Tuesday, September 4, 2018

a weekend of wonderful small things

A long weekend was exactly what we needed around these parts, even if it was a bit of a hot and humid close to the summer. This past week was intended to be on the quiet side anyway - and that's basically just how it turned out, even tho things got off to a rocky start with Charlie's shockingly unlucky hoof-puncture-via-wood-chip-dagger.....

charlie so desperately wishes he were one of the shetlands haha
First off - Charlie got his teeth done last Monday morning. He's on a strict 6 month schedule, tho it looks like he still needs power tools about once a year. Poor guy :( Apparently the dentist also found a super odd spot of tissue on the back of Charlie's tongue. Will have a vet out to look at that, but the current leading hypothesis is a tongue tie gone wrong (ie, too tight).

i think he would love being small and giving pony rides
My plan was just a light conditioning hack with some trot sets on the hill that night - in the hackamore per our usual habit, but also as a way to stay out of Charlie's mouth. Then I knew I'd be away Tuesday and Wednesday so he would be off anyway.

This proved somewhat serendipitous bc after Charlie stepped on that god forsaken gnarly ass wood chip, I basically just wanted to throw my hands up and walk away. Abject neglect seemed like as reasonable a course of treatment as anything else haha. (just kidding, sorta...)

sorry tho, bub! you were born into the wrong body!
So when I returned to the barn on Thursday I really wasn't sure what I'd find. Like sure, barn staff were aware of Charlie's predicament and were on the lookout for any signs of discomfort, infection, or abscessing. But ya know. Who knows, right?

Charlie seemed totally fine tho. That leg looked mayyyyyyybe a little big.... But he's also kinda covered in various varietals of fungus and scurf right now (true story: I may or may not have given him a chlorhex bath this past week too...), which could just as easily contribute to a slightly bigger than normal leg.

oooooh but there's a Buck!! doin the US proud!!!
I opted to just get on and ride anyway, figuring he would tell me pretty quickly if something was buggin him. And it turned out: Charlie actually felt pretty good! He's not as strong right now as I would like, but mentally he was in a good place and was happy to get right on along to work!

The lack of strength meant that he started the ride feeling really uneven between my reins. Like, not actually a lameness, but definitely not a big strong horse pushing well from behind. It improved through the course of the ride tho, and actually he felt pretty darn reasonable the next day too. Not at the top of his game, but emotionally feeling well enough with the work. I'll take it!

after our other US riders came to a little bit of grief (tho they both still completed - yay Andrea Baxter and Lillian Heard!!) it was nice to see Buck kill it out there!
Tho haha, he was pretty obvious about getting tired. It legitimately felt like he straight up deflated when I ran out of horse. Like we'd be going along well enough: working on finding at least two (maybe eventually three!) gears in our trot; working on leg yields (which Charlie felt like he was so so so good at bc all he really wanted to do was fall out through his shoulders anyway so 'hey mom check out this awesome drunken "leg yield" as I lurch violently back to the rail!!!' lol...); and practicing simple changes of lead plus some counter canter.

But then suddenly, after one half 30m circle of counter canter on his left (and weaker) lead, then going to do a shallow loop of counter canter on the right lead before setting up for the 30m half circle of counter canter.... He just... like.... yea. Deflated haha. Was like, "oof this shit is hard!" And suddenly I had no horse left.

it was really cute that his long time owners and supporters were there for his interviews
Nbd, tho. I was happy to finish with that anyway. Honestly it was seriously reassuring that he had come back from such limited saddle time feeling so game for work. Tho.... Yea. We really do need to up the conditioning. Bc it's moderately concerning to me that I can run out of horse after a 40 minute flat school.

oooh not a sight you expect to see - Sir Mark Todd almost getting totally ejected
Ah well, all in good time, right? Finally it was time for the weekend and naturally I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning to catch all of the Burghley cross country. Which, to be honest, watching the course preview had left me feeling a little nervous and even slightly sick. Some of the jumps just looked..... Idk. I wanted to watch the event but I didn't really want to see anybody get into trouble, ya know?

being 100% honest: Burghley's leaf pit is the stuff of nightmares for me haha
Luckily tho, everything seemed to ride really well! Like, sure, there were some problems. Particularly in the leaf pit there were a ton of glance offs (and one insane save by Mark Todd omg). Plus by the end a lot of horses looked like they were getting pretty tired (and at least one or two probably should have been pulled up earlier than they were...).

talk about one hell of a save!! too bad it wouldn't last and he'd part ways with his Kiltubrid Rhapsody (placed first after dressage!) at the next fence...
It made for good watching tho - or at least I thought so. Upper level cross country looks.... so so so far outside of my comfort zone. I don't ever ever see myself riding at those levels haha. Like... No. But I LOVE watching. Love spectating in person but will always try to catch the events when they're live streaming. Did you watch too?

less nightmarish: a Charles cantering in the wild <3
Plus watching the higher level stuff always has a way of making my own level look.... that much tamer haha. So it was kinda nice to head out to the barn for my own jump lesson after Burghley finished.

Charlie's been jumping about once a week lately, which seems to be about the right frequency for us these days. Coming out of the winter I had wanted to get closer to 2x a week, mostly as a way to make it feel more routine and mundane to me, to help me control my nerves and anxiety.

That hasn't been as much of an issue lately tho. I have a TON of confidence in the horse and know I can depend on him to know how to do his job. And the jumps aren't making me nervous anymore, even as they get a little bigger.

it was kinda a weird day for us, and he was kinda in a weird mood. SUPER foamy in his mouth too
We kept it simple for this ride tho, anyway. On one hand I understand my own brain needs to see height often enough to make it not seem "big." On the other hand I really don't believe a horse has to jump max height every single time. Sometimes it's nice to get those repetitions over lower fences. Get the practice in with less wear and tear, less effort.

