Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cadence's First Horse Show Part 2

Well, after getting past the scary car, we headed back down towards A, and right as we reached that area, they rang the bell.  We had to hustle after the previous horse halted, because they weren't giving people much time before wringing the bell, and I wanted to get all the way around without a rush. 
Anyhow, we entered at A, halted at X, and (reluctantly) began to move forward.  I didn't soften her at the halt because I figured that'd be better than her wigging out and backing out of the arena.  We got a 6 on that because her halt was square and straight, but her nose was out.  We got another 6, because we didn't make it all the way to C.  Cadence was not keen on heading straight at the car.  She was a bit tense, and not as soft and relaxed as I would have liked.  We lost some more points because she jogged, and she didn't stretch too much on her free walk.  We also lost some on submission, and I lost some because I talked to her during the test!  Oops.  Honestly, I was just trying to relax her a bit, and I don't really regret it.  We got 59.55% on that test, which considering everything seems quite fair.  We ended in 3rd place.
We hung around outside the ring for a minute, then headed back to the indoor.  After walking around and making her halt facing the scary door then trot off towards it, we went back out for our second test.  This test went much better.  I didn't soften her in the halt, but we moved forward towards the scary truck, made it to the end of the arena, and continued on.  I felt that a couple of my figures weren't perfectly accurate, because she was a little resistant to bend.  Her free walk lacked a bit of stretch, and she jogged through her walk transition at G.  I knew she would, so I started asking at X but to no avail.  The transition was irreparably late.  Not a big deal though.  The rest of the test was quite nice, with the exception of our final halt, which was nose-pokey-outey again.  Not a big deal.  We got a 69.55% for this test, which landed us in 1st place :)  Good mare! 
I was incredibly proud of her, because after watching all of the other horses, I knew that the horse I got back in February probably wouldn't have placed, let alone gotten a 1st place red ribbon special.  (In Canada, 1st is red)  She's really come a long way, and I couldn't be happier.  As a reward, she gets her booster shots today!  Yay! :P

Monday, May 30, 2011

Cadence's First Horse Show

Synopsis of the weekend:
Saturday was grey, with a steady cloud cover.  Not too cold, not to warm. At noon, the trailer pulled into the barn's parking lot.  A friend of ours had a horse going to the show already, so they kindly agreed to pick us up.  They already had a horse on the trailer, and he got a little pissy when they stopped, so when I brought Cadence out to load her up, it was to a trailer that appeared to be rattling and kicking.  She found this terrifying, but we got her on, and she and the gelding who was already on the trailer fall in love.  Her and her new boyfriend were totally chill for the whole trailer ride.  Then, when we got to the show, they had stalls next to each other.  Those two became a little inseparable!  Cadence's boyfriend's rider took him out of his stall to ride him, and my mare freaked.  We ended up riding together.  I stayed in the outdoor while she moved outside, and they spent the whole time calling to each other.  Cadence was pretty relaxed though (save one or two minor spook/buck sessions) so we called it a day pretty quickly.  I bathed and (partially) braided her Sat. night, with the knowledge that she would lay down in her stall as per usual.

Sunday morning I got to the barn at 6:30am, finished braiding, wiped off any dust/shavings with a damp cloth, groomed and tacked up, and had hopped on by  7:55.  My first ride was at 8:20, and my second at 9:00.  The stable's indoor arena was being used as a warmup ring, as the actual show was in the outdoor, and the grass rings were too muddy.  They had a big door open at one end, and spectators at the other.  Cadence was not at all keen on the open door, but quickly settled into a nice relaxed (for a show) rhythm.  She was still having door issues, which created some submission issues.  When we did our center lines and halt transitions (C was at the door, and there was a crowd at A) she wouldn't soften in the halt.  If I asked, she'd react and get strong and stubborn, so I made the decision to ignore her frame in the halt transitions. 

Due to the threatening clouds, a car had been placed at C for the judge and scribe.  Cadence and I entered the arena as soon as the previous rider had saluted, and headed around the outside.  If Cadence is nervous, it is generally best to keep her moving.  Otherwise she reverts to her old bad habits, and goes on strike.  We trotted up the long side, and then she spied the car.  My coach went and stood infront of it, which made Cadence a little happier, and we proceeded without (major) incident.  They rang the bell, and we entered at A.
To be continued (once I have time... I hate the end of the school year.)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Talk of the Town: EHV

Equine Canada’s Health and Welfare Committee is notifying horse owners that Neurotropic Equine Herpes Virus-1 (nEHV-1) has been reported in horses in the United States, with confirmed cases in Alberta (1) and British Columbia (3).  This is the neurological strain of Equine Herpes Virus 1 (EHV 1). Outbreaks of nEHV-1 are contagious and have a high risk of mortality.
I was careful to check all of this out before confirming trailering for Cadence's show this Sunday.  It's a scary business, and as with any virally (sp?) transmitted disease, horse shows are often the last place you want to be.  It appears we're safe for now, though.

