Thursday, May 5, 2016

unconventional show prep

I'm not panicking. I am NOT panicking. Nope. Definitely not panicking. Lolz..... kill me.

We are just passed the one month mark into the new employment situation. It's been busy. And my riding routine has suffered. Not actually as badly as I might have anticipated tho - and the more I settle in, the more empowered I feel about my calendar (even as it fills up before my very eyes).

feral pony is focused on anything but the task at hand
And I've already had a couple serious oopsie moments in time management - like almost not getting a new coggins in time for my show entry this weekend at Fair Hill...

Plus a couple unfortunate occurrences that maybe could have been foreseen... but were mostly just random. Like trainer P canceling two weekends in a row. Or going to Rolex (tickets booked months before I accepted the new position) the day after returning from a multi-day work trip.

so itchy!
Oh, and the mare absolutely blowing up to the size of a house on spring grass seemingly in a matter of days. Womp. Well, I guess I don't have to worry about her being too skinny any more!

It's all culminated in me feeling massively unprepared for this weekend's show. The horse is unfit. I am unfit. And we are basically not very freshly schooled either.

omg the itch is so real
We're doing our best to get shit together tho. Plus we're still just going BN at Fair Hill. Nothing to sniff at for sure (I'm talented at fucking up regardless of level and degree of schooling, let's be honest), but it helps soothe a wrinkled mind.

And we managed to sneak in a lesson with Dan during the brief <24hr period I was in town between work trips and Rolex. Not a ton to write home about there - it was another glorified flat lesson with jumps tossed in.

bc it's been too long since gifs!
I felt really good about it tho. Isabel was still seriously hot to the touch, but I felt like I was riding and handling it all appropriately. Dan said our straightness was improved (yay!) and the jumping was more or less solid (except for our inability to land on any lead in particular).

Biggest takeaway is to wait it out when she fusses. Remember that half halts have beginnings and ends, and that timing matters.

Tho he also pointed out that Isabel is suddenly gigantic ("What are you feeding that horse?!?" were his exact words), that I'm an imbecile for not getting the horse ridden while I'm away (dude I promise I tried), and that our footing in the arena is essentially bottomless and any reasonable horse would take issue with it (.....womp womp, not a whole lot I can do there).

crazy how much greener it got in a week!
So I returned from Rolex counting down the days to Fair Hill, trying my damnedest to make it work. Thwarted on Monday by a last-minute business call that made catching the early train impossible... But Tuesday was a work from home day.

Know what that meant? Isabel got ridden TWICE. Boom. Haha, poor thing. She got an honest flat school in the morning. Nothing ground breaking, and never quite got the feel I wanted. But was very pleased with her efforts all the same. She tried. I will take it.

Then back again that evening for a fun and forward and purposeful hack through the woods. With specific attention paid to hills and wide open spaces. Mare ate it up like candy (literally - she will undoubtedly throw me one of these days when we finish a gallop and she suddenly plants to snatch some particularly salient grass...).

big as a house, that one
Then the stars aligned (or I jumped through the appropriate hoops of fire) to catch the early train yesterday to make it to the barn at a reasonable hour. And guess what was happening? Kaitlyn had organized a lesson with Dom Schramm (yes, that Dom Schramm - recall Kaitlyn recently clinic-ed with him?) and I just so happened to arrive in enough time to jump in on the ride.

Somewhat reminiscent of a similar night March a year ago when I forced myself out to the barn after a long day, only to discover that Kaitlyn had coordinated Dan's first lesson back at the farm since Aiken. So super convenient - who doesn't love unexpected lessons and barn mates motivated to set them up?

panorama of jump exercise failed when the unattended Isabel decided to exit stage right...
Anyway the lesson was great. A bit of a departure from lessons with Dan - flat work was not dwelled upon in the slightest. In fact, I was late to the ride and was instructed to trot around for maybe 5 minutes before starting over the first line of jumps - an easy five set at cavaletti height.

He discussed flat work at length tho - the importance of an adjustable canter, the importance of being able to land your leads, and the importance of using bend to find a distance - essentially his holy trinity. And our exercises through the ride reflected those objectives.

a better pano, horse safely tethered haha
Exercises included going up and down the outside in both 5 and 6 (easily handled by mare... mostly handled by me haha), roll backs to land the lead, and 90* bending lines from those outside verticals to the inside blue/natural vertical at X. Plus the bending line from the red/white/blue in the foreground to the natural coop in the top left corner.

And we kinda felt like a hot mess going through those 90* bending lines in particular. Isabel was maybe a titch behind my leg but jumping hard. And idk if it's the new saddle or my serious weakness, but I had a really hard time staying down in my legs over the fences, making for rough landings. We got it done tho, so there's that at least haha.

