Friday, June 26, 2015

the traveling circus goes hacking

After my amnesiac moment in thinking Isabel would improve with more time off (major fail, emma!) I reevaluated leading up to Tranquility and got back into regular work, ultimately producing our best flat school in recent memory the Wednesday before Sunday's show.


#hootd game is not strong with this one. or it's exactly on point lol - i guess it depends on your perspective lol
That was after four straight days of work. So the question became, how to manage the next three days before the show? Saturday was lesson day at OF - so really, what to do with Thursday and Friday? I wanted one day off, and the other a looooong (for us haha - try not to giggle, endurance folks!!) trail ride.


our trail rides are pretty much tasting tours of the woods anyways
So I opted to take Thursday off and hack out Friday. And ya know, it REALLY worked for us. 


might as well start the tour off before we even make it out of the barn, right?
She was phenomenal on the trail ride, per usual. And I just LOVE this hackamore. Plus she's starting to figure out that getting bridled with this thing rather than with a bit means she's in for a different type of ride. 


this bonnet only made it to the half way point before i finally pulled it off her. maybe a better fitting one would annoy her less? the flies are just sooooo bad tho!
We went about 3.5 miles - about the max distance for our one big loop trail. You can eke out another mile maybe by adding a few mini loops into the mix and retracing a few steps... but for my purposes this distance was just fine.


map from my EquiTrack app
This included a TON of water crossings, and a nice little traipse through the field next to a housing development (where I got to enjoy kids squealing 'horsey - HORSEY!!' from their back yards haha). 


look - sometimes she stands like a normal horse!
We mostly walked along the trail, tho Izzy trotted and cantered up a hill or two (when she wasn't busy grabbing mouthfuls of the local flora). I decided to take the 'jump trail' back to the barn, not really sure if we'd end up jumping anything or not. 


but more often than not she stands like this, with her hind legs camped under... 
The name is perhaps a little generous - there are only three log jumps out there in various states of decay... but there are also some (mini) banks and it's a nice soft trail so whatevs. But of course Izzy wanted to JUMP!! 

I pointed her at the first one at a trot and she saw it and burst immediately into our brand new canter gear (which I luv very much lol) and we just blasted down the trail - never mind the mud or spider webs - jumping the jumps and banks and everything perfectly. Then she came back to walk the remaining trail back to the barn quite politely. 


she's pretty cute all the same
I felt great about this ride - 3.5 miles of hills and terrain to get her loose and stretched out, but mostly very low intensity except for a quick sprint at the end. So I plan to replicate this ride almost exactly tonight, knowing that Fair Hill is tomorrow. 

Despite showing so frequently lately, I'm still figuring out the whole prep part leading up to the event - how to balance time off and low intensity vs. high intensity work. Have you found any tried and true methods that work for you? Or, anything that definitely DIDN'T work for you?

Also - congrats to Karley at All In for her 700 posts!

21 comments:

  1. So fun! Good luck this weekend! I'm beginning to wonder if warmup strategies can ever really be figured out - I sure haven't figured out any specific strategy for my horse other than to just see what she's like that day which is frustrating to me because of course I want to plan all the things!!

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    1. yea idk if we can ever really have *one* strategy that will work every time... tho i'm trying!!

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  2. That sounds like a fun trail! Figuring out show prep really depends on so many little factors but in very general terms young or sensitive types I ride every day up to show day and a lot evening and morning of show. I find the nervous horse type to be hallow in the back and not using their hind end on show day and it can take quite a bit of riding to get them to relax. A dull horse needs to be left alone, as long as they know their job, you want to preserve what ever spark they have for the ring. Good luck!

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    1. thanks! i find that isabel falls somewhere between those two categories - she's not nervous typically, so she doesn't really need to be ridden down to relax. but she's also more likely to become dull if she's not working... so i try to keep riding just enough to keep her sharp but without picking fights or tiring her out.

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  3. That looks like a fun trail loop! I think horse camping is definitely on our list of "Stuff Alli & Emma & the Redheaded Midgets Need To Do"

    Wendy nailed it on the show prep/warmup! Dino is naturally lazy/uninspired and can get mentally fried if I do too many days of hard work in a row, so I generally either give him the day off before a show, or just go on an easy hack or bareback ride to preserve his energy and enthusiasm. Sounds like Isabel just needs to stay in her work routine!

