You crazy lunatics! Why are you spooking?!?!?!?!?!

Preparing for turn in and turn out lately has been… interesting. Subi is either really good or really… not good and on edge. I’m sure part of it is that he needs a job and being in a stall for half the night isn’t helping. So, he’s either on his best behavior or he rears. I’m prepared for both.

This morning he was pretty good walking down to the field. Until we got close and then… explosion. What made this different was there was a chain reaction. Usually Subi explode and I can get his attention and Batt ignores us. Except this time Batt exploded too. My husband was a little shocked by the calm, fat appendix thing at the end of his lead rope exploding in the air with all four feet off the ground (this is impressive). I focused on Subi while Erik got Batty in the field. Except, once in the field, Batt started rolling and bucking and acting stupid while Subi tried to be good while almost exploding again. I could feel the power keg in my hand and we had one mini explosion as we walked to the gate and while he wasn’t listening, he was trying. Once his halter was off (stupid rope halter…), the fireworks started…

FYI Jiminy had NO IDEA what was going on (he only reacted when the big guys got too close to him and to join the fun)…

Watch with sound…

I’m hoping everyone will be alive and INSIDE THE FIELD when I get home. They were picking at Subi’s leftover mash when I left for work so I assume that was enough of a distraction… Jiminy was VERY disappointed that the boys calmed down enough to help pick at food as he thought the bucket was 100% his…

Virtual Barn Tour

The barn project hit some snags, but on Friday, they were FINALLY able to finish the set up! My foundation people are scheduled to come back on Wednesday to fix the footing at add more screenings/stone dust (4-5 inches in the stall and basically fix the run in area which will be Jiminy’s stall plus add whatever they have left to the outside area of the the barn). Basically, MUD (it should be a 4 letter word) and RAIN (the really 4 letter word) have killed us.

But, bright and early Friday morning, the crew showed up and 5 (!) hours later, my barn set up was complete!

And your 3 part walking tour.

The barn has experienced its first snow as well and looks gorgeous!

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Hopefully all will go well for footing this week! I really don’t want to postpone! There’s a possibility for an actually storm next weekend (anywhere from 2-15″) so I’d like to get everything set up before then! I could make the stalls work as is if absolutely necessary, but the run in… It’s not usable until the ground is fixed… It’ll be close to 40 on Wednesday so HOPEFULLY they can do something…

Fair Hill Recap (Part 1 of 60000)

Another Fair Hill is in the books! My goal this year was to attend everything. Soak up as much as I could and volunteer as much as I could and just be there.  I haven’t started editing pictures, but here are a few to get started…

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And I sort of accomplished that and sort of failed.

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Much of my volunteer work came before the event with pre-event set up. I was out bright and early Saturday a week ago helping decorate the venue. Moving mums, driving around in gators, watering mums, breaking water tanks in the stabling area (oh, wait, never mind) until the water guy showed us how to work the damn tank, stacking straw cut side up and then, 20 MINUTES LATER, arranging straw (SO WHY DID IT MATTER HOW WE STACKED THE DAMN STRAW), moving chairs, etc. img_2313-1

Sunday was dressage ring set up. I said last year I wouldn’t do this again so of course I signed up to help and once again I’m OCD enough to be volunteered to make the courts straight… there were two of us left making everything straight after the bulk of the group left because it appeared it was out talent… Oi. Wednesday was merchandise set up and my OCD took over again as I was volunteered to put everything in size order… Is anyone seeing a pattern?

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Charlotte Collier & Clifford M (3*)

What I missed was the jogs. I was originally going to volunteer for the jogs, chickened out, then when I went back, the slots were filled. Friday, was Young Event Horse Jumping and jump crew– the best volunteer position EVER. I had the opportunity to eavesdrop on the judges and learn SO MUCH about what they were looking for. And, accidentally voiced my opinion and cast my vote for the safe harbor winner… Can someone PLEASE buy me this horse? I can’t wait to volunteer for YEH next year too. Learned so much!

