Wednesday, April 28, 2010

UMaine Spring Fling - April 25, 2010

The full story is here now! :)

We did quite well for our first show of the year! Here are the results...

1st Adult 3-Gait Equitation
(only STB in the class!)
1st Adult 3-Gait Pleasure
(only STB in the class!)
1st Showmanship
1st 2' Hunter Equitation
(only STB in the class!)
2nd Standardbred In-Hand
4th 18" Hunter Equitation
4th 3-Gait Command Class
( only STB in the class! And I fell off....more on THAT later....LOL!)

My adult riding classes had about 10 riders and I was so happy Dreamy did so well! :) The in-hand and showmanship classes were HUGE! There were 20+ horses in there! And my jumping classes had around 7 riders. So I am very happy with my girl!

More pics to come, as I am waiting for a UMaine student to send some to me.

So, the rest of the story...

My friend ST and I decided at the last minute to attend this show. We talked about it, but decided to wait to see what the weather would be like. Orono is 3 hours away, and it did not seem like a fun idea to go all the way up there in the pouring rain! LOL!

I ended up having to wake up at 3AM on Sunday. THAT was fun.......yeah right! I am NOT a morning person and the only reason I would drag my sorry butt out of bed that early is for a horse. LOL! I immediately fed the horses, who wear totally confused. Sparky and Dreamy got over it pretty quickly. Reva was cute though. She was lying down in her stall and really acted like she rather sleep than get up. She gave me a very surprised HUH? and lumbered to her feet. The entire time I was out there, she kept looking at me, and it was like I could hear her thoughts. "Hi Mom, do you know it is reallllly early? I am not really awake Mom." (her eyes stayed "squinty" for a while) "Hmmm...but this hay is really good....nom nom nom. But is is early Mom!" So funny. I went inside and took a shower, not that I needed one, but I was so groggy I needed it to wake me up. I was all dressed and ready to go earlier than I thought, so I went out to clean out my stalls. It was 3:40 in the morning and I was cleaning my stalls!!!! LOL! That is the middle of the damn night!

My plan was to leave by 4:10 and I was rolling down the driveway at 4:15. It takes about 50 minutes to get to ST's farm, but I also knew there would be NO traffic that early on a Sunday (and I was right, as I saw only seven cars). It took no time to load my stuff into ST's trailer, load Dreamy, and we were off. The funniest part was when Dreamy realized she was about to get onto the trailer with ST's gelding McKeever! They are completely in love and have not seen each other since last October. She was sort of grumpy at me, especially since she had eaten her breakfast so early and loaded on a trailer before she normally even gets up! LOL! She started nickering and walked herself right onto ST's trailer. :)

The ride up to the University of Maine campus at Orono was uneventful and we arrived, registered, and scurried around to be ready for Class #1 Standardbred In-Hand which would start at 9AM.

We got an announcement that the show would start at 9:10AM. OK.......we walked the horses around and waited. It never started until 9:45AM! ACK! I guess the Maine Animal Club kids running the show were not prepared for the number of entries (and really lacked organization all day long....) so they were overwhelmed. OK.....Dreamy would either be asleep in the classes or completely PO'ed and naughty.

We placed second in STB In-Hand, which was cool. It had a lot of entries, most of them from the UMare herd. Next was Open In-Hand, which was even larger. My friend ST and her Standardbred gelding placed, but we did not. It seemed weird to not place in what was essentially the same class as before, but oh well. :) They split the Open In-Hand class into juniors and seniors, which was nice. But the weird thing was they only placed to fourth place....??? I did not really care so much, but it seemed sad in the smaller junior in-hand classes when there were five had to leave with nothing. Not that I think everyone deserves to win, but the little kids should get a least a little something. :( Then in Showmanship, the class was still pretty big. I was super surprised then to place first in Showmanship! I hate in-hand classes! LOL! But Dreamy was very well behaved, actually rather bored.

Here we are in our STB In-Hand Class...walking up to the judge (just out of the pic) to stand up and then trot down the long side.

And here we are posing with our in-hand and showmanship ribbons! Dreamy was SO bored having to wait and wait and wait in the halter classes. LOL! She looks thoroughly unimpressed here!

