January 15, 2009

Arenatime for Grace

Today I took Grace down to the arena to get some more jumping mileage into her before Waikanae on Sunday, and also to get some photos in preparation for her sale advert. I didn't take any of the other horses, but she wasn't fussed by that and loads & travels just as well alone or with the team. Her flatwork is really coming along, I think her muscles are starting to build up and she's using herself better.
She was really relaxed about being somewhere different and focused on her work. I notice too that her ears aren't back as much these days - she must be starting to enjoy the routine & the work! Or perhaps just enjoying the big feed after it all?
No refusals or runouts or anything silly while jumping. She had a wee look at the first jump we came into (it had roadcones under it), but leg on and she just popped it happily. She's actually a lot more honest and brave than I had originally thought. I took her over as many different fills and 'scary' things as I could piece together in the arena and there were no troubles at all. Her technique isn't as tidy as I'd really like, however this is only her second time jumping in the past 2 years - so I think as her bum muscles improve it will be easier for her to really push off her quarters and snap her front end up. In the meantime she tries to make up for it with a little extra air, which is cute.
I'm having a ball with her flying changes, you can either ride them or sit there and wait for her to do them automatically after the bend of your corner has changed. What also surprised me today was how adjustable she is - I could place her really easily into the fences, and near the end of the session I put up a few a little bigger and she was listening the whole way in and changing her striding by my seat aids only. I think she will be fab for some showhunter classes - might have to enter some at Waikanae.
Her tail is starting to get cleaner too!! The others just had rides at home today - earlier in the week I schooled them all bareback (I never want to canter Violet bareback again! She doesn't have the wither for it!) - it was really interesting because I could feel so much more.. it's been a while since I've properly schooled Neo bareback and his muscles have developed heaps, he's coming in under himself and striding out now.