Monday, August 29, 2011

Update to carry things over till Wednesday

And on Wed, I'll do a full update of the show.  Not that there's all that much to write, but c'est la vie.
Had a jumping lesson today.  We started out with a little gymnastic set a bit tight so that Cadence would have to actually use herself and push up over the fences.  She was still pretty lazy about it.  She knows she can do it and unless the jumps are scary (jumps at a show are scary) she isn't really going to put in all that much extra effort.  Fair enough, but that's not the purpose of the exercise.  Once we'd acceptably made it through the first exercise, my coach set out a vertical then three strides to a bigger oxer.  It started off maybe 3'3-6 or something round there, but she got a bit lazy with it (oh, and I should add that there were poles set every 12 feet between the two jumps, and 12 feet is rouhly 1 stride) so my coach upped the height and told me to let her crash through it once.  And that we did.  She'd never really hit a jump before, only occasionally rubbing things when she was feeling a bit lazy, so this was a first.  When I brought her back round to go over it again, my coach said to just sit tight in case she gets rattled and decides to stop before the oxer, thus throwing me into this somewhat imposing 3'9-11 fence.  Well, Cadence didn't stop.  She hopped happily over it, and we ended the lesson by cantering a 2'6 square oxer both directions a few times.  She didn't go near it :P
The 3'9-11 (dunno the actual height, but it was very close to the top of our 4' standards, and if my coach's body part measurement (like 3' is at the top of your hip kinda thing) is correct, it stood just under 3'11) fence was the highest I've jumped to date, so that was fun.  However, equally (actually, much much more) important was the fact that my position is now improving from suckish to adequate.  So now when we approach a 3'9 fence, I can stay with my mare and her big jump and do it with some semblance of grace.  It's not perfect yet; I still feel myself slipping up, and I sometimes round a bit in my back, but I'm improving.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Long Time No See

It's been 11 days since my last post, and I'd been doing so well too!  I think I broke my personal record for longest period of time without ablog post, so sorry about that.
Anyhow, the mare's doing wonderfully.  Her leg came down (after lots of religious work) and when the vet ultrasounded she couldn't find anything wrong.  No evidence of cuts, bangs, tears/rips, no swelling (actually, there was a tiny bit of  left over  swelling in one spot, but it was sub-cutaneous & nothing worrisome.  At least that showed us where the swelling was) nothing.  Her only theory was a possible fetlock sprain, but that didn't seem likely because it healed so quickly and she was always totally sound.  The vet flexed her just to be sure, and she trotted off perfect.  She told me to sweat the leg for the next few days and cold hose it after work, just to deal with any leftover stiffness/soreness in case it was a sprain, and we were instructed to do a few days of w/t, then some light dressage, and after a week we were clear to go back to work.  Yay!
So we did w/t Tues Wed and Thurs, had Friday off (my first day away from the barn in a week and a half!) and had a dressage lesson today.  The lesson was fantastic!  Cadence had been a little heavy in her frame, which allowed us to secure the stretch work on Tues Wed and Thurs, but today my coach said we needed to pick her up a bit and make sure she didn't lay on me through her downward transitions.  It was a fantastic lesson, and my already light horse managed to become even lighter!  My coach also pointed out how beautifully Cadence'stop line had developed.  She has some wonderful muscling along her neck specifically, that I'd never noticed because I don't exactly spend a ton of time looking at her neck when I'm riding!  She's a little ahead of the game in her dressage work, but she truly excelles at it so we're just going to keep working at her pace.
Tomorrow we're going to go out for a light walk hack, and on Monday we jump!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Avoiding a full update

The show went allr ight, but the next day Cadence had a fat LH.  She broke free from the trailer at the show and went for a gallop because the other horse she was with kicked out (didn't hit her or anything, she just reacted... strongly to the other horse kicking) and a horse got into the barn she was stabled in Sat night so she could have injured it then knowing what a bossy little thing Cadence can be.  Either way, with poulticing, cold hosing, ice boots, etc. it's still not down and it's been 48 hours.  Having the vet out to make sure she didn't do anything serious; unfortunately a little heat seems to be coming from te suspenory area.  Full post to come when I have a minute.

