Saturday, March 31, 2012

Last Post of March 2012

For come tomorrow, March of 2012 will cease to be.  No real importance to that... so I really have no idea why I wrote it.  Anywho, I figured I probably needed to write down the latest developments with The Mare.  Iad a lesson type thing today, and rode in the dressage saddle for the first time since I got it fitted & restuffed.  For reasons that are beyond me, I wholly and completely changed my writing style.  Presonally, I wouldn't enjoy reading posts written like this.  I just don't have the energy to fix it...

Lesson/Assessment Synopsis:
Tacked up, brought the mare into the indoor, and walked around the ring to let her take a look at everything.  Trotted her in hand, & the saddle seemed to be bouncing a lot.  Let down stirrups, tightened girth, and hopped on.  Cadence was pissy, and it seemed like the saddle was hurting her.  Coach walked in, and I explained what was happening as Cadence kicked around.  She made me hop off, looked at the saddle, and re-positioned it on the mare's back.  Mare was happier, saddle didn't bounce, and I felt like an idiot.  Note to self- don't tack up in a rush.  Apparently I do stupid things when that happens.  The saddle was just sitting a bit too far forward, but it was enough to put miss sensitivity in pain & make the saddle fit incorrectly. 
Rest of the ride was great.  Mare was hyper, dancy, strong, and heavy in my hand.  But good compared to what she has been.  Coach said I was putting up with way too much shit from her and letting her boss me around waay too much.  Made mare wear clammer, and gave us homework.  W/t for next week in low frame. Make mare carry herself- she jams her back when pulling on me (note: its not like she's laying hard on my hand or anything.  Compared to many horses, she feels down right light.  Doesn't mean she's carrying herself though.) so this behaviour will only exacerbate the injury and hinder her recovery.  Mare was the epitome of awesomeness in clammer.  Okay, I exaggerated that one a little.  Did 20 min of w/t in total.  Walked mare out, groomed her, and threw her back in the field.  Feet look good- no thrush.  Wierd scabby thing in front of girth area on right side.  Been there for about a week now...  looks like a collection of small scabs.  Other than that, the mare looks good.  Just out of shape.

A/N- Cadence's old owner/breeder is coming down for a visit tomorrow!  Very excited.  She hasn't heard about the latest Cadence related drama (the sore back saga).  Also, random fact- this is cadence's second time in the clammer since the clinic back in November.   Don't know why I'm bothering to write down that totally irrelevant piece of information, but whatever. What's done is done, I suppose (thoguh I don't think that generally refers to typing blog posts.)  Okay, I'll shut up now.

Friday, March 30, 2012

On Weather, Winter, & Inconveniences

When I returned home from my trip to Ireland, I got off the airplane to ridiculously hot (70 degree) temperatures, and promptly spent the next few days in shorts, t-shirts, and summer dresses.  People thought summer was here to stay, but me and my cynical self didn't believe it.  Guess what?  I was right.  Last year, we had a big snow storm at te end of march, following some pretty nice summery weather around the middle of the month.  It was nothing like the weather we got this year, but it was warm for March.  Then, at the end of the month we had a foot of snow dumped on us in under 12 hours.  Actually, it was probably under 6 hours... but that's beside the point.
The reason for that little trip down memory lane is that right now, after our soaring summer temps (nearly 80 degrees) I now find myself smack dab in the middle of a snowstorm.  Funny thing is, I can't really bring myself to hate it... it should kill most of the bugs.  Hopefully.

On an unrelated topic, I'm stuck at home in bed after turning down tickets to the Rick Mercer Report.  Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of being sick this weekend... but illness rarely slots itself conveniently into your schedule.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Backs, Bucks, Etc.

