Sunday, March 18, 2012

Welcome to Oz

In Kentucky, the weather can go from blistering to sub zero in a span of a half hour. Within 15 minutes, we can go from tornadoes, hail, and flash flooding to rainbows, sunshine, partially cloudy and 65. This week alone we were in the high 70's and then dropped to 50's from a torrential storm.

Really, this weather is for the birds.

Because of the tornadoes there wasn't a heck of a lot of riding done and because of the travel (six time zones in a single week, plus clinic this weekend, so no rest for the wicked), there was more rail birding than actual saddle time. Which leaves both of us in a bind for the upcoming schedule of stuff and behind the eight ball for actual training.

This time last year we were in a similar corner, only less fit and on a different level entirely. Now I feel a huge amount of pressure to produce and go farther.

So I feel very much at a loss as to what to do for April's entry to the first show. Part of me wants to push back until late May, giving time to re-address the issues and the other part wants to jump in and just do it, and get through with it.

I feel like we've lost a lot of compression and sit over the last two weeks to the point where the pir's feel sticky. The half steps at the trot feel alright. But overall (and more truthfully) it was one crappy ride after another. It was becoming a serious bummer.

Enter one James Houston.

James comes from the same family tree as Jim Koford. The two have known each other for years and have worked alongside each other pretty extensively. Until this weekend I only knew him by proxy and probably still would if Koford didn't get the nod to go do World Cup. But life has a funny way of pointing you to the right people.

The first day I was still mentally checked out, we worked a lot on me, my position, and just had a 45 minute stretch session with the mare. In my push the collection, I forgot about the entire picture. Despite audience, it was a no pressure session. Just get unlocked and it was exactly what I needed.

Second day we picked up where we left off. It was seriously interesting to get his perspective from the driving world (he formally coached four in hands) and totally got the pony's driving background. Some minor adjustments here and there, and we were back to our old happy selves. Even got to show off a little and not look like total morons.

He's a seriously laid back instructor with a positive attitude and quick eye to make fine adjustments that have huge impacts on the horse. But what I appreciate the most is his honesty to get to the core cause of the problem and not BS the situation or the horse.

Thankfully, he'll be back in April. Until then we have our work cut out for us.

February:
-Compression: there and lost it.
-Half Steps: there but not there.
-Fitness: better, she's now on her spring diet.
-Changes: good, but needs more wait.
-Roll through 4-2, PSG: Negatron.
-Compression, rotation: Better. Should be much more comfortable now that she's had some work done on her.

March:
-Compression
-Changes
-Roll through 4-2 and PSG
-Rotation
-Soft connection

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