Thursday, April 29, 2021

Scheduling for Two

 This is going to be a whiny, first world problems post so apologies in advance. Show season is staring to pick up here in the PNW and I've had a tentative schedule mapped out. 

And then the managers for our main local series announced today that they're changing dates. These are the USHJA Outreach shows that are normally held at the same time as our rated shows, so you get the rated show experience for a third of the price. But due to COVID regulations, and the fact that the Canadian border is closed and Thunderbird can't have their shows, a lot of people are going to be doing the Oregon rated shows this year. So show management decided to bump the Outreach shows to different weeks, and host them separately.

Peebs humoring me

I'm actually ok with the move, as far as it gives the Outreach shows more time and space. Usually the rated jumper classes go first and the Outreach jumpers have to wait to the very end of the day. But then I realized that for the first show in June, the date they bumped us to is the weekend after Cinder's second show. Trainer A's barn is doing a one day schooling horse trial and A is going to show her gelding in addition to Cinder. This will be the biggest group of students she's taken to a show, in addition to showing two horses herself and I know that in addition to grooming Cinder, I'll probably be helping to wrangle the kids.

"Just give me cookies already lady"


So, do I really want to spend one weekend as groom/owner on the ground, then show my own horse the following weekend, after working 40hrs during the week? There aren't any other local shows in June, so I would have to wait till July to show Peebs. Which isn't the end of the world, but I'm planning on bringing Cinder home in July and I know it'll take a bit to get into the swing of having two horses at home again. There are two local shows in July and two in August, and I'd like to do one or two of them if possible.  At least I'm not planning on showing Cinder this summer, maybe in the fall if we're ready. This scheduling shit isn't for the faint of heart!

Monday, April 26, 2021

Is There an Echo in Here?

Time to play a little bit of catch up! The day after my lesson on Cinder, I had a lesson on Peebs. Since it was almost two weeks ago (oops) I can't remember the full details, but it was a good lesson. We worked mostly on smoothing things out, mainly little tweaks to my turn or approach. Not necessarily a challenging lesson, but a good one nonetheless. 

The only media from said lesson

I do remember I had one semi-bogey fence, a single on a short diagonal going right to left. The first couple of times we did it, the distance came up pretty well but I couldn't see it. I just kept my leg on and contact through my reins and let Peebs figure it out. It wasn't a bad fence but I felt like I couldn't commit to the distance. The second time we did it, my trainer had walked around the arena and saw our approach from a different angle and suggested I go a half a stride deeper before turning off the rail, and think about using more left leg to turn him instead of my right rein. I did what she said, and what do you know, it worked. I could see the distance (it was a touch long) and was able to close my leg and move Peebs up to it. We did it a second time and again, I was able to see my distance about three strides out and commit to it. 

She's slowly starting to fill out a bit

A few days later I had another lesson on Cinder. It was about 70* at 10am and Cinder was fairly certain it was too hot to work. Mare has a lazy streak. Like I actually had to sit deep and leg her on and go to my whip to keep her cantering. She's one wild and crazy 4 year old. 

In our trot work, Trainer A had me focus on keeping her shoulders in line. Cinder likes to pop her right shoulder going left and really drift out. I got called out a couple of times for being too handsy, and A told me to think about turning her more from my right leg and less left rein. Sound familiar? We also worked on spiraling in and out on a circle, then continuing down the long side keeping the feel of spiraling her out. Which is what my trainer (J) has me do with Peebs on the flat. A words it slightly differently than J does, but same concept. It's been really nice to hear the same things from both of them and to get it drilled into my head twice as often. Who knows, maybe it'll actually stick.


I have also ridden Cinder twice now outside of lessons. A was gone over the weekend at a show and Cinder was going to have four days off. I'm sure she would have been perfectly fine, but since I had the time, and I really, really like riding her, I figured I'd bop around on her. I was a little nervous when I got on the first time flying solo, but Cinder was great. We only did about 25 mins of walk trot both days, trying to work on spiraling in and out like we did in our lesson.  Don't get me wrong, lessoning on her is great, but having the time to play around a bit and figure her out on my own was really helpful. The honeymoon phase is in full effect and I'm going to enjoy every minute of it!

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Cinder Progress Report: Good Baby Brain

 I've had two lesson in the last two days, on two different horses with two different trainers. I'm exhausted.  


Her neck feels so long

Tuesday I had my second lesson on Cinder. It was a great lesson, especially because of the circumstances. It's been really, really windy and dry here; so windy I couldn't hear Trainer A unless I was within 10ft of her. And the footing in the indoor at Cinder's barn was pulled out last weekend and they're working on the base before putting in new footing. So we had to ride outside in the wind.  Thankfully Cinder didn't seem bothered by the wind at all, or the dressage letters and standards that had blown over. 


