Thursday, June 8, 2023

MDT Heirloom Show: June 2023 Day 2

 I spent Saturday night at A's house and we talked for a while about what the plan for Sunday was. I had three over fences classes; a 2' hunter round, a 2'3" medal, and a 2' derby. We both agreed a martingale was getting used, but we went back and forth about what bit. We finally decided on a copper twisted Dr. Bristol full cheek. It was the best hunter ring legal bit we had in the tack room. 

For full disclosure, Cinder did get a tube of perfect prep before we left the barn on Sunday. She also ran around like an idiot with her pasture buddies Sunday morning, so she obviously wasn't too tired. When we got to the show we walked her around a little, before tacking up and getting on. I wanted plenty of time to warm up and try the new bit before going in the ring. She felt much more settled than on Saturday, and warmed up well. 

They had us do a victory lap for the derby and the medal class. Both my and Cin's first two victory laps!

The plan for the first class, the 2' hunters, was to trot into everything. We wanted to reinforce that she needed to listen and slow it down. If she tried to take charge, I was to trot in the lines. If she was good, she could canter the lines. She ended up being very, very good, and we were able to canter all the lines. I could take a bit of a feel with the Dr. Bristol and then push her forward into my hand, instead of trying to manhandle her mouth with the mullen. We ended up winning the round out of 9. 

So proud!

For our medal class, they had the test built into the first round. We had a halt and a trot fence. We did have a small spook in the same corner as the day before, only this time the windows were closed and it was very windy and the shutters were rattling. We also hit a rail, but didn't pull it. We ended up 6th out 8. When they were putting ribbons on for the victory lap I asked they not put it on Cin's bridle as it was bigger ribbon and I didn't trust she'd be ok with it on her face for a whole lap around the ring.  

For the derby, I played the first round pretty conservatively, as Cinder was starting to get tired and I didn't trust the spooky corner. They had one outside line set with high options, and I had thought about taking them, but once on course I totally spaced it and took the low option. We had jumped the low side for the other two rounds and I went on autopilot. They were announcing scores, but due to the wind it was hard to hear the announcer so I wasn't sure what my first round score was. They did bring everyone back for the handy round in reverse order, and I went fifth, so I was in fourth place out of 8. 

Very happy to be back home with her dinner

I decided to go for it in the handy, because why not.  The first fence was the second in a diagonal line, with a rollback to the last fence in the outside line. Pretty much everyone else was going the long way, but there was an inside turn and I was pretty sure if I squeezed the shit out of Cin I could keep her going through it. It worked, and I was really happy with it. We then had a bending line, rollback to a single diagonal trot fence, to the first jump in the diagonal line and then halt. Cin fell apart a little after the trot fence so we trotted the last one, but otherwise I was really happy with the round. They called us into the ring to present awards, and I was shocked when we were called second. I was so proud of us and so happy to end the weekend on that great note. 

And to top it all off, I found out once we were back at the barn that we had managed to pull off the 2' division champion. I'm not sure how that's possible, but I'm not going to say no to another champion ribbon or the gift certificate to the tack store that comes with it!

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

MDT Heirloom Show: June 2023 Day 1

 We actually made it to another show, without Cinder trying to destroy herself! We did another local/outreach show up at a gorgeous facility in Washington, about 45mins north of Cinder's barn. I had gotten a stall for the weekend, but we ended up just hauling Cinder back and forth both days as my classes were in the afternoon and Cinder very much appreciates getting turned out in the mornings. 

The show manager had sent out an estimated timeline Thursday for Saturday, and based off of that, we decided to haul up a little early and take advantage of the open schooling between the jumpers and hunters. For this show, the outdoor arena was being used for warm-up, and showing in the indoor, but they were opening up the indoor for schooling while resetting the course. Cin has never been to this facility before; A and I have and know it can be a lot for the horses to take in. 

We decided a little late that we wanted to put a ribbon in her tail, and there was a bucket of ribbons from TBird that IL was throwing away. We grabbed a red (1st place in Canada) and used that to make our ribbon. 

Cin hauled well and was good while we tacked up. A took her over to hand walk/do ground work in the indoor while I got my boots and helmet on, and then I went over and got on. The ring was a bit chaotic and Cin had nice hump in her back for the first few minutes walking around. But once I started to relax and put her to work, she calmed down. We only did walk/trot as both A and I felt it was a little too crazy to canter and this was just a "get to know the arena" pre-ride anyways. 

