Thursday, February 24, 2022

SS Indoor Eventing February 2022

 If you follow me on social media, you probably saw that Cinder and I had our first show of the season over the weekend. Trainer A is hosting a series of three indoor eventing shows and the second one was this month. Since Cinder is living at the host barn, and has jumped some of the jumps already, I figured it was a good schooling opportunity for us. 

I had my regular Friday lesson and Cinder was a little wound up. Some people had started arriving for the show and were schooling, and a saddle fitter had driven down to the outdoor arena so he didn't have to carry saddles back and forth. What really set her off was the pile of jumps behind us in the above photo. She did kinda get over them, but the above moment was taken during her spooking at the saddle fitter starting his car, just out of frame near the pile of jumps. Cinder got really scared of that end of the arena after that, and after another spin spook, A suggested we head to the indoor and let her mind chill. 

The greenery was cut by A, the barn manager and myself Friday night. We took the gator up on the trails and whacked branches and ferns while consuming adult beverages and had a blast!

 Cinder was much happier inside and after a little flat work, A told me to do a gambler's choice and pick fences out as I went around the arena. We were showing in the Intro (18"-2') division, and even though I know A had set the courses soft, most of the fences looked tiny. Some of the BN fences looked doable to me. We schooled all the Intro jumps, except a pair of purple boxes and Cinder didn't care at all. I was feeling confident heading into Saturday.

Purple boxes of doom

 I longed Cinder Saturday morning, just in case, and then got on for the open schooling before the show started. Cinder was looky, she didn't like the horses standing outside the open side of the arena, and since the ring was a little hectic at times I mostly just walked and let her see everything. I did pop over a few fences, but not the purple boxes. I should have done more in warm up, including jumping every jump in our course, but next show I'll know better. Nicole came by to watch, video, and gave me some delicious cookies. Our second round video is below. Thanks Nicole!

Cinder was distracted in our first round, spooking at the door on the side of the arena, and then very politely ducking out to the left of the purple boxes. It was like she figured out it was easier to go around then over them. I brought her back around and she kind jumped/ran out the side again and instead of trying a third time, I continued on with the course. At the end of our round A ran out and made herself a human standard and had me do the boxes a couple of times. We took a quick walk break then stayed in the ring for our second round. It went much better as Cinder was more focused and didn't try to run out on the boxes. 

bought from KL Pet Prints

I had a lot of fun, and the show as a great low key learning environment. And while the Intro fences didn't look scary at all, I don't think I'll be switching to eventing any time soon.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

About a month ago Peebs decided that trotting for 10mins a day was too much work, and decided to injure himself again. I came out one day to a scraped and swollen left knee, aka his injured suspensory leg. He walked out of his stall sound so I hand walked him for 15ish minutes, cold hosed and cleaned the scrape, and gave him some bute. The next day the swelling was about 95% gone, just a little around the scrape, so I figured I'd hop on and see how he felt. He took maybe a couple of off steps at first, but didn't feel noticeably lame.  Till a few days later. Then he was definitely lame.

 I took him into the vet the next week and after seeing him trot my vet asked what I wanted to do. We could block, ultrasound the suspensory, x-ray the knee, or any combo of the above. She had lightly palpated the knee, but not a full flexion, and said it felt slightly arthritic, but considering his age, job, and lack of straight legs, nothing overly concerning. I did want to check the supsenory so we started there. The ultrasound showed some slight fluid build up, and some irritated fibers, but no new tears. 

My saddle is up with Cinder, so we're back to sans saddle rides

When we did his ProStride injection last fall, my vet had a vet tech student doing some of her clinical rounds with her that week. My vet knows Peebs is a Very Good Boy™ and asked if they could use him as the student's guinea pig. She had to do a few procedures, including helping with x-rays, and my vet said we could x-ray the knee he had fallen on when he tripped, aka his right knee, and she wouldn't charge me for them. I obviously said yes, because who's going to turn down free x-rays, and they showed some arthritis and irritation from the fall. We talked then about injecting the knee at a later point when he's closer to being back in full work, and now that we know there's some arthritis going on in the left knee as well, we'll just inject both sooner rather than later. 

