Monday, January 30, 2012

She dreamed of paradise

Home from Florida.

It's hard to even imagine how the month went or how each day passed like an unbroken line. Or even harder, I forgot the feeling of snow and cold and for just a single second, I thought I was in summer again.

Yes, the place really is like venturing down the rabbit hole. It's a completely different universe.

Florida is amazing.

Even being removed from the hub of the dressage universe (Wellington versus Ocala), you get a taste of what it's like to be around people who all have a singular goal that's common to yours and can chat pony. But if you're not riding, there's something to do.

It's literately being in a buffet, and somedays you just don't know where to begin.

I went down with the intent to train, but as usual things just unfolded. Not only did I train, but I also got to view training sessions of not just high performance dressage, but eventing as well (kind of a perk when you live with an international eventer).

The best part was rolling through the PSG work and making it our own, getting the compression and rotation on the pir's and starting the pi/pa work. Having full mirrors to make fun of ourselves, and being around the crew again.

I got to visit the new show grounds (which will be really fun to show at), caught a weekend Grand Prix at WEF, I got to help people on the ground and got to see and visit fantastic farms and friends and I drove my first gooseneck trailer.

I proved to myself multiple things. 

I also jumped.

You can blame Atkins for that one.

In the end, we accomplished everything that we've set out to accomplish and it was well worth the time and effort put into the trip. Learned a lot about ourselves in the process, and got a head start for this year.

Will we go back next year?

Indefinitely yes. I can't see another winter without it.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Time flies

It's almost end of January, and I forgot to recap the goals!

-Condition, fit and hack out
Weather started to turn foul in KY, and we got as many rides in between the holidays and other activities. Felt, as usual it wasn't enough, but got through it.
Managed to clip as much as I could between holidays, client horses and other things. Slightly unsuccessful on one poor pony's case.
-Clinic in TN
Score, went down, did well. Also spent a week with Jim in Fl.
Check although what shipment when was more confusing. Lesson learned, send everything with the horses.

-Compression/Rotation for Sinari
-Solid counting for changes
-Educated zig zags
-Upping the balance point

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Under Pressure

I can't believe it's Friday. The days have really just blurred together. I only have a few more days here in what seems like a never ending horse show.

But I think that's what happens when you put your head down and train like there's no tomorrow.

Time here has been spent very well. All three horses are going great and well, the new found holes in my breeches serve only as proof that you really can ride your ass off. I think I would give my right arm for a whirlpool and some salts.

Sinari is doing all the PSG work. We've put the screws in the last two workouts to her to ramp the balance, compression and the fitness up. Needless to say the results have been mixed (partially me, sometimes her), but I have a feeling she'll sign on soon enough. I really wanted to roll through the entire test, but the monster canter tour is getting the better of us at the moment. I was deservidly snarked at for doing changes after the pir tour not in the right place. Today it's more of the same, compress, compress, compress, and rotation.

Merlot, had a day off and came back ready to go. We've been upping the compression and lateral work with him. He now has turn on the haunches, shoulder in, leg yield, canter-walk-canter, haunches in, traverse, renverse, and a few other tricks in his bag. I really want to toy with the change, but since he's doing a test, I don't want to screw with his counter canter too much. He still likes to fall out the left shoulder, it's annoying but fixable. We've now have to really start pushing the tests.

Wylie is still in development, we do relaxed sessions with lots of walk breaks. His lateral work has always been very strong so it's more or less about organization with him. He doesn't last very long still but at the same time he also tries super hard. Have also been working after him to keep in front of the leg, and balance on the smaller circles.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle (yeah)

We've now been in FL for about a week. It's been one giant good thing after another so far, and while I thought I would have time to write extensively, I've had people make better use of my time here.
While the ponies arrived ahead of me (Wednesday) and I left not soon after that at 4am to trek south.
The drive isn't bad and I made good time, but when I hit Georgia at 8:30am and the landscape flattened like a pancake, the drive just stretched out longer, and longer and longer. Boredom and the radio got the best of me.

Truth is, it's an easy 13 hours. Especially when you have a radio, a cell phone and some things to do along the way.

My first stop was at Peter and Amy Atkins' to go set up the ponies at their place. The ponies arrived in better condition than I did. By the time I set up it was 830 and I still had to find my way to where I was staying.

With minimal lost-ness, I got there and collapse into the single most comfortable bed.

Friday I popped on all three for an easy day. Everyone felt fine. Saturday and Sunday was much of the same, minus the first solo trek to Wellington.

I went down to Wellington as a volunteer to be a scribe at the USEF High Performance Clinic with Steffen Peters and Anne Gribbons. There was indeed a lot of star power there, but in addition to that, it was a sheer joy to watch and sit at the table listening and learning for the day. I saw so many lovely combinations both from the A list and B list, and excused myself a little early to go home and try some things out on the horses.

Sunday I give a light day for all three (chiro'ed) and begin packing for the trek to Wellington again. I'm not looking forward to packing up my horses... again. But this is well worth it, we're going to go train with Koford.

Fast forward to now... it's almost Thursday, and we hit the ground running here. Sinari is doing extensive work in the collected canter (pir, changes, half pass), Merlot is working on up hill balance and lateral work and prepping out for his big Welly-world show, and Wylie is busy turning heads while coming back into fitness.

As for myself, it's physically hard. I have sores on the back of my legs and around my ankles from my boots. I wake up stiff. I'm drinking water like it's going out of fashion, and popping Advil too.

But, in all honesty, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Can't you see I've waited long enough?

Today's the day. A long road ahead of us, a longer road behind us.

It's bitter cold here and while I'm snuggling up to my tissue box, blanket and Vitamin C, we've been packing non stop, prepping non stop and pushing non stop to start the first leg of the trip. It's been long days and longer nights.

There are a few things that I've already learned about packing, one of which is get a bigger bag and never try to do things around the holidays. People never respond.

Also that Home Depot has good, large trunks to pack your horse's stuff in (and they're open late!), that work with your rep's to get your stuff in order in another place, have cash on hand, a kind word, and have a good home and away support team.

The ponies loaded up today and are currently en-route to Peter's farm in Ocala. They'll be there earlier than I will. Normally I would be right down with them, but I have some minor things to finish up at the house prior to going down (like packing the electronics that I need an minor foodstuffs) I'll be leaving before the crack of dawn tomorrow, and hopefully will be down there early afternoon.