 Gahh, yucky position.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Glen Oro HT

Cadence and I are headed up to Glen Oro tomorrow, so naturally thunder showers are expected throughout the day.  My luck sucks.
On a more positive note, our prep for the event (aside from a lack of XC) has been fantastic.  We had a great jump school at Touch N Go, and our ride on Wed was perfect.  I was on and off in 15 minutes, and fit a full dressage school into that time!  Cadence was calm and attentive, and barely put a foot out of line, so we ran through everything we'd need for tomorrow & called it quits.  Hopefully we can replicate that at the show tomorrow.  My goal for tomorrow is to complete without any refusals, and I think if we can do that we should be well on our way.  Actually, there's another event next weekend that (may) have a Pre-Entry course, so if we go clean around this and if we can make it up to Dreamcrest next weekend, then we may sign up for Entry (Beginner Novice) on the 27th.  Then if we make it clean around Entry on the 27th, we'd qualify for championships.  Now THAT's what I call scheming!  Honestly it depends on how she goes though.  If she's hesitant and backed off around Glen Oro and Dreamcrest (if we go) but still goes clear there's no way I'm pushing anything more at her.  She's got to be totally confident and prove that going clean wasn't just a fluke.  If we can do that, THEN we'll upgrade.  I'm really not planing on going to Champs, it  doesn't matter to me.  If we make it round Glen Oro tomorrow (which we will) then we'll be almost a full month ahead of where we thought Cadence would be, and that suits me just fine.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Thoughts and Ramblings

Let's start off with sometihng totally un-horsey.  Last night I had the pleasure of going to see the Foo Fighters at the ACC!  Despite the awful drive, horrendus traffic, the fact I had to be ready to go at 3:30 for a 7:00 concert and we still missed all but one song of the first band (long drive and traffic) and my concert going companions were my little brother, his friend, and my mother (not really the people I'd choose to go to a rock concert with) I REALLY enjoyed myself.  Then again, it's the Foos; how could I not?  Plus, I scored a free ticket.  I suppose I'm lucky my baby bro's got good friends! 
I really did go with an odd group of people though.  My brother sat through the entire concert, and insisted upon leaving after the second encore song (despite the fact the encore was acoustic... I wish I could have gone to one of their concerts on the acoustic tour. They do an amazing  acoustic set), his friend had heard all of two Foo fighters songs before last night, and I distinctly remember my mum saying "This is awful" or "That music's terrible!" whenever the Foos would come on the radio. Everyone claimed to have enjoyed the concert though....  Oh, and I learned that it's awkward going to a rock concert with your parents.  Somehow I always escaped that when I was younger.  I've gone with friends and their parents, but never with my own.  Until now, that is.
Anyhow, I should stop ranting.  The concert was amazing, they played for over 2 hours, and now I'm done.

Pony time!  Monday Cadence and I did some w/t stretch work and then picked up and worked on staying on the contact into and out of our trot-halt transitions.  She was fantastic.  A bitch throughout everything else though; she's in heat again.  Yesterday we had a jumping lesson and focused on keeping a nice easy canter into two little x raisl set on a circle.  Easy in theory, harder when your pony tries to launch herself over them since she considers them a good excuse to go faster.  We had three cheap run-outs early on which were sort of my fault, but improved throughout the lesson.  Today we're probably going to do some light dressage work and jump Friday instead of Dressage test stuffs... maybe, dunno. 

Musings on position:  Watching the videos of last Thursday and reading Sarah's comment on my last post has gotten me thinking about my position.  My jumping position was always my weak point, but since I started riding Cadence I've developed a couple of bad habits.  With the help of my coach I've also broken some, and improved my position a fair bit, but lets start with the bad.  The biggest bad habit I've developed is rounding my back.  When I first got Cadence she was really green o/f, and had a huge jump. To stay out of her way and still sit her jump, I ended up doing this weird rounded back thingy.  I've (for the most part) gotten out of that habit, but I still do it when I don't put conscious thought into jumping properly.  I have however (again for the most part) broken the habit of jumping up the horse's neck.  I was terrible about that when Arty and I were showing hunters.  I've gotten better about that though.  Additionally, I've gotten a lot better about staying with the motion of the horse, specifically over larger fences.  That's something I think I could work on a bit still though.  Lastly, when I first started riding with my coach she determined that my jumping was solid enough and I had enough feel in my hands that I shouldn't be doing a big crest release, and should use the "advanced release". (Sarah's comment)  This more than anything helped improve Arty and my jumping.  I was able to keep a light feel on him and have my hands in a much more effective position.  When riding that little rocket, this REALLY helped. 
Katie and Arty 11_8_09 001
Katie's Barn Images 9-7-09 022Old Pony Pics