Charlie seemed perfectly fine with this too. He was in kinda a weird mood lol. Still seeming perfectly normal from his hoof situation....  But also maybe feeling kinda lazy and uninspired in the extreme humidity. But also also kinda like.... running away with me in the warm up haha.

All the jumps were set at about 6"-10" (essentially glorified ground poles) when we got to the ring, and Charlie was just dragging me around to them, poppin them left and right on a floppy rein, draggin his nose along the ground like a blood hound.

jumped around pretty easily, tho we kept all the fences a bit lower
Maybe a slightly unconventional warm up lol, but the horse felt happy and relaxed. And like he kinda just wanted to play around. So play we did lol. The exercise for the day was perfect for that too - four jumps zig-zagging from end to end down the center line (like a lightning bolt) but that when ridden straight down the middle of each jump, formed a perfect line of 2-stride distances.

Charlie has always liked grids bc they make sense to him. And this one was just different enough with all the angled jumps that he was fully at attention, even as the jumps stayed small. Then we added in a couple other fences to complete the course - an outside line in 3, a long bending line, the skinny shark's tooth.... etc etc. Still kept the jumps on the smaller end of the scale - I doubt anything was above 2'9 - and just bopped right on along.

i like that he still is so businesslike even when the fences don't impress him now!
I made a number of kinda lazy complacent pilot errors, but Charlie basically rode through it all like a schoolie. Definitely a feeling I appreciate! Plus I felt like I still had plenty of horse left in the tank for the following day's hunter pace adventures!!!!

Like obviously it still seemed entirely possible that Charlie could still come up lame with an abscess.... but we were dead set on sticking to the plan unless Charlie gave us any reason to cancel. Turns out, tho: We didn't have to cancel. Charlie stayed sound, and off to the races we went!

More on that tomorrow tho haha. Bc there are already too many pictures to keep up with, and that doesn't even count my fun zoo trip with Austen and Jan, full of all sorts of fun small (and not so small) critters! The perfect ending to a fun relaxing long weekend. Stay tuned!

Did you get up to anything fun this weekend? Any big fun outings with the horses? Or visits with friends? Or maybe even just relaxing on the sofa watching Burghley??

29 comments:

  1. It sounds like a great weekend to me. I'm glad that Charlie seems to have dodged the abscess bullet!

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    1. Lol it’s hard to believe he’s fine but that’s what makes him king of the dings. Always getting himself into kinda scary trouble but coming out relatively unscathed ...

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  2. oh man ... sara and i watched ALLL the xc and at one point she said "I just can't see you doing this" and I was like..... girl you haven't seen these jumps in person they are WAY MORE TERRIFYING up close and there is 0% chance I'd point at anything.

    I liked the guy who came in like 2+ minutes over time. that'd be me.

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    1. lol which one??? there were a TON of people with well over 1min+ in time haha. but yea, agreed that would definitely be me too lol - i'd be like, "yea we're gonna take a quick little walk break for a sec, nbd!!"

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  3. We got rained out of "everyone get on their horses with 60-90 days and see if we remember how to ride!" time. lol

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  4. HUGE weekend for me and Gwyn! It was my first LD endurance ride of the year (two more planned) and we were camping out in the middle of nowhere Michigan, lol. There'll be more on that later.

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  5. I'm still watching the Burghley XC but watched all of SJ and it was so nerve wracking! Glad C isn't feeling lame and you're getting to jump all the things!

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    1. thanks - not even a single lame step since i pulled that sucker out. go figure.

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  6. Yay! I'm glad he's feeling good! That dad bod must be messing with his fitness ;) lololol

    I would've LOVED to watch Burghley but hot damn when you figure out the times I would've been waking up 3 am to watch. And as much as I really love watching upper level eventing, I also had my lesson that morning so I really did not want to be up at 3 am haha!

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    1. you can still watch!!! follow this link for details on how to replay the show ;)

      http://eventingnation.com/watch-the-replay-of-burghley-2018-cross-country-day/

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    2. you should!! it was a good one to watch, imo!

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  7. I didn't watch Burghley... I must be getting old because watching upper level eventing just makes me nervous haha. I'm so glad Mr. C is healing up well from his hoof issue :)

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    1. aw ha, idk i kinda love watching it, much in the same way i like watching pro sports and stuff like that. but i get that it's not for everyone

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  8. I definitely got up early to watch xc! I've been nannying for the Davidson's since May and I was hooting and hollering for Buck the whole way around! I'm glad Charlie's leg is holding up -- how his feet are such a magnets for debris is crazy!!!!!

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    1. aw yay!! i was seriously so excited for him - and so happy to see him put in such a great ride!!

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  9. Yay for Charlie dodging this abscess. You were owed some good fortune after all the others. I had a great weekend getting to hop back on Sir Cruze.

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    1. so glad you were able to get back into the saddle again and that it was so fun!

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  10. I am so pleased that Charlie is ok and you could enjoy your weekend!

    I did exactly 0 horsey things. Will make up for it this week though

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    1. haha sometimes the "0 horsey things" is a nice changes of pace.... but then again we can't ever stay away too long, can we? ;)

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  11. So glad you guys dodged the abscess bullet. Second, I still can't get over him omg <3 He's so grown up.

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    1. he's so grown up - i'm pretty sure he was born 85 years old lolol. such a good boy tho!

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  12. It was so fun to see you this weekend!! And to meet Charlie!

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    1. thank you so much for agreeing to come hang out with us!!! it was really wonderful seeing you again!!! despite all that heat and humidity tho omg haha

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