Friday, June 30, 2017

watch out, we got a wild one!

This week has been a bit of a quiet one. Temperatures have been back in the realm of 'bearable' after a long-ish heat wave, so that's nice. It's still hot tho, still in the 90s. Or maybe we're just getting used to it? Idk haha.

very prettily manicured little road!
Anyway, with back to back show weekends for our little 'mini mid summer season,' we've just been focused on creating a balance throughout the week. To recover from Tranquility, address some of the weaknesses shown during that event, and prepare for Fair Hill this coming weekend.

ooooooh a new field!
Recovery is maybe the easiest part there haha - tho naturally, Charlie made damn sure he got it by throwing one of those precious leather-lined shoes of his on Monday. Sigh. That was just under three weeks, if you're keeping track.

So he got new kicks put on up front on Tuesday, and we took advantage of a willing and able barn friend to go out for an easy, low key, but long-ish hack.

then back up the pretty little road again with bff / herd boss, Tip
"Long-ish" being relative here, haha. But barn mate showed me some previously unknown riding spots. Apparently we can completely circumnavigate almost all (but not quite all) of the big pastures to get around to a private road out back, that then leads to this other quite lovely field.

'oooooh there's a.... thing!' - charlie, probably
We just rode around the perimeter of the field before turning back, as opposed to staying there to work around (tho that's definitely something for the future!) - but it was still a nice distance for hacking around. Maybe 30ish minutes total. I wish we had more, but this is at least something.

"uh, wat r dat?"
Plus Charlie got to hack around some garden and chicken stuff on campus, and then in between a couple more active athletic fields where soccer games were being played. The chickens got a little bit of a leery look from Charlie, but the athletic fields were old news, considering they line Charlie's pasture fence anyway.

I'm still really craving long, satisfying trail rides tho..... hopefully there will be more opportunity for that later this summer. Maybe we'll go back to Sweet Air? Or to Austen's again? Or maybe a big group ride at Fair Hill? Hopefully something!!

"it clucked at me. and now i am perplexed :( "
As much as we love hacking freely about the countryside tho, that's not really the greatest way to prepare for a show. So we've been schooling too. Primarily on the flat, since that's where we both need the most work.

clearly exhausted from the exertion
I put Charlie back in that giant ridiculous Myler for another ride this week too. This being the third time he's worn it (we've been playing with it about once a month or every 6 weeks).

I continue to feel like the Myler is a useful, possibly effective, training tool used sparingly with Charlie. He's continued the trend of being less stressed out by the bit, and I'm able now to really put my leg on and push him up into the bit (whereas that would have resulted in extreme claustrophobia and probably a massive meltdown the first time he wore it).

"hello yes, i was promised cookies and nose smooches?"
And it gives me a lot more influence on how he carries his front end. Not perfectly - obvi I can't exactly use a bit to get the horse to lift his back or wither or 'sit,' bc... uh... that's not how it works haha. And he has a tendency to want to break at the 3rd vertebra and duck behind this bit (and a little behind my leg too).

But it does allow me greater control over the speed of his front end. And it reduces his leaning to zero. Those two factors, I think, are really useful right now in Charlie's development, especially now that he's comfortable enough in the bit for me to put my leg ON.

watch out for that wild horse in the cross ties!
also pictured: why i clip the ties to the cheek rings instead of the nose rings
Because he needs to really keep coming forward from the hind end, really push push push from behind. But his front end needs to slow down, to wait instead of getting heavy and just running more and more onto his forehand.

My hope is that this exercise of really getting him to wait up front (but not by letting him lean on my hands), while continuing to drive him forward from behind, will help to build that strength he needs to carry his shoulders more 'up.' And hopefully also helping him develop more longitudinal suppleness (provided I can keep him relatively straight.... bc that lateral suppleness ain't exactly well-developed yet either haha).
 
"who are you calling goofy?!? i am clearly impressive wild stallion! this isn't a fly mask, it's my fierce warrior armor"
We'll see tho. The value of the Myler (in my grand plan, at least) is that we can use the bit for the occasional ride to help establish that feeling in the horse, and then switch back to the snaffle while still being able to access the feeling.

