Friday, July 29, 2011

Fun & Fat Fingers

The XC derby turned into more of a stadium and XC school, which was a leetle disappointing, but c'est la vie.  In the end it worked out pretty well though.  Cadence was brave as could be stadium, and led the pack of greenies flawlessly.  I think Equus must really have helped her, because honestly she's such a different horse.  I don't have to push her at every fence, she's there with me every step of the way.  Fantastic, and really exciting for me :)  My baby's growing up.
XC went quite well, save one refusal.  I learned that really, our only issue XC is going to be steadiness.  Keep a nice even pace, and so long as I don't let her rush we're good.  It's when she gets quick that she looks for an avenue out.  I can't wait to see what she does next time we go out.  We did run into a little bit of an issue at the end of our time though.  We were almost done, and were just going to do banks and ditches (which were located in a different area) before calling it a day.  We weren't even going to bother with the ditch, but there was a guy looking for a lead over, so we volunteered thinking 'of course she'd go... why wouldn't she?'  Now, if you remember from our last trip up there, there were lots of scary things around the ditch, like brush boxes and mock stone walls.  She got a little frazzled leading up to the jump and quit on me.  Grrrrr....... frustrating.  So we tried again; and on the third try she leaped sideways over a pile of poles and standards next to the ditch and dumped me.  In an effort to keep a hold of my reins, I ended up fracturing my pinky.  No big deal, but I have to put it in a splint to ride and buddy tape it the rest of the time which limits the use of my left hand.  That, and it'll take a couple of WEEKS to heal.  Whatever, I'll just have to show with a big huge silver thing encasing my finger....
Yesterday was a lot of fun.  I went to the barn to rub down Cadence's legs and see how they handled the xc.  We've been having a little issues with fill in her hind legs, but they were only up a touch.  She's a little loose in behind (apparently a common issue with bigger moving taller babies) and sometimes if we don't watch her carefully her legs'll be up after the simplest of workouts.  IT also seems to be related to the weather... but I digress.  My coach was taking Bronx (7y/o 4th level/prix st. George dressage horse) up to Belinda's for a lesson.  She's known and worked with Belinda and Christilot for years, and often uses them as reference/check point on her dressage horses.  Anyhow, she invited me up and since I was faced with a day of homework and housework I gladly accepted.  The facility, Oakcrest Farms, was gorgeous.  The link doesn't show you much, but it gives you a look at the outside at least.  There were two lessons more at my level before my coach's lesson, which was quite interesting.  I only caught the end of the first, but they worked on leg yields and halts, both of which we're currently working on.  In the second, Belinda taught a rider on dealing with her excited and spooky pony and getting him to work despite his extra energy.  They also had a brief chat about how and when to use draw reins. Really interesting.  My coach's lesson was really neat to watch.  Bronx is preparing to go 4th level at his next show, so they reviewed all of the 4 level movements and some Prix St. George.  I'm not sure when piaffe and passage are introduced (I didn't think it was until intermediate) but they worked on that too with Belinda on the ground to help get a little more lift out of Bronx.  His half pass work is gorgeous, and the canter pirouettes have come a long way.  It's just amazing to watch.  It was a lot of fun to go up there, and yes... I admired their fences :P

(anyone who hasn't read this blog for long: I have a habit of ogling people's fences.  Especially when we go down through the Kentucky area.  Soooo pretty!!!  My goal in life:  Own a farm with beautiful four poster fences and dry stone walls leading up to the wrought iron gate.  Wish me luck with that one... methinks I'll need it!)

Edit: I would just like to brag add that Ontario is currently second in the CCI* division at young rider champs.  Go Canada!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I love my mare...

