Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Saturday, teh day after Christmas I went out to the barn not dressed in heels and nice clothes, with the intention to get in a good ride. It was pretty cold, with temps just hovering around 20, but that didn't deter us. I got Possum dressed and walked down to the arena. I got on and we both were stiff and cold. I also hadn't ridden him since the jump-off so I took a long time walking and trotting to get those muscles warm and working. He had a good spring to his step which was good cause I really wanted to use that energy and do some dressage work at the begging of the work-out. After both he and I were thoroughly warmed up and I had finally shed my winter jacket to just a sweatshirt, we were ready for some real work. We worked on some shoulder in and haunches in. We did some lateral movements across the arena with a try at some half pass. We also did some lengthening down the long side in the trot and worked on coming back to collected trot but not losing the impulsion. We were actualy clicking quite well and he was listening and made good attempts at each movement. His poll started to become more elastic and longer. His shoulders weren't as stiff and he was really coming through his back. I was already pleased with the flat portion of our ride, but I knew that the next day was going to be stormy and gross so I really wanted to get in a good work.
We warmed up over some jumps at the trot, making sure to take them all in both directions. While we warmed up I focused on my position and keeping my heel lowered and thigh and calf contact. I am also finding that I'm focusing too much on the jump itself. Basically I'm over analyzing and feel like I need to make all these timy adjustments instead of just riding to the jump. SO I've really started to focus on looking past the jump and letting the pace and rhythmn take us to the base. It's going pretty good, but old habits die hard, especially when the jumps get higher. I also have noticed that I tend to shift most of my weight to the outside when going around corners or tight circles. I have really been after myself to keep equal weight in both stirrups, or just dropping my stirrups all together so that I'm not throwing my horse off balance.
I then got off and raised the jumps all to atleast 2'9" to about 3ft. I then had my friend make up some courses for us to do. It was good for Possum and I to start to put some courses back together since we have been focusing a lot on either single jumps or lines and working a lot on our rushing issues. I really wanted to put our training to the test. He did really good for the most part, and I tried to pull my weight as well. There was also a pretty tricky broken line which caught him off guard at first, but then when I gave him more clear and better directions he was very honest. We did about 4 or 5 courses. He didn't struggly at all with the height and his rushing issues have subsided ten fold. Ofcourse we have some polishing to do on both our parts, but the basics are firmly in place and I think we're both at a better place now then we were at the Medals in September.
Not really sure when I'm gonna go back up and ride. It's sooo cold and windy today that if I went up tonight after work he would hate me forever, and plus I would be miserable. I might try Wed night and Thursday night. Friday we're supposed to get dumped on with snow, but hopefully I can get in atleast one ride on him this weekend.
Also wanted to add that I was looking him over the other afternoon after our ride and his body is looking great. He's at a good weight, he's muscular and fit and his top line is nice and rounded and his neck is getting a nice shape to it too. I think all of the flat and dressage work is really helping his body and he's looking awesome. In the next couple weeks I hope to have his trace clipped so reduce his sweating after rides and so I can also put on his new winter blanket that I got last year. I love this blanket and have been saving it all summer. It's a Weatherbeeta heavy fill with hood and it's in an awesome color. When I tried it on him it looked so good and fit him like a glove. I havn't put it on yet since it would be too much blanket with all his hair, but I can't wait.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
We had our famous jump-off competiton, or as many like to call it "jump till you die" contest hahaha. Possum and I did really well. I was so proud of my horse. We were one of the last horse and rider combos at the end and cleared 4'10". We attempted 5'1" twice and knocked it down. But Possum made a great effort and after reveiwing the tapes I believe that if we took off 6 inches before we had we might have squeaked over it. But he mad an enormous effort and didn't even bat an eye at the height. I was totally satisfied wiht our jumping efforts. The jump-off ended in a 3 way tie with three of us making it over 4'10" and nothing higher.
Below are some jumps and stuff from the competition. PLease note that I was not winning any points on style for this. I have a tendency on higher jumps to lift my horse up and over them which you will see in a few of the pics hahaha. I also did wear a helmet just in case which made me feel a little more secure. Enjoy.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Possum has also been doing pretty well lately. We had visiting hrs here on Friday for 5 hrs and I couldn't come back home until after 8p. It was a yucky and rainy day and the dogs and I spent most of it huddled in the tack room of the barn staying dry and warm. I did manage to run down to the indoor with Possum and just rode around bareback not working on anything in particular. Yesterday was a gorgeous late fall day with the temps maybe touching 50. It was bright and all the rain we got on Friday was starting to dry up. The barn was busy and I took my time getting Possum ready. I let him pick scraps of hay outside of his paddock while I brushed him. Because it was so busy in the outdoor ring I warmed up out there and then went down to the indoor to work. We started jumping in the indoor just trotting and then cantering low fences and gradually making them higher. Then I got down to the meat of the workout. I set up two fences at about 3 ft with two strides in between. My goal was to 1. get good distances to the first fence, and 2. get him so that right after he lands to then pick himself back up and prepare for the next fence. My goal for the next ride is to then turn it into a one stride.
