Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bit of a lull so some quick updates

Things went from crazy busy before the Mia's show to insane.  I had to travel out of town for a wedding, we had to move half of our wood for the winter, change insurance companies thanks to yet another huge increase (now THAT will suck the life out of you) and general life getting in the way.  My intention was to show TWH at the last show of the season on Oct 4/5.  I was kind of excited about it too, it was at the same venue as the first show of the year and it was the last show we could earn points at and is possibly the last time I will be showing TWH in eventing (unless some magic pocketbook opens up and dumps some cash on me, I also take sponsors lol!).  Best laid plans, however, did not pull through.  I simply don't have the funds to go and even if I did, I haven't been riding him enough.  With 2 weeks before the show and I haven't ridden him more than a few times since Mia's show, it just wouldn't really be fair.  *insert sad face*

It is pretty disappointing but I am in a lull anyway so it is par for the course.  Interestingly enough, it seems that a lot of my blogger friends are experiencing the same so I don't feel *quite* as bad.  Hopefully I can snap the heck out of it.  Add to it that my blog has dropped in page hits to half of their paltry number, it is a little disappointing.  I was super excited to see I now have 25 followers (HEY ALL!!!) but I didn't even get 20 hits on my last post about Mia's show.  I guess I didn't realize how awesome it was to know that people actually read my crappy writing and how much it helped spur me forward.  Alas, it will get better soon, I have to ride before deathwinter 2014 comes along and I can't ride becase it won't get above 10 degrees.  I blog just to track my progress, not for anyone else (that's just a bonus), so I shouldn't care if anyone reads it.

I did ride Mia last, I hadn't ridden her in about a week and surprisingly enough she did not throw a marefit about it and rode quite nicely!  She has a very big tendency to be very consistent with consistent work but time off requires a good hard reminder that she should listen, this time I didn't get that attitude!  A bit heavy in the bridle, a little lax in her trot/canter transitions but overall it was quite nice.  I just bebopped around to get some saddle time in, I wasn't working on anything hard but was quite impressed with the mare's willingness.  I hope it sticks around!  We finished the ride with some basics, moving the quarters, sidepassing and backing.  She was quite happy to ignore my leg when asking to move her haunches but a quick tap with the whip reminded her that ignoring isn't the best option.  We finished on a good note and she got some carrots to help soothe her ego.

The App is doing really well, after he had his hocks injected (April? May? I can't keep track) he started moving really well.  Giving him an IV injection of polyglycan once a month and giving him Smartsox plus MSM daily has made him a very sound and happy old man!  He has lost a bit of weight as summer goes away, just like he has for the past 5 years, so he is now getting an alfalfa cube mush twice a day plus he is being left in overnight so he can be parked in front of a hay bag.  He is gaining what he lost pretty quickly, thankfully, and I am glad I noticed it at the beginning of Sept instead of now because the cooler it is, the harder it is to get the weight on.  Once it is on, however, we have to practically chisel it off, go figure!

I am seriously looking for people who would want to lease TWH next year to event with.  If you are in the MI region, aren't afraid of a crazy internet blogger and want a horse that will event straight out of the box, send me your email and, if you are serious, I may come out of hiding and meet someone!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mia's eventing debut Pt 2

Sunday I was up bright and early to get ready, well not bright.  I was again bathing a horse by a lightbulb.  Mia wasn't happy about a bath and wiggled a lot until she realized I would let her eat grass if she stood still.  Being as food motivated as she was, it didn't take her long to figure this out and our bath went well enough.  I brought her in to braid as the sun was coming up and Mia was bored.  She moved forward.  She moved back.  She moved away from me.  She put her head down.  She put her head up.  I spent over an hour braiding (or trying to) and I never even finished!  At the 75 minute mark, RB4 showed up and held her still while I tied up some of the braids, then and we had to wrap and load her up.  We finished her forelock at the show, it took almost 1.5 hours to braid the mare.  Grrr!!!!