One of the large in-hand classes...not sure which one. We are second in from the right.

We did not have much of a break between the three in-hand classes and the riding classes. I went straight to the trailer to tack Dreamy up. I warmed her up briefly for the class and was happy to get a decent canter from her in both directions. I knew that there would be no chance for us to place in the top four in our equitation and pleasure classes.....they were walk/trot/canter and Dreamy would have a "abnormal" looking canter compared to the nice horses I saw who were in our class. Most of them were UMaine students on their own horses.....lots of TBs, QHs, and warmbloods.

Sadly, the warm up area was really rocky and rutted. I was not really impressed. And the ring was INCREDIBLY rocky! You cannot really tell from the pics, but the ring had large 2-4 inch rocks throughout it! I was a little worried.....but she seemed to be fine.....until our last class. (More on that later). My opinion is that UMaine needs to fix up some things...I won't write a laundry list here (but I did send a nice email to the Maine Animal Club president about a few of the things, and he was very pleased to have the feedback). I am not bashing the school (though I might be a UNH Wildcat....LOL) and it is not sour grapes as I did very well at the show. And I am sure most of it is because of budget constraints...hey I work in public education and I understand. But some of the things are true safety hazards!!!!! But I digress...

More photos here!

Our first riding class was Adult 3-Gait Equitation. Dreamy was very relaxed and got her leads with no issue. She got a little flat in the right lead canter, but did not rush and we really did not lap everyone in the ring! LOL! I was SO surprised to be announced as the first place winner! Yay!

Next came Adult 3-Gait Pleasure. Despite doing well in Eq, I knew our canter was not as nice as some of the other horses. I had no expectations for pinning, just wanted to have a nice ride. But again, Dreamy was well behaved and steady. And I have to say, putting a nice genuine smile on my face in pleasure classes has GOT TO HELP! Judges are looking for a horse who looks like a nice ride, and heck, if I am truly happy looking, I must be having fun, right? ;-) I usually think about how much I love my horse and how lucky I am to be showing, and the smile comes easy. I try not to be cheesy.....LOL!

And again, I was surprised to be first! Yay mare! Maybe I really do have a hunter on my hands....LOL!

We had a break, but not for long. The judge did a good job keeping things running smoothly. We had a 20 minutes lunch break, then a costume class, then we jumped. So ST and I ate a quick lunch there at the food booth and gave our horses a well deserved rest, hay, and water. The sun had been trying to come out all day, but it was mostly overcast and a little windy. It was not really cold, but not really warm either. The horses never broke a sweat, which was nice.

Back down to the ring to jump! First we did the 18" hunter equitation. The weird thing was they did tiny verticals instead of crossrails? No big deal, but most 18" courses are really tiny. And there were 6 fences in the 18" but only five in the 2" division? Ummmm, OK. (Again, students who have no real clue planned this show....oh well). The funniest part was when my friend ST jumped the 18" course...they had a knockdown and no one went out to pick it up. She was supposed to come around and jump that same fence again in the other direction. I finally yelled across the ring, "Someone needs to pick up that fence because she needs to jump it again!" No one moved!!!!! And everyone near me gave me dirty looks! Good lord! Finally the student announcer got out there in the nick of time.......oh my. :(

We had an OK round in the 18" jumps...the only thing was I thought the combination was set at about a two stride distance, which was a guess since I did not walk it, but as I watched people go before me, I realized it was actually more like 2.5 strides!!!!!!! OMG serious safety problem! I am confident in adjusting my horse's stride, and with the fences so low, I was not too worried. But for the young riders who cantered in? That is just completely haphazard and asking for a lawsuit! It dawned on me that when the set it up, no one measured it! I figured someone must have just walked it out, but they couldn't have! (Or if they did, they had no idea what they were doing.......grrrr).

So we had a small chip into the second fence of the combination. DUH! We ended up fourth, which was pleased with. I know my equitation is not great, and with so many UMaine riders who supposedly take jumping lessons and compete on the intercollegiate team, I was not expecting much!