After the Mare's massage, she was a little touchy in the spots that her masseuse (lol) really worked on.  However, once I hopped on I noticed an immediate difference.  Not a single buck as we trotted around both directions.  Her arena behaviour was good, but she was still forward enough for it to be mildly irritating.  Keep in mind I really like a forward horse.  I just don't like an unresponsive one.  So we moved out side and did some work going up and down two little hills on our property.  We walked & trotted up and down them, using the grass as incentive to really stretch in the trot.  Best trot work yet!
Then came Tuesday's ride.  I erm... may or may not have required a shank to simply walk my horse into the arena.  Apparently bits in mouths mean nothing to Cadence, and walk is not actually a gait either.  Nice try mare, but you WILL walk.  So with that being the precursor to our ride, you can imagine how the rest of it went.  We'd walk for a bit, but only a bit because then we'd start jigging, prancing, trotting, rushing, grabbing, etc.  She tried to be good, but was on energy overload.  Funnily enough, she was a total angel and trotted around calmly as the new boarder & her father drove out of the parking lot. Show off.
I'd like to ride tomorrow, but I have an allergy test in the morning & am feeling a little nauseous tonight anyway.  Hopefully I'm not getting sick, and fingers crossed the allergy test goes well!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Update on the Catch Rides

First, Miss L.  Miss L's owner decided that (in spite of her doc's orders) as long as she could get on and off from the right side (since her left knee was the injured one) she'd start riding again.  All went well with the mounting/dismounting, so while I was away she started working Miss L herself.  However, she asked me if I'd be able to stay on and ride 1x/week even though she couldn't afford to pay me & I agreed, on a tentative 'so long as I have the time' kind of agreement.  Last week I took Arty and she, Lacey, Arty, and myself headed out for a trail ride.  She was nervous about getting Miss L out, so the pony and I stepped in to help.  It was a fantastic ride, & both Miss L and her owner did fabulously.
Yesterday I planned on riding Miss L in the ring, then ditching the saddle (as it was supposed to rain & I don't want to ruin that gorgeous western saddle... I think its a Billy Cook or some other expensive model) and heading out for a bareback trail with a friend and her horse.  The arena work went fabulously, and Miss L was being so good I decided to ask for a walk-canter transition just to see what happened.  She felt totally ready for it, but I was still pleased when on the second try she popped straight into a canter!  Go Mare!  From there we did some the other way (her bad way) and then worked on some flying changes.  Her changes actually rode greener than her walk-camters.
In other news, I now have the pleasure of earning some real money riding a mare some long time blog readers may remember.
Majik is a 8 or 9 year old morgan X who started out life as a dressage horse before being left in a field for a while and then sold to her current owner.  Her owner started out life on a horse farm bombing around on her families QH & ponies in a western saddle.  Switching to this little dressage mare was a bit of a change for her, but the pair get along well.  I've ridden Majik a few times while her owner was away, & was essentially given the opportunity to hop on her whenever I wished.  Her owner always said she could tell when I rode her horse because Majik was much better behaved!  Its amazing how having your horse respect you changes your ride... anyhow, with my insane schedule I rarely rode her so in essence her owner offered me cash incentive to ride & train her and the horse once a week.  The incentive worked (hey, as anyone who rides will tell you, you can never have enough money.  With all the expences Cadence has cost me this winter, [vet bills x5, saddle fitting, massages, etc.] I could certainly use a little more cash flowing into my account) and  I'm now signed on to weekly training sessions with the pair.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cadence and the Sore Back Saga cont'd

I hopped on Cadence for the first time in about 2-3 wks on Wednesday after a breif 'you're not acting like a bronc, okay, we're good'  lunge session.  In spite of the fact that it was her first ride in a very long time, we were outside for the first time in a very VERY long time, and there was another horse moseying around through the bush, Cadence was pretty good.
I hopped on her from teh picnic table, and immediately instead of the tense I'm going to bite and buck you stuff I was getting before, she attempted to head for the hills and chase the other horse.  No such luck mare, its arena time.  We walked around the outdoor, and did some bending and stretching.  However, she kept attempting (and unfortunately succeeding) to barge herself into the trot... and eventually I gave in.  Her trot was rushy and insane, but the only time she offered a buck was when I attempted to insist she bend left.  Duly noted.
I ignored her Thursday, and on Friday after a chaotic session at the clinic, I came out and goofed around with her outside.  We went for a nice w/t in hand hack, then had a little canter time loose in the arena once I was sure she wouldn't be a tool and injure herself free lunging.  Saturday I hopped on her again in arena with two other lessons going on.  She was not pleased about this, and attempted to kick the gelding every time he came near.  Nice, mare.  I gave in and we headed to the outdoor in spite of the impending drizzle.  This turned out to be a good decision, as the footing was nice and the rain held.  Plus, we had our own space.  Cadence was better, but still offered bucks when we bent left in the trot.  I surmised that there must still be some soreness on her right side near her loins.
Sat. evening, she had a massage, which confirmed my assumptions about her back.  It also uncovered soreness on her left side from her slip after her last massage, and some unexplicable tightness in her extensors on her front legs... that one stumped us both.   The masseus and myself, that is.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Back Into the Groove