We started off walking and chatting with A for bit, then got down to work. We mostly stayed at one end of the ring so I could hear A. We worked on spiraling in and out on our circle, and not letting her get fast, or rushy. I want to push Cinder past her balance at this point, so A had me think about having more a western jog than a working trot for right now. Instead of adding more leg, I was to think about adding more half halts and balance. 

Her canter is freaking amazing

We also did our first canter together! A had me pick it up out of a trot, which threw me because I usually pick up the canter out of a walk. Hunters vs dressage I guess. It took me a minute to organize myself, and for Cinder to figure out what the heck I was asking her to do, but we got it. And holy crap, her canter is so, so nice. She's got a great natural rhythm, it felt pretty dang balanced, and it was so easy and comfortable to ride. The way it feels just screams HUNTER. We did a couple circles before A had me go down the rail and I was so in awe of Cinder that I kinda forgot to steer and we almost left the arena, and then did a little drunken weave down the second long side. Oops. I have to remember that the power steering isn't installed yet. 

Baby's first big spook

We took a walk break then tried cantering the other direction. And then the guy working on the indoor decided it was a good time to fire up the tractor and dump some rock. As you can see from the pic above, Cinder had some feelings about it. She spooked twice, but other than a stride or two of flailing, they weren't that bad. I was able to stay on, and bring her back down to the walk both times within a circle. We did get a little more cantering in between the first and second spooks, but both A and I could tell her baby brain was thisclose to being fried so we ended by walking some circle and figure 8s at the far end of the arena.

I was so impressed with how well Cinder handled everything. When I had ridden Peebs the day before in the wind, he was good but obviously not happy about it. And since tractors are his biggest fear, I know he would have noped out the situation as fast as he could, and his brain would have been fried long before Cinder's was. I told A I was more worried about the tractor due to Peebs' trauma than Cinder was and kept anticipating her to be worse. She has such a good brain on her!

Monday, April 12, 2021

From Halter to the Olympics

 I don't think I ever did an in-depth post on Cinder's bloodlines. She's not registered, her dad isn't registered and he's wasn't approved as a stallion before he was gelded, so I'm pretty much out of luck getting her registered. I'm trying to get her approved ISR/Oldenburg NA. Since they're not having inspections I can get her into the premare book and if/when she's inspected she can be moved into one of the other books. 

One Heinz 57 mutt of a horse right here

In my quest to document her lineage I was able to get more info on each of her parents. Sire Chancellor is by Cord (Swedish) out of Imprint (ISR). I had been told that Imprint was by Ideal and out of a QH mare, which is where Rogue's palomino coloring came from. But one of the pics that was sent to me a few weeks ago was of Imprint's ISR paperwork, and she was out of a Paint mare, not QH. And I was able to look up Imprint's bloodlines. 


Far Ute Keno (palomino) is Cinder's 3rd great grandsire

Imprint's mom and APHA grandparent's didn't really do a whole lot, from what I can find. But her two grandsires did. Far Ute Keno was a Superior All Around horse, as well as a leading sire for many years, winning a Lifetime Leading Sire award. Scribbles also won the APHA Superior All Around and Lifetime Leading Sire awards, and was inducted into the APHA Hall of Fame in 2018. Both stallions won a lot of halter awards, so maybe Cinder winning her halter class at 2 shouldn't have been such a surprise. I mean she obviously takes after the APHA part of her pedigree hahahaha.


On the dam side, I knew Abby (registered as Brenna) was by Bolero out of St Pr H Goldlady. I could trace the Bolero side back but was stumped with Goldlady. I still don't know what the St Pr H means, but I was able to find out that Goldlady was by the Olympic dressage stallion Goldstern. Goldstern was bought by the Dusseldorf Police Force as a young horse, and in between winning two Olympic team gold and an individual bronze medals, as well as many European championships, he patrolled the streets of Dusseldorf for two hours a day. I can't even imagine if any current Olympic horses had to be used as police horses today. 

I haven't been able to find much on Goldlady's dam side, mostly because the one Goldlady I found wasn't born on the same year as what I have in the records. I'm sure the records could be off, or it could be a different Goldlady. I'm going to keep digging to see what I can find. I love looking back and seeing all the different horses that make Cinder who she is.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Cinder Progress Report: Our first lesson!

 I had my first real lesson on Cinder this week. Trainer A thinks she's far enough along to swap out one trainer ride for a lesson per week, so we've got our weekly lesson time set. I got no media from the first lesson, but hopefully I'll remember to ask A to take some videos.

