We didn't make our 30 rides for the Northwood Farms Horsemanship Challenge this year.. We did get lots of good results though and I am happy with the finish. We passed the 40 horsemanship hours and Arwen now will come up to me at the mounting block and stand quietly for me to mount. This is a huge success and I am happy that I spent the time getting this better.
I think that accomplishing what you have set out to do is really important but sometimes even though you may not accomplish exactly what you set out to do you have made other important changes. The Challenge has inspired me to be more progressive with Arwen. So even though we didn't actually finish the correct amount of rides we were winners anyway. One of our last rides we played with dragging a tarp. Something new and we can work on this again until I can drag it from her back. :)
The last few weeks I have been playing with saddling with Arwen. . We have done this now for several weeks and I have started asking her to come over to me without me holding the reins or a line. Yesterday she came towards me and got into position at liberty . I asked her several times to move a little closer and she obliged. I think we are on the right track. Not saying that she is going to be perfect always but she has really improved during our practice with the mounting. Arwen is actually becoming more like a partner than a prey animal. :)
Big changes have come with the stable that I keep my horses at. Laughton Training Services has leased a wonderful new facility not far from the existing one. We were offered a choice, to move with them or move elsewhere. This was something of a shock for those of us who had been with Tessa awhile and offered some worry and sleeplessness. I have enjoyed my time with Tessa and her group but decided that it would be best for me financially if I looked elsewhere. 2 horses are expensive. :( Tessa does mostly lessons and horse shows where as I am interested in other things. So an opportunity has arrived for change. Is change good?
Arwen has always had a bit of an issue with mounting. Not sure why. She sometimes is great other times not so great and occasionally dreadful. Your horse should stand still when you go to mount there is no room for moving about while the human is mounting. It can be dangerous and pretty annoying when your horses is not standing still.
I guess another one of our human traits is to ignore things until it gets really bad. That is what I had been doing with the mounting issue. Some days she was great other not so great but never bad enough that I really knew I had to fix it.
The other day came one of those dreadful days where she would not stand still and backed up or moved about or walked into me. I spent that who day asking her to stand still. Eventually she did but was not happy about it. The next day we practiced at several mounting blocks without tack. Amazing ,she was really worried about me even standing there without tack on. I guess I should have done something about this earlier....she kept trying to tell me but humans seem to have a hard time hearing sometimes.
We are now on a path to more confidence at the mounting block. We practiced for 6 days now and she is much much more relaxed. We are not there yet I can still feel that she would like to move but is standing still cause I have asked her to. So we will continue and my goal is to get this really good.
Last month I attended the Annual General Meetings of both the Glanbrook Cadora and the Ontario Cadora. There were not lots of people in attendance but I understand that the Ottawa region has many more attendees which is encouraging. Don Barnes spoke of the declining memberships and the inablilty to fill clinics in our area with auditiors who although they don't ride go a long way to helping pay the costs of the clinic.
I find this concerning. Where is our sport going to get indiviuals who become excellent and represent our country in the future if people don't participate and don't encourage young people to participate.
Yes, there does seem to be a large turnout for the hunter/jumper sports but dressage and flat work is the basis of the sport. Young people should be encouraged to participate in both dressage and hunter/jumper events.
There are new events happening in the Equestrian world with the inclusion of Western Dressage and Cowboy Dressage. These are popular in the US and their popularity is growing to Canada. This year there were a few competitors and a few events that offered Western Dressage.
Another new event are Obstacle events or Mountain Trail Obstacle Events. These are new events looking to challenge your horsemanship and have a fun day out.
The future of Horsemanship is looking brighter but people need to participate to grow and learn and enourage the youth to learn and participate! Lets hope 2017 is a better year and more people come out to the events that many volunteers work so hard to organize.
Well it certainly seems like I am on a roll. We have attended the last two Glanbrook Cadora Shows. The second show I showed in the Bronze Basic division. I figure I had better start at the beginning and learn what I am doing. This time we had to wear English show attire and braid Riva's mane. Ours was the first class of the day and our first ride time was 8:40. am! That was pretty early so I got to the barn about 5:30 and fed Riva who stayed in overnight and then braided.
