Sunday, August 20, 2017

And it all comes crashing down.....

Oh dan.....

So..... I couldn't even write this til way later....

After our fun XC school on Friday, the plan was to stay overnight at Jumping Branch and then go to Bubba's on Saturday. Since Dan and I were just there with Kelly we were just going to go and do stadium and then maybe go for a gallop on the track and then a swim. But... we never got the chance.

I'm a complete dummy and made a terrible terrible choice. It was such a hot long day and Peri and I were both tired and hungry so we put the horses in stalls and went to eat. Everyone else was staying on site and celebrating Jamie's birthday, but we were just tired of being hot and hungry so we opted to go out to eat. Afterwards I wanted to come back and say hi to Jamie and check on Dan. And I was even thinking of turning him out as the paddocks were available. We didn't put them out earlier because the only paddocks that were open were in the sun. Anyways... point being... we came back after dinner and decided to toss the boys out for the night. Honestly, it was a little bit of lazyness. The others had wrapped their horses and I was feeling guilty for not doing the same... and it was easier to just turn them out. Plus I figured he'd enjoy being out. So we did. Well, I took his hay net out of the stall and went to hang it on the paddock fence. The fence was slightly short so I thought briefly about just tossing his hay out. But I didn't... because I was tired and wanted to go shower and go to bed.

And there yah go. When you hear that little voice... HEED IT!!

The next morning I got a text from Beth saying that my horse had broken a board in the 10 minutes they were up. Apparently after seeing Dan stand in one place for 10 minutes and noticing the broken board, they realized something might be wrong and went to investigate. Dan was hung in my hay net. He didn't get hung in the net itself but in the straps I used to hang it. Sigh.. They had to cut him out. Who know's how long he was stuck too because he immediately went and drank a good bit of water they said. So his right front leg was stuck and swollen. They trotted him out and he was lame... but in the hind end!! Not the front.

I got there shortly after and Beth jogged Dan for me. She was thinking left hind, but I thought I saw right hind. So then I checked his pelvis and adjusted his sacrum. And yeah... I crippled him!! I made him 3 legged! Luckily he quickly worked out of it but he was very lame. So.. I panicked. I texted the video to Dr. Brown, but didn't even realize that he was so close since we were in Aiken. I called Aiken Equine and ended up taking Dan there. She did a rectal to make sure he didn't fracture his pelvis. She said that she didn't feel anything but it was hard to tell. So at that point Dr. Brown had texted me back and told me to bring him to him. So we got Peri to Bubba's and she did her lesson and I adjusted Rusty for Danielle. And then we headed to Dr. Browns.
Holy Crud!!! I broke him!

Phew, better, but still bad

Okay.... I didn't cripple him completely
Dr Brown looked at him and said that he thought he tore his middle gluteal or accessory gluteal muscles. Okay... that's a lot better than a pelvic fracture or tendon injury.

So... yeah.... Dr. Brown suggested 3 months off and that I go to a vet in Aiken who could ultrasound him and confirm.

Which AEC's for us... no more being tied for 2nd on the leaderboard for BN horses.....
Yep.... sucks big time.

(And yes... I'm very grateful that he didn't break his leg or his neck... and it's just the AEC's... but still!!!! Sooooooo disappointing!)

Schooling at the Vista

Great day... great fun.

Dan and I hauled up to the Vista with Peri and Roux for a fun day of XC schooling with Beth. We both had a good day and good rides! Dan was super and was pretty much bored over the BN and Novice stuff. We did practice the water more. Beth wants us to come very confidently into it but not running. And to remember to give him a long view of it so he doesn't have any excuse. He was very brave to it today, but... we worked on slowing it down and riding aggressively and I could feel the difference. Not that I needed it, but had he propped, the slower more confident ride was one that would be easier to fix.

So yep.. .fun day!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Dressage exercises by Kelly

1: Square serpentine
2: 10 meter circle at every letter (ie.. don't stop riding in between the movements).
3: Baby piaffe steps/rubberband.... ie collect and collect then let him reach, but ONLY forward and up, not forward and down
4: lightning quick leg yields

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Guess how we finished?!?

