Friday, May 31, 2013

The Week in Review

Not much has happened since the show two weeks ago.  It's been raining and cold until today and I've lacked motivation to do too much.  Buddy's gotten some needed down time, with both Amy and I doing light hacks during the past week. 

I did have a lesson today and we worked on gymnastics.  We started by cantering some single fences, getting warmed up, then moved on to a canter in bounce.  Jen had us start with a conservative 9ft bounce but then moved it out.  We kept adding fences as we went so by the end we had four fences in a row, with a bounce in between each.

 They weren't high, maybe 2ft, but we were working on nailing the first fence then just supporting him down the line.  It was fairly easy to find a nice rhythm coming in, but I had trouble doing nothing as the line approached.  You would think that it would be so easy to sit there and let them go, but nope, hardest thing ever!  I screwed him up royally once, but slipped him the reins and legged him through it.  We only did about 45mins as it was hard for Bud to stay packaged through the line.  I think we are going to start making gymnastics a bigger part of our lessons, especially if we want to show in the jumpers and do combinations.

On Wednesday Jen and I set up a mini jump chute in the indoor for Zoe and Leo to work through.  We want to see how high each could do without a rider and how they handled the fences.  Surprisingly Leo was better about his pace and rhythm through the chute and did 3' without too much problem.



He was very proud of himself

Zoe was being very lazy and would canter up to the fence then loose steam about a stride away.  She'd pop over them from almost a stand still, but made it over every time.  She's adorable and way more huntery than Leo was.  I think we got her up to 3'3"ish.  I'm having dreams of making her my 3' hunter again.  I rode her today after Buddy since her two leases are both busy and couldn't get out for a couple days.  She was great.  The jumps had been reset from my lesson and were 2'-2'6".  She was game for everything and even got the correct strides in the line instead of the pony strides!  

Little Miss Diva only wanted to do it off the right, even though it was set to go off the left.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Birthday and an Anniversary

I mentioned it on Facebook, but Monday was Buddy's 17th birthday!  In no way shape or form does he act 17.  At the show on Saturday a couple of the girls asked how old he was, they though 12 or 14.  They were stunned when I said 17.  For his birthday we went for a bareback ride in the field and I put the studs on him for the first time.  We just walked and trotted, but I wanted him to get a feel for them before we did any hard work with them on.

I had been talking with the girls at the show about how long I've had him, and it's been three years since I started riding him.  I started riding him in April/May of 2010 when Phoenix went lame and we tried to rehab him before deciding to semi-retire him.  I rode Buddy all summer of 2010 and showed him in August, winning 3 out of 4 classes on him. I then decided to look for a new horse, and after trying a few, Connie offered Buddy to me at a steal.  She also let me postpone paying for him till that October, so that's when I consider that he was mine. 

The 2010 show
In some ways the past three years have flown by and it seems like yesterday we were still figuring each other out.  In others, it seems so much longer than three years.  I feel like we are really a team now, that I know him inside and out, and he knows me.  I know I can trust him with anything and that now instead of building my confidence back up, we are working on polishing and trying the harder/scarier/higher stuff.  The 2'6" fences at the show seemed small to me, like we could have done the 3' easy if I had pony power left.  Here's to another 3 wonderful years!


Love ya Bud Bud!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pics!

Jen sent me a couple pics that our wonderful show photographer took yesterday. I have another of Bud and I in the our eq round, but blogger won't let me upload it. Enjoy!

Amy and Buddy in the jumper round in the rain

Buddy and I, jumpers in the rain. This is one of the fences I smacked him on, hence the one handed riding.  I think I might need a breastplate....

Amy and Buddy in the hunters

Power and Speed

The show yesterday didn't go quite as planned, but it was still a great show!  We took four horses and six riders, the biggest showing from our barn/the college team in years.  Friday night the girls all came out to the barn to clean/clip/do manes on the horses, clean tack, and get everything ready.  Jen and I ended up helping clip/pull manes on a couple horses that were naughty but for the most part everyone got their own stuff done.  Amy is a former pony clubber and loves cleaning tack so she took apart both my hunter and  fig. 8 bridles to clean, did my saddle, martingale, girth and my leather open front and hind ankle boots!  I told her she's the best groom ever!

Saturday dawned cloudy and rainy but we pulled out at 6:30 and got to the show with no problems.  It was dry at that point and everyone hurried to tack up to school.  As we were getting ready, the sky opened up and poured for about 15 minutes. Luckily I had one of Buddy's clean rain sheets in the trailer (I store my winter blanket in the trailer during the summer) so I threw it on him as we walked to the ring.  Amy got on first to school and I took shelter under an awning by the announcer's booth.  Buddy looked good in warm up, as did the other horses from the barn. We didn't time it right, and I only had about 5 minutes to school after we switched, but I schooled the lines with him and we were good.

