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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

6/2/01 - 10/11/11
~ Forever the Marest of Them All ~

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ummmm...... it's cold.

It's cold. It's reeeeeeeeeeally cold. I guess all my teasing about New England weather made New England angry - it's gusting 50mph winds right now and the windchill is zero. We have less than an inch or two of snow left on the ground from overnight, but the bitter cold is making up for it. I think tonight, Gogo gets the neck rug put on.

We had a pretty good jump school today, right on schedule. I pulled out an exercise from my 101 Jumping Exercises for Horse and Rider book, one meant focus on control. It was three trot poles, a 4-stride line to a 2'9" vertical set for both ways, and then another four strides to three trot poles. Here's a diagram:

This exercise can be run a few different ways, but the way we were focusing on was this: canter in to the vertical, then trot and trot the poles on the way out. Now, this is VERY hard for Gogo, seeing as she likes to land from jumps and hi-hi silver away she goes (meaning at a rather lengthened stride, not a bolt or anything!!), and it takes a few strides to bring her back to more of a working canter, and bringing her back to the trot much less is really quite hard. We did a lot of warm-up over the trot poles, changing directions over them, some walk-canter-walks, and transitions in general, although it's more important to work on downwards transitions when we're jumping - i.e. brakes!! I'm much less worried about her forward energy - I know she'll go forward!!

The exercise was, as expected, a bit challenging for her, but I did have some EXCELLENT moments before the fence where I half-halted only a few strides out and I felt her gather herself and wait for me. After the fence, it was interesting - coming in off of both leads, headed in one direction of the arena, she was fairly good after the jump, although it did take me the entire four strides to get her to come back to trot - and she only trotted because of the poles, I'm pretty convinced. The other way, she dragged me at a canter a few times through the trot poles, but we always made sure to halt straight after the trot poles. She did pretty well with it, for the most part, not as good as I would have hoped but it's a work in progress, definitely her most challenging jumping quirk (for both of us). We'll keep this one in our bag for later. I think I'll spend winter Sundays schooling simple gymnastic exercises like this, once every week, just keeping it low and simple and working on things like rhythm, relaxation and adjustability, before and after the fence. And I myself need to work on this: I tend to want to push her a stride or two out, and that is bad! It works on x-country very occasionally, but not in a stadium situation! So I have to remember to just sit chilly and let her find her own spot - if she's in a good and steady rhythm, she will.

By the way, here's a couple pictures of Gogo enjoying her wintery wonderland:

Awwwwww mare!

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