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Celtic King and Charlotte Collier

2*/3* cross county on Saturday was incredible with the exception of a super scary fall in the 2*. I didn’t see the fall, but heard it. Horse was down for a very, VERY long time, brought out the curtains and everything. He trotted the fence before hand and… Despite that, horse and rider were OK.

The rest of the day was a lot of fun and the course was challenging.

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V3 Red Thirty Six and Campbell Jourdian (YEH 4 year old)

Sunday was windy and blustery. In the 2*, jumps were blowing over and Master Frisky was held up mid course so that the jump crew could re-assemble a fence that fell over completely. Despite that, he went double clear. Boyd and On Cue went double clear to win when a plank was almost flying into them. In the 3*, 8 in a row went double clear towards the end before the final riders started to have trouble. Then Frankie Thieriot Stutes put in an incredible double clear to win. All in all, another incredible Fair Hill in the books!

 

Dog Days of Summer

Warning, this is a media heavy post…

 

We’re in the middle of a heat wave on the east coast and what better way to to cool off than with swimming and baths?

This is mostly true and 4 of my 5 outdoor or indoor/outdoor animals have appreciated my efforts to help keep them cool. The dogs have spent most of their outdoor time in the pool (we joke we have the pool for them).

And on Sunday I braved the scalding sun and 95* temps to give the big kids baths.

Batty was mostly tolerant.

 

I mean, he’d have appreciated the bath MORE had I not washed his face (face washing = no grazing ) but whatever.

He was gross. I need to wash his tail but that’s another days project. FYI the Rambo SPACE ALIEN MASK still has stayed on. BEST. FLY. MASK. EVER.

While Batty was drying off, Marble took a brief dip in the pool (better the pool than my water trough… her pool when the real pool is off limits…)

I’m pretty sure I skipped giving Subi an actual shampoo bath last year…

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Terrible mother that I am. But he was very appreciative. I skipped washing his face because was being perfect and I didn’t want to stress him.

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Kindest old man in all the land

I could tell his stifle was bothering him based on how he was standing. But, he ran around a bit before and after his bath so… Ugh. Going to keep watching and chat with the vet later. Might be time to try something beyond MSM, but he’s so damn picky… one wrong thing and he’s off his feed 100%. But he’s fat and happy and looking good for a muscle-less retiree.

 

Then there’s this little punk ass.

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Don’t let this face fool you…

Don’t let his face fool you.

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So. Much. Anger. Anger Eating is a sport…

Jiminy does NOT like water.

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Focus on the ears.

Jiminy HATES water.

Jiminy thinks water = DEATH.

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So much anger!

Baths are my way of slowly trying to murder him.

We both made it out alive, but post bath? It was necessary to wipe ALL WATER from his body.

I could have kept him grazing until he dried, but I was hot, lazy, hot, annoyed with him, hot, and didn’t feel like getting his grazing muzzle because he’s fat and didn’t need that much more grass (I let him graze until I was dead). So into the paddock he went.

Let the drama ensue.

Unfortunately, Subi had to join in, though thankfully only for a brief canter and twist.

Jiminy is a punk ass child who had a “mild” temper tantrum. Water is deadly dontcha know?

 

Ranger Recap: Lightning, thunder, and rainbows, Oh my!

We had some really gorgeous weather this week which was spent tending to Batt’s abscess. Exciting, right? As of this morning, it’s still there. I have a message into my farrier so hopefully I’ll be able to get him out. But, we’ll see. We have days he look better and then, nope, right back at square one. All of this makes me think it starts to drain and then closes back up. This morning I pulled off his wrap (meant to do it last night, but lightning storm) and didn’t see anything and when squirting iodine on his hoof, I got a reaction (major reaction) on his heel (and found a soft spot there too). Then I started prodding his heel like any good mother. More reaction. More iodine in squirting on his heel, more reaction. More prodding. So, I’m assuming the abscess is coming out his heel? At least it explains all the toe walking and why turns are the hardest thing ever. But, with all my prodding, I will win Mother of the Year. I’ll deal with it more when I get home.

