Games Practice 9-15-18

September 19, 2018

With the hurricane predicted to make the weekend a nasty weather event we decided to hit up Frying Pan Park on Sunday for an indoor practice.  The hurricane changed tracks and it actually turned out to be a pretty nice day, so the indoor was a bit on the warm side with the lack of airflow in there coupled with the crippling humidity.

We had a nice group of seven and were able to run two lanes and kept things rolling for about two hours.  We managed to knock out quite a few races.

The usual crew of Val and Jon were there along with some of our newer practice recruits, Jenny and Britney.  We were also joined by Carly and Rachel, making for a really good time.

While riding I realized this is the first games practice I have really had on Simon in about five years.  I hopped on him in the spring when Poe was sore after having his feet done, but I wasn’t taking that seriously.

I have taken him to two real competitions (and a light trial test run at a pairs competition before hand) without putting in any training work on him.  No wonder if feels like I am riding someone else’s pony.

He really is like riding a whole new pony.  Nothing like he is for anything else, and not like he used to be for games pre-Poe either.  Not that I would remember too much from five years ago exactly how to ride him.

This was an excellent opportunity to work out some skills, figure out some timing for  checks, stuff like that.  I still need to put some work into my end turns, both poles and barrels.  He tends to drop his hip or shoulder into the turn, so figuring out how wide and deep to set my turn up is key.  I guarantee I keep my inside leg working hard too.

I started off practice in his hackamore, which is what I always played games with him in and I tend to do most of his riding in.  But I switched that to his bit after the second race.

He was downright fired up and leaping around, and actually ran away with me at one point.

I missed a few handoffs in the start because I was holding and keeping him straight when he was leaping around.  But in retrospect, he was leaping forward, and not so much to the side, which is what I was expecting.  So I would like to practice again and push him into those first few hand offs more and see how that plays out.  After a couple races (about half a competition session) he settled in, but working through those first few races in a competition is going to be key to sort out.

I was also doing a terrible job of coming in close when giving hand offs and really straining my teammates to reach out for them.  That was just me being sloppy.  Something to work on along with end turns.

After practice Jenny and I went for a little walk about around the farm.  It turned into quite a nice day!

Until next practice!

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