Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Catch-up Post: Red

Dudes, I love this big goofy red guy so much.

Red is two horses. At home, he's the quiet chill boy we all know and love. He's the one I can practice on without stirrups or cruise around in two point in all day (no official 2pt challenge for me this year, as I have two bad ankles and I'll get mad at myself if I can't be in the top tier, but I'm working on it anyway). At M's, though, he is AMATO ROSSO, the SHOW JUMPER, and you'd best not forget it. He won't even walk. He'll jig, he'll trot, he'll canter, and he'll rush fences, but he will not. freaking. walk.

I can only walk when I'm in my stall.

It's kind of funny, though. He's not scary, he's just like "LEMME AT 'EM!" He doesn't want to warm up. He wants to jump, and he wants to jump right fucking now. This is not an attitude I dislike, really.

I've taken several jumping lessons at M's. In the first few, we were in a plain snaffle. I needed more brakes, but a Smartpak snafu meant I didn't get the Waterford I ordered (fortunately, E found my old one and mailed it to me so I wouldn't break my neck). It was fine, but there were some moments that it would have helped to have a little more brakes.

First vertical in our first jumping lesson.
We did some pretty fun exercises over several lessons because M is a genius. Among my favorites was a bascule exercise (a trot vertical, starting about 2', with rails 7' out on either side so the horse has to bend his back over the jumps; over the course of the exercise, the jump goes up and the rails roll out a bit--we ended at 4' with rails 8'-8.5' out), a simple canter jump on a 20m circle (stay in the goddamn rhythm), a double bounce (haha Red, can't jump through THAT launching); and using the circle to slow him down (get his eye on the jump, and if he feels launchy, be all "oh damn actually I was just circling" until he stops anticipating and canters to the base).

Here's what I've learned about his jumping:
*He will take over. Ride the horse or find yourself in the next county.
*He doesn't like to touch rails. Yay.
*The way he uses his body means that he feels like he lands going much faster than he felt at the take-off, but he isn't. We've had a couple stops because I've half-halted when I shouldn't and taken his eye off the jump (but remember that thing about how he will take over? Be ready to ride? Yeah, except when you just need to count strides).
*He feels GREAT in the air, especially when he looks for the quiet step, canters to the base, and jumps. Heck yeah, former Open Jumper.
*He needs me to keep a feel of the corners in his mouth until he's in the air. He also needs me to keep my leg on at the base. Figuring out that dial is hard, because if I take my leg off he'll sometimes stop, and if I use too much leg he'll launch. We're getting that sorted out, though.
*He loves, loves, loves his job.

Sunrise hack a few weeks ago. Funnest thing ever.

And here's what I've learned about me:
*Since this has been a year of flatwork almost exclusively, I've reverted back to some bad old habits that come from having mostly ridden horses who launch. I need to stay in my half seat, not lean back (which sends him forward), and look for that quiet canter to the base step myself.
* My jumping position, however, is still fine. Would Denny Emerson love it over a 4' jump? I dunno. Haven't cantered any of those recently. But over the 3'ish stuff we're doing, my leg is stable and I'm out of his way.
* Jumping is still the most fun thing I can think of to do. Come on, Mo, let's get this canter sorted out so you can get back to it!

I need to jump at least another 100 canter jumps on Red before we begin to figure each other out, I think. But we get along, and it would be hard to find a nicer buddy to get my feet wet again with. He only jumps at M's, so we jump once a week if I'm lucky. It's fine, though. I don't want to wear him out. He's super cool.

Here's some stuff I want to talk about soon, since I really do want to do this blogging thing, despite my fits and starts with access to posting ability:
Tack reviews (KY Horse halter, Smartpak halter, Nantucket bridle, Wellfleet bridle)
Specific discussion of Mo's canter work
A discussion of the USEA proposed rule changes (as my trainer is on the Board of Governors and I have a lot of thoughts)
My mom's horse Teddy and our struggle to get him sound (Is it a bone chip? Neck arthritis? EPM?!)

Anything in particular y'all want me to start with?


  1. I've done that bascule exercise before and it's awesome. We did it with the intention of using it to help him "pat" the ground before taking off from not-a-long-spot, and it was great.

    I'm all for a post on that rule change. I am heartily against it and hope it doesn't pass.

  2. Red sounds like so much fun, I am glad he & Mo found their way to you.
    If you're taking post requests can we get a Rocket update? Love that chick *swoon*

  3. Red sounds like so much fun! Love him :)

  4. Red sounds like so, so much fun. I'm having fun reading your posts about him!

  5. Love reading this post, Red actually sounds like a grownup version of Prisoner. I of course want to hear about Mo since him and P are pretty much brothers from another mother. Also the rule changes, so much to debate and learn.

  6. I love jumpers! Red sounds adorbs! Hobbs had 2 gaits---park and run. You had exactly 10 min to hack him before he was out of control and launching through the air. Pops also must have leg through the jump. You drop leg and contact and you jump alone.