Saturday, March 31, 2018

give a dog a bone

Happy weekend everybody! This past week really just flew by for me, aided in large part by the fact that I took PTO from work on Thursday and Friday, plus Monday too. Five day weekend for the win!!

this sacrifice winter field barely has any grass yet but that hasn't stopped charlie from trying!
And it's been a fairly light week too, as we recover from our thrill ride at Loch Moy. I had so much fun and have so many feelings about our season opener this year, plus literally zillions more pictures (esp those candid in-between moments that Austen has such a good eye for) so I'll probably share more later.

forsythia is starting to bloom too!
For now tho, I kinda just want to cover where we've been and what we've been doing in terms of show recovery, knowing that the calendar will be heating up in very short order.

meanwhile spring uncovered all sorts of fun things for Riley too, like this "stick" she found
Mostly? We've been hacking. Lots and lots of hacking. Charlie got a day off after the show, but has been under saddle ever since.

Obviously the cross country round ended up being a bit harder of a run than was necessary or expected, and both of us were pretty sore afterward. So the name of the game has been lots of low intensity conditioning, intermixed with flat work aimed almost exclusively at stretching and suppling the horse.

so proud of herself and her new toy
Charlie doesn't truly have a "long and low" frame yet, or really a stretchy trot either. He's kinda sorta learning how to carry himself that way, but feels a little vulnerable and lacking in confidence in that frame. Which like, I totally get bc he's got a habit of being heavy up front lol.

mmmmm sticks....
But we're working on it, plus other stretches from the ground (like belly lifts and butt tucks), and a week later he's feeling more limber and soft again.

srsly tho, how pleased does this dog look haha
I've also been trying to keep the schools brief and to the point. Remembering what Boyd Martin told us about his horses's riding schedules, ideally the balance of our riding schedule would entail lengthier low intensity conditioning work, whether that's walk, trot, or canter, and shorter but more intense schooling sessions.

and a cat. bc cat pictures are the internet's currency
Meaning I want to be more disciplined in asking for good work, rather than settling for half efforts or mediocrity. So that we make the time count - quick bursts of intensity but not needing to drill anything. For us, this usually means a 20-30min dressage ride. Followed by another ~20min hacking through the fields.

plus sleepy shaggy sun bathing ponies
It's super easy to get that mileage in right now too bc none of the horses are turned out on the big summer pastures yet, so all the gates are open. The trick will be keeping the habit once we have to contend with gates again haha. Charlie's gotten so much better in that regard tho so I'm sure it'll be fine.

dressagin' in jump tack. sorta. haha
Anyway. I also promised to write more about our last lesson before the show but.... Well. Honestly there really isn't a whole heck of a lot to write about. We limited how many jumping reps Charlie did, since he's not super fit right now and I didn't want to run out of horse at Loch Moy (lol, that fear proved very unfounded!).

He was great tho. It's a fun simple video that I'm happy to have documented as part of the ever-growing log of Charlie's progression. Plus, I get a serious kick out of the fact that this course is nearly identical to what we saw the following day in our show jump round haha.

Trainer P must be a genius or something. Same elements jumped off the same leads and everything. Except the lines were shorter and the jumps were bigger in Trainer P's course.

i'm pleased with this picture <3
But back to our week of riding post-event, we did another very light jump school with Trainer K too. Brita, Rachael and I had originally planned a fun cross country outing this day to take advantage of my PTO and Brita's spring break. But rainy conditions meant the course wasn't open, sadness. Nbd tho, it worked out better bc I didn't really want an intense school anyway.

and then another light jump school to try out the hackamore!
Mostly we just worked briefly over some small jumps to give Charlie a chance to crack his back a little bit. And give *me* a chance to experiment with jumping in the hackamore!! Verdict?? I actually really liked it. It'll need more testing to see if it works when Charlie's adrenaline is really pumping, but I'm hopeful.

