Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rachel & Grandma and Arabian Horses - Salem Junior Western Pleasure

Part One Salem

I'm going to skip to the championship for Rachel's western classes because that's what I have video for. This one is the Purebred Western Pleasure JOTR Championship.

Rachel and her Arabian horse warmed up pretty well in the warm-up ring. Rachel still hadn't been riding all that much since she just began riding again the week of the Daffodil All Arabian Spring Show just two weeks before. Then with the foal watch and stuff another week was lost.

Only two weeks of riding western and showing again was a lot to expect of both horse and rider. We weren't counting on anything big, just slow and steady. We were hoping to get enough points to get her qualified for the regional championships. Up to this point Rachel and Dandy have received a 5th out of 9 horses and a 3rd out of 4 horses.

Rachel's horse was really on the muscle when they jogged into the arena. For those who don't know, that means he was going too fast and not listening. If Rachel was rattled by the fast jog, she didn't look it. She maintained her composure as they made their way around the arena.

Rachel was what I call double pumping with her hands. Instead of a smooth lift and maybe a hold with her hand to correct the horse, she was lifting and lifting again quickly and probably not using her legs. That's something that makes Dandy nervous and was probably part of the reason for the horse being on the muscle in the first place.

When the announcer called for the lope, Dandy rounded up beautifully and loped off. Started off with one of the beautiful departures he's known for, the horse immediately got long and quit using his shoulder. With only two weeks of riding, there's no way Rachel was going to be on top of that.

The ride looked easy even if the horse was a bit long. Rachel began pumping with her seat, pushing her horse with her body making him go a bit too fast. As she came by me, I reminded her to stop pushing that way and the horse slowed right up for her.

Despite the fact there were only five horses in this class. Rachel seemed to be staying in the clump of riders instead of finding herself a place alone on the rail. The horse would be much more relaxed if kept out of that kind of traffic. When he's more relaxed he travels slower like he's supposed to. In traffic he speeds up to find his own way out.

The announcer called for the walk and Rachel pulled him to a stop for getting the cue to push her feet forward to signal the horse to stop. But Dandy obliged her request and sat right down.

When the announcer asked for the reverse, Rachel remembered to turn the horse into wall and use the barrier to shorten his frame a little bit. Then they were asked to lope and it looked pretty good except for Rachel leaning to the inside.

You can't see it on the video but there was a horse being pretty naughty in this class. The talking about too much bit and such seem to be about this horse. Whatever the problem was a timeout was called and the problem horse was excused.

Rachel hasn't had much experience with timeouts. She doesn't know you can use that time to school your horse. But then, most junior and amateur riders aren't aware that you can do what you want during a timeout, so Rachel isn't alone on this one. In this class it would have been helpful to use this time to two hand the horse and maybe circle him a bit to get him rounded up again.

Once the excused horse had exited the arena, the announcer asked the riders to resume to lope. I think this transition was probably better than the first one, but I felt for those kids having to get their leads right not once.....but twice. I'm glad it didn't happen to me!

When they called for the jog, Dandy came down to a nice slow jog, much slower and softer than his entrance into the ring. I think if the horse had come in this way, they would have placed better. As it was, Rachel and Dandy received a third out of four according to the statistics. However, according to the rules, I believe the excused horse should have counted and the total count for the class should have been five. Heck! a point is a point in this chasing game of ours.

To be continued.........


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  1. I really enjoyed watching that too and could sorta seee some of the stuff you pointed out, i definitely saw him pinning his ears at someone he was passing and agree he probably would have been more comfortable out of traffic, but wow I would hate for you to critique my riding LOL, you wouldnt have enough video or paper!!!! Great job Rachel, Dandy looks amazing what a wonderful quiet horse.

  2. I seem to have sent that m essage thro without realising it and was in the middle of typing..... Looking forward to seeing more ....

  3. I think my favorite moment was the exit. Every one of those other Arabians was jigging and anxious once cued to leave. Not Dandy. He calmly walked towards the gate with as much poise as anyone could want. What a nice, nice horse!