My helper arrived and by then it was light so we hitched up the trailer and loaded Riva who was really not keen to go on. Didn't I say I had to work on that? Yes, well I didn't get time between shows so her loading had not improved. We arrived at the show and tacked up . Had a short warm up and then did our first test. Riva was a good girl and we had a good test except for one mistake on my part going past the letter and not doing as we were supposed to ....Did I say this was a learning experience ? Anyway we watched the other competitors and walked around till the next test. The second one went better and we completed the test with out error ( I had a caller this time). We certainly improved our scores from the last show and managed to get over 60 in both tests and got a 3rd for the second test. I was pleased that we had improved and like the comments the judge wrote so I can see what I need to work on. I need to figure out what a 20 meter circle is and again motivate Riva more although she was more forward than the last time.
Going home proved to be challenging as Riva decided she liked it there and wouldn't load. :( Not good and proved to be very frustrating. Yes we are now working on ground work and loading will be our priority before we go anywhere else!
The weekend of September 17 and 18th I attended the Master Class with Pat Parelli at the Markham fairgrounds. What a great weekend! We watched Pat coaching 7 riders at different stages of their horsemanship journeys and learned so much from watching! Pat stresses that the connection between the horse and human is the most important part.
It is hard to say what was my favorite moment or what I took away from that weekend, there was so much.I loved watching the people "get it" when their horsemanship improved and their horses offered them things that they had been trying to get. Frustrations turned into smiles and happy faces with a few moments coaching. Pat has a way of explaining and getting exactly right what people are looking for and lacking in their relationship with their horses. A big thank you to Pat for making this possible and to Todd and Maureen Owens, Parelli Professionals for putting this all together.
Well I made it to the horse show, competed, enjoyed myself and came home all in one piece! Getting ready the day before and having a helper was the key to keeping relaxed the morning of the show. I arrived at the barn, hooked up the trailer and drove to where I planned to load. My helper who I had arranged for went out and got Riva and brought her to the barn. We loaded with minimal disagreement from Riva but I do think we need to spend some time trailer loading again. We took the long way around the roads to the show to avoid a bad corner and arrived safely. Parked and unloaded as it was very warm and I didn't want to leave her in the trailer for long sitting there in the heat. Got my number, tacked up and warmed up a little before we competed. The first test went well but the second not so good. I made some mistakes in the second and got eliminated from that class. Riva was not very inspired and was rather hesitant in the strange place. When she is uncomfortable she tends to slow down or stop so of course our test results said we needed more forward motion and impulsion. She was good though considering. This show was really just about going and doing it. We have much to learn before we can think of being competitive.
I am pleased that we went and participated. I learned lots about dressage showing and this has left me wanting to learn more and go back for the next one at the end of September.
It has been many years since I have chosen to compete in a horse show. So tomorrow I am entered in the Western Dressage classes at a local show. Can I say I am nervous? Yes I am. It has been a long time. I have been almost ready to cancel through the week but then I would loose my entry fees and the experience. I decided to take Riva as she is more used to going places than Arwen and I can relax a bit more with her. Arwen needs to spend more time online getting ready to ride and I am not sure how much opportunity there will be there for that so I decided to take Riva. We are just doing the Intro test which is walk trot. This is not really about the competition it is simply about doing it, getting organized and going out of my comfort zone.
Today I got the trailer ready, cleaned the tack and tried to mentally prepare to go. I drove over to the venue to make sure I knew where I was going. So I think we are ready to go. Wish me luck. :)
I really enjoyed myself today at Holly Oaks Farm in Lynden Ontario at the Western Dressage Workshop. I enjoyed Elaine's teaching style and look forward to taking a clinic with her in the future. Thank you to all the riders who put themselves out there and participated for us to learn from them. I found that some of the issues we are having are certainly common issues and I will continue working through them. Elaine gave us some good suggestions for doing a better dressage test and helpful facts about riding a Western Dressage Test. The facility is just lovely and truly a pleasure to audit there. The lounge has A/C and although it was not as hot today as yesterday it was a welcome relief from the humidity to go into the lounge. Linda Rawlinson put on a lovely lunch and had coffee and water and sweet treats available all day. Thank you to Linda and Elaine and others who helped get things ready and made it such a good day.