Friday, December 23, 2011

Making sense of things

One of the things I noticed early on about driving- any deviation in where you are going, be it straight down the rail, circles or diagonals- your wheel tracks show it. If the horse moves slightly to one side or the other, even a step or two- it shows in your wheel tracks.  As you come back around the arena you can see where you have been, when your horse moved this way or that, even a step or two before you corrected it- your wheel tracks will show every bit of it. When riding? Unless you are the first one out there using a freshly groomed arena- not so much.  Good luck with finding your horses hoof prints in there otherwise.

Which is why, when I know Kat was being resistant, leaning on the bit, refusing to bend one way or the other, moving with little or no contact or whatever he was doing or not doing as we made those circles- it should certainly show up in the dirt! Right? Yet the tracks I see are nice and round. No egg shapes, no points or bends where he suddenly moved over, no 'wobbly' or curvy lines, none of that... No, no, our tracks are nice, clean, very round- CIRCLES. Which makes me wonder how the hell he does it?

Yes he is talented, athletic and also quite gifted. Which may be part of the problem of WHY he gets bored working on such easy-peasy things as he may see them. But if we are going to do any of the bigger competitions- (ADT's & CDE's) he has to do the dressage portion and since the scores there help or hurt your overall, he has to do them well enough for us to get by so we can advance and move on.  Besides, it all carries over to the marathon and cones courses too.

In 3 Day Eventing, I know there are horse and riders alike who don't score so well in dressage. Maybe the stadium jumping isn't their strong suit, but they manage to pull it together long enough to get through that particular phase and still end up near or at the top in the standings. I get it.  The other two phases are strong enough to carry you and make up for it.

One of the other blogs I read, the writer was asking for ideas since they had done everything in the dressage tests for the level they were competing. Another poster commented and said to start working on things for the next level.  While that's a good idea and all, (and I may try it with Kat) I have my own set of concerns, particularly with him, on this.

Because he is a gifted and talented pony, I just hope he doesn't get bored with that stuff too, before we even move up to that level. Driving has 4 levels, Training, Prelim, Intermediate & Advanced.   If he is bored with preliminary level work while we are still showing training level, do we start working on Intermediate, just to give him something else to focus on?  If he is bored at home doing prelim or intermediate work, when we move up to prelim at the shows, is he going to revert back to being bored?  Is his boredom going to lead to him misbeaving in the ring?   Yeah, that's not good.... but it does happen.

Another thing I wonder about in all of this- Will I be able to keep up with him? I'm still learning a lot A LOT, as we go along.  This is only the second horse/pony I have trained to drive. Yeah, can you guys believe that? The first one was Pi and after our Epic Fail accident when she crashed into a car, bolted down the street and ended up completely destroying the cart, she made it very, very clear, she was never to be put to a cart again.  My track record so far is not what most people would call 'Stellar' by any means. Probably not even close by some judgement scale...  LOL! 

Did I mention Kat and I have never had any formal lessons? Nope. We haven't. Everything so far has been a flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants effort. For the most part it has been the work we have been able to fit in at home, hubby sharing input here and there along the way, the advice from Gary at the Darby in August, the driving club free clinic in November, whatever you guys point out here from the pictures (that I sometimes miss) and that's it.  Hubby has also teld me Kat is doing or not doing something, (dropping his hip or shoulder) yet I just don't see it and I certainly can't feel it. He may as well tell me the sky is purple for that matter because sometimes it just doesn't compute. That's all me. How do you fix things that just don't make sense?

Don't get me wrong. I am pretty damn impressed with everything we have done and how far we have come in a short time with barely any work.  For not having a lot of guidance or outside help- I think we are doing all right.  I don't expect to just go shooting straight to the top either. It would be nice, but let's be realistic here, can we? 

I have also had quite a few people ask us, "Who is your trainer?", followed by reccommendations to use theirs.  Our first ADT is in February with a dressage test, followed by a course with a few obstacles and cones. I guess our scores there will be a good place to start evaluating where we are at and what we do need help on, IF we do need help that is...
Sending Kat out to someone else is just not going to happen. Although I know there are people that could certainly do a lot more with him than I can, funding is an issue.  I don't have a bottomless bank account and the lotto gods have not smiled on me yet... Maybe some day they will, but I'm not holding my breath.

For now we are getting by, attending clinics and events when and where we can as time and money allows. The driving events, beside the gear and everything else- are kind of pricey. I will do a post on just that factor alone pretty soon to give you all an idea of what I'm talking about. Some of it, I know right now, you guys are going to suffer. serious. sticker. shock!  I know I look at some of these things and think Seriously? HOW MUCH? For Thaaaat????  Are you people crazy? Yes, yes we driving folks are. We don't suffer from our insanity, instead we rather enjoy it!


Amish Stories said...

Linda since I've just published my last post for the year and I'm taking a holiday break i wanted to say merry Christmas to you and your family, and wishing you all a happy and healthy new years to come. Richard

Rising Rainbow said...

I'm not sure what the deal is with Kat but perfect circles can be attained if the horse is talented AND consistent with the "mistake." Like a dropped shoulder that stays dropped can produce perfect circles with the right horse.

One of the things the dressage folks would do to correct a dropped shoulder would be work over cavalletti, also side passing and turns on the haunches will help put shoulders to proper work. Doing those things from the ground will carry over to the cart. With a horse as smart as Kat, I would probably not go back and forth between the lines and the cart because he will quickly figure out he doesn't have to work so hard in the cart again but repeating the work in the lines enough to build up the proper muscles and such would more likely carry the proper movement through to the cart because it will be "easier" with the proper muscling. Also when it comes to boredom adding cavelletti, cones and barrels,even, for work in the lines gives you lots of ways to engage his brain. You can bet if I ever get to begin driving Trouble, these things will all be part of his journey, smart little bugger that he is. LOL

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!!

fernvalley01 said...

So what about "farming him out" as in finding something esle to do to change it up.Is he broke to ride? or just take him out for a long drive now and then with no "lesson in mind ,just to stretch his legs and unravel his miond a bit?
I am sure you will get it he is a great pony and together you make a great team . Merry Christmas to you

Cut-N-Jump said...

Richard- Hope you and your family had a wonderful holiday season too!

RR- thing is, we have been doing a lot of things 'upper level' all along. Or at least beyond what we are competing at. Always on the hunt for new things to do to keep his mind engaged. I will be trying some of those things you listed.

FV- He actually is broke to ride, but he is not really trained to do anything in that respect. And I look rediculous on him.