Saturday, February 26, 2011

For all the wrong reasons

Tis the season for FedEx dates and baby making in Kentucky.

In Kentucky, you'll find the majority of the mare owners on the road this month trolling the back roads up and down to have their stock live covered by the stallions. For non thoroughbred owners it means getting to know your FedEx delivery guy a lot better (and hopefully tipping him generously when he hauls three Equitainers up your drive).

With a small break, I've become involved in following a contest series that's taking place on Facebook with winning breedings to some of the best stallions in the nation.

The contest is in two portions, the first being a popularity driven and the second and currently ongoing- essay portion. The essays are open to the public, and are quick reads between rounds. The entire concept is great, and has huge publicity for stallion owners.

I've begun reading through the submissions. The essays range from hard core pedigree addicts to mare owners praying on a dream and a genetic gamble. But somewhere in between I look at the mares and I go why would you cross or even reproduce or why would you post that photo of that mare looking that way in a public forum?

The things that people see and then hear what they expect out of the cross is even more concerning. Everything from an advanced eventer out of a short stirrup pony to a children's mount out of a half wild, unrideable mare.

What's worse is that some of the worst entries are from experienced breeders. 

I really begin to wonder about the state of American breeding when this is occurring and where some people are getting their information from.

I know several good breeders in stone's throw distance from me that have done excellent jobs of consistently producing top quality horses that are very well loved, and equally talented for their chosen discipline.  They are knowledgable and calculated when it comes to pairings. They do their homework, and as a recent acquaintance said: they load the dice. If they have to keep the offspring until it matures and goes under saddle, they have their teams in place to consistently produce good young horses.

When I look at contests such as the one going on above, I really begin to wonder whether breeding in America has become a personal romantic notion, or a mechanic's mathematical equation with the expectation of superior results. I wonder if they are prepared to accept the consequences of their actions and have the long-term ability to keep something if it doesn't turn out to be exactly what they want, or support it in a way so it is successful? 

Personally, I enjoy the ulcer-inducing, wallet draining, wait-and-see game even almost two years after Sincere was born. It's so far been a great adventure, learning experience and for the most part, enjoyable time. I've had excellent help along the way.

But when that sperm met that egg, I was just as unknowable, and romantically induced as some of the mare owners that are participating. It's funny what time and a little perspective does to you.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

On the road

I spent the majority of my weekend (and week) in the cab of my truck running around, but between everything I managed to squeak in the first solid works of the new year on the pony.

The weather really opened up to mid fifties and soared to low sixties. It was so nice, I had trouble finishing out the regular office work week.

My outdoor finally cleared out from underneath the snow and water to be solid enough to work on. While I do have an indoor, I prefer to work outside where the footing is a little better and there's a bit more room to play. The indoor is reining deep. She worked well in the high winds and felt much more adjustable.

Coming back from light riding/no work is a serious task this year. I hope to not loose the ground we gained over the last season. I've become a little more vigilant in warming up and cooling down, as well as the quality of work that goes on in between.

To help change things up we took a road trip to another facility down the road. It was the first riding trip off the property in over a year and I was nervous. It was the quiet day at that farm, and I had the indoor to myself. Despite the kick up in wind and seeing carriages for the first time in god knows how long she did well (Sinari is a driving reject among several things).

Went through elements of second and third but mostly picked one or two heavy themes throughout the session (bend and adjustments).

She's unfit, but still remembers about everything minus the new lines for flying changes. Give it three weeks and we will be able to run through fourth and maybe PSG.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Here comes the sun

It's been well over a week of strict no riding. The weather has pounded this region fairly hard within the last week or so. What I thought was an extended break was more or less a window and have been grounded ever since.

I can't say the time off hasn't done the pony good. While she isn't as fit, she is maintaining and improving through the schedule that I've got her on.

Goals January:
-Ride as many time as the weather will allow
 Achieved, there were times where we managed two to three works in a row, but everything was infrequent. I've begun to make arrangements to do Florida next year.

-Refine half halts
With infrequent work this became harder. 

-lateral work
played with shallow half passes, namely half pass, immediately straight, half pass again. Did a little bit of pir work when she offered.

Better, sharper, but not sustainable at the moment.

-Develop show schedule

-Ride as many times as the weather will allow
-half halts
-Regain fitness (horse and rider)
-Prepare materials for L program
-run through second and third level
-big, bold changes

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

You've got the music in you

Up until Tuesday, the pony was on what seemed like perpetual winter break.

The weather has temporarily subsided at least till next Wednesday, until then the pony is back under saddle and feeling really nifty.

But between rounds of doing nothing I've reopened up the freestyle, namely music selection. My last selection was from BBC and Torchwood, the one prior was a Zimmer composure of The Corpse Bride. These were decent personal freestyles, but nothing to go on and be competitive with.

Truth is, there is a million music choices out there and a million things I would like to use or experiment with.  The difficult thing and the biggest mistake is to plug too many things in one place. As a really nice kur composer put it for me: zen is best.

So during the snowy weeks, I started pushing around for new music.

Dr. Who was a top choice, but there are too many bits to string together from different pieces, and it was not feminine enough. Slumdog Millionaire was another choice (NAJYRC individual played it), but the Bollywood soundtrack was too many BPM and would make her move like a sewing machine. I briefly considered U2, Muse and a few other big bands, but again the variety and volume would make the music hacked.

I went back to Zimmer's library of work. The lovely thing about movie soundtracks is that the pieces are automatically cohesive an naturally have a storyboard behind them. I've chosen a few, and will try them out when Sinari becomes more fit.