Tuesday, June 29, 2021

summer vibes

I had this really excellent (imho) plan going into the late spring competition season. Basically: Do all the things!! Haha.... 

That plan got kinda modified when I realized that, hrm, actually, I don't really want to do "all" the things. But some of them? Yes, absolutely. 

feel like i finally nailed the stall fan positioning this year -- the angle is just right so that charlie gets great coverage in all his favorite hangout spots in this enormous stall
So as usual, we adapted. We'd had a few lackluster jumping lessons over the springtime, plus some even less inspiring schooling sessions on our own. Basically, Charlie is kinda bored and a bit of a slug sometimes when it comes to "practice." 

But then we'd get to a show -- like our CT at Thornridge, and even the show jumping phase at Shawan a couple weeks ago -- and homeboy was on fire. In the best way possible. Professional Charlie attacked those rounds like the seasoned competitor he is, and felt like a much different creature than the lazy disinterested slug I occasionally find myself riding at home.  

he still likes coming out into the crossties tho <3
Thus: the new plan!! If Charlie wanted to be so bored about jumping at home or in lessons, but was such a good boy at shows.... Then, ya know, Fine! I can live with that haha -- let's just go to little schooling shows every weekend to get our jumps in!!

Sadly tho, just a few short weeks in and that newly revised plan is kinda in shambles now too haha. Y'all remember how the jump rounds somewhat infuriatingly failed to materialize at that one hunter show we went to. And since then, another Thornridge CT was rained out, and two other planned jumper shows got the kibosh when the weather looked nasty AF. 

actually asleep lol -- look at that lip!
And meanwhile, during all this time, our normal weekly lessons were on a slight hiatus first due to scheduling shenanigans all through May -- and then bc my coach had some unanticipated downtime due to injury. 

She's fine, fortunately, tho! And, even better -- is recovering and back to teaching. Yay!

"i said i was sleeping :( " -- charlie, probably
Like, I still feel like Charlie's kinda a harder horse to ride at home and in lessons bc he's just not the same as he is at a show. Especially when the jumps in our lessons aren't particularly big enough to be of much interest to him. 

But, eh. Whatever. I still prefer to jump at least once a week -- mostly bc dammit it's fun and I wanna haha. So we'll take what we can get. 

forever strollin
Lately that has meant just cruising around on my own jumping whatever happens to be set up in the ring. Typically, lots of random singles and lines set at unpredictable distances with fences ranging from little X's to every now and then a couple 2'6 options. 

hey look -- it's a pic of me on my horse!
This week, tho, we did finally have our big return to an actual lesson!! And it was just me and one of trainer P's barn rats who was riding a new-ish green red mare school horse. So they were definitely down to have a little fun. 

spying on the pony club kids learning how to gallop
None of the jumps have moved very much in the arena in recent weeks (again, see previous note about P's injury), and I already knew that most of the lines were set at extremely short lesson pony distances. Which ya know. 

Again, isn't exactly my favorite bc while practicing on short distances can be a very useful exercise -- Charlie already knows that game inside and out. He's long since realized it's easier for him to just slug along behind my leg, vs getting into that bouncy impulsive collected type canter. 

oooooh jumpin innneresting exercises -- this 90* set up is actually a bounce
But. Eh, whatever. While our plans have adapted and evolved over the spring and into early summer, and my interests in various outings have waxed and waned... One detail has remained consistent. Charlie *must* move forward off my leg. Always and forever. No excuses, no fussing. No sucking back allowed. 

more fun exercises -- two of my all time favorites: a simple 60' line for practicing adjusting your canter stride; and another line of 9'-18'-9' for practicing footwork
So we kept that mantra going into this ride: The lines would be easy, the jumps would probably be small. And I wasn't going to drill down crazy into the details or make him repeat anything a zillion times. But. But. He *must* stay in front of the leg haha. 

"somebody call peta i'd like to report a horse murder" -- charlie, definitely
After a few first lazy efforts, tho, Charlie was actually 100% on board!! Yay good boy!! 

So we got to practice all sorts of fun related distances: 2- 3- 4- and 5-stride lines. A nice triple combination with one segment bending away. A surprising number of technically challenging short turns out of the corners. And, a fun little bounce combo made from verticals set at right angles. 

he is the sweatiest foamiest horse i swear to god
Honestly, I swear -- Charlie lives for fun interesting puzzle type exercises. He's a grid-savant, and has really come so so so SO far in his footwork. 

Like, obviously we introduced the horses to the bounce gradually so that they understood it. But even in our last course where I definitely had him a little too close to the narrow side, making it a VERY short bounce, Charlie still figured it out. Good boy!

It was kinda a nice reminder too that the horse really does like it when the jumps are just a little bit higher. So much time spent jumping on my own means that I'm lazy and go with whatever's set up. But trainer P did put a couple up slightly higher in this lesson (and by "slightly higher" I mean mayyyybe N height. maybe). 

And obvi Charlie just ate them right up lol.

brave horse navigating death alley on the way to his turnout...
Somehow this year, I've become a complete baby about the weather (on top of my existing obsession over ground conditions for Poor Mr Delicate Toes), so it's anybody's guess how much we'll get into now that things are getting properly hot around here. 

I swear, I used to be so much tougher haha.... Used to go on epic 2pm cross country clinic rides at Windurra in 95*F; used to compete in the middle of summer as if salty B's like me were immune to the heat haha.  But now it'll crack past 88* and I'm like, "ooooh, better not, it's gross out" haha.... 

until next time, buddy!
Oh well, tho haha. Maybe this is what it means to get old? Or turn into my mother?? LOL ok don't actually answer that.... 

For real tho. I've got a couple ideas for how to keep getting out even when it's gross. CTs in particular seem really attractive right now bc: 1) ride times (sorry h/j land, this matters) and 2) committing to a 90sec jump course feels a lot more realistic right now than a 5min xc run haha. For, uh, many reasons, ahem. 

So hopefully something will work out. In the meantime, it feels good to keep getting in some low key and enjoyable practice sessions!


  1. Sounds like you're plugging along and doing what makes you happy, which is what this whole horse thing is all about! Glad you and Charlie are enjoying your summer!

  2. I'm with you on the feeling wimpier about riding in inclement weather. Although, given that I'm 57, it might not make you feel better. :D
    on the other hand, we're having fun and enjoying our ponies.

    1. lol yea i gotta admit... some of those nasty weather days where i was originally planning to show, but opted not to.... yea i had ZERO regrets haha ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  3. The heat really can be such a demotivator, more so than cold for me, so I can absolutely understand it anywhere else, especially because you have humidity where you are. Yeah fuck humidity.

    Sorry that the schooling show schedule fell apart and I hope Trainer P gets better soon!

    1. i know i'm so bummed about the schooling show schedule... i had this nice big beefy plan for may and june so that the hot months of july and august could be satisfyingly quiet. but.... the cancelled plans left me dissatisfied and now we're gonna have to go out and get 'er done in the grossness. or, something, lol... we'll see i guess LOL


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