  4. I'm loving these videos! Since you almost seem like family now, it's like watching family videos.
    Your horses are so beautiful and getting to watch them move is thrilling.
    Yeah Rachel! Yeah Dandy!

  5. Very nice, congratulations to Rachel! I noticed the horse being naughty...even tho it was off camera, it's hard to miss that "WHAT the heck" look and behavior with the other horses.
    I have more background with equitation classes(and ooohhh, sadly I have been called an equitation natzi)I noticed some bad habits with some of the other riders. Does the leaning on one stirup or the rider dropping your shoulder effect the horses performance in pleasure enough to worry about?
    Rachel is SURELY on her way to great success when she fixes these little problems that effect Dandy's performance and comfort! She and Dandy make a VERY NICE pair!

  6. Just loved the video. Dandy is a special horse and so beautiful. Rachel did a good job, there were only a few minor things, but the other riders weren't perfect either. I'm with Lori, I would hate to have you critique my ride! What a perfectionist you are. I'm pretty sure this pair will be hard to beat in a very short time.

  7. lori, yes, I'm definitely tough on Rachel and myself. We are both very competitive and want to be at the top. That means we must see the little things that keep us from achieving those goals. But you have to remember, this is now the third season for Rachel showing. We didn't start off with this fine tuning. We started at the beginning where she was as a rider at the time.

    katee, I'm always proud of Dandy at the exit too. I think in his whole show career he's only jigged once......poor boy, it turned out he had to p**!

    Dandy is a nice horse. He couldn't have been a better horse for me as the first horse I ever started myself. I think he took care of me right from the start. Special horses like him are hard to come by.

    jeanette, all of those things interfer with the horse. Dandy is very much affected by Rachel's weight in the saddle. Getting him to keep his shoulder up is hard enough without making it harder for him.

    molly, I'm glad you're enjoying them. I hope we will be able to get more.

    grey horse, I think that this pair could be very hard to beat as well once they get the polishing done. She is such a pretty rider she really shows off how soft this horse's gaits are.

  8. Rachel and Dandy look good in the ring, to me. They did well and kept their heads.

    Would love to see more videos of riding and your horses. How about one of Scarlet? :)

  9. I am loving these videos too! What a beautiful horse and rider, they just look so good together. You've done such a good job with both of them Mikael!

  10. Great video, they looked very sharp together. On the muscle, I am glad someone uses that one! I have had people look at me like, what are you talking about? In my opinion, I think alot of it will come to them as they continue there showing together. Paying there dues so to speak! As Rachel begins to relax maybe he will not be so on the muscle. Thanks for sharing!

  11. dj, these videos were taken by Megan's mom (sorry I can't think of her name at this moment) and then put onto disc by Richard. So far I haven't had much success with the videos taken here and put on disc by Dave. If I can figure out how to make those work, we might get video of Scarlet. Cross your fingers.......and hope Dave gets a clue. lol

    midlife mom, I think they do look very good together. Now if we can just get them working as a team, it will be all good.

    I will take credit for Dandy but I had lots of help with Rachel. Crstal Baker gave her lessons for a couple of year after I got stuff started. Crystal helped with a great foundation. With Rachel being dyslexic and so is Crystal, she was able to get some things through to Rachel that I was struggling with. So her riding has very much been a colaborative effort.

    kwdhorses, on the muscle is the best description I can think of and I know I've heard it from other trainers, so you're far from alone. I also know I've heard it a lot in regard to the barrel horses.

    You are right about them putting it together over time. I know it's a comfort issue with Rachel and when she's not comfortable neither is Dandy. He's worried about what's going to happen. lol

    It's funny, he never did that with me. But then I ride pretty much the same way even when I'm uptight where Rachel rides a bit frantic. I wouldn't like that much if I was the horse. Poor Dandy is such a good sport about it. He gets a bit fast but never gets "real" naughty about it.