Thursday, May 23, 2019

putting it into action

It is straight up insane to me that we're almost  halfway through 2019. Where did the time go? What on earth have I even been doing these last few months?? I feel like I've been super busy, hustling constantly... And yet I also am not entirely sure what we have to show for all that lol.

the bugs and heat are officially bad enough that the horses are voluntarily coming off grass to get to the shed midday
Possibly that's just an effect of getting older?? Maybe?? And I guess we kinda got a late start this year.... Regardless, I'm feeling eager for some action lol.

just look at that goofy lovable face tho <3
I've made so many awesome plans for this month. So many cool things to do. But.... Per usual, not much has come of it. Last year we ended up missing out on all my grand plans (all those clinic and competition entries for instance) because Charlie kept getting injured.

This year tho, the horse feels fabulous. Really really really good. Emotionally he's in a great place. In his schooling with me he's in a good place. He feels like a fully primed and prepared canvas ready for whatever I throw at him.

trying to keep my pledge of reducing water usage.... sometimes a full hose down is needed tho!
But my plans still aren't really panning out. Like, I keep booking these big xc lessons weeks (in some cases, more than a month) out. Organizing all the logistics. Preparing for the travel. Putting together a thoughtful exercise and schooling schedule to build up to these outings. Etc.

The universe is basically like "Wait a sec, hold my beer!" tho, and twice in a row this month the coaches I've booked for xc lessons have backed out less than 12hrs prior to our scheduled lesson slot.

Which like, sucks, right? 12hrs out and nobody else is gonna be available to fill the same time slot. Meanwhile all the rest of my schedule has been booked by that point, with the expectation that we would have had that schooling. So not only do I not get those rides, but it's also near impossible to reschedule quickly.

it's always nice when it's followed by some grazing obvi
Part of me wants to be snarky and be like, Well c'mon now guys, if I cancelled on you 12hrs out you'd still charge me for the full lesson price. What gives?!? Realistically tho, I get it. Horses are a tough business and when push comes to shove for most pros, I'm kinda a low man on the totem pole and am easy to bump. Which sucks, but that's how it goes sometimes I guess.

oooh look at this sweet familiar face i ran into while waiting for an appt at Waredaca!
My big plan for this past week was a show jumping lesson with upper level event rider K (which worked out perfectly, yas, and I wrote about on Monday), then school xc at Windurra in a lesson with Dan, and close out with a much needed dressage lesson with Trainer C at her lovely farm.

Essentially -- all three phases, with three key pros, spread out over a couple days. Then just hold steady as needed until the weekend for our starter trial on Sunday. Nice plan, right?

such a sweet old doggo to keep me company haha
Ah well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad, right? Dan's schedule apparently imploded after his wife (also a talented 5* rider, and a lovely individual) had a nasty fall. She's ok, thankfully, but it was scary and meant Dan had to pick up some of her rides and presumably lessons etc. So again, with their own priorities and schedules, when push came to shove, my little private off-farm xc lesson ended up getting bumped. I continued to be super bummed, but again, I get it. C'est la vie.

also here's a less sweet face haha, but always a welcome sight at the farm! go eat 'dem mice! fun fact: charlie strolled right on past this giant fucking snake without a glance lol....
Especially considering -- those other two lessons both went off without a hitch, and were exactly what I wanted / hoped for / needed. Again, I already wrote about the show jumping lesson, where we worked on staying forward in balance on a 12' even through bending lines, etc.

story time: i was already prepping my truck for the early morning drive to windurra when dan cancelled. feeling sad and discouraged, i went to gas up anyway, but recoiled in horror when i opened the gas cap and nearly palmed this nest and its wasp chillin in there. upon closer inspection, there was a second nest+wasp  inside the driver's side door frame too. bc fuck me, right? fortunately random gas station people are kind. a stranger took my broom to gently swat the nests down, and the wasps all flew away quickly and peacefully... full disclosure tho, i may or may not have had a little cry after that once back on the road.... sigh. 
The second lesson - a dressage ride with Trainer C at her farm - was also exactly what the doctor ordered. Obvi not as exciting as cross country haha, but we'll take what we can get, right?

Again, Charlie's been doing super super well in our rides, and I've been trying to be disciplined in my position and riding style. It's hard tho. I have so so so many bad habits, and at this point I've kinda conditioned Charlie to respond to my pretzel contortions. So when I feel like I need to get something specific from the horse, I revert immediately back to my bad habits. You know how it goes haha.

and speaking of biting stinging murderous beasties.... sorry to post a picture of charlie's junk but the bugs are absolutely savaging his under bits. i try to clean the crusted blood out every day but it's seriously awful, poor guy! :(
Basically, at this point, Charlie feels like a true reflection of me and my riding, for better or worse. He's been very good and very obedient lately. He's getting stronger and stronger, and has really been trying for me. I like it a lot!