Ha ha... I'm terrible! But for reals... Dan WON ANOTHER EVENT!!! So... this makes 4 first places in the 5 recognized events he's entered. The one he didn't get first at, he got 3rd, but if you take out the two pro's ahead of us, we got first. And he also got first at the schooling show in between two of the recognized that we did. :) I have an amazing baby spotty!!! 

So.. the details :) Because it's not about the end result, but the journey and the fun getting there. :) 

So.. I posted about Friday, but... Saturday and Sunday was a completely reformed spotted baby t-rex! Auntie Beth turned us into spotted ballerina's!! And I actually think Danny is getting the hang of horse showing. He's turning into a proper horse. ;) Ha!! Not quite... But he's not charging out of his stall (although I do only clean it while he's eating grain or soaked hay cubes), he's napping, and... well... he still is stealing stuff from peoples stall fronts if it's in his reach and he also pulled his halter into his stall and played with it. And he did steal his neighbors hay through the stall wall, but... he's getting better!!! I think. ;) 

Saturday he walked calmly down to the dressage arena without any antics. And then he warmed up nicely. He felt really good. We worked on the same stuff we did the day before and worked on our transitions. Today it was very much keeping my right elbow at my side, my left rein connected and wide, and my shoulders up to keep his shoulders up. :) I think it worked :) We ended up having a VERY nice test!! I was really happy with it really. Looking at the video, there was some things we could tweak, but overall, it was a nice test. We ended up with a 23.3!! Which put us in first in our division of 12. Beth had the same judge and she ended up with a 23.0 and first out of 14. So... we would have been 2nd out of 26. :) I'll take it. :) 

Our dressage test

 So then Dan took a good long nap. He was so cute.. he was snoring it seemed like but he woke up before I could get my phone back from Beth. He was resting up for stadium. :) Which is good because it was a tough course. Lots of terrain and terrain questions. But it looked fun! We warmed up well and I actually think I'm starting to get a better feel for keeping the pace and energy without letting Dan get longer! We had a really nice warm up. And then.... I lost it in stadium. I understand now why Beth is telling me to shorten my reins. I let him get long and lopey and didn't keep my leg on and keep the energy. He saved my butt over one for sure and at least two more that could have been close calls. Such a good boy. But I do feel like that even though it wasn't as pretty and smooth as it could have been, it was partly because I was riding better. Or at least TRYING to ride better. I think had I gone in and just let him lope around, we would have gone clear and it would have been a smoother round at first glance. But it wouldn't have been good training for later in life when the fences are bigger. So...even though I flubbed it up some, I also felt like I got it right at the end and I think that Dan was jumping better! We managed to go clean despite me, so yahoo!!

Dan's stadium round, saving my bacon! 

So.... that night Beth wanted to go to Tryon to watch the jumper prix they had. It sounded like a blast so we did. :) I decided I had to go shower first because I was so tired of being hot and sweaty so I did. Turns out the power was out in the hotel so I had to shower in the dark and hot, but... at least I was clean. I came back and got Helen and her Mom and then we all drove to Tryon. It is pretty freakin' impressive! It really is like Disney! It's gonna be crazy in two weeks!! It was fun watching the jumpers though. Afterwards I took Helen and her mom back and grazed Dan a bit. There was supposed to be a meteor shower but I didn't see a single shooting star. :( And the stars were amazing out there. I think I saw the milky way. :) 

So anyways... Sunday was also hot and miserable. Ugh... But we persevered and had a blast!! The course was probably the most technical course we have done and he was great!!! First though, I almost fell off before we even started. ;) As we were walking up to warm up a loose horse came galloping past. Dan stood still and was fine but his heart started pounding hard for a minute or two. He settled though and so I asked him to walk on so we could go warm up and he just went straight up!! I almost fell off the back side. ;) hee hee. After that he was just fine. We warmed up and did our turn on the forehand and haunches. Beth went and rode and went clean so she won her division!!! Whoo hoo. She came back to finish warm me up. It was helpful! She had me get him in a small tiny collected canter and get him to the base of a jump. So then she had me let him get a little bigger but still keep him to the base. It didn't work... BUT... I really FELT him get low in the shoulders and lengthen and flop over it. So SHOULDERS UP and I kept him to the base with his shoulders up in a slightly bigger stride. Then we came again in an even bigger stride and I kept him to the base and it was lovely!!! I get it!!!! Now to keep it. ;) 