We did about 45mins of walk trot, mainly just me getting used to her, and her to me. A is a touch shorter than I am (and I'm 5'3" so having a trainer that's shorter than me is weird) so at least Cinder is used to having a leg being on her where mine hits. But A uses her leg more effectively than me, and I'm used to riding a sluggish Peebs, so we had a couple excitable upward transitions. I just need to calibrate my leg to Cinder, and work on not nagging her with it. 

sweaty post ride selfie


Most of the lesson focused on my position and hands, and using them effectively. Once I was able to keep my reins short (so hard to do) and my core engaged (also very hard) we got some very nice connected trot. I can't remember to hold that position very long, and Cinder tends to get distracted and pop above the contact, but we'll get there. She also likes to over bend left, so I got lots of reminders to have a strong right leg. 

Cinder, only with people walking by the arena

For being about three months under saddle, she's so much farther along that I thought she would be. She didn't feel like a neon green baby, just a little green and easily distracted. But not in a spooky way; more of a "what's going on over there way", and she was always willing to get back to work with a little reminder. She never felt like being naughty, or saying no. I'm sure those days will come but for now she seems just as easy going under saddle as she is on the ground.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

GLEE Spring into Summer Show #1

 This winter a new local show series started up. They had three shows that were unrated schooling shows, and weren't a part of our local show organization. But they decided to get their spring/summer series shows approved OHJA/USHJA Outreach and it seemed like a low key show, so I figured we'd give them a try. The spring series shows are just equitaion and jumpers, held on the same day.

When the flashbacks hit


The show was being held at the same barn I bought Peebs from. The trainer/owner who had him has since retired, and a new trainer/program is at the facility now. Since I bought him, a new outdoor arena was installed at the facility, and the old outdoor was now trailer parking. I was about 50/50 on how Peebs would be going back to his old home; either he'd be totally chill, or freaked out because he remembered the place. It ended up being a little of both, he definitely had some flashbacks and remembered where he was, but the new outdoor really confused him. He was pretty distracted at first, but settled in by the end of the day. 

I LOVE this swing-out saddle rack.

Our first class was a 2' medal class. We were the only entries. Unfortunately that didn't guarantee us the win. Peebs warmed up pretty well, but was very distracted and confused as we headed out to the outdoor arena. I'm not sure if that area was used for pasture before, or if it was just unused, but he took a good long look at things when we went in. He didn't seem to notice the first fence at all, and I ended up stopping him because I was convinced he would have just plowed through it. A swift kick as we circled go his attention and we continued on. I didn't look early enough for our turn to fence two (just off the center line) and thus our bending line to three was pretty crooked. It was also an oxer, which aren't supposed to be in this medal class. I psyched myself out over the crooked line and the oxer and circled again. The judge yelled out that I could keep schooling, but I admitted I was worried about the oxers. The show manager then realized the jump crew hadn't set the course correctly and had them take the oxers out. Once that was fixed we started the course again and made it all the way through. 

We then had a long break before our 2' jumper rounds. Peebs got to hang out eating at the trailer while I ate and played on my phone in my truck. When I got on for my jumper rounds Peebs felt much more relaxed and with me. We were both tired so I didn't do a whole lot of warm up. We had three jumper rounds, a timed first round, a power and speed round, and a jump off round. There was only one other person signed up for our division. The course was the same course as our medal round, just with jump offs for the two rounds. Our timed first round rode really well. We had enough pace, but Peebs wasn't running off his feet, I saw all my distances (whether or not they were good distances was another matter), and I was really happy with the round. We placed first. 


The other girl in our classes decided to scratch after the first round, so I went in for the power and speed planning on putting in another solid round and not worrying about the j/o. Unfortunately Peebs had other plans, and made it clear that he was tired. We broke to the trot in one of the turns and had to circle, then I lot his right shoulder on another approach and circled again. I tipped my hat to the judge, telling her that there was no reason to keep going. Peebs had been really good, but it was clear that he was done for the day. I had done what I wanted to do at this show, which was knock the rust off and get in rounds jumping away from home. The judge then gave me the best compliment ever, saying she respected the kindness and compassion I showed to my horse. The show manager, and her mom who was running the office, both also complimented me on how nice Peebs is, and what a good team we made. That right there is worth more than the ribbon we won. 

Overall, I'm happy with how the day went. I wish I hadn't psyched myself out over the oxers, but I didn't get too into my head over them and was able to go out and have good rounds. Both Peebs and I need to work on our fitness, and hopefully we'll head back to the second show in this series in early May ready to complete the jumper division!