I returned home from my little trip Sunday, and hit the ground running.  Unfortunately a weeks long vacation means there's a week of work I need to catch up on.  The weather here's also sent me into  a bit of a shock.  I left Ireland's cool grey dampness and returned home to stinking hot humidity.  It's a staggering 77 degrees here today, with a humidex in the high 80's.  In March!  Last year around this time we were buried in a snow storm.
On the pony front, Cadence was lunged twice for me while I was away, & her back seems much better.  Hopefully today I'll hop on her & we can walk around.  I don't know... we'll see.  I don't want to push it if she's not ready, but at the same time I really want her to be back in work.  It really boils down to how she reacts.  So as I said before, we'll see.
Miss L's rider's back in the saddle, but she's asked me to stay on riding her on a once a week basis to keep her training in place.  While the offer's flattering, its still not a paid position & I'm worried about burning myself out.  I've agreed for the time being, but Miss L moves to a new barn in April so dep. on the loc. and quality of the facilities (only one SMALL outdoor ring) it may not be worth my time.  I do enjoy riding her though...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Off to Ireland

See you all in a week or so!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Art of Western Collection

This is a lope- I kid you not.
Just a pic from our ride yesterday.  Look, its sunny!
While riding Miss L, I've learnt a lot about collection.  The biggest difference between English and Western disciplines is that when you collect an english horse you ask them to sit back and gain impulsion.  With a western horse, you ask them to sit back and hold it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Feelin It Again

I have to admit, with Cadence off and being all crabby and such, its left a major dent in my enthusiasm.  The weather's been awful (you know that tornado from down Kentucky way?  We got the tail end of it.) and while riding Miss L is fun... she's no Cadence.  I was also a little sad for silly reasons- a friend of my coach's asked her to sell off his remaining horses due to his failing health.  One was a gorgeous little KWPN filly with impeccable Dutch and German bloodlines.  Though only a year and a half old, when this filly moves you notice.  Her price was great, her temperament better, and her face... well it reminded me a lot of Launa, which led to a sentimental attachment (just as a side note, Launa has been sold and moves this week.  Also terribly sad) to her.  Being so spectacular and priced extremely low, she sold in a heart beat.  But it was quite difficult for me to see her go; I'd fallen hard for that filly.  She too will be gone by the end of the week.  Such is the nature of the business though... not that it makes it any easier!

But today the sky was blue, Cadence's saddle fitting went quite well (hope at last!) and Miss L and I had a wonderful ride!  My spring fever is back, and although I'll be away for a week (Ireland, here I come) my saddle will be done and hopefully my horse will be better and winter will have passed upon my return.  With this more cheerful outlook, I eagerly await spring and the trials and tribulations that will come along with this next competition season!

A couple of things I should have mentioned:
1- Miss L's owner will require surgery and will be out of the saddle till June.  Don't know what this means for my gig with Miss L, but we'll worry about that once I'm home from my holiday.
2- The saddle fitter could not have been more complimentary of Cadence, in spite of our... less than stellar preformance.  I'll try to write up a report on the fitting tomorrow.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Back on Track

Cadence seems a lot less reactive, and overall her back's looking pretty good!  So my plan is to attempt a ride today if all goes well.  It'll just be bareback, and will probably be mainly walk, but its better than nothing.  She's been off for a week and a half, & in spite of her near daily work the lack of actual riding is starting to tell.  Either way, overall once the saddle's re-flocked & fitted (scheduled for Tues 6th) we should be back on track... after a little rehab time.
Speaking of back on track, I was lucky enough to pick up one of their dressage pads for a mere $50cad, taxes in!  For a product that's normally over $100 with taxes, I'm thrilled.  My friend bought one of their dressage pads for her mare and she HASN'T SHUT UP ABOUT IT SINCE!  So when the opportunity arose to get a brand new never used never worn BOT dressage pad for half price... I pounced on it.  Even though we don't generally have any issues with her back, it can't hurt.  Especially in these cold winter months.