Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Patterns Are Clearly Not My Thing

I. Am. An. Idiot.

In addition to my proven inability to memorize a pattern at a show, I have now discovered I can't even READ a pattern.

Today I was stalking my competition for the Fuzzy Fun on Film show on Youtube.... there is another adult with a nice little paint who won the high point the first show and then was 2nd overall on the 2nd show.  I  watched her entry for the Jackpot class, you know, the one with the complicated pattern?  Her walk and jog were lovely, the circle was big and round and smooth, and then she broke to a walk before doing the 360.... uh... uh oh.... there was a walk in there before the 360?  Expletives.  I looked and it's right there on the pattern.  RIGHT THERE.  IN ENGLISH.  Expletives.

I didn't even want to submit my entries after I filmed them!  When I got home and watched the videos I saw a TON of things I could have fixed, but I didn't have another day that I could film.  The tricky thing is you NEED another person to man the camera, or at least to do the inspection walk-around.  Entries weren't due until the 31st, but I was leaving town for a conference the 27th-1st so I had to submit early or not at all.  And now I'm kicking myself for entering them. There's no way I'll place in the Jackpot.  The regular adult class wasn't great either.  He stepped on my foot, and that was the best of the 3 takes. I am embarrassed.

Okay, enough of the Whiny McWhinerton.  I AM pleased with the progress we were able to make while I was benched from riding.  I think our pivots have REALLY improved with the help of a dressage whip during training sessions.  I use it as an aid to straighten his body by giving him a tap on the shoulder when he gets crooked.  I used to just use the lead rope or my hand, but with the whip I can keep my body and hand positions correct.  Backing is getting better, but he needs to get stronger in his hind end to do it faster and straighter.  He still requires convincing.  The whip is helpful for that but he resists when I don't use it. The back-around the cone of the Jackpot was dreadful.  I don't really know the "proper" way to do that.  It's on my list for my lesson later this month.

Even if I miraculously acquire the ability to read and learn a pattern properly, we still need to work on a lot.  But, with only a handful of lessons I've done the vast majority of his training by myself and I'm pleased with how far we've come.  And yet there's so much further to go.

In other news, I was able to ride this morning and groom my poor neglected pony.  He was very good, but he needs a chiropractor.  He felt better the longer I rode and his canter was surprisingly smooth and even.  He felt very light and it's been a while since he's felt that way.  So I know he's not too messed up, but I'd still like to get him adjusted asap.   I haven't heard back from my favorite chiro yet, and I'm starting to consider calling the other guy.  He does fine work, but I prefer the one who spends a whole hour with the horse working on massage, pressure points, AND adjustments for only $10 more.

Here are my entries (patterns are HERE) if you want to watch me fail:




  1. Either way I think you guys are looking good. I have to ask: how do you get Junior to pivot on the correct inside foot? On the ground I cant manage to get Milo to stay on the inside pivot foot, he always sucks back

    1. Thanks! I guess I've taught him that his Right Hind is the foot that "never moves." When I stop and set up, I always move the rest of his feet to be square to wherever the RH is. Then, when I taught him to pivot, we'd go really slowly and one foot at a time. He'd get a stern "Nah!" if he moved the RH and lots of "Gooboy" at the other feet. It took me a while to learn how big MY circle needed to be around his RH in order for him not to have to move that foot. If my circle was too small he'd have to take a step back, too big he'd step forward, etc. When I taught him the pull turn I started slow again but was very gentle with the reprimands while teaching him that the pull turn pivots on the other foot. Pull-turns went out of fashion as quick as they came in, though. I haven't seen one in years. I hope that helps! :)

  2. Aside from the small pattern mistake, I think your patterns looked really good, and Junior's pivots were nice! If I hadn't seen the patterns ahead of time I never would have known you were supposed to walk. You could still end up placing above someone else! :) Maybe next year I can find someone to record me...

    Milo, it's good to remember that the pivot is actually a forward movement... I think sometimes we end up pushing them backwards rather than around, and that's why they have to step out of it.

  3. I agree with the above poster—if I didn't know the pattern said to walk, I'd never have known the difference! Your pattern looked really clean and Junior is really cute in the showmanship. I'm always horrified to watch myself on video, but it's so helpful to fix mistakes. Everyone has messed up a pattern before, even the seasoned pro's ;-)