Thursday, March 28, 2024

MDTE Gallops Saddlery Preview Show: Friday and Saturday

 While Trainer M's barn runs this show series, our home barn isn't set up to host shows, so most of the shows are at the gorgeous Heirloom Equestrian Center about an hour away in Washington. In the past, Trainer A and I hauled in for the shows, but Trainer M had a lot more clients going, and asked her riders to help out at show, so we got stalls for the weekend. M also arranges pretty much everything, so literally all I had to do to get ready was clean my tack. M loaded and hauled my tack trunk, her groom and working student set up the stalls, packed hay and grain, and did all the feeding and cleaning all weekend. I did end up hauling Cinder and one of M's lesson horses, so that way M didn't have to make two trips with her trailer.  It was nice to not have to worry about logistics, other than hauling the two, who were both perfect passengers. 

All pics bought from Lark Photography

I got to the show a few hours after the others did, and took Cin for a quick walk before putting her in her stall. She normally gets a pro ride on Fridays, and Trainer M said she'd school her at the show and I could hop on after for a mini lesson if I wanted. Cinder has grown up so much, and has been to Heirloom enough that I figured she'd be fine and I didn't want to do too much with her, so I told M that I didn't need to get on. M rode Cin for probably 20 minutes, hopped over two jumps, and declared her perfect and that she agreed that Cin didn't need to do more. 

My sleeve and glove were so wet after this class

Saturday morning was jumpers, and I played jump crew to help work off some of my show bill. I figured if I was going to be there anyways to watch, might as well make some money. This year the show is offering fun classes (rose all day, ride a buck, toilet paper relay) between the jumpers and hunters on Saturdays and M told all of us that were doing them. This show had the rose all day for the 21 and over group, and a post and pop for those underage. We were given a cup of water (because the show manager "Didn't want to waste perfectly good wine.") and sent out for a judges command type class. I was nervous about how Cin would do riding one handed, in a slightly chaotic arena, and with me holding something out to the side of her, but she was surprisingly good. We survived the two point, sitting trot, posting trot, canter and both trotting and cantering a cross rail. It was a lot of fun and I'm glad M made us do it. 

We had a couple hours between the fun class and my 2' rounds, so Cinder got to go back to her stall and I contemplated running to the Gallops trailer to buy new gloves because mine were so wet. I slowly got ready for the 2' and before I knew it it was our time to warm up. Cinder was little confused about having to go again, and a little behind my leg, but warmed up well. In both of our over fences rounds we had a case of first fenceitis, where I didn't get her forward enough and found crappy distances. In hindsight I should have put my spurs on. Most of the issues we had were from lack of pace and impulsion. We placed third in both classes. We also suffered from a lack of impulsion in the under saddle. Towards the end, in our right lead canter, Cin broke and would not pick the canter back up, so I nailed her with my whip. I knew at this point we were placing at the bottom of the pack, so why not school. M agreed with me when I came out of the ring. 

Our last class of the day was the 2' derby and I was determined to have her in front of my leg. The course was pretty fun, a canter in trot out line, a halt, and a bending line. Cinder was a little confused as to why I was suddenly asking her to trot in the line so our trot fence was meh, but I liked our halt. And I legged the crap out of her after the halt to pick the canter back up since we were going right past the gate. I was not about to have her suck back or break on me. So of course when I was so focused on her going forward, I completely forgot where I was going, and did the bending line to the wrong jump. Whoops. And had I jumped the correct jump, I probably would have won the class. Besides that stupid mistake, I was otherwise really happy with our round and glad we were able to end the day on a more positive note. 

Monday, March 25, 2024

MDTE Gallops Saddlery Preview Show: The Preview

 We went to our first show of the season this past weekend, and while I not so patiently wait for the pro photos, I'll give you a spoiler alert. 

The Oregon Hunter Jumper Association had a raffle drawing on Saturday, and I won! I got a nice Kerrits duffle bag, an OHJA hat, an OHJA garment bag (which was awesome my old garment bag that I got for free from SmartPak died that morning) and a leather halter. 

Our rounds Saturday were kinda meh, but I learned my lesson (and wore my spurs) on Sunday and we had some of our best rounds to date and cleaned up, earning reserve champ in the 2'3" hunters and winning the 2'-2'3" foundation medal. Medal finals here we come!

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Mini Barn Tour

 I don't have any media from our lessons, so I figured I'd take some pics of the barn and do a mini barn tour. 

