Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Oops..Full Gallop = Success!! (But another pink ribbon...ugh pink!)

So.. I could have sworn I posted about Full Gallop?!?! Oh well... I guess it's fine to post now :)
Flecky was AWESOME!!! Oh my, he is BACK!! And better than ever!

oh... ha ha.. I did post.. but on Danny's blog.. .so here it is...

Friday morning Kathryn came and gave Fleck his massage. She said he just continues to feel better and better every time she sees him. (well, minus that one time when we had the tummy issues and the shoe change). Yay!! I told her that she made me feel better. I keep saying that "this will be Fleck's last hurrah at eventing"... or "at prelim"... but then he just keeps feeling great, so I keep doing more. So the fact that he feels better and better makes me happy! And not as worried about him. But yes.. he really does seem to feel better than ever and is having fun, so.. why not?! :) 

Anyways, so after Kathryn left I finished packing and then we headed to Aiken. I had a great ride with him that evening. We started stretching but Beth had me REALLY stretching him. He was allowed a long rein on contact and stretching or he had to be connected on the shorter rein and working. No running flat and on the forehand. And in order to do that... less hands, more leg. MORE BEND, MORE LEG! I also had to let go of that darn left rein when we were tracking right. I don't know why I feel the need to hang on it. Well, I do. I feel like his left shoulder goes flying out and I have to hold it in place by holding that left rein. But that doesn't really allow for him to reach and stretch. But I also can't give too much. Fleck felt really good. Then we worked on getting him to take a longer stride without getting faster. I'm not sure what the difference was (the massage, me giving up on the outside stranglehold, him gettting a good stretch, or just things falling together) but I was actually able to get him reaching more without speeding up. YAY! It was awesome. So then we worked on the canter, also starting with a stretchy canter. We worked on making him dance behind again. Dance, Flecky dance! Hee hee. We got some lovely canters too. And then, shockingly, our counter canter was nice and balanced too. Beth did say to have him more bent to the inside (so counter bent to the true lead but more straight than anything) and not overbent to the correct lead to hold it. And then we went to work on the trot lengthen and that is where we found the hole. When I go to close my right leg against him, he canters. And in his defense, that's pretty much how I ask him to canter. But he's also using it a slight excuse because it's easier to canter than to bend around my right leg. So, Beth pointed out that I need to use my elbows instead of my wrists and really keep my hands high (which is effect bringing my elbows to my waist, which is what Cindy and I have been working on). And I also need to push him into the connection better. So when I close my right leg and he canters, leave that right leg on until he trots, then take it off. And keep my right elbow bent to help keep him bent around my right leg. And then when I did that and also put my right leg on softly and kept it there, I got some phenomenal trot lengthenings. I still needed to sit up and back almost, lifting my chest. And it helped still too if I allowed it to build rather than push for it. So we quit with that and get everyone settled and headed to bed.

With the show being a one day, it was hectic busy. But fun. We skipped braiding and jackets since it was so toasty warm and a one day. I got on and headed to warm up. And it was FANTASTIC! He felt amazing. We got the nice big lofty trot with a big stride and a slow rhythm. And then Beth pointed out that my hands were uneven. My right hand wants to be low and my left hand wants to be forward/ahead. So she had me hold my crop in my hands. Doh! I need to do that once a week to help me get my hands even and also less fussy. It was amazing how by doing that I couldn't use my hands and fiddle with him. But wow... he was still very soft and steady in the bridle. Shocking ;) It really is all leg and seat. So then we worked on the leg yields and I need to do three things to get good leg yields... slow it down, go sideways, and make sure the shoulder is leading.  Which, is harder than it sounds. But we did manage to get it all together and get some really really nice leg yields. Going left is still harder. Oh, and bend... keep the inside bend. He tends to counter flex a bit for some reason. I'm sure it's something I'm doing or not doing, but I can't quite figure it out. But if I do those four things, it figures itself out. Then we did a few lengthens again and then it was our turn.

Our test was okay. I definitely did not have what I had in warm up. That ring just feels so cramped and that test is so busy. There is no time to fix anything. It feels like you're only in each movement for three strides. So... it was a little braced and a little rushed, but we did manage to do every movement without breaking or having any mess ups. We managed a 33.9, which put us in 5th out of 9 I think. Maybe 10.

Then we got a little breather and then it was jump time. Argh! I was feeling pretty nervous but surprisingly the closer we got, the less nervous I got. I guess I knew that we could do it. I just had to ride right. And he just felt so good.. it was hard not to get a little excited. The stadium course looked super fun and not at all maxed out. But it did have a triple. Yay! We warmed up pretty well. He felt great and kept taking the slightly long spots happily. No stops! Although some of the long spots felt very "reachy"... like he had to heave a little to make it completely over. Beth said it was because I was taking my leg off at the fence. So, I had to kick at the base, kick over the fence, and then kick on landing. (not kick.. squeeze). So we went in and it was a pretty good round. We had a sticky fence to two and three, and then I managed to get it together and ride better and the course got smoother. The last four fences felt great! I rode a little strong into the triple but was able to settle. So yay. NO STOPS!!!! And we were now into XC still on our dressage score. Yay! Mission accomplished.

