Friday, September 28, 2012

Prepairing for Pre-Training

I wrote this up a week and a half (or so) ago, & I guess I hit save not publish... better late than never, I suppose!

As the name suggests, Pre-Training (PT) is the level that comes before Training here in Canada.  Almost identical to Novice, but we run at 450 or 425... something like that, and our brush fences can only be 3'3 or 3'6 or something, not 3'7.  That one inch makes all the difference!

Anyway, Cadence will be competing in her first Pre-Training this weekend.  In preparation, we headed out for a quick SJ/XC school today.  Probably not the best move, since she had 4 days off following champs, then a w/t/hack school, and a relatively light dressage school on Saturday.  She had another holiday Sunday, and then we took her out xc.... cue the disaster.  She was in her shiny (not any more) new bit, a level 1 Myler D ring w/o hooks, and thank god she was because she was an absolute mental case.  She started off the day by leaping into the air and nearly dumping me... because she didn't want to trot past a bench outside the ring.  Then we had to spend 15 minutes at the canter working on the whole 'calm' thing, and by the time we actually got around to jumping I was exhausted.  She jumped well, but was hot as hell. She wasn't too bad to hang onto, but if you set her back to the speed that we were looking for (a normal 12 foot canter stride) she'd lay on you & either die a bit, swap leads, or try to barge out her right shoulder.  Fun.  We jumped a few fences on a circle to get some breaks in place, then after screaming over a few lines (& jumping her first liverpool, which she didn't even look at) we took a quick break to fix my half-chap (which had actually fallen right off) and let my coach berate us a bit.  However, when I hopped back on I was able to breathe & focus, and get some breaks!  Yah.  No disastrous fence-leaping here! So we moved on to XC.

She flat out refused the VERY FIRST FENCE!  Our first real refusal all year!! I was unimpressed.  After that little wake up call that I was goign to have to actually sit up and ride, things improved.  She was difficult & strong, but we started to make some headway on the whole breaks & steering thing.  Once we had that more under control, we attempted a ditch... and she refused again!  I was stunned.  After a quick boot, we hopped it from a stand still... so I suppose it COULD be counted as a non-refusal, but that would be a lie.  Anyway, that was the last refuasal we had.  Banks & drops were no problem, & big ditches weren't either.  She did rub a few fences though... which is odd.  Mostly when she was busy spooking at the tractor 4 FIELDS AWAY.  Anywho, we learned an important lesson: mare w/o exercise = spooky, neurotic, high-strung, runaway train.  Oh, and a lot more work from me.

A/N: She was ridden/lunged every single day following that xc school, as per our coaches orders!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

In Loving Memory

This post is long overdue, and to be honest I think is largely responsible for my lax blogging of late.  On the 9 of Sept, 2012 we lost our wonderful old dog Buddy.  My mum came up to watch my SJ ride at Champs, and after we'd finished she told me that Bud was currently at the vets, and the prognosis wasn't good.  I'd noticed a tumor growing just in front of her left hip some time early last spring, but being an old dog with a bad hip & tendon, the decision was made to let nature take its course.  After she collapsed on a walk, her veterinarian ran some tests and determined that her tumor was now bleeding into her liver.  This was lowing her iron levels, causing severe anemia and eventually, death.  An unpleasant way to go, to be sure.  She was brought home from the vet clinic, & fed a steak dinner.  However, the pain soon proved to be too much for her to bear, and so the vet kindly preformed a house call and put her down that night.  I wanted to find a good picture of her to post, but for some reason I don't have any on this computer.  So we'll have to stick with this for now:
 She was such a gorgeous girl- these photos really don't do her justice.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

Photo preview: the above photo is of the second element in the 36 foot combination from our stadium course.... we did it in 1 stride.  36 feet in ONE STRIDE!!! That's why I look like a monkey and am clinging to her face, and she looks pissed due to my face-clinging.

Weekend recap to come soon; unfortunately I've got school to focus on at the moment.

Marginally more sane XC fence

Monday, September 3, 2012

Cedar Run HT (Entry)

BAfter an awesome weekend day at Cedar Run, not only do I get to add another ribbon to the wall (this time a 6th) but we get to go to Champs! I'm both excited and unbelievably proud of my baby girl.  Cadence completed her first event less than a month ago, and within that period of time has moved up a level, won two firsts and a sixth, and qualified for the Ontario year end championships.  She's exceeded every expectation, hope, and goal I had for this season, and continues to amaze me.

Alright, enough of the mushiness; onto the show recap.

Dressage was on grass, which initially worried me since the footing's pretty hard right now, but I checked it out before hand & the footing was actually pretty good.  We got a little less warm up time than I would have liked because it took a long time to walk XC (couldn't find the start box...) and the tack check/gate lady sent us into the ring early.  Since we were the first to go in the division, the judge wasn't back from her break yet & ended up being quite late so we had to bide the time & re-warm up a bit.  Anywho, Cadence was strong. She'd figured out that dressage was the thing you completed before you're allowed to jump... and was pretty strong.  Still, she put in a decent test.  I found the judge's comments a bit odd.  She said we lacked hind end engagement, were a bit tight in the neck (agreed), a little low in the frame, a bit heavy in the forehand (sort of agree), and that I needed more leg & to be more effective.  I'll post the video though, & people can judge for themselves.  Anywho, we sat pretty in third after dressage with a 48.
These are all just video stills... but they give you a glimpse.

She was strong in the warm up, but relatively responsive.  They were running about 15 min late, so we had a 'stop n go' warm up, but managed alright & were right on our game by the time we entered the ring.  Unfortunately, we came into the first fence just a wee bit flat & strong and Cadence, being her typical self and not respecting the 2'9 max height, tapped down the top rail.  She was good & careful after that though!  But the 4 faults moved us back into 6th place.
Trotting away from our salute
Second fence... well clear! 

 Mare says 'Wheeeee!'
 Beginning the turn
First fence in the 2 stride combo... caught at an awkward moment
 A bit deep to the second thanks to her BIG jump in
 Final fence.  I like this pic... she looks so happy

Cross Country:
Cross was... awesome.  She was strong, and pretty much 100% on her game.  It took about half of the 14 jump course to settle her, but she was never out of control- just strong.  Man is she a fun horse to ride though!  She takes you to the base of the fence and then some.  We went clear, qualifying us for champs, and had a wicked fast run coming in close to a minute under the 5:30 optimum time.

We finished off the day in 6th place.  My only complaints would be that the fotting out XC was rock hard, and that we had to wait for 1.5h for the results to be posted.  Other than that it was a great day!