Possum did pretty well and I was able to navigate him to pretty good spots for the most part. I did notice as we went to the right that he was drifting towards the rail and kind of twisting in mid air. The next time around I made sure to have a strong left leg and also making sure that I had equal weight in both stirrups since the left is my weaker leg. It got a lot better after that. Then we cooled down and went for a walk around the farm and watched the end of a jumping lesson that was going on in the outdoor ring. So my goal for the next ride is to turn that line into a one stride to get him to really lift himself up on the landing of the first jump and then get ready for the next, especially with it being of good height at 3ft.
I've still been running and walking. This past week obviously was hard because of the holiday weekend, but I did manage to ride my horse twice and then run/walk 3 times. This week I hope to get back in the swing of things again. The weather has turned rainy and raw again and I hope that by tonight it lets up so I can go for my run. I'm not really sure what I'm going to do in the winter. I've even thought of going to the barn and running in the indoor at night which could work. The college I work at obviously has a gym and fitness center and I'm hoping that I can talk to the dean and have access to the facilities so that I can continue to work out and stay in shape. The trust of the matter is that even though I hate running and working out, it does make me feel better after I do it so I just need to suck it up.
Well I think that's about it. Just trying to budget now and save money and pay bills and with Christmas seson coming. I've been saving money by cooking more and eating out less which is a huge savings, but it seems that whenever I seem to get ahead on bills other things come up, like our rent just increased by $100, I just paid car insurance, Possum gets his winter shoes on this week which is over $200 and I also need to get my winter tires and an oil change on my car. Again, these are all issues that everyone deals with, but man it just makes me want to be a kid again for a few days.... OK, promise, the next post will be the book review that I have been talking about for a while now. Have a great day!
P.S.- Minnesota dude is good. We still talk on a daily basis and he is also working on things in his own life. We hope to have a visit planned for January, I'm crossing my fingers, I really wanna see him!!!!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
This added weight can put the horse off balace and make it even harder to have a nice jump over a fence. Now, in hunters jumping the fences shouldn't be a huge strain for them since it is not about height but about manners and way of going, but still it makes the horses job that much harder. A lot of riders say that with a riding a hunter it's harder to keep proper equitation because the horse has such a big and rounded jump. I don't believe this is true. I think that too many riders in the hunt and even in the eq ring are trying too hard. I know I am also guilty of this. I find myself jumping for myself instead of just sitting "chilly" and letting the horses motion fold my hips and following with my hand. Many times I will force myself to ride fences as of late and just keep a steady rhythm and pace and let the jump come to me instead of calculating take offs etc. When you let go of many of the technical things it suprised me of how it just happends naturally.
Stay tuned, I am re-reading a good book that I wanted to do a post on , it's called Renegade Champion, the unlikely rise of Fizrada, written by Richard R. Rust. It's a wonderful book written about his mother Jane Pohl who rode on the show circuit with her runt of a TB gelding in the hunters and jumpers classes of the 40's and 50's and breaking gender barriers along the way. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Through the eight years that I rode dressage I feel like I have gained a lot. I first learned to ride in a dressage saddle. I remember holding onto the grab strap when I trotted for the first time in the old County saddle. That was a thrill. I learned to have an independent seat. To not only figure out where my seat bones were but to use them as an aid as well. I learned how to make a horse soften to your hands and push up through the bridle and really engage their hind end while slowly shifting weight from their forehand to the hind. But most importantly I learned to feel. I was able to open the line of communication from horse to rider through just feeling.
My opinion is that dressage basics are the foundation of all kinds of riding; be that western pleasure, saddle seat, hunters and equitation, and any other kinds you can think of. Dressage is based on control and balance and strength. Being able to have the horse move in any direction at any speed at any moment. Isn't this the ultimate form of riding? I think so. If your moving cows or running barrels you need clean flying changes based on balance. If your jumping a course you certainly need the basics of dressage. The horse needs to be listening to all of your aids, you need to be able to shorten and lengthen strides, collect and just about everything else you can think of. Even if your just a trail rider it's important that your horse has proper balance and can move off your seat and legs. You need a horse that has good transitions, what if you are cantering along and all of a sudden the foot drops out and you need to stop short??
So I just wanted this post to pay tribute to the great art of riding that is dressage. I am super grateful for the fundamentals and basics that I have learned with having regular dressage lessons. I was showing first level and schooling second level movements when I decided that I really needed to either get serious about it or branch off into another area of riding. It was then that I went to college and was able to have my first instruction in jumping and all I can say is man I'm glad I had my dressage background! I think every rider should be able to ride a training or even first level test with their horse. Dressage is great for the horse. When done correctly it creates a nice top line, strengthens your horse, gets them used to using the powerhouse that is their hind end and increases communication between the rider. It's kinda like stretching every morning before you work out or even start your day, it's good for everyone involved. Remember, it's like eating your vegetables, It's good for you!!!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I just have to add that I hate verticals. Especially airy verticals. I find it hard to really find my spots. I did this on purpose to not rely on my eye and to focus on pace and rhythm. My goal for the exercise was to get 4 strides in the line, just the same as it was at 2ft. So both of us were really being challenged in this exercise. I bit the bullet and started him in a canter. I kept the same rhythm as we did for the 2ft fences and focused on maintaining his energy and having it be an active canter without it being fast. We got a perfect spot to the first fence. After we landed I et him have one forward stride and then eased him into a shorter canter stride. He responded well and we made it down the line in a perfect 4, with it even being a little long onthe take off. I was floored. We did it again and nearly the same result. Then I changed direction and we nailed it again. The one time we messed up, or I should say I messed up was when we were really getting short strides and instead of asking him fir a long spot to the second jump I thought I could sneak in another little stride. But I didn't prepare him enough ahead of time so we had to basically splant his front legs and then make a four footed leap over the jump, knocking the rail with his hind feet. I made sure to let him know what this was not his mistake and that it was me. He seemed to understand because after putting it back up we did it again and he was great.