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Lovely scar tissue hoof… this is what happens when you rip off 3/4 of your hoof as a 2 year old… It looks ugly but when he doesn’t have an abscess, he’s sound on it. Moreso than when we tried to make it look good. Lots and lots of scar tissue…

I also turned him out for a while the other day with his soak bag because I was lazy and had other stuff to do. Jiminy tried to eat the bag. Again, Mother. Of. The. Year.

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Can you spot the teeth marks?

But, enough about Batt, on to Ranger!

Ranger was NOT HAPPY TO SEE ME AT ALL.

He lost his BFF Elliot. Elliot now goes out with Coffee, rodeo horse turned princess (trainer’s husband’s new rodeo horse who was NOT happy to be out in the storm last night because he’s a princess now). Ranger is out with Mikey and Forrest now. He’s just as obsessed with his BFFs so who cares? Anyway, his friends were outside, he had already had a lesson earlier in the day, and I was there to make him work again rather than just give him carrots? What the hell man?

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Former BFF Elliot

So, we were poorly behaved in the cross ties. Normally poor cross tie behavior waits until post ride. Not today. Ugh. And it was looking ominous outside. Double ugh.

So we finally made it outside and watched the last course of the pony ahead of us. Then we proceeded to truck around the ring like crazy people at the trot. Thankfully after one circuit, Ranger came to his senses and decided to listen to me and returned to a normal trot. Meanwhile the sky became more ugly. We added in the circles and it’s finally clicked that if I add inside leg FIRST then we don’t fall in AT ALL when we circle. Anyway, our circles were lovely and balanced, regardless of size and impressed my trainer. Yay!

We walked and then, being warned that the storm was imminent, picked up the canter. I think we may have only cantered one direction… We cantered around, circled some, and then added in this “tiny pile of poles resembling a cross rail” and continued doing that landing right lead about 4 or 5 times before asking to land left. Which we actually did successfully. However, after landing left, I actually died and needed a break. So we walked.

Highlight of my week? I finally have a utility sink. And a crazy complicated feed program…

We next cantered over the log jump around around to the outside line that I love. I could NOT for the life of me see the spot to the log. We added and I jumped ahead because ???

Next, we did our white oxer and were to do the inside broken line around to the outside line. Except I turned back to the log because I can’t follow directions. And I didn’t even jump the log well and chipped it.

So we started again. And talked about how when I have the longest stride possible, it’s hard to adjust. So instead, I collected my reins and his stride and actually rode and followed directions. And you know what? It was better! Shocking! We landed on all our leads and hit our spots and everything was nice. We were a little forward landing from the in of the broken line and I had to collect a bit after stride 2, rather than sitting for stride 1 and 2, but the line worked out well. I also needed to woah a bit for the outside line, but again, I adore the line and it worked out perfectly.

We took a minute to catch our breath (OMG humidity) and managed to get one last coarse in (thunder was rolling in). This time, we rode conservatively to prove we could. If we’re more forward, we can land the lead, but the conservative ride, nope. So we missed every. single. lead. Ha. But, he was a good boy and did everything I asked. We got in the barn and the skies opened up.

And the lightning started.

And we waited.

And waited.

For 30 freaking minutes until I felt safe enough to turn him out. So much lightning. And rain. OMG.

Ranger had a melt down. While all the horses were melting outside because… rain. Ranger was melting down, because, OMG no friends inside with him and he needed to be OUTSIDE OMG NOW.

Idiot.

On my way out, I came across the most incredible rainbow.

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Most amazing rainbow. And a random stranger’s house. 

And then another storm.

Ranger Recap: Proof in video

Thanks to a wide range of circumstances, my Thursday lesson was pushed back to Saturday this week.

