Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Drive by

Normally, I'm a Sunday blogger. Sunday's are my day away from the barn where I get my laundry, house and billing done. I also get a coveted day of sleeping in to 8am and taking my morning coffee, with whip cream, on the couch (you can stop laughing now).

For the last three weeks I have been waking up at 5 or 6 am to do things. I don't regret it, in fact a lot of it was necessary, but by the end of last week I was more fried than anything. To the point where a vodka and cranberry sounded really good and turning off my phone felt fantastic. But I had one more push before I could really rest. 

Friday was the final edit for the Run Henny Run website that I retooled for Peter Atkins. I met Peter July last year through Jim Koford at the July Dressage at Lexington show. Peter, who is a great rider and a brilliant natural marketing guy, isn't so clever about his web presentation.

After that show Peter and I kept touch, and eventually I made it down to slow-cala to stay at his place where we really started sculpting the website. 

The end product is based off the iWeb platform, and will be switching over to another, more flexible one, but it's definitely better than the 1996 Geocities look that it was sporting. While the push was in the afternoon, I was pretty much spent after a full day at work. But I am very proud of that work and of the team it reps.

Speaking of, please go visit and support Peter and his chance to go to Badminton.

But because of the whacky schedule I carried last week, this week was a bit of a leftover.

Sinari is starting to regain much of the strength that we backed away from, the tools and exercises from the clinic have really helped in giving me a way to get myself settled and make things much easier on the girl. The suggested positioning in my body has really given me twice as much power with her especially in the lateral work. The collection that we felt in Florida is returning, and the half halt has been re-established. The trot work feels really fantastic.

I've decided to forgo the April show for a late May. I know this wasn't apart of the plan (I really wanted a PSG test at Kentucky) but really what is these days?

What also made us forego the April date was shedding season. It's out of control. The weather has caused most of the horses to shed either rapidly or get rain rot. So most of those working right now are half bald or really patchy, Sinari included.

Speaking of hairy things, Sincere is set to come back to civilization April 15. Can't wait!

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.

-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.

-Roll through 4-2 and PSG
-Soft connection