Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Cinder's First Show

Cinder went to her first show on Sunday.  It was a fundraiser show for one of the university's equestrian teams and was only 10mins from my barn.  They had a ground pole class I figured why not take Cin and do it in-hand.  For $20 it's a low key, easy way to get her exposure to a show atmosphere and I would have felt bad taking her to hang out and not paying.

My friend A was taking her horse in a few classes and asked if I would haul for her.  I said yes and was a little worried that Cinder would latch on to Scottie as her new BFF.  I didn't want to have THAT horse at the show; the one screaming and carrying on because their trailer buddy was gone and they were going to DIE ALONE. But, my worries were for naught, as Cinder couldn't have cared less about where Scottie was or what he was doing.

I love that  little tiny snip of white

The only Scottie related issue we had was loading Cinder.  I had picked up A and Scottie first, and then went to my barn to get Cin. She's been great in all our trailer loading practice, but I've been loading her in the first stall in the trailer.  We haven't practiced going second, especially with another horse she doesn't know already in.  It dawned on me that maybe I should have practiced putting her in second as we were trying to load and she couldn't figure out how to put herself on on a angle to get in the back stall and was more interested in making friends with Scottie than paying attention to me. We did get her in and I had just snapped the trailer tie on her when she pulled back and out of the trailer.  My thumb got smashed and the trailer tie broken in the process, but after a minute of trying again Cinder got in fine and we were on our way. So our homework over the winter is going to be loading her second.
So wet!  But so good!

We got to the show and left the ponies on the trailer while we checked in.  Cinder has untied herself a couple of times, and I don't trust her enough to leave her tied to the trailer when I'm not there to watch her. The office wasn't super organized and it took a while to check in, so by the time we unloaded our class was going. It was also raining, so I figured why bother grooming her when she's going to be soaked.  We walked up to the show ring with A and S and while Cinder was pretty wide eyed about everything, she behaved much better than I expected.  She did spin and jump a couple of times at, once at a girl getting a leg up next to us and another at a little kid dressed up as a witch with a big witches hat attached to her helmet.

Getting in the ring took a minute because there was a big puddle in front of the gate and Cinder was pretty sure it contained sharks. She did skirt it and once we were in for our class she didn't care about the wet footing and puddles in the ring. I didn't bother learning the course as I had told the organizer not to bother timing/judging us and just walked her around and over all the poles. She did get a little sassy and tried to trot a few step but listened to me well when I asked her to come back to a walk. And coming out of the ring she stared hard at the big puddle but walked through it. I was very proud of my baby horse!
Contemplating horse show life

We hung out by the ring for a while, with Cinder alternating grazing and walking circles around me.  I walked Cinder back to the trailer where A was tacking up and that's when Cinder's baby brain started to fry.  She didn't like leaving all the horses at the ring to walk alone, then had a fit about walking through the mud to the trailer (had to park in a grass field), then slipped in the mud and got mad about slipping. We walked up and down the driveway till she calmed down and I told A was going to run her home while she warmed up. It was obvious Cinder was at the sensory overload point and I wanted this to be a good experience and not end the day with her having a fit because she was tired and fried. She loaded fine by herself and was very happy to be back home.  And bonus, I made it back to the show in time to watch A's first round!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Bend and Snap

I hauled Peebs over to A's place last Saturday for a lesson.  My trainer asked what I've been working on since our last lesson and what I wanted to work on for this lesson.  I answered that we haven't been doing much (Cinder kicked Peebs in turnout and he was off for a few days) and I had no idea what I wanted to do in the lesson. Since show season's over and we won't be back in the show ring for months, I'm kinda meh about doing much. 

Totally didn't plan to match my outfit to the jump or the trees

A's lesson had been before mine and they had a flat lesson focusing on forward and bending (A's horse is sloth-2x4 hybrid) so Trainer carried that over to my lesson.  We strung a few fences together working on getting him forward and bending/straight as was called for.  After warming up our first exercise was a single diagonal plank to an outside four stride.  A's arena is narrow so the turn from the diagonal to the outside line was more rollback-like than a normal.  It was also a left hand turn, which Peebs loves to over bend and drift out on. To top it off, A had gotten new footing and it was a touch deep in places and Peebs was using that as an excuse to quit on me.

Showing off our lovely downward canter-trot transitions.

We did the outside line first by itself a couple of times to get the feel of it before adding in the plank. The first time going to the line I went too deep on our approach and lost his outside shoulder, causing Peebs to over bend and drift out in the line making the four very long.  We had one Jesus-take-the-reins moment were I was sure he'd chip for a five but God bless him he launched over the oxer. Once Trainer told me to think about shaving the turn on the approach with a touch of counter bend, I was able to figure it out.  We then put the plank first, and I have no idea what I did or how I did it, but we nailed it on the first go.  The rollback felt amazing, he didn't over bend and pop his shoulder, and I kept the impulsion the whole way through.

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We moved on to another single diagonal to an outside one stride.  The diagonal was set on a little bit of an odd approach; you had to go deeper than you thought to get to it and it really invited the horses to over bend and drift out. And boy did Peebs accept that invitation.  I could  keep his straight down the rail, but as soon as I turned to approach the vertical, he over bent and twisted on me. Since flying changes are still a work in progress, Trainer wanted me to try and land on the new lead over the fence. It took four or five tries to get it.  Each attempt was better than the time before but I just couldn't quite get there.  Finally Trainer told me to think about landing and doing a rollback and that made it click in my head to look right and open my right rein. And, what do you know, we got the right lead.

Not the time I got the lead over the fence, but one of our many attempts

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Photo Dump Catch Up

Instead of trying to remember what we've done since I last blogged, I'll just post pics of what we've done.

Peebs has continued to look adorable and *mostly* ground tie well.  He did decide to walk away last week when I was in the tack room but stopped as soon as I came out and looked rather sheepish

We had a tough lesson focusing on riding forward to the first fence and being definite with my take off spot decision.  It was one of those lessons that rips you apart but puts you together by the end.  We finished the lesson by doing an outside line that I had to ride hard to the first fence but could then soften and let him canter out on a loopy rein.

I bit the bullet and ordered custom La Mundial boots at WEG. Since we're doing the hunter/eq I went pretty basic, but got a strip of patent black leather at the tops.  Fingers crossed everything fits when I get them.

WEG haul.  Special edition SmartPak Pipers in red, white, and blue, WEG T-shirt, and WEG C4 Belt. I really wanted a WEG saddle pad (I might have a saddle pad addiction) buy my mom wouldn't let me.  She was all for the custom boots, but god forbid I get another $25 saddle pad.

Cinder has officially measured in at 15.1 hands, the same height as Peebs. Obviously he's super happy about that.

We had another lesson that was awesome (even jumped a 2'9" fence!) and jumped a Halloween themed fence.  I found witches legs you stick in the ground and put those in the flower pots.  I'm pretty sure Peebs didn't even notice.

Cinder is signed up for her first show next weekend!  There's a little jumper schooling show 10mins from the barn and we're going to do the ground pole class in hand. She got a spiffy new leather halter for the occasion.