Thursday, January 5, 2012

Moon = PERSONALITY^2 x |Training|

(a friend kindly informed me that my copy-paste text was unreadable...corrected, you can now read without your eyes crossing...)

And the search continues. The brown trailer sold last night, despite my higher offer and intent to pick it up on Sunday. Seems the ol’saying “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” is holding true. Folks would rather sell today for less money, then risk you not making good on your word tomorrow. Unfortunate, but nothing I can do about it but continue looking.

The white trailer remains on the backburner as the seller isn’t wanting to lower her price any, and I’m not jumping at increasing mine after seeing the price the brown went for. Especially after learning the brakes on the white one are not working. There’s a cost in itself.

A grey one remains but I still need to see how low she’s willing to go and whether she has a title for it. For some reason I think I’ve already gotten a text back from her saying that she doesn’t...

So I keep looking. I’ve plenty of time and there’s truly no rush. After chatting and do some research with the BF, he let me know that the truck can easily pull a 16-footer which would be a three or four horse or a larger 2 horse with tack room. I’m still not certain this is the route I want to go as many are more ‘stock style’ at this size, but I’m going to keep my eyes open. It’s all about the best deal here!

In other news, I headed to the barn last night, remote camera trigger in-hand. Let’s consider that one a flop for now. I also figured I could take some video shots…and that was a flop too. For some reason it would time-out the video recording after 10 seconds each time. GER. Needless to say, unless you wanted shots of an empty arena or a ghost horse (in one image he appears 3-legged), this post will be picture-less. I’ll try again after some more research, be assured.

Moon came into the barn feeling pretty energetic and we spent a good deal of time bickering and arguing under saddle. I was a little frustrated and still thinking of it on my drive home, wondering if I’m ruining my horse’s training and setting him back with my attempts to move him forward. Maybe I should have just gotten a horse that was already trained to all the aids??

As I turned a corner on the highway, I had a pretty neat thought cross my mind. For one, if I bought a more expensive horse that was already trained, I’d be spending my time worrying I was undoing all that expensive training. Technically, most of Moon’s training is training I put on in the first place! So I can dang well remove it, change it or add to it as I want, without actually going into “training deficit”. He’ll never be worse then when I got him (okay, he could be, but I’m hoping I’m not that bad!) and everything I ‘screw up’ right now, technically I should be able to fix and put back.

Since I have no training deficit, I shouldn’t worry about our regressions. We’ve nothing to lose. And more important? I bought Moon for his personality. You can’t remove personality. It’s a constant. If Moon were a mathematical formula, it would be:

Moon=PERSONALITY2 x |Training|

As you can see, his training is an absolute value, which means it will always be 0 or above, and his personality is squared. He has tons of personality, as he reminded me in the rest of our ride…

After messing around for a good 45 minutes with our dressage, I pulled out some poles. This is part of my New Years resolution to progress our jumping ability and the barn was devoid of people. All alone.

I set up a single cross rail, which when I measured based on my boot height today, was 17”, a decent place to practice. I remembered my placing pole in front of the jump, and hiked up my stirrups two holes. Moon immediately got what I could only describe as “hyper”. Or I did and he picked up on it…

Let me start by saying that “dressage seat” and “hunter seat” are VERY different in feeling. I felt significantly less effective in my aids with my legs higher on Moon’s sides, and it’s just an odd feeling after so many months in long stirrups. I think it felt odd for Moon.

We set off to do a warm-up circle and then headed to the cross-rail at a trot. As I stared at it, I admit, I got nervous. 17” isn’t high. It’s not even schooling show height. But I don’t jump, Moon doesn’t jump, and in the past, he was hitting even the low fences. 17” feels high.

As we approached the jump, there’s no doubt in my mind that Moon was picking up on my apprehension. Or terror. Probably terror. Because he planted his front feet just to the right of that little cross rail, and promptly double-barrel kicked the plastic jump block.

My protector. My hero. My saviour. My crazy horse.

I suggest folks, NOT staring at a jump like it’s a crazy lion out to eat you. Your horse MAY just try to kill it. Mine did.

Thankfully, I was left in tears…from laughing so hard at his reaction to my nerves. My horse has my back, even if it’s not what I was needing. All my tension released with that good laugh and as we came around again, I was looking forward to it. Moon’s ears were pricked forward and we SAILED clear over the jump, clearing it by what felt like a mile. I mean, he over-jumped that sucker.

Pats and praise, a few more circles and then back to the jump. I will say, that for a little cow-pony, I think he actually LIKES jumping. Probably not as a career move, but he had a fresh energy, perhaps from trying something different. As we’d round the corner his ears would point at the jump, his pace would become more energetic (but still controllable) and he had almost a ‘prance’. He was having ‘fun’ if that’s something horses can have.

Our next 4 jumps over were awesome. Not a single clip, he didn’t over jump and he went straight and confident over the jump. Our only real fault, was mine. In a desperate desire not to bang or impede his mouth, I’d often give him too much rein as we went over, resulting in no contact (or loose contact) on the other side. And for Moon, that means stop. We’d clear the jump, he’d walk two or three steps, and then stop until I gathered my reins. Something for me to improve…

I was wishing for a bit that we had normal jumping poles since my little cross-rail was about 5’ wide, but decided later that it’s probably better. The narrower the jump, the less intimidating the wider jumps would be in the showing world, and the narrow jumps will just seem normal. No harm there. Now to drag my own poles to the barn and get working on that goal to clear a course. WE ARE JUMPING!

Of course, that wasn’t enough for me to call it a day. I wanted a canter out of him because he was feeling pretty energetic. I’m confident he gave me at least ONE on the right lead and made it about a ¼ of the way around the circle. His next four I’m not as sure about, but we NEARLY made it ½ way around the circle at a canter by our last one. Perhaps it’d be better if he could remove the BUCK from the start : P Silly happy pony.

And yes, I called it a day there. Our fancy dressage stretching and collection may have been a bickering mess, but we had a fun ride and some successes. Somedays, there’s no point in focussing so hard on one thing that’s not going well, when you can focus on things that are.

The last thought that came to my mind after I put him away and got in my car, was that he showed ZERO soreness. Two days after his trim! SCORE!

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