Thankfully the rest of the day went much better.  I got changed while RB4 tacked Mia up and we went into warmup.  The grass was super wet so they were thankfully letting everyone warm up in the sand.  Mia was really good, like really, really good!  Nice and quiet in the bridle, prompt with transitions and not fussy at all!  Apparently dressage and running her cross country the day before so she was tired and agreeable was a great idea.  We finally went into the ring and showed our stuff.  Our first circle could have used a little more bend but was very consistent.  Our canter was nice (!!) though our free walk wasn't great, she had a good walk but wasn't consistent in her stretch down.  Our trot was nice and balanced, her right canter was a little quicker than I hoped but it is her bad direction so not unexpected.  Our final trot down centerline was a little wobbly and she wasn't square, but for our first BN test I was very happy!  We headed back to the trailer to wait 2 hours for cross country.

About 45 minutes prior to cross country, RB4 and I meandered over to see the scores.  Yep, there was our name, yep there was Mia, OMG our score was a 35.8!!  OMG we are in 3rd place!!  Not only did we have all 6's and 7's, we even got an 8 on our medium walk.  An 8!!!!  The judges comments said that she needed a little more bend, could reach more in the walk but she was prompt, balanced (4 times!) and "very accurate"!  The judge said "scores will greatly improve with more suppleness through her topline" and we were "headed in right direction".  Yay!!!

We tacked up 30 minutes prior to cross country, I wanted to give her plenty of time to be spooky, excited or weird during warmup but I was nervous for nothing.  Mia was a super chill mare and was practically snoozing as everyone was running around in the warmup ring.  The exact opposite from what I expected!  I let her stand around until we were 3 horses from our go time and then pushed her over the crossrail,then vertical and she was awesome.  I bopped her over the oxer and she knocked a rail down.  RB4 was right there and set it back up, I gave Mia a nice smack with the crop and then she sailed over it with no issues for 3 times so we walked over to the cross country warmup fence.  It was a BN barn but we had never jumped it before.  Mia didn't get her striding right and banged her leg pretty hard on it as we went over but she went over without stopping or refusing.  I set her up to it a second time and this time I think I saw her knees as we sailed over it, she did NOT want to do that again!

It was finally our time, after watching the previous horse freak going into the start box and have to be hand walked in, Mia decided it was a great place to nap lol.  I gave her a nudge 10 seconds out and tried to wake her up as we started out.  She headed to fence one and while she weaved approaching the jump, she went over it.  I made a sharp turn to the right so I had plenty of time to be straight for 2 since we had issues yesterday and she was again a little wiggly and jumped 2 at an angle but was clear.  Yay!  Jump 3 was easy and 4 went by with me barely knowing she jumped anything.  Jump 5 was a roll top into the woods and she got the striding wrong and hit her legs as we went over but was clear.  At this point we were barely at a minute and I had to burn up a lot of time so we trotted through the woods to fence 6, trotted very slowly but avoided the willful delay penalty haha!

Fence 6 was on the top of a hill and the stride immediately following the landing was on a hill, Mia LOVED that jump on Saturday and today was no exception.  She really seemed to enjoy being able to run down the hill after landing, silly horse.  Jump 7 was an ascending oxer which posed no problem.  Jump 8 wasn't an issue but right before 8 was a truck holding the volunteers.  Mia thought we should pay attention to them more and I had to tug on her to remind her to look for a jump!!  We trotted slowly down a small hill to get to 9 and saw we still had over a minute to burn up, damn!  If I finished RIGHT NOW I would be too fast.  We went over 9 and slowly trotted to 10.  Even though we were trotting slowly, it did not help her steering and she was SO wiggly and drifted all over the place.  10 was uneventful and we trotted over to the bank up to the water.  On Saturday she tried to jump over the water, again almost helping me fall off.  This time I sat way up and back and Mia trotted into the water like she never thought to do anything different.  Geez mare.  We cantered through the water but trotted over to 13.  13 was a max height/width table so I gave her a good boot into a canter before the jump and she was perfect.  14 was a stadium oxer which posed no problem and we approached the final jump.  15 was a vertical that sat on the top of a hill, you had to jump up hill to get over it.  Mia was pretty tired at this point and wasn't careful, she knocked the top rail of 15 off as we went over it and cantered into the finish 15 seconds before optimum time.