So... off we went. We walked down and got in the box and the lovely volunteer started the countdown and... 3,2,1, go.... and Dan wouldn't go. He was just standing there. Beth was like "Spank him"!. So I did... and off we went. Turns out he wasn't just being Irish and doing his "I'm not moving"... he was pooping. Ooops. But still Dan... Although in retrospect, he probably could have spent 30 seconds pooping and still have been fine on time. ;) The first fence was easy and then he spooked at a horse coming towards home so our second fence was slightly wonky as we moved off our line. ;) But he was fine and locked back on. The first four fences were great. He was forward and pulling a little but not running away with me. He was "on the muscle" but listening. Pulling, but listening. :) I'll take it. The 5th fence was a ramp on an uphill slope that he was super game to. Then an S turn to a cabin. Then down the hill and then up the hill in the woods. He started to get a little bolty up the hill so I had to make a hard half halt. Because at the top of the hill, once it opened up, we had to turn sharp right to a half coffin. It wasn't a real ditch though, just two fat short logs on the ground. He was game to both and then it was to the water! He jumped the fun hanging log and we turned towards the water. I let him see it for awhile so I kept him at the canter. He cantered right in although he did squirt to the outside a little but went. He jumped the jump out and then it got technical. We had to do a downhill turn to a tiny little cabin, then a sharp right hand turn to a bank on the top of an uphill slope, then a sharp right turn to a big brush steeplechase fence. Then it was three easy fences home. Dan was great and really sat down and listened to me and jumped the cabin very politely so we could make a polite turn up the bank. He kept right up the bank and then we clocked on over the steeplechase fence. Yay!!! We were coming in a bit under optimum, so... we held a very polite canter over the last two fences. 

Yahoo!!! We finished first. :) And turns out, our team (Me, Beth and Helen (who finished 8th in Beth's division) won the team challenge. :) So whooo hooo!!!!

 (Yes, he was peeing, but he wouldn't pose for me and I was getting annoyed that he wouldn't keep his head out of the grass, so.... ha!)

Friday, August 11, 2017

Spotted Baby T-Rex

Rawwwwrrrrrr!!! Danny was a wild man!

Clearly Danny needs more than one ride going into a horse show. This week was sucky so I got my lesson on Tuesday, wimped out Thursday and tried to nap instead of riding, and then... today we left for Windridge. He hauled great and was great on the grounds....He settled into his stall and was good. I tacked up and then he went bonkers. Well not really. Not really bonkers, but he did get sassy. He was spooking at something in the woods behind us while we walked to dressage to warm up. But he was also trying to bolt, so he was spinning to look behind him, then anxious to catch up to others ahead so was jigging and carpiole-ing... then spinning back to spook behind him. Then on the road he was piaffing in place. He was a goober. But then we got to warm up and I just walked him around for 10 minutes and he settled.
So then Beth said that she had a new plan for Mighty (thanks to me actaully... with the turn on the forehand being good for the SI joints) that she thought would be good for Mighty. She had me do a turn on the forehand both directions to start and then a turn on the forehand both ways. She said that it would get Dan thinking and using his body and ready to work. And it did. :) After a meltdown. ;) So yeah.. we actually got pretty good totf and toth in both directions after a little bit of work. Dan does not want to move that right hind over. The key in the turn on the haunches is to keep him moving foward a step then sideways then forward then sideways. That makes it more effective than just spinning on the haunches. But for turn on the forehand he needs to pivot pretty much. But NO backwards in either. So.. it took a bit but we got it figured out.