A/N: Cadence's last ride at home took place last night.  She was a little rushy and not too interested in bending right.  Not exactly what you want before heading off to your first dressage show, but what can you do?  She was also a little heavier in the hand than she usually is.  I was tempted to pop on draws, but resisted.  Can't (and wouldn't) use draws in the show ring anyways, and the only thing they'd help with (while not hindering us in the long term) is the right resistance.  Next ride is on the show grounds Sat. afternoon!  My ride times are 8:25 and 9:00 Sunday AM.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Yesterday's Video

Gahh, my position is terrible!  Get those shoulders back!  On the other hand, I'm still so proud of her; she was such a good girl!  I think I'm overusing !'s, so I'll shut up now.

Monday, May 23, 2011

First Off Property School/First Course

First:
Time ridden off property
Time on a step up trailer
Time jumping a course
Time (and probably last time) getting a Rolex cooler!
 







All pictures are just screen shots from the video.  The video is up on Cadence's YouTube Channel.

A Subtle Change of Plans

Unfortunately, the cross country course we were supposed to ride today is still under water, despite the nice taste of sun we got yesterday evening!  I think it's fair to say I'm a little dissapointed, but (always look on the bright side) a family friend who also rides for my coach offered to let Cadence and I come school at her place!  Even better, they said they'd come and pick her up.  Unlike us, they have a full course of jumps, so Cadence and I cam practice with more than just 3 jumps :P  Riding full courses is now the next step in Cadence's jumping career. 
Speaking of jumping, Cadence and I had two fantastic lessons on Friday and Saturday.  Friday we worked on the two w/t dressage tests we're doing for next weekend's show, and focused a little on canter-trot transitions.  We've mastered the upwards, so it's time to prefect coming back down. I'm actually pretty pleased, because it means that her quality of canter has (at long last) really improved!  There really shouldn't be an 'at long last' there.  Cadence is coming along faster than any of us could have hoped.  None the less, I digress.  I believe I was attempting to speak of jumping? 
So on Saturday, when there was still a slight chance we were going to be able to go XC, we focused on building cadence's confidence, and (as always) keeping 'em nice and slow.  Well, we started off strong.  Good warm up, good through the first exercise (tight 1stride with a pole in te center.  The first jumps 2'3-2'6, the second maybe 3'3).  The goal was to get her to jump up, and keep her cool.  She figured that one out, so we added a 3rd 30+ feet away.  It went jump, stride, jump, striiiiiide, jump!  Flawlessly done, but doing a 30ft one stride?  Not what we were looking for!  My coach's instructions were to leave her alone, and let her figure out where her feet go.  Well, she did figure it out, but not in the way we were expecting.  Silly mare.  We went through it a couple more times, with me half-halting after the second jump.  Much better!  Then, we tried something new.  Turning while jumping!  Imagine that.  We kept the original one stride, but moved the 3rd jump to create a bending line, 3 strides away.  Apparently, my coach and I have different ideas of what 'easy' is, because what she considered to be a 'nice easy one' involved a low X set a comfortable 3 strides away, but you better be turning in the air, or there's no hope in hell you're going to make it over. 
 (a little rough.. it probably didn't look like that, just my own best guess)
At one point in time, this wouldn't have been a big deal, BUT...
1)Cadence hasn't done this before.   She likes to run after jumps.  If she runs, we aren't making it over.
2)I haven't jumped a course... in like a year.  Bailey and I worked on flatwork for months on end.  When we started jumping again, it was the middle of winter, and we were in the indoor.  This meant gymnastics, and lots of position and quality of canter work.  Not course work.
3)This is Cadence's weak side. The side she likes to fall out, the side she likes to drift out, the shoulder she likes to lose.  You get the idea.
We did the one stride, and turned HARD.  We made it over, and my coach moved it so the line was a little easier, but still required a bit of a sharp turn.  Cadence handeled it like a pro.  She was totally asking why we hadn't done this before :)  We finished off by cantering an oxer a few times either direction.

