is on the other side.  In between is a giant desert waste land, boring as hell to drive through, which is where the Tri Cities are.

However it's spring here in the Pacific Northwest. We had record amounts of rainfall last month and lots of flooding.  Everything is mud and days have been drizzly.  Picture two days in a beautiful eventing facility, 70*, sunny, dry ground, irrigated grass... I got an awesome sexy sunburn on my arms between the sleeves of my polo and my gloves.  The weather was perfect, the people were friendly, the horses were gorgeous.  Serena and I would be like whoa, that's a REALLY nice horse.  Must not be in our group.  Hahaha. 

Jasper was a really good boy throughout except when he pulled back and broke a metal tie ring off Serena's trailer.  And ran back to his paddock.

I thought Yves was a fantastic clinician and would recommend him to anyone.  He didn't have a single negative thing to say all weekend, yet was able to get riders out of their comfort zones and doing things they didn't think they could do.   He really liked Jasper and said he would take him home to his barn.  He said he's athletic, ratable, and has a tidy jump.  Serena heard him say he thought he could go far.  I had a few lightbulb moments about waiting before the  jump (I need a scarecrow in the middle of the arena with a recording that plays, "wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait"), and what keeping leg on before a jump actually means.

We begged people to video us.  Unfortunately the girl that was taping the second half of the XC didn't know how to use the camera? because none of it got recorded. :(  However, Jasper did his first Trakehner!  It just had a shallow little ditch but was Novice level and he didn't give it a second look.

One of my friends watched the video on facebook and and commented that Jasper looks "broke".  Someone else commented on how it looks like I'm not hanging on for dear life anymore.  It made me realize that for the first time I'm not questioning IF he's going to jump or not, and then frantically grabbing mane as he launches himself 2 or 3 feet higher than the top of the jump.  I'm now assuming he's going over and am able to wait for him to figure out his distances and let him jump. 

It also made me realize I really don't see distances, even at a nice even pace.  Jasper's going to have to figure that out.  I'm just going to get him into a good even canter, sit and WAIT, and let him adjust his stride accordingly.  In the end, according to Yves, I will have a much better horse.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Icebreaker H/J schooling show

Roxie giving Serena the eye, Jasper standing still for a few seconds.

Jasper got a blue ribbon in a HUNTER class! It was fantastic, he just... flowed. To be honest, just getting around the course was an achievement in itself. The arena is large and industrial and scary, the jumps were decorated and horse-eating. The first two riders fell off in our blue ribbon winning class (at the same fence) and there were quite a few refusals after that.

Jasper jumped every single jump every time I asked. The first jumper round was not pretty. We swerved here and there and ended up trotting into most of them. The second round we knocked over a standard. He was acting green, not naughty. I had absolutely no doubt he would be cantering the courses by the end of the day. And once he settled in and figured out what was going on, and after I quit holding him back and just let him go his own pace, things started to click. We had 3 fantastic classes. The Gambler's Choice class (I think we got 3rd), the 2'6 eq class (2nd), and a hunter class (1st!).

I quit trying to do simple changes each time he landed on the wrong lead. It was chopping everything up and throwing off the rhythm. I decided to just let him canter on and address the changes at another time.

I forgot where I was going and started circling the wrong way. I mean, I meant to.

It was really fun to have Serena and Roxie there, they rocked it. Serena's boyfriend Matt did the video-ing, thanks Matt!

Serena and I are getting ready to take Jasper and Roxie to Tulip Springs Eventing facility down in Kennewick this weekend for a clinic with Yves Sauvignon (sp?). Stadium on Sat. and cross country on Sun.