Friday, May 19, 2017

jumpin' shark

Happy Friday everyone! I dunno about you, but it feels like we're getting to that time of year where things really start heating up - metaphorically speaking, but also kinda literally too haha.

except when it's raining blargh
Charlie has been keeping "busy" - but it honestly hasn't been quite the right schedule for him for about 3-4 weeks now. For little reasons. A puffy fat leg here. A thrown shoe there. Or maybe the horse is fine, but my work has me away, lately to DC and Chicago. Ya know. Just stuff.

finally actually got relegated to the indoor at OF tho
We're trying to make our rides count tho, and the horse is working well. I think he would do better with a more frequent riding schedule with mostly less intense rides, vs fewer but longer rides. But it is what it is for now.

fun course diagram! effective for practicing tight turns (ridden in a 20x40m arena haha)
Our jump lesson at OF last week was one of those rides following a couple unplanned days off for puffy legs (Charlie is King of the Dings, lemme tell ya). But he actually came out and warmed up quite nicely - despite being stuck in OF's tiny indoor with other horses.

photos from yet another jump lesson, this one two weeks ago
He jumped around well too - just simple single verticals with lots of roll backs, and then a tricksier turn up the centerline to a hog's back oxer. Half the jumps were PVC and Charlie was a little careless with them. But.... the other half were wooden 4x4s so.... that got his attention lol.

so so much to work on..... but i <3 him all the same
It was maybe useful jumping him in the indoor actually bc the closeness of the walls and the tightness of the turns helped with keeping the horse rocked back, so I felt like I could let go more.

DAT TAIL FLIP THO
Considering the last lesson we had before that (source of these pictures) was kinda a shit show with a too-strong horse followed by an overly busy and micromanaging rider. Any practice I can get with letting go can only help!

so..... have i mentioned he's kinda goofy? one of these days i'm gonna have to make a compilation of all the videos of him just doing..... goofy shit haha. for instance, he had a real moment with this mounting block. lol
Mostly tho, aside from lessons we've kinda just been hangin out at home. On the days when Charlie is deemed unrideable from either fat legs or lost shoes or whatever, I've tried to do some ground work instead. Just to do something, ya know?

finally discovered his candy licky thing. and.... ATE it.
Plus we've sorta been neglecting the ground work now that the horse is more reliable under saddle. But I'm not sure that's actually right. Charlie can be both a little bit of a bully about personal space (wide load!) and can also get a little dull and tuned out. So idk. Maybe we need more practice.

double buckets bc otherwise that hoof goes INTO the bucket and flings food everywhere. also, virtual cookies if you noticed that particular hoof happens to be missing a shoe... blargh
I've also been trying to get us out of the arena a bit too. Especially on days when it feels like we need to get saddle time when we can, but maybe it shouldn't be a very intense day either (like the day after Fair Hill, or last Monday after two back to back lesson days).

sitting on charlie while next to a car is kinda surreal. this is a big horse guys haha
Our trails at Charlie's barn really aren't particularly satisfying.... But there's one easy flat out-n-back path (mostly asphalt, blech) that works well enough to move the horse around for ~15 minutes. It's all gradual incline on the way home too. So maybe it's nice, useful, low impact work for the horse while still at least getting a little mental refreshment?

winning at selfies, amiright? also i sent that far right one to my aunt. she asked if "they were real" lol
Tho I finally got out into the woods with another rider too, and discovered a better loop than what I took last time. If you remember, last time we encountered pretty extreme up- and down-hill sections, plus scarily narrow ledges of trail. There's apparently a milder loop going around the hill side but that stays more on top of the hill, inside that other loop, so it doesn't get quite as intense. It's shorter but much closer to the type of mental break I'd like Charlie to get via trail riding.

i don't have a pic of charlie getting his massage, so enjoy this shot of his massage therapist running barrels on her own charlie. she's kinda a badass (and yess that's pink hair)
And speaking of giving the horse breaks - I'm also trying to stay on top of managing his physical condition and well-being. He's had his favorite equine massage therapist come out a few times over the past month or two for treatments. I haven't been able to be there every time, but she always gives pretty thorough reports.

left side - january 2017. right side - may 2017. slightly different angle but maybe interesting? those shoulders are just so so so uneven. but maybe the muscling has changed a little bit?
This latest time she was a little worried about his general soreness levels - esp through his poll. Poor guy. He's been working really well lately and discovering all these new and unfamiliar ways of carrying himself and flexing his body. That's undoubtedly going to create soreness in the muscles... Just gotta help manage it! Might be time for more chiro tho too.

bird!! this heron likes to stalk the gold fish that get stocked in this campus pond lol
He's also been a little sensitive to the grass lately, I think too. We've had a TON of rain in the past month and the grass has just gotten so so so lush. A couple times Charlie has looked like he might have a little bit of a tummy ache. Ah grass. Such a double edged sword - it's helping to fill in his ribs, but the radical change of so much fresh new growth is a bit of a shock for princess's system!