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    1. yessss!! the trail is a lot of fun and isabel is very much at peace out there these days. and i think you're right about sticking with the routine... i just worry sometimes (tho usually for no good reason lol)

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  4. Love your trail. If I was getting ready for something with a hotter horse I would ride right up to the show and allow lots of time for warmup. With the Bridget's of the world id let her have a day off or a fun trail ride the day prior so she has a bit more enthusiasm on the day.

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    1. that seems to make sense and matches well with other things i've heard. again i think izzy is somewhere in between bc yes she can be hot - but it's a very professional and workman like hotness, so it just needs to be properly channeled, rather than working to take the edge off. i'm thinking fun trail rides fit the bill for this nicely!

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  5. Jealous of your trail loop- looks and sounds like a blast!

    I do very little differently leading up to a show; I try to keep Gina in a regular schedule that includes dressage, conditioning work, and jumping (weather and various stages of hay cutting permitting). The routine is comforting and she's always in good condition and good mental health, regardless of if our show is a long hunter pace or a dressage schooling show. At shows, I don't spend a lot of time warming her up- she gets to work almost immediately and the more riding I do, the crankier she gets. Moe, on the other hand, requires lots of riding before dressage or he's completely useless and too busy staring at everything instead of trotting like a nice horse. Despite a decade of showing, he still pops his eyes out of his head in excitement at shows. Sigh.

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    1. it's a nice loop! i kinda wish it was longer or that there were more loops bc we know this one inside and out now... but we still enjoy it. i like the idea of keeping a regular schedule that remains unaffected by show plans - and also don't really do a ton of warm up with izzy (maybe she and Gina are actually not so different? tho i wish izzy had some of Gina's dressage chops lol).

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  6. Abercrombie does better the more energy I can get him to have - that means, for our warmups, I have to jazz him up, encouraging him to jig in his walk. Then I have the energy I want and can recycle back into good work :)

    For our last show, which was Fri/Sat, he had the previous Sun/Mon off, a bareback hack on Tues, light schooling on Weds, and schooled at the showgrounds on Thurs. It worked great for us, because he is so laid back about life that I have to do what I can to keep him on his toes ;) (this is a horse that makes me happy when he spooks because he doesn't normally have many strong opinions about anything!)

    Next time, I might try not letting him see the ring we're showing in until we're going around it, just to get a little more zest!

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    1. interesting! i actually like the idea of really trying to jazz them up in the warm up - more often i'm tying to keep things sedate and quiet but go too far and end up with dull.

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  7. Abercrombie does better the more energy I can get him to have - that means, for our warmups, I have to jazz him up, encouraging him to jig in his walk. Then I have the energy I want and can recycle back into good work :)

    For our last show, which was Fri/Sat, he had the previous Sun/Mon off, a bareback hack on Tues, light schooling on Weds, and schooled at the showgrounds on Thurs. It worked great for us, because he is so laid back about life that I have to do what I can to keep him on his toes ;) (this is a horse that makes me happy when he spooks because he doesn't normally have many strong opinions about anything!)

    Next time, I might try not letting him see the ring we're showing in until we're going around it, just to get a little more zest!

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  8. Sounds like a very nice trail ride, and I love that she was so polite and calm after having the burst of fun and jumping. Such a good sign in a horse. I'm still figuring out Hannah, but with Hemie he would do best when worked every day for the 5 days leading up to a show. I'd alternate "serious" rides/lessons with relaxed hacks and plenty of turnout. But he was a hot TB.

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    1. i was also very pleased with how polite she was afterward jumping and running a bit, since that is definitely not always the case! i think your plan for Hemie would also work well for isabel - not so much bc she's hot in the same way but bc she needs practice to stay interested lol

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  9. Also, good luck and have fun this weekend!! =)

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    1. thank you! i hope to do exactly that!

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  10. Nah, I think your matching game is on point. lmao

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    1. haha thanks!! i honestly thought one of the rainbow reins sections were navy (and would thus match the bonnet) but nope, it's black not navy... but ehhhh whatevs :)

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  11. I need to get Riesling to relax and enjoy trail rides, they look so fun!

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    1. the relaxation and enjoyment thing wasn't always isabel's strong suit... but these days she's pretty good. it was worth the effort!

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