... I think.  While she is fantastic and beyond hilarious, sometimes she's just plain infuriating.  Like today, when I went to mount up and she was like "No thanks, I think I'd rather barge through you than stand still.  Back up?  Naw, I feel like walking circles around you."  Grrrr.... bad mare.  She got in MAJOR trouble for that little show, and by the time I went to get on again she wasn't thinking about being so rude.  I do believe that discipline like that is important, a horse should not walk all over people.  However, it's also important to do it promptly and correctly.  When I asked her to back up and she ignored me, I asked again but emphasized it with a tap from the whip on her chest.  When she barged through me, I popped her with the reins, and made her back up to where she was before.  Then we practiced.  Walk, halt, trot, back up all RIGHT when I asked and lone behold, she was perfect.  No more walking all over the humans.... for now.
Tomorrow we're heading up to take a turn aorund an XC course, so we kept today to a walk hack.  25 minutes of trails, fields, and pathways with not a gallop in sight -_-  Cadence and I seemed to have similar opinions about this.  Her thought process was like "Hill? let's trot up it.  Oh lookey!  Anoter one!  That means we MUST trot down it, and attempt to break to a canter"  This is why you don't hack a pony after a day off.  I learned my lesson.  All things considered, she was fantastic; just a bit keen.  Although she does have this bad habit of wandering off of the path.  Several of our forest trails are lined by logs on the ground, and on more than one occasion she mysteriously wandered over them for no apparent reason.   Then again, she came very close to walking straight into a tree on two separate occasions.  Such a smart pony.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Equus 3D Summary

Dressage:  Cadence was fantastic.  A little on the muscle at times, and I'd say our figures weren't as accurate as they could have been but our mark was in the low 70 which translated to a 40 and we were tied for second so I was pleased.  Major run on sentence, but moving on.

Stadium:  Much better than expected!  I honestly don't think my coach was expecting us to make it round, but we did.  We would have been kicked out of the hunter ring, but she went over everything first try!!! Even a tunnel style filler painted bright red with red and white striped poles, a standart with scarree looking wings, and a couple of roll tops covered in astro turf-esque stuff.  She did however throw a MAJOR spook in at the red roofed judge's booth when we cantered past.  Ah well, we weren't near any jumps anyways.

Cross Country:  We started off well and she was good for her first time out of the start box.  Came to the first fence, which was sandwitched between all the other level fences with prelim right next to us of course.  That backed her off a bit, but she was really on the muscle after the first one and I had a hard time getting her back heading to the second which wasn't far away, but you had to get a good line to it which we didn't since I was being tuned out.  We had a circleish runout, came back and popped it nicely.  Then I had to work to get her over the third, and by the time we got to the fourth (a bench followed by a drop) she wasn't having any of it.  Quit way out on me, not even getting close.  My assessment was that she lost her confidence after the second and just didn't have it in her.  it was like 'That jump is scary, I'm tired, and if you think I'm going over it you're insane.'  end of story. 

Overall:  I am extremely proud of her.  She's awesome, fantastic, and a real little superstar.  I can't help but wonder if I could have done something differently XC.  I can honestly say I rode every fence and didn't take any of them for granted, but still... if someone more experienced had been on her mehaps she would have gone and she wouldn't have learned that refusing means we quit and walk back to the trailer. -_-  However, when I got home and checked my email there was a very nice and encouraging email from my coach saying that she was extremely proud of us and thought I put in a very good ride on a very green horse.  You aren't an eventer if you haven't lived both the highs and lows of the sport.  That really touched me, and has gone a long way to lifting my mood.

I'm now listening to Christmas music.  This is what I get for putting my iTunes on shuffle.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Grab Mane and Go!

I can't wait, I want Sunday to be here.  Unfortunately, time does not speed up or slow down upon my request.  Anyhow, my motives for fast forwarding till Sunday are still somewhat unclear... I think it's a combination of just wanting to get it over with and really being rather excited.  All the negativity stems from us not really being prepared for this.  I'm the type of person who comes in uber prepared, not under prepared... but alas such is life.  I'm going in with the mentality that we'll be first after dressage, rock the socks off of stadium (providing we can get past the scary shed) and tear up that XC course.  We're the last pair of the day to go, and our xc time isn't till four, so the heat's got me a bit worried.  That said, Sunday's actually supposed to be pretty nice.  81, feels like 88.  I think I can handle that.
This competition is at the same place as the last one, and if they hold everything in the same places as last time (which I'm assuming they will) then we're going to have to deal with the scary red shed again in stadium.  She hasn't been out since our not so great performance at our CT show, so to return to the same venue with no more preparation than we had last time seems kind of dumb.  I guess I'll just go in planning to win and really ride EVERY SINGLE FENCE.   We'll just grab mane, and go ;)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

If you're going to hell...

might as well do it thoroughly.  I wasn't planning on dying... but plans change.
Explanation: Somehow I've wound up entered in Cadence's (and my, though I'm not so worried about myself) first official event this Sunday instead of the nice easy hunter show we'd been planning on.  What the hell ever happened to taking things slowly?  I suppose it's sink or float time now.