Sorry for the long posts, I'll try to keep 'em shorter from here on in.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

And Back We Go

Oh Cadence.  Apparently a lack of turnout (Grrrr.. I hate this weather) coupled with less riding doesn't mesh well with a scary board in the corner of the arena.  Cadence was hyped, energetic, and tense.  What a lovely combination!  I'd originally set up a combination of three short 1 strides to school over, but that required her to not rush at them and apparently yesterday that was beyond her.  We spent the first 20 minutes attempting to get near the scary corner. 
Every time we'd approach the pointof going no further, she'd stop and start backing up.  She can back up really well!  And really fast too... At first, she was genuinely fearful, so we slowly circled to the left and gradually approached the scary board to the left.  Once we accomplished that, we did like a circle to the right starting on the left side of the arena, and gradually working our way over to the right.  It worked, and she essentially got over herself.  She was a little slow to the right, and required a little push to get an appropriate level of impulsion.  Odd for her, but she was normal to the left.  Then we took a break, and she decided that the board was once again scary, but only to the right.  If she's genuinely afraid, I don't mind her acting up a bit and showing a little resistant, but if we've already gone through it, she isn't allowed to.  She's been there, and knows it isn't as scary as she thinks it is.  I picked up a whip, and when she stopped, tapped her.  She got the message, and went nice and forward through the turn.  Good mare!
Our jumping was interesting... she was wound pretty tight, and as previously mentioned I'd set up the day's exercise a leetle bit short.  Nothing major, and easily accomplished from a calm relaxed canter.  The relaxed canter wasn't really an option for her though, so after getting it once we just focused on jumping from the canter.  She'd done pretty well with that in our last lesson, so I was hopeful.  To the right, she was fantastic!  Trotted in, got the lead, cantered around again.  Wonderful!  To the left... head throwing, nose in the air, borderline taking off.  After getting one good jump (the approach was awful, she wouldn't stop twisting and shaking her head) we left the left.  The issue withthe left stems from the canter.  Cantering to the left, she wants to rush off instead of holding herself up and balancing.  Her right side is her weak side, so when we canter to the left she is still a little crooked.  When I correct that minor left bend and get her straight, she can't support that outside shoulder well enough and sometimes ends up falling through and pushing my leg into the wall.  Ouch!  Jumping, that's just magnified.  Trying to hold her straight to the jump is difficult.  Coupled with attempting to keep her slow... she's really not a fan.  Either way, once that right side strengthens up a bit, she'll get it.  She's got it in the trot now, so the canter should be soon to follow.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Veterinarianaphobia

Veterinarianaphobia- the fear of vets.  I'm not afraid of vets, just what they'll bring.  I actually wanted to be a vet for the longest time... still a career path I'd consider.  Anyhow, today Cadence has her strangles... vaccine?  It isn't a needle, it's a nasal spray so I don't know if vaccine still applies.  We're worming her today as well.  If we're going to get her down, might as well do it all at once.  I really hope it doesn't affect her... last time was brutal, and now that she's back and doing so well I'd really like to keep her that way.  Especially with our XC school Monday.  Can you tell I'm excited?
   Ain't da pony cute?

 Update: Cadence's vet appointment went really well!  It was short and sweet, and I had time to do a little main thinning in preparation for next weekend's show before the vet arrived.  Cadence handled the nasal-spray very well.  So well that the vet commented on the fact that Cadence probably handled it better than any other horse she's had.  Proud momma moment :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Back & Better Than Ever

Well, I don't know about the 'And Better Than Ever' part, but Cadence's first two lessons back did go rather well.  We had a flat lesson Friday, which we mercifully got in before the rain hit, so we had it outside!  I love riding outside.  Not that I don't appreciate having the indoor, but having 'grown up' with only an outdoor, it really does start to seem claustrophobic by the end of the winter.  We also haven't had much of a spring this year.  Its gone from freezing to 70+ weather this week.  In fact, I had the joy of doing my flat lesson outdoors, in 70+ weather, in jeans and a long sleeved shirt.  They've messed up the weather every single day.  Friday was supposed to be cool and stormy, hence my jeans and long sleeved shirt.  However, it was over 70 and sunny.   I would be happy about that if I didn't have heat stroke as a result.
The lesson itself went well.  Cadence was rushy and excitable, a result of being outside and having so much time off.  She was doing things like breaking into canter when we were supposed to be collecting, which is pretty unlike her.  She's normally so good!  Not that I mind, I love that bit of pep and really it's just her expressing how good she's feeling.  She was wonderful when she settled, and even her canter slowed down!
Our lesson today was just as successful.  She has definitely lost a bit of muscle though.  Combination of growth spurt and time off.  Anyhow, she had a bit of trouble with the whoa-waits in the canter (balancing her canter back, and then letting it back out to normal).  Fine in the trot, but couldn't hold more than 3 canter strides.  Also, I did notice that when we're jumping, she goes all crooked on me again and sometimes gets stiff right and hangs off that rein a bit.  All easily correctable, and I guess its good that we've noticed it.  That way it can be corrected.
She is learning, though.  We had one incident that really prooved this to me.  We were cantering into the little oxer, and she still isn't too keen on cantering in slowly, so she got to a spot where she either had to go long, or balance up a bit and get in a little deep.  From our work thus far, everything suggested she'd go long, but she went for the shorter distance and popped it beautifully!  Much to my surprise.  It wasn't pretty or graceful, but she didn't hurl herself over it.  She balanced, and really used her instincts and body to get the job done!  Smart pony :)
video

