Wednesday, May 2, 2018

in search of normal

I'll get back to talking about Kentucky soon enough (tho the highlight video is up for anybody who is impatient!). First, tho, I want to write an update on how life is going for Charles these days.

super cool statue!
When last we left off, Charlie had just come back from a two week rest period after his latest ding (an inconsequential splint). He got back under saddle just in time for an awesome trail ride with blogger friends, and then hacked around a little bit around the farm to get him thinking more about work again. Then finally back to some purposeful schooling and a lesson.

so much more brave about water now
It's hard to say if I would be so casual about reintroducing Charlie to work with just hacking out the first few times if we didn't have so many fields to wander through. I mean, there's nothing wrong with starting back up immediately in the ring.

But.... we have fields, and I enjoy easing back into a routine. Plus, since Charlie has some tendency toward sourness, it feels reasonable to start off slow.

it helps that a lot of the water is kinda unavoidable these days lol
We don't stay slow tho! Because this blog is all about 'Fraidy Cat Eventing, right?? Not 'Fraidy Cat Traipsing Through The Woods lol. So. Back to schooling we go! Plus obvi I wanted to see how Charlie felt after his latest round of physical maintenance.

Verdict? He feels good!! So we pushed ahead with our regularly scheduled (tho not so regularly executed, alas!) jump lesson with upper level event rider K last week before I left for Kentucky. Given Charlie's recent spate of time off, we opted to keep it light and fluffy - with the jumps all set around 2'6 and just focusing on rideability.

elevation profile of our latest hack. forgot to turn it off at the end tho so it kinda just flattened out as we putzed around the barn
Basically we just variation after variation of S-turn triple combination roll backs. Some were very broad turns, and some were tighter turns. But the general gist was: changing bend after every jump, and get Charlie to a place where he's really tuning in and looking for the jumps himself upon landing.

K wanted me to break the lines down to their utmost simplest mechanical processes. Very clearly delineated steps, since Charlie seems to really figure out "processes" very quickly. It was all about: Turn, Straight, Jump, Straight, Turn, Straight, Jump, Straight, etc etc etc.

same ride, with all the fun satellite imagery. the xc fields actually extend up toward the upper right hand corner, but there were horses out there. the red line is where i typically do trot sets, and the little red loops are centered over the water, which we just cantered through a few times
Simple stuff, but very important. And by the end, even as we did tighter and tighter turns, Charlie was really right there with me. Even if it took a minute for him to lock on to which fence we were aiming at, or if I overshot a turn, he had become very rideable. Easily moving his shoulders and adjusting and holding his own body up - not pulling or laboring around any turns.

That's exactly the feeling I want on cross country! Tho obvi it's much harder, esp at BN where it's just loooong run, jump, loooooong run, jump, etc etc. Where it becomes so much easier for the horse to just get into the habit of landing pulling. We'll get there tho!

kinda wish i had remembered to turn this off earlier, but the distance seems about correct anyway
Obvi the horse had more time off again while I was out of town in Kentucky, but we are hopefully finally settling in for a more normal routine over the coming weeks. Starting off, naturally, with some hacking. My favorite.

And I remembered to use my new Altitude Profile app this time too! Tho I forgot to turn it off at the end as I untacked Charlie back at the barn, oops.

sleeping fox in the grass!
I'm really excited to start digging into this data too. Tho I think I'll have to use it a couple times, and be a little more specific with when and where I start turning it on to really measure out all our fields. But even just mapping out the above ride, including where the hills are and where I like to do our fitness work, seems like there's a lot to be learned from that.

Plus it was just so freakin nice to hop back on Charlie and go cruising through the fields again, letting him pick his own pace. It was cooling off after a hot day, and we had all the fields all to ourselves, aside from some deer, geese, and a lone fox. Felt downright perfect ;)

Soon tho, there will be more again. Always more! How do you like to bring your horse back into work after some time off? Does it matter how long they've had off, or how consistently they had been ridden? Or turnout situations?

22 comments:

  1. Ahh! So glad he is feeling good! I love long walks, or trots to bring them back. I love some hill work at the walk. I think the fewer small circles the better, I like to get them strong again prior to too much technical work! Love your Kentucky post! When do we get to see him in the grey Brontasorus boots?

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    1. Yea agreed completely, and we have a lot of really nice gentle hills. I’m hoping to use this app to help me figure out how to really maximize the hills in our normal hacking routines. Soon! And re: the boots, I need to get a pic! Tho spoiler I actually didn’t get the gray boots, I got a different version. Hopefully might be dressing him up in dressage tack tonight or tomorrow bc there’s more new stuff than just boots!!!! :D

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    2. So exciting!! Can't wait to see!

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  2. Yay! So happy he's back in action! :D Henry and I have both been on and off a lot so far in 2018 (he just had a bad cough but I had various injuries/illnesses), I think hacking is a great way to get back into the groove.

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    1. Definitely, it’s so much easier for me too - I can practice getting my seat and position back, practice two point or whatever, while the horse just wanders around snatching mouthfuls of grass lol

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  3. Glad to hear Charlie is back in action - I'm jealous of your trails! They look and sound awesome.

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    1. The trails are great for sure! Tho I’m finding that while the gates are open since horses aren’t out on the big summer pastures yet, I’ve been haunting the fields more than the woods. So peaceful !

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  4. I absolutely wish I had the fields you did for hacking out! Amber would love them. So glad you are having a good time hacking Charlie! I love those super pleasant hacks after works in the arena. I think it really helps to reset the brain! (mine as well lol)

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    1. the fields are definitely so great for that mental freshness. charlie still has so much to learn about just being like.... a pleasure horse too haha. for instance the grass is super long in the fields right now but he doesn't know how to "grab and go" yet -- if he wants to graze, he has to stop and fully plant his legs. which.... i don't love. but if he can grab mouthfuls of grass while continuing to walk (or only briefly pausing) i'm cool with that. but he doesn't know how yet! lol. these are the important lessons we cover in our "hack training" ;)

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  5. Love that statue and the sleeping fox, glad that you and Charlie are back at it!

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    1. at first i was worried about the fox bc he didn't seem very alarmed at our presence.... but then i realized he probably hangs out near the horses often and maybe didn't register the rider? idk.... he seemed normal otherwise tho lol

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  6. I'm working on bringing Moiya back into work after the leg wound from HELL. I've been keeping it really light, mostly walk/trot especially since she's older and has 0 goals other than be happy, healthy and sound.

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    1. sounds like a solid plan to me - hopefully that wound keeps healing without issue!!

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  7. Phew! Back in action is GREAT! The blog title threw me a little and I immediately thought, OH NO, NOW WHAT CHARLIE haha.

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    1. lol luckily nothing new this time, just hoping to settle into a routine. maybe one day!

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  8. Perfect time of year to be back at it. What an amazing capture of the fox! So cute.

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    1. omgosh he was so cute tho. and kinda annoyed that i disrupted his evening nap lol

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  9. So glad that Charlie is feeling great and you guys can get right back into it!

    It's interesting tracking rides like that. Your trails look lovely

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    1. thanks i'm actually really excited about using this tracking device and am trying to use it more often for my rides - hopefully will have more findings to share from it eventually!

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  10. Yay for back in action and feeling good! Hope you can keep it that way!!

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    1. thanks!! haha at this rate i'll be satisfied with an uninterrupted six weeks ;)

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  11. So glad he is back to feeling great again. That exercise sounds amazing. My brain tends to shut down during jump rounds and that type of exercise would force me to really think.

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