Monday, August 8, 2011

Stadium Schooling Video

Video from Thursday.  Apparently when I put all of my concentration on my pony, my position over fences dies, so excuse my equitation.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Pics: Canoeing

From July 2011
Some friends and I spent 4 days in the beautiful Algonquin Park this summer.  I FINALLY got around to uploading the (minimal) pictures and thought I'd post a few.  You may notice there's only one night-time shot.  My camera has a nasty habit of smoking and emitting a nasty odour when the flash is used.  Think old fashioned flash bulb that cracks when it goes off.  That's my camera....  Photos under cut

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Not.  We've got the "hunter show" today, but we aren't actually registered in any classes.  They charge something like $20 to go school round the course, so we is gonna do dat instead.  This way Cadence can come back to trot where necessary, come back to halt if necessary, and we won't get eliminated.  Yay! 
I've officially sent my forms in for Glen Oro HT next weekend, even though my coach can't make it.  (Horrified face)  Hopefully we'll get out for at least one more XC school before then.  If we can, I think we may actually have a fighting chance.  The key's going to be keeping her energy and confidence levels up.  Our plan is to have a really quick dressage warm up.  We won't even start till like 15 min. before the test.  Then do a nice easy stadium warm up, focusing on keeping our cool and not getting worried by anything.  After stadium, we'll take a walk break, and maybe a stand still break depending on our times before going to warm up for xc.  Our xc warm up strategy is going to be TOTALLY focused on coming back.  We've got the gallop down, so I'm not going to worry bout it.  Once we've got the whole coming back mastered we'll pop the warm up fences up to 5 times total, and watch a couple of people head out the start box before entering ourselves.  Yay!  Hopefully there won't be any banks or ditches.  If there are, we'll just have a go at 'em and enjoy.
In regards to her dressagedness, she's doing pretty well. Still grabby grabby after the canter.  I'm going to see if my coach can hop on her once whilst I'm away to assess that and see what our best plan of action's going tobe.  Other than that, she's looking great.  Trot stretch still isn't great, too rushy.  Still can't stay round in trot-halt transitions, but that'll come.  At this level, it doesn't really matter anyways. 
I promise to get the videos from the last show and xc school up soon.  I appear to be getting sick, so it may have to wait till I'm better... but c'est la vie

Monday, August 1, 2011

As Summer Slips By...

... I sit inside and do school work.  Or at least, I attempt to do school work.  It's the thought that counts, right? 
Cadence and I had a great lesson today.  Apparently, I don't have nearly as much muscle as I thought.  The poor mare got to practice being pulled up.  Apparently, we didn't demonstrate enough aptitude in the quick stopping department out XC.  Either way, my calves burned from lots of two point work and my arm muscles... don't appear to exist.  I need to go buy a new pair.  If only it were that easy.  It was a good lesson though.  My coach hopped on for a minute and it was fun to watch my little mare giver her attitude.  Bad decision Cadence! 
I also went over to my coach's place with my family for dinner last night.  One of her other students and his wife were there, along with her neighbours, whom I'd met before.  It was a lot of fun, and I got to see an old tape she found for me of her and Rocky competing at Rocky's first CCI*** at Fair Hill.  Man could that pony ever jump!  She looked so tiny in the jog up.  When they turned around, Lynda dissappeared behind the 16.3h giant that was (is) Rocky! She also pulled out an old scrap book for me that she'd made as a record of Rocky's life.  It had pictures of him as a gangly 2y/o mid way through a rather awkward growth spurt, pictures of him as a 4 y/o starting his training, pictures of him at Rolex, Pan Am qualifiers, etc.  It also included details like what was going on in each picture.  (Things like "Bad run at X event, car spooked Rocky. I broke my leg."  Or "Rocky got flu, sick for summer of '98")  It was fascinating to look at.  Along side rocky, there were pictures of his full sister and her baby (Carmie... I've mentioned her before.).  Unfortunately, when my coach quit eventing in 2000 she stopped updating the book.  Apparently this was the first time she's really looked through it since then.  Anyhow, it really reinforced the importance of keeping this blog going and recording as many details of Cadence and my journey as possible.  If you're in Canada, I hope you're enjoyingthe long weekend!