Countdown to the event: 2 rides left D:

P.s. Why me?  Why do I always find myself in these situations?  Flying by the seat of my pants as my grandpa used to say.  I've gotten over the stress... and a fair bit of the excitement (amazing since it hasn't even been a 1/2 hour since the idea was proposed) and am now just... lacking in descriptive language.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

ouchy ouchy ouch ouch

My head is killing me, so while I promised myself I'd post today I'm going to cheat.

The mare got a pedicure today, we have a show Sunday, I'm riding a friends horse for her while she's on vacation, my coach wants me to exercise racehorses to improve my lower leg, I rode Arty Monday, and Cadence and I had a lesson today.  Oh, and this video bugs me for a couple of reasons that I'll list once my head stops throbbing:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Harry Potter and Hellions

Just a brief note on the final film in the Harry Potter franchise: The film was fantastic.  Despite the enormity of the events occurring in the film and the chaos that ensued, the film had a very intimate feeling... as if you were really there with Harry Ron, and Hermione.  It was sad at times (okay... the only real sad moment in my opinion was when it showed Fred, Tonks, and Lupin's dead bodies) but over all the film focused on a more energized and upbeat feeling.  All in all, while it may not have been as good as the book (and when are they ever) it did seem to do the epic final novel justice.

Now for the hellion part of things!  When I went out to thebarn for my Sat morning lesson,  I was treated to a energetic and pissed off mare.  Yay!  I mean like having to put a chain on her and have someone hold her because she was swinging her butt around so she could kick at the walls, having her shoot through any doorways that were open and proceed to trot circles around me as best she could, attempt to gallop a 10m circle on the lunge, rear and reverse mid rear (while still on the lunge) because she spotted a dog walking out of the bushes, and barge through me and attempt to trot away from the mounting block then refuse to back up and try to trot some more.  God, I love my horse.  I got on, and we actually had quite a good ride.  She just needs to get the energy out, and when she acts like that thre's no way i'm free lunging her, she's psycho free lunging on a good day.  It was funny though, because she was such a superstar out XC and everyone commented on how non-temperamental she was.  If they'd seen her Saturday nobody would believe it was the same horse.  Honestly, if someone who didn't know her had been there they'd have thought me balmy for attempting to ride her.  They may have thought I possessed some extraordinary talent though, after seeing her proceed to go so nicely under saddle!
Yesterday she was pretty good.  We did some leg yield work, worked on canter transitions and trot after the canter, and then ditched the saddle and rode pole patterns with the western pleasure ladies bareback.  We were disqualified for inappropriate tack though ;)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

It All Ends

Watch the video, and enjoy.  If you've got some time to kill and are interested in a very poorly written and rambling commentary pretaining to Harry Potter and myself, read on.  Otherwise, I'd quit whilst you're still ahead.  Cheers!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Horse Show Pics

Cadence and I are (hopefully) heading out for some cross country schooling tomorrow.  I've never been to the facility before, so it should be fun.  In the mean time, here are some pics from the CT Show.  Unfortunatel, the professional photographer only shot stadium, and my photographer only managed to capture my final halt salute, so our semi-awesome dressage test lacks proof.  Ah well, such is life.
 Halt at the end of our test.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Learning Experience