I rode the 2' course much more conservatively and got three tiny canter strides between the combination that was set up so unsafely. :( The course rode OK and with only five fences, it was easier than the 18'!!! I heard them announce 4th, 3rd, 2nd....and I was like "Crap! I had a nice round...." I was still surprised to get first! LOL! But that was cool!

Our last class of the day was Adult 3-Gait Command. The class started off well, and we ended up being part of the last five still riding. I was thinking, "Just stay in while one more rider has to go to the center and you will get a ribbon!" No sooner did I think that, going along in a nice canter, and my lovely mare tripped. I am 100% convinced she tripped on one of the big honking ROCKS in the ring, and she just went down in a heap. As we were cantering, and suddenly stopped short, I was bounced off over her right shoulder. I landed on my left shoulder first (OUCH!) and I remember yelling the word, "SH!T". Yeah, great. I am so classy at horse shows! :P

I tried to get up and saw Dreamy halfheartedly trotting away, the reins around her right front leg. I knew immediately that I was not able to walk on my left ankle and my left shoulder was in searing pain. The darkness started to close in and I knew I would faint. I got to the rail but there was no way to get out of the four rail fence unless I climbed it. YEAH RIGHT. So someone told me to roll under the lowest board. I remember saying, "Seriously??" But I also knew I had to get out of the ring and get someone to help me not pass out. All I could do was ask about my horse. I started getting weepy because I just wanted to check my horse and I could feel my body starting to shut down. I hate passing out. And this was no dust-yourself-off-and-get-back-on kind of fall. I had hurt myself!

The EMTs had not arrived yet (they were parked up by the barn) and someones dad came right over and had me lie back and he raised my legs. Suddenly, I was no longer about to pass out. I was so thankful! There were many people around me and suddenly there was ST too. I cannot really remember the order of things, but the EMTs had me move everything and they examined me. Within a few minutes I felt much better, though my shoulder pain was horrible. They put my arm in a sling and my ankle in a splint. The judge handed me a fourth place ribbon....seriously? How did I place if I fell off???? Shouldn't I have been disqualified? that point I was not questioning the poor organization of the show. I just wanted to check my horse and get home.

Because there did not seem to be any broken bones (though the EMTs recommended I get x-rayed) and we were three hours from home, ST and I decided to head home. We figured it would be better to just get as close to home as we could, as it was about 5PM when we rolled out of there. I felt good, just very very sore. By the time we got to ST's farm, my arm felt 95% better and my ankle was killing me. Dreamy seemed fine, thankfully. We had many many helpful friends who not only assisted me, but also helped ST get the horses loaded and ready to go home. I am so thankful to everyone who helped and has continued to check in with me. I think it looked a lot worse than it really actually is! LOL!

I had x-rays on Monday morning and nothing is broken. My ankle is just sprained, so I am wearing an air cast. There is some swelling and a tiny bit of bruising. I really thought the entire thing would be purple! Today is Wednesday and I am already feeling 95% better. I still have a little stiffness in my shoulder, but I can put my weight on my ankle again and walk almost normal. It is still a bit swollen, but that will go away.

What an exciting show! The worst part was telling my parents. LOL! They worry about me too much. And seeing as I have not fallen off since 1996, when I was 17 years old, this was a pretty big deal! LOL! And I have never been injured in a fall, just had a bit of soreness or stiffness.

I guess I just ain't as young as I used to be.....ROFL! :D

All in all, it was fun! Not sure if I would show there again, not because I did not enjoy it, but with the rocky riding areas and dangerous jump courses, it may not have been the safest show I have ever done.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Saddle Fitting with Nancy Shedrick

So I finally had a chance to get a saddle fitter out here for Dreamy. I knew that her saddle was not fitting her quite as nicely as it did two years ago when I got it. But I was pretty sure I needed help to fix it!

Nancy was easy to contact and we set up a time for last Friday. Thankfully she was free when I was on school vacation, making my life easier. She lives in NH and works all over Northern New England. Click here for her info. She was nice enough to come out here (over 2 hours from her) on a Friday when she normally just works in her shop and does not do appointments!

