Thursday, August 30, 2018

Team NW Bedrock Show August 2018

The third and final schooling show in the Team NW Bedrock series was last weekend.  Having done the other two, my main goal was to try for the series champion in the long stirrup hunters. Going into the final show we were sitting in second place in the division. My second goal was to move up to the 2'6" pre-adult division and not die. Both goals were achieved!!

Peebs and Scottie love each other
 My friend A, whose place I haul over to for lessons, was going to be showing as well and my trainer was going to be there for us.  A leased Phoenix for three years, like five years ago, till we had to retire him. She's had her new horse for two years and this was going to be their first show together.  She was very nervous so we decided to haul up Friday so they could school and settle in. Scottie had a little meltdown in his stall when we first got there, but after we lunged and rode he settled in perfectly fine and was a fantastic show horse all weekend. Trainer had me school the 2'6" stuff on Friday night and other than having to pull up in the diagonal line because someone walked on the backside of the oxer as I was in the middle of the line (and after I called my line) everything was great.  It felt easy, I wasn't worried about the fence height, and most importantly, Peebs was more awake and forward over the bigger fences.

The boys enjoying a late night snack and walk

The show runs hunters on Saturday, and equitation classes with some open hunter schooling rounds on Sunday.  The plan was to show in the 2' long stirrup hunters Saturday to get points and then move up to the 2'6" pre-adult eq on Sunday.  Our long stirrup classes went pretty well.  I overshot the turn to the diagonal line in the first course and chipped in but the rest rode smoothly.  Other than having to do a simple change, our second course felt really good.  The only problem was Peebs was less than impressed with the fence height and I felt like I was working too hard to get him awake and around the course. Trainer said that he was bored and it was time to move up.  We got seconds in both our over fences rounds. We ended the division with the under saddle. The judge had us canter the first direction for almost four laps around a pretty good sized ring and Peebs gave up about three laps in.  He broke to the trot and when I kicked him back up he crossfired. So we had to come back down, reorganize, and try the canter again.  And of course, the judge was staring at me the whole time this happened. We pulled a 7th out 8 for that.  But our efforts paid off and we won the series championship!  We got tricolor ribbon and a box of fancy pony donuts.  I'm slightly pissed though; last year they gave out coolers for series champions and I really wanted to win a damn cooler! A box of fancy treats that are gone less than a week later is not the same as an embroidered cooler.

I forced my trainer to take a win pic with me. Also, they didn't announce awards till after I rode Sunday, which is why he's wearing his eq. boots
Sunday we just had two 2'6" over fences rounds to do.  I wasn't scheduled till around 3 so after A rode in the morning we hung out and watched/played on our phones.  A little before 2 the other hunter ring that the rated show was using ended and they started moving things around and resetting fences.  I thought that was odd and decided to check in with the back gate.  Good thing I did because they moved my classes from Hunter 2 to Hunter 1 and didn't announce it. They were starting classes in 30 minutes.  I called my trainer who had gone shopping and A and I rushed to get ready.  I felt slightly panicked as I've never ridden in Hunter 1, didn't know how the lines rode, and I hate rushing to get ready.
The show photographer got no pics of me, so enjoy this fuzzy screenshot from the video on my phone

I tried to focus on getting Peebs in front of my leg and forward in our warm up.  We had some waiting, pulling distances, especially off the right, but after a good smack with my crop we fixed that.  The plan for our rounds was to not stress about doing the strides, if we got them great, if I steadied for the add that was fine. Trainer just wanted a nice, whole number with impulsion. In the first round I was bit conservative to the first fence and the long approach to the single oxer at fence two got me.  I waited and buried Peebs at the base and it felt like he crawled over it.  But as soon as I sat up and put my leg on on the landing side something clicked in my head and I realized we had it. Peebs was going to jump no matter where I put him and not crash so why not go for it? We did do the add strides, but as long as I sat up with leg everything worked. And it was fun. I was surprised to get a third out of 8 for the round.

I only had a small break before my second round (one person went then I was back in) and I was still trying to catch my breath as we went in. First three fences were fine, but coming into the judge's outside line Peebs slowed down and we got a really awkward distance to the first fence. We landed in a heap and I couldn't decide if I should move up for the add, or wait and add two strides.  Which got us to the second fence at a half stride and I pulled Peebs out of the line.  We walked a couple steps to regroup then I asked hard for the canter and rode really forward to the oxer. We were getting over that fence no matter what.  It was mostly for my sake; Peebs would have jumped from where ever.  I just had to convince myself of that.  After that line it was back to the single diagonal oxer.  I didn't want to bury him at it like the first round so about five strides out I sat up and put leg on to push Peebs at it.   We got a slightly long distance, but had the impulsion to make it work. After that I could  relax going into the last outside line. After the course Trainer and I talked about the circling and we both agreed that I just needed more time. I felt rushed going into the round and didn’t have the pace and confidence I needed. I need more of a break between rounds to get myself together. I’m not happy that I pulled out of the line, but I’m not beating myself up over it. I’m glad I was able to go back and fix it, as well as the next fence. Not surprisingly we pulled an 8th out of 8 for this round.