It was really pretty earlier in the week…

It was all fine. Thursday would have meant that I got to ride with snow falling off the roof of the indoor which is always fun. Plus my neck/back was killing me for some odd reason… Who knows. I’m a walking disaster. Regardless, I find it really odd to ride during the day these days. Anyway, it all meant that Michele! came out and served at videographer once she navigated around Amish buggies… That’s the problem with Saturdays…

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My lesson started with a pokey, blockheaded Ranger. Evidently he’s been a little difficult over the last week. So, during our initial w/t flat work, we did a lot of trot/halt/back transitions until I finally got him off of his front end and on to his butt. We also did a lot of tiny circles at the trot and worked on not falling in. Finally we got some square halts where it didn’t feel like Ranger was going to try and drag me onto the ground (it was that kind of a day to start out… He’s got a BIG HEAD). Somewhere around this point, Michele showed up.

At the canter, the focus was mostly forward down the long sides and making Ranger collect use his butt in the corners. Then, to start off to the right, we circled and I failed to realize that with the new course, the jumps were on the long side and proceeded to almost crash into a fence. BUT, we managed not to and didn’t lose our canter. It was just not pretty. Take 2 was nicer. Then on the other side of the ring, tiny circles at the canter were the goal. I should have know this was a clue for things to come. Left lead was uneventful… Just a circle or two…

Our warm up exercise was…evil. It was a figure eight exercise over a cross rail. Thankfully I do NOT have a video of it. Basically, we cantered left lead over this cross rail, then landed turned right and cantered right lead (TIGHT TURN) over the cross rail, landed, cantered left lead again over it. I think we did it 3 times? I mean, it went fine, I just didn’t like the exercise.

From here, we did the same cross rail (cantering in left lead), but instead of  turning back to the cross rail, we instead went to the outside line against the rail). First time through I kind of lacked the power I needed and we did an ugly 7. The second jump was the EVIL death jump that has the invisible spikes… YES they are there and they pop out at you when you go over it thank you very much. But, the second time through, I actually rode the damn thing and we got the 6. My issue the first time was I was still in the holding mindset from the tight turn to get back to the cross rail (we had to turn at the first jump of the line) rather than a going mode to make the line.

Next we worked on our inside single which wasn’t an issue at all. This was the only place that I could feel Ranger occasionally want to get strong but a tiny lift was all he needed. From the single we continued to the cross rail bending to the second jump in the outside line (AKA the death jump). It was fine. No issue at all. We only put the 3 together once?

Finally we ended with our course that took me a few times to get right. We started we the outside single which first time we proceeded to take a rail down. Next we came around to the inside line in a 6. I got the simple change late though the turn, while hard (it’s one of those you have to wait for it turns, but I turn late so those work for me), wasn’t an issue. That said, I let Ranger pull me a bit and we sort of sucked in the line and got in tight to the out of the line…

Take 2 was better spots, but Ranger was severely distracted. His BFF Elliot walked in and instead of picking up his feet, he was focused on Elliot. So we took out a bunch of rails. Because, idiot.

Take 3 was FINALLY the course we wanted. We added on to it by continuing to our outside line and then continuing to our inside single.

Anyway, we called it a day from there. The bad news was Ranger had to do double duty and will have to do double duty on Thursdays from now on. Sucks for him. AND I’ll lose my Thursday zen tack up time. But, hopefully come summer the kid riding him before me will find another time to ride and I can find my zen time again.

Cavaletti Clinic at Blue Goose

I still need to recap my semi crappy lesson from last week where I seemed to forget how to ride, but I’ll save that for tomorrow.

On Saturday, Batty, my friend Sandra, and I decided on a whim to head over to Blue Goose for a cavaletti clinic with the stable owner Darcy. She was nice enough to let  the 2 of us split the session and the whole thing just seemed super casual and a fun way to spend a Saturday morning. All media is either my own paint diagrams or videos of Sandra riding. Warning this post is super long.

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For those of you who don’t know, Batts used to HATE poles. I mean, HATE, HATE, HATE poles.  He’d stop at them, duck out. If he’d go over them, he’d jump them like they were 4 feet high. If you’d have told me 7 years ago that I’d be taking him to a cavaletti clinic, I’d have told you you were insane.  But, thanks to one boarding facility were he had to cross a pole daily to get to food and water, he quickly got over some of his fear. The rest dissipated over time. Now ground poles aren’t too bad. Ground lines are something to look at, but poles, no big deal.

