Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Flying Spots

And so it started as a nice laid back kind of outing. Super hubs and I loaded Cowboy on to the trailer and drove over to the farm around the corner where the trial was going on. It was raining, threatening to storm, but like the true eventers we weren't about to let a little rain stop us.

Cowboy unloaded all high headed and snorty then settled a bit to just giving all the other horses the hairy eyeball. We led him around until he had seemed to calm down and then I tacked him up(in his western gear thank the horse Gods for that insight).

I rode over to where the dressage and sj warm-up was going on talked with a new eventing buddy who was just starting out in the sport and a couple of other higher level eventers that I hang with at events. Cowboy behaved himself for the most part, at least he did in the beginning.  But somewhere around the 15 to 20 minute mark of walking in slow circles and me watching the dressage tests going on Cowboy decided he wanted to either go back to the trailer or go hang with super hubs who was playing with his iPhone outside the warm-up area.

This is where the temper tantrums ensued. And I don't mean Cowboy tossed his head and gave a little jiggy hop. No, no this was a full on throw his head in the air, rear up on his hindlegs doing his best impression of Silver from the Lone Ranger.  Not once, not twice, but three times within a ten minute span.

Me thinks the Spotted Beast needs to learn patience and lose the 'tude. And he needs to get worked more. Rebellious beast needs a job, something more than my husband just walking him around. 

After the third tantrum I made Cowboy walk a circle and then I got off.  My ankle was already hurting and I was there for fun and to watch my friend's first foray in to eventing not to deal with the Pony-attitude-palooza.  I know, I know, bad horse mommy.  I should have worked his spotted butt until he was too tired to rebel but I just didn't have it in me last night.

The western tack was what saved my butt. If I had tacked him up in my english gear I know with absolute certainty that I would have ended up on the ground. On the upside I got to show off to my watching friends what great stick-ability I have!

Keep it between the flags everyone!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Different Kind of Ride

I was planning on taking the High Queen to the Pony Club schooling trials around the corner again this evening but I haven't had as much time as I would have liked to work on her loading issue so I decided to leave her home tonight and take Cowboy instead.

I haven't ridden Cowboy in a couple of months at least. So when super hubs and I saddled him up yesterday evening I was a little wary. Yes he's a laid back Appaloosa but he's also 4 and had only truly been broke since late April.  I was also going to ride him english versus his usual western tack.  I only wanted to walk and trot him around a bit to see how we both felt about riding together under english tack.

He was a little unhappy with the bit, a french link snaffle, his usual bit is an eggbutt. But other than that and one sort of I'm thinking about bucking hop he was pretty good.  There was a lot of head flipping, but that is just him showing his resistance to the amount of contact(super lite compared to the High Queen's contact) I had on the reins.

The thing I noticed most though was how big his walk was, and how unbelievably smooth his trot was.  I mean I love the mare-beast despite her loading issues, and her some days unpredictability but I definetly could tell the difference between riding her gaits and riding Cowboys.

I wasn't entirely happy with how the saddle felt though. I put my old Collegiate AP on him because the Pessoa has Seneca's narrow gullet in it right now. I had checked the fit of it on him before but I think having ridden in the lovelyness of the Pessoa for the last several months that going back to the AP made me feel out of balance.  I'm thinking I'll check the fit of the Pessoa on Cowboy see if the narrow gullet will work, and if not I'll just do a quick change and put the medium gullet in. My only other option is to ride Cowboy in his western tack. Not a deal breaker since I'm not taking Cowboy to the schooling trial to show just to act as a buddy for a friend's horse who has never done XC and is nervous by herself.

So that's the news from Eventing at Midnight, keep it between the flags everyone.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Squirrel says "Pay attention to me!"

And So it Goes

I took Seneca to the PC schooling trial around the corner from my farm. How did it go? Hmmm depends on how you look at it.  Dressage was kinda a bleh. Our trot to canter transitions were reallly ugly. But we did earn a 37 to break our streak of 40 somethings.