We followed a similar pattern in the days leading up to our last Fair Hill starter trial, and Charlie put in what felt like a really good test for him. It didn't score well but it might also just be a long time before we're putting together enough "good moments" in a test to get the scores up.

sure, charlie. keep tellin' yourself that!
So for now I'm trying to just stay focused on getting the right 'feeling' from the horse - vigorously asking for it, searching for it in our rides - and rewarding as quickly and thoroughly as I'm able.

Bc flat work really isn't Charlie's favorite right now. It's hard for him, and not as fun as jumping. He's not super trusting of carrying himself in a new balance. It worries him a bit, especially as it makes him a little uncomfortable by being so difficult. And then he trips and is like, "WTF I knew this was a bad idea!" Poor guy.

But he can do it. I know he can. And the better I can do as a rider in holding my position, in solidifying my timing of when to ask and when to release, the better he'll do. Easy, right?

Anyway. It's Friday. Finally. And it's hopefully going to be a great weekend! Do you have any big plans? Are you in a ramping-up phase for anything? Or maybe you're unwinding? Or something in between - an easy holding pattern or the dog days of summer?

33 comments:

  1. i think its gonna be hot tomorrow. UGH. but yay I get to see you and Alli so I am excited. Great plan this week (BAD Charlie for tossing a very expensive shoe)...hacking and flat work. UGH i wish i had a good plan like that but work just hit the busy time. Charlie is really filling out nicely! Less bones and angles more HORSE :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yea it'll be hot.... but not any worse than it has been, i don't think. hopefully there will be a good breeze!

      we're gonna have a good day, i can't wait!!

      Delete
  2. I think that hacking out is a great way to prepare for a show. It stops me from too much drilling which is so counterproductive. I have great memories of practicing counter canter with Irish on an old dirt road. It really helped me figure out the balance thing.

    this weekend is the Canada Day weekend- 150 years of Confederation. There are going to be lots of celebrations but we are staying home and enjoying some peace and quiet. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. peace and quiet sounds wonderful ;) also agreed on the benefits of taking the 'work' out during hacks. i haven't really gotten there with charlie yet, bc i'm still looking to establish a distinct difference between "working" rides and "relaxing" rides (thus the difference in bridle - my hope is that he will learn that the hackamore = trail rides / relaxation and the bit = expectations to do the thing). all in good time tho!! bc yea, being able to work outside the ring is just as important!

      Delete
  3. Our week has been similar! A light XC school on Monday morning, trot/canter sets Tuesday morning, Wednesday off, and yesterday was a more intense flatwork/couple small jumps day. Today I'm hoping to do a little bit of flatwork, get the pony working over his back, and then mosey around the farm. Can't wait to see you guys tomorrow and finally meet Charlie!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. sounds like a pretty perfect week!!! i wish we could have gone xc schooling with you.... esp if there was any water involved.... oh well. it's gonna be a great day tomorrow, and i can't wait to see you!!! and for our ponies to meet!!!!!!

      Delete
  4. It's not the dog days of summer yet!!! Stan had a 6.7 mile conditioning ride this week. Q had her sanest ride back so far for 20 minutes. Grif had a dressage rode (bareback) And a jumping session (bareback). I learned I can ride a 2'9" over bareback from a standstill and survive. And I trimmed all of Griffins hooves and Qs fronts. Now we are gonna spend today rock climbing and I photograph a wedding tomorrow then more Sunday climbing before I crash hard Sunday night. Zzzzz.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh man, i'm tired just reading all that! jumping bareback is..... not something i've done much of and most of it is cross rails anyway lol. that's awesome tho!!

      Delete
    2. LOL! But seriously! Liz, that's you're jam! I've always known, keeping up with you requires a full set of energizer batteries at all times. Ha, meanwhile, Jean Luc and I may enjoy a few chill afternoon of groundwork. Weather looks like rain, so, knows? Courtesy of some great deals on Amazon, I'm hammock owning hippie now. We may test that out and work on chilling at the barn while momma listen to a new (for me) blues album. (Paul Thorn - look him up).

      Delete
    3. ooooh see i need a hammock for sure. i feel like that would be the most perfect addition to our show setup lol. hope you have a great weekend!

