I had an excellent ride on Monday. Victoria came to visit! Yay!
First off, when I drove up, I said "Ohhh $h!+"...all the geldings were loose.
I was the only one there, and I immediately concluded the very clever pony in that pasture opened the gate. I decided to start out methodically. I caught the oldest, calmest gelding first - Peppy, the schoolmaster that packs all the very inexperienced or young kids around. He couldn't have cared less, he was like "Eh, whatever, breakfast soon anyway..."
Then, Cody, one of the little girl's ponies, put himself in a stall, so I put him in his own stall. Then the pony behind the escape and the BO's walker gelding came in and stalled themselves. Cool. Two more. Grasshopper, the fat paint pony, was easy. Although his god awful ground manners could use work, he launched into his stall and almost knocked me down.
Last one was Tommy, the allegedly deadbroke, senior citizen saddlebred. Well, at this point, Deuce, one of the mares in Amber's pasture, was being "flirty" with him. Definitely in heat. And he was acting like a serious stud. Well, I went and haltered him fine. He started to walk fine. I was like, okay, he's good, he realizes the party is over. When we get near the barn, he starts to flip. Running around me, threatening to rear...hmm. I was alone, plus him not being my horse...I didn't want to have to wrestle with him. So I let him go again and he became even more wild. Victoria got there and we captured him. He lead a little better for her, mainly out of exhaust I think, and when we put him in his stall, he started to sweat buckets, screaming, and just having a freak out in his stall. So we went ahead and brought in all the mares so he'd chill. Then, as there were only 3 more horses, we put them in too.
What a morning.
I was going to ride Amber in Victoria's new CC Courbette, but I didn't think about the fact that the billets on my AP are lower down due to the dressage saddle-ish flaps. She definitely can't do a 44 on a CC. We couldn't find a girth big enough. So I rode in my saddle.
We had a GREAT ride. She's really starting to get on the bit. We trotted and cantered poles for just a few minutes, then I let Victoria have a ride before she got too low on energy. She was actually pretty sluggish for me. I figured it was the fact that we were riding later than planned thanks to the gelding escape.
Well, Victoria got on, and Amber was like a ROCKET. I think Victoria took up a little too much contact right away, and Amber takes this as a message that the rider wants to FLY. It took Victoria 3 laps to slow her. Then they went over a ground pole and Amber JUMPED it huge. Took off sooo early, but her strides were off. Victoria said admittedly she should have been counting. Amber doesn't know how to time her own strides yet...I'm still doing that for her.
I'd love for Victoria to ride her more in the future. Victoria is a good rider and she and I are pretty much on the same page about training greenies. She, without me telling her, did exactly what I do. Use the ground pole as a reward, because Amber enjoys obstacles so much, and only letting her go over it after she softens and engages herself. Victoria also got Amber on the bit for 90% of their ride.
Bob saw a little of the ride I think and he seemed pretty impressed with the progress.
I finally sat down and made a serious plan for training though. For the rest of July, she will be ridden 2x a week, working on softeness, ground poles at trot with a little canter, and balancing. Lots of serpantines, circles and figure 8s.
Then, in August, for 3 weeks I will ride 3x a week, we will work lightly on intro dressage, with lots of the same things from "phase 1" as I call it. Starting to focus more on lateral work and more consistency in tempo.
And finally, after that, we will add in a little more dressage, and working on *my* position over the ground poles, as well as timing strides more. Treating them as jumps, but obviously lesser so, so that I can focus more on us if they "were" jumps, without the complication of take of and landing yet.
After that, it'll be just improving, and we will see where we're at in October. Hopefully some small Xrails.
I'm kind of toying with the idea of taking her to a fun show Andrea is having, but I kind of don't want to have our name associated with going to that joke. It's really hilarious, even for a fun show. The class list is ridiculous. "Creative dress" is encouraged. My first thought was, fine line between creative and tacky. Andrea always has had a bit of a warped sense of horse shows. When someone says "fun show", I think of a relaxed atmosphere that's basically a casual-dress practice day for bigger shows. Still with distinct disciplines and such. Which she doesn't have. It's just jump the fences and walk/trot/canter or whatever. In what style? Hunters? Equitation? I mean, sounds more like a gaming event than a show.
So I probably won't take her, but I kind of did want to, just to go beat the pants off Andrea's riders. But that's not a good attitude, so I really do doubt I'll end up going.