Amy and Buddy, Jen, Anne and Blue, and Ella and Hunter

Amy did a 2' hunter class with him as a schooling round and it went ok.  Buddy wasn't impressed with the fences, and they had a couple awkward distances but ended up 5th. Bud then got an hour or so break before my 2'6" eq classes.  I was planning on doing the eq and mini medal but I was the only one in the medal and they need 3 to run the class so they cancelled it. I was pretty bummed out about it, but there will be other shows.  Our eq round was decent, he was a little tired and we opted to make the lines a short 5 strides instead of trying to run at the 4 (which they were set).  We got a 3rd which I was happy with.

Tired pony is tired...and says "Please don't make me go again"


Buddy then got another couple hours break while they did the 3' hunters and had a lunch break. The jumpers were supposed to start at 2:30 but everyone was there so they started about 1:45 instead.  We didn't do another warm-up, just trotted Buddy around a bit. Amy did two rounds with him, a timed first round and a table 2b.  The first round wasn't great, had a couple rails down and they weren't in sync.  The second round was a lot better and they got a 1st. 

We switched again and I took him in a power and speed class.  My goal was to keep it together for the first round so we could do the jump off.  He was very tired by this point, and about 3/4ths of the way thru I had to go to my crop at one of the fences.  It was the first in a diagonal line, and we were veering slightly left of center to the second fence, so I yanked him back to the middle and went to my crop again.  Luckily that woke him up a bit and we had a nice pace going into our last fence/start of the jump off.  The first two fences in the jump off were a line, and again I knew we didn't have it in us to do the 4 strides, so we balanced for the 5 then turned up the speed.  We had a bending line after that to a really tight rollback to a slightly easier rollback.  I was thinking the whole time "hands up, sit, sit, sit, leg!" He really dug in around the turns and while it wasn't the prettiest round it was the fastest!  We ended the day there, both Jen and I agreed that we weren't going to have pony for the take-your-own-line class.

The other girls from the barn did great too.  Everyone came home with a blue and one of the girls, Anne and Blue won the 2'6" pre-child/adult champion!  It was even better since it was Blue's first show.  I asked the announcer if they were doing champions for jumpers and he said no, but if they were Buddy would have been the .75m champion. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Recovery

After the whirlwind that was last weekend  (parents, out of town friends, and helping to run the show) I've been exhausted the past few days. 

I took Buddy over to the show on Sunday to school and he was great. Jumped everything without questioning, including the triple combination. After we were done schooling, I grabbed my XC vest and we headed out. I didn't do too much since we were alone and he had already worked hard. We went back and forth thru the water and did a couple logs and a coop. Bud then got to spend the rest of the day in a day stall and relax. 

He got Monday off and Amy had a lesson yesterday. She said he was good and I think they'll do a couple 2'6" jumper classes at the show on Sunday. I'm planning on doing the 2'6" eq and mini medal and maybe a $150 2'6"-2'9" take your own line jumper class. We'll see what Jen says and how much pony we have left at that point. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Looking Back and Moving Forward

Back to my lesson on Wednesday:  Jen had us warm up over a few trot fences then move onto a little canter course.  We nailed everything!  I was able to, for the most part, sit there and wait for the fences to come to us.  We did have a short 5 in a bending line that Jen wanted in 4, but it worked ok and both her and I were happy with it.

video
 
From there Jen had us work on an angled fence to a tight rollback.  She put the angled fence down since I wasn't convinced we could actually make the turn.  The first time thru I felt Buddy question that we were actually doing this odd angle but he was game for it.  We did it a few times then Jen put it back up.  As I said earlier, as long as I looked and kept my leg on, Buddy was right there and the turn was a lot easier than I thought.


Weeeee!
Tonight I went out with the college girls to help set up for their show tomorrow.  I had designed the courses and I wanted to make sure they were set up correctly.  I think the course looked great, but the girls were wanting someone to ride it to make sure.  They all looked at me, and as I'm the only one with a truck and trailer, I asked if they wanted me to bring Bud to be a test rider.  They said yes, so I'll be picking up the pony early in the am to school the course before schooling begins.  I'm planning on staying to help the girls so Buddy will be tied to the trailer but hopefully I can get him a day stall. 

The farm the show is at is the local event barn that has an awesome XC course.  It's open for schooling and maybe I'll take Buddy for a little spin on it tomorrow, if he's not too tired.  We were talking with the barn owners tonight and they said we (as part of the team) wouldn't have to pay the schooling fee as the team has rented the facility for the day, so score!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Great Start to the Weekend

I'm going to be super busy this weekend, parents and friends coming into town today, seeing the Dalai Lama talk at the university where I work tomorrow, and helping the college team run a show on Sunday but I wanted to share a quick pic from my awesome lesson last night.  Blogger won't let me upload the video, but we worked on a really tight rollback and Buddy was amazing!  As long as I had my leg on and looked, he would turn anywhere.  Love my boy!!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Summer Lovin'

They finished the fences on the pastures yesterday and started mowing the grass field.  Today almost all the ponies went out in the pastures, and most of them are staying out for the summer.  Buddy will start staying out tomorrow but Phoenix still has to get acclimated.  I'm hoping to get Phoenix out full time by this weekend.

