November 16, 2009

Jimmi training again

Jimmi arrived on Thursday, so Fame and I have been working hard this weekend.
On Saturday I was really tired, and contemplated an Absorbine-bath.

I thought an update perhaps was in order before going into details about the weekend.
Last time Jimmi was here, Fame was tense, a bit too high in the neck and not round enough over the back.
The problem had been sneaking in on me, and when working her the week before Jimmi came I had problems to get her to relax enough to have her to work as I wanted.
We concluded after the last visit that this was the main issue to work on, and I was a bit worried that it was something physical bothering her.

I thought it over, wondering whether to contact a chiro or try to solve it through the riding.
At the same time the details of my job change was clarified, and with some extra time on my hands I had a discussion with my trainer Annie.
We decided that she would ride Fame a couple of days each week for the upcoming 3-4 weeks.

It turned out to be a very good solution.
After just two sessions Fame was much better, so there were not any large problems.
What has been nice is that when Annie has been riding, she has also been commenting to me what she was feeling and doing, so it has been kind of a kinderegg solution – I have got my horse worked through, I have learnt more about what issues to address, and Annie knows my horse better and will be able to help me better when I am riding myself.

Nice, huh?

I feel that Fame is now working with a better hind leg activity both in trot and in canter, and Jimmi also thought she had improved since last time.
I was very happy that he confirmed what I felt.
I still feel that she is more antelop-y though, in general.
I have been wondering why.

I got a comment on an earlier post that lower temperatures sometimes can get the horses more agitated.
I thought about amount of hard feed.
I am not convinced it is any of the two.
I have asked more from her in the work lately, maybe that is a factor?
We have now a new riding hall 25 mins ride from us, light and nice and with a super surface.
A treat to ride in!
It was ready just this week, and Fame had only been there once before the Jimmi-training started.
Fame saw some ghosts of course. And as a funny coincidence, as she grew tired, the more ghosts she saw.
I reread a book of dressage by Carl Hester a while ago. In it he describes his horses.
I remember that he described one of them as a bit pluggy as a youngster, but it turned into a much more lively horse as a 6 yo due to the work and increasing strength.
Maybe something similar is happening to Fame?
Fame has never been pluggy, always lively – maybe it is just a bit too much liveliness coming out through her ears?
I was looking at her the other day when tacking up.
I believe she has put on some more muscles lately.
When you see your horse every day it is not easy to tell – but she looks larger.

Still, I hope the antelopiness is a passing stage.
I like a lively horse, but I also want to keep her with me.
Back to the “with-you-ness” we discussed in an earlier post.

I dressed her up before the work on Sunday. All orange!

So what did we work with this weekend?


Fame has to build strength to be able to do some more collected work in the time to come. I would also like her to further improve the quality of gaits.
When she gets stronger, she will be able to show some more expression.
So we worked with transitions within the gaits, and between the gaits.
Lateral work; leg yield and shoulder-in in trot and canter.
She is weaker in her left hind, which earlier gave me problems when asking for a left canter depart.
She tensed up, and wanted to float a bit outwards to the right.
She now gave me nice round departs within the frame, which made me happy.
We have another problem though.
When collecting canter left, she sometimes changes canter with her hind legs.
Jimmi said that we just have to keep working on it, stretch the limits, tap a little on her hind when asking for collection and ride out of it when I feel that she is tensing up.
Keeping her relaxed in the work, but asking for a little more day by day. I have to feel how much we as a team can handle.
Sounds good to me.

I believe I have to have some calm training sessions on my own with Fame, and concentrate on how I sit, and how I use the aids.
I earlier thought that the problems was my fault, but as she has been doing the same thing with Annie I believe it is (also) an evasion on Fame’s part, due to her weaker left hind.

In Sunday’s session we were a bit tired, both Fame and me, and the ghosts multiplied.
One of the corners was scary right from the start.
It contained a large opened door to the outside, and there were some jumping obstacles stored there. One could not see what might hide behind them.
As tiredness grew, the whole upper end of the arena turned scary. Tigers can jump far.
Which made the shoulder-ins a bit difficult to ride…
But I have a cunning plan.
When we are to ride there in the weeks to come, any break will be in the scary corner.
So, scary corner=place of rest.
*evil chuckle*

I must boast a bit in the end.
My daughter won the regional cup in dressage this autumn, class LA.
As she is not quite well she has not been able to train as much as she wants.
She was in second place before the final, with one counting show less than possible as she had been sick.
She managed to do a good ride, and get enough points to win.
We were all very happy for her.
Her pony Charlie is a sweetie, he is there for her when she needs him.
He got his carrots.


Kate said...

