Sunday, December 15, 2013

I'm dreaming of White Fences

The weather has been nothing short of disastrous.

The area has been nicely coated in a crystal casing of ice, doused with snow, and thawed and refrozen several times to make for very interesting travel conditions.
The horses have also started to get cabin fever as friends start making their way down to Florida for the season I'm slowly going just as insane. 

Literally our area has become a desolate polar paradise with little chance to escape until the ice breaks up and the sun starts shining consistently.

Sinari is an old pro and is used to the winter blues routines. She's wintered many times in the north. But  still can get very fresh under saddle. But for her, it's manageable and cool to have that focused, amplified energy to work with. It's literally refreshing for me as well to just sit there and play director. But even then managing her day-to-day energy outlet of a pony coming back into fitness can be hairy at best. Keeping her from stiffening up is also become easier with Back On Track products (hock boots and a sheet). 

Danzador is still adjusting to things a little. While he's used to being confined for a few days, he's not used to the swinging temperatures in the area. The first ride during the big drop was hairy, he was electric and while it was great to have the energy his concentration wasn't focused. He also physically isn't mature enough to keep loose, so we stepped up the body work on him. The next few days he's come in and has went better, but for the most part things have been about stretching and keeping things low-key. He has a show this weekend, which while I want to go I'm not looking forward to. 

Also with the downtime for Danzador, we started adjusting some of the support systems he's getting. He already receives regular chiro and massage, but with all the development he's undergoing he needed more support with shoes. 

His feet are solid and he's done alright without them, but he gets a little tentative in his body when he can't get traction, combine that with a natural propensity to tighten the back it's stagnated some development. Already I can see and feel a difference. His balance is lower, he's more confident and his overstride has already gained at least a few inches. 

The weather has also screwed with my schedule.

My last full clinic has been canceled, and I'm busy applying for several more to keep busy for the new year. Show organizers haven't put out their prize lists, so I can't really start picking and choosing where I want all of us to go. It's literally the dead time which I dread and enjoy all at once. 

The last cancellation left me with an open date and around a horse show time. With both horses actually feeling good, I tossed both of them in at last minute thanks to a generous secretary making space. The weather is decided to add value to the horse show by going from 40 and sunny to 28 and freezing rain. 

Then there's a huge step down from FEI.

It feels odd to be doing training level again. Especially on a baby that's pretty fit (ps. it's never a good time to show babies, you just have to go) and a test that's a fraction as long as the one you're used to.  I'm used to seeing two pages of test, a movement-by-movement breakdown, and now I had 14 grouped movements to get a good score on a four year old that is still physically developing, in a cold arena. 

I'm exceptionally proud of him in what could have been easily a mental undoing of a lot of horses. He was high, and cold, but the minute the bridle went on he started to click in, he warmed up great in a busy arena with kids trying to run into him, he gave me great balance, and minus stopping and staring at things, he thought it was the most fun he had in a long time.

I'm not happy with the score, because it felt appropriate. But the comments were somewhat valid.

There are things that can be improved off the bat- like the drunken sailor line, general crookedness and tenseness that comes from lack of showing. Mentally he was half in the zone and half baby ADD.

He does need to lengthen his top line out. But, I also know that comes from building carrying power to lengthen the entire frame. His main avoidance has (and possibly always will be) been behind the vertical, it comes from me asking for the balance and power. I honestly don't really think he's going to be a world beating training level horse, he's going to start to shine around second level. But until then he's going to keep going out at little shows to get experience until his mediums/lengthenings and lateral work are confirmed, which hopefully will be spring.

Otherwise, I'm proud of both of them. 


Austen Gage said...

I find Training level so hard, because of all those movements strung together. You can go nearly one whole revolution of the ring without a score. That's pretty intimidating.

I totally agree that world-beating horses are rarely competent performers at Training level. Sounds like Danzidor is doing great, keeping your cool at a winter show is tough!

Kelly said...

You are actually getting scored for everything except it's more like a sliding scale of scoring. It's just not broken down like the FEI tests. Which make for quicker scoring and an easier way to make up/loose points.

So take the entrance, entrance, halt and the first turn. Your first line and halt could be an 8, the quality of your turn could be a 6.5 if you broke it down ala FEI test.

But in training level you can start with the 8 and quickly go to a 6 and rebound to a 6,5 depending on what the overall grouped movement looks like. It's a double edged sword of sorts!

Austen Gage said...

Great point! I know the times I've scribed, the FEI and upper level tests seem so much more accurate to score. Less hemming and hawing over which score to give, as you're being scored on only one movement or part of a movement at a time. But, the training level tests can certainly help even out the uneven performances of green ponies and riders!