The one moment of cuteness

Cin then got untacked and got to hangout in the stall for about an hour while the cross rails division went. After getting re-tacked up, we warmed up outside and Cin felt pretty good. She was a bit strong, but not bad and I felt pretty good going into our only over fences round on Saturday. The course started with an outside line even though I've told the course designer, who is mostly a jumper, that hunters always start with a single fence. We cantered up to first fence with no issue, but Cinder landed and wanted to blow through my hand. I held her for the correct number of strides and continued on to the diagonal bending line. She landed off the third fence, gave me the middle hoof, and proceeded to morph into a giraffe/jumper hybrid. I got after her fairly hard because that is not acceptable hunter ring behavior. 

It was about here that I decided to ask A about putting a martingale on her, and possibly a different bit

I made the decision to trot into the next outside line to reinforce "you need to listen and slow it down". This outside line had potted bushes next to the standards that Cinder wasn't sure about and she drifted hard to the outside and ran out at the second fence. I brought her back around at the trot and we made it over. I decided to trot into the final diagonal line since at this point I knew we were out of the ribbons and we were just schooling. That line rode the best and I was a little mollified that we could recover. 

For our post round discussion, A and I agreed that we needed more bit than the loose ring mullen mouth for shows, and that trotting everything was the right call. We weren't sure if Cin got a little stage fright going into the ring alone, since she was chill in warm-up, or if she needs a longer warm-up, or if we should have done a cross rail round to get her in the ring first. Or some combination of the above. 

Not how the under saddle is supposed to end

I had been the first of 8 to go in the over fences, so we had a bit of wait for the under saddle. Cin was still a little tenser than I would have liked, but for the most part she flatted well. There was one moment going the first direction when someone got too close to us as we were coming down from the canter to walk and Cinder kinda slammed on the breaks and tossed her head, and I had to glare at the other women because hello, chestnut mare with a red ribbon in her tail. Stay far away. Going the second direction, as we were cantering around the corner next to the windows, Cinder caught a glimpse of the tractor driving down the road next to the arena and spooked hard. She spun in front of a jump and I started praying she wouldn't jump it. My right leg slid way back and my stirrup leather got caught behind my saddle flap and I knew if she jumped I'd fall off. She almost ran into the standard and I managed to cling to her neck and stay on. 

I was sure that was going to knock us way down the list. So imagine my surprise when we were called third out of eight. The announcer (who was sitting next to the judge) follows me on IG and after I posted the spook she messaged me and said that neither her nor the judge saw it. I told A as we walked out of the ring that we didn't deserve that ribbon, and she said I did for staying on. We untacked and started making a plan for Sunday on the drive home. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

More of the Same

 Not much exciting going on over in Cinder land. She's recovered from her fat/scraped leg and went back to work with no issues. I have decided that she's not getting advanced warning about future shows just incase she decides to injure herself right before them again. 

Trail walkies

She definitely did struggle with the heat wave we had, and will probably have again later this summer, so thanks to Trainer A and tube of dorm gel, she got her first body clip. She loved having her back clipped and was leaning into the clippers but was not pleased about her head and legs getting done. Which is what we expected, hence the dorm. I'm just thankful that her clipped coat color is pretty much the same as her normal coat color and she doesn't have that weird orangey tint that some chestnuts get when clipped. 

She absolutely does not like the sound of the water coming out of the culvert, so we spend time hanging out and grazing near it for exposure therapy

We've had some really good lessons lately, continuing to build on our lateral work and getting me more comfortable with a little more pace in the canter. My main mantra right now is "Shoulders in, haunches out." Trainer A did try to kill me in my jump lesson last week when she picked a pole up off the ground and spooked the shit out of Cinder. We were like halfway across the arena, but A was behind us. I didn't see what happened, just felt Cin tuck her butt, scoot forward, then start dolphin leaping. We recovered, cantered a circle, and were able to continue on to our next line, which earned me a "nice recovery". I'm getting more comfortable handling Cin's spooks and returning to work like no big deal, which has been really good for my confidence. 

I'm hoping we can continue this momentum going forward, as we've got some fun summer plans. I'm not spilling the beans, but Cinder is now registered with USEF and I've renewed my USEF registration for the first time since 2009. Please stop injuring yourself Cinder, we have places to go and things to do!

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Womp Womp

 Well, we didn't make it to the show this past weekend. Or at least Cinder didn't make it to the show, I went and helped out on Saturday. Which really wasn't the worst thing ever, considering it was 92 on Saturday and 95 on Sunday. 

When she cast herself a few months ago she ended up with that lovely split

Cinder got into something, or scraped the shit out of herself, and it blew up. She had scrapes, skin sloughing off, and swelling all down her left front. 