But I just don't really know what the next step is. I know that for him to be better, I have to be better. I just don't know how to do that on my own. We just need coaching right now, ya know?

every day he's got fresh blood drops :(
In some ways Trainer C is kinda funny bc I see her so infrequently that she feels like she shouldn't disrupt my style too much in case I'm doing things for specific reasons. Like rein length, she seemed to think I was keeping them longer or looser or whatever bc Charlie wouldn't like it if I shortened them too much.

But like, no. Actually I just have bad hands bc I don't have someone there to tell me repeatedly and often to fix my bad hands LOL. Luckily I didn't need to tell her that twice and she made it her business to remind me every step of the way to fix my god forsaken hands haha. Yassss.

he hasn't let that slow him down tho! good boy has been busy lately!
Particularly, she wants me to pay more attention to my inside hand. I want to let it sorta get low and pull down, but she wanted me to think of actually having it be a little higher than the outside hand. Like in our leg yields, where she was basically like "even if the barn is burning down and everyone is dying, for the love of god stop pulling your inside rein." Or for moves like the 10m half turns. Something we've been practicing a lot lately, mostly to good effect, but that still need improvement.

Overall Charlie was pretty good for everything. No real standout glaring issues or anything, and nothing too too nitty gritty (at least, not that I remember) about changing my ride. Except for the whole clinging and clutching with my lower legs. That's another habit that's going to take a lot of persistent coaching to eradicate.... And maybe a County Epiphany LOL.

so tired but so pleased with himself <3
And for the end of the lesson, we actually opted to do a quick run through 1-1. I've only read the test once or twice, and have never put the whole thing together with Charlie, tho we practice components from it almost every ride.

The purpose of this test ride was more or less just to set a baseline. Kinda see where we're at, what the weak points are, etc. And actually Charlie did WAY better for the whole thing than I expected. He was a little tense and tight in the base of his neck, possibly bc he felt like we shifted gears too quickly from lesson mode to test mode, something I'll need to consider in warm up and maybe schooling too.

But actually he did surprisingly well with the rapid fire (relatively speaking) transitions and figures etc. The trot lengthenings in particular were on fire, literally way better than anything we've ever practiced before. Good boy! The canter work was good too, especially his transitions were also more prompt and crisp than I sometimes see in schooling. And the 10m half circles were adequate.

the juxtaposition between charlie and his spicy little nugget of a trailer mate always makes me LOL
It was certainly rough around the edges (our halts in particular were quite bad) and I'm not sure it'd break a 60% at even a schooling show lol.... But it was a great start. And super reassuring -- I think the construction of that test suits Charlie way more than I expected.

We'll be riding that test, plus the very similar USEA Training A test, at a schooling dressage show in a couple weeks, so at least now I have an idea of how to keep refining. Charlie definitely has all the pieces tho. It's a good test for him. I just need to help it flow more, be more smooth.

And. Ya know. Perhaps try to lesson more than once every 3 months LOL. Details, details. This weekend we're just riding Novice A again anyway. As much as I would love to really put in a solid effort for a test we've been riding for legit a year, it'll probably still be kinda mediocre. That's ok tho, I'm excited anyway.

Just excited to get out and do things!!! Ya know? Looking forward to stuff on my calendar is one of my favorite activities, even when, blargh, they don't quite pan out. Hopefully this weekend will be good tho. We shall see!


25 comments:

  1. I would be bummed over the cancellations as well. It's very frustrating when you've arranged your life to fit them in and then nothing. Understanding it doesn't make it easier.

    I have a show in 2 weeks and we are so not ready. The weather has been truly awful. All I'm hoping for is to have a boring ride.

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    1. oh man, sometimes a "boring" ride really is the ultimate tho haha. here's hoping your conditions improve in the next two weeks so that you can feel a little more prepared. a lot can happen in that amount of time!

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  2. I feel you so hard. Try and schedule a dressage lesson? rain. Field trip? brake cable goes. Shoes lost, abscesses it's always SOMETHING.

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    1. for real tho. it's kinda a crappy club, but at least we have cool members!!

      and honestly tho, i keep reminding myself that *Charlie* doesn't know about these cancellations and foiled plans and disappointments. he doesn't have a clue. he just perks up every time i go to get him, and happily goes along with whatever it is we're doing for that day, whether it's a hack or dressage lesson or whatever. so for that, i'm grateful haha!

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  3. Um, where did 2019 go? Can't believe it is almost June. Too bad about the cancellations - it is frustrating as an ammy as it often takes a lot of work and scheduling to haul out to lessons. Hopefully you can get out anyway and do some fun stuff with Charlie the hunk! ;-)

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    1. totally frustrating, tho the lessons we DID do this week were great and exactly what i needed. plus there's always more to look forward to - a starter trial this weekend, some more planned (fingers fucking crossed) lessons, an upcoming dressage show....