Phoenix says "Hi"
I rode Buddy today and he felt good. I'm glad his soreness was just ouch feet and the shoes fixed it.  There were a few fences set up, and since he felt good I decided to jump a bit.  I don't know if it was the grass or the shoes or whatever, but he nailed it.  Almost every fence I was able to sit back and wait for the distance.  It felt awesome!  We didn't do a whole lot since he was so good.

To cool out I took him for a "walk" in the field.  As soon as we headed out, he started trotting and prancing.  He calmed down once we were out in the field.  We did a full circuit then walked down the lane between the paddocks.  Last year this is where we did our canter sets, since it's on a slight incline.  As soon as we got to the gates at the end to turn around, Bud started jumping around again.  Somebody remembers galloping up the hill!  I made him stand and wait (and to take a pic) then we trotted up the hill.  He had an amazing extended trot up the hill; it felt just like the one we had in our dressage lesson. 

A couple weeks of trot sets up the hill then it's canter set time!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Like She Never Left

Zoe's eye looked fine yesterday; you  almost couldn't tell she had stitches. 
Still slightly swollen above the eye.  She gets another day of bute for that.
I lunged her a bit before getting on as it was really windy and I figured she'd be a little high after no work for 6 weeks. She felt great!  She was a little forward and didn't want to pay attention to me but settled to work once I made her.  I took her over a cross rail and it was like she had jumped it yesterday.  No problems!  I decided to be brave and took her over an 18" vertical with new, bright flowers in the flower box.  She did give it a little look, and jumped it big but there was no hesitation and she was good on the off side.  I quit with that since she was so good and she's out of shape.

We did just the vertical, not the oxer.

Today the two new girls on the college team came out and tried her.  Both loved her and rode her well, so I think they'll each half lease her and ride 2-3 days a week.  I know Zoe's owner will be happy about that.
 
Not to be out done, Buddy somehow scraped up his face in his stall.  I washed it off and put some ointment on it.  Amy flatted him today and said he felt fine so hopefully the shoes did the trick.  We are also trying to figure out what classes each of us will do in a show on the 18th.  Amy really wants to do the jumpers, but she hasn't been schooling him 2'6" which is the lowest jumper class they offer.  Right now she's entered in the 2' hunters and Jen told her if she can prove herself in lessons this week she'll let her switch.  I'm for sure going to do the 2'6" eq and mini medal and depending on what Amy does maybe a 2'6" jumper class.  Each of us will do 2 or 3 classes so poor pony won't be too exhausted by the end of the day.
 
Silly boy

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Aren't Days Off Supposed to be Relaxing?!

Friday was my day off from work, and the plan was to have a relaxing day at the barn with a lesson and then going up to get Zoe.  I did go and get Zoe but neither the relaxing nor the lesson happened. 

I had done a light hack with Buddy Thursday afternoon and he felt fine but when I got on to warm up on Friday, he felt stiff and just so slightly off. I double checked his feet and no rocks so we continued with our warm up.  When Jen got there I had her watch us and she confirmed what I thought; that he wasn't quite right.

 It's been hot and dry here, which is great since we can get the horses out on pasture almost 6 weeks earlier than normal.  But the downside is that the ground/arena is harder and dryer than normal and it's making Buddy foot sore.  Normally he's barefoot Oct-June, and gets front shoes in the summer.  Unfortunately he got his feet done two weeks ago and our farrier lives in central Oregon, 3 hours away.  I called as soon as I got off, hoping Steve would be in our area within a week and as luck would have it he was 10 minutes away and had time to do Bud.  Jen had me get him drilled and tapped for studs this year, since we're jumping higher and plan to do a show or two on grass this summer.  Now Bud will get a couple days rest and we'll see how the new kicks work.
I was too lazy to clean out his hoof, but you get the idea

After Bud was done getting shod, I went up to get Zoe.  She nicked at me when I went to her paddock at her owner's house and jumped right in the trailer.  I felt her moving around a bunch as we were on the way back and thought that I probably should have given her a hay bag in the trailer.  Both Phoenix and Buddy haul great, with or without food or another horse and I forget that not all ponies are so good.  When we got back to the barn, Zoe had managed to untie herself and whacked her head in the trailer. She had a half inch cut right below her eye that was pretty deep.  Connie, Jen and I debated about calling the vet, but we worried about keeping it clean, so we did.  Our regular vet was over an hour away but his associate was 5 minutes down the road.  She said the cut wasn't as bad as it looked, and with a little happy drugs and 1 stitch Zoe should be good as new. I have some antibiotic ointment to put on it and Zoe will get some bute thru the weekend. 

After all the excitement yesterday I'm hoping the rest of the weekend goes a lot smoother!