I was so happy after the ride. I can;t even describe how good it feels for all the hard work to pay off. I felt like we could have done a whole course in a relaxed manner. For the end of the ride I worked for a few minutes on transisions, especially canter to walk.
So maybe I just wasn't working on the right things this summer. Maybe I was focusing too much on the big picture and stressing myself out on showing and everything else that I really didn't get a chance to tackle the real issues. Who knows, but we seem to be on the right track now. I know that there will be set backs and all, but it just feels good to finally get ahead of the game.
I also have to add that my finances are finally starting to look a little more bright. I've been scrimping and saving and paying off bills and trying to get ahead. I also have some money coming in from work that I didn't even think of. So that's def good news as well. I figure that by the end of November I will be all caught up, credit card all paid off and paying bills early instead of a week late.
Still been talking to Minnesota guy on a daily basis. Hoping to either go out for a visit or him to vome visit here sometime in the next month we'll see.
Alright, the roomie is begging my to go out for a walk. We're being lazy asses and sitting in our recliners with laptops on out legs and making silly stupid comments. So I better get back to acting 12. Check in later.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
As for Minnesota cowboy, things are still the same. We talk all the time and it's good and I'm just trying to sit in the backseat and let the universe take it's course. That's about all for news in my life right now. Just going through the motions and really busy with work and stuff. I'm looking forward to hitting the trails at the barn this weekend before real deer hunting season begins and keeps us out of the woods for a while which really sucks. I don't even take a chance. There are so many stupid hunters out there that just shoot on sound and the thought of my horse or myself getting shot by some jack ass makes me shudder. Don't get me wrong, there are many responsible and great hunters out there, but it only takes one to ruin it for everyone.
Money has also been real tight as of late as well. I'm trying to catch up and get ahead on bills. Plus my car needs winter tires put on and it's also that time of year to pay car insurance. It seems that as soon as you feel like your caught up and doing well other bills come up to totally ruin it all. SO I'm on a super strict budget and it sucks! I really want to go out one night this weekend but lack of money may keep me home. We'll see. Well I think that's about it. I'll update more this weekend.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I got home and then showered and changed since a "friend" had asked me to dinner. I know I know, everyone's interest has just perked up, but it's not as great as it seems. This guy friend and I are simply just that and maybe a little more, but in terms of feelings it is strictly just friends. Basically we are just both a little lonely and not in relationships and enjoying each others company, Kapish? So it was kind of out of the blue that he would ask me to dinner since that's not usually our deal. And to be honest I have been kind of avoiding him lately because I am really starting to have feelings for the Minnesota guy. But I was kinda cornered yesterday and really had to say yes to dinner. Plus this guy friend and I really are friends so it wasn't that bad, plus we have known each other for many years so it was cool. But I couldn't help but feel a slight twinge of sadness. Like I was hoping it was my Minnesota guy that I was chillin with instead of this guy friend. My MN friend and I talk literally 5 times a day. We talk about anything and everything and we can talk for hours. He's sweet and nice and has his life together for the most part blah blah I know you guys have heard it all before. However he is not in a position to date anyone right now. He is in the process of a divorce after a seperation and has kids so I really don't want to be in the mix, and plus it's not my place to be either. (FYI he got married 10 yrs ago when his gf got pregnant and obviously it's not working out) But we talk all the time and it's great. He picks me up during the day and he tells me I do to him too. I really look forward to talking to him and we just seem to click. I know we're 1600 miles away with some obstacles to get through, but boy does this feel good. He's honest and up front, almost brutally honest. He hasn't been happy in a long time and was basically staying in the marriage just for show and then finally couldn't take it anymore. He then came to Maine just looking to get away for a while and get out of the situation and have fun and that's when we met. Neither one of us planned this at all and neither one of us were looking. I was just getting over the Summer of Molly and having fun and he was getting settled into the single life of just himself. He is by no means a player, it makes me laugh a little because of how little experience he has had, but it's cute all in the same hand. SO I really don't know what is going to happen. I have no expectations and we communicate effectively about it all the time so it's good to not have any secrets. Just taking this really slow and "holding my horses" so to speak hahaha. All I know is that as of this time I am not really interested in anyone and am just sitting in neutral seeing what the universe has to bring me. Patience is not a virtue of mine so this is good for me mentally and emotionally just to cool my heels.
