Thursday, October 30, 2014

Last show of the year!

Our last show of the year was this past weekend and man was this past weekend busy.  It was literally nonstop action from Friday at 6p until Sunday at 730p.  Friday night I had to go to a Halloween party and we didn't get home until 1130p.   Had to get up at 8a to get stuff packed up and ready for the show as K and I were hauling 1.5 hours away to school at the show grounds and we wouldn't have time to get ready by the time we returned.  Thanks to some frantic laundry being washed this past week, everything was clean and ready to go!

At noon we hauled out and went xc schooling.  Mia was super looky at everything and kept randomly stopping but jumped the xc jumps with ease.  The map was super confusing and it took a good 20 minutes before we figured out the start box was not the normal start box but instead a pile of hay bales.  Uhh, ok!  The first 4 jumps were stadium fences and Mia was convinced they were not okay.  I had to seriously kick her just to get her to walk up to them before she would even consider jumping them.  Oh mare!  After the first 4 jumps we went to xc fences which she was SO much better for, she didn't even look at xc fences but stadium fences she gives eyeballs to?  Weird mare.  Mia even was great for the water, no balking or much hesitation at all, go Mia!  She handled the baby ditch very well, the road crossing required a canter/trot/walk/stop/kick to get her to go over (smh) and a green flowerbox she literally climbed over from a standstill as she wasn't sure if she really wanted to jump it.  She jumped the rock pile without concern as well as the log to the down bank, yay!  The last 3 jumps were stadium jumps, however, and by golly they had high suspicion value and she knocked one of the poles over as she tried hard to not go over the fences.  Why are you so silly mare??  XC jumps should be spooky, not stadium jumps!

TWH was awesome and K had an absolute blast schooling him, we got back home at 5p and gave the horses a quick bath (Actually warm enough for it!!!!!!) before throwing them in a sleezy and blanket and kicking them out for the night.  4a was early but up I hopped and started Sunday in the dark.  The horses may have tried hard but they were still clean so no 2nd baths were required.  We hauled out at 615a and got to the show a little later than I hoped.  I got Mia all tacked up and over to the dressage ring in plenty of time but she was super looky.  Duper looky.  And stiff.  And inattentive.  And head tossy.  Very green horse like.  I worked at suppling her the best I could in the crowd I had around me and after some figure 8's she at least was moving fairly decently.

I was the second to go so in we went.  Our test started well, she was forward and straight (and earned a 7!) and it went downhill from there.  Mia was looky, tense, didn't want contact and was pulling on the bridle.  Ah mare.

She considered not giving me the first canter transition but a good poke with the spur got her into it.  She wasn't super bent and was very much on the forehand but it was adequate.  Our free walk was decent and the rest of the test was okay.  Nothing special, but not too bad.  

This got a 5 for a free walk.  She was consistent, I thought it deserved higher!
The judge disagreed and hated it.  She commented that my hands were way too low for dressage (trying to fight a mare here lady!) and I got almost exclusive 5's.  Blech, it put is in 12th place.

We rushed back and got TWH ready for K, she was SUPER tense.  It was her first show outside, first show with jumps, first show being hauled out, first on lots of things and she was freezing up.  I coached her through and she finally was relaxing enough to get decent transitions.  She went into the ring, however, and just froze up.  Poor girl was so nervous she wasn't giving consistent queues.  TWH cantered a few times in her trot circle and up the center line to a halt.  They liked what they saw, however, and didn't put her last at least.

We rushed back to the trailer to get Mia ready for XC and she seemed a little more calm (finally, geez!).  I was SO glad we had jumped the course the day before, she was very behind my leg for the 3 stadium jumps and she put an extra stride in jumps 3 to 4 as she couldn't go straight but we made it over.

She jumped the XC jumps REALLY well, not backing off of any of them.  She had a momentary pause at the water but cantered in, yay mare!

