Is it fall yet?

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Thankfully Gen’s trimmers was scheduled to come out today anyway. His feet are obviously looking much better post trim. I know he is going to go out and stamp the crap out of them anyway for the next two months.

Gen is also going to start getting more hay in an effort to stop his dropping weight. I know he is loosing weight because heat and bugs stress him out. He is just miserable once it gets warm out!

As you can tell from my post yesterday….When Gen isn’t happy, I am not happy!

Poor Lucky also cut herself again yesterday! I have no idea how she is doing it.

I think I need to start showing cats instead of horses 😛

Gen hates summer…

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I hate this time of year! Gen is miserable right now. He is just not a hot weather horse. Not only do his feet grow crazy fast (he is due for a trim, that is 5 weeks), but they fall apart from all his stamping at bugs. The bugs are so, so bad this year!

He gets sweaty and stressed in the heat so he has dropped a lot of weight (I see 4 ribs right now) and his skin is icky.

I need fall ASAP!

I give up on fun…

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Found that loveliness when I got to the barn today along with two cuts on her udder and a puncture on her belly.

She is sound at the walk, and could probably even pass for sound at the trot on a straight away, but she is head bobbing lame on a curved line.

Needless to say the horse show tomorrow is out 😦

Time for fun!

So tomorrow is the Summer Fun Show. I actually wasn’t planning on going to the fun shows this year. This year the dates just were not in my favor. The first one was scheduled for our first dressage show of the year, the second was this weekend which is no good for me, and the third is in October, which has not been a good weather month for my area for the past several years. After our lack luster performance in dressage shows this year and with my work being so stressful I am clearly not even thinking straight anymore I have decided to go to the fun show tomorrow after all.

I need some fun in my life right now, and the fun shows are just the way to get that. I was worried that the weather might not cooperate (I have gotten stuck in their parking area before so it needs to be DRY for me to feel comfortable) but we have been rain free for 3 days with lots of sun to harden the ground so I am hoping that it will be okay. I will be trading in my day of sleeping in and hanging out poolside to one for waking up at 5am and spending the day at a show. What better way to spend a weekend right?

I am not expecting much tomorrow ribbons wise. While I will do a ton of classes (they have a very, very reasonable day fee) I think there will also be a ton of competition. I have no idea who the judge will be, but in the past that have had QH judges who like the QH type. Lucky is most certainly not a QH, nor does she move like one. The judges seem to prefer a shuffle to a trot, and Lucky just isn’t a shuffler. Add to that the fact that it is supposed to be BEAUTIFUL tomorrow (low 80s, sunny, and breezy) and for most kids in the area it will be the first day of summer vacation so I am expecting a massive amount of people to be at this show.

So my goals are not for ribbons, although I hope out of a full day I will at least get something, but to have a good time and just ENJOY my Lucky at a horse show. I am thinking I might try and do something different and “live blog” the show. If you are around tomorrow check in my blog all throughout the day and I will hopefully be posting pictures as things go along. Why not try something new right? Besides, this way I can feel like I am at the show with a whole lot of friends, which will of course make the day even better.

The “I don’t want to canter” horse show – The End

I am many things, but a quitter is not one of them. Even though I wanted to give up, I knew I couldn’t. Not only is it rude to the judge, especially since it was not a safety issue, but it is unprofessional. I needed to finish what I started, no matter how ugly it looked. One of the judges comments in my first test was that I didn’t let go during the free walk, so I just let it all go in the second test. I was playing a mental game with myself that when I picked up the reins again we would be starting over. A whole new test. I was determined to let go of the bad stuff in the hopes of finishing strong.

So those of you who know training 1 (or who watched the video yesterday and are very observant) know that I made a mistake on my test. A big one. The judge was so dazzled by my free moving horse at the free walk that she didn’t catch it right away either. So what did I do? I did both of my canter series to the left! Instead of going across the diagonal I did two short diagonals. Opps! The good news is that I got an instant do over on my left canter, and that I am not using the test for anything so I could care less if the test counts or not.

Minus a head toss in the upward, my out of control right arm, and having to go sideways to the downward again the second canter was much better, and I felt much more in control. I smiled my first real smile of the day to my last center line. Was the test beautiful? Not even close. Was it embarrassing? A little. Was it the best test I have done yet with Lucky at training level? YES! I was glad that Boomerang and My Trainer had not let me quit. Lucky and I still have a long, long way to go, but for the first time all year it actually felt possible that we could actually do this someday.

Considering we were blocking everyone in I untacked Lucky in record time and loaded her back up. With only being 15 minutes from home I knew I could give her a real shower and let her relax at home instead of hanging around the show. They did score my Intro C test already so I knew before I left that I had gotten a 59.25%. Since I was the only person in the class I ended up in 1st place 😛

I learned a lot from this show though. I learned I need to shorten my reins, when they are long I bump her in the mouth. I need to get better brakes on my horse at home because having minimal breaks at a show just isn’t any fun. I also learned I need to get a new show coat. I can’t find mine and a tucked in polo is just not flattering on my plus size self! Lucky and I have a long way to go before we are ready for training level at a show again. This show gave me a tiny bit of hope though.

