Monday, August 14, 2017

keepin' him

An unfortunately timed rain storm blew in Friday night, meaning our highly anticipated cross country schooling lesson was postponed for some other weekend. Disappointing, but not the end of the world. Probably. lol...

finding more and more pleasant and soft moments these days
We had spent most of the week prior trying to be a little more disciplined in schooling our flat work. Specifically in the black tack and accompanying loose ring snaffle. Charlie's been going very well lately - but I need to be careful to not end up complacent about the feeling I can get from him with double reins on the elevator bit, complete with curb strap.

I don't have quite the same stopping power in the regular loose ring - meaning, at this point in Charlie's training, I don't have quite the same 'half halt' either. Not a big deal, I just need to stay aware and keep practicing in both bits!

and moments of excitement!
He then got some days off while I was in DC for mucho worko stuff. The timing was nerve-wracking bc it coincided with Charlie's introduction to the full gelding herd. I turned him out Wednesday night and watched his first interactions (he's bold but unassuming with new horses, maybe a good combination) knowing I wouldn't lay eyes or hands on him again until Saturday.

liverpool aint no thang
Luckily Brita was able to check in on him for a quick count of his legs (4), shoes (4, phew!), eyes (2) and any new wounds (0, hell yes!). So that reassured me a little bit haha.

i love how he's learning to shift his balance around through the grids!
And then when I finally arrived back at the barn for our lesson, Charlie looked actually pretty damn good. I think he may have lost a little weight from the move (sensitive soul that he is) so we'll just keep throwing hay and food and grass at him. But mentally and emotionally, he seems fully settled, very relaxed, and legitimately quite happy at the new farm. I like it!

wheeee more grids!
And I actually thought he might be a bit of a lollygag for our lesson. Our first lap of trotting was so indifferent and blah that I just immediately put him up into canter to stretch out a bit before trying again at trot. That woke him up and loosened him up nicely, but with the humidity I still maybe kinda expected him to be a little meh for the lesson.

and more trotting. it ain't perfect but it's surprisingly nice to still find these gears even after we start jumping
Turns out tho, Charlie can still surprise me. In a good way. From our very first warm up cross rails, he was eagerly arriving very nicely at the jumps and popping over like this is his favorite thing in the world. Which, honestly, maybe it is!

horse loves to jump
We started working over the same grids from last week, slowly building up in a slightly different fashion this time. We started with the 1st and 4th of the line of one strides - fitting an easy 5 between them. Then repeating until all four were built again. Charlie very clearly remembered this lesson and was legitimately foot perfect. Actually perfect. God I just love him <3

fan jump is old news these days too
Next we schooled a bending line from the fan jump to a vertical, looping around to the liverpool. Then the same triple combination of 2-to-2 (set at very compressed 30' distances) from last week. And finally put it all together for a little course, as seen in the video below.

It's kinda funny bc many of the jumps had been raised for this course (particularly through the grids) and Charlie kinda didn't notice at first, so he dropped some of them. But I honestly don't care. He'll figure it out eventually.


The thing I loved so much about this ride is just how.... easy Charlie felt about it all. The final two jumps in the grid of one strides are 2'9 oxers. Sure he tapped one out of the cups with a lazy hind leg.... but like. It's clearly not much of an exertion or effort for him.

Even the bigger single jumps just feel so easy for him too. He's not even trying. I like it! I especially like that all this practice over grids, and esp trotting into so many lines, has gotten him feeling very soft and ratable to the fences, instead of blasting off and running. His eye is getting better every ride, as is his ability to find the jumps out of stride and rebalance again on landing.

it's apparently a little too easy for him haha
Good boy, Charlie. I'm definitely itching to get out schooling cross country soon. But even so, we're feeling pretty good about gearing back up for the second half of our competition season. As evidenced by the two entries I just sent in for events in September :D

I'm sure I'll feel more nervous and anxious as the events draw closer (isn't that always the way??). But right now, it's really exciting daydreaming what Charlie's future could look like. Even just three months from now, considering this past week marked exactly one year since Charlie's final race. You've come a long way, baby!

