Saturday, July 31, 2010

Clinic with David and Skills at Arms!

At wednesday and thursday this week I've been attending yet another clinic with David Oliveira. Seems it will be the last one of this year so I'm happy that I managed to attend.

Bosco is still quite young both in his physique and in his mind so we mostly worked at easy exercises for loosening of the neck. The day before the clinic I had asked Pelle to help me a bit with the left side since I've had some troubles with it for the past few weeks. Luckily for me, Pelle had just picked up David from the airport so they were both sitting beside the arena and cooperated on helping me. Win! This "lesson" I was to exaggerate the flexing to the inside on both hands. Keep the flexion until he released, then push forward with seat and legs. This worked really well and we managed to get the left side almost as good as the right side.

During the clinic we worked on the flexibility of the neck, alternating flexing to the outside and the inside. We also worked at mobilization to the outside and to the inside, not as much as we have done before but some to engage his hindlegs a bit more.

Cantering has been a problem for us because of the small round pen, we have just a small space, and Bosco isn't really strong enough to canter as collected as he has to. So while we had an arena we worked a lot on the canter. First we worked on both canters only in the big circles, then during the clinic we proceeded to canter at the circle, then over the diagonal, trot in the corner then new canter. We actually managed to do this quite well, I think we only missed one of the transitions. It was hard to maintain the right rhythm across the diagonal, but this will get better when he gets stronger. The last lesson we could actually do canter serpentines with canter, trot, canter transitions on the center line. They might not be good enough for a dressage test yet, but we're getting there, slow but steady! We also used trot, halt transitions, while at halt I was to collect Bosco and back up a few steps before going forward again. After doing this a couple of times his trot became more collected and I had some really nice rein-backs, which I don't think I've ever managed to do with Bosco. Fun fun!

Cantering is still heavy work, but at least he got his hindlegs with him

David managed to get Bosco a bit worked up and crashed into the other horses who, by coincidence was on the exact same place in the arena. 

Pelle is showing off to the photographer 
(he has got a whip in his hand, but aims quite well so you can't see it :p)

David and Pelle is playing knights with whips as lances

Wednesday was a hot day, Bosco almost changed color 

Flexion to the outside

I just want to finish off with this picture. I have never seen myself sit as correctly as this before. I'm quite amazed actually! Still got things to improve here aswell, but this is a huge step forward!

Unfortunately I don't have any pictures from thursday as it was pouring down all day. There was some pictures taken but the rain was so heavy that the automatic focus, focused on the rain.

After the clinic was finished I stayed for one more night so that I didn't have to drive home the same day. This morning me and a friend wanted to try out skills. Skill at Arms is a competition where you use sword, spear and lance in different exercises. Here is a video of Luke Binks, a knight from Australia who has been at Trollspeilet the last couple of months, riding through the skills course I trained at today. The amazing commentaries is done by Pelle. 

I tried the spear, sword and the lance and Bosco behaved amazingly good. I was quite surprised. Even with me hitting the quintain in full speed canter he didn't even flinch when I hit the metal plate. He might be a good horse for jousting! We also jumped the small jump, and Bosco jumped correctly and didn't even try to run on the outside! I beat my old record of spins on the quintain, the old record was 4 or 6 (don't really remember), now I got 8 and that was the only time we counted. Fun Fun!

And on a side note to this last bit, during the second weekend of july there was an unofficial world championship in jousting, in France. Norway won, out of 10 teams! The Norwegian team consisted of Lisa Holar, Petter Ellingsen and Erik Ryen. Second place went to the Australian team who consisted of one norwegian, Pelle, one from australia, Luke Binks and a german guy. Lisa, Petter, Pelle and Luke are good friends of mine so this was fun for many of us! 

These guys compete in full scale medieval armor and it looks spectacular! Pictures can be seen at this thread (on both pages). Pelle has a green shield with a white horse, Luke is wearing black and yellow, Petter has the brown and white horse and Lisas horse has a green cover. 