I realized before she came out that I would not be able to do too much to the saddle to make it only for Dreamy since I use it for Reva too! Uh oh...would we be able to fit it to both horses, seeing as they are built so differently? I was a bit worried. LOL!

I liked Nancy immediately. She seemed down-to-earth and very personable. She examined Dreamy all over and found some rough skin and bumps on each side under her cantle area. Hmmmm....she told me this was something to keep in mind. Nothing else seemed to be wrong upon her initial examination.

We put my (Duett Fidelio dressage) saddle on Dreamy and she asked me to do it and tell me why I put it where I did. I knew immediately it must be wrong but I told her what I had been taught 100 years ago. (She claims she has heard a lot of things.....I bet! LOL) Come to find out I am putting the saddle too far forward onto her large shoulders. It looked so funny when she put it in the right spot! LOL! We talked a lot about why saddles are placed where they are (behind the edge of the shoulder bone) and she had me feel the different bones and whatnot. She even took the saddle off and had me kept my hand on that shoulder blade edge while she lifted Dreamy's leg. She wanted me to note where the bone went, where would it move? I expected it to bulge out towards my palm and move forward. It actually fell away and moved sideways and back! LOL! Wow, what an education.

We talked about how the saddle fit and how to tell. I learned more about saddle fit with Nancy in 1.5 hours than I learned my entire 25 years with horses! LOL! It is crazy that most of us have no real idea how to fit a saddle. She had me looking at the saddle points, the wither clearance, rocking and bridging, where a girth should be (not right behind the elbow like I was taught!) and just everything. I loved it! I loved how willing she was to share her knowledge with me. I like a practitioner who wants to leave their client more educated rather than be the "expert" and keep the client in the dark. I appreciate it so much!

So my dressage saddle is sadly too wide for Dreamy now. She needs a medium wide rather than a wide. She is older, obviously, but also is just changing her body shape and topline as she gets older. And truthfully who knows if I even measured her correctly when I bought the saddle! LOL (I did a wither and back tracing, sent it to Trumbull Mountain and they sent me saddles to try.) So there is some rocking from cantle to pommel, which is why we saw that rough skin under her cantle area.

Then Nancy had me pull out Reva to see what the saddle looked like on her. It actually fit her much better, with just a very small amount of rocking. We fixed that with a regular sheepskin pad, a brand she sells. Nancy was hesitant to do much to the saddle itself since Reva will potentially change A LOT as she grows and matures. She said if Reva was 9-10 years old, it would be different. But for now, the easiest thing is to fix it with the pad. And it works great.

So, back to Dreamy. She basically told me I needed a new saddle for Dreamy, which was a bummer. I had worried she might say that. I asked if we could just fix it with my new Mattes correction pad. She said that would be fine for a temporary fix, but not forever. She is a fitter for Custom Saddlery but will fit any saddle. She happened to have an older Custom in her car she thought might work, so we tried it on Dreamy just to get an idea. It fit her MUCH better, but it did not have wool flocked and gusseted panels, but rather foam. :( And Dreamy needs the deeper gusseted panels to fit her. SO.....while the saddle fit her about 90% (and my current saddle is about a 60%), it was not something I would buy.

(Just to note, while it was an older model from the early 1990's, Nancy told me that she would totally refurbish the saddle before she sold it. I mean, it looked OLD to me, with lots of greyish areas and such. She looked at me funny and was like, "No way would I sell a saddle like this! I clean it up, dye it, clean the metal, etc." That made me feel so good! If I can buy a saddle through Nancy, although it may be used, she will refurbish the entire thing! It truthfully it probably will have to be used!)

So anyway, Nancy did fix up the shims in my Mattes pad for Dreamy. And it fits her well. But I know I cannot do that forever because it is just too wide. She could narrow the tree, but then I cannot use it on Reva. Uggggg!!!! And I ended up just buying the regular sheepskin pad she used for Reva instead of having to take the shims in an out of my Mattes pad. I mean, I could do that, but what a pain. And what if I do not exactly get the shims back in like Nancy did??? I rather leave them where they are and not worry! LOL!

