Sunday, February 19, 2017

Cupid Training Diary: February 12th - 18th

Sunday was the first day Cupid and I actually got to use our new saddle. On Saturday I had visited Stockmans saddle shop and bought the M. Toulouse Premier. This was my first time riding Cupid in an "adult" saddle, and my first time riding in an "adult" saddle since last May when I was trying barns. This ride was a fairly basic walk/trot/canter flat just to get me used to having the extra leather. The flap still feels a bit too long but everyone agrees that the saddle fits me and puts me in the right position. At the end of my planned flat work the assistant trainer asked if I had jumped in the saddle yet. Because I hadn't she had me pop over the single diagonal a few times. Despite having a saddle that fit I still found myself gripping with my knees and not going into proper two-point. I ended the ride by walking Cupid around the barn yard just so she stops associating the middle of the arena with the end of our rides.
Our new saddle with my favorite saddle pad
Monday is our typical day off. The barn is closed unless you've gained permission from the trainer and I still haven't gained that permission. It's on my bucket list just so I can go out and groom Cupid and make sure she has water in her paddock.

Tuesday I was at the barn alone again. My plan was to try doing our course once just to see how my position was over a full course. But because no one was there I decided to do a flat school and use the two ground pole "jumps" to work on my two-point. Cupid was amazing and tried her hardest. Because we kept getting our canter leads correct I decided to try cantering her through the ground poles. She was a bit confused and broke to the trot a few times but at our last attempt she managed to fly through them while maintaining the canter, on the correct lead! I decided that was a perfect end to our ride and brought her in for a grooming/shedding blade session. 
All decked out for her holiday
Work passed out candy apples and cards
Our Valentine's Day Picutre
Wednesday I was also alone at the barn so we did our flat work and focused more on our walk to trot to walk transitions. Cupid knows these transitions well but it was nice working on the without worrying about any other horses in the arena. We also worked on trotting the ground poles and keeping her from drifting to the middle of the arena. Everything goes back to her thinking the middle of the arena means "done", and I'm convinced it comes from people only dismounting in the middle. On Wednesday I also changed our bit from a full cheek corkscrew to a full check jointed snaffle. Cupid realized that she had a lighter bit and went back to her head tossing and playing with her mouth. I'm hoping this is a temporary thing while she learns this bit because I really don't like the idea of using a corkscrew full time.
The book we're using to help work on transitions and training
Thursday we had some company as the assistant trainer, another boarder, and the barn owner were all there. The barn owner had brought fresh round bales to the paddocks and was moving them with the bobcat. Cupid has a love/hate relationship with the bobcat because she knows it brings the food but it's also the thing that spooked her last summer and made her jump the fence. Tacking her up was a chore because the barn owner and I were talking and Cupid was focused on the bobcat. When I went to bridle her she decided to try and drag me outside to see it so I had to force her into a stall. The front gate was open and I was worried that she would try to follow the trailer outside if I let go. That probably wasn't the best training but I did manage to redirect her to what I wanted as opposed to what she wanted. I do wish that I could use the trailer and bobcat to train her. If she had the change to check them out while they were running and associate them with something good then I'm sure she would stop spooking because of them. 

Our ride was uneventful, because it took longer to tack up I lost some ride time. We did get a comment from the assistant trainer that she liked how Cupid moved in the new bit and she thought my two-point was getting much better. It's always nice hearing comments that validate I'm doing the right thing. 

Friday I finally got the furminator I had ordered. Earlier in the week I decided that I needed something heavy duty to help Cupid shed faster. After I finish grooming her it always looks like someone tore out all her fur because of the coating on the floor. We spent a good 30 minutes working with my curry comb and the furminator. When I finished with her coat she looked so shiny and healthy. Since I had her, asleep, in the cross ties I decided to trim her mane and bridle path. I know you're supposed to pull the mane and shave the bridle path but Cupid is terrified of the clippers and pulling comb. I figure anything that will teach her acceptance of having me play with her head is a good thing. 
Our new grooming toy! Works like a dream
Saturday morning I woke up to a text from my trainer saying that lessons were canceled for the day. I went out to work with Cupid on the flat. My plan had been to work her in our dressage ring because it's flat, even, and clear of trip hazards. Cupid was not having my plan at all. She ran out of the ring several times, tossed her head, and seemed in a panic over everything. Because we were getting frustrated with each other I trotted her over to the jumping ring. Once we were there she calmed down and seemed more comfortable. We managed to get a good flat in and jumped the entire course. I had her canter our ground pole line then trot the rest. I'm dying to work with her on cantering a jump, I think we finally have a good sense of balance and are ready to do it, but the problem is that we both need a trainer to sit down and work with us on it. 
Modeling our new tack. A new noseband is my next item to buy. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

One Step, Two Steps, Breathe

"One Step, Two Steps, Breathe." That's the mantra I repeated as I slowly hand walked Cupid around the farm. "One Step, ...