Well I think that's about all. It's raining today and I'm not going to ride since I'm still not feeling 100%. I think it's gonna be a clean the apartment evening, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, folding clothes etc...real fun. Plus I need to catch up on everyone's blogs since I've been offline for a bit. Have a great day everyone.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Friday was a much nicer day. It was still cool, only in the low 50's, but I love that temp anyways. Possum came right up to the gate and was ready to ride. I stripped his blanket off and curried him for a while. Now that it's getting colder and the days are getting less and less light they are really starting to get in their winter coats and shedding their summer ones. We ended up having a pretty good ride despite my low energy levels. He warmed up good but was a little lazy so I had to work a little to get him in front of the leg. Once we started trotting some 2ft jumps he perked up some. We worked on being straight and not having him just fall on his forehand after a jump. This is always a challenge for him. He listened pretty well and I was happy. We cantered some small lines and he was nice and slow and collected. I still took it easy on tight turns still kind of babying that left hind. It seems to be doing good, but I don't want to push it. We worked on some canter circles and flying changes. To end the ride we worked on some collected and extended trot sessions. I have found that once Possum starts jumping some and using his back that he is more apt to lift his back in the flat work. So he was nice and collected and really through the bridle. My roomie and I walked around the farm to cool out and then put our horses away. I put his rain sheet back on since the weather was calling for a wet weekend.
Saturday was soaking wet. I had family in town so I went to my parents and did laundry and visited with them. I went to bed early Saturday night since I was going back in the am to meet my family and going to a local fair on Sunday. The fair was a lot of fun. It was good to see some people I havn't seen in a while and hang with the fam. Ofcourse the fair food is always delicious and totally fattening, but hey, we're allowed to indulge sometimes, right? The weather actually cleared in the morning and we even had breaks of sun in the afternoon which was nice. I did feel guilty not riding my horse, but I figure the break won't hurt either of us. Tomorrow I have to work late again but Tuesday I really want to get out to the barn at a decent time and hit the trails. This time of year is so nice with the leaves changing and the nice crisp clear air.
As for my "cowboy friend" we are still 1600 miles apart so it's kinda hard, but the roomie and I are still planning on going out there to visit and check things out, but it might have to wait until December or January because money is really tight right now and I just have no spare cash. Our plan is to go out to Minnesota in the worst part of the year weather wise so we can see it at it's worst because it will only get better from there and see if we can really handle it if we do decide to move next year. This is all just planning and talking for now, nothing is definite for sure, but I know we're both ready for a move and knowing people out there is a plus so we won't just be on our own. So stay tuned for that. However, my cowboy friend and I do talk on the phone every day which is nice, atleast we can talk if we can't see each other. Well I think that's all for now, kinda quiet around here other than the craziness at work which I hope will slow down a little in a few weeks.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I had my roomie load Possum on the trailer the next morning so I could have an extra hr of sleep and then she came back to the house where I helped her hook up the camper. I then got ready and packed and had to drive the one hr in the opposite direction to drop off my dogs, then went to the barn and loaded my car with the stuff I had packed the day before and then hit the highway to meet up with the trailer and my roomie at the show. It was just about dinner time when I arrived. I checked in on Possum and put some mats in his stall and fed him and gave him a quick grooming. I got my stuff ready for the jumper portion of the show and hung for a little bit in the barn and then went to the camper to sleep, since I was beat. I got up early the next morning and cleaned his stall and fed him breakfast and then took a shower and got changed in my riding gear. The show Saturday was soooooo slow. It was about 1pm before I finally was able to ride in the first jumper class. Possum had a great warm-up and felt good on that hind leg, but I also didn't want to push it. We had some good rounds in the jumpers. I can't remember off the top of my head what we placed, but it was fairly good. By the end of the day I was tired and cranky because it had been a hurry up and wait situation. I took care of Possum and then decided that I would drive the hr and a half back home that night to meet up with the cowboys for the last time since they were shipping out Sunday morning and I had a little crush on one of them, the one I stayed up till 5am talking to. I really wanted to spend a few more hrs with him before he went home to Minnesota. I took care of Possum and then hit the road. I got home about 8p and took a quick shower to wash off the days dirt and headed to the fairgrounds. It felt nice to walk up to the large group and have everyone yell my name and give me big hugs and excited to see me, I have to admit it made me feel good.
We hung out and then went to a local bar. I didn't drink since I had the show in the morning to drive back to. My classes were last of the day so there was no huge rush, but I still wanted to feed and make sure everything was ready and I also had to polish my boots. So I was the DD at the bar, but I still had a blast. I danced basically the whole night, moving from one cowboy to the next. They were such great people and so respectful that it was a breath of fresh air to hang out with them. They definately stuck out like a sore thumb in our small town or locals but they just took it all in stride and if someone was ride to them they just brushed it off. I got home about 2am and slept till almost 7am. I packed up and took a shower and was back at the show a little after 9.
The day was just not that fun. Our barn for the most part did excellent and that was great and I was happy for everyone. I had a good warm up on Possum and then when it was my time to go in the ring for our first eq class it went fairly well. Not great but ok, but we still ended up 4th out of 4. The medal class was pretty much a wash. I was a little nervous and ofcourse Possum picked up on it and started to get strong. We got some bad spots, he was rushing in the corners and lost his hind end lead. I was so nervous that I wasn't blinking on course and my contacts were drying out and almost fell out of my eyes, so I basically did the second half of the course with my eyes shut. I tried my hardest. Tight legs, sitting back and using my body to try and slow him. It was so bad once that he lost his hind that I had to wrestle him to a trot to bring him back. I ended up with a score of 50 which is pretty crappy and placed 3rd out of 4 and didn't even get a call back to do the second test. I was pretty upset and had to fight back tears.
