Summer Camp Weeks 1 & 2

Camp was an amazing experience this year! I was able to do camp with Ivana, with my trainer as my counselor and many many friends I already knew and met.

I was given Utah, this chestnut Thoroughbred (I’m pretty sure that’s what breed he is), and he turned out to be a really fun horse to ride since I am experienced enough to ride him (without dying).

On the first week, we did a lot of work on lateral work and transitions. Utah did somewhat well when we did leg yields and turns on the forehand compared to the last time we did lateral work together (my trainer had to literally push him over to get him to side pass). We had trouble picking up the left lead throughout the week, and I was lucky enough to get him to even pick up one or two strides of a left lead canter.

We went on two trail rides on the first week of camp. The first trail ride was a test trail where we took Utah out on the trail. He’s classified as a guide-only horse at the office, since he is definitely not safe for anybody but staff to ride. I ended up riding next to another guide-only horse, since we were free to spread out and not ride single-file. Our counselor decided we were advanced enough to not have to ride in a straight line out on the trails. We kept the trail at a walk-only pace, since my horse and our counselor assistant’s horses would most likely take off and leave the rest of the group behind. On our second trail ride, I was given a different horse so we could do more than walking. We were able to trot and lope on the trails that time without two horses that would run off with people.

We also played a few games of musical horses. Basically, the game is similar to musical chairs, but on horses. When the music played, we would trot around the arena. When the music stopped, the counselor would call a horse out and we had to jump off our horses and run to another one that wasn’t out. The game goes on like that until there are three horses left, where the three people would lope around the arena while everyone ‘out’ watched in the middle. The counselor would call a horse out , and whoever didn’t get on a horse  got to get on the horse that was called out and be ‘chased’ by the two other people who were still in. Whoever got on that horse would be considered the winner of the game.

On Friday, we only rode English. I didn’t struggle too much doing the basic riding, walking and trotting around the ring while some first-time English riders figured out the shorter stirrups at both gaits. Utah had issues picking up the canter in general, probably since he was not used to having constant contact on his mouth with a snaffle bit.

The second week was great, too. We started doing pair work for our drill team during the show. I paired up with Ivana, who was on Chuck-E. We decided that Utah was going to be named Ariel and Chuck-E would be our Flounder for our Disney themed show names.

We learned and nearly perfected our drill team in only a few days, which ended up being pretty successful in our camp show on the second Friday. Sure, we messed up a couple of times, but the parents and family watching the show seemed to really like our drill team.

In the equitation class, I was put in a group of horses who had more ‘go’ and were not slow. We did some turning on the forehand, sitting jog as a group, posting trot as a group, loping as a group, and individual simple lead changes. Utah still never really picked up the left lead, except when we did drill team (if we got lucky) and one time during a lesson (after the counselor got on him).

I was given the award for “best legs” during our equitation class. Camp was really a great experience, where I actually got to learn a lot! I’m hoping to become a counselor assistant next year for more fun camp experiences! 🙂

Deer Dressage

This post is very awkwardly written and short:

It was my first day with Warren to ride without any instruction, but I still rode in the dressage arena.

I made him the first part of his bucket before grabbing him from the pasture. I groomed him and tacked him up, then mounted and walked him into the arena. It was windy on Saturday, so Warren was less lazy than normal. I warmed him up by walking him a few times around the whole arena in both directions before trotting him. While trotting, I worked on getting him to do a nice extended trot, since he typically gave me a slow, lazy trot. I changed directions while riding him and worked on both directions. He kept shying from the area near the B marker, and also spooked at a deer in the bushes near the E marker.

I cantered him in both directions on one end of the arena, then let him walk on the other end near the gate. I stopped to talk to my mom for a second, and she pointed out something odd.

There was a deer in the arena.

Which I had never ever seen before.

Maybe the deer wanted to do dressage.

I waited for the deer to eventually leave before riding him a bit more. I fed him, put him in the pasture, and mucked out before leaving.

Carson.

Last week was Kat’s first lesson with the 1:00 class. She assigned our horses, and gave me a fairly new horse to Garrod Farms, Carson. I mounted him and got my stirrups adjusted. The trainee tightened my cinch and I got the go-ahead to head into the arena.

I walked Carson in, and began warming him up. I had to make sure he kept doing a nice working walk, to get him prepared for everything we would be doing during the class.We rode in our half of the arena both directions, and Kat instructed us to do a posting trot. We got the whole arena eventually, so we used all the space we could.

