Thursday, October 26, 2023

Working on Our Fitness

 Cinder got a few days off after the show, with bodywork the day after and acupuncture last Tuesday. I wasn't there for the acupuncture, but apparently Cin had quite the reaction to the bladder point and on her left stifle. The phrase "bucking in the crossties" was used. Her stifles are definitely her weak spots, and since we have a short period left before the trails get too muddy and slick, Trainer A took Cin out for fitness on the hills last week. Nothing like hill work to strengthen those stifles! 

All photos bought from Lark Photography

Cinder still has an issue with the section of trail we call the beaver dam since it's a pond on one side and marshy wetlands on the other with a nice wide gravel path in between and she can hear the sound of running water. She fucking hates water. Trainer A schooled it with her one of the days last week, after cantering her up the big hill for the first time, so she was tired and less likely to bolt across it like she usually does. My lesson last Friday had gotten moved to Saturday, but A told me to hand walk Cin out to the beaver dam on Friday with a big bag of treats, and a stud chain. 

When we went out, the BO had a burn pile going in a different section of the property and Cinder wasn't super happy about the smoke, or their barking dog that she could hear but not see. We walked out to the dam with only minimal stopping for grass and staring off into the distance, and Cinder confidently marched down the hill and across the dam like a pro. There's an apple tree on the west end (we came from the east) so I stopped and got a few apples for Cin. She got one there, and then we turned around and stopped in the middle of the dam to eat the second apple. Once she finished and we started walking, she did one little spin spook, so we turned around and went back across again, stopping in the middle, before turning around again and crossing like a good pony. She got plenty of treats for that, and then once we made it back up the hill she got to graze while I caught my breath. 

My lesson on Saturday was another fitness trail ride, and this time another one of A's students joined us. Despite being the tallest horse in the group, Cinder is the slowest walker and the two OTTBS we were with powered on ahead while we meandered behind them. Once we got to the bottom of the big field we took off in a trot, and again, the two OTTBs powered up the hill while Cinder picked her way behind them. Unfortunately, the other student's horse bolted about half way up the hill, and A took off after them. Cinder was very good about being left behind and calmly walked down to where the other horse had offloaded his person. She was more worried about the person in the ditch than the horse bolting, or the other one leaving her behind. Thankfully the other student was ok, just some scrapes and soreness, and her horse made it back to the barn unscathed.  

It's been raining most of this week, but is supposed to be clear, and cold, for the next week so hopefully we (and by that I mean Trainer A) can fit more hill work in. I tend to not go out on the trails by myself, but I'm going to try and get out on them more when daylight and weather allows. I know my horse isn't scared of being out on the big hill alone, I just need to trust myself more. 

Monday, October 23, 2023

Bucket List: Win a Cooler

 Check! With winning the MDT Events series champion, we won a cooler!! 

It's a nice weight, fleece Horze cooler that's a size too big for Cin, but we'll make it work. I'll probably only use it when we go places (gotta show off), or as a blanket for myself in the winter when I'm watching lessons/A ride. 

I tried to convey to Cin how cool this is, and how proud I am of her for winning this, but she was less than impressed and was mad that I wouldn't let her graze while trying to take pics. 

Thursday, October 19, 2023

MDT Heirloom Show: October 2023

 We did our last show of the season on Saturday. It was a two day show, but we only decided to do one day as the body worker had already been scheduled for the second day. And despite a few bobbles, I'm really happy with how we ended our season. 

We had originally planned our move up to the 2'3" at this show, doing two rounds at that height plus an under saddle, but the show secretary posted their series points the week before and Cin and I were in the lead for year end champ in the 2'. And, as I told trainer A, I really wanted to point chase and get that series champ. So we ended up doing a 2' round, the 2' under saddle, and then a 2'3" round. 

Our lesson the day before the show

Trainer A was showing her new horse in the 1.0 and 1.10m jumpers earlier in the day, so we hauled over to the show with them and Cinder got to hang out in the trailer while A showed. She was perfect, happily munching her hay and not caring at all when Surelock left. Which was great, because Surelock had a massive meltdown when it was time to switch and he had to stay at the trailer when Cin left. Thankfully show management let A use an empty stall free of charge. Just one more reason we love this show series!

I was hoping the pro photos would be posted, but until they are have a blurry screenshot

 I let my nerves get to me a bit in warm up, but Cinder was foot perfect. Our 2' round was ok, I know I added in all the lines and didn't ride my best, but we nabbed a 3rd out of 7. When we went in for the flat, I heard one of the other trainers telling her kid that "Molly is a great hunter ride, just watch what she does and follow her." and that gave me a big kick in the ass to actually ride like I know what I'm doing. We had an unfortunate break in the right lead canter when I half halted without enough leg, but we still got a second.  

Spoiler alert

We walked around to keep Cin warm while they adjusted for the 2'3" and A asked if I wanted to jump anything else. I said no, but I should have because Cinder clobbered the first fence in our round. Now we know that when we do a warm-up round at a lower height we need to school the bigger height after. I was really, really happy with the rest of round. I did add in the first outside line, but picked up the pace and made the strides in the other line. We rightfully didn't place, but that's ok. Cinder felt like an absolute seasoned pro marching right around and not caring at all about me being a nervous wreck on her back. It was a great way to end our show season.  

Friday, October 6, 2023

Foto Friday

 Instead of trying to recap everything for the past few weeks, how about I just sum it up with some pictures?

Fall is here (despite the current heat wave yesterday and today) and it was time to sort through all my blankets. Cinder has already worn her sheet for a week or so during our first rain storm because she is a princess who hates getting wet. Peebs on the other hand is very happy to be a muddy mess.

Cinder got her own custom saddle! I stayed with the Voltaire Palm Beach, just with different panels and a larger seat size. Cinder had outgrown the used one I got last year, and since it never quite fit me right and finding a used saddle with a larger seat size with short flaps is almost impossible, we decided it was time to go fully custom. It's beautiful and so comfortable to ride in. 

I had a lesson last week where Cin and I weren't quite clicking, so we ended on a good note and then A hopped on to take Cin over the new course that had been set that morning. 

A bunch of jumps had just gotten repainted and Cinder had to stare down a few of them, because DIFFERENT, but she was so good and so game. The yellow gate used to be a light gray, and Cinder was very concerned that it was now bright yellow. She didn't seem to care that the jump was 1.0m, her first at that height. She did jump it, but pulled the rail. 

Second time was easy peasy

Cinder is currently in her once a quarter "I like boys" phase and thinks the new OTTB gelding Spin is the best thing ever. I give it a week till she hates him again. 

I fed at Cinder's barn a few times last week while the regular pm feeding was gone and A was at a horse trial. I've helped A feed before, but never done it all by myself, and let me tell you, feeding 56 horses is a lot. I much prefer feeding the four horses at Peebs barn.