So anyway, while Nancy may not have had "good" news about my current saddle, she was so fun to work with. I look forward to working with her in the future. Her farm call and evaluation were so reasonably priced that there is NO reason why I should EVER ride without a fitted saddle. Thank you Nancy! And if you are in Northern New England, I HIGHLY recommend her!

So the saddle hunt begins. Looking for a 17" medium wide dressage saddle with wool gusseted panels. If you see anything, send me the link!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Well, it only took two years....

My horse is a rock star. I know, I know, I say that all the time. But seriously, Dreamy has been absolutely wonderful to ride lately. It is certainly due to a combination of things, least of which is my training skills....LOL! I am no professional, never will be, and sometimes despite the fact that I hear the same thing over and over, my body and mind just CANNOT seem to coordinate its efforts. And seeing as no one else has ever trained her (minus the 10 minutes Susanne Hamilton rode her in a clinic in 2008...), it has taken SO much longer to get her to where she is today than where she could have been if I had my instructor ride her for me. But where is the fun in that? I can say that I trained my horse. She is going so well right now, and I did that. I created this horse under saddle......all the good and the bad! But mostly it has been very, very good.

So what is so awesome lately? Well, she is finally starting to accept the bit and stay connected at all times! This is HUGE! For Little-Miss-I-Hate-Contact, who gets so fussy with her bit, this is huge. And her neck is starting to show it...her muscles in her crest are finally completely filled out. They still have a bit to go, but I remember asking my instructor last year how I could get those muscles to fill out...she said that as I rode her properly in the bridle, the muscles would develop. And they finally are!

Also, she is totally nailing her canters in BOTH directions! The left lead has been great this year, with decent transitions and a lovely three beat, upward (for a Standardbred) rhythm. She will never have an upper level worthy canter, but that is OK with me. And the last few rides, she has been cantering well on the right lead. WOOHOO! I have found that if I do a few "squares" at the walk, then leg yielding in both directions at the trot, then leg yield from the quarter line, hit the corner, and ask for the canter, she has her inside hind well underneath herself for a nice transition and a very nice canter. Obviously in a dressage test, or hunter ring, I cannot replicate that exact movement, but I CAN do it in the warm-up and then in the ring ask for a few small steps of "leg yield" before I ask her to canter.

This exercise is really NOTHING new. We have been working on this for the last two years. But for whatever reason, this year it is working perfectly. :)

And I have been doing a TON of conditioning this spring. I really kicked it up a notch, and treated her like an event horse, like I was taught years ago, rather than staying in the ring and obsessing over the canter. I think last year especially, I was so worried about the canter and wanted it SO BADLY, I overlooked doing intensive conditioning and just drilled her. I know I did. I knew it was wrong, I knew I should get out on the trails and use the hills all around me, I KNEW IT. But I could NOT give up my relentless pursuit of the canter!

UGGG! :*(

So this spring I said the HELL with that. The stress of doing rated USDF is behind me, having done that last year. I really think that was what was driving me last year, seeking that elusive 60% at Training 4. OMG, I am doing NEDA! OMG, I am going to UNH! OMG, there are horses piaffing in the warmup, OMG, OMG, OMG......Instead of riding my horse correctly and doing what I knew was right, I just drilled her and drilled her. I wanted to have a breakthrough and I never really did.

This spring, I smartened up. I set up my cavaletti to strengthen those stifles. I forced myself to ride outside of my "ring". I used the hills....a lot! I did an entire month (March) of long slow distance work (when I really wanted to just CANTER, CANTER, CANTER! LOL!). I set up a chiropractic visit with Dr. J for April 2. I invested in a Mattes pad to balance my saddle (and the saddle fitter is coming tomorrow!). I worked on my core strength this winter. I was ready!

And Dreamy is starting to really understand all of the dressage basics. I know when I can finally find a time to schedule a lesson (life is way too busy and it sucksssss!!!!!!!), Judy will see a difference. It is APRIL for crying out loud, and my horse is moving better than she was last October after an entire season!

Also, I have found that I don't have to used my aids so strongly. There was a time when I think I worked harder in the canter then she did. I mean, I would ask her to canter (back in 2008...) and I would literally pump my body and seat to keep her going. I would throw away the reins, almost like, "Oh yay, you are cantering! Go, go, go!" rather than sitting up and balancing her, asking her to stay soft and supple in the bridle, half halting, etc. etc. Last year when we started doing walk/canter transitions, I asked SO hard with my outside leg she would pick up the wrong lead! She never does that! But I was overdoing it.