When I went back to pick up my second test I was thrilled to finally break 60%. Sure, the judge was kind, but I need kind right now!! Lucky and I ended up with a 61.46% for 4th out of 6 in our training level 1 test. I also learned that, for now at least, I need friend support at a dressage show. I needed both My Trainer and Boomerang there to push me when I needed to be pushed. Plus having Boomerang there means I got a video of my issues with Lucky, which is something I needed. Even though it feels worse than terrible, it doesn’t look anywhere near as bad as I thought it did.

I went home feeling satisfied and content in my decision to take a little break from showing dressage. We might have a lot to fix, but at least now I feel like we CAN fix everything. We might not have dazzled, but we didn’t humiliate either, and for now that is plenty good enough.

The “I don’t want to canter” horse show – Part 4

As I walked out of the ring I told my trainer and Boomerang I was scratching my second test. I only had 15 minutes before I needed to be back in the ring again and my horse was blowing me off, and I was being a shitty rider because of it. I have been trying all year to do these tests and failing at every show. Why keep trying when we were so clearly not ready? Boomerang tried to tell me that it didn’t look that bad, but I wasn’t hearing it. I have known my trainer for 16 years. She knows me well. Mid-tantrum she cut me off and told me there was no way in Hell I was getting off Lucky yet. She told me to breath and get my butt back in the indoor. We had a lot of work to do in 15 minutes.

I told her back that I didn’t want to do the second test. I knew I needed to school, so I didn’t argue that point, but I made it clear I had no intention of riding training 1. When I get mad I get really focused. My trainer knows that about me. As soon as I walked in to the indoor we went right to work. I was pouting, but ready to work. Lucky didn’t want to listen, that was unacceptable. We set right to work on getting her to pay attention to my legs again. We started doing turns on the forehand and both the walk and the trot and really using my lateral work to keep Lucky guessing about what was coming next.

I was mostly calmed down so when I looked at my watch and it was 9:48 (my test was a 9:50) I took a deep breath and told my trainer the time. Both she and Boomerang encouraged me to go back in. The thing was, I knew I needed to do the test. You are never going to fix your problems by running away from them. Lucky felt way more on the aids, and while I wasn’t my usual show self, I was determined to at least not feel completely defeated at a show.

This time I used the area around the ring to keep Lucky guessing. From a quarter turn on her haunches in the corners to shoulder in to haunches in on the straight away we used that time to work, not stare off in to the woods. I made a point to keep riding and not be a passenger. The first center line to halt was better, not perfect, but better. I still let her pick the pace of the trot, which is not good, but I at least made corrections while I was riding.

The first canter was scary to me. I tense up, and went right to my hands causing her to throw her face up in the air. I don’t think I breathed the whole time until the downward…well the start of the downward anyway. This time I started to ask for the trot transition way before I needed it in the hopes that even if it was late I would at least not be messing with the next movement. As you can see from the video, she listened to my leg, but not my seat and hand. I guess that she listened to my leg is good news for when we when start to do lateral work at the canter?

Have I mentioned that I feel stuck with where Lucky and I are with the canter? That lack of a downward wasn’t helping matters. As I tried for a stretch circle, only to have her start to rush and scramble I knew things were going from bad to worse. As I picked up my reins I thought about just ending the test right there…

To Be Continued…

The “I don’t want to canter” horse show – Part 3

My first halt ended up being a heck of a lot closer to G than to X. I had no breaks! Not a good way to start a dressage test. Undeterred, I reminded myself that each movement is scored separately. Who cares if I blew my first centerline, it was only 10 points. By the time I got to my first canter transition I was tense again. My test was not going very well, My lucky was not listening to me. I took a breath and asked for the canter and Lucky did a nice upward.

I was just starting to think that maybe I could save this test when it was time to trot again…and Lucky wouldn’t trot! We played tug of war for what felt like forever and lost a ton of points because cantered out of the circle and on to the next movement. Some judges would have blown the whistle on that, but this judge was kind and could tell that I was trying to get Lucky to stop. My arms and back were tight and ridged across the diagonal, so the one movement that I can usually get a good score on I blew.

Lucky and I were starting to fight with each other. We were only halfway through out test and we were fighting. When Lucky and I start getting frustrated with each other it escalates quickly. By the time we got to the 2ndcanter transition I wanted to be anywhere but riding a test with Lucky. Sure enough she threw her face in the air in the upward, and when it was time to do the downward…well…she just didn’t feel like it.
Lucky ignored my request to trot for so long we actually missed that trot section and even most of the medium walk. In fact,  I used a pully rein (which I am not proud of) in order to get her to slow down. I was so frazzled at that point that the free walk was a disaster and I was completely defensive in my riding when we trotted again. By the time we halted again I was done. I didn’t want to ride Dressage anymore. I didn’t want to do another test. I didn’t even want to be riding Lucky at that moment. I was miserable, frustrated and embarrassed.  People that know me can attest to the fact that I don’t embarrass easily, but walking up to the judge I was in full on humiliation more.

