Sunday, September 29, 2013

These bruises make for better conversation

I could complain about the month. It would probably make me feel better, but wouldn't be productive.

I'm not at Devon.

I'm at home. With an Eeyore-grey cloud looming around and a hairy bra from doing the fall clipping, a pile of laundry, puttering around, attempting to find shows to bring the babies out to while consuming my favorite pieces of chocolate updating the auditor/rider lists for Debbie McDonald and William Fox-Pitt.

I'm at home with my horses, one with a splint (he's getting better, back to work!), the other having back issues from a bad heat cycle that should hopefully resolve itself out within the next few days. Being grounded, temporarily, is the pits. The hairy bra takes the cake. But it gives a lot of time to regroup, refocus and live vicariously through others.

If there's one highlight in the bunch, it's Reba.

Reba was down in Texas for the AEC's. So without a competition on the horizon, I got to live vicariously through her and her rider the week for their final show of the season.

I was really excited for both of them to top out their year together at the championships, the two have gelled wonderfully.

It's been over a year since she's arrived, and despite an inauspicious start, I think she's finally found her footing, her rider and a career. I'm just happy to be apart of her journey and be able to help give back to the sport through helping someone help themselves.

In the meantime Reba's progressed from an out of shape pasture puff to a solid competitor to now winning the AEC's at the BN level. I'm tickled and it's a positive spot in a dour month. There are some ideas evolving for next season but nothing firm yet.

My other two are chilling for the moment, Danzador has returned to light work with me cold hosing/packing/booting up his legs every ride. Sinari is going through stretch days in a snaffle, I think she's enjoying working on this (seriously the pony can stretch for a 9) instead of grunting around the arena working on half steps.

Otherwise, uneventful if not somewhat productive. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Don't let me down

Last week wasn't a competition highlight.

Sinari walked in tired and we both walked out frustrated with ourselves. We were fully on track for a 65 percent things came apart in the canter work on each day. The heat didn't help, nor did the footing, the crooked FEI warmup, I didn't help by intensively schooling throughout the week, plus having zero body work done prior to it. It didn't also help it was our first time back in six months in an important show. It was just a bad point in our career, and poor planning on my part. 

I look at the photos and the video from this year and the last, there are changes, huge changes in the muscling and balance points for the better, but like learning the walk pirouettes, it comes with a bit of an attitude at first.

Also downgrading her from I1/I2 work to the PSG also made her a bit mad throughout the weekend, and because of the new muscling- people were questioning whether she was a he.  A lot of mare owners quickly inquired to our breeding status and whether she was available for stallion services.

We'll work on through the issues for the winter with a good pair of eyes. I'm happy that's upcoming soon, and find a number of schooling shows to get our groove back. In the meanwhile I've gone back to playing around with the curb bit, maybe that'll sort things out a tad quicker.

The show itself was a great place to catch up with everyone. I ran into a lot of old pony friends, clients and caught up with them. It was the largest pony show to date with 73 pony entries and a huge FEI class. It was finally great to see this event enter into maturity and get the numbers.

Because it was local, I had to commute between barns so everyone was still being worked whether on or off grounds.

Danzador was surprisingly the highlight of the week, by the end of the week he was greenly schooling half passes and getting more consistent in the balance point. I like where his half steps are going. He too is lacking body work and it shows... badly. On the ground he's going over cavaletti, developing his mediums and trying to develop his back more. It's painfully slow work, but he'll come around. 

Devon is next week, and we hit the road again. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The luxury of knowing

News does not travel fast when you are in the middle of nowhere.  So, I'm surprised when I walk in to a place when I have full network/bar connections and I have 10 phone messages and 12 text within 10 minutes as.

It's a little unnerving to be without full communication for a week, unable to check things at the drop of a hat, and to make fine tweaks to my program. I was lucky that I can pirate internet connections, and iPad has allowed me to do chat, but phone calls are rare, if impossible.

I've been worried most of the week about two of my entries, the National Dressage Pony Cup and the Dressage at Devon entry. I entered in NDPC quasi last minute because I wasn't too sure about rolling through the FEI again, I sent Devon in advance but didn't receive a confirmation of it.

I seriously hadn't practiced a test (lower level or FEI) in about six months, all this time has been training and conditioning, mentally stepping away from the last three years of the circuit and developing to the last stage of Sinari's career, and having to redevelop key assets in my team. 

The first PSG test I rolled through was a train wreck, everything about it was rushed, hurried and not johnny on the spot. Sinari still feels clever about the counter canter to change at C, and while the pir's have improved, it's still not my cup of tea. The changes were adjustable went from fours to twos in three strides (had to deprogram the two's) and the mediums and extensions felt blasé. 

But we forcibly kept rolling through it and just before my self imposed exile sans horses, it felt solid again and I shoved my entry out knowing this year was going to be a big class (and it is! Five entries! Including Jane Pride's Ilja, Lauren Chumley's Newyn, myself, Jack Flash and Spar Trek) and knowing that we will have to show a lot more to be competitive.

Throughout my trip up, I kept on checking. When my name didn't appear on the list, I was
becoming really worried. My USPS is bad sometimes to the point of why bother. So it's why I tend to utilize online entries or mail drop at the main hub where I know it will be stamped and sent the same day. Which also made me worried about Danzador's entry for Devon. 

A couple of emails, a few phone calls promising various things (first born not included), both my entries are confirmed. I'm entered with times for NDPC, and the Devon was confirmed late last Wednesday (with email confirmation on Sunday) as I was leaving the "green zone" of cell phone usage.

Huge sigh of relief as I begin packing again for the fall and starting to hammer home tests and to catch up with the rest of the herd.

I started riding again yesterday, and I had forgotten how bad the humidity can be in Kentucky after being adjusted to NYS air.  I've never felt more sick in my life in the saddle than I did on Monday- I think my blood sugar completely tanked.

I completed the two works with equally tired, dripping horses, managed to look in on a friend who was having green horse issues and went home, grabbed the nearest bottle of Advil and have a piece of bread (carbs). Today, we get back to it in cooler weather and start rolling through tests again, the weekend I know is fast approaching.