It kinda looked like when she had the reaction to the Voltaren back in February, and a couple nights before the leg blew up she was dewormed. I'm thinking she might have rubbed some of the dewormer on her leg, and had a reaction to it. Neither I nor Trainer A have heard of something like this happening, but both of us believe that if it could happen, it would happen to Cinder. The vet's coming out today for a few other horses and A's going to ask her about it. 

The good thing is that Cinder was sound on the leg, it just looked horrible. She got cold hosed, I scrubbed it with chlorohex, slathered it in the antibiotic and steroid cream the vet gave us, and wrapped her. I did make the mistake of giving her the molasses flavored bute in her grain instead of her preferred citrus flavor and she declined eating both dinner grain on Saturday and breakfast grain on Sunday. So Sunday morning when I went to check on her I had to remake her breakfast and hand feed her like the diva she is. 

Nope, not spoiled at all 

Trainer A said other than some scabbing, the leg looked normal yesterday and she's going to ride her today to see how she does. Today is Cinder's 6th birthday, so apparently she wanted her birthday weekend off, complete with spa treatments. 

Friday, May 12, 2023

Foto Friday: Chugging Along

Not much exciting has happened since the eventing derby three weeks ago, we've just been chugging along working on the basics.  We are headed off to our second hunter show of the season this weekend and hoping to make our hunter derby debut.  And, I've renewed my USEF membership and upgraded my USHJA membership from an outreach membership to a full membership, and signed Cinder up for a lifetime registration, for the first time since 2009 in hopes of making our rated show debut in August. So I guess you could say things are getting serious. 

We did attempt a trail ride after the derby but Cinder decided to not cross the bride she's crossed many times before. After spending an hour trying to get her over it, she finally put one hoof on the bride and we called it a success. She got called many bad names on the walk of shame back to the barn.

I was going to do attempt a solo trail ride a couple of weeks ago, but on our way out the BOs started up the chainsaw to clear part of the trail, so we turned around. No need to tempt fate with a chainsaw.

I felt sad about not finding a tack shop while in Europe, so when SmartPak was having their sale Cinder ended up with the flower power fly sheet and fly mask. She has successfully removed the fly mask a couple of times in the pasture, so she's got a different one on but I still love this fly sheet. We had two nice days in the 70s when she wasn't wearing a fly sheet and she got a little sweet itchy on her belly, so she'll be living in a fly sheet till it's time to switch back to winter blankies.

I did hop on Peebs one evening. He hasn't been sat on since October, and it's almost two years since his first suspensory injury. He was 100% sure that since he's retired he doesn't have to put up with my bullshit, but was good boy and wandered around the arena for 10mins while I watched a thunderstorm roll in. He felt very wide, hollow backed, and very short compared to Cinder.  He's happy living his best feral horse life, living out in the pasture 24/7. He was also thoroughly offended about having to get a bath and wear a fly mask. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Aspen Farms Eventing Derby April 2023

 So, when your trainer mentions doing an eventing derby (xc and stadium fences in an arena) the week after you get back from a two week vacation, you obviously say yes, right? Originally I was just going to have Trainer A take Cinder, but I was feeling brave and signed myself up to show as well. I did a round at starter (18") and A did a beginner novice round. I will say thank you to show management, as the courses were set so soft that I said the starter looks tiny. 

I honestly think the crossrail was the biggest thing we jumped. All photos bought from Ashley Kemp photography. Horrible quality brought to you by blogger

Trainer A was also showing another client horse, Jazzy, and her gelding Metro. My division was going first with my ride time at 8:47 and Metro's last round at 5:30. A had four rounds on the mares between 10:40 and 12:45. We opted to take A's new-to-her 4 horse LQ trailer which was great, because I ended up taking a nap in the afternoon on the couch. 

Pretty much jumped this from a walk.

Between Cinder not wanting to load at 5am, and the 2.5hr drive, we were a little later getting to Aspen than we liked. I quickly walked my course, tacked up, and got on. Thankfully they were being lax with ride times and taking people as they were ready. Cinder was a little up in warm-up, but settled once we started jumping. The plan was to start trotting the first few fences, and see how she felt as the course went on. 

She throws her tongue out when she's unsure of something, and my mouth is open because I was talking to her the whole time.

The arena we were showing in is beautiful, with tress all around it, a large hill on one side with places for people to sit, and an ambulance parked in one corner under the trees. Cinder didn't care about the people on the hill, but the ambulance and paramedics under the trees were absolutely terrifying. Coming out of the start box she felt good, popped over fence one (little log) and then stopped and tried to turn away going to fence two when she saw the ambulance. I got her going again and we continued onto two and three (both little logs). Four was the cross rail above, and it was heading towards the ambulance. I think Cin was a little confused as to why we were trotting logs, but once she saw the cross rail it clicked that these were jumps, and she actually jumped it. She was still scared, and tried to stop on the way to five (the wood boxes) and we jumped them from the walk. 