SQUIRREL!!!
So it's kinda like we're in this strange place of having lots of little stuff going on, but also maybe not quite striking the right balance. I'm starting to believe that this just tends to be how spring goes around here tho.

Especially given that our season this year started WAY earlier relative to past years. And we knew going into May that it was going to be a bit more jam-packed than normal. So it makes sense that we might still be figuring out the right mechanics of piecing together shows and lessons and purposeful schooling with... ya know... trail rides and quieter days. And accommodating for lost shoes and fat legs, ahem.

It's cool tho. I'm excited to have a good ol' time with all my riding buddies at Jenny Camp this weekend, and am hopeful that I've got Charlie reasonably well-prepared. And next week we'll be back at Loch Moy to run the same track he did last month. Should be good - I just gotta keep working on finding the right balance for the days in between!

Do you ever feel like it takes you a little while to adjust your routine to changes in the season? Do you have a normal 'work plan' for a typical riding week or month? Does it vary throughout the year or depend on whether you're competing or not?

27 comments:

  1. I have gotten used to making up my plan as I go. Other then fitness level, I'm not sure that horses need the intensity of 'practice' that give them. That said, I managed to ride 6 times this week so there's that. I try to build my plan around work and weather (no indoor).

    As you know I'm a fan of groundwork and you can have fun with it- practicing having him match your pace as you stride out and shorten, backing up with you, shoulder-in in hand, standing while you walk around him. Even practice him stopping when you 'fall' on the ground. May come in handy some day. ;)

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    1. Yup we actually practice a ton of stuff. If you're curious or want to learn more, much of it is written about here : http://fraidycateventing.blogspot.com/2017/01/shaping.html?m=1

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    2. Sorry! I didn't mean to lecture- I missed that post. :)

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    3. ha i think everyone missed that post - it's a DENSE read, but i try to document literally every single thing to commit it to memory (and refer back for when i practice).

      actually my hope is to haul charlie over to see that same horsemanship pro at one of his regular clinics this summer. maybe in june or july? we're definitely ready to kick it up a notch with our ground work

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  2. you are so much ahead in preparation than me as with this heat wave i have turned into mush (cool weather this weekend so hopefully some riding!!)...IS THAT A WHITE(or light gray at least) Squirrel? what Freaking Narnia do you live in :) LOL...

    I am glad Charlie is keeping you on your toes! (Shoe loss, puffy legs, hacking out, upcoming events oh my). Have a great weekend...

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    1. Yes that is a white squirrel!!! I had never seen one before seeing that guy, in DC on my way to union station lol. Tho I've never heard anyone confuse DC with narnia ;)

      And thanks - we are thing to keep things moving despite this heat but blech it's nasty! Stay cool and hopefully it'll be a good weekend for everyone!

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  3. So not sure if you've done this but I've had some success combining my massage and chiro appts. They get the massage first, then get adjusted, then get more massage after. Seems to help hold the adjustment longer at least in my experience! Also, when I've had missing shoes or fat legs I've done short sessions of just handwalking with loose side reins over poles and whatnot. Low impact, gets them thinking and the side reins help with straightness and using the correct muscles.

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    1. i have different practitioners for chiro and massage (my chiro actually does acupuncture too).

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  4. I love watching him develop--he's jumping and moving like a totally different horse. It may feel piecemeal up close, but it's pretty cool from a distance.

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    1. thanks - it's honestly still pretty incredible to me. like. i occasionally go back through our videos even from just january and it's kinda astonishing how different he is now, and how different he FEELS. i like it!!

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  5. #1 um LOOK AT YOU GUYS JUMPING THE BIG KID OXERS! Love! #2 I want to find that white squirrel and make it be my friend #3 I am also having a tough time finding a solid schedule now that we're fully in the swing of the season. It's mostly been my own travel - so many weddings and other things going on! Getting back to regular lessons the past 2 weeks has certainly helped give me more structure, though.