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Busy Busy Bee...

But then again, what else is new.  I rode Cadence for the first time in... almost a week.  However, it was also her second ride in two weeks.  The cut on her shoulder seems to be doing pretty well, knock wood.  There's still a lot of swelling, but I think most of that is probably from the impact of the kick, versus infection.  Her neck has also settled at long last. 
When I rode her yesterday, we started out with a light lunge in the indoor.  Then, after hopping on and (briefly) working on our hunterness in the walk and trot, we headed to the outdoor for the first time ever.  She was quite good!  Came on the contact quick and easy, but she wasn't supple and bending.  It was more 'i'll do this because it's what you're asking' than anything.  Her lack of interest in bending was slightly alarming, because it's so not her.  However, it started to drizzle so we went back inside and she had no qualms about bending in there.  Apparently it's just a case of outdoor excitement.  Our plans for the next little while include her first XC school on May 23, and her first show (dressage w/t tests) on may 29!
Cadence had today (and will have tomorrow) off, so Arty got the pleasure of filling her absence.  He's looking pretty good weight wise, bordering on too skinny!  Not there yet, but it is a possibility.  Muscularly though, he fails.  I didn't have enough time to ride by the time I'd caught and groomed, so we longed.  He wasn't even able to canter, so he's even more out of shape than I'd previously thought.  Poor pony.  Tomorrow he gets an even harder workout.  W/T/C dressage style.  Contact and frame and...tigers, oh my!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Its always something

Ain't that the truth.  Cadence's vaccine sight was looking pretty good last night.  Swelling was down almost 100%, and only a little heat.  It was looking worse again today, so I wonder if it gets better throughout the day.  Anyhow, today when I went to fetch her from her field, she had blood down her front left, and a nice gash on the lower front part of that shoulder.  She looked like she'd been in a knife fight!  The cut wasn't too bad, just bleeding a lot.  Also, due to the width of it, it isn't really patchable.  Thankfully, its not more than a centimeter deep so we left it open after thoroughly flushing it with saline.  Tonight I'm heading back out to clean it up again and put an aerosol bandage on it.  Hope its dried up a bit by tonight.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bend AND Give?

No, never.  Bending and giving is waay too much work for the mare, even at the walk. 
Just inc ase you haven't caught on yet, cadence was VERY stiff yesterday.  I'm hoping that this was just from her needles, and maybe a little too much time off.  She was also heavy in the hand.  Well, heavier than usual.  That is, she was heavy for the 5 minutes of our 20 + minute ride in which she was soft and supple, and on the contact.  I didn't even bother to canter, because if we can't get it in the walk, let alone the trot I don't want to know what the canter would be like.  Baby steps, we'll get there.  Oh, I forgot to add the worst part: I bumped into the draws and actually really used them, but still no give.  Please god let this just be vaccine-related stiffness.
On other notes:
1)Cadence's whole schedule has been rearranged to afford for some BO (Barn Owner/manager/awesomeness) aided conditioning. 
2) In accordance to the above, I'm getting lunge lessons!  Like teach Katie how to longe the mare so that  the two of them both get a serious workout lunge lessons :P  I'm so lucky to have an awesome barn manager.  Seriously, she's amazing.
3) Our first show has been moved due to ease of trailering and closeness things, so Cadence and I'll be rocking the walk trot tests on May 29th.  It seems so close, yet so far away... that came out cheesier than intended.  I'm psyched to start her show career, and a little nervous at the same time.  I know she'll be awesome, but if we don't place in a walk trot class, I'll be seriously depressed.
4) Caitlyn, Cadence's old owner/breeder, sent me foal pictures!!!!! I'll post them ASAP.  She's fricken adorable, and looks just like (a skinnier version of) her mother.  They both have the same star, Cadence's is just smaller.
5) Cadence really has grown.  A lot.  Yesterday I had her in the crossties outside of Zee's (My coach's horse) stall.  Cadence and Zee used to be about equal in height, but cadence now comes up to the top of my nose, and Zee's squarely at my chin.  I think she's grown over 1/2 a hand!  Should I be worried that I'm using facial features as a form of measurement? 