Monday, August 27, 2018

How to Prepare for a Horse Show

In the six weeks between our July show and our August show I think I jumped Peebs maybe four times, and only had one less than stellar lesson.  That's totally how you should prepare for the last show of the season, and a move up in fence height, right?

 After the July show I had planned to give Peebs about a week off.  It was going to be super hot and I figured he deserved it. I think I rode three or four times the next week before he lost a shoe in the pasture. It was a Friday night and my farrier was out of town that weekend. He said he could stop by the following week and put it back on, but his shoeing trailer blew two tires and he wasn't able to make it. And then it was four days before our regularly scheduled appointment, and I was going out of town, so I told him to not bother and Peebs could wait till our appointment.  So Peebs had another 10 days off for that.

Peebs loves his bestie Scottie
Then we hauled over to A's for a lesson and Peebs lost his shit. Normally he's not super phased by time off, but I should have given him the benefit of the doubt and lunged him. A rode before me and when she and Scottie left the arena, Peebs has a meltdown.  My trainer had to go find A and ask her to bring Scottie back so Peebs could have emotional support. We stuck to trotting cross rails for that lesson. I was pretty sure our planned move up to 2'6" at the August show was going down the drain at that point.

Did get some good work over poles, once the chickens crossed the road arena
Then it got super hot again, and smoke from fires in California, southern Oregon, Washington and British Columbia drifted our way and the air quality was firmly in the unhealthy range. My sinuses were killing me, I was having a hard time breathing, and felt bad about making Peebs work too hard in it. We did get a few nice days here and there and I was able to put some good rides in, but Peebs felt NQR.  Not lame, not off, but funky in the hind end and our left lead canter went to crap. And of course my trainer was on vacation so I couldn't ask her opinion. So I called the chiro who was only available to come out a few days before the show. I'm glad I did because he was dropped left in his hips (explains why he couldn't sit on that hind in the left canter). But I had to cancel our lesson before the show to fit the chiro in.  So when we headed up to the show on Friday last week I a touch nervous about how we'd do. Spoiler alert:  Peebs was amazing and I should worry less

Friday, August 10, 2018

Monster Baby

I realized I haven't done a Cinder update for a while.  She continues to surprise me with how good she is about *most* things but her chestnut-mareitis has started to make itself known.

At least she's pretty to look at
Last time I measured, which was probably over a month ago, she was a little over 14.3 hands. For the most part, she's been growing pretty steadily, without any major fugly periods.  She'll have a day or two here and there where she looks butt high, or really ribby, but I'm amazed at how well she's built.  I'm hoping her ugly phase is going to happen during the winter when she's blanketed so no one has to see.

First time in the trailer by herself
Since I've been hauling Peebs out to lessons and to shows a lot this summer, I've been using having the trailer hooked up to get Cinder used to loading by herself, and with just me.  When I brought her home I had friends with me and the mini in the trailer as a buddy. When we moved barns Peebs was in the trailer first and my trainer helped load Cinder.  Both times she was really good about loading and unloading, but she needs to get used to going by herself and I need to be able to load her alone. And now that she knows how to tie, she can get used to being tied in the trailer.  The first time I loaded her solo it took maybe a minute for her to get in.  She was little worried when I tied her and shut the divider but a cookie made up for it.  I only left her in the trailer for a few minutes, and then tried to back her out.  That was really confusing and I had to practically shove her out but she did it.  I stuffed her with cookies, loaded her again and backed out again.  Second time she understood much better.  I think I've done loading practice maybe 3 or 4 times now and she's been really good every time.  She's actually better about backing out than her big brother.

Looking all grown up tied to the trailer.  A minute later she untied herself but didn't go anywhere.
Our biggest issue is spray bottles and the hose.  I'm not sure what happened, but Cinder is convinced those things will kill her.  We've had some epic meltdowns (and a couple broken crossties) trying to run away from them.  She's also not afraid to run me over during said meltdowns, so we've had to have some come-to-Jesus moments about that.  Rule #1: Never run over mom. I've started carrying a whip to nail her in those moments, but she's not really phased by it; more annoyed by it than anything.  There was one day I was leading her and Peebs in double from the pasture that she spooked and knocked me down.  I got up and whaled on her with the lead rope.  Peebs acted like I was going to kill him and you could tell he was so sorry for whatever he had done while Cinder really didn't care. Definitely one of those mare attitude vs gelding attitude moments.

So annoyed with me
Cinder had her first lesson a couple weeks ago with  my trainer.  We had had an epic fit about being hosed off and I called and asked if she'd help me with Cinder instead of my lesson with Peebs that week.  We started with a spray bottle of water in the arena but ended up putting her in her stall.  Trainer stood at the door spraying her while Cinder ran back and forth for a good half hour till she finally gave in and stood. A lot of her issue is that sound the spray bottle and hose makes, not necessarily the water.  I can sponge her off and she's fine, but the sound really sets her off.  So everyday I stand in the doorway of her stall and use the spray bottle on her.  She's better about it, but will still spin circles and run backwards if I try to spray her off while tied or on the lead rope. My trainer's been on vacation but once she's back we're going to have another lesson with the hose. I'm seriously contemplating ear plugs or drugs for Cinder for that one. And alcohol for myself.