The stadium portion was kind of an eye opener.  Not only was there a double combination with a two stride in between there was a freaking triple combination? WTF?  I saw that and immediately knew this was truly, truly a schooling event where I didn't care what score I got.  We circled in between each of the elements and had one stop at an ugly wall, and a rail down on a single verticle.

The XC portion was a mess. The course twisted and looped and made no logical sense. I think I went off course at least three times and just flat out didn't attempt this ugly cinderblock hogs back looking thing.  We'd jumped it before but it was getting on towards evening and the lighting wasn't conducive to safe jumping of the thing.  We had two stops on XC the first was just Seneca freaking over a kind of fence we'd never jumped before. A black culvert sort of pipe fence, it was in shadows, and getting dark so I forgave her a little.  The second stop was my fault. I wasn't aggresive enough to a wall with width fence and we got it on the second try.

The show stopper though was the fact that her Highness then declined to get in to the trailer for over 30 minutes.  Damn her. I gave up and walked her home, super hubs trailing behind us in the rig with the lights flashing as we walked the backroad home. Humiliating, but worth it.

There is another one next week and I think we're going to do the 2ft division but try to canter all the fences this time.  Wish us luck and no injuries!

Keep it between the flags everyone.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Seneca and Cowboy hiding from the heat under the Oak trees in the back pasture.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Just Go With It

The heat is unrelenting but I managed to get up and feed early so I could then tack up the mare-beast for a short jump school. The day before I'd had rearranged my jumps from the grid in to three jumps each at varying heights and angles. I had also decided I wanted them to be a bit spookier. But how do you make plain PVC poles spookier without spending a ton of money?  Ever use painter's tape? Sure it's great for keeping paint off things you don't want painted but it's pretty ingenious for making plain white poles in to striped poles without the commitment of paint, or other things.  And it comes in a couple of colors.

I did just the minimum amount of warm-up I can get away with because even at 9:30 in the morning the humidity was terrible.  To the point that on our walk breaks of which there were many I walked Seneca in the narrow strip of shade along the fence line.

I did no lateral work, no dressage-esk work at all. I wanted to get in, get out, get it done.  I trotted then cantered my warm-up fence, a small X with a ground pole set out 11 feet in front of it.   Then on to the newest of my spook fences, a fence I have specifically made as scary as possible. I want Seneca to think about running out, and have the opportunity to correct her so she will stop doing it.  She did run out the first time but it was totally my fault. I anticipated she was going to jump it and leaned at her. She took advantage of that and ducked out to the right.  *Sigh* Ride to the base, ride to the base, ride to the base. I will chant this in my head next time.

But we had no more run outs after that. We cantered the spook fence and I had intended to trot over the big max height 2'8" fence then canter it.  We trotted it but Seneca knocked the top rail with her hind feet and since I don't have a handy grounds person plus the High Queen had been pretty good, and the heat/humidity was horrible I finished on that and then hosed the mare off before letting her back in to the pasture.

The lesson I was teaching myself today was that I need to just go with the cantering up to a fence. Seneca is not going to kill you if she's a bit too fast coming to a 2'7 stadium fence. The worst that will happen? You'll trash the fence and rack up faults.  Let her fly, heels down, grab mane, and Go With IT!

I did pretty well with it today. I don't know if I will get to ride tomorrow the heat is supposed to be worse so we'll have to see.  Right now I'm spending time watching old episodes of the FEI Show Jumping World Cup qualifiers.  These are the people I should emulate for stadium, we're not hunters. Be fast, and clean, fast and clean!

Keep it between the flags everyone. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

I Love the Pony Club

As I watched the heat index soar upwards on my two days off for the holiday I got down to the business of trying to plan out my fall eventing season.  I really sat down and thought about how to get from where I was to where I wanted to be.