One thing I did NOT do was give him any bute or lunge him. He’s been SO SOUND and loose lately that I didn’t think to do anything. Friday night was really cold and I’d had a lot of mud… As a result, he was super stiff and it took him a long time to loosen up. But, we did push through. He gave NO indication that he did NOT want to work. This horse will always tell you when he doesn’t want to do anything. He was ears forward and curious and willing the entire time. But, I could have prepped him a little better… Mostly just with some lunging…. My fault. It’s winter and  he loosens so much better and faster without a rider on his back (He’s a little off, especially to the right but he’s OK to work and is more comfortable the more he works).

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so. exhausted.

So we arrived and thankfully I was able to follow another trailer in to the field or else I would have turned down the driveway and discovered the gate was closed and would have had to back down the driveway like another trailer… Signs people. But thanks to leaving later than planned, I had a nice trailer to follow and  was able to park in the field as planned. We tacked up and headed down to the ring with 4 other horses, all of whom knew Darcy. We were the odd ones out.

We started with just a simple exercise of trotting over one pole turning to the left at the end of the arena and then ultimately trotting over other pole turning right towards the end and coming back up through the center and repeating.

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First easy pole exercise

Poles were added and we continued alternating which direction we turned coming up off the center.

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Building on it…

Then more poles were added and we continued alternating not only up the sides but up and down as well. We were allowed to pass the side by side as well.

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More poles! This one showed my weaknesses until I figured my position out.

Batty and I had some issues with multiple poles and we were trying to jump them at times rather than just trot. He wasn’t JUMPING, but jumping. The issue stemmed from me as I would tilt slightly as the base of the pole and Batts would take this as a cue to be enthusiastic and jump rather simply trot. To change this,  I needed to sit deeper and engage my core and pull my shoulders deep to encourage him too trot rather than jump. I also was told to stop looking so far ahead and to look down at the pole one pole ahead since we were trotting them and not jumping. The combination of these too things really worked and we soon trotting through without issue. Darcy very quickly asked though if I were a hunter rider… Um… Yes…

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Super cute barn kitty. 

At one point early on, one of the horses took off bucking and unseated her rider. We all halted and though she came super close to Batt, Batty just looked at horse with a look that said, “Why the hell would you work that hard? Are you insane?” That’s my horse. Why join in antics when you can just stand. I think I was holding the buckle why we were halted…

The last exercise I rode was more of the same with some diagonals thrown in. I wasn’t sure HOW Batty would take it. I screwed up the directions the first time and got lost (what a shock!). Basically, we headed over the sets of 3 poles heading toward the barn/sheds turned right went over the diagonal pole shoot thing turned and went up the center line.

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The last exercise I rode

The horses were a little tense going through the diagonal part so we were encouraged to scratch their withers to keep them calm and them make a fuss on the landing side. Batt was a star considering he’s done NONE of this (I mean, he’s done poles, but nothing this hard). I was complimented for my ability to keep him slow and not tense up on the reins. Once I figured out the body position thing, I didn’t need to be told again. I’m pretty good about having super soft hands.

At this  point, Sandra hopped on and ran him through the 2 poles and 3 poles while Darcy swapped the course (she asked me how Sandra rode and I said semi similar which is true-ish).  She mostly just commented to Sandra on making sure she helps him out by lifting him up some–Sandra’s long rein weakness.

Their exercise was completely different. Focused on straightness. Basically, it was a long line of poles both to go over and through. As the end there were 4 pieces of lumber forming an X. The needed to cross the center of the X and then continue trotting over the remaining poles. This was BEYOND what Batts has EVER seen or done.

This horse was a star. He struggled in places but made it through (especially the X part). It took few times but eventually he did it without any canter steps. We were proud. At first Sandra clucked at places, but Darcy explained just to close your leg/thigh instead as clucking introduces more stimulation that he doesn’t need. He was MUCH better without the cluck. But, clucking is so ingrained!