The start of her saying "Hell no"

The original plan was to go straight after the boxes, go into the corner next to the ambulance, and then turn to fence 6. Cinder was pretty sure we were going to die if we stuck to the original plan, so we just walked between two bigger jumps and picked the trot back up once we turned away from the ambulance. I was a little worried that she was going to try and bolt going away from scary corner, but she didn't and locked onto the little vertical we had as the next fence. The last two fences we shared with the hopeful division (2'3") but they still looked small to me. They were a little coop and another log. They both ride fine and while it wasn't the round I was hoping to have, I was really happy with how I rode and handled things. I'm finally feeling confident that I can get Cin around (baby fences) if she has a melt down and I trust her enough to know she's not going to try and kill us by doing anything stupid. 

Cinder didn't really like this yellow oxer and jumped it big to show her displeasure

I hand grazed Cin while watching other rounds go, while A got Jazzy ready, and while A showed Jazzy. Then we switched and A got on Cin and I held Jazzy. A did a quick warm up with Cin (she was getting tired and thought having to go twice was bullshit) before taking her to the ring. Cinder was still convinced the ambulance was terrifying and stopped at fence 2 because she was so busy staring at the ambulance she didn't see the fence. A got her over it, but their course took them into the scary corner between fences three and four and Cinder stopped on the way to four. A got after her and Cin kept moving, but was rattled. They made it around the course, but it wasn't pretty. There was another rider ready to go after A, but then no one else had come up from warm-up so after the other rider was done, A asked the judge if she could go in and just trot around. The judge gave the ok and A went in for a schooling session. They did a big trot circle by the ambulance and Cinder was able to relax a bit and trot away calmly. 

Again, not the round we were hoping for, but a good schooling opportunity. And now we know that Cin dose not like ambulances so if future shows have them parked next to the ring, we will school the shit out of her first. Cinder also learned a lot about having to hang out at the trailer, and on the trailer, all day at show and behaved herself pretty well. I'm sure being exhausted played a role, but for the most part as long as she had hay and a friend she was quiet all afternoon while we waited for Metro to go. I entered this show as a schooling opportunity and to keep getting Cin out to things, and it was a good growth experience for both of us.  

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Queen of Dings

 Charlie might be the King of Dings in blogland, but I'd like to submit Cinder for Queen of Dings. On Saturday night when trainer A was doing night checks, Cinder got cast in her stall. Cin was able to free herself, but not before she scraped up all four legs. After checking her out, A decided everything was fairly superficial, gave her some bute, and tucked her in for the night with some extra hay. 

When I came out Sunday, she was in the pasture and looked sound walking in. Her right front (the one that blew up post Voltaren) was pretty stocked up on the inside of the leg. Her chemical burn is healed, but the hair is still growing back, and Cinder whacked herself right above it Saturday night. I have a feeling this leg might be more prone to blowing up now. There was no heat in any legs, so I turned her out in the indoor to see how she looked. She was bit stiff in the canter, but sound thank goodness. I took her back into the barn, washed all the scrapes off and treated her with silver spray and the antibiotic/steroid cream the vet gave me for the chemical burn. I don't trust anything else but the steroid cream on the right front for now.

No wound pics, so have one A sent me earlier in the day Saturday. She ponied Cin while doing trot sets up the hill. 

I had a lesson scheduled Monday afternoon, and while the RF was still slightly swollen, Cin was still sound so we decided to do the lesson. We had some really nice trot work and Cinder felt great, but the canter was pretty ugly. We started going to the left and had probably our ugliest canter transition ever. A did give me props for keeping my calm and riding her through it, but it was obvious Cin was still uncomfortable. She felt stabby behind, and I brought her back to the trot after a couple of circles. We switched directions and she felt better going to the right, so A had me get up in my two point and let her go forward and stretch. Cin felt better as we kept going, so we went back to the left and while not 100%, she was definitely less stabby. 

A is riding Cinder today before she leaves for Galway Downs and I'll ride/lung on Thursday before I leave on vacation for two weeks. The massage lady is coming Saturday, so hopefully she can soothe out any lingering issues for Cin. I've told Cinder that she absolutely can not try to unalive herself in the three days that A and I are gone at the same time, and that I would really appreciate it if she doesn't do anything for the whole two weeks I'm gone. I'm not keeping my hopes up though.