      Delete
  5. Biggest thing I have going on this weekend is one lesson, but I'll maybe take a trip out to the river just to kick back a bit. I'll be rooting for you and Chuck from the beach!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! enjoy the beach and the lesson!!!

      Delete
  6. Charlie looks like he's dancing in that gif. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. he's a dancing queen for sure! esp when he really gets into the weaving zone in his stall lol.

      Delete
  7. omg the fly mask is RE-DIC-U-LOUS

    im all in for a big group trail ride at fair hill. i really wanna try indy in a snackamore for hacks. or maybe ill use the converter on the micklem to make it a sidepull!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i really like the hackamore - and it's worked pretty nicely for charlie. i actually rode him around wtc in the arena his first time in it and it works, tho i haven't tried running out in the open lol. only one way to find out tho! let's make the group ride happen for sure - maybe july or august??

      Delete
  8. Ramone consistently lost his shit over chickens so - Bravo, Brava, Bravissima!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. charlie was pretty brave... tho he skittered a little bit when the thing made noises at him haha

      Delete
  9. Good luck tomorrow! I actually school Duke in a different bit and then change to another one I know he likes for shows. So far it's worked well for us this year.

    I'm in the truck as I type, headed to the Horse Park of NJ as a groom for the weekend. Not looking forward to the heat but liking forward to seeing s new venue! Duke is staying cool at home and getting some conditioning rides with a junior for our event next weekend. Summer is here and I'm loving it as long as I can figure out how to not expire in this heat and humidity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ooooh have fun and stay cool! i'm hoping it's not going to be that bad otu this weekend. or maybe i'm just passively denying it haha. exciting about your upcoming event too :D

      Delete
  10. Trail rides are the best and Charlie is looking dashing these days. My weekend is surprisingly horse focused. I loaned Gem out today for some fun gaming and I get to cross country jump judge on Sunday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ooooh have fun jump judging!!! that's such a great way to get more familiar with the sport - wish i could do more of it!

      Delete
  11. I'm with you on the Friyay! We're definitely on hold as the ponies heal themselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. poor ponies, stop hurting yourselves!!!

      Delete
  12. I've said it before, but I'm still super jealous of all your riding space. If I want to trail ride-which I always want to- the closest place is a 25 minute trailer ride away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i was very pleasantly surprised by those nice road-side walkways and esp that other field. i knew of their existence for a while but hadn't been back there yet. it's nice! still doesn't really feel like a trail ride tho. and the 'trails' we do have really don't quite fit the need of 'mentally refreshing' bc there's honestly a little bit too technical. they'll do in a pinch tho, and for that i'm grateful!

      Delete
  13. I'm also jealous of your riding space but hear you on wanting more trail riding opportunities. It's part of why I can't wait to get a trailer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. definitely! we've got some great trails an easy trailer ride away (some are linked above) but poor charlie gets dragged onto the trailer so often already, it would be nice to be able to ride out where we are. the above ride is pretty good tho - definitely better than nothing!

      Delete
  14. Good luck at Fair Hill! And it's nice that you found a way to string together some "trails" to get out a little more :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. It's always nice to find a new trail spot! Have fun at Fair Hill and good luck :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Those fields look absolutely gorgeous! So jealous 😍 what a good boy Charlie! He's looking so good - filling out so nicely and developing muscle 😊 My mom and I had our first "official" ride in the arena! It felt familiar and strange lol. Then we took them on a small walkabout around the undeveloped land. Hopefully acupuncture tomorrow! Then sleep for me lol

    ReplyDelete
  17. Those fields look absolutely gorgeous! So jealous 😍 what a good boy Charlie! He's looking so good - filling out so nicely and developing muscle 😊 My mom and I had our first "official" ride in the arena! It felt familiar and strange lol. Then we took them on a small walkabout around the undeveloped land. Hopefully acupuncture tomorrow! Then sleep for me lol

    ReplyDelete
  18. It's so strange that it's summer and I still haven't been out on the trails. We're taking it slow with Mae (sigh nervous thoroughbred) but at some point we're just going to have to take her out there, through traffic and everything

    ReplyDelete