The last exercise (after everyone turned down the option to down something at the canter) was just for Sandra. Everyone else left the ring, but luckily Batty doesn’t care. It was just another straightness exercise but without the x part and more poles to go over. He did it SO well the first time that we called it a day there.

We chatted for a few minutes after mostly about Batty and his history and how she could see his wheels turning. You could see how much fun he had and we both said we’ll do this again (though we’ll probably each do a separate clinic) — she’s doing winter clinics at Pink Ribbon Farm in Oxford. He reached confident and fun, but not cocky and bored.

All and all and really fun morning. Can’t wait to do another one! I liked Darcy’s teaching style too. While it was more about the exercises here, I got some nice tips that I can definitely use. Batty liked the farm too which was definitely a plus!

 

Fair Hill FHI Musing (Part I?)

So I’m not actually sure how much of an actually recap this is going to be. My brain is still fried from Fair Hill almost a week later but I do have a lot of media to post. Most of it I haven’t even started sorting through. Hopefully over the next week or so I’ll post some of it.

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Tayler Stewart and Ideal Contini — I’m in love with this horse, especially after watching the pair’s stadium round. 

Overall, it was a great year at FHI and the first year I managed to attend the event in its entirety (though Sunday morning I needed to drag myself out of bed and if I didn’t have my volunteer shift, I’m not sure if I’d have gotten there for the 2* or 3* stadium–I’m glad I did!).

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Grace Fulton and Wild Orange

High level takeaways (I can’t seem to handle more than this):

  • The weather was less than ideal and I was  NOT adequately prepared and purchased more clothing than necessary including first a grey cowl because I was freezing despite wearing what I though were enough layers and a blue FHI jacket that Michele talked me into (not really but it’s fun to blame her for all purchases like those boots this summer…). I really needed gloves, but I was too lazy to drive home and get gloves and refused to buy any (the only really warm gloves were in the Dubarry booth and I don’t buy nice gloves or I cry when I lose them).
  • I lived on the crab soup.

Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan

  • I wish I had ventured in to the tea tent before Sunday. OMG the tea was amazing and the volunteer tent had coupons for free tea… I could have used that… every day?
  • The cross country course walk with Jennie Brannigan and Tim Bourke was incredibly interesting. Jennie had to leave part way through for YEH awards so we mostly walked the 3* course with Tim (who, by the way, was one of the NICEST people I got to meet and took the time to introduce himself and talk to everyone on the course walk). Media from this  to come. It was a shame he had so much trouble on cross country… I also almost crashed into him before his stadium round. I did NOT hear him almost walk RIGHT INTO HIS PATH as he was approaching fence 1 after resetting the damn Devoucoux fence… Sorry Tim! At least he and Obie went double clear…
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Kevin Keane and Sportsfield Candy

  • So nice to meet people including Michele, Emma,  Rachael, and others!
  • My dog is a traitor… Turns out she decided she will ONLY take french fries from Michele and when my friend Sandra walked away for a phone call, Hermione had a near panic attack… Thanks Hermione, I  love you too.
  • Had a nice chat Saturday with Muggle’s rider, Nilson Moreira da Silva. He told us that Muggle was exhausting to ride and hurt his back because he was such an athletic jumper. But Muggle looked exhausted at the end of cross country and barely made it through the last couple fences.

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Cornelia Dorr and Louis M (So disappointed that stadium did not go well.  He looked exhausted and she looked tight.)

 

  • Saturday was probably the nicest day weather wise though I think they called for nicer weather on Sunday. Sunday rolled in rainy and freezing with predicted temperatures reaching 75… Yeah. I got there just in time for the CCI 2* Stadium and the wind was blowing and it was drizzling and I was again freezing. Reminded me of Thursday. I managed to survive the 2* before I hunted down tea and realized I couldn’t handle more  crab soup (until next year crab soup). Then in was time for JUMP CREW.
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Will Coleman and Off The Record