From the far end of the outdoor. The barn on the left is the main barn, the one across from the other short end of the arena is the hay/storage barn. And there's five shedrow stalls in the little red barn next to the hay barn

The driveway does a loop around the hay barn and shedrow stalls, with trailer parking off to the right of this pic. 

The indoor looking towards the main part of the barn. It's an old dairy barn that's been converted. The arena sits lower than the barn, so there's a ramp from the back aisle way into the arena, and then a sitting area slightly above the area on the left side. The back aisle has 5-6 stalls with runs attached and the washrack. The front part of the barn has five stalls, three crossties, and the tack room. Cinder's stall is on the front side of the barn. 

The back aisle looking from the outdoor towards the indoor. The ceilings are a little low for barns on the west coast, but I know these types are more common back east. My one complaint is that the barn can feel a bit dark at times, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. 

Monday, March 11, 2024

New Rhythms

 Cinder seems to have settled in at MDT. The first few rides she felt wound up and a little manic under saddle for a bit, and then would settle. This weekend when I rode she didn't feel that way, even though we had a windstorm both days. 

We had our first group lesson last Thursday. It was just me and one other ammy, though there will usually be three of us. We started in the indoor arena working over some very narrow, about 3', trot poles. Depending on how we approached the poles, we were to turn on the rail and leg yield out to the them, or do them on the rail and then leg yield to the quarter line. Cinder was slightly confused at the tiny poles, but when we went to canter them she took full advantage and sidestepped them a few time. Definitely a test as to how accurate and straight your horse is. 

I watched a bit of the lesson before mine and Cinder was visible through the open window

We then moved outside and after a couple of laps to see everything, started jumping. Trainer M set one single fence that started as a cross rail, then a vertical, and then a bigger vertical. We did each height once each way. For Cin and I, it was mainly just for M to see where we were and how Cin goes. She was great, just hopped over the fence each time without any issue. The other horse in the lesson, a hotter OTTB jumper mare, had had some time off and was jumping for the first time in a few months and was very excited. They did a little more work than Cin and I did, and I'm 99% certain Cinder really liked that aspect of group lessons. Stand in the middle and chill while the other horse works? Sign her up. 

M rode her twice last week and noted a few things that I have also been wanting to work on. We spent a bit in my Saturday lesson talking about how Cin needs to have a bit more of a metronome quality to her canter, which is easier in the summer and in a bigger outdoor vs a smaller indoor, and how she can be a bit noodley to the fences.  In my lesson we worked on asking for more pace and impulsion in the canter, and then did some lead change work. We started by cantering a figure eight and asking for a simple change. Cin quickly figured out the game and would offer a flying, but would trail her hind end a stride or two. Trainer M then put out a cavaletti and had us ask over that which helped. Cinder was definitely getting tired, but held it together and  we were able to end on a good note. 

Monday, March 4, 2024

All Moved In

 Cinder moved to our new barn, MDT, on Thursday. And in true Murphy's Law, the weather has been absolutely horrible and all the pastures have been closed since, then so she's been stuck inside. We've had rain, wind, hail, snow, and little brief patches of sunshine that trick into thinking it's going to clear up only to dump rain on you five minutes later. But despite being in a new place, with new people, and being cooped up in a stall for days, Cinder's handled it remarkably well. 

All of our 2023 year end swag

 Trainer M rode her on Friday, and I got a good report. Cinder tried to pull the alpha mare/who the hell are you move on M, but gave it up rather quickly. M really likes her, and said Trainer A and I have done great job with her, which is always nice to hear. 

She only gets supervised open window time, since she will 100% chew that hose and drag it into her stall

I had my first lesson with M on Saturday. Cinder was quite manic in the crossties tacking up, moving around and almost constantly pawing. When I got on she felt like a ticking time bomb. Normally, I would have gotten off and either free lunged or put her on the line for a few minutes, but I decided to tough it out. Don't want to come across as too much of a weenie ammy for my first lesson. Trainer M and I talked for a bit about what we've been working on with Cin, and what I'd like to focus on going forward. During our talking, I felt Cin start to relax and that her brain was coming back into her head. 

The lesson mainly focused on my hands and position, and pushing Cinder out and into my hand. It was similar work to what Trainer A has been having me work on, just said differently and in more of a h/j way vs a dressage way. Cin did have a few spooks and dolphin leaped in our first couple of canter transitions, but I held it together and didn't let her antics bother me. We did end with some nice stretchy canter and trot work, which I was very happy about.