Finally I forced myself be QUIET this spring. I wanted to really see how "much" aid I needed. And lo and behold, my horse is more sensitive than I want to think! LOL! I KNOW this, but sometimes putting something into practice takes time for me. I seriously must be the dumbest dressage rider ever! LOL! Instead of fussing with her mouth, all I have to do is think "close my fingers" and I will squeeze the reins. Combined with my seat, and OH, there, she rebalances. I think about "whispering" with my outside leg for the canter, and OH, THERE, she rocks back into a nice canter.

And today, she was so light and happy, I asked for a simple change between two twenty meter circles. I figured, this is something we STRUGGLED with last year, and she might throw up her face and pace and be completely idiotic. It was worth a try. There is no use NOT challenging the status quo. I set her up between my legs, hands, seat; got a lovely trot; asked for the left lead first, since this is her "good" lead; sat still and "whispered" for her to trot....

She stayed light while I moved her haunch over and got that right hind underneath her body, right at X, then again lightly asked for the right lead......OMG she DID IT! She actually did it without yanking on me, falling on her head, pacing like a maniac....etc. etc.!!!! So I tried it three more times and she was magnificent. The last time she started anticipating it, so I did just a few trot figure eights the remind her that sometimes we can just trot and not HAVE TO canter.

The best part is that I was able to do the left lead canter on a much small 12-15 m. circle. I have found it is easier to think about "moving her shoulders" and she stays up, rather than "motorcycling" around the tighter bend. It was great!!! Just because I can tempt fate, I tried asking for the canter from the walk. She did it once perfectly, so I stopped. Always better to end on a good note.....and NO MORE DRILLING! I just cannot do it. I cannot let horse shows cloud my good judgment about TRAINING a horse!

Tomorrow the saddle fitter is coming, so besides the small amount of riding I will do for her, Dreamy will have the day off. But you watch, the next time I ride her, she will probably forget all this good stuff......LOL! Nah, I think she is starting to be able to use her body correctly and it feels so much better. :) I gotta remember, what is the BEST thing that could happen.....???

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Big Surprise!

I love getting mail. Like real, paper-envelope-in-my-mailbox kind of mail. In this technology age, the only thing I ever get in the mail anymore are bills and catalogs! LOL!

So it was pretty darn exciting to see an envelope addressed to me with the "Peninsula Farm" return address. I felt my heart skip a beat and I knew what it was as I tore open the envelope.

Can you guess?? :D

Inside was a nice note attached to Reva's papers and DNA typing sheet. The Filly is mine! :D Thank you Mr. Duer!!!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

I love the new USTA banner!

Someone from the USTA sent this to me today! See anyone you know????? :D

Random Things

Lots of things have been going on around here, but I have been too busy to blog! LOL!

First of all, Reva had a reaction to her spring shots. Poor baby. :( She felt horrible and all I could keep thinking was how much better she would feel if she could lie on the couch and have a Popsicle! LOL! She had her shots on Thursday and by Friday afternoon when I returned home from work, she had a fever of 103.2. Famous last words of my vet....I ask him if we ought to space the vaccines, since I have no idea how she might react. "Oh, she'll be fine. Young horses normally have no issues and she is a big horse anyway..." SIGH Next year I will space them out. :P

A dose of Banamine brought the fever down to 100 within an hour or so (which is her normal temp). She was eating, drinking, pooping, etc. just fine, so I was not that worried. But still, she obviously felt like crap. I made a quick call to the vet, just to check in. The vet on call agreed that I should just monitor Reva at that point.

All day Saturday she was fine. We had the junior/senior prom that night (I am the prom advisor!) and though I left for many hours to deal with all that fun stuff, when I returned home after 1 AM, she was still fine.

