Tuesday, February 26, 2013

99 Problems

We've all been sequestered to the indoor for the majority of the last two weeks. It's not my favorite spot, I like schooling outside so much more.

The weather has been bi-polar at best, swinging between reasonable to why bother, making the now infamously disastrous trip south to Florida more justified. We're just hitting the cusp of the show season, which really kicks off Mid-March. I'm happy to have achieved the Silver, and now we can let down our collective hair for a little while and concentrate on the training ahead.

For Sinari, I really want to refocus her on not only cleaning up her tests, but also focus in on putting on more of the piaffe-passage, the tempi's and improving the pir's. The big lightbulb moment with these movements is that the quality of the paces and use of the arena geometry directly relates to the quality of the movement itself.

In other words, if you give up a corner (10 meters) and you're going for a pirouette, and your collected canter is not a pirouette canter, you have to work like hell to get it on a long line, and the quality/size of the pirouette will be directly effected, most likely negatively (1-1.5 point spread).

We've also been playing with the pi/pa in hand, for her at the point in time it's about getting the reaction and developing the strength to carry that much. She's not really a big natural in the pi/pa stuff, I wish I started it a little earlier on her career.

We might go officially out in May, but it's going to depend on a lot of things (like transportation). There's also a number of nice schooling shows in between where we can just put the tests together and go through the movements. The real showing focus is on the last half of the season with the National Dressage Pony Cup and maybe Region 2.

We have also been invited to a number of places in the East to train, this will shake itself out by April.

Reba is doing equally as well, she's been actively working and doing a little jumping to help her develop the canter. While we initially planned to do a schooling show, the show filled up and we were wait listed. Not a big deal there will be other shows through the season. We're in no rush this year, even with the idea of having her school changes by the end of the year and go second level. The bigger goal is to get her mentally and physically geared into the work for the next three years.

Monday, February 11, 2013

I get knocked down

I really don't know where to begin except that I'm home, and while it's sunny, it's not happy-go-lucky Florida sun. It's cold.

My initial trip home was supposed to take 12 to 15 hours, it ended up on a 48 hour excursion which left us stranded for 18 of those hours in Tennessee, with the most entertaining of police officers and tow people, at the Super 8 hotel. To cap it off it was a dry town with no beer or liquor store.

I was batting a 1000 and me and a bag of Oreos got really friendly at one point. 

After a really sleepless night (I was up every two hours checking), downing the worst coffee and two waffles, watching an entire season PBS' Downton Abbey and transferring the majority of my stuff from truck to trailer, we got on the road again around 3ish thanks to James Welsh and Elite Transport's connections to Kustom Equine Transport.  My truck is still in Tennessee. Everything important is thankfully up here.

I'm ultimately very grateful to the people who called, helped out, showed up and kept company (virtually and sometimes physically) throughout that period. Its nice to know that the community does take care of it's own.

If there ever was a saint hood for ponies, Sinari needs to be first in line. The mare took everything in stride (angry over the temporary living accommodations). She came out fine, and has the next few days to herself while I sort out finding a new truck, unpacking the disaster zone of my dressing room and figure out life. 

I also am down one FEI horse. Kobe isn't coming back up. It's not something I wish to really go into at the moment, but I'm dealing with the fallout.

At this point  it's time to regroup and figure out what's next.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Chasing the sun

I didn't plan this trip well, in fact I think I winged most of it right down to my departure.

First, I was planning on staying in the great white north, hoping the weather would cooperate and get my herd ready for their spring runs. I was (and still am) looking forward to a few arrivals. I was actually looking forward not having to worry about the fishbowl that is Wellington, or who was doing what, where.

That hope of hibernation was dashed when clinicians started agreeing to do clinics in the sunny south (Europeans who want to go to Florida, go figure). After rounds of whacky scheduling, I set up a few things, and next thing you know I have some work to do. Was thinking I would just go down and come back for the few events that I had so I could keep my budget/sanity and avoid a drive.

Even that was dashed.

Then the pony started clicking in, ready enough to do a few tests and work some lessons. So why the hell not go down and get this party started right? Plus I have to go look at a few horses, finalize what is now Kobe, and appointments to shore up.

There's no avoiding it, if you want to be serious about dressage you go south.

I went down last year  to train with Koford and worked a little with Atkins. This year it's a bit of a burgoo of training, work and showing. I have no real intense day-in and day-out help there. I'm also bringing down just one horse, and picked up another one along the way. A literal vacation from the thundering herd up here.

I managed to squeak out three weeks of time, I need to be back to continue with the herd up here and to also check the snail mail plus keep a host of other projects on the burner.

So far it's been a huge adventure, leaving Lexington at 10am and arriving the next day at 2am. Minor truck and phone issues after we had arrived.

After the recovery, it was back to riding, schooling around White Fences, in between rounds myself and company caught the Masters, and sat at the Global Dressage Forum, did a weekend of showing, more training, and then we're now in the final week of events and clinics.

The universe tends to shrink around this time of year to the size of Palm Beach County. This becomes Mecca and a uniquely intense period of time to do business, get fit for the season, kick off the season, and interact with friends and people you haven't seen in a long time.

Everyone, including the most professional of professionals, develop the worst case of ADD. But it's not without just cause.

This week alone I've fielded what feels like a bazillion phone calls, coordinated without any "real internet" (hello mobile), or "real computer" (hello iPad) took lessons at Still Point Farm, started to ride Kobe and figure him out (more lessons), show and obtained my final score towards my Silver.  With the season well under way and another goal checked off, I can easily breathe until May for recognized showing.

It doesn't mean that the rest of the string won't be out, Reba is going to the Snowbird show, Kobe will be most likely going as well if I can get myself under control trot wise. Sinari will be refocused to I1.