Friday, April 29, 2016

Remembering the stop - Mare agrees to work

My rides on Mia have been hit or miss since riding regularly again, some days they are okay, most days I am riding a freight train and am desperately trying to just hold on.  It is Really.  Fricken.  Annoying.  On Saturday, I got to the barn a little later than I wanted, 3p, and everyone was leaving.  Nice.  Another day of riding by myself.  The upside, however, was that there was a whole course set up in the outdoor arena.  My plan had been to do fitness, might as well jump some things at the same time, right?  Ha!

Just some random between the ear pics
Mia was ON FIRE.  Our dressage is having the same issue, Mia will be nice and relaxed and then randomly she is hauling ass.  Pulling hard on the reins, plowing ahead as fast as possible while staying on the forehand.  No, just no mare.  No.

After a good 20 minute warmup, which is how long it took before we could not practically bolt, I put her over a small fence.  As we approached it, she took off, lept over it and bolted.  Mother F'er, absolutely not!  She got spanked several times and we then cantered until she remembered to listen.  When she half halted via my seat, a small success, we tried again and went to a jump.  With the same spectacular result.  Okay mare, you want a war?  I can do this, you see, I have had years of training via App with this particular tactic of yours.

App was horrible when we first started to jump, he, too, would bolt to the jump and/or bolt after the jump.  He would jump anything, from any distance, but the approach always, always, always required going from a nice 5mph to about 30mph in the span of about 3 strides.  We worked with a few different trainers before it was suggested that I simply stop him after every fence for a while.  So we started doing that.  And then upped the game so that it was a fairly severe stop immediately after the fence, ideally within 4 strides.  No sense to rush a fence App, you know we are going to stop!  This technique worked and after 6 months, he then waited, stopped (mostly) rushing and stopped his bolting.  Fixed him for the majority of jumping for the rest of his riding career.
Ready to jump school!
Well, Mia didn't appreciate this tactic but it was VERY effective.  As soon as she would land, I would start hauling on her to stop and then back 3 steps and stand for 5 seconds.  She did not like this one bit and threw several tantrums, including once thinking about taking her front feet off the ground.  Not. A. Good. Idea. Mare.  After we did the stopping exercise for about 2 dozen small jumps, suddenly Mia was listening and responding again, woohoo!  We were then successfully able to jump 2 jumps in a row without her losing her ever loving mind.  Who knew!

With the basics now taken care of, I turned to height.  Apparently the winter had made me weak and the 2'6" solid wall suddenly looked big.  WHAT?!?  I can't think 2'6" is big if I want to go Novice this year.  I put my big girl panties on and went over it.  And it was fine.  Mia cleared it well and without a second thought.  If you don't consider the speed issue, she was SO good for this ride.  She went over everything without looking at it and cleared everything easily.  Eventually, we went over the 2'9" jump (easily) and so I bumped another jump up to 3'.  It was part of a 3 stride combo and Mia couldn't have cared less.  We jumped it by itself, at an angle and as a combo.  We had on again/off again speed issues through the ride, and got to practice the stopping exercise, however we ended with a beautiful round that was balanced and speed appropriate.  The only thing we didn't jump is the thing she REALLY wanted to jump, a 3'3" lattice coop out of the arena (you can see it in the first pic).  I didn't know if I needed permission to go over xc jumps so we didn't go over it, but she locked onto it about a dozen times.  She REALLY wanted to jump it lol.

We have had lots of these kinds of rides here in PA.  Monday was
not one of them!
Sunday was brutal, apparently doing a full, hard jump school when I am only "fit" to do 3 minutes of two point was not a good idea.  HA!  I was very sore (and it got a lot worse on Monday) and took the day off from riding.  I went out Monday to ride and Mia was an angel.  She clearly remembered our lesson on Saturday and was soft, balanced and speed appropriate the entire ride.  She was good enough that I called it quits after only 25 minutes!!  Winning!

Tuesday wasn't as good but we have finally gotten the Michigan Mia back, this is how I left her last year.  She had a couple of disagreements, and is having problems keeping her lead in the hind, but overall we had a good ride.  We rode all 3 dressage tests (BN A, BN B, N A) and aside from the canter issues, she rode well enough we could have done a show. Woohoo!  Progress indeed.

After every single ride.  Every. Single. Ride.
I really want some pics or video of a ride, I am going to have to figure that part out.  Kinda hard to get it when I am the only one there but I will figure something out.  If she looks as good as I think, I will be very happy.  I was invited to two shows in May, one I cannot do and one I may do.  There is a Combined Test (dressage/stadium jumps) on May 21st that I am considering.  It is a time frame in which I think I would be ready and it is *only* a little over an hour away.  Fingers crossed, I think I will do it, first show on the calendar!


  1. I'm so glad you have the old Mia back. :D She just had to adjust. I can't wait to hear about the shows (whichever ones you decide to do). :D

    For pics and video some bloggers set their phones up on a fence post and record video and then get screenshots off of it. That might work? I don't know what kind of phone you have. Mind doesn't take video so it doesn't work for me. Oh well. That's what hubby is for. *evil chuckle*

  2. I think wildly inconsistent rides bother me more than consistently bad rides lol. C'mon Mia what's the deal?!? Exciting to have a show on the schedule tho! And yea I've totally set my phone on the fence line or in a corner or on a standards. It's very imperfect but it works.