I got Packenham (Paddy for short) - an ex point-to-pointer in May of 2012, after having a break from riding of about 20 years. There have been some ups and downs (mostly downs) over the past 18 months & this is our journey together from Paddy being a racehorse to hopefully eventually a riding horse!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Lightbulb moment??

Over the last week I have felt really down - had a lot going on, and then paddy has not been going well at all and I have been getting more & more despondent about whether we will ever achieve anything!!

I was looking forward to my lesson with Jon with some trepidation as I had not been able to work paddy in canter without it all falling apart!! Jon hot on him first and of course paddy did not buck at all!! I then got and and we did quite a lot of work getting a more active working trot, using poles to help him activate his back end and lift his back. This felt good and I found it very helpful to feel what his trot should be like - I am someone who needs to feel how things should be, rather than be told!!

We then moved up into canter and yes he bucked a couple of times, but then he settled and continued to work really well. Jon had to remind me to sit up, support him with my hands and ensure I keep my legs wrapped round him & it seemed to work!! Then went on to do circles at either end with simple changes through trot at x and paddy did them really well, and even his downwards transitions weren't too bad!!

By the end of the lesson I felt more confident and hopeful that we might get somewhere after all!!

This process has helped me come to a few conclusions as follows:
1. I am too nice with paddy - I have been so worried about asking too much from him that I have allowed him to pootle round looking pretty, but he has not been working through his back, so I need to ask more of him in order to develop his muscle and now I know what it should feel like, I will be asking for more activity from him.

2. All this is new to paddy and yes it is hard work for him, but if I don't ask for more he will never get strong enough to do more advanced work.

3. I need to do all I can to build up his topline. His neck has muscled up amazingly well, and although he has put on some muscle from his withers to his tail, it is no where near enough and therefore he is just not sting enough yet. I  have started strapping him to help muscle development, and I am going to do more pole work to help this, plus carrot stretches etc. I have also restarted using a band round his bottom when schooling which creates resistance and makes him work harder when he's being ridden.

4. I need more regular lessons as having them monthly is not enough. If anything goes wrong in between I am liable to let things drift which means that they get worse and I end up losing confidence, so plan to try weekly or fortnightly lessons until we are more established.

5. It will take time and there will be ups and downs but I need to remain hopeful that we will get there in the end. I need to persevere rather than give up.

6. I need to set goals to work towards, particularly in the form of competitions as this helps focus me and helps prevent me from allowing things to drift along.

Here's a couple of videos of Jon riding paddy yesterday:

Long awaited update part 2

As mentioned in my previous post I had booked a lesson with Jon Bard - he asked me to just warm up how I would normally and then he asked me to canter on both reins - I was not looking forward to this as his canter, which was one of passus best paces had deteriorated so much I dreaded doing it, but I did try and true to form paddy bucked, kicked and generally behaved like a nob...... Then Jon said he would have a ride on him - cue huge sigh of relief from me!!

Paddy still did the bucking and kicking with Jon, but he did manage to get some decent canter, so I then got back on & we worked on getting a much more active relaxed trot, so that he bunches up less when cantering, I did manage some canter where he did not kick and go disunited so was really pleased with this.

I booked a lesson for the next week and over the week have hacked him and schooled him - my attempts at canter still had him bucking so gave up on that it did work him we'll in trot.

I was planning to take him to do 2 prelim tests at Milton at the beginning of November but I am starting to think that if I can't get him going well enough there's not much point - paddy has had so many ups and downs that it is getting very hard to keep motivated - particularly when you see others improving and going out and about and doing really well.....

Hoping that the next lesson with Jon will help!!

Long awaited update! Part 1

It has been a while since I put anything on the blog and quite a bit has happened since I last posted, some of it good and some not so good. 

Since I came back from holiday we haven't really done loads, I was meant to be taking paddy to Over show, but the weather was awful with persistent rain, so Gillian & I decided not to go - showing is bad enough but showing in the rain is definitely an experience to be avoided if at all possible!!

I then had a Matt Cox lesson, where paddy went really well - he is improving all the time. We are currently working on leg yield, shoulder in, medium trot and canter loops, building up to counter canter.

We then went cross country schooling the day after at ickworth which I will put into a separate post as it was an interesting experience!!  

He was great in the Matt cox lesson, but when I schooled him at home in the following week, he started bucking in canter and changing legs and going disunited, so of course I thought I had broken him!! Managed to get the lovely Mish Brooker out to see him and she found that he was a little sore along his back, so sorted that out, after which I thought he would be better.....spoke too soon!! Had another lesson with Matt and in the trot work paddy was going well, but canter was awful! He just bucked, kicked out  and kept going disunited - I was so disappointed as canter has always been one of his best paces. After this he seemed a little unlevel on his dodgy foot (he hit a jump hard at ickworth) so this meant that we were not able to go the the Rockley Rehab Reunion, which I was really looking forward to. I gave him a few days off, then hacked him and he seemed a lot better, then bought him in from the field to ride and his hock was really swollen & puffy - trotted him up and he was more stiff than hopping lame, so cue cold hosing and more time off with him mooching round the field. This also meant that we had to miss the ROR inter county challenge and a lesson with Matt. 

I finally managed to get back on him for a gentle hack at the end of September and he seemed to be sound thank goodness!

At the beginning of the week I schooled him and whilst his trot work is coming along nicely, his canter seemed to be getting worse. I am at a bit if a loss as to what's going on other than he is finding things more difficult, so I booked a lesson with Jon Bard, who teaches Gillian so that I can get some help with paddy......

Nest instalment in a new post :-)