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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

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

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Connecting Half-Halt A Go-Go

My horse is back. Oh she's back, she's back! Where did she go, you ask? Well, she took a small vacation to Crazy Town, but she's back home now - came back on Saturday during the jumper show. She said it was fun and all, but agreed with the fact that it makes her mother stress quite a lot when she's there, so to maybe not go so often, okay?

Gogo really has had two weeks of pretty caca, yucky dressage. It felt like we were erasing the months of really hard work we had done, and I was really worried about it. Everything we were doing was in the indoor arena pretty much, even our jumping, and we were busy with little, boring fences and gymnastics that focused on steadiness and control. And that's all fine and dandy, to be sure, but I think Gogo just was getting increasingly ring sour and itching to get out and do SOMETHING. Our problems were all solved (for now, anyway!) when I went to the jumper show and let her jump around full courses at a relatively fast pace. It was like she went, THANK YOU MOM I REALLY NEEDED TO GET THAT OUT OF MY SYSTEM. Sunday, her day off, she was exceedingly chipped. Even Monday, our hack/conditioning day, she was INCREDIBLY focused, happy, quiet and well-behaved. The last couple of hacks we've been on she's been jittery, hot, and spooky. I felt as though this smooth wave would continue to carry over into our dressage work, and I have to say she was good - but not amazing - yesterday. We rode for the first time in a lesson setting in the outdoor, which was only our second time out there. Late today we FINALLY got the dressage arena set back up out there, but before that, it was a completely open area that sloped away on all sides - so it felt like if you went too close to the edge, you might fall off! Her walk and trot were pretty good, but her canter was just a mess yesterday. I didn't let it get to me too much, and figured that since we had been in the outdoor, we'd be all the better for it today.

And I was RIGHT. We had another lesson in the outdoor today at 9am, and we were set up for disaster. There were two very scary plastic chairs there that scared her half to death because a giant flock of wild turkeys (complete with two big toms that were fighting over the hens) were behind them, three horses out in the fields who were on and off galloping, a group of two or three whitetail deer directly next to the arena drinking out of the little pond, a trailer-in lesson with two horses unloading next to the arena who were both freaking out, and the hay guy's gigantic truck and clanging hay lift loading hay into the loft... all at the same time. Bless her little heart, she just kept on trucking. She started off immediately feeling like she was going to be great. She looked at stuff, to be sure, because she is alpha mare and what alpha mare wouldn't, but instead of telling her to pay attention, I gave her a set of parameters to work in - you have X amount of rein, I'm not going to take or give any - and she happily settled into it after a short while, giving me some amazingly excellent w/t/c, leg yields, and a whole mess of transitions. It wasn't anything too complicated, and there isn't a hair of collection anywhere, but you know what? We're starting pretty fresh here. I love the relaxation I have right now, and I love how she's loving this bit (no champing today!!), so we'll gradually add more complicated questions as the week goes on. And we had half-halts. We REALLY had connecting, well-timed, rebalancing half-halts. If Gogo is blocked ANYWHERE in her body, the half-halt stops right where it is and doesn't do anything more than either slow her way down in an unbalanced kind of way, or makes her hollow her back. Not today! OH BABY but it felt nice!

This video isn't of the best parts by any means, but it gives you some idea of our canterwork today:

How FUNNY is that commentary?
And of course, we set the dressage arena up AFTER I was done riding.

Ohhhhh she felt so good though. As the lesson was ending, Vicki said, "That's the best I've ever seen her!" And I exclaimed, "My horse is back!" and beamed.

Onward and upwards, Gogomare.


Albigears said...

The video was amazing. She's really really beautiful.

dp said...

You're right, Andrea -- she looks great. Particularly lovely at the trot.

What about the show?

And I would have a hard time not socking Georgina in the face.

Stacey said...

NICE VID! Really, beautiful transitions! You guys look great!

As far as the person fitness goes, there's actually a really good book you can find on Amazon called the Rider's Fitness Program. Oh, and some advice on pushups and situps just 'cause I just got done with Fitness Specialist certification and for the next couple days I'm in Physical Training Leader certification class for the Air Force, make sure those pushups break 90 degrees at the elbows and for the situps, make sure your arms stay crossed across the chest and touching your shoulders. Also that your shoulder blades touch the ground with each rep...if you want to...those are most efficient, but hey, you're a civilian and I'm jealous in some ways 'cause you can do whatever you want!

Patricia said...

Ha ha ha I had no idea you have a blog Andrea! I found this because I recognized your picture on Fugly!

I'm glad Gogo came back from her mental vacation.

I could see how Georgiana "claiming" you would seem annoying. Would that really increase your chances of getting into the clinic? Really?

Have fun!

Andrea said...

HA that's funny! The internet world is really a lot smaller than we give it credit for, I think. I love blogging... I dunno why I never bothered to make one before now.

And no, it's not going to increase my chances at all for getting in the clinic because Georgina is CRAZY and if somebody told me they were associated with her I wouldn't let them in MY clinic!

Andrea said...

PS how is Shorty?

OnTheBit said...

haha...your other boarder story cracked me up. Have you thought about tactfully telling her that she is not your trainer? Something along the lines of, "I can't wait to have my lesson with so and so. I haven't had a real lesson in forever" to which a normal person would respond "What do you think I have been doing with you". And that is when you must put in your innocent sweet face and say, "I didn't think those were I feel bad...I thought you and I were just messing around. I feel terrible because I really have not considered you my trainer". Granted she might go nutso on you and not let you use your jumps anymore, but I hate to see you sneaking around avoiding her.

happy.girl said...

Love the blog; Gogo is gorgeous!

You both look great in that video. She really has lovely gaits, if your eventing career doesn't work out I could totally see her as a 3'6" hunter.

I hate situations like that, because on the one hand, she probably thinks she's really helping you out and that you are enjoying her "lessons" as much as she is enjoying giving them to you... But on the other hand, you are not enjoying them and there's no real polite way to be like, "Stfu and go away." All I can say is be careful what bridges you burn, especially if she's crazy!

Angelina said...

Great vid. Great horse, great rider. Wish i could sit like you.

Loved the commentary! LOL! "I got that one really good! Whoops." :D