  • Probably the most volunteer shift of mine was jump crew for the CCI 3*. There were 5 of us (include a 10 year old kid who worked HARD) and we got to sit in the middle of the ring surrounded by straw bales and probably had the best view of the course. The bleachers while OK did NOT provide the best view of the course. As jump crew, we had a few jobs: put the jumps back together, re-position poles (bow down) after hard rubs, and STAY OUT OF THE WAY OF THE HORSES (1 near fail was pretty good–sorry Tim!). In the CCI 2*, Buck often would tell the jump crew to adjust stuff so with 3 horses, we were afraid he’d be yelling at us, but thankfully no riders yelled at us to change things. We got off easy. While it was work, it was actually fun. And it was nice being IN the ring. Definitely volunteering for jump crew next year for both the 2* and 3*. Granted,  I somehow missed Boyd Martin though I obviously watched him and just failed to notice it was him. We were all sort of brain dead by that point. At the end we also reported that jump 13 was down when there was no jump 13 so…

Savannah Fulton and Brave New World

  • Afterwards we were asked to stay and deconstruct the rings. Pull down the flags, pull the plants, sort the plants, etc. Unlike some shows, the majority of the plants are on loan from neighboring nurseries and are returned afterwards whereas some larger H/J shows (IE: Devon) the flowers are  donated and sold after. The mums were donated and  the boy scouts were going to sell them. Which we didn’t  know. But, the people handling flowers just told those of us helping out if we wanted mums to grab them and hide them. So we each took 4 (of a million), stuck them in our straw hut, and went back to work. When we were leaving and carting our mums to our cars (since we were told we could drive in and then realized we couldn’t bring our cars in since no one had and extra vehicle pass) — thankfully a nice courtesy golf cart rescued us — we saw the boy scout mum sale. Oops.
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Tamra Smith and Glock Pullman (So happy for her to get the win on Sunsprite Syrius.  She was so ecstatic after her stadium round! 

Anyway, more musings and media later, but overall it was a fun (and exhausting) 4 days!!

On an unrelated note, I finally opened my trailer and did  NOT get stung by a wasp. I also clipped this idiot…

 

On an unrelated note, I finally opened my trailer and did  NOT get stung by a wasp. I also clipped this idiot…

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He’s lucky he’s cute and seriously easy to clip (though he requires the big clippers for  EVERYTHING… I can’t do anything with my Andis clippers on him… not even his face… which won’t get clipped till spring.)

 

 

Ranger Recap: It’s all in the canter

We’re FINALLY having gorgeous weather! High 70s, no humidity, and sunny. Perfection. Seriously amazing weather. If only summer wasn’t ending. I have serious issues with the end of summer. I also have serious issues with students returning to school [all college students in DE need to take remedial street crossing EVERY SINGLE SEMESTER. A few have returned to campus and already are causing street crossing problems and classes haven’t even started…]

Anyway, due to timing (I was early, someone else was late),  I ended up riding with Katherine and Mikey, which meant nothing other than I got some breaks here and there while she jumped. Sometimes it’s nice to get breaks? It also meant there was a little less variety in fences as  I stuck with my fences at the  2’6″-2’9″ height while she had her 3′ fences.

Flatwork Takeaways:

  • USE MY INSIDE LEG DAMNIT. Ugh. I don’t know why, but my inside leg did NOT want to cooperate in the beginning. Regardless of the direction, sometimes I just don’t have  an inside leg. Eventually my inside leg woke up and helped me out on turns and we could successfully circle around our fences without looking stiff as a board…
  • Occasionally I have the habit of turning my head sideways which then unsquares my shoulders. I need to stop doing this so it doesn’t become a bad habit that I need to undo. When I look ahead, STOP TURNING HEAD SIDEWAYS IMMEDIATELY!
  • When transitioning from the trot to the canter on the right lead, without fail, I rush the transition and pick up the wrong lead. It DOES NOT MATTER WHICH HORSE I AM RIDING. I need to stop rushing. I need to take my time and think about my transition (I have a terrible habit on Batty of screwing up just this trot-canter transition ALL. THE. TIME. and it appears it’s not a Batts issue but a me issue. Oops.)
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Ranger ❤

Over Fences:

We warmed up both directions with our outside single. Normally this jump is easy. I decided to start cantering left lead away from the road. For the LIFE OF ME I could not hit the right distance and we had an OK spot but not a great spot. My trainer said I had the canter for the distance, but backed off at the last minute.