We jumped the coop at an angle twice for warm up and then it was our turn. The course was not an easy course, but it was a nice course. Technical but not maxed out. It was a table, to a "mushroom" then to a new skinny brush fence. Then you rolled back behind the skinny and jumped two big rolltop brush fences on a one stride bending line. EEEKS! It was a serious question and one that I knew I had troubles with. The first roll top brush was the training one and the second one was the prelim one but I swear they were huge! And they were set in a slight dip so that the second one looked even bigger. Then it was a table then to the bank. It was a really cool bank complex. A hanging log, one stride, up bank, over the ditch to the other bank, down the bank and then a bending 4 or 5 stride line to the next fence which was a chevron skinny. I'll be honest, the log to the up bank worried me a little. I just don't know that we've ever done that question before and I could see myself getting too far ahead of Fleck and/or too big into it and not being set up for the up bank, OR, I could see myself collecting too much so that he pooped over the first element and then had no energy to get up the bank. Then it was down the hill, through the woods, and to a table next to the scary trakenher. Then the skinny hanging log into the water to a table in the water. Then the barrels and around to the trakenher where the old ditch and wall was. The terrifying ditch and wall. And the ditch and wall was rebuilt to mimic the easier one, but was still scary. But luckily, we were jumping the trakenher next to it. Then a cool new pretty hanging log branch and then uphill to the water. The water was a skinny jump in, angled out bank, and one stride skinny rolltop. Then over the bench in the fence line, down the hill, over a big coop, up the hill, around and down over another table and then to the bank. It was a jump, down the bank, then angled to another skinny. Then the long haul to the finish fence. Nothing terrifying but some tough questions. Well, maybe 4a and b was terrifying. ;) Fleck started off on fire and we nailed the first three. We circled and lo and behold, he freakin' rocked through 4 a and b. WHOOO HOOOO!!! I was so proud of him. He jumped it perfectly. And I held my line. Yay! So then we got to the bank and he did that great too! But I was a bad Mommy and was so excited I forgot my landing gear so we landed on the down in a heap with me on his neck. I yelled out "Circling" as I knew he couldn't jump the chevron with me on his head. So we circled and I got back in the saddle and over it we went. It was a horrible approach and not straight on, but he did it. Then we went careening down the hill but settled to jump the table nicely. He jumped in the water fine but I guess I took my leg off because he landed kinda dead so I had to do a big pony club kick and flap my chicken arms to help him over the table in the water. hee hee.. Poor kid. Then we nailed the barrels and came around the corner to the trakenher. I tried to get him balanced around the turn and then suddenly his left shoulder went popping out to the left and he was drifting left at a fast bolt. I don't really know what happened. He wasn't spooking necessarily and I don't know why he wouldn't lock on to that fence and go for it. But it was like he was bolting back to the barn or something. And because it was sort of out of the blue, I reverted to old habits and just pulled on the right rein. Which just caused him to be even less able to jump it. So we had a run by and I circled and got him straight and underneath himself and he jumped it just fine. It wasn't even really worrying me at that point, so again, I'm not sure what happened. Oh well. I could smack both of us for that as it was a simple fence and we were doing so well. But he jumped the rest of the course awesome and we weren't too horribly off on time.

We ended up finishing 5th still! For being what I was hoping would be an "easy" course, it sure did have some problems. One friend had two stops at the 4b combo. Megan did the same thing I did and had a run out at the trakenher when Gabe bolted too. Maybe they were spooking at the ditch and wall. Hee hee. Like their Mommas. And another friend of mine was eliminated at the water. And then I think another person had one stop. So.. even with time and the stop, I still finished fifth.

I'm so proud of us both though. We fixed stadium and I believe that is due to me riding better. Yay! If I play the what if game... IF we hadn't had our stop, we presumably wouldn't have had time, which means.. we would have finished second. But you know... it's always one phase. Next time we'll have a horrible dressage score but finish on it. ;) hee hee... He felt great after and looks great today so.. I can't complain!

I really think he's getting it now and I'm getting it. It's just a matter of putting it all together at the same time. And that stop was really just a silly stop. It wasn't like we didn't get it or understand the question. It was just silly bolting pony. And silly mommy forgetting how to fix an old issue. BUT I do wish I had remembered to ride better and get my feet in front of me and then I wouldn't have had to circle for the chevron after. So... still some stuff to work on, but all in all... we can do this! :)

1 comment:

  1. Congrats!! Love the pics. Those are some big fences!