If I were to sum up the show, those would be the words I'd use.  It was indeed very educational, and gave us a good look at where we are and where we need to go.  Slightly more indepth summary:
My ride time was at 1, and at 12:30 we were just pulling in to the  show grounds.  The stable was on 4th line East, and our directions were to 4th line, so after getting lost for 40 minutes we pulled in, tacked up, found my coach, and started warming up.  The far end of the warmup ring abutted one of the fields, and Cadence was not at all keen on heading towards it.  However, all in all the warmup was successful.  Our test went well (save two little spooks, a teeny bit of rushing, and one little stumble) and we led the class by a fair bit with a 68.5% going into stadium.
Cross country started off well, with some fantastically confident warmu p fences.  We then moved onto te banks, which took us a while, but by the end of the school she'd hop up and down 'em without a problem.  Cross country took a bit of a nasty turn when one of our riders (who was prepping for her first prelim) had a rotational fall on her last fence of the day.  Horse and rider were both fine, but they weren't able to compete that afternoon.  The fall was a total fluke; it was a relatively simple fence, and the horse just stuttered and couldn't get himself over.  These things happen, but it still isn't fun to watch.
We came off of XC and Cadence was (understandably) a leetle bit strung out, but she settled back quickly.  We did the two warm up fences nicely and headed into the arena for our stadium round.  We entered, she got a bit tense, I accidentally rode through the start timer (oops!!!), got called over and had to explain that I was just concentrating on settling the horse, and was (thankfully) given the opportunity to restart my round.  We succesfully made it over the first fence, but Cadence was a little reluctant.  The first fence headed straight to the field she was spooking at earlier, and the second two ran parallel to it.  We came off the first and stopped dead.  There was no way we were getting close to those two fences... we couldn't even get close to that side of the arena!  We were eventually excused and given premission to jump a fence on our way out, which she did beautifully.  The jumps weren't an issue.  The horses/bright red shed in the field?  Terrifying horse-eating monsters.
What we learnt:  Cadence is indeed not ready for a HT this month.  She needs to get out and go school in as many different places as possible, and then we'll re-assess.  Am I disappointed?  Sort of.   I definitely was when I found out we were first after dressage, but over all I'm simply determined to get her out and about more often.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Show Tomorrow!

Once I worked over my stress regarding the show and canoeing trip, I've really been getting excited about this show.  Poor Cadence has suffered because of it!  She's had her mane pulled, trimmed, cleaned, braided, re-braided (I wasn't satisfied), and bathed within an inch of her life.  Poor pony, thank goodness I can braid fast!  The rest of it...well, it taught her patience. 
In regards to the actual show, as my coach said 'It's just a schooling show.  You're there to do just that, school.  Try to make it over everything, and don't worry about your dressage.  Just try to keep her relaxed'  Her dressage'll be fine.  We'll warm up focusing on straight center lines, relaxing, stretching in the free walk.  We'll do one short canter, and make sure she relaxes afterwards.  Short and sweet is my dressage goal.  Our dressage is @1 and stadium's @2:45, so we have a fair bit of time in between.  We'll do more of an XC style stadium warm up focusing on responding to my woah aids, and going over EVERYTHING.  No.matter.what.  I realized today that she's never seen a flower box.  That'll be fun!  We'll probably end up coming back to trot, and cantering a stride before some of the fences.  Time isn't even in my mind, I really don't care.  I'm going for the dressage, to make it around stadium sans-refusals, and for the XC schooling after. 
I leave Thursday morning for my annual canoeing trip, so I'll see you all monday!  (Chances are I wont have time to post results tomorrow)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Better Outlook

I'm trying to be positive here and de-stress myself.  I cancelled a couple of things off of my schedule yesterday to leave time to play with tmy pony and go braid some people's horses for a show tomorrow.  Unfortunately both horses had just had their manes conditioned.  Oh, and we couldn't find the spray and braid till I was half way through the second horse.  Just my luck.  I do however feel I win the best friend of the year award for braiding somebody else's horse because they were on vacation.
I've also totally changed my outlook in regards to the show on Wednesday.  It'll be the second time Cadence has jumped a course, and probably the second time she's seen fillers and painted poles.  If we get a refusal, it'll suck but so what?  There's always another ride.  I have no fears of her knocking any poles.  If she makes it over the jump, she'll be 20 feet in the air.  And in regards to dressage?  if our transitions aren't at the letter and we loose marks on submission, it isn't the end of the world.  It's all just a learning experience.  We make do with what we've got, thank our lucky stars we've got it, and graciously move on to the next thing.
Have a great day all, I'm off to ride the Mare.