Congratulations to your daughter! And it sounds as though your work with Fame is going very well. I find that as horses become more fit and use their bodies better, they can become a bit more frisky - hope the "antelope" goes away soon! Love the indoor - wish I had it!

Jayke said...

I echo the gorgeous indoor comment, very jealous!
Your hypothesis with Fame makes perfect sense to me, the more fit she becomes, the more energy she has. That's often an effect of increased fitness for people, why should it be different for horses?

Di said...

Same her, what a beautiful school!! I think it's much more challenging to ride a fit horse as I think they become sharper in the mind also. Another congratulations to your daughter, well done!

RuckusButt said...

Ah, if there is one thing we do know it's that there is always something to puzzle over with horses! Hopefully it's nothing physical and you can be free of the antelope soon.

What a testament to your daughter's riding that she won under those circumstances! I hope she's feeling better.

Once Upon an Equine said...

An Absorbine bath? Hmmm? I love the smell of Absorbine. My husband would probably kick me out of the bedroom though.

That looks like a fabulous riding arena. Misty sees ghosts in indoor arenas too. And I also feel less at ease in them. I think sounds and light are distorted inside.

Congrats to your daughter. What breed of horses are Charlie and Fame?

Cassandra said...

Have you tried supplementing with magnesium? It can help to relieve muscle soreness and calm horses.

Just a thought!

Anne i Hannover said...

Hmmm, nice trick with the scary corner, very clever;)
Looking forward to see the new indoor school (sometime around Christmas...!).

Grey Horse Matters said...

It's wonderful that your daughter did so well when she felt so bad. Hope she is feeling better now. Charlie looks like a real sweet guy.

Love the arena, it looks light and roomy. I'm sure with your new training trick with Fame the corners will be a lot less scary in the future.

Fame sounds like she is really coming along in her training. I'm sure all the little problems she has now will disappear with time.

Anonymous said...

I recently heard a clinician say the opposite of your plan for the scary corners (but really the same thing). His mare wanted to be in one corner of the arena away from the scary sights, and he would let her go there, but hurry her feet while she was in that spot, but be quiet as soon as she would move away from there.

lovely arena. Many riders at my barn ride only for 20-25 mins total, so good for you to ride 25 mins to get to the arena... it looks worth the trip.

Siri said...

I can see a lot of similarities to me and Zan Day in this post, which made me laugh!

I've also been wondering about the increased strenght in the horse and the fact that Zan Day is becoming more "jumpy" and unfoucused when riding. I also feel that she is more awake and focused on the circumstances around her that makes my job getting her whole attention a bit harder ;)
But I feel that the lunging has been a good thing and I think she got out some extra energy in the lunge the other day and has been much better to ride after that :)

I've also been thinking about the amount of food and the cold weather. The weather we can't do anything about, exept for riding the horse and use the extra energy. The food I think she needs as well, so I really don't know about that either...

About the ghosts in the scary corner; I think I will try out your plan as well. Or maybe I "undress" her and me in that corner. Because Annie has told me that I should move away from the entrance when making her ready. In that way I think that will make that corner a safe and relaxing place to be.

So hopefully our antelopes will go away soon ;)

trudi said...

I wrote a reply on here last night but it vanished in the ether, sorry.
Great to hear your 'jimmi' write up and yes I too have indoor school envy. I miss mine but not enough to want to go back to live in the property.
What a great girl your daughter is...WELL DONE to her!!

HorseOfCourse said...

Thanks for your comments all, and thanks for the congratulations!

Yepp, the new indoor arena is very nice.
Unfortunately 25 mins ride (one way) in heavy rain and sleet feels...long.
Weather in the weekend was foul, and it continues. Heavy rain and wind outside today. The horses are having a day off ;-)

OnceUpon - I also like the smell of Absorbine. My body ached all over on Saturday, and I was actually contemplating on using some on myself.
My hubby adviced me against it.
He has tried :-D
I felt better on Sunday though, even if a bit tired.
Charlie is a Swedish bred New Forest.
Fame is a Norwegian bred Sports Pony.

Cassandra - thanks for the tip. I will keep it in mind if things doesn't improve.

Siri - maybe our girls have cooked up a plan together??? Some extra entertainment?

Siri said...

Lol, with their heads over the fences where they are left to no other activity than making up plans for how to have fun with us ;) I have often caught them gazing at each other over the fences, now I know their plan, lol.

Irene said...

Jättekul att läsa!
Lycka till i fortsättningen o hälsa din duktiga dotter! Kanon bra gjort!

RuckusButt said...

Horse of Course, I just left a comment for you on my last post. I'd like for you to read it :)

DQwannaB said...

I know you're busy with your new job, plus Fame and of course your family, but still...we REALLY miss you!

HorseOfCourse said...

Thanks DQwB, that was very sweet of you!