After trotting a few rounds each direction, Kat set up a weaving pattern that we were to do without using any reins. Carson wasn’t responsive to the reins, so I ended up asking him to only yield to my legs. We didn’t worry about weaving the cones, just getting him to move over when I asked him to. He finally yielded to my leg, and I praised him. We tried at the jog, and I ended up just having Carson yield to my leg instead of weaving.

We did a serpentine pattern, where we would jog a serpentine while trying to use as little rein as possible. Carson did much better during this, doing the serpentine with a lot less effort. the next time we did it, we loped the straight parts. Carson didn’t lope when I cued him to, and tried running off with me by turning the opposite direction that I asked. I had to split my reins and pull him back to where we were going, and had him trot the serpentine. He finally loped, and we loped around our last cone and back to the end of the line.

We dismounted after and walked our horses up the arena.

Pictures of Jupiter

 

Pair Riding

Yesterday, we had a sub. Donna, the substitute, let us choose whether we wanted to ride on the trails or do a lesson in the arena. We all chose to ride in the arena. She let us choose our horses this week, so I decided I wanted to ride Jupiter again. The trainee brought Jupiter up, and I mounted and got my stirrups shortened. I walked him into the arena, and he stopped and stretched out. He was beginning to get the same issue as Centaur- the peeing problem. I kicked Jupiter to go after waiting for a minute, and he lazily walked on.

He stopped to pee a few times, and I tapped him to keep going. I asked him to trot, and he went into a nice, western jog. I worked on reversing directions at the trot. We then were told to line up behind Olga, a student in our class. We had to figure eight around cones at a trot, in order to learn how to make perfect circles while riding in the arena. Everyone finished their circles, and we were then to lope once around the arena before doing the figure 8 at the trot.

I loped Jupiter around, focusing on keeping him at a good pace, not going into the center of the arena, and sitting in the saddle without jostling around too much. I slowed him to the trot, and weaved him around the figure eight pattern. I trotted him to the end of the line, and praised him for doing so well

We repeated the pattern, except this time we were to turn around and lope to the beginning of the pattern, do the figure eight, and lope towards the line and halt at the end of the line. When I was at the front of the line, I turned Jupiter around by doing a turn on the haunches. I waited for the person before me do the pattern, before I asked Jupiter to do a line. He tried turning into the center, so I pushed him out. He then moved back in, when turning. Donna commented on how beautiful my line was. I turned through the figure eight again. I loped around the arena, and halted Jupiter at the end of the line. I gave him a huge praise, and turned him around to face the same direction as the rest of the line.

After, we got to choose: did we want to explore the ranch and walk in the jumping arena/arena flats? Or did we want to stay in the arena and work in pairs?

The class voted for pair work, so we walked on and chose our partners. Olga and I immediately pointed to each other, and she caught up with me. She rode on the outside, since she was riding Chuck-E. We walked a few laps, also trying circles and reversing, when Donna told us to trot using the whole arena. I posted Jupiter’s trot, asking him to extend and speed up his trot while Olga posted on Chuck-E to keep him from darting off. We trotted around the arena, going at a good pace. We reversed directions and cut across the arena for more space, trying to stay on the other end of all the other horses in the lesson.

Someone else came into the arena, Nicole’s private lesson, and we all went back to our reserved half of the arena. We all went into the center of the arena and stood, listening to Donna’s instructions.

“Let’s try to see if you guys can lope in pairs or not. Olga and Vanessa, we’ll try it with you.”

Olga and I discussed what we were going to do, and I walked to the inside. We jogged around one end of the arena, and began to lope on the next side. Chuck-E and Jupiter both went into their speedy canters, and I practiced half-halts to slow Jupiter down. We both slowed down, and pulled back into the center giving our horses super long reins while praising them. Everybody else tried to lope in pairs, while Olga and I both praised each others’ horses, reaching over to pet them. We high fived each other, telling each other we both did great.

We got to lope again, this time going the opposite directions. We loped, tracking right. On one end of the arena, we were told to halt our horses. I sat as deep as I could, gave a slight tug on the reins, and said “ho”. Jupiter and Chuck-E halted in-sync. We gave our horses huge praises again, proud of what they did. We then cooled down, giving our horses long reins and dropping our stirrups. We all dismounted to the right, rather than the left, and cleaned the cones up. I led Jupiter up to the office, and headed back down to my mom’s car to go to the Japanese Market.

Photos will be posted tomorrow!