I don't think doing a Recognized Beginner Novice HT is impossible, but we're not ready yet, maybe not even this fall. But I was cruising the omnibus and there are lots of big name Area II horse trials that have starter events. Waredaca and Rubicon to name a couple.  I also had to rethink doing Morven Park after I reread the omnibus listing and realized that the fall Morven Park HT is also the regional championship. So not at that level yet.

I was also bemoaning the fact that around my local area (farthest south eastern corner of VA you can get without being north east NC) there wasn't a whole for green eventers or any eventers to do. Even our local h/j shows don't actually have jumper classes at most of the shows. Not that I am opposed to doing hunter classes to get some mileage this was afterall my fall back plan since gas prices are keeping me close to home.

But the local Pony Club saves the day yet again. A friend of mine who also helps coach the local pony clubbers sent me a flyer for two evening schooling trials that are five minutes or less from my house.  How sweet is that! Granted the XC's are very basic but hey basic is good when you're trying to teach you ex-race horse the happy medium between the slowest hunter at the party and steeplechaser wannabe.  We have also been to the host farm a couple of times, although the last outing there did not end well. I think that day is listed under "God Doesn't Give Perfect Days."  It was last February or early March. In which the High Queen tried to gouge her own eye out on the less than five minute trailer ride from the farm.

Lets hope for a better outcome this time. I am going to try and let Seneca canter as much as possible. I really want to get past this hang-up we have. Mare-beast wants to go fast, I want to go at a safe pace that doesn't have me feeling like Seneca is dive bombing to the base of each fence.  Seneca can be strange though. She'll be a complete cow at home but behave herself in the jumping off the farm.  But my goal for the schooling show? NO RUN OUTS OR STOPS! Canter what we can while going clean, trot if need be. Last time though it wasn't the fences in the arena that spooked her, it was the empty chairs outside the arena that made her freak and turn in to a giraffe on crack.

So the High Queen and I will be doing the two PC schooling trials and I will be trying to pick out the Starter Event that will be our fall debut. 

As a side note I was horribly disappointed that Sinead and Tate did not get picked for the US Team. I wouldn't wish harm on any of the horses or riders currently chosen but if something should happen I hope Sinead get's her shot as an alternate.

Keep it between the flags, even while your fanning yourself in the heat!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Would someone PLEASE turn down the heat!

Still haven't been able to ride.  I get all happy and motivated while I'm in the cool house but then when I step out the door and the heat and humidity smack me in the face all my happy go ridingness melts.

Today is much cooler, or it is right now. Who knows what it will be like when I get home. I want to ride, I crave to ride, my eventing goals are singing that sweet siren song but when my horse is head to toe sweat and grime( In the half dark this morning when I was going out to feed I mistook her for Cowboy because she was so plastered in pale dirt.) I just don't have the heart to tack my horse up.

So I have nothing to do but cruise the net and dream of things that should be better left for another season. Such as I realllly want to take Seneca to Morven Park's fall HT. The more reasonable side of me wonders what the hell I'm thinking and points to disasterous/expensive exhibit A. (Kelly's Ford)  And the fact that we aren't ready for that kind of a competition right this moment.  But the irrational/masochistic/jumping addicted side of me says if we can conquer our major issue over the next couple of months then why not? Morven Park is afterall in October.

The chicken in me says WTF do you WANT to die? The competitive part of me keeps going back to my coach muttering things like "Prelim"  *shudder/squeal*  We are NO WHERE in the vicinity of the same time zone as Prelim but nice to know my coach thinks my horse could go there. Whether I would still be attached to the saddle at that point and not wading out of the water jump or laying in the grass somewhere between fences 2 and 3 is debatable. But it's nice to dream although the thought of the size of the Prelim jumps makes me phsically ill.

Until our realities catch up with our dreams... keep it between the flags everyone! P.S crossing our fingers for Sinead and Tate's bid for Olympic greatness. If I can't do it at least I can watch someone else really great doing what we all love!