For you norwegian readers: here is a couple of articles:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Equine education?

So for the past year I have thought a lot about my future. What do I really want to do with my life, where do I see myself in 20 years and what do I need to do to get there?

First things first, I do not see myself working at a hospital ward for the rest of my life. The work is exiting and I learn something new about people everyday, but the payment is not that good, work-hours are horrible and somehow you always have to be the one that gets yelled at. Both from patients and doctors.

The first thing I thought about was further education within nursing. I have always pictured myself as an anaesthetic nurse, but this will not help with the work hours. I have also thought about taking a degree in economics, it would be helpful in combination with the nursing degree and by itself.

Then today, I had a nice chat with my aunt and uncle who asked me if I had thought about getting and education abroad. And yes I have thought about it, but not really considered it, until now. One of my dreams has been to have my own stable and run it the way I want to. Never really considered it an option because of the finances and my own thoughts of "no, I can't do that, no you  need a safe job" and so on. So I have spent this evening surfing colleges in the UK who has equine degrees, and it seems like the kind of thing that would suit me perfectly. I'm already in contact with one of the norwegian agents for one of the colleges, but I need to get some more information about the different places before doing anything else.

So to you bloggers out there, anyone got any tips on different colleges out there with equine studies on the schedule?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New Saddle!

After talking to the saddler I got an appointment for today. So, with the help from a friend, I loaded Bosco on to the transport and drove for about 2 hours to the saddelers workshop. It was a combined indoor arena with a small stable and a working area at the side.

When we arrived the saddler was busy with another costumer so we just placed Bosco in one of the stalls. The transport we were using was of the old sort, with crappy ventilation so he was soaked with sweat when we arrived. He wanted to roll around in the sawdust, but had some problems due to the small space in the stall. Bosco has never rolled over in a stall, only outside, so he had to lay down and get back up about 5 times before he was happy. And he repeated this about 10 times before it was our turn.

After a while it was our turn with the saddler. First she took measurements of Bosco, and looked at his muscles. The first thing she noticed was that he had less muscles on the right side. This might explain why his right side is his "difficult" side. The saddler found a lot of saddles who could fit Bosco, some of them did, many didn't. Like most iberian horses he has a short and straight back, with some height on the withers. This makes it a bit difficult to find a saddle that is broad enough for the back and still gives room for the withers.

We tried out a lot of different saddles on Bosco, then took the best ones and I tested them to see how they were for me. After this we had eliminated all but 3, one of them I wasn't going to buy anyway (waaaaay to expencive) so we tried out the two others in the indoor arena.

The first saddle was a Santa Cruz Artur De Lux, this one was my favorite during the testing. It has a quite deep seat and it was really nice and comfy to ride in. After testing this saddle for a while, we changed and tried the other one, an Ideal Tonishia. The first thing I noticed when I got up in this saddle, was that Bosco felt more free in his shoulders and through the withers. I tried the saddles once each and both of them seemed to be correct for Bosco. At first I was leaning towards the santa cruz, since they both seemed correct and the santa cruz was the cheaper one, quite a lot cheaper than the Tonishia.

Then I changed again, and once i tried to trot with the santa cruz, Bosco tried to buck. There was another horse in the arena at the time, and it was cantering towards us, trying to buck as well so this might be why Bosco tried it as well. The thing is that he never bucks, if he does anything it's rearing, stopping or running sideways away from the aids. So after a while we changed the saddles again, and only by the way Bosco moved I decided to get the Tonishia. If it was up to me and my wallet, I would go for the santa cruz, but Bosco was quite clear about which saddle he preferred.

Happy horse and happy owner, altho one who would have to take a few extra shifts the next month to make up for the hole in my savings account.

What the Ideal says about the Tonishia model:
The tree in this saddle has been technologically designed to allow room for the muscle mass found at the thoracic part of the trapezius (base of whither). This is usually created by correctly schooled horses that are in top level/advanced work, but can also be found in Lusitano, Andalusian and some Warmblood horses naturally. 