The judge was wonderfully kind. She reminded me to sit back more in my downwards and keep my hands up. She did point out that my horse was naughty, but she made things seem fixable, not disastrous like I felt it was.  As I walked out of the ring my frustration point was to the max. I was done. I was stuck in the same place I had been all year and it just wasn’t going to get any better. I wasn’t having fun. Lucky wasn’t having fun. I thought the best thing to do was just to quit for the day and try again next year.

To Be Continued…


 

Thank you again to Boomerang for taking the video…even if I don’t love what I see, it is still good to see it!

The “I don’t want to canter” horse show – Part 2

I knew I had to be a better support for Lucky so I focused on taking some deep breaths and just relaxing. My trailer was parked, I didn’t get stuck in the end, I needed to stop worrying. Having a friend there helped to distract me and by the time my trainer came rolling up the driveway I was feeling much better. I tacked Lucky up as the parking lot filled up. Remember how I was so worried about not blocking people in? Well, the next trailer rolling down the driveway parked right next to me, blocking anyone from getting out. All well. I knew I needed to stop thinking about parking and start focusing on my ride. As I finished tacking up I reminded myself that my goal today was just to try and get my confidence back up. I was doing this show to practice, so I just needed to do my best.

 

Lucky being the old lady that she is we did a nice long walk warm up. I focused on riding with my hands up and together and trying to get her to be flexible. My little rock star was slightly inattentive, but not bad during our warm up. The trot work was great. I have been asking her for a bigger trot and keeping my reins shorter and it has made a huge difference. With only 10 minutes left before my ride it was time to do the dreaded canter. The first transition was good, and even coming back to the trot was not terrible. I was all smiles. I did a few more and changed direction just as Lucky decided that this wasn’t fun anymore. On our last downward from the canter she blew me off a little, but it was time to go in the ring so I didn’t have time to fix it.

 

As soon as we walked outside to walk around the ring Lucky started to ignore me in favor of watching the pretty scenery. The ring is set right next to the woods with the field on one side and the barn on the other. It is beautiful, but also a bit distracting. Our confidence issues are such that as soon as she started to ignore me I started to be overdramatic in some of my corrections and nonexistent in others. Instead of being firm and consistent (i.e. you WILL listen to me regardless of where we are) I was harsh and inconsistent (i.e. PAY ATTENTION TO ME…look a squirrel). I was already stressed out and she was confused before we even turned on the center line for the first time, not a good way to start a test.

 

To Be Continued…

 

The “I don’t want to canter” horse show – Part 1

So between seeing the rainbow the day before and getting amazing times (even if I didn’t get them until 11:30 Thursday night) I was actually starting to look forward to the show. Even the fact that Lucky took her braids out the night before and was covered in mud (despite the sleazy and sheet I put on her) could not dampen my mood on show day. My friend Boomerang offered to come to the show and my trainer said that she would come by also to warm me up again so Lucky would have a cheering section. You know how some times you can just feel it is going to be a good day?

 

I was running a little bit behind getting ready because of what a mess my Lucky was, but with no one on the roads I made it to the show very close to when I wanted to be there. We have had a ton of rain lately…like INCHES the past week alone. Parking at this show is always interesting, but usually you can park in the actually parking lot so I hand’t been stressing it. When I drove in there were only 2 trailers there…facing opposite directions…taking up almost the entire lot! Instead of pulling up or backing in, they had just driven straight through. I tried to find a place where I wasn’t in the way, but I couldn’t really find anything. I ended up just parking on the other side of the barn to check in.

 

When I got out to get my number I knew I was going to have to move my trailer. There was no way people were going to be able to get through next to me. I do not have 4 wheel drive (which is a big frustration) so my options were limited, but I knew I had to move. After I checked in I got back in and tried to move the trailer to a different spot. Tried being the operative word because…I actually started to get stuck. I am unfortunately used to the feeling of my tires slipping at this point, so I just put the tuck in reverse and let gravity slide me backwards while I got the truck back on to solid ground. Another trailer had pulled in taking away the new option I had been thinking of so I just circled around and parked lot trying not to panic.

 

I hate driving the truck and trailer! I was all stressed out from my near miss with getting stuck so I was shaking as I circled the barn. I decided to park on the other side of the driveway in almost the exact same place I had been before, this way people could get around me on the grass, but I would be all on the driveway. I was still rattled as I unloaded Lucky when Boomering showed up to calm me down. Lucky was looking around, very interested in her soundings, but was still being a good girl. She could tell something was up with me though because she kept wanting to snuggle. I knew that if I kept this up I would take my calm horse and make her crazy out of insecurity. I just needed to get my head on straight ASAP if I didn’t want to ride a fire breathing dragon.

 

To Be Continued…