Thursday, September 22, 2011

My 17y/o Baby

I made it through my evening from hell (thanks to my stellar scheduling skills) yesterday, and even found time to eat!  Though schoolwork seems to have fallen by the way-side or however that expression goes.  Anyhow, Cadence was amazing.  I haven't had a chance to do a write up on the lessons from last weekend (dressage friday and jumping Sat), but I'll quickly paraphrase:

Friday:  The Mare was insane. Apparently riding every other day does NOT work for her.  She was ready to go beat Secretariat and be the first TB cross to win the triple crown.  She even refused to pick up her right lead for a while.  Frustrating. We survived the lesson, and proceeded to go for a nice long hack.

Sat:  Kaitlin (Cadence's old owner/breeder) came down to watch our lesson. Cadence was good at first.  Good warm up, good gymnastics, bad single fences/oxerness.  We grabbed the bit and bolted a couple of strides beore the fence, only to realize that there was no possible way we would make it over the jump and slamming on the breaks.  I landed IN BETWEEN her front legs, on my back.  I watched her lift her hoof gingerly over my vulnerable stomach, and was thankful my mare is careful with her feet.  I hopped back up after giving her a quick pat, and we popped over the jump with considerably more care.  I learned that I really do have to take control and stop her from bolting AT ALL COSTS.  I've always tried to bring her back gently, but now I know if I have to haul on her mouth and do a pulley rein before the jump, it's better than the alternative.  I was disappointed, because she had been so good in our last jump school.  Good lesson to learn though.  Oh, and we had a totally failed hack before the lesson.

Now onto Launa and our ride yesterday.
First I took Cadence out for a very successful w/t hack.  She was absolutely amazing, and ground tied before and after the ride even when I went into the arena to grab something.  GOOD MARE!!!!!  Then it was Launa's turn.  There were two other horses working in the arena, which isn't a big deal.  I often ride her with them.  Anyhow, we set up two trot poles, one after the other, and with standards either side.  After a little walk/trot warm up (and some rein backs and quarter turns) we walked neatly over them, so I asked her to trot on over.  SHe was having no piece of that.  I'm talking knocking over the standards, and cantering away (the horse who doesn't know how to canter under saddle yet).  Then the other horses left, and she walked and trotted calmly over the DEAD CENTER (something we've nevr been able to accomplish before) of the poles.  I even hopped up into my two-point and trotted over them like that for the first time.  What a goof.  I have no idea what set her off; it's not like we haven't done something similar before... with other horses in the arena I might add.  Anyhow, I'll be off to ride both ponies again tonight so we'll see how she does today.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Welcome to my Life

8:40-3:15 Classes
3:20-4:00 Drive to barn
4:00-6:00 Groom, tack up, ride, etc. BOTH Launa and Cadence
6:00-6:30 Drive to Flute lesson
6:30-7:00 Flute lesson
7:00-7:15 Drive home
7:15-? My niece's second birthday party

And somehow I have to fit in dinner, school work, band practice, and maybe even sleep before waking up nice and early so that I can be at school by 7:20 at the latest.  At least the weather's nice!

Friday, September 16, 2011

100th Post of the Year

Personally, I don't think that that's anything particularly important, but I've decided to add tags to all my posts and this seemed like a likely reason to start. However, I couldn't just START doing it... so I'm going back and adding tags to ALL OF THE PREVIOUS POSTS.  Apparently I'm insane.  So far I've gotten through 2010.  So happy 100th post of 2011 to all you Riding From The Ground Up readers!  All two of you ;)

On another note, I don't know if I've ever mentioned Launa.  She's the seventeen year old Arab who was backed last winter that I've been riding for her owner since July or so... Cute little chestnut mare.  Anyhow, now that school's started and I'm not readily available any more Jen (BO who does some of her training/conditioning work) and Judy (owner) have decided I'll be riding her on Tuesdays and Thursdays... the days I DON'T come to the barn.  I love my luck.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What's New and Exciting?

Absolutely nothing.  I dragged some jumps outside the other day, and handed my dad a camera with the instructions to take some jumping pictures.  Cadence was amazing, the weather was perfect, and all was right with the world.  Everything that is, except for my choice of photographer.  Ah well, better luck next time.  Cadence's jumping is doing fantastically.  Her dressage... is doing alright.  She's getting the whole collection thing pretty well, and her extensions are still in the baby stages.  Forward-going horses often have more trouble with extensions, contrary to popular belief.  They're more prone to rush things, so when you start work on the lengthens, it's all slow and steady wins the race type stuff.  I've seen the evidence of what they'll become when we free lunge and such, but for now it's just grasping the whole concept.
On Saturday, we went over to a friend's farm for some flatwork fun.  We did a little dressage work in the arena, and then headed out for a trail ride.  It was Cadence's first time doing anything more than a walk with other horses, and she had a blast!  At one point, we were all trotting along and she got pretty excited and broke to a canter.  I moved to bring her back, and she collected herself into a beautiful collected canter, and held it!  There was no way I was letting that one go, so I let her hold it for as long as she liked, and she maintained it  until everyone else returned to walk.  I was impressed, to say the least!
It was a fun day all round, and her leg seemed to hold up pretty well.  She still gets some swelling going on near the top of her LH cannon area.  If I had the money, I'd have the vet out to re-examine.  It's been a month and one day since the suspected injury date; why is this still here!  But alas, I'm not rolling in cash, so I think I'm going to have to settle for a distraught phone call.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Post Hunter & Dressage Lessons