I've realized that I really need to sit and think about what it going to make me happy. I have never loved showing, but it's getting to the point that I'm starting to hate it. It's a lot of work and money and if you don;t like doing it, it's gonna make you miserable. I don't really know what is going to happen, but I feel like a break from showing is necessary. If I'm not into showing, my horse sure as hell is not going to be into showing. As it is is he puts up with it because I wanted to do it. I think this fall we're gonna take it easy. Hit up a lot of the trails and just have fun and spend time together. Get out heads and bodies straight and then maybe make a decision.
I'm kinda down today, not in a bad way but I kinda miss my new friends, especially the one that I had gotten close to. Just a real great guy who is a sweetheart and very genuine. He's not a super model or anything, but once you start talking it's just so easy and smooth. I'm glad that I got to be friends with them and have a lot of their numbers so if their up this way again we can hang out or something. SO I'm back at work adn the daily grind, sitting here thinking what it would be like in Minnesota hahaha. Everyone has horses and farms and all that good stuff. We stayed up late a few nights just talking about the west and how different it is from the east and the people. It makes me wonder sometimes.
Well I think that;s about it. I don't have any pics right now and to be honest they wouldn;t be that great anyways. I'm glad to be home and have some time to relax and settle back into the routine. I have a late presentation at the local college tomorrow night so I won't be able to go to the barn, but hopefully Thursday I will.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I decided to press on and trot some smaller jumps and really stay in tune with how he was feeling. He went right up to the jumps and did his job great. We started cantering smaller lines and he was steady and quiet and calm. After about 10 minutes I decided to throw a roll back in to the left. Right after the jump on the turn he lost his hind end lead. I cooled him out and decided to lunge him to see if I could see anything from the ground. I had asked everyone I could especially in the past few days to see if they could see anything going on with him. Even the barn owner and trainer couldn't see anything. I put him on the lunge and started to trot him out in a large circle. I could see that he wasn't striding up as much with the left hind and seemed to be picking it up slighter quicker than the right. Again, it's hard to see, especially when your trying to see something. Then I asked him to canter. This was the tell tale sign. With no rider to keep him balanced he was a mess. (Ok a mess in my mind, maybe not a mess to some people) He even started out cross cantering. ONce he did get the lead he quickly lost it. I ended the lunge session immediately. I went and talked to the trainer and he was to be given a gram of bute that night and put on MSM to help if there was any inflammation going on. She said that it definately did not look like stifle and she thought that it might be a slight muscle pull. We can't really know for sure, but it's really frustrating.
Possum isn't in any pain that I can tell. I know this horse inside and out and we communicate on a level that's kinda cool. He's not in pain, but it seems that it's more of a nuisance for him, like "c'mon leg, stop doing that" After untacking him I spent a good 10 minutes going over his entire body taking mental note of how everything felt and looked. Everything appeared to be fine. I touched his hind all over from rump to the bottoms of his feet and found nothing odd. I again washed his hind and legs down with liniment and popped him a gram of bute and started him on the MSM. I will not ride him the rest of the week until Saturday. Saturday morning before the show I'll lunge him and then ride him and make an asessment from that. We're only in 6 classes Saturday with nothing above 3ft. I just want to make sure my horse is 100% before we do anything. Keeping my fingers cross that it is just a sprained muscle or something and move on from there. I feel bad because he wants to keep riding and working, but I'd much rather be safe than sorry. As I let him back out in his paddok he trotted away and cantered, crazy horse, I told him not to do that, he looked back at me like "what's the big deal dummy?"
So with not riding my guy for the rest of the week I should have plenty of time to pack. Tonight we;re going to my parents to get the camper and for me to throw in a load of wash since our washer is dead. Tomorrow I will be cleaning tack and packing grain and hay and shavings. Getting all my equipment and supplies in their respectful totes and starting to make a list of all the clothes that I need for myself. I feel like I have a child and then some, having a horse is so much work, but I have to admit that I love it. I am psyched for a good time this weekend and I have faith that Possum will be 100% and rarin to go. Think good thought for us please!!
Well I think that's about it. It's a gorgeous day and the weather sounds good for the weekend!
Monday, September 14, 2009
I came back Friday night and raced to my parents to pick up the dogs. They were so happy to see me, and the feeling was mutual for me as well. I had to wash a load of laundry while I was there because our washer shit the bed, joy, more money to spend. So it's 4 days and counting until we leave for the Medals. We will be leaving Friday afternoon to head up there with the horses and stuff. I will be coming up a little after since I have to drop my dogs off at my parents again. I'm really excited but I know that it's a lot of work and a lot to prepare for. I know once we get there and can settle in and relax that it will be fun. I just dread the thought of packing and stuff beforehand. So much to remember and bring and store that it's kinda depressing. I do have Friday off from work thank God! I also took that Monday off as well to unpack and relax a little since I will be out straight the entire weekend. So Friday I will pack all that I need, give Possum a bath and do all trimming and prep work at the barn so that all that needs to be done at the show is braiding.
