Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Fitness and a show

The blog may be quiet, but life is not. I am at my free-time breaking point and am doing nothing but treading water right now.  What I need is a good 8 hours of free time to do a bunch of menial tasks to get caught up, does anyone have 8 hours to lend me?

Despite the lack of free time, Mia is still being ridden 4+ times a week.  She is really developing good muscle under that heavy layer of fat (thanks spring grass).  The pasture turnout was shaken up again as three horses left the barn (App's friend was put down, one sold, one moved) and Mia's super annoying pasture mate went to his new home.  A pretty 4 yr old palamino colt is really nice to look at, but he was super mouthy, super disrespectful of space, super destructive and wanted to play with everything all of the time. I lost Mia's halter for 4 days before we FINALLY found it buried in weeds in the pasture, pretty far away from the gate where it had hung on a hook.  I've lost all tail bags as he would grab her tail and yank and play with it, resulting in holes in every bag I have/had.  The bites, scratches, and scrapes should significantly decline now that he isn't around.  As a result of the shakeup, Mia is now out by herself (for now) in a pretty big, very grassy pasture. Which is great, it is just adding to her bulk lol.  I keep reminding myself she is quite slender in comparison to the other horses lol.
We may have legit chased down a hot air balloon as it landed at the local airport
We had a couple of good rides where we really focused on our outside rein.  When I can really focus on it, we seem to have some good moments.  Keeping the focus though, well we know how that goes.  This past week we have done fitness because the trails were finally cut, Mia required a few rides before she would w/t/c fairly politely.  She was pretty certain there was no way she should be just trotting up a hill when she could gallop! It took some pretty severe rein yanks at times to stop the antics, cantering sideways, small dolphin hops, yanking on reins, she was really having fun being able to go outside of an arena.  On Sunday I actually did a conditioning ride with someone else (gasp) and not only did they survive, they said they had fun! And they apologized for being afraid to ride with me, apparently they only saw the rare occasion I did gallop sets last year and thought that I know knew how to go fast.  I worked hard to not be offended, despite being the only person/horse in a training schedule of any sort and the only horse at the barn that competes. I mean seriously.  Grrr.

In other news, since Plantation was a lost cause and my backup show was moved to July, I was thinking of signing up for a HT in New Jersey but then a hunter jumper show popped up 25 mins from my barn.  Twenty five minutes?!  I've never been to a show in PA that was that close outside of the ONE time a show was at my own barn!  As a result, Mia is going to make her Jumper debut on Sunday.  Why not, right?  It is a max of 2'6", if she can't get around a 2'6" course without taking rails then we have bigger problems lol.  She has been jumping 3' to 3'6" without even trying.  

So many jumps
We actually did a legit jump school last night, with a grid and bounces.  There was a 5 stride on an angle, a 3' panel, a pair of 2'6" bounces, a line of 3 jumps with a 1 stride between them and a 4 stride.
Mia was really awesome.  There were a couple of times she was fast and required some correction, but for the most part she was amazing and handled everything like a seasoned pro.  I am going to jump again tonight, bigger, and then tomorrow is dressage.  We have a lesson scheduled again (!!!) for July 13 so I am hopeful we have real progress to show for it.  We also are signed up for a Wofford clinic, I am SUPER excited about that!  Lots of jump schooling in our future.

Monday, June 4, 2018

All the updates

How quickly time marches on.  You blink and your horse is 25.  You blink and it is already June.  It is absolutely crazy how fast the year is going.  So with lots to catch up on, here are the highlights.

I missed the first HT of the season thanks to having to go back to MI for a friend.  Had a great visit and really missed the friends I had developed while there.  It was odd to go and have so many people want to see me despite my having so very little time.  One person came at 8a and almost 50 miles to see me at the hotel, another had me come over at 930p just so I could say hi.  Awww!  I saw TWH and he is fat thanks to great grass, but is doing so very well and is spoiled beyond belief.  I wish I had a quarter of that network here in PA.  I keep saying one day....one day.

We had our 1st of 2 car races of the year and did well.  It was a 14 hour endurance race split over 2 days and like endurance racing with horses, to finish is to win. The first day we placed 36 of 108 and the second day we were 16th of 89 when we had a mechanical failure and spent 20 mins fixing it. We dropped to 74th before climbing back up to 46th to finish the day.  Not bad at all for people that do this for fun.

Mia has had lots of trail riding and some fitness work, but not a lot of real work.  Dressage on Tuesday went pretty well though.  One of the barn owners (who is very rarely there at night) asked to hop on and liked her but said I should focus on relaxation first.  Okay, yeah, sure I get what you are saying, but that isn't the only road to get to the goal.  The trainer that comes (very rarely) agrees that teaching her how to do it should be first because relaxation can always be taught later. It totally depends on the horse and rider.  Oh well.

I DID actually have a lesson on Friday.  The first in 4 months?  5?  Despite being a little out of shape, we had a fabulous lesson.  The instructor, M, really nailed me on my outside hand(s).  She said I have a very following outside hand which is great for the H/J ring.  And is horrible for dressage so stop it now.  LOL.  With really working on having a very firm, solid outside rein, something happened that has never happened before.  Mia's right lead canter was BETTER than her left?!?!? How the hell does that even happen!?  It was really crazy, did you know if you seriously plant your outside rein, you can keep Mia straight in the canter?  And if you let the inside rein be long, it can cause the inside seat bone to move, the outside seat bone to not be planted and can cause crookedness?  *mind blown*

She did suggest cantering over small cavalleti or ground poles to help Mia get the "why" of dressage.  She agrees that Mia couldn't possibly care less about dressage and thinks that poles may help her "get it" and enjoy it a touch more.  Adding to things to try!

We were originally going to go to Plantation on Jun 10, however, apparently they close entries 3 weeks in advance so I missed it.  Then the HT on the 10th, which was my backup, moved to July due to ground issues.  At this rate I *may*  have a show in June??  I do, however, have stuff planned in July.  I am planning on going to the backup HT that is now July 8th.  I am also planning on going to a Wofford clinic(!!!) and have the entry in an envelope to go in the mail today.  Fingers crossed!

Lastly, I had the vet out on Saturday to look at App.  He has had a small hard spot by his elbow for years, he had it in MI for example.  I noticed it was significantly bigger a few weeks ago, it is now the size of a large grape and feels tumor-y.  The vet said she thinks it is a sarcoid and doesn't want to even biospy it due to its location. She thinks if we biospy it, it could very likely get very upset and angry.  Since it is 1. in the dark, moist location of his armpit 2. fly season 3. is attached by some tissue so it would likely require extensive invasion to remove, she doesn't want to risk it oozing, seeping, rupturing, or refusing to heal with the biopsy. We are going to watch it and if it gets bigger faster, we will address it then as we would have all of those side effects anyway.  She did say, however, that he looks fabulous. She said his muscle condition is great, his legs look amazing to the point you wouldn't know he had issues if you looked only at his lower legs, his weight is fabulous and he is walking much better than last year when we had talked about possibly putting him down bc he was so uncomfortable.  Overall, a very good visit indeed.

Here's to riding, doing REAL fitness work and maybe even some jumping this weekend.  Time to refocus on riding for a while.