From the right lead, we had the same, nice canter, though perhaps an inch more forward and hit a gorgeous spot. Ranger didn’t entirely lift his feet so it was a tad clunky, but other than that… Sometimes though I still think about the jumps which make me think this one was probably in the 2’9″ range vs the 2’6″ as a pole was added later to make it 3′ for Mikey’s final course. So, that’s my excuse for looking at least the first time.

We returned to the left lead and I got the same damn spot. So I repeated it again and this time, I changed my canter. We actually got a better spot and I got a lecture. We don’t change our canter to fix our spots. Which I know. But, unable to figure out what I was doing wrong, I figured I could just ride a little faster and it would solve the spot issue. It did, but that wasn’t the solution we were looking for. True, I know it’s true. We ride the same canter the whole course. If I need to, I can lengthen or shorten, but the canter SPEED must stay the same. So, me picking up an entirely different paced canter was not the solution. Establish pace then make an adjustment to stride length if needed, not to the actual canter itself. Does that make sense? We want rhythm.

Finally, I tired and starting to have a mental block with this stupid jump, I decided that it wasn’t my canter, it wasn’t necessarily even my stride length, but my approach. Ranger was sort of dragging me at the turn so  I was holding him a little too deep in the corner. We weren’t turning later, but by staying out longer, I was adding in an extra stride and not seeing as well as I should have because I was fighting him. So,  instead,  I changed my approach and staying off the rail and cut the fight with Ranger (by staying out so long before,  I had to first fight to keep him out, then fight to turn because, hello approaching gate). The turn was easier,  I was able to stay steady to the fence and then keep him moving for the forward spot. Finally we got it and could move on.

Course work! Yay! Basically, our course consisted of right lead to the outside single, around to the (tight turn) to the inside (christmas tree) line in 3 around to the outside line in 4.

Course 1 (no video):

We started off well enough and actually the first half was the best we did. Our single was perfect as well our inside line. I HATE the turn to the inside line because it’s SO easy to turn late and basically you pretty much have to turn at the jump your second jump of your outside line and not take out the standard. Then, depending on the entrance, move up for the 3. All of this was really good. But, on the landing, we had too much speed and I starting fighting we Mr. Strong Head and we didn’t stay out. He pulled, I pulled BACK instead of up and we cut our corner and had a terrible approach to our line. Despite that, I seam to have an excellent ability to correct in lines and the 4 worked out nicely. I just made WAY too much work for myself.

Course 2 (Ignore the commentary…):

First jump: the distance was great, but we fell in on the landing and swapped. We regrouped with the simple change, but it took a stride or 2 or 3 to re-establish our pace which was critical because we were near the gate and needed to keep MOVING. Then we chipped the in of the line but moved up to for the 3. Then instead of riding the horse I had, I rode the horse I had last course and held him out (GOOD), but slowed him down (BAD) in case of pulling (none in sight because he realized who was riding him the second I lifted him up). As a result, I rode him towards NOTHING and then had to work entirely too hard to make up for it through the rest of the line.

Lesson learned: I need to ride what’s under me, not what I rode last course.

Course 3 (continue to ignore the commentary):

First jump: We seemed to be nailing this jump all day. On the landing however we were both able to stay balanced and square which fixed are issues of last time. Maintaining our pace, we had a nice ride to our inside line and continued to hold the canter to our outside 4. Of course, I saw NOTHING and we have a long spot, but it didn’t matter because, Ranger. The line rode well and we ended there. I love this horse.  Seriously, I love this  horse.

At this point, I have no idea how large anything is. And that’s fine. The out of the outside got a top rail for Mikey to make it 3′ and then we both called it a night. A year ago this lesson I had my nice crash of Batts. Now I don’t even care what I jump. I think I’ve come a long way?

Again, Ranger.

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Oxford in the summer