My scheduled is as follows for the show. Friday we unload and unpack and settle the horses in. Saturday moring I egt him ready because we are entered in 6 jumpers classes, heights 2'3"-3ft. Because I decided to only do the jumper classes I do not need to wear formail show attire. I will be wearing beeches and tall boots and a polo shirt. Possum will be wearing a square embroidered white pad with his sheepskin half pad and he will not be braided. That way we can go around the ring, jump some courses and get some of the energy out of him. My goal is to have him nice and quiet for the day of the medals. Saturday night the barn owner is going to braid Possum for the Medals the next day.
Sunday will be the day of the Medals. Everything is to be clean and polished and looking great. I have an equitation class and a Medal class. My classes start later in the afternoon so that will give me a chance to get ready and watch the others from the barn. Sunda night we will finish packing everything up and head back to the barn.
So with the Medals weekend only 4 days away my goal is to ride consistently this week. I rode Saturday and I could feel his right hind acting up again. I have asked a lot of people about this, but no one seems to have a good idea by looking and feeling it. It is also something that you can't see when he's going other then losing his hind end lead. But when I ride him I feelhim tip his rib cage in and over compensate with the outside hind, therefore making him not through his body. But on a good note he has been very quiet and listening really well in our rides. Because of his hind issue I am not doing tons of jumping, but what we do he is very nice. I have even gotten to the point of asking him to add strides in a line and he's doing it! Our changes are also going really well, over 80% of the time on his bad side and 100% on his good side. My roomie even rode Possum one day that I was gone so it was good for him to stay in shape and working. I did not ride yesterday after riding fairly hard Saturday. When I was done Saturday I gave him a liniment bath making sure to really rub any sore spots and checking him over thoroughly.
Tonight after work I'm headed to the barn and going to have an easy ride. I think I may even just flat him and maybe go for a little jaunt down the road to keep him fresh. My reasoning is this. It's not that Possum can't jump the jumps or the height. He's good on tight turns now because we have been working on them, and he's getting a lot quieter in the lines. Basically I just need to keep him maintained and fit and most importantly sound. I have a feeling Saturday will nock him down a peg with the jumpers. I don;t want him too tired and that's why we;re only doing 6 classes. And if he still feels good there is a race track on teh grounds that we can play around with too. Possum especially loves galloping on the track, and remembers it wellfrom our marshaling days.
SO that's the game plan. I have also been having a lot of fun in my personal life as well. I'm not going into details since there are way more people that read this blog then I realize! But the weather has been consistently great and I'm having fun with friends and hanging outside. No BF prospects, but just having fun with good friends.
Alright, think that's about it. I am so busy at work too with school starting and being in VA all last week and now with the Medals coming up and having Friday off I'm swamped. Checkin tomorrow, later.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
I rode for most of last week. Had a couple of good serious ring rides and a couple of really fun trail rides. The weather here for the last week has been beautiful. We're so used to having it rain almost every day this summer, getting 7 days of sunshine in a row is like heaven. The temp is also perfect. 70's and80's during the day and nice and cool at night with no humidity. During one of my ring rides towards the end of our jumping session I felt that left hind acting up again in the turns. I cooled off quickly and then after untacking him inspected it. There was no heat or swelling, just those nasty looking lumps that have turned hard and calcified. I cold hosed it anyways for about 10 minutes and rubbed liniment on the whole leg and rump. If it's one thing about Possum, it's that he HATES liniment. I'm pretty sure it's the feeling he doesn't like, the tingling sensation. He dances around and stomps his feet and has even done little rears. He doesn't ast as bad if it's just his legs but if I scrub him down with a bucket of water and liniment he freaks. Just another little bit of info on my crazy appy.
It's actually been a good week for me and a restful holiday weekend. I've been hanging out with friends and having fun at night. Work has been crazy. Schools are back open again and I've been getting back into the schools and getting presentations ready for the year. After this weekend, Tuesday morning I fly down to Virginia for a conference for work for 4 days. I think I;ve said this before but I'm gonna miss my puppies like crazy!!!
I've also been running more this past week. I've been running down the old snowmobile trails and it's helping to keep my motivation up. But i have to admit that my meals have been less than healthy, I'm sipping on a can of Pepsi as I type this hahaha.
Last night was particularly nice. I got to the barn at around 6 and it was pretty quiet, just as I wanted it to be. The dogs ran around and and did their thing and I got Possum out and ready. He was pretty slow to warm-up. He usually doesn;t get his motor revved until we start cantering some and then he comes into himself. My goal was to work mostly on rhythm and pace. He did excellent. I was thrilled with him. His canter was absolutely perfect. I was able to just sit pretty and lift him up when he started to get a little heavy. He was nice and light for the most part and responsive, it felt really nice. I was still riding in the Happy Mouth Elevator. I've decided to keep riding in that right up until the medals since he is doing so well in it. I want him this light and responsive for the Medals rides. It also helps that we've been working a lot on the flat Bringing things back to basics and having him really listen to my seat aids more. Getting him to rock back on his hind for downward transitions. I'm actually pretty happy with our progress. SO when we got to the jumping part of the ride last night I was really sensitive to any heisitation on his left hind. He felt great and nice and strong. The rhythm and pace was right on! I was jumping for joy inside. Even with the jumps au around 2'6 and some close to 3ft he was still keeping that nice pace, and with that pace I was better able to get him to a good spot and not be fighting with him all the time to slow down. I only jumped serious for about 10 minutes, enough to get throigh every line and mix things up a bit, I didn;t want to push my luck.