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    1. that white squirrel was so cool - even hangin out posing while i scrambled to get my camera out. it must be used to that sort of thing lol.

      and yea i think you and i must be feelin the same thing right now about schedules. it's just so hard right now. i think as soon as spring rolls around everyone gets SO EXCITED to get out and do all the things and make all the plans and book all the stuff. but like, wow it really gums everything up haha. i'm looking forward to a quieter june tho!

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  6. I had a busy schedule when I got Ramone, and whereas yes, regular riding is really good for them and they would advance faster. I think there is something to be said for letting them stew on it for a bit and letting the muscles repair and get stronger after a ride. I never once thought me riding 2-3x a week was detrimental to Ramone's health. He always seemed to hold onto something.

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    1. yea definitely - there are many ways to optimize a schedule for a horse. imo it's all about striking the right balance. some horses kinda need to sit and chill. some kinda need to keep moving in order to help their bodies improve. some can go either way. charlie's definitely 100% in the "really needs to keep moving" category.

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  7. I'm pretty strict about keeping to a schedule...but then I own the world's most difficult pony to get get fit - somehow I think this will not be the case with Mr Charlie! In a perfect world, I'd ride 5 or 6 times a week and at least 2 of those would be meandering trail rides :)

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    1. yea that's a lot like my idea schedule too. tho honestly for a green horse i care very little about fitness (esp for an ottb haha, i'm probably better off if they're a little under-fit actually)

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  8. I like a routine, but my horse also is much more settled with a routine. But lately a routine has been non existent. I would imagine it is really hard to set a routine with your travel always changing.

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    1. yea agreed on both counts - i like a routine and both charlie and isabel always seemed at their best with a fairly predictable routine. sometimes it's just hard to maintain. ugh. good luck with getting through this next big upheaval in your life too!

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  9. I don't really have a schedule - I ride as much as I can while I can and give days off where I feel are necessary. We mix things up a lot between "intense" schooling rides and just toodling around on a loose rein. I haven't found that balance yet with how much time is too much time off for Annie or how much is too much, but she seems fine as we plug along now anyways

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    1. yea i feel ya on liking to mix it up - we definitely like variety too. charlie might be like annie in that he kinda just plugs on along too - tho he does the best schooling with regular work. hard to balance that with unforeseen hiccups too tho....

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  10. I think Charlie's right shoulder has really bulked up according to those pictures.
    I have a few horses that also lift their leg when they get grain/treats too! I love it.
    I think decompressing rides are really important. I cannot wait to get Aria home to just let her chill on a trail ride. I also think this will be the best way for baby horse brain to learn how to fill in the gaps when someone *ahem* -me- isn't riding 100% of the time. lol
    But on the flip side, long intense workout also build stamina and work ethic, so it's not all bad. :)
    I don't currently have a routine, which is pretty not great but I am trying to ride 4-5 times a week.

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    1. yea developing a routine is hard - esp when the rest of life keeps changing haha. it was a lot easier for me to fit in relaxing trail rides at my last barn but i'm still holding out hope that maybe there might be more fun woods around charlie's barn that i just haven't discovered yet? the best we can do right now is like 35 minutes of kinda tight loops on not great ground - but if i can get him out on pleasant paths for like 1-2hrs that would be GRAND. maybe soon!

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  11. Scheduling is so tricky! I have a hard time getting a regular routine down. I'm always meaning to do more groundwork too... but mostly naw. I think Charlie is making great strides! Good for you for doing the body work to keep an eye on things, it makes sense to have little soreness here and there when you are learning new things!

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  12. OMGosh! so much progress! I follow your blog on and off. Last time I was over here, I watched video of Charlie stumbling over small jump in free jumping session. What a change! Well done you.
    Your hard work really pays off. I wish you a great summer competing for fun.
    Mu

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  13. It's a never ending proces huh? The body soreness is tough. As someone who decided to try long distance running again after a few years off, I know body stiffness lol. SOunds like he's on the right plan and I love how you have figured out a way to work through all his quirks!

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  14. Poor Charlie and his leg. I feel like every time I make a plan, things go sideways. Which isn't to say having a plan isn't a bad idea, I just have to be better about accommodating changes to said plan. Which I suck at. :)

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  15. He looks like his jumping is seriously improving! I'm glad that things are progressing for you guys - even if it is a little hit or miss sometimes!

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