Wednesday, November 30, 2016

South of the Border

I flew down to San Diego for a quick trip for Thanksgiving. We had dinner with the extended family at my aunt's house, then my parents and I headed south to their home in Mexico. They live about 30miles south of the border so it's not super far. We had a couple very nice and relaxing days before I had to head back home.

Thanksgiving sunset
In the first few days after the election, I had a strong feeling of needing to move back to San Diego/Mexico to be near my family.  While that's mostly gone now, I still want to be able to know my options if things go to shit.  I started looking up places in south SD, but holy $$, especially since I haven't even looked into jobs and housing. My old barn, that I rode at in high school, is in the north part of the county and over a hour and a half away from where my parents are now, excluding time it takes to cross the border. Mexico is a better option, considering I could mooch of my parents like the millennial I am. So I started looking for barns in/around Tijuana. I even went so far as to look up what it would take to export Peebs to Mexico. Lotta paperwork, and I'd have to have an official hauler take him across.

Mexican horse thanks!

There's a place about twenty minutes from my parents house, in a very nice gated community that includes a private school, hotel, spa, and golf course. My mom had heard about this place and we had stalked them a bit on social media before she messaged them for more info. So on Saturday we stopped for a visit.
Serious arena goals.  Just the view alone!

They offer lessons and boarding and host shows. They have two barns with a total of 24 stalls. Two arenas, and it looked like a couple small turn out pens. There's also a clubhouse with a bar and pool table. It's a jumper barn, since the hunter/eq world is a US/Canadian thing. We didn't get a full price list, but full care board including grooming and lessons (didn't specify how many) is $560 a month. Granted, I don't know what the trainers are like, but that seems like a pretty great deal to me. I know I'd pay at least double that around here for full board and training/grooming, and probably close to triple that in SoCal. I'm sure I could negotiate down because I wouldn't want full grooming and everything's negotiable in Mexico.  

 We had showed up announced, and they had a vet out working on a horse so we didn't get to talk to anyone or wander through the barns.  But the vet was speaking English, had a nice truck, and was wearing a Platinum Performance jacket which made me feel better. I'm tempted to go back when I'm down for Christmas and talk to someone, but it feels a bit like wasting their time since I don't actually plan to move, unless shit hits the fan. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What We've Been Up To

It's been a while since I've updated the blog, but it feels like not much has happened. We're chipping away at the same old, same old. Working on pace, rhythm, and bend. We've had a couple good rides and lessons, and some bad rides and lessons.
We've done some grazing too
One of our biggest works in progress right now is cantering fences. I get nervous and tighten up; Peebs is convinced cantering around the arena is way too much work and the littlest touch from me is an excuse to break to the trot. Then I have to kick him back up to the canter and he gets offended. Then we're quick and rushy, and usually crooked and not balanced. Which makes me even more nervous. It's a fun cycle. We got downgraded to ground poles, because cantering them doesn't scare me nearly as much as actual jumps. Our instructions for now are to Make Him Go Forward, at all costs.  Trainer doesn't care about his bend, or our distance to the pole, or even what lead he's on. She says Peebs has to canter till I actually ask him for a downward transition and I have to relax my hands and arm and let him go to the "fence". Because of the weather and the holiday I haven't had a lot of opportunities to jump, but our few attempts have steadily gotten better. 

And some bareback No Stirrups November
We had a great dressage lesson last Monday. We focused on getting Peebs extra round and deep, then softening and letting him carry himself. We got our first steps of actual self carriage. His left lead canter was amazing; I was able to sit still and let him carry himself. He was so soft and light in my hand, definitely the best he's ever felt. Even our right lead canter had moments of brilliance where he kinda got it, but it's for sure a lot more work then the left. Which is better than the week before where he refused to bend right at all in the canter. Baby steps.

But how can you stay mad at that face?!?
We had had a complete meltdown about bending to the right while cantering at the end of an otherwise good ground pole lesson where Peebs decided he was done and F you very much.  We were cantering up the long side to a single pole and he wanted to counter bend in the turn, throw his head up and to the left while swinging his haunches in.  He'd then grab the bit and run at the pole.  I got upset, he got upset, then trainer got on.  She tried just circling down in the far corner, but Peebs wasn't having it.  The one time she tried turning him pretty sharply, he propped up on his front end and just stopped then wouldn't move.  We did end up working through it, somewhat, but it was no where near as nice as it could have been.  But trainer told me to keep my expectations low and keep asking for a little more bend and softness each ride.  Again, baby steps when I want marathons.  If nothing else, Peebs will keep me humble.