Thursday, May 30, 2013

If you're going to play in Texas

We all arrived back from Texas in one piece. The place is pretty cool, and surprisingly diverse (I ran into more South Asian than redneck) with more than BBQ and crawfish on the menus.

It really was a tough in and out trip, we had a number of sales horses to look at and about 10 hours to look at them in. I'm never one for speed dating, and I can be really peculiar about what I'm getting on and what I'm looking at (for this trip I probably looked at well into 70 tapes just to get to 10). 

Collectively, the trip was productive, I got to know more about PRE's, Andalusians, and Lusitanos. I saw everything from 12 rides under saddle to FEI and back again. While the overall quality of the gaits varied for everyone, everyone consistently had good walks, and good canters. The mindset is very professional, the horses want to work, they look forward to it. Even the stallions we saw and I got to work with were uncomplicated and all business under saddle.

The training also ranged quite a bit from what I would consider typical to interesting.

It was a change of pace with some of the other sales calls I've been on over the years. While we did run the gambit of you're usual barn, to something out of the Walking Dead to mega ranch, it was the breeds (we tried Lusitanos as well) that remained consistent in temperament and for the most part movement. 

The best part was after a lifetime of just learning to sit the trot on bigger horses, these guys barely move you in the tack.

For the wanted travel it's nice to be home and back in my own saddles and bed. I saw my herd yesterday for the first time in three days. Everyone worked well in the now hot weather.

The babies continue to go forward we're now to the point of debating about which show to go compete at to get our proverbial feet wet. From past experience, schooling shows are the best and cheapest way to get a young horse to go around. While we're not doing the four year olds, training level has it's own finer points. So Fritz might go out at the start of August and re-aim for MSEDA (training level) and Devon (materiale/in hand).

Sinari will stay chilly until Fall. We have a few clinics (a piaffe/passage one in Ohio, Debbie and possibly another). The break from the circuit is doing her well and she's really rallying back from her back being sore.

There's also a few other trips planned out for the summer.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

All my exes in Texas

We've been horse shopping as of late and it's taken me to some interesting places.

Like exotic locations such as Canada, New York and Virginia.

This weekend we're going Texas to look at a group of 10. I've never been to Texas outside of an airport (really, everything, including airports are just bigger), and my general knowledge stems from Discovery Channel, former presidents and CNN coverage. So I'm really curious to see a bit of the state and sample the flavor.

It's my first real trip since Florida, and it couldn't have come at a more needed time. I was starting to  go stir crazy in my own state. The herd and I have been patiently sitting at the farm now for four months, just working on things with the occasional lesson.

My adventure brings me to  Lusitano breeders and a couple small trainers who have interesting, but quality stock for the sport. We're not talking USEF Four Year olds, but something, maybe, for the Developing Horse.

Intially I just wanted to look at warmbloods, I didn't want to look at another hair breed. But after seeing a lot of good PRE and Lusitanos in Florida on the CDI arena plus hearing continuously good things, I figured I owed a look. Never figured on finding 10 that I actually like.

Going to a closed-book breed is a departure from what I normally look at and go for. I'm used to deciphering bloodlines for young horses, and looking at raw potential, but when a breed standard isn't exactly in sync with sport standard things become tougher. I go through what feels like twice as many tapes trying to find three decent gaits (temperament isn't questionable on a lot of these, just quality of gaits).

So it should be a fun, hopefully productive trip.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fastest girl in town

Bi polar weather is here. One day it's 80 and the next it's 30 and raining. We're battling funk, mud, and the lack of time outside and being stuck in the indoor. When we're not indoors we're battling the gopher holes in the field on the tracks we use to do trot sets.

We're finishing up on the heels of Courtney King- Dye's clinic during derby week (learned lots) and have a lot of take home lessons to work on for fall. 

Sinari is slowly, but surely coming back into fitness and regaining strength where she was sore. A week off is essentially a month lost in fitness, and with a lighter season it's really imperative that we come back to fighting weight.

Her sessions are wonderful she's much lighter and seems to have come back to her normal cheerful self. However, when she tires, she tends to become a bit offended about asking her to dig deep. This is the residual from working with a sore back. I don't blame her, and I know eventually she'll work through.

Conditioning becomes harder because of the grass in Kentucky. With an all-you-can-eat buffet out in the field (we've been muzzled since early March), it's hard managing things to keep everyone on the right track as diets swing very wildly (bye bye good hay, hello first cutting grass...) 

We'll probably hit KESMARC fairly soon to help with the conditioning issue.

Fritz is rapidly growing up into a horse that I deeply admire. He's pretty much a goof on the ground, but a really solid citizen under tack, walk, trot and cantering both directions on the bit and actively stretching. He went out on the trail with another rider to start giving him a break from the arena and to start conditioning him on the hills. 

I've learned a lot from him in a short time. The Fresians, are not unlike other driving breeds, they have a hard time stretching over the back, they plow through the aids as an evasion, they aren't too laterally supple, they pick things up quickly, they generally are steadier and they prefer to trot above anything else.

Fritz is a bit of an odd ball in that way- he loves to canter, and his canter for 60 days under saddle is really very nice and he's more laterally supple than most, but comparatively he's still not as flexible as a normal dressage-bred three and a 1/2 year old. 

Despite all the drama lately, there is good news on the horizon. Debbie McDonald is coming to clinic in the fall, I think David Marcus will be coming in summer, and I think I have a game plan for consistent access to trainers and to make the final climb to Grand Prix with the pony. Not to mention those new faces on the horizon.

I'm still on the fence about showing the crew until we're more established at I-1 for the pony and solidly fit enough to do training level with the others. We definitely have a few fall shows, but actually having this time and break to just work and develop things without the pressure cooker of going to shows.

I was tempted by doing a few local schooling shows, but timing just hasn't cooperated at the moment.