Olympus Ranch Stables

Friday, October 25, 2013

New Year Resolutions?

I know what you are thinking: "Sandy, put your OCD in check! It's only October!"  It is a few months early, but I am pondering my riding goals for next year. 2013 was a bust due to my back injury and I would like to set some goals for 2014. Now, typically I create a LONG list of some very over achieving type goals but I am going to try to stay realistic... Feel free to comment especially if I get a little out of hand!

1. Attend 3 "rated" shows
2. Attend 3 "schooling" shows

That averages to a show every other month... I think that will be doable even with my retired pay cut. I plan to join the USDF as well as my local chapter to start competing at the rated shows and have my scores recorded for future goals.

3. Score at least a 60% on Intro Level C Test
4. Show at Training Level 1, if a 60% is achieved, start Training Level 2

At the end on 2012, I was competing at Intro Level B and C. It was a fairly rough show season but I feel we have come a long way since then. Even though we didn't show this year we have made some serious strides forward. We have logged in 100s of trail hours and lately we have made some very good progress in the arena! I think finishing the show season next year showing Training Level is completely realistic!

5. Attend a clinic

Now this one is optional. I know how much it costs to attend a clinic so I think it may not happen with my pay cut next year but if I can swing it financially I will go. Now to do some research and find one in my area. (Southern California) Any suggestions?

And these are my personal riding goals for 2014! Realistic? Yes, I think so!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Timing is Everything

Another great ride on "Woobie" (aka Varro) today. I started out with free walking around the arena and took an extra few minutes doing it too. I am a little sore from yesterday's ride, so I assumed Varro might be too. I then urged him into a trot on the long sides and collected walk on the short side. Once he was going well and forward, I changed to figure 8s. On the diagonals I did the up up down exercise from yesterday and it went much better. My timing was much better today and I think I figured out my balance a little bit better. I still need some work but I am getting there. I still need to grab a handful of mane to keep me from getting left behind his movement but I felt more in tune with it!

I finished up with 2 canter circles in each direction then went for a short trail ride to cool down. He was a little bit of a "Looky Loo" compared to our other rides but no spooking at all! All in al we spent about 20 minutes or so in the arena then another 20 out on the trail. After I untacked and groomed him I put him in the "grazing stall." The grazing stall is a 12x24 corral that has Bermuda grass growing in it. It is a nice place for him to relax and decompress a bit. What a great ride!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Accidental Mentor

I have been following Karen's Dressage Blog and have been getting some really great ideas for my daily rides. I read her post this morning and thought I would try one of the exercises she described. I tried the "easiest" one on my ride today, but more on that in a little bit.

For my warm up today, I set the trot poles out and did a free walk around the outside of the dressage arena walking over the poles to help him pick up his feet. After 2 laps in each direction we moved inside the dressage court and did a combination of free walk/ collected walk just like last week. Then moved onto the trot. Varro was a bit of a pretzel the first time I asked so I asked for a halt and a turn on his haunches and asked again, he took of just fine. I did 2 laps of the whole arena in each direction then started doing figure 8s asking for some extension along the diagonals. He was going forward beautifully! He was well balanced and willing! I felt his back round up and he dropped right into the connection! It was glorious!

After 4 diagonals in each direction I gave us both a break and did some free walk 20m circles. I then decided to try one of the exercises I told you about..."The up up down." Now when I read it, I thought easy! I can do this! All you have to do is pay attention to your horse's rhythm and stay in the 2 point (up) for 2 beats and sit (down) for 1 beat. Easy, Right? Well, not so much! My personal balance was all over the place! Just a few minutes before Varro and I were a perfect, balanced and well timed team! Now I felt like a beginner trying to learn to post all over again! Poor Varro was so confused but I kept at it on the diagonals until I could kind of keep time... I will have to work on it!

I then moved on to some cater work and did whole arena followed by 20m circles at each end. I transitioned to a trot on the diagonals. We finished up with a free walk around the outside of the using the trot poles like we did for the warm up. Varro was awesome for the entire ride! I just love him!