Let's NOT "look" at the water, let's just go in
The rest of the XC jumps went perfectly.  She approached them all very well, she jumped them all very well and acted all grown up.   Getting TO the jumps was another matter, at one point I yelled at her "Just Go Straight Drunk Mare!!!".  She came to a walk going through one field as she had to go through a gate and she just Could Not Do It.  She shied pretty hard at a patch of yellowed grass where a jump used to live.  She was changing direction in her canter stride at almost every stride.  Some points in the ride had me looking like a bad barrel racer.  Ugh, green horses!

Just Can't Even.  I am sure I looked like this.
We finally went down the bank and went (kicked/trotted) over to the road to the last 3 stadium jumps.  They were on a bending line and she made it to the first one but I don't think I set her up nice enough for the 2nd one as she knocked the rail down.  Ugh!!  I just can't go double clear on you, can I mare?  The last fence was clear and we walked back to the trailer.

Yay water!
We got TWH ready for XC and, no surprise, he absolutely rocked the course.  K was a bundle of nerves but TWH didn't care and went over everything without even a glance.  He is such a good horse.

We finished up the day all ribbons, Mia got 8th out of 17 and TWH got 5th of 12.  Better than half the field for each of us, I would consider that a success!  Mia's homework is to get her OUT and get her cantering forward in as straight as a line as possible.  This girl needs a lot more exposure.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Riding success!

So who rode horses over the weekend?  Who made sure ALL horses were ridden over the weekend?  That would be me!  After the lapses I have been having, getting a leasee who is required to ride with me present for the first 30 days has rebooted my riding schedule and I have successfully ridden every day since Wednesday.  Yay me!  It is good timing too, as Mia's show is this upcoming weekend and I am not even close to stressing about it.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were dressage rides, Mia is doing SO much better than even at our last show.  As I was talking to RB4 I said I think that Mia plateaued around early summer where she "got it" but decided she didn't really want to do the work so she wasn't.  That was the timeframe that I finally broke down and put the draw reins on her to force her to submit, accept contact and cooperate better.  Once we got over that hump, things have been getting steadily better and I haven't used draw reins in months!  Mia is MUCH more consistent in the contact, especially at the trot and canter, she is MUCH more balanced in the canter and she isn't regularly fighting me.  Yay!

Saturday K and I went for K's first ride outside, we first rode around the pasture and then around the short loop.  TWH was, of course, awesome and Mia is doing better.  She is still very looky and spooked pretty hard at an empty trailer that rattled by us but I think TWH's calmness helped her and she quieted down quickly.  We rode most of the loop at a trot and I even cantered Mia a little and she was awesome.  She didn't try to run off, she kept the speed I asked and did well in her transitions.  My girl is growing up!  K was very impressed with TWH and loved that she still had as much control in the hackamore than she did with a bit, she had never ridden with a hackamore and was slightly nervous.  She said she is really falling for TWH, she talks about him nonstop apparently.  I am glad she is working out so well, TWH  really isn't ready for retirement and I think he will do well with her.

Before K left on Saturday K said she wanted to jump on Sunday, no problem.  Except I have 1 jumping saddle and am NOT ready to jump Mia bareback so we can't jump together.  I got up early and had RB4 come over and I jumped Mia.  We started out small and Mia is rocking jumps.  She is picking up her canter (with correct leads) effortlessly now and is starting to listen to my cues as we approach jumps.  In no time we bumped the jump up to a 2'6" oxer and Mia was doing good.  At one point Mia came at it and she wouldn't make the distance at a 3 stride.  I applied leg and Mia responded, she opened her stride and got it in 2.  That was amazing, it was the very first time she has responded to my request to change her striding before a jump!!

We bumped the oxer up to 3 foot, the second time she has ever gone that high under saddle.  The first time she jumped at that height had mixed success, she had a hard time not knocking poles down.  This time she brought the fence down a single time when we messed up the striding and couldn't get out of it but there was no refusal (YAY!) and once RB4 put it back up Mia went over it like it was a 2'6" jump.  It is amazing how small she makes the jumps feel, love!

