September 03, 2006

one month!

I've had Silviapples for a month now, well - 4 weeks this weekend. The time has gone so fast, but I'm chuffed with how she's going. Big update today, so I've put it in 3 parts; Truck, Riding, and Jumping...

Swifty drove the truck all the way out to Whitby so that he and his dad could spend some of father's day working on installing the new driver's seat, because that's what you do on father's day. It should be easy to work out which is which, but for those of you who are having trouble - the old seat is the cruddy blue and poo coloured one and the new seat is the pretty grey one (an fto seat, just like the ones in the um... fto). Much measuring was done and ideas thrown around, then some shopping for parts and a little bit of cutting and then Swifty and I went home while his dad decided to keep pottering along on the project.

Then we got a call later in the day to say that the truck was ready and we should come out and try out the seat to see if the placement was right. The seat was a bit too high, so the project is going to resume on another day - but till then we get to have a comfy seat in the truck (even if Swifty's head does almost touch the roof). Swifty drove almost all the way back to the farm, but we stopped at Boomrock road and switched drivers.

So I had my very first ever drive on the road. Swifty stood beside me while I got going (where we'd parked required a slight hillstart) - and after a few false starts I was on my way and Swifty jumped into the fto to follow. I only got into 2nd gear, but I was on the actual public road where another car might leap out at me any moment! I also managed to locate the indicators and get back down to 1st gear to get into the driveway... then I turned into the drive and went down the hill towards the stables (kinda scary, as the height of the seat made using the brake difficult), then down to the bottom and reversing into the truck's park (with some help from Swifty on the ground directing me). But all up I think it was a very successful day for the truck - new seat installed and only going to make the truck easier to drive once we make a few more mods to it's placement in the cab, plus the truck ran really well on the motorway keeping happily between 80 & 90km, and my first road drive all without incident!

Another perfect ride today on the pony. She bridled up really well, and I'm sure she is slowly putting on the weight. No tantrums at all today, and it was also my first ride without the back protector. Pie came out and acted as safety person on the ground as well as photographer, so there are lots of riding pics today.

Loving her trot work at the moment - she's such a pretty girl.

Canter work, slightly above the bit - but she was going forward really nicely today.

Her walk, trot and canter work was all really good. And I tried to get her moving away from my leg a bit at the walk but she just got confused, so I'm going to save that for another day and have someone on the ground guiding her as well so she can hopefully get a better understanding of what I'm asking. I feel like Silvi's trot work is getting a lot more rhythmic, but her canter work is sometimes getting a little disunited - she doesn't get on the forehand (which is great) but I think when she's lacking balance she tends to get that little bit disunited or 'run'. She comes back to me well though and I can see that her balance will improve as her strength and muscle does too.

In addition to some really nice flatwork, I also popped her over some jumps. So poor Pie was not only photographer and safety person, but also pole picker and stand carter - which was much appreciated. The first pic below was the first jump we did today, she does such a huge cute leap over the jumps sometimes and I really don't expect it, but I'm starting to get a bit more secure in my seat on her so that I can leave her mouth alone more. She was very good with landing on the correct lead - so long as I was looking towards my next fence. I also think she was starting to get a better rhythm between fences, but if I got lazy then she would get in far too close, so I just need to think about constantly giving her that support and assistance until she can be put on more of an 'autopilot'.

I also set up a tyre jump for her, as she can be a bit spooky with new things - but after having a sniff she was perfectly happy to jump it. She is certainly a lot more trusting of me than she was perhaps 2 weeks ago - now she is far more likely to accept that if I say something is a good idea and safe, that it probably is (even if it doesn't look that way to her at first).

Very happy with her jumping style still. Her knees aren't as even as the last session we did, but she's still keeping them up and is probably ready to begin some simple grids instead of just the single fences now. I also jumped her up and down some banks in her paddock and she was perfectly happy with that (even on some of the deeper or slippery ground).

So yeah, successful weekend! Successful first month really.