This prestigious saddle comes in a luxurious and durable ’Texo’ leather with calf seat and knee pads. 

A truly inspired saddle that is already proven and esteemed by many top riders and their horses.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I'm going to Golegã!

The Golegã horse fair (Feira da Golegã), also called the National Horse fair (Feira Nacional do Cavalo), has been the main meeting and traiding place for Lusitano horses. This fair occurs one week in November, and this year I will be attending!

Some friends of mine went there last year, but I couldn't afford it at the time. So when they told me they were going back this year there was no doubt in my mind.

We'll combine the trip to Golegã with some riding lessons at an, for the moment, unknown stable and a trip to Lisboa. I have never been to Portugal so I'm really looking forward to this trip.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Saddle issues part 2

Another session in the "arena" with Bosco today. After warming up for a bit, I started to shorten the reins and searched for contact. Quite fast I noticed that something was abit off, I couldn't really put my finger on what it was, but things weren't like they are supposed to.

The past sessions it has been easy on the left hand, good support on the right rein and I can do almost what I want to without any protests at all. On the right hand he wants to have the support of the right rein and not use his right hind leg, but after some warm up exercises this is not really a bit problem to ride through. Today, he kept throwing his head about, everytime I tried to pick up contact on the right rein, on the left hand. I tried almost everything, every exercise I have used before and yes it got better, but not good. And for the first time I had problems with impulsion. He just didnt react to leg aid.

After a while I realiszed that there was something wrong. First thing I thought of was his wolf tooth, which was on the right hand side. If there was some more left it could become painful. So I searched his mouth, and he did not react to anything, other than he didnt like to get my fingers in his mouth.

So my next thougt was the saddle. I know it hasn't been the ideal saddle for him and I was planning to change it in the near future. So I took it off and tried out how he was bareback. BINGO! there was the problem. After removing the saddle I had my old horse back, just as reactive and sensitive as i know him.

So now I have called the saddeler and if I find a transport, I'll fix it during the next week!

Oh how I love that my horse lets me know when he is hurting! I have tried out saddles before, last time he would not trot, only canter. And at this time I had problems getting him to canter at all in the arena, so that one didn't fit either!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Observations from a day at the stable

Some interesting observations from today.

A single-jointed snaffle is weird when you are used to double-jointed. Horsie does not want to stand still while I try to tighten the girth, he goes against the bit, weird feeling, he rears. Then he gets frightened that I become unbalanced, and rears again. Next thing that happens is that I jump off (so I won't fall off), he gets spooked by this and tries to get away, again with the pressure and rears once more. 2 seconds later he realize that there is nothing to fuzz about, he snorts and walks up to me as if nothing has happened. "I have no idea what just happened, but I'm done! let's go!". I tightened the girth from the ground and get back in the saddle. Now he is allowed to walk freely down through the fields, relaxedly he blows his nose.

Going for a hack with the TC saddle is quite alright, lots of freedom to encourage swinging of the back and lots of natural impulsion! 

Riding with one hand is no problem. "Hey, this is what i was born to do!"

It's easier to sneak behind the bit while using the single-jointed snaffle, especially with a sloppy contact! When I took the contact as I am supposed to, it was working as intended. (I still like the double-jointed snaffle better)

Getting scratched on the head, forehead, the jaw and behind the ears has been underestimated for a long time. Now it's time to catch up for all the time spent not getting scratched! WITH interest! Bosco is like a huge brown (but very cute) mosquito, following me around the pasture "come ooooon, scraaaatch meeeeee!". This is only outside, when I take him in to groom him, he is not interested unless i scratch him on the areas he always loves getting scratched. Inside he is only focusing about what happens outside. He definitely prefers the pasture, he is much more relaxed outside with all his buddies (and enemies) around him!