I was really disappointed about the rail but was SO happy with her behavior.  She was obviously very green but she handled all that I threw at her with such maturity, regardless of the placing the show was a success!  Not to worry though, even with pulling a rail she still placed 3rd out of 9.  And if she hadn't pulled a rail?  She would have placed 2nd.  OMG that is awesome!  Mia got a good rubdown with liniment and then some poultice, she will now have a good week off.  Her next show won't be until the end of October, I am excited to see how she progresses!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mia's eventing debut Pt 1

With Mia's 1 year anniversary coming up, I wanted to see how she looked compared to how I got her. Her feet are now 100% mine and while there is still a single crack in her right front that has never gone away, her feet look awesome.  I loaded up the camera and got some pictures.  It wasn't until I made comparison shots that I was blown away!  Left pic 9.6.14, right pic 10.3.13

Funny, her neck looked SO long and now looks SO short!
Click to view large :)
I just can't even!  The amount of muscle is super impressive.  Her neck looks to be doubled in size!  She holds it much nicer now and it isn't very ewe-necky at all!  Her topline has filled out significantly and her build is much thicker.  Go Mia!  The only thing that would have been better is if I had some actually GOOD lighting, this was taken in the shade as the afternoon sun was way too harsh for any decent pics, this girl is super shiny!

Saturday was finally here, time to go cross country schooling before the big day!  Eventually, anyway.  I decided it was probably a good idea to ride dressage first since I hadn't been able to ride in a couple of days (BAD, BAD, BAD RIDER!) so I hopped on and was so glad I did, Mia was HORRIBLE.  I rode outside in the pasture so I could simulate the conditions for Sunday and she just couldn't function.  Bolting into trot transitions.  Refusing to bend At All.  No consistent contact.  If I gave her a correction, she would double her efforts in offence of the correction.  A solid 30 minutes of fighting went on before she finally decided to give a half rear in defiance.  I absolutely flipped my lid, absolutely not mare!  By this time I had a dressage whip and I put her nose to my knee while I smacked her with the whip on the haunches and forced her to spin a few times.  I then made her stand there as I made her bend her nose to touch each of my toes.  I walked her forward again, asking for simple bend and she threw her head up and around in defiance so I planted her nose to my knee again and smacked her again, hard.  Girl, you need to stop being so much of a redhead!  That seemed to do it, as soon as I let go of her nose her attitude was different.  She stopped fighting and was agreeable.  We did not only some walk/trot but was even able to get a canter transition that was good!  We finished by going in the arena and riding the test twice (just to be sure lol) and had not a single argument.  Phew!  I untacked her and let her back out into the pasture so she could relax for the 5 hours before cross country schooling.  Hopefully that would go better than dressage!

Mia was easy to catch and loaded right up into the trailer and we made it to the farm with no difficulties.  We tacked up and started the course, she was a cool cucumber.  Mia didn't scream for the other horses milling around and wasn't at all hot and excited, win!!  We started out introducing the start box and Mia didn't care.  We walked over to the first fence, a cross rail sitting between to 2 pine trees.  It was a little dark over the jump and Mia stopped at the fence so I gave her a good smack and she stepped over it.  I rode her to it again, this time at a canter, and she almost stopped in front of the jump before jumping it.  This, of course, threw me way forward and if she had stopped I would have come off.  Ride defensive silly!!!  I made her go over it about 6 times before being happy that Mia wouldn't stop and we went to fence 2, a vertical.  It was another one that she came up to before she stopped.  Uh, mare?  These are little stadium fences, you shouldn't be stopping!  She got a hard smack with a crop for refusing and I circled her around again.  This time I sat WAY back and she jumped over it without looking at it.  Silly mare!  Fence 3 was a stadium oxer and she hopped over it like it was nothing.  Yay no refusal!  Fence 4 was our first cross country fence and not only did Mia not refuse, she took it in stride and was awesome!  The rest of the ride, actually, was awesome!  I went over everything 2-3 times and at the end I rode the entire course from start to finish and she was perfect.  Yay!!  In other news, a Beginner Novice course feels SO slow and short compared to a Novice course HAHA!!  I guess all that time with TWH is paying off, when I was done with Mia's course I was thinking, Gee, that's it??

Time to get a good night sleep and go to our first eventing show in the morning!