Thursday, March 28, 2019

Operation Fitness - Part 1

I wrote the blog post before realizing I had so much to say, I am breaking it into 2 posts. I surprised even myself! So believe it or not,some posts are coming.
Time to do the thing.
As several bloggers live in the northern states can attest, these last 3 months have been fairly brutal to riding. Stretches of time where the temp doesn't get above the single digits, even longer stretches where it isn't above the teens? Constant freeze/snow/fake thaw has put lots of dampers on real riding, but not all was lost. Mia's dressage is better than it has ever been in her life. Really! And it is only March! If we can stay injury free, we should be able to put down some legit scores by the time summer gets here. It is really odd, people (the weirdos anyway) say that when the dressage "clicks", it can actually be kind of fun. I have been riding dressage for *cough* let's say over 10 years and I have never EVER found that it could be fun. Until lately. I wouldn't call it actual "fun", but we are legitimately not dreading our rides when dressage is up. So odd indeed.

Extended trot? Getting there
I am getting desperate for another dressage lesson, it is coming on 4 months since my last lesson and we make such great progress in lessons. Fingers crossed we can get the instructor here in April and I can get a solid tune up. Our homework from before was counter canter (check, we can do this fairly smoothly now in both directions), extended trot (check, Mia is understanding this MUCH better. Bigger does not always equal faster), canter/walk transitions (mostly there, still needs work), and lengthened canter (check, as long as we keep our bouncy canter, we have a difference in stride). All of this in the grips of icy cold? I am awfully damn happy with our progress.

Balanced canter? We have it!
We have even been playing with Training A and B tests. Last year I had them downloaded but they were a fair disaster when ridden. This year? They almost seem easy, I didn't think I'd ever say that! I have looked at the Prelim tests now and am all "NOPE" so I am definitely in the right spot lol. With our dressage in a good spot, I am starting to refocus on jumping. The issues with my barn are....numerous...and one issue is for whatever reason jumps can't stay out for more than a day when in the indoor. Anything more than a single cavalletti brings complaints so I haven't really bothered with serious jumping this winter. Yes, we have done a lot of work over the cavalletti. Yes, we have jumped the cavalletti ad-nauseam again to reinforce staying balanced over/after the jump, but that has been it. This is now changing.

Extended trot!!!
If I want to jump higher than 2'6", I really need to have a solid two point so I can rely on muscle memory and stamina. I have had....neither lol. Enter Operation Fitness, because we need to start jumping!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Moving along

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post, I forget how nice the blog world can be sometimes when I am away a while. App is doing better on his new drugs, adding the Polyglycan back into the rotation has definitely helped him.  Not to mention the massage (which he gets again next Weds) and the occasional dose of Tylenol. He is doing well enough that we were successfully able to properly trim him last weekend! Sometimes it is the small victories, you know?
Stealing a nap in an empty stall
If you remember, on Jan 26 the farrier was out and he was so extremely sore. On Feb 6, he blew out (what appears to be) a huge abscess in his right front. It was still a little oozy when I went out that night, and while he wasn't 100% sound, he did walk better so I think that issue was playing a part of his discomfort while being (not) trimmed. I guess we should be happy that it was an abscess versus him being uncomfortable enough to consider be put down? *sigh* He has been super cheeky and causing chaos, which means he is definitely feeling better. The barn manager putting his eventing boots on are absolutely helping his fetlock sores heal up, the scabs are almost gone now! Fingers crossed that hair starts growing and we can take the boots off. It's just a wait-and-see game with him, I will certainly put him down in the spring if he isn't comfortable but it looks like maybe he will pull through for one more summer?

App says "Mia does NOT deserve that apple, I need both!"
Mia has been a true badass. She is SUCH a fricken good horse, I really don't deserve her. Despite not being able to run around much due to the frozen tundra, she is still so good under saddle or when free lunging. A couple of weeks ago I free lunged her and she cantered. And cantered. And wouldn't stop. Every time I got her to slow down, she would pick back up and didn't stop until she was almost in a full body sweat. She ended up with 2 coolers and some towels to try to dry off because she was so wet. SMH. Under saddle though? A great horse. I rode bareback at one point and she so politely was telling me she couldn't do it, giving me the head down/shaking she does when she really wants to buck/leap. She didn't, but message received and I helped her focus her energy elsewhere! We also rode in the outdoor arena for the first time in months last weekend and while she couldn't concentrate (omg look there! And there!), she behaved very nicely and gave a beautiful w/t/c. No one else had been in the arena (for weeks? Months?) so we got to make all kinds of pretty tracks. Look at these canter tracks!
Mia's canter prints. So straight, so pretty!
Do you know what is so special about those tracks? Besides the fact they are a cool picture? Look, she isn't riding haunches in when going to the right. The right is her weak side and she is finally keeping her haunches behind her *mostly* by herself! I wasn't sure the day would ever come!

I absolutely love that the pictures
And then this past weekend I rode on the road with someone else. It is funny, I have definately corrupted them. I have taken a strictly indoor-only arena rider and convinced her to 1. ride outside 2. ride outside of an arena 3. ride up/down hills 4. TROT outside of an arena and 5. CANTER outside of an arena. I took it a step further on Sunday and convinced her to canter on the dirt road. There was minimal to no rocks, the road was semi-soft and wet from melting snow, not at all slippery. She was blown away I convinced her and that she actually did it, it is fun watching people's confidence grow. Mia? She cantered a little show canter on a loose rein that I held in one hand. *heart explodes*

When carrots are almost forgotten in the car, App has no hesitation to take them from a passing car.
There is no lessons in sight, but real fitness or riding hasn't been happening here either since the northeast is being pummeled with snow and deep freeze these past couple of months. Fingers crossed we start real riding again shortly because I want to jump and I really have the itch to show. I want to try my hand at training level because I actually think her dressage is there for it and I need to jump to get there. There is a hunter show not too far from me on Apr 6th that I am toying with going to. We are not hunter material, but it would be good practice. Just need to start jumping again to get up to the 2'6 or 3' class. Time to rebuild some lady balls again!