Note: I do sincerely apologize for never editing my posts.  I will, one day I will.  However, that dat is not today.  As I write this, I should be studying for the test I have next period; especially since that test is on something I haven't learned yet.  Yay for procrastination!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Rare 'White Carrot'

I've had quite the time since returning from Kentucky.  When I returned, there was a message from my coach on the answering machine.  Last time I got one of those, she'd put her head through a window... so my hopes weren't too high.  These messages are always the same: she's fine, but...  It turns out that this time, my horse was in fact not engaging in any self-harm activities.  It was really just a couple of things that were outside of our control, but had combined to form a not ideal, yet totally treatable situation.  Cadence and I had a rather hard (not so much physically as mentally) jump school on Easter Monday, which was followed up by a really light dressage school Tuesday, before I headed down to KY.  The plan was for her to have Wednesday off, the BO would lunge her Thurs, and my coach would ride her Friday and Saturday.  However, apparently the Holsteiner in Cadence is showing up, as she appears to have grown, a lot!  I knew it was in there somewhere, it has just been bogged town by her decidedly stronger TB genes :P  The down side to this is that it seems to have had some negative effects on her, since all of her energy's gone into her recent growth spurt, and her work load wasn't taking that into consideration.  Hard to do when you didn't know it was happening.  She was just a bit stiff in the AM, and had a little muscle loss, but my coach skipped the rides in favour of an extra lunge instead.  Anyhow, she's lost a bit of muscle in her hind end, but everything else is back to normal, so for the next 2-4 weeks, she's on a bit of a modified schedule to build it back up.  Fine, totally manageable, but not what you want to come home to.
I haven't ridden her since last Tues, because I got home @ 2am Monday morning, and yesterday she should have had her spring shots.  I'm heading out tonight to check on her after yesterday, and hopefully (as long as she's up to it) hop on her back for a light (probably w/t) dressage school.  The w/t is to practice for our first show... which brings on a whole new set of issues, as the show we want to go to doesn't have w/t classes.  On top of that, I have an enormous amount of schoolwork to complete before Friday, including a french test tomorrow that is on a/several topic(s) I am not sure I've learned yet. 
This stress/work load combination has put me in a bit of a bad mood, so today when I was working in the library I overheard a (rather loud) discussion between two girls that really didn't improve my current views on life and humanity.  To set the background, one of these girls had a carrot shaped plastic bag thingy full of orange jelly beans left over from Easter.  This prompted a discussion about white carrots.  'That's odd...' I though to myself  'I've never heard of a white carrot.  White pumpkins, parsnips, and.... oh, parsnips.  I wonder if they realize... ah well.  I'll leave them to their rare white carrot conversation.'  some people never cease to amaze me.  The myth of the  white carrot: solved!  The culprit: a parsnip.  Seeing it written out, it doesn't seem nearly as pathetic.  However, I can assure you that hearing two presumably legal adults (over 18) have a genuine discussion about "these rare white carrots" without them making the carrot-parsnip connection is really quite depressing.  Mildly hilarious, but still pathetic.
It should be noted that there is an off chance that they actually knew what they were talking abut.  Carrots can come in purple, yellow, orange, and white.  However, these are genetic hybrids and mutants.  There is no true white carrot, as far as my research has shown me.

Monday, May 2, 2011

2011 Rolex XC Pics

Allison Springer and Arthur
Allison and Arthur clear the first obstacle at what used to be the HSBC Duck Marsh
Mary King is WELL over this fence!
Unfortunately, Kate Brown is not
Michael Pollard and Icarus
Kate Brown and Mojito at the fence prior  to the run out
 Icarus gettin a move on!
Kelly Prather and Ballinakill Glory
 Martha McDowel and Gaelic Marriage
 Gaelic Marriage after refusing the fence coming out of the water
 Clear over the alternate
 And away they go!
 Boyd and Remington going into the water
Shiraz and Colleen Rutledge looking very showy
 Kim Severson and Tipperary Liadhnan
Slate River... I think

The 19y/o Snip and Joe Meyer
 Kristi Nunni and R-Star prepare to take a tumble
Post-Tumble Pony
 (I saw Kristi later on, and she was injury free)
 Hamish and Sandhills Tiger
 Manoir de Carneville... Gotta admire Selle Francais Style!

You know, the sad part about all this is that I have a ton more... these aren't even necessarily my favourites.  Well, except for Mary King and the squirrel!