Thursday, May 14, 2015

Only looking up when my head’s down

We've been on the struggle bus since coming back from the show.

My horse trailer looks like it's had a bomb set off in it. I have laundry up to my eyeballs, my tack wasn't cleaned until Monday, I still have hay in the back of my truck, and a stack of emails and paperwork I've been ignoring (sorry) since last week. I was also not the smartest scheduler- I did 8am lessons the day after, and then had an 8am farrier appointment the day after that. Tuesday was the first day I "slept in" until 7am and then promptly went to yoga.

I also found out that my supplies from the trailer need to be replenished. I normally carry two of everything around in that trailer simply because I don't like packing and repacking. Over the year I used up things or repacked them elsewhere. The inconvenience of trying to find extra treats, the spool of wax thread or my cleaning supplies during a show just kind of added into the small chaos.

I also will happily pay that price again if it means I could have every weekend as well-done as that one.

The quality of the show was really high, with several people trucking above five hours in, and the horses reflected the investment of the time spent putting them on a truck and bringing them down.  

Haiku pulled out an early monster score of 8.64 for her first show for the three year old materiale with the highlight being 8.5 for rideability. Her in hand class was also highly competitive, and was overall second, despite being flat from working earlier in the day, she came away with an 8.7, second out of 15 horses and a fanbase.

Flair followed suit, pulling a 7.6 - a huge positive considering the show was her 15th ride under saddle, and was behind the winner of the class by two points. Her canter work was the high point- 8.5.

The judge was kind enough to take me aside and not only give the mares huge complements on their breeding, training and manners but also give some ideas towards development. This was a lot of personal validation of what I've been doing over the last months from a very respected source. 

What's even more impressive is that both mares were exceptionally professional about the job. Yes, they had green moments, but went in with no lunging, or calming supplements in their systems. They went in and knew what they were supposed to do. The cherry is that they are both qualified for the finals in November at Tryon and depending on how that weekend will run, we might just attend. 

Which leads me to the next show schedule. It's very tempting to throw them in again and just keep pushing for year end awards.

My focus on Haiku is more or less just one more show, at training level, before going to IBOP and quitting for the year. To me the three year old year is a learning curve. Yes, they need a record. Yes, they need to do stuff, but they don't need to be trucked from here and beyond to show extensively and potentially develop a bad reputation. Haiku has already answered a lot of questions for us, and continues to mature beautifully. 

With Flair it's get her into the regular tests as quick as possible. She can do training level tomorrow if we asked but I would like to see more condition from her at first. I also don't necessarily want to put the investment toward the lower levels, a mistake I made with Sinari. My focus for her is in honesty, next year for the six year olds. So we're focusing on Virginia to get some miles under her belt with me in the irons. Dressage at Lexington is on her radar because of the nature of the show and my clients who go.

So the focus is really on the fall and winter seasons, with the eye towards Dressage at Devon, IBOP and other fun items. But for now I think we have all the right pieces in the right ways. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015


Getting back to the grind has been going well, minus one or two weeks where life was interrupted by Rolex and Kentucky Derby, everyone has been getting back into a more committed schedule.

It's finally nice to have everyone in a singular place again. Steeple Pointe Stables did a great job keeping everyone in order, and my student did a nice job hacking and keeping some order in the face of horrid weather and random schedules; but in all honesty there's no place like home.

Having everyone home also means being able to focus on the immediate of re-establishing a full six day week, and attending to the details. Needless to say my trailer got ripped through and the unpacking, rearranging and organizing is still continuing. My truck looks like it exploded with blankets, wraps and stuff everywhere. I spent the majority of Thursday just cleaning both of them out and giving the truck and trailer a solid wash.

Adding to the stress was someone stole my purse, the entire thing, out of my truck last Saturday. The purse I don't mind so much- it was just a canvas one. But the contents were a tad bit more important. All my ID's, major cards, license, passport, and alot of memories are now just gone. The week prior my accounts were flagged for fraud, so if there's any silver lining to any of this its that I at least have one debit card that escaped, and I don't have to wait around another five days. Compounding the issue is my only final form of ID was in NJ. It's disappointing and ultra frustrating that I now have to deal with four notoriously slow government agencies (DMV, Passport Control, and Social Security office) and their paperwork.

If there's anything to look forward to this upcoming weekend, it's showing. I've been wanting to show Spy Coast now for years. It's a fabulous show with excellent footing and drop dead gorgeous facilities. However bad timing on my end or having a horse that's not in the right age group or going through a weird growth spurt really stifled those chances.

The girls look the part, the weekend is free and so I dropped the entry in.

Haiku is especially ready to do something. A full hand bigger and mentally ready enough to step out, she needs to stretch out and get some miles without getting permanent ink on her records. She's stellar, and very fit for the age group but still hasn't filled out width-wise quite yet. She's business like about her work, she's handled change very well. The goals are pretty much to just have a solid first show, and to hit in the 7's-8's consistently. 

Flair looks equally as good. She's not as fit, as she's started three months after Haiku, but needs to just go out and start thinking about larger concepts. I really don't care about scores, I just want her to go out and have a positive experience.

It's easy to look at Flair and go she's ready to do something more. She can easily go zero to FEI in her balance points, she's easy on the eyes, offers things up and is exceptionally trainable. She's very mature in her looks. But as fast as she's developing and giving, you can't put topline on overnight.

But Flair has been getting the baptism by fire the last three months.

Her entire world has been flipped, reversed and changed. She's in a program, she's worked, she's getting fitter, she's handled every day, twice a day. Every day she looks better because it is an aggressive, everything including the kitchen sink program, that addresses a lot of different things. I think some part of her goes, I'd rather be barefoot and pregnant, and the other goes this is rather neat. She's got the best temperament, goes out and tries, doesn't make the same mistake twice. She's straightforward, but green, but lacks the carrying power to sit under saddle correctly to do anything beyond what a three or four year old is required to do. She's not ready for a test, she's not ready for anything but straight materiale, but needs to go out and learn what being a show horse is without the world judging her. 

So, Spy Coast is really an ideal place for both of them. They've done an excellent job developing something for all young horses in a quality environment. The series has a number of things going for it- like prize money, inclusive handler fees, great judges and year end series championships. They understand babies are going to be babies, and allow them to act that way accordingly. There will be plenty of other opportunities to get them to the larger rated shows, but for now, they need to stay in the kiddie pool.