As for his rehab, my vet said to play it by how he feels. We did a few weeks of just walking under saddle and I started trotting again this week. He felt a little stiff at first but not lame so we'll continue to slowly build up our trot work. If he still feels lame, we'll take him in and do a more thorough work up on the left knee. But fingers crossed that when he did whatever to his knee, he just bruised it and irritated the suspensory and nothing worse.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Being Brave

 The theme for Cinder's second week back in training was bravery. The barn is home to a very big h/j program (way above my budget, unfortunately) and they routinely reset the jumps and have a bunch of different fillers. A is able to use the jumps, and once I saw that a liverpool had been drug out, I asked A to take Cinder over it, if she felt like Cin was ready. Cinder had been flatted in the ring with the liverpool, and A had walked her up to it and let her see and sniff it, so when A jumped her on Wednesday, they attempted it. And in true Cinder fashion, she didn't care at all. A said that she was more worried about the jump than Cinder was. 

blurry screenshot ftw

When I went up Friday for my lesson, two loads of footing for the indoor had been delivered so we were relegated to the outdoor. Thankfully it was gorgeous and in the 60s, so a perfect day. When I got on A was finishing a light ride on Metro and as we talked we decided to do a short flat lesson, then hit the trails. We focused on the canter transitions in my lesson. The walk-canters are really coming along going left, but the right lead is still sticky. I think I just need to get a little firmer with Cin; I tend to give up to quickly. 

boss mare in the lead

Two adult ammys from the h/j program came out towards the end of my lesson, and said they were heading out on the trails as well (you have to walk through the outdoor arena to get to the trails) so A invited them to join us. They happily agreed, as they didn't know the trails that well and one was on a young green horse on his first trail adventure. A took the lead with me and Cin behind her with the other youngster behind me. Most of the trail was just wide enough for two horses, and when we started going up the hill Cinder started power walking and passed Metro. She was happy to lead for a few minutes, until there was a small branch in the trail. She stopped to look at it, but once Metro walked over it with no problem she followed him. 

The trail then opened up into a field and Cinder was so buys looking around everyone else passed us and she was at the end of the group. She didn't seem to mind, which I was very thankful for as a rouge pigeon came flying out of the trees and almost hit A and the second horse in line. Thankfully I had time to pull Cinder out of the path of kamikaze bird as it didn't seem to care that it was flying directly at horses. We walked to the end of the field before the other two ladies asked to turn around.

Going back Cin was a little more amped up, and once we were out of the field and back in the trees she started trying to spin around and look behind her. We were at the end of the group, so I have no idea what she was looking at. I sat through a couple of spins before deciding my bravery bank was empty and hopped off to hand walk her home. We were on a downhill slope, with a drop off one side, and I'd don't fully trust her to keep her footing while trying to spin around. She did try to spin into me once, but a quick reminder with my whip ended that. We did make it back to the barn in one piece and even though I had to get off, I'm happy with how our first trail ride went. 

I went up to ride on Sunday and Cinder was having a baby brain day. Eighteen horses from the h/j program had left early that morning for five weeks in Thermal and I think all the early morning activity had wound her up. I lunged her before getting on, including over some of the cavalettis and boxes set up in the outdoor (indoor was still getting worked on). For our ride, I focused on trying to keep her attention on me with lot of transitions and changes of direction. I did pop over a few of the cavalettis, just picking some at random when she was focusing. The the minis came out. The h/j barn has two minis that usually live at the assistant trainer's house, but since she's going to be gone for five weeks, they moved into the barn. Cinder was enthralled with them. She puffed up and would not look away from them. I did a little bit at the walk to try and get her brain back, but it was a lost cause. I got off and did a little ground work till she relaxed and called it a day. 

Monday, February 7, 2022

Back to School Week 1

 I took Cinder up to SF last Sunday. She settled into her stall pretty easily and happily munched on hay and used the auto waterer without any issues. A let her have Monday off to get turned out and get settled, and apparently Cin and A’s gelding Metro hit it off. They played “balls to the wall” and Cinder lost both of her bell boots but did keep all four shoes on .

Friends that play together drink together 

A rode Cinder on Tuesday and said Cinder picked up right where she left off. She’s a little out of shape, and got a little quick in her first canter, but was very well behaved and remembered everything A asked of her. They rode in the indoor and finished the cooling out on one of the trails. Apparently Cinder was very interested in the scenery but didn’t spook at anything. 

The property is built on the side of a hill so  Cin will get some good booty workouts

I went up Friday for my lesson and had a great one. Both Cin and I are out of shape so we mostly trotted with plenty of walk breaks. We got some good stretchy trot work and attempted our first walk-canter transitions. We definitely need work on that but our trot-canters are getting much better. 

We finished up by working through a trot pole grid. There was an outside line set up with a 6” cavaletti set up in the middle. A took the fences down and set trot poles, so it was trot poles, cavaletti, trot poles. My instructions were to steer and keep my leg on. A said we need to let Cin make mistakes so she can learn from them and not hold her hand. Going to the left Cinder wants to drift to the inside and I needed more left leg to keep her straight. Tracking right was easier, until Cinder was surprised by the second set of trot poles and almost stopped. I clucked at her so she only paused and managed to navigate the poles without issue. We went back and forth a few times till we smoothed it and quit with that.

I’m trying to find a way to steal this giant mountain block from the h/j program at SF.