Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I've closed enough windows to know you can never go back

Transitions are a universal theme in the sport, we have a lot of them, and they aren't strictly regulated to tests.

About three years ago, I started something that's lead me to where I'm at now. Along the way, people, horses and events have come and gone. Some have stayed longer than others, some not so long. Either way, those people, horses and things have contributed in various ways.

Recently, a equestrian related-relationship that I've had came to a final conclusion. It did, and still does, have a major impact of where I've gone. It didn't necessarily open doors, but it gave me permission to break out and pursue goals. I have no bad feelings about moving on, just a wish that it was handled differently.

This transition was tough, simply because it was on top of a few weeks of tough riding. In addition to coming down with a low white cell count, Sinari came into a hard follicle that was simply stuck and causing bad back issues. She became sore to the point where any push was met with uncharacteristic resistance. This mare, while not uber fancy, takes pressure and compression with very little complaint.

I'm loathe to reach for a pharma-solution without first going to body work and seeing if it's a human issue (tack, fit, farrier, feed, schedule, dental), but in this case after body work robaxin and regumate were the go-to's.

The effects were great, and she's come back to her normal self minus some minor residual muscle memory issues.We're now just really starting back after a week off.

There's also a new face in town. Fritz, the three soon to be four year old is a fun new project, and is super fancy. He's also a Friesian. Normally I don't pair fancy and Friesian together, but this guy really has a wonderful way about him, he finds the work easy, and can take a good amount of pressure given the age. 

He's also the kind of baby that everyone hopes for, uncomplicated, quick to learn and pretty interested in being under saddle. I have good ideas for him, and considering he's going to be around for sometime, I think he's going to be fun none the less.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Might as well jump

I've learned over a period of years doing this sport, not every horse is meant to do it, or for
that matter, wants to do it.

There are multiple reason why a horse fails out of dressage, but it generally has to deal with really signing on to the job description. 

Reba was supposed to be a nice upper level horse. Her bloodlines dictated it (Rotspon), her wins in hand proposed it, but in the end the lure of leaving temporarily leaving gravity really won out.

I initially sent her on during my stint in Florida to keep her legs moving with Lauren Neathry who starts my young guys.

A few weeks have now turned into a few months, and everytime I go out and watch the flat, she's a miserable sod. Compression? Too much. Submission? Not interested. All the things that make a dressage horse? She'd rather take a lark.

But put a few jumps in the arena and toss in a few questions, she becomes electric and is keen, the same kind of keen-ness that I enjoy about dressage horses that love their job.

So one spring day last week, we put the fences up and really asked a hard question. Can she do the height?

Resoundingly yes.

This past weekend we entered her last minute at Masterson Station fun show (pretty much all you can jump for 60 bucks), her first rounds were a tad shakey, but by the time that the final class rolled she locked, loaded and produced wins and fast times without being pushed. She was happy and a lot of the problems that she was having on the ground, evaporated.

Needless to say, I'm happy she's happy and she'll continue down this path.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Baby, baby, baby

I've had walking allergies for the last few weeks, which is not normal by any stretch of the imagination, but the weather, and stress finally got the better of me.

But being laid up for a few days isn't so bad, I had a stack of magazines/books to look through, a freshly anointed cable box to watch all sorts of movies and fun shows (hello cable horse show coverage!) and a speedy internet connection when literature, the moving pictures and texting proved fruitless and boring.

The downside of being laid up in late March and early April (aside from missing out on the bouts of nice weather)? It's breeding season. Again.

Everything with four and sometimes two legs wants to reproduce itself. Stallion auctions are concluding, stallion shows are going off in Europe with delightful tape trickling in. Breeders are sizing up their wallets and preparing for the impending wave of foalings.

This year I'm going back into the game.

The past few years I've been watching Sincere grow, and now that he's onto his new adventure (who is happily doting on him with all sorts of fun toys) it kinda leaves a void in the line of talent. I enjoyed producing him, I enjoyed watching him mature.

Yes, Sinari is jumping the big 1-4 this year, she's making the leap to becoming a really solid upper level horse.

Reba is doing well, but not going to be a dressage horse (updates on this later). She loves to jump.So someone has to earn a paycheck in this business might as well be her.

So, I'm looking at a couple of gap years and using this year as a developing year for everyone.

There's the option of also going to Europe for a few months as well, but I'm not looking at that trip just yet. 

So it's off to the shed we go.

I've always been very partial to the KWPN books, I grew up with good, talented, Dutch horses (also worked with PRE/PSL occasionally). Not the half baked nimbly things that everyone often sees, but powerful, compact horses sometimes with questionable temperament. The love was only really aligned when I followed many of the Black Pearls of the 90s, the spectacular little horses that really secured Dutch dominance. I've been keeping track of them ever since. 

Over the past few years, I've developed a lot of relationships with breeders, and found a number of mares that I adore. I've found bloodlines that I've clicked with and feel that are in line with my programs.

So this year, we're aiming for a late in the US Season (working Canada!) Jazz x Ferro cross.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Cause after all

I initially started writing about breeding season, but really words about reproduction right now escape me. I have breeding plans this year, but right now, I'm not up to discussing anything that involves a blue container and getting to know my FedEx delivery guy.

Show season kicked off for the barn, I had friends go out to one of the local schooling shows at the Kentucky Horse Park.

The Snowbird shows are very basic shows, sometimes even with questionable semi-frozen footing and weather to go along with it. You see the whole of the local Kentucky dressage universe there, but it also makes for good times with friends and cohorts. Intially I wanted to show but lack of transportation (just finishing up truck shopping again) and willingness to put management through extending the arena for a PSG test (I don't like being a prima donna), so I opted to help a few people out while fielding the occasional question  of when and where I'm going out next.

Truth is, I'm having trouble focusing in on showing this year after three years of being driven on the circuit (the bi-polar weather isn't helping either).  Kentucky's judge list plus the temptation of good footing is really asking me to go out just to do a PSG test. But really I want to push back to July.

Despite the doldrums, things have been going forward.  

Sinari has been schooling fantastic, County came out and reflocked the saddle and we're now cooking right along. Having these few months of taking her out of going and just doing the movements and now creating the power behind the movements while cleaning up our acts makes a huge difference. Her best pirouettes were done this past weekend I felt they were small and very balanced.

Now it's time to seriously up the ante and get eyes on the ground to really get behind the drive. The one's are trickling in, but the zig zags tend to allude us (I get stuck in PSG mode of school the big zig, instead of doing centerline-quarterline-centerline ones).

There are a few clinics planned for her that I feel she would benefit from and get out. 

Reba is doing well too, her schedule is going to ramp her schedule in May. She's becoming more forward at the canter and more solid with the connection. Fitness remains her biggest challenge, but for a horse that was maybe total ridden 5 times last year, this makes sense. 

There are also some new faces on the horizon, but more on this later.