After the ride I untacked him and gave him his dinner to eat in the yard. It was so nice just sitting in the grass watching him eat and playing with the dogs The sun was just setting and everything was pink and orange and a huge moon was hanging in the sky.
Today I really have no plans, I want to go to the barn and have a fun ride this afternoon since he was so good yesterday. The sky is such a bright blue with no clouds in sight, it's just beckoning me to ride. Tonight the roomie and I are going to her guy friends hous for a small cook out and he invited one of his single cop buddies over too to meet me. Who knows, I'm not expecting a love connection or anything, but can always use good friends. I've also been hanging with a few guys lately too. Nothing serious, just having a few drinks and chillin. It's nice to be in the company of guys again and chatting. I feel like I'm just starting to feel ok living the single life, doing my own thing and only taking care of myself. I'm looking forward to this fall andofcourse the medals are only 2 weeks away!!!! That's going to be the highlight for sure, everyone back together as a show team again and having the whole weekend dedicated to horses and showing, I can't wait.
Well I think that's about it for now. Sorry it's been so long between posts, I'll try and keep up, but when I'm in Virginia I'm not sure if I will have internet, so we'll see. Have a great holiday weekend!!!!!!
Monday, August 31, 2009
Saturday I didn't ride. It was all rainy and yucky and cold so I opted to be lazy and stayed home for most of the day. Yesterday was perfect weather wise. The air was dry and the sun was shining but it wasn;t too hot. I got to the barn late afternoon, I had to watch the Red Sox game first ofcourse haha. It was too nice to just do work in the arena so we had a long warm-up and flatted some. We brushed up on some flying changes which he did well with and did lots of serpentines and softening work. He was doing so well, like butter in my hands. I literally had ounces of weight in each hand, even on his bad side. I decided not to push my luck so we turned for the trail. It was Beautiful! We just buzzed along. Trotted when the footing was iffy and cantered when it was good. SOmetimes I just really like trail riding by myself. It's when I do my best thinking and relaxing. I Don't even talk out loud but I feel like Possum is knowing all that I'm thinking. Either I'm really in tune with my horse, or I'm just a wackadoo, I'
ll leave that one up in the air for now. It was nice to just get out. But like most of my trail rides I do like to work on things, We worked on shortening andn lengthening strides at the canter. ALso worked on some flying changes which he did awesome with. He was soft and responsive and really working through his back at the trot. I was really happy with how he was going. We got back to the barn about dusk. I gave him a quick grooming and then he had his grain since his paddock had already been fed. I then turned him out and fed hay to the guys in his paddock. It was just starting to sprinkle when I left.
Not sure if I'm riding tonight. If I don't I'll atleast find the time to have 2-3 serious ring rides this week and then a trail ride or two as well. I Like to mix things up. Possum is a little like me and can get bored easy and when he gets bored he finds things to do that are fun, Like galloping around an entire jump course. I want to keep him on his toes and working on things, but also want him to think it's fun and stay in tune with me. I'm finding that it's a hard balance. As long as we have our regular trail rides and gallop sessions he seems to be pretty happy.
Didn;t do much socially this weekend like I said I stayed home most of Saturday and Sunday went to the barn. But I did manage to rustle up some fun on Friday night and ended up hanging with an ex......giggle giggle....and no it wasn't Nick. It was actually quite comical and trust me nothing came of it. I won't get into details since this blog has become quite popular as of late so I'll leave it up to your imaginations. Well that's about it for now. Work is getting real crazy again since school has just started and I've been moving my office to another room in the building. Now I need to make up some posters to hang in the schools. Have a great day!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
After a good flat warm-up we started trotting jumps and he was really doing quite well. Then I had him canter one single jump. Cantering to the jump and then breaking to a halt about 8 strides away, turning him around and then cantering the jump the other way. After he did that decent we jumped a roll back. There was a lesson at the top half of the arena so we stayed towards the back. After doing that fairly well we did some diaginal lines and he was really listening and going nice and slow. I even tested him and we got 6 strides in a 5 stride line, I was thrilled that he was really coming back to me and shortening his stride when I asked. I put the roll back jumps up to 3ft and practiced just going back and forth over those working in both directions. I was really happy with the ride! When we were finished I could tell that he felt good too, his ears were up and he had a nice swing to his back andw as just looking around. I made sure to give him lots of praise.
Below are some pics. The first one is a pic of one of the new jumoes everyone has been painting, they look really spiffy!
I let Possum out loose to eat his grain and graze for a bit. Got a shot of his ugly appy eye hahaha.
A close-up of him eating his dinner
Lastly a shot of all his muscles. He is quite fit and muscled. Look at that nice long appy tail, when I got him it was barely to his hocks and now it almost touches the ground. Also note that I do not touch his mane and that's all teh growth I can get. Luckily the barn owner is a whiz with braiding and make it look really nice for shows since I'm braiding challenged.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The weather held off and after tacking up we headed to the outdoor arena. I had no real game plan and was going to play it by ear according to how he warmed up. I let him warm up slowely not asking him to collect and just kept the reins loose so he could criuse around. After a while I asked him to collect. One of Possum's infamous traits is to suck his neck in, disengage his hind and crawl around in a nice false frame. I had to use quite a bit of leg to get him moving forward. It was then that I cursed myself out for not grabbing a dressage whip. Finally he started to really work through his body. I still had the Happy Mouth three ring Elevator on for a bit. He was suprisingly light and it was nice to only have ounces in my hands. We did some lengthening and shortnings. His canter was nice and round. His stiffer side is to the left and I worked extra hard on softening him with some shoulder in and lateral work. I was really pleased with how nice he was moving and feeling. We did some flying changes across the diagonal and he didn;t rush them and was quiet. Towards the end of the ride he was really stratching into the bridle and I could really feel him push with his hind end. I quit on a good note.
