Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Show... (Happy Canada Day)

NOOOOOOOO!!!!! I just spent way too long writing a post only to accidentally delete it.  Wow, my luck sucks.  Happy Canada day! As it's past 12am here it counts.
Okey, where to begin.  I'm stressed to the max due to an impending horse show, an impending camping trip (in which my friend (who is currently on vacation in Florida and not home to help me) and I take a group of our friends canoeing in Algonquin Park for a week), and a whack load of family get togetherness which I really don't have time for.  However, if I stay, family comes to me.  If I go, family comes to me.  They're unavoidable.  My other major stress is the fact that my last two rides on Cadence have been less than stellar.  Fun fun fun with a horse show on Wed. 3 rides left till the show!

I think it'd be best to start by explaining my previous two rides.  Wednesday, Cadence and I did our dressage work as planned.  Great walk/trot, okay canter, sucky work after the canter.  She was tense, and had that 'if you loosten your reins I'm going to shoot off like a rocket' feeling.  Not good.  I couldn't get her to relax into that nice rhythm and frame we had before.  Not totally working over her back, but on the contact and we were starting to get some beautiful I'm-using-my-whole-body-properly-ish stuff at the start of the ride.  I caught my self thinking 'if only I could stick draws or a martingale on her we could get through this so much faster' and 'If I could just get her to keep this fake frame during our test on Wed, we should still score pretty well on everything but submission'.  Bad Katie!  That bothers me because that's totally not who I am and that's totally against my values/what I believe in.  I hate artificial aids, and try to avoid them at all costs, and this show is not a big deal whatsoever.  She can go and bomb the test, it is all just to see where she's at and to have a fun learning experience.  Naturally I want to do well, and I know she won't be perfect, but sticking her in a frame to get marks?  That's SO against what I believe in; I felt sick.
Our ride today didn't improve my spirits.  Our warm up was fantastic.  Her woah-waits (balancing back... like you do before an XC fence) are fantastic.  I try to do as much of our jumping warm up as possible in a 2point to improve my muscle strength, and all I have to do is sit down and she balances back and slows.  I go up, and out she goes!  In both the trot and the canter, she has it 100%.  However, the actual jumping part sucked.  I wanted to elabourate on Monday's ride and take what we did up a notch.  Our goal was simple: two cross rails on a circle.  Canter a circle with the jumps.  She threw me for a loop when she refused our second warm up fence.  Not good.  I was also getting left behind left right and center.  I'd concentrate on keeping her calm and slow, then she'd get sticky, then I'd have to push a bit and she'd take all these wierd long spots and I'd end up catching her in the mouth.  Poor mare :(  She was better from the canter, but displaying the same behaviour as yesterday only after the jump instead of after the canter.  We did get through the excercise, and then I threw her off by demanding dressage-ness when we came back from the canter.  It only took a couple of minutes and then I got it!  Yay!!! not ALL hope is lost.

I think the worst part of all is that my coach is on vacation till Sat, so I can't use her to get me out of this rut.  I have to do it all by myself, without utilizing the awesomeness that is a riding coach with a sports psyche degree and a whack load of experience.  Generally I'd just email her and set up a lesson/ask for advice, but I've already bugged her once and I am determined to let her enjoy her one week of summer vacation.
Overall, I'm just stressed, worried, disappointed with myself, not at all self confident, and sort of discouraged.  Cadence has tomorrow off, so hopefully I can go play some ground games with her.  Providing I have time, that is.

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