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We Are Flying Solo

February 6, 2012

The David Intervention: Pt. III

Encore looked at me like I was crazy.  You put me on the trailer, we drive 5 minutes, you take me off.  I run around for a while, you put me back on trailer, drive 5 more minutes, you take me off.  I nap, you want me to get back on trailer?  Does anyone else see how psychotic this woman is? Anyone?  Bueller?

Despite his skepticism, Encore stepped on with a sigh and we trundled back over to David's farm for YAY, JUMPING!  Except before YAY, JUMPING comes OMG, DEATH CIRCLE OF ARM-KILLING WARMUP.

My favourite part is when David said, "Hey, he learned something yesterday!"  I don't think we caught it on the video, as he was trying to save my battery, but I was so proud of my brown pony.  And I had to laugh at his unconscious clucking when I was supposed to apply leg.  As riders, none of us can help ourselves -- we all cluck for horses we are watching.

We didn't catch the canter work, but it was very good and Encore was able to maintain a slow balance.  The most important point I took from this warmup, especially the trot work, was that right now, we need to gooooo slooowwww.

You can see that Encore really struggled with the trot poles.  This is not because he has never done them -- we have done rows of five poles many times.  But he has never done them ROUND AND CONNECTED.  I could feel that it was very very difficult for him.  We continued to work on them several more times both directions and David assured me not to worry, he just needs to learn to find his feet without sacrificing the roundness and balance.

After this (and me shedding several layers of clothing), we moved on to a massive gymnastic.  Our first attempt:

To complete the sentence, David instructs, "When he lands, encourage him to canter away and move forward after the jump."  This exercise was difficult too.  We've certainly done gymnastics before, but not with an approach in such a slow, round trot.  It took us a few more goes to work that one out too; I had to really focus on softening my hand at the first pole, letting him lift his head to look at the jump, and keeping my shoulders back, not changing my position.  We did finally sort it out....

I felt like I rode this line rather craptastically, but there is more good advice here.  And I'm going to pretend that was one of the dogs belching, LOL.

Completeing the David sentence again:  "He a little bit ran out of distance there, but that is just him being green and figuring out where he needs to be.  Don't worry about it, that's just a matter of getting out and jumping lots of things."

We then did a myriad of courses, which I do have video of but got too impatient to upload them all.  Encore began to work out his footwork.  The oxers seemed to go better for us, but the short turn to the perpendicular vertical was very tough for us both (you will see in video).  I wanted to lean forward in the turn & hold him to the base of the fence.  I think we all know how successful THAT particular technique is.  Yep, I just got a hollow jump with a pulled rail behind, my bad, sorry buddy.  About halfway through, a woman entered & began longeing her horse on the corner -- I always welcome extra challenges, I feel it is good for the horse to learn from, but it made our turn to the diagonal line quite short & added another unexpected level of difficulty!   

This is our final course:

There are many fantastic tips from David in these videos, but I won't retype them all, else this entry would be ten pages long!  Leave it to say that I will be watching these over & over.  And over.  And over.

I can do it, mom!
But that was the end of it.  David & Lauren saw us off & I spent the next 1.5 hours on the way home trying to digest all I had felt & heard.  I turned my hard-working horse back out in his paddock when we made it back to the farm & went home to nurse that post-clinic funk.  Yeah, you know it, when you go, Awww, man, it's over?  But that was so amazing, I wanted it to last forever!  However, I am quite sure my shoulder sockets would have separated, which does put a damper on one's equitation.

So thank you again, Ryan, we couldn't have done it without your help, and THANK YOU, DAVID (although I doubt he reads this unless he googles himself, which doesn't seem quite his style) for an incredible two days of shoving us over a training hump & untangling my ragged mess of a brain.

Bets on how long before I tangle it up again?

So I shall leave you with that.  The red boys saw their vet today for their annual shots & Me Annoying Dr. Brian (Dr. Bob's alternate) With 10,000 Detailed Questions About Everything.  So all are resting and we'll see what we have tomorrow!


  1. Yay! You guys look great! It is neat that David videotaped this all for you.

    I am also glad to know I am not the only one who asks my vet 10,000 Very Detailed Questions about Everything. ;-D LOL!

  2. Hahahaha, I asked him if Dr. Bob warned him about my OCD powers of observation. Dr. Brian just laughed. I took that as a yes.

  3. You and Encore look amazing! I can't wait to see more videos of him coming along. It's always exciting to reach new milestones with a green horse.

    You're trainer is fantastic. He sounds super nice, and extremely knowledgeable. I'd love to hear more of his tips through you!

  4. Thanks for the video, it puts your post in perspective.... BTW... looks fantastic!

  5. Thank you, thank you! And David is amazing, he has a quick eye and is very generous. Sometimes I can see or feel things that I did wrong and he doesn't say anything, I reckon he knows I know, LOL! I don't think I have ever heard him say anything negative or not encouraging to me.

  6. You guys had some really nice, beautiful moments!

  7. I love the videos! I can't wait to read more on Encore's progress.

  8. Congrats! Encore is really coming along beautifully--you can just *see* him figuring things out as he goes. Like, "Oooohhh, so that's how I'm supposed to do that." He's looks like a very bold, roll-with-the-punches kinda guy.

  9. Oh, and David and Heath do indeed sound quite similar, lol.

  10. Thanks, y'all! And yeah, Frizz, he's a real tryer and really makes an effort to figure out what the heck his job is for the day. It just takes him longer now that his job is so much more complicated then running around in circles!

  11. Very nice final round! Steady and balanced. Well done! You are lucky to have a trainer like David and a horse as lovely as Encore.

    Now, I'm going to listen to all your videos carefully and take notes because this is EXACTLY where I'm trying to get to with my own boy!

  12. Go for it, jen, I think I'm already on watching number 57 and I will probably view them many more times this week. I even watch them at work with the sound off. Don't tell the governor.

  13. Man... I would LOVE to work with a trainer like that. He is encouraging and positive, his corrections are gentle, and he is quick to compliment when something goes right. The dude rocks. AND, he even video'd you! Whatever you paid him, it was totally worth it.

    I am chucking over the "he knows I know" bit. Good trainers are like that, they understand when you're the sensitive types who's already beating yourself up and don't feel the need to heap on the criticism.

    I didn't know the Big E already had his changes! Did they come installed by the race track, or is that something you've already taught him? I know they're not perfect, but he definitely IS doing them, so I'm wondering. Very excellent either way.

  14. RW, you are certainly right, he is awesome and I would drive a long way to train with him. Well, I DO drive a long way to train with him, LOL. Most of the time, I KNOW when I screw up, I just need a good pair of eyes to catch me and David has a special talent for bringing out the best you have.

    As for changes, all racehorses are taught them. Generally, they break from the gate on their right lead, then switch to their left on the first turn (or so I've read). Smart ones will switch to save a tired lead. Encore is a clever boy and switches when he needs to balance, it is certainly NOT me!

  15. I love how much he improved over night. He must have studied hard ;) I also love David's comment about making him canter away from the fences...Charlie ALWAYS says that to me with Pop, it's so important that they respect your leg and don't land in a heap after a fence. He looks so great!

  16. love the posts! Thanks for putting in the effort to post the awesome videos. Videos of lessons are so educational but I fully understand what a pain in the butt uploading is. So thank you. You and Encore are progressing so well. I love watching it.