Later in the day K came out to jump TWH so I hopped on my App to give him a workout.  I grabbed the dressage whip but apparently it wasn't needed.  App was very good and did really nice shoulders in/haunches in, 10m circles, serpentines and balanced canters without fighting.  It was so cool to ride him and not fight with him, I miss that.  App has so many talents that hasn't been used in a long while, if I keep this up maybe I can get him worked regularly again.  I even put him over the 18" crossrail and while he was way overjumping it, he still jumped and cleared it and seemed to enjoy it.

K jumped TWH and fell in love all over again.  She repeatedly missed her stride but the biggest jump was a little 2'3" vertical and TWH had absolutely no problem figuring out how to get over it no mater where he was placed.  He is SUCH a good horse :)  I will have her jump probably once more before the Saturday and on Saturday both K and I are going cross country schooling in preparation for our show on Sunday.

Such a long update, I haven't had this much to talk about and also time to write about it in a long time!  I am hoping for pics on Saturday, stay tuned.  Speaking of updates, have you seen achieve1dream's 5 year anniversary contest?  It is the 5 year anniversary of her getting Chrome and she is doing a giveaway.  Hoping to win the Eventing license plate!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Getting ready, more quick updates

So preparations for Mia's next show are not going as well as I would like, I have an alarmingly laid back attitude towards it.  Yikes?!?!  The show is a week and a half away and last night I just did some basic fitness and I rode her once 5 days prior in dressage?  I am putting my big girl cap on though and am planning on riding every day until the show.  SO is out of town this weekend which makes it much easier as well as I don't have him trying to lure me away with fun or work things to do.

Mia's dressage ride went pretty well, she is SO much more consistent in the bridle now!  We are working on trying to get true bend in the trot and it is much better.  I would really like to take a lesson before the show but I don't think it will happen, oh well.  Tonight I will ride her in dressage again and really buckle down to get things accomplished.

I had a really, really fun trip last weekend where I went to the Ohio Quarter Horse Congress and also visited all of my friends I left behind when I moved.  I really, really miss my network of people and I had the warm fuzzies when I thought about the sheer number of individual people that wanted me to visit them and made time out of their day for me to do so.  Awwww :)  I even went to a hunter pace, a friend brought a TB/Arab cross for me to ride.  Despite never having seen the horse before, his resfusal to stand still for mounting and his pulling dirty stops for the first 20 mins of the ride, I actually had a really, REALLY good time.  After he determined I was not going to just fall off and I WAS going to force him over the jumps, the gelding jumped everything and we had a fabulous ride.  It was a lot closer to a cross country ride versus a trail ride and it was awesome.  LOVED IT!!  It put me in such a good mood, added to the fact I was actually on vacation, I was floating on cloud 9 for the whole trip.

The last piece of news I have is a biggie, I may have found a leasee for TWH!  I have really been at an impasse with him as I really don't want to sell him but as I show Mia next year, I really don't have a use for him.  He isn't quiet enough for lessons as he takes his confidence from his riders.  He isn't talented enough to move up through eventing due to his gaitedness.  I have been actively trying to find a leasee for him for a few months (remember, I even asked my readers!) and haven't had any real interest.  It is odd because where I used to live, finding someone to lease was super easy!  Anyway, I had placed as on Facebook, DreamHorse and Craigslist and I got a random email from Craigslist from a well spoken gal inquiring about TWH.  We emailed back and forth, had a quick phone call, she came out and fell in love with TWH.  I mean, everyone always does, but it was good she did too haha.

I told her I am looking for a long term lease and that she is able to show him if that what she wants to do.  I showed her TWH's basic movements and we went over a 2'6" jump before I had her ride.  It took her a few tries to get the trot and then a few more tries to get the canter but then was able to get his gaits without an issue. She then went over an 18" crossrail and said she loved his jump, he rocks back onto his haunches and is super round.  He doesn't run at the jump or run away afterwards and she was very happy.  So I sent her the lease agreement and she starts tonight actually!  She was a good rider with really quiet hands and seemed to know her way around.  I am requiring her to ride when I am there for the first 30 days so that we can work out any questions and she can get to know TWH before being "on her own".  She is also interested in coming to my show on the 26th with TWH and showing the greenie division, how cool!  Her name is K and I am excited to see how she works out :)