Catching Up

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Alright, I know.  It's been crazy and I haven't had a chance to catch up on the barn/riding activities.  So that means this is gonna be a long one!  lol

Going back 3 (!) weekends ago, I had a great ride on Miss.  I started tacking her up when Rachel headed out to the arena.  That meant they were just starting jumping when Miss and I made our way out there.  So I did have a somewhat distracted Miss, but we handled it pretty well.  She's still not bending really great, somewhat stiff, so i know that's something we need to work on, but other than that she continues to amaze me.  She was forward and willing.  When I asked for the trot, she easily moved into a swinging trot.  And she was moving very straight, woohoo!  So we warmed up at the walk and trot while Rachel finished her lesson.  We did a lot of transitions, changes in direction and laterals.  And then it was time to jump.  I was actually riding in my Collegiate saddle so it would be easier on me to jump this time around.  I hiked up my stirrups while Bonnie lowered the fence back down and we were ready to go.  We got to jump a small vertical this time.  And Miss loved it.  First time through was pretty crappy on my part (as usual) but Miss was a rock star.  She's using herself so well over fences and she's just loving it.  We jumped that about half a dozen times or so and Bonnie bumped the fence up.  Which of course made Miss even more excited.  After jumping that several times, Bonnie bumped it up again.  But unfortunately I had one of my moments and we had a stop.  Rather than risk hurting Miss, we just dropped the fence back down and finished with that a few times.  After we finished Sarah measured the fence and we had been jumping 2'8" so just over beginner novice height.  Woohoo!  So pleased with my baby girl!  Of course by the time I took care of Miss and put her away I pretty much had to leave to get ready for work, so I didn't get any other riding in that day.

The following Friday I had off work for Spring Break, so of course that meant I headed out to the barn.  the plan was to clean some stalls, but mother nature had other ideas.  Between the snow and the rain, everything was pretty much mud behind the barn.  It was so bad trying to get the wheelbarrows through the mud to dump them.  So Kaye's stall got cleaned and then I gave up on stalls.  That's ok though, cause it was time for Spa Day.  Since Kaye was already in the cross ties I started with her.  She got a thorough grooming and then I pulled the clippers out and she got her bridle path clipped and all her whiskers trimmed as well.  That darned mare knows that it's getting close to show season and she's getting excited for it.

While I was working on Kaye, I was interrupted by a phone call from Sandy and I figured that since her ponies were going home in a week I better start to clean them up a bit.  So I pulled Buddy's blanket off, and first we headed out to the arena to exercise a bit on the lunge line.  I let him work off a bit of energy and then brought him back in the barn and started giving him a good grooming.  Which involved using all of my Cowboy Magic to untangle his mane.  GRRRR!  A while later he was groomed, clipped, braided and re-blanketed and back in his stall.

Finally I got to pull Miss out and give her a serious grooming.  It's been a while since she's had pre-show season day like this and she was loving every minute of it.  Started off with some serious time with the curry comb, and the hair was a flyin'!  So glad to see that, as she has been one of the last horses to shed the past few years.  Then she got her bridle path clipped and her whiskers trimmed.  And then finally I got out the pulling comb to work on her mane.  It still needs pulled some more to look respectable, but it's a start at least.  

Got to love how white that sock stays

Saturday, well that's when everything with Tru started, so it wasn't really a good day.  I did get a good lesson on Kaye though.  We had some great moments on the flat and some pretty good fences as well.

And then finally this brings me to this past weekend.  I took the day off on Friday so that we could head down to Frederick, MD in the morning and take Cuddles and Buddy home.  I got to the barn early so I could grain and water before Bonnie got home from work.  She stopped to pick up Astrid and then the trailer from Tammy's so it was about 8:30 by the time they got there.  Astrid and I groom the two ponies a bit while Bonnie was haying everyone and then we hosed their legs clean and loaded them in the trailer.  It ended up being around 10 by the time we left, a little later than I would have liked but not too bad.  Bonnie drove until we got our toll ticket on the turnpike and then we switched drivers so she could sleep a bit.  It was a gorgeous day for a drive.  We had the windows down and my iPod was plugged in the radio.  We stopped at Somerset for lunch, and of course I had to get Chloe lunch too.  lol  Finally we stopped at Hagerstown for fuel and bonnie took over the driving duties, which was fine with me.  I don't particularly want to drive the back roads to Sandy's place.  It was about 3 when we pulled into Sandy's.  After getting the ponies settled in their stalls we had a nice (brief) visit with Sandy before we piled back in the truck and headed home.  Bonnie drove for a bit in Maryland and then turned driving back over to me as she started getting tired again and I drove the bulk of the trip home.  We stopped on the turnpike for fuel and dinner and ended up making it home about 9:00.  Of course by the time we took care of the horses and I drove home it was after 11:00.  Oh and to make it even better.  When I went to get in my car, my right front tire was low, like majorly low.  Stopped at Kwik Fill and put air in it, and at that time I found the huge nail in the tire.  

So Saturday morning I had to first wait around until Smallwood's opened at 9:00 to have my tire fixed.  I was there early so I was the first one in.  And luckily they were able to patch my tire.  Which is good, I would have been pissed if I had to replace it.  That tire is only 2 months old!  It was going on 10:00 by the time I finally made it out to the barn.  We were running low on hay so first order of the day was to move some hay down from the upper building.  Since we didn't have Jim to put it in the hay loft we just put some in the barn.  X lucked out as Bonnie wanted to put a bale down by the arena doors, but she needed someone in that stall who wouldn't balloon out eating hay nonstop.  So Repo got moved and X went into that stall.

He's in heaven with the new arrangement.  So after we finished with the hay it was time to tack Kaye up.  I got on first to work out her spookiness.  And man was she feeling GOOD!  lol  As I was walking to loosen her up, we had to spook at the doors, all of them, every time we went past.  We had to spook at the very scary hay bales sitting at the far end of the arena.  Oh my god, how could I possibly expect her to work in such scary conditions.  Eventually I just pushed her into a trot, getting to work usually settles her down.  It was successful for the most part, Kaye moved into a forward, swinging trot.  She was relaxing and on the bit. We did some trot work, throwing in some laterals every so often and then asked for the canter.  As usual, she did pick her head up a bit at the canter, but she came back down on the bit when I asked, so I was pleased with that.  And she did a couple of really nice, responsive simple lead changes.  Then it was time to jump.  Bonnie had me shorten my stirrups even more than normal.  Usually I dressage with my stirrups on the 9th hole (give or take a hole depending on the horse) then for jumping I shorten them 3 half holes.  Bonnie had me shorten them 2 more half holes.  That's a big difference for me, a big difference for my knee really.  At that point I could definitely tell it was time for another cortisone shot.  Guess I better call Dr. Yakish.  

So stirrups shortened I was ready to go.  Bonnie had set up a smallish oxer for us (2'6"-ish)  And I was all over the place.  It was bad.  I was leaning on her neck, pinching with my knees so my lower leg was swinging waaay back, and then grabbing with my legs for balance so Kaye was taking off after the fence.  Time to try fixing this.  Reins tied in a knot and next time we go with no hands.  I'll admit it took me a couple of fences to get comfortable jumping with no hands again, I'm so rusty at jumping now, going so long without any lessons is not what I need at all.  After several times with no hands, I did get better with my upper body position, and my lower leg wasn't swinging quite so much.  So progress was made, not as much as I would like though.  I really need to step up here if I'm going to go training at South Farm in May.