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  4. Remus is bloody every day and he is covered pretty much head to toe with a flysheet and fly mask. UGH. Last nite he was being bulldozed by two bomber horse flies in his stall. HATE BUGS.

    Good luck at your trial and sorry you are having so much trouble with cancellations. I am hounding people down here for lessons (OR letting me haul in if not)....

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    1. oh god, poor Remus! these flies are vicious, ugh. luckily it doesn't seem to be bothering charlie too much at this point, but the fact that he's so bloody every day worries me about long term irritations :( not really sure what i can do about it tho??

      and thanks - i'm looking forward to the trial too. but yea isn't it kinda shocking how hard it is to get started with someone? like i feel like i'm hounding these people too and feel like such a creeper, but c'mon!! let me spend my moneh on your wisdom!!!! :(

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  5. Ugh. To bad about all your lessons getting cancelled:( that sucks.
    Ollie gets bitten by the bugs pretty bad to... Sudocrem seems to help him a bit though!

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    1. well.... not *all* the lessons got cancelled, in fact i actually summarized a pretty baller dressage lesson in the post above and am excited to take what we worked on in that lesson to our next show ;)

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  6. I think I would have set my truck on fire and walked away from it if I found two wasps nests in it. I would not be able to stop thinking I felt a wasp every time a hair touched my arm. I get shivers just thinking about it now!

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    1. honestly i'm not gonna even try to deny that thought didn't cross my mind......

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  7. The best way to ruin plans is to involve horses. FACT.
    I hope you have a great show this weekend though! Can't wait to read about it!

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    1. lol omg that is the TRUTH tho!! and thanks, it should be a really fun weekend i think, at present i'm feeling the most zen i've ever felt at this particular level, which is perhaps yet another good reason to just keep doin what we're doin!

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  8. I'm glad Dan's wife is going to be ok and yeah 2 out of 3 ain't bad but getting rescheduled on regularly is the absolute pits. If I were you I would probably burn your truck to the ground because it is an interdimensional hell mouth for wasps.

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    1. for sure - i was esp happy that the 2 lessons we did get really met our current needs, tho of course it just makes me hungry for MOAR lol.

      and yea omg those wasps..... like obvi i was already in a pitiful state of mind but i seriously basically just melted into a helpless puddle. fwiw tho, esp with the nests being kinda small, one wasp sorta just left on its own after we left it exposed for a few minutes, and the other fled the scene as soon as we toppled the nest. i had been afraid that they'd come after us or something, and maybe they would with a bigger nest or if they were hornets instead, but these guys just.... left. whew!

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  9. I’d be frustrated with the last minute cancels too. I understand but it hard to rearrange your schedule and they bail.

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    1. omg yes that is exactly it. it's like i create this beautifully constructed perfectly engineered little house of cards and then real life just swoops in and knocks it all over haha(sob)

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  10. OMG with all the "wildlife!" Um, no thank you! The snake scared me way more than the wasps..
    Your bugs also make me happy to live out here.. Yikes! Poor Chuck!

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    1. haha yea... tho our bugs in maryland aren't even as big as what you find just a few hundred miles farther south! the snakes are good tho - it's just a rat snake, one of the least aggressive types out there that just wants to slither around and rain hellfire down on the worse barn pests - mice and rats lol. so i actually like seeing them around!

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  11. Have you tried slathering his nether regions in SWAT? It worked well for Annie last year - the bugs were absolutely murdering her navel area.

    Can't wait to hear about your 1-1 debut!!

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    1. thanks, i'm oddly excited about doing 1-1, bc tho it's hard to believe, i've never actually ridden a proper first level dressage test in competition. it won't be good, but hopefully it'll be fun!

      and re: the SWAT, that's what i'm thinking i'll do when charlie's turnout switches to nighttime in a few weeks. right now, he goes out in the morning and i generally don't see him until the evening when he's in for the night. not sure how useful it would be to apply swat at that point, ya know?

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    2. I was going to say much the same thing! The bay mare I used to ride would get like that all down her midline, basically from chest to belly button, every summer. She lived for three months every year in a thick layer of Corona surrounded by a thick layer of the ungodly pink SWAT so you could see where it was. Didn't take care of all of the issues, in all honesty, but it did mean that she only laid down and scratched her belly while being ridden, like, once or twice a month rather than every day, and the summer kids weren't being freaked out by blood. ("Got" to ride her scratching her belly one time. That was the WEIRDEST experience. lol)

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    3. lol omg what a goofy horse! charlie honestly hasn't shown that he much cares about it one way or the other, tho i'm sure it can't be comfortable.

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  12. So frustrating about you plans getting cancelled last minute. that would drive me nuts. i'm please you had a good flat lesson though!

    That snake is cool

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