and ponies and puppies sharing treats!
The curb chain is a miracle worker, but also isn't so strong on Charlie that it's likely to back the big boy off. Plus, omg this bridle is so much easier to put on than his current jump bridle and its 8,000 straps lol. Basically the feeling I'm looking for is a lightness in the contact (but I *do* want contact) and a feeling like I can put my leg on. So we'll see.

plus a pic of charlie's freshly bathed tail in prep for the show. bc damn that's just a nice tail, buddy
So things are cruisin right along in Charlie land. We've been waiting so long for spring to arrive and the show season to begin, it's hard to believe we're finally here. It's all very exciting. I have my work cut out in balancing Charlie's fitness and workload to ensure everybody stays happy and healthy, but honestly tho? We feel ready. And eager. Haha. Maybe too eager.

I'm still learning what works best for Charlie in helping him feel his strongest and soundest. The show at Loch Moy was definitely one of the most intense workouts we've ever had together, but I think this week spent hacking out and stretching and whatnot has done his body good in recovery. And it's also kept me feeling like we're doing good schooling work too, so win win.

Do you have a typical routine for post-show workloads for your horse too? Does it kinda depend on how intense the show was? Do you subscribe to the idea that "motion is lotion" and keep the horse moving and working? Or does your horse do better with more down time?


  1. Give a dog a bone (Dying laughing here) Riley did look so proud too HA HA HA HA cracking up still......

    Glad you have a good week of Charlie rides and glad you got to take some time off! YAY.

    I saw the forecast for the weekend and about fell off my couch. 58 and sun today and 60 and partly sunny tomorrow. What?? I know rain is coming later this week but whattttt/? Not sure I know how to react to an actual decent weekend. :) Enjoy yours!!

    1. I'm so excited by this nice weather!!! It's a little windy here but honestly I'm loving it!! Hope you are getting to enjoy as well!

  2. I think each horse is ‘somewhat ‘ different. I’m still trying to figure out Carmen. I generally like to ride the day after an intense show/clinic and then give the next day off. The ride is light and we work on stretching and moving. I think it helps get the soreness out of the muscles. It doesn’t always work out because of other commitments but that’s usually my plan. We will see what Carmen thinks of that.

    1. Yea definitely agreed that keeping them moving helps reduce stiffness and soreness. Sometimes with Charlie part of the issue is mental vs physical but we are figuring it out!

  3. Good puppy finding those “sticks”. HA! Spring treasure hunts are always...interesting.

    1. Lol interesting is one word for it! True story: Riley carried the bones along with us for like seriously 30min, then got a little too excited and carried them into the water too. Wherein she promptly dropped them and couldn't find them again. And since we were pretty worried about the idea of bones sitting in the bottom of the water just waiting for some unsuspecting horse to kick them up when jumping in, poor Brita had to hop off her horse and go fishing. Ewwwww.

  4. Happy Riley!!! Those sticks are a much more delicious find 😂
    I don’t worry to much about the day after an intense show/clinic/ride bc Chimi lives outside so I know he’s moving around a lot. But if he was in a stall more I’d like to think I’d take him on a nice long walk the day after just to make sure he’s feeling good and then a day off after that. But truthfully it’d probably be a day off after the show and maybe another day off bc something will of come up and I didn’t have time to ride ;) oh life!

    1. I hate how real life gets in the way of our riding plans so often! Agreed tho that nice long walks are really the absolute best. Also yea it's so nice when the horse gets a lot of turnout too, definitely makes it easier!

  5. Blagh! no Riley-not a stick! (cringing):{

  6. Sounds like all wonderful stuff, with your awesome team behind you, I'm sure you will be more than ready for the next one!

    1. Thanks I hope so! Always so much work to do haha

  7. Wow I cannot believe how great you guys look and how far Charles has come! Great job, seriously!!!!

    1. aw thanks :) ! he's doing so well right now, it's kinda hard to believe. esp considering three months ago he was just coming back into work after surgery. crazy. but he's such a good boy he makes it easy!

  8. That pup is the prettiest - goals!


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