Ria the redhead gets a website photo. Ria is now introduced on my gallery page.. finally! More photos to come. Owner Karyn Pringle and daughter Angie Clark are proud and excited about her future.... and so am I! This horse has a real promising journey in front of her, thanks to a past and present full of love and hope.
My Southern neighbors at Fellowship Farm hosted a Crop Walk benefit horse show today. It raised nearly $600, I heard. My Grandmother always said, "Charity starts at home". This benefit is a perfect example of that. Thank you Pat and all participants. I took Wonder and Ria for the schooling experience as neither mare has ever shown. It was a lovely sunny day and offered ample social opportunity. Also, it was great to chat with a blog reader there. (I met a couple blog readers when I judged at TTC a while back too.) Fun! I love to hear from you!
In the morning, I took Wonder. It was her first test ever. She got a 63% and 2nd. She was so very obedient, but quite, quite tight. I am very proud of her and I think she will be more loose and supple next time. Her rigidness showed up mostly in corners and small turns. I also rode Ria in the afternoon in her first ever test. She won it with a 67% and earned the highest score of the day! She was super. She was afraid of the short side near the judge and had accidental "counter flexion" over there, but otherwise she was a star. Both mares trailered perfectly. No blood, no bruises. Home safe. Sun is set.
Hi all. I hope all readers get to enjoy this fine week of weather. Around here, this week is what we call perfect. Although, Monday started out wildly windy. The amazing thing is: all the horses were really good. But I do have a confession to make. The Tuesday before last, Winnie bucked me off. I didn't write about it. I am still not sure why. Maybe my ego is disappointed. We often do get ego involved in the behavior of our horses. It is wrong to do that. They are not robots, they have a mind of their own. Winnie is still a good girl. Winnie had not put a foot wrong during the whole backing and early riding phases. She was my easiest so far. So, on that fateful Tuesday when she "went croup high" in all her canter transitions, I just giggled a bit. Then, suddenly a bolt of lightening struck under her tail and she kicked it in the eye. I was launched. So, if any of you noticed my blue left forearm at recent things, That is the cause. I was able to lunge Winnie and get back on that day. And I have ridden her successfully many times since. But I don't giggle when she shakes her head and goes "croup high" anymore. I sit in, legs on... go forward girl, not up!
G' day folks. I enjoyed a beautiful, sunny, cool day on Saturday, while judging. There were many happy people enjoying happy horses. That is always such a pleasure to see. And here are some thoughts from the judges booth : Many people need to study the definitions of the walks. Medium walk and free walk need to look different from each other. The horse needs to look different, (not the rider). So, here are the USDF definitions as offered in the glossary of judging terms... Medium Walk: At walk, a pace with a carriage and length of stride between that of the collected and extended walks. The toes of the hind feet touch the ground in front of the toes of the fore prints. Hmm... that means overtracking is necessary at medium walk Folks! Free Walk: A pace in which the horse is allowed freedom to lower and stretch out its head and neck. Both the horses' strides and the frame are lengthened. May be performed on a long rein (maintaining contact) or a loose rein (with a loop in the rein, no contact).
And one point to remember: at a show, SHOW OFF. The minimum effort will never get you the big score. Visualize what your horse looks like from a judges perspective. Audit a big fancy show and study the best medium and free walks perfomed there. And teach your horse to look like that. Easy points really. For one test on Saturday, I was giving a horse marks at 6 or above. Things were going so nicely. Until they walked. She never released her horse into stretch. No change. He plodded along just the same. What score would you give? Whats a judge to do? We have to judge what we see. It kills me to give a perfectly good horse a "4" during his test because his rider rode him to a 4 in the walk! If you have one gait that scores significantly below the other gaits, you may need to study a bit. Knowledge is power!
And I would like to remind you of one belief that I passionately hold as true: You will teach your horse everything he/she needs to know about connection in the transition between free and medium walks. So, if you do it poorly, you miss a perfect teaching opportunity, if you do it well, then it will pay you in millions of minutes of connection communication with your horse. Thus said, if your transition from free to medium and back is not fluid, not rhythmic, not happy, not calm, not successful... quick, go take a dressage lesson!