After a nice flat we hit the trails. He was a little sluggish at first. I could tell that he thought he had done a good job and didn't want to work anymore because a roundbale was calling his name out int he paddock. After about a quarter mile he perked up and really got into the ride. When we got to the long dirt road part he started to dance. We hadn't galloped in a while because of the funky thing going on with his left hind. I got up out of the saddle and we started to fly. It felt good to be out galloping again. His strides ate up the ground and before I knew it we were reaching the end. We walked most of the way back to the barn and cantered along side of the hay fields. I was very happy with our ride. Even though we didn;t go over a single jump, a nice flat is definately the stepping block to a nice hunter round.
Might ride again tomorrow. Have plans Thursday night so won't ride then, we'll see how hot the weather gets tomorrow. Possibly a wet weekend is coming so that means riding in the indoor mostly. Either way we'll get in some solid rides and keep working towards the medals.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Hes a very good boy. He would never buck or rear or be dangerous in any way, but he is also not an easy ride. He has a very straight shoulder which makes his trot bone jarring. He has a neck that is on the shorter side and his withers and back are dead even, meaning that for him to lift his shoulder and the frontpart of his body and really push from behind makes it hard for him. What is easy for some horses like some dressage movements, or soft and collected downward transitions is hard for him. I realize this, but on the other hand it is possible and if we want to do well at shows we need to work on this lots.
I feel while I am pointing out the negatives of my horse I should also add in a few positives just to even it out. Possum is the best trail horse ever, hands down! I have talked about this before, but basically he will do anything that I ask on a trail. He has a wonderfully long canter stride and can eat up the ground easily. Conformationally he is not that bad. I mentioned the straight shoulder which could possible be trouble in the future, and the short-ish neck and the slightly downhill build, but nothing like you see on the Fugly blog or anything. But other than that he doesn't have an real faults that could make him unsound in the future. He just isn't built like those wonderfully large warmbloods who are up-hill with long sculpted necks who just naturally collect. The ones you see cantering in the field and it looks like their in a dressage test. When Posusm canters and gallops around the paddock he looks like an arab. Head up, tail up, back hollowed and usually cantering disunited and then tripping because he was off balance. Am I drawing an accurate picture here?
So Thursday's ride went fairly well. We continues to work on halts in the middle of lines, then trotting int he middle of lines and then after some success just a strong half halt in the middle of the line. I absolutely hate having to muscle my horse around, but sometimes to get through to him it takes very strong aids and then we just try to quiet them every time after that. I do have to give him credit though, he strides were more collected and he was rushing the second fences in the lines less which is plus. We also continue to have challenges in jumping lines on the downhill of the ring. Cantering and then jumping 3ft on a downhill adn then quicky gathering himself and getting off his forehand is very very very hard for him. We usually leave out a stride on the downhill lines but I was working hard to get those correct number of strides in and I could see some progress. I ended on a good note and let him cool out, we were both really tired.
Friday it was threatening rain all day. I did manage to get in a 40 min ride before the skies opened up. Not only was it pouring but the lightening was horrible. The next town over even had a tornado touch down. A tornado in Maine! It was crazy. So for our 40 min ride I warmed up fairly quickly. It was hot and muggy and I didn't want either of us to get too over heated. I just wanted to brush up on the jumping from the day before and see if any of it had sunk in. He actually did fairly decent. We rode a couple courses, nothing fantastic, but also nothing that would make people hold their breath.
This weekend was just a relaxing weekend for me. I literally stayed home all weekend. Saturday was another super humid day with temps in the mid 90's. I cleaned the apartment top to bottom. When I would get really hot I would go in my room and cool off in the ac and then go back to cleaning. The apartment really needed a good scrubbing and I was feeling motivated so it was a good combo. Yesterday I ran some errands and then watched some TV. We still havn't gotten ride of all of the fleas so we did all the carpet stuff again, bathed all 4 dogs and my roomie's cat in flea bath and washed all our bedding again. Those suckers are really hard to get rid of. The weather we're having isn't helping either. Hot and sticky exuals lots of fleas. Supposedly this is the worst year on record for fleas in Maine and we're not te only ones having issues. It was quite a project last night. My roomie and I in our bathing suits one washing the dog and one rinsing them. We scrubbed and scrubbed and rinsed and rinsed. It was so hot that the sweat was dripping off my face into the bath water, gross!! SO now the dogs are all squeaky clean, the rugs treated and the bedding washed. So keep your fingers crossed. Ok enough of my rambling. Hope to ride Possum tonight if the weather holds off. Probably going to do some flat and then a quick trail. Have a good day everyone
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
So this is my excuse for not folding and putting away all my clean laundry. Jetta was enjoying the AC in my room and decided to curl up in my clean clothes. This little dog does anything she wants!