Then we went to work. Ha!! Dan was SOOOOOO Mad at life. He threw a huge temper tantrum. He was behind my leg and kept getting all balled up instead of going forward. Then he got so mad he did his tongue flinging head flinging hissy fit. The one where his tongue snakes out to his eyeballs and ears... Finally he got over it and we finished with some fairly decent work.  And at the very end I noticed that he had a cute little inchworm on his head. ;) Hee hee. POOR inchworm!!!
Take aways
- start EVERY ride now with turn on the forehand and turn on the haunches.. it'll engage that hind end and make the work easier
-tracking right... he wants to over bend at the neck, not wrap around my inside leg, and drift out with the left shoulder. To correct this.... GET the inside rib cage, keep my inside elbow at my side and almost hold it there... to encourage him to hold that contact, and use my outside thigh to block the outside shoulder. I want to keep his head between his shoulders.. no over bending. Ride him straight!
-tracking left.... he still wants to throw his left shoulder out, so.... lift my inside hand to encourage the correct bend, and keep my outside hand still at my rib cage, so that he can't pull it forward and extend that right side of his body.
-So tracking left... I have to keep him on all four feet square by shortening the right side of his body and tracking right, to keep him squarely on all four feet, I have to shorten the left side of his body....

So yeah.. hopefully tomorrow will be a bit better and we won't have the spotted baby t-rex. Jamie said that she was going to make t-shirts... Jurassic Eventing... starring Baby Brontasaurus and Baby Spotted T-rex. ;)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Tuesdays with Cindy

When he feels heavy in the right rein/not supple in the right rein, it's because his right barrel is flinging into me and he can't bend around my right leg. Instead of addressing his head.... address his right rib cage... But not by nagging. Get in, get out, get it done. :) Then make sure to leave his right side alone with my leg until I need it again. Remember, I'm training him to be responsive to my right leg and seat, not dull!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Feelin' the Burn

We had a fabulous lesson today! 

We started off doing some trot work and some 10 meter circles and then moved on to the canter. In the canter Cindy had me come down centerline and then leg yield (at the canter) to the rail. It was tough to think about leg yielding vs half passing. Cindy wanted me to move a bit more diagonally and not so much half passing. She told me as we were tracking left to swing my hips left and move my seat left, rather than focusing so much on pushing with my right leg. OHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Lightbulb moment!! Duh.. it's not so much about pushing him over, as allowing/guiding him over. SOOOO much better when I did that. 

Apparently that's my big problem with my left side. My left hip doesn't want to swing as well. So... when we kept the counter canter on the short side, I kept shutting him down. Cause yes, she made us then counter canter on the short side, cut across the short diagonal, and then go back on the proper lead. :) So much harder on the left lead. And that's why. So... now that I know that and had it brilliantly displayed to me.. I think I can fix it. :) :) 

So then... poor Dan. Hee hee.. I swear he is so freakin' smart. We've been working on the counter canter a bit and not having him swap. Then we also worked on picking up the correct lead from the walk... and he kept picking up the wrong lead. So now... when he broke in the counter canter, Cindy had me pick up the counter canter on the rail. And of course... he gives me the true lead. Dang it horse.... I can't ask correctly apparently. Even Cindy noticed that he gave me the counter canter and then corrected it himself. It's like he knows what I'm asking for but also realizes that I'm asking wrong. (well, wait... I guess when I am working on true canter, he picks up the wrong one and then swaps after he gets aggravated at my inability.. but today, he picked up the counter canter and then decided I had gone batty and we were supposed to be on the true lead so he'd swap after one stride, so... maybe he's as smart as I think and MAYBE I also got better about my aids!). But regardless he's a trooper and was trying. 

So then we did some trot work. Cindy had me pick up the sitting trot and we worked on getting more lift and sit and push. She said to half halt in the up part of the gait. We half halted when his legs were off the ground, so he would sit and push  more. I'm not exactly sure how to accomplish that at the trot, but.... the imagery of it worked as I was able to half halt a bit differently and Wow!!! Danny got lofty!! Suddenly my core was engaged because I felt the burn and his trot got super nice feeling. :) It was hard work. I think I rolled farther back on my seat bones a little, "slouched" a little and then altered my half halts to create that. It was nice!!!

We finished with an attempt at a trot lengthen across the diagonal but I messed it up. Cindy said to think about trotting over longer trot poles... it was a slower tempo, even if we covered more ground quicker, but definitely not a quicker tempo. A slower tempo because the stride length is bigger. And I know that, but for some reason I can't quite convince my butt of that. So hopefully the trot pole thought will help.

Yay. Fun ride!!! Danny was falling asleep in the cross ties after his rinse. Hee hee... Being a grown up horse is hard work. :)