34 comments:

  1. He looks like a whole new horse. He's gaining muscle for this new job of his and it's showing in how he's carrying himself.

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    1. it makes me really happy to see that, bc he's been feeling steadily better and better for months, but in a way where it wasn't really super obvious in photos. so now that i can really see some changes in him, it's honestly pretty exciting :D

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  2. Charlie is really taking to his new career and life. You picked a good partner!

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    1. aw thanks, idk how i got so lucky with him <3 he seems to love the job tho!

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  3. sorry your cc trip was cancelled but yay on the media/photos of Charlie jumping. he looks great and very settled in his new place!

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    1. thanks - he feels very settled. in one way, sometimes it feels kinda frustrating to repeat the same courses a couple weeks in a row bc trainer p isn't as mobile as she normally would be. but then again charlie does so well with repetition. like he really likes being able to come back to an exercise that he's already learned and just cruise through it.

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  4. omg he gives me so much hope for my long legs mcgee. its nice to see they CAN learn how to organize all their legs. he still looks a little lazy over these 'smaller' jumps. youll just have to bump him up to training level asap :P

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    1. they CAN learn!! it's crazy, but yes they do figure it out!! and yea he's definitely still ridiculously unimpressed over 2'9, barely looks at 2'6. a few weeks ago, trainer P said something along the lines of "we won't really see him use himself before training level" and i'm sitting here thinking, "geez can we even settle in at BN first tho???" lol

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  5. He is looking so good--love his over fences form.

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    1. thanks! he's got a nice form when he feels like it, but i'm certainly pretty cool right now with him feeling pretty unimpressed half the time too lol

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  6. What a transformation in one year! I agree, he definitely looks like he loves his jompies :)

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  7. Being at the new place I'm sure will have so any positive effects on your guys partnership! Exciting Indeed!

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    1. hopefully! we haven't really been able to take much advantage of the new place yet, aside from a little extra hacking around. but hopefully we'll get out xc soon!

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  8. Ahhh he looks so good! I love it. Congrats! And yes just like you said he knocked a couple of poles, but the form is there and growing and you've done so well with him! He does look like he's settling well, too. Yay!

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    1. yea i'm definitely not worried about the knocked rails at this point too. he's made it pretty clear that despite being kind of a careless horse, he actually doesn't really appreciate hitting the poles. for most of our last couple shows he's knocked something down in warm up and i just finish with that - taking him directly into the arena while he still remembers hitting the pole. he's been clear lately so it seems to work!

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    2. That's a really good strategy! I'd agree that he doesn't seem to like it either! lol

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  9. If you weren't keeping him, I'm pretty sure half of blogland would be fighting over him :)

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    1. lol he's a good boy, i hope to hang on to him for a good long time <3

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  10. I love the term black tack but for some reason it makes me think of the Ring Wraths from Lord of the Rings. Might be accurate for how some people feel about Dressage lol

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    1. hahahaha maybe you're onto something with that!

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  11. Woot! He looks awesome. Height is definitely NBD for him!

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    1. thanks! and definitely agreed! i'm certainly not in any rush to figure out how high we have to go before he *does* care bc for now it just feels so good to enjoy him cruising around lol

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  12. I'm not going to tell Knight that Charlie gets to hang out in a big field with some other cool geldings. That would just be cruel to his little CA "sun pen" existence. Charlie is such a cool horse! Love him.

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    1. aw haha yea, the east coast v west coast turnout situations are pretty amazingly different! charlie loves having his buddies too! tho west coast horses seem pretty content with their sun pens too ;)

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  13. He's definitely a keeper! You're doing an awesome job bringing him along.

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    1. thanks girl, i feel so lucky with how easy he has made it <3

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  14. Yay for all the feels! I love how solidly he is progressing! He seems like a great horse and the two of you seem perfectly matched!!

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  15. He is looking so solid and confident!!

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  16. What a good boy! (: Glad he's so happy!!

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  17. I really like the "horse loves to jump" picture. That game face!

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