Technically, we did really well at the hunter show.  We got 4, 5, and 6 competing against horses who actually knew what they were doing.  We (Mostly I) had some awful moments:
And we had some better moments:
(is it just me, or is this the smallest 2'6 course ever created?)
I know her form isn't 100%, but look: WE AREN'T OVER JUMPING!!!  With Cadence, I measure success in small doses.
I wasn't too impressed with her responsiveness.  She was borderline out of control.  She wasn't out of control, but she was as close as I've ever felt her.   I just was taken aback by how strong and unwilling to listen to my half-halts she was.  I think our next outing should be strictly dressage, so she gets jumping off the brain.  We almost cut a stride off of EVERY single line, which is sad since hunter distances are normally set long.
On Saturday, we had a fantastic dressage lesson.  We've really started into the first level stuff now.  We started real work on the lengthens and collection, and she was lovin' it!  Actually, she was sweating it since we had a mini-heat flash that DID NOT last!  Saturday was warm, and I've been wearing my winter coat ever since. I kid you not.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Glen Oro HT... Extended Version

This update was supposed to come on Wednesday, but is instead arriving two days late.  My apologies.  As repayment, let me take you back to the 13th of August, 2011.  Que the spooky music and some time travel. 

Alright, in case you all don't remember (not that I can blame you, it's been almost a month) the Saturday of Glen Oro found me trailering Cadence over to a friend's (G) farm, so we could trailer up to Glen Oro together.  The plan was for us to go up together, show, and return together.  We would be returning at around 9-10pm, so Cadence  would spend the night at her farm and we'd bring her home in the morning.  The Mare was a superstar, and hopped right from one trailer to another without a fuss.  So different from the fire breathing pony that used to rear her ugly head whenever we'd try to trailer someplace.
We got caught in traffic heading up to Barrie (big surprise... damn cottage goers) and ended up getting there behind schedule.  It was pretty close to my friend's dressage time, so she quickly got dressed, tacked up her pony (B), and haeded over to the dressage arena.  Cadence and I still had about an hour, so we took our time getting ready and slowly meandered over.  We crossed paths G and B as we headed over.  They'd had an adequate test, but G thought it could have been better.
Now, I'm not sure quite what caused Cadence's.... attitude.  Perhaps it was because we'd trailered up with a friend instead of by ourselves, but my normally wonderful dressage pony was doing things like cantering on the spot (for three whole strides, I kid you not) when I asked for a trot.  We went in and rode our test, and sort of crashed and burned.  She was tense, and it was all I could do to keep her from breaking. Sometimes we'd get some nice moments, othertimes I'd be riding a jackhammer.  Fun fun fun!!  I kept her in frame the whole time... it's what she knows and it's what she's comfortable with, but even with that we were still in like 10th place out of 15 at the end of dressage.  She's normally first or second!! I mean, the test wasn't THAT awful.... but unfortunately I never got that test so I don't know what the judge's comments were.
Stadium warm up saw me with a nervous and excitable pony again.  Our first attempt at a jump ended up in a dirty stop, but thankfully after that we pulled it together.  We were the very last people to go for the whole day, and by the time we entered the ring most everybody had cleared off.  We halted, saluted, and continued over the first few jumps.  A couple of times, I could feel her ALMOST not make it over, but it wasn't till the fourth to last fence that we had a legitimate issue.  She had a dirty run out, because she was focusing on the shed we were approaching.  To help me explain it better, picture a huge rectangular grass ring.  You're standing in the center along one of the long sides.  Across from you, on the other side of the ring is a single black fence.  This is the third to last jump.  To your left, is another single.  It's near the far side of the ring, close to the left hand rail.  This is the jump Cadence ran out of.  We circled and made it over, but she was still staring at the shed/garage/barn thing.  Before we could even attempt the third to last fence, we were standing stalk still paralllel ot the jump, snorting at the shed in utter terror.  Eventually, we were blown out.  The judge offered to let us try a different fence to end on a good note, but I asked if I could just work her around the shed instead.  With a "Sure, but don't get hurt" we headed over, and eventually were able to w/t/c on the rail, by the shed.  When we attempted the fence, we jumped it fine so I continued on and finished the course.
I decided to ask if they'd let me out on XC, and sure enough I was waved right through with a 3, 2, 1, have a great ride!  Yay!  She cleared the first fence brilliantly, but then I was faced with a dillema.  There were a few (two to be specific) fences on course that I knew she'd have an issue with.  They were both in a line of trees that ran between two of the XC fields.  After doing the first jump perfectly, I really didn't want to have any refusals.  Should I quit on a good note?  Should I give it a go and deal with the issues as they come?  Or.... should I just skip the scary jumps?  We're already out, why not!  So that's what we did.  I felt guilty doing it, but we made it around the course almost problem free.  She stopped at one fence, a small 2'3 log perched just off the ground, but I gave her a boot and we popped right over it from a stand still!  So technically, we never had a stop.  It was exactly what she needed, a good confidence builder, save the elimination in stadium.
We trailered back (and had an interesting conversation with the coach (who couldn't be at the show) in the truck on the way home) and bedded the ponies down for the night.  Her legs looked great, so I didn't bother poulticing.  It was the next morning when I came to fetch her that her LH was impersonating a stovepipe.

OH!  Tomorrow we've got a lesson, then Sunday we're going to a little hunter show to do 2'3 and 2'6 hunters.  Wish us luck!