Definitely fun exercises, and I liked how he wanted them ridden. Wasn't sure it all meshed completely with how Dan would like to see things done (my criteria for trainers is that the philosophies mesh well enough that I'm not doing and undoing all of their work in my various lessons) - but I suspect that had more to do with this being Dom's first time seeing us.

don't believe her sad face - she's a very happy mare
Ultimately, Dom was a VERY astute observer - called me out immediately for my busy upper body, tendency to over ride the mare ("Less is more with this horse"), and propensity to pull for the add when in doubt. He also warned against focusing too much on compression of the stride and not enough on extension. For now, that will be taken with a grain of salt. But it's on my radar.

So a good lesson, and I was very happy to have a supervised jump school given the proximity of our next show and my knack for making terrible decisions when left to my own devices haha.

We will have another lesson with Dan on Friday morning, and will very hopefully find time to ride a couple other times between now and Sunday.

34 comments:

  1. You guys will be awesome! I think it is funny that so many people go for the add and I always go for the long spot. No idea where I picked that up...

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    1. eh i think it all really depends on the horses you ride. for instance, most of the ottbs i've worked with are more comfortable with the gap when push comes to shove. isabel tho? that chip stride is *always* lurking just below the surface. we've gotten to the point where we rarely have absolutely disgusting splatty chips - but my solution has been pulling early to compress for the add. it's a work in progress lol

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  2. Your schedule has been pretty busy -- but mare looks good (if kind of puffy) and you can do it! Last weekend's jumping clinic for us was cancelled due to thunderstorms. But, we did get the trailer titled, tagged, and checked out by the trailer guy (yay brakes! yay lights!) plus also had the inaugural white-knuckled trailer pulling (empty) to the trailer place with recently-purchased pickup truck. It's not horse progress, but it's still progress. Also I figured out the "why we can't get a right lead" problem: Try not hanging on to left rein when asking. So simple. *headdesk*

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    1. progress is progress all the same! yay for getting the trailer road worthy haha!

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  3. You will be great at Fair Hill! And I love those 90-degree turns in the exercise you rode... may have to set that up for ourselves at home!

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    1. ooh definitely do! they were tricky tho - and the whole point was to use that opening rein, not pulling back. somehow that was surprisingly tricky for me lol

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  4. So cool that you got in an impromptu lesson with Dom Schramm, his YT videos are quite entertaining haha I feel you on the packed schedule thing too... I've had my share of arriving at home after a week-long business trip just to hit the ground the next morning at 5am to load up for an endurance ride. Just gotta make do with what life throws at you though- good luck and have fun this weekend!

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    1. ha i know, right? impromptu lesson with Schrammos Eq?!? yes please!!! but yea you know all about that scheduling nonsense. it's hard but we make it work!

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  5. oh are you doing the starter trial? im gonna go to watch! and take lotsa pictures. do you know if they are gonna post ride times someday? my barns competing at every level so most likely i will be there all day

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    1. why YES, as a matter of fact i *will* be there!! idk if ride times are posted online but they've been sent out via email. i'm in the OBN group, but no idea if there are multiple splits. hit me up at fraidycat.eventing at gmail and i can send you my times. would be awesome to meet! ;)

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  6. You can send some of that fat Fiction's way if you want haha :) Good luck at the show!

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    1. ha i would if i could!!! tho obvi it shocks me to even say that given all my whining and worrying about her poor condition just a few short months ago...

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  7. Hooray!! I am so glad you are able to squeeze in so much riding in before your show :) Hopefully it helps you out mentally feeling like you can conquer your courses and tests. And that is soooooo coool you got to ride with Dom!

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    1. thanks! i'm feeling about as prepared as i possibly could except in the area of pure physical strength and fitness - me AND the mare. only one way to fix that tho!

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  8. I'm so jealous, I want an impromptu lesson with Dom!!!

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    1. lol right? definitely not too shabby! plus he seriously undercharges (imo) so it was all gravy.

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    1. it definitely seems to pile up every now and then, that's for sure!

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    1. thanks! i'm looking forward to it one way or another ;)

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  11. Sounds like a very cool lesson with Dom!! I'm so jelous!!

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    1. he's definitely neat to ride with - i'd recommend checking him out should he be in your area. and by all accounts he travels far and wide for clinics and is priced very reasonably.

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  12. WHERE is your stalker selfie with Dom?

    I am disappoint.

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    1. :( it was seriously everything i could do to resist getting to that level of creepy... at least not the first time. muahaha.

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  13. Isabel is starting to look like Tucker! LOL! Luck at the show!

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    1. haha what's that they say about imitation and flattery? lolz and thanks :)

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  14. How cool. I want to show up at the barn and find myself in an impromptu lesson with eventing celebrities.

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    1. lol RIGHT?!? the craziest thing is that while we have a small core group of determined eventers (the usual suspects: brita, kaitlyn, me and a couple others), our barn is essentially a no-name podunk trail barn. not exactly the place where you'd expect to see big names. and yet our area is so rife with big names that they will deign to come visit us all the same...

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  15. Pshaw, who needs prep. You guys will do great! I kind of feel that way about my own upcoming adventure.

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    1. ha yea pretty much. it's just supposed to be fun, right? so fun we will have :) and i hope you do the same!

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  16. Woohoo!!! You got it!! Can't wait to hear all about it!!

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