Sunday morning, the fever came back at 103.1. UGGG. Another round of Banamine and she was fine again. Another check in with the vet. I knew she still was not 100%, but she was functioning normally, despite being a bit lethargic. Monday she was fine all day (and I even rushed home during lunch to check her!) and then the real test was Tuesday. Would the fever return? If so, I was planning to have the vet out at that point. Most times, a shot reaction would last 4-6 days. Thankfully on Tuesday she was still fine and actually bucked and snorted her usual routine when I let her out in the AM. WHEW! I knew right then that all was well.

Despite the fact that Reva was fine, I still worry when my horse (or kid!) is not feeling right. Such an awful feeling!

(Prom went well BTW. This was my second time as past years before my time, kids would be gone by 10PM despite the fact that prom is over at 11PM. Last year, they stayed until 10:25ish, and I felt proud. This year??? We had to turn off the music at 11:10PM and tell them it was time to go!!! LOL! They loved it! Here I am, all dolled up....can you guess the theme????

And this week I am on vacation!!!!!!!! YAY! We don't go back until Tuesday, April 27!

Dreamy has been coming along well. I have been alternating dressage work with trail work and she seems happy. Lots of hill work and I can feel her becoming stronger. Her canter has been lovely.....but that right lead is still too unbalanced. :( We have a saddle fitting this week to tweak her dressage saddle, which is exciting!

Today I took out my cavaletti. I am so proud of the fact that instead of spending too much money on lumber and then having my dad build a couple of the wooden ones (which are nice, but what a pain to store, repaint, etc.), I was crafty and bought two sets of "Rail Razers" for $50 instead! I have tons of ground poles....and within a few minutes, I had four cavaletti!!!

I love these things! I wonder why the one on the far left looks so far away??? LOL! I measured it all out so carefully.....???? Oh well.

The funniest part was my son. He liked helping me set them up, and then announced, "MAMA! TRAIN ME!" LOL! So he jumped the cavelletti a few times and I caught his picture with my new iPhone! LOL!!!!

Not much else going on! Hoping to ride as much as I can this week. I also have to clip Dreamy's legs and pull her mane. WORST JOBS EVER!! I wish I could pay someone else to do it! LOL!!! But it is time to clean her up for the show season. :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Super Filly is becoming a Big Girl

More pics of Reva from this past weekend as requested! :)

Spring Tune Up

Spring conditioning is coming along quite well. Dreamy had a "spring tune up" over the last week and a half....first set of shoes for the year (she has been barefoot since late October 2009), a chiropractic visit, a new Mattes pad, and today was spring shots for all the mares! I love having two highly qualified veterinarians to work on my horses...Dr. Jefferson does the chiropractic work and Dr. Judd does my spring shots, fall floating, and is my "regular" vet. They are both excellent and complement each other well.

It is crazy how warm and nice it has been outdoors. I have been working in both the field (my "ring"....sigh) and trying to get out on the trails at least once a week. The footing is great in both! Dreamy has been going well, especially after her chiro visit. She had no real issues this time, just some minor things with her pelvis, hocks, and withers. Her stifles were in good shape but her gaskins were weak...but when I told Dr. J she had only been in work for about a month, he quickly said, "Oh, those will be fine then. Just remember to do your hillwork and trotting poles." Of course! :) He is used to seeing horses who spend the winter being worked in indoors, I would imagine. He even did a flex test on her hocks, after watching her move on the line.....she was sound!!! Ahhhh....nice for a 19 yo to be so sound. :D

We have had no issues with our right lead canter lately. I would say she is getting stronger behind, but I also think the chiro work helps. Overall, she looks good and I am pleased with how she is progressing. We are already signed up for our first two horse shows of the year! Yay! :)

Reva is going well too! As you can see from the previous post, she is looking good under saddle. It is hard to know what she looks like when I am on her....LOL! I am still amazed at how easily she accepts the bit and relaxes into the connection. I am not forcing her into a frame in any way...she is naturally just there! After a few rides of just solid walk/trot, with excellent transitions, I allowed her to canter the other day. She seems to like the canter, as in she would rather just canter when I ask for anything faster than a walk....LOL! So I am not planning to canter her every ride...she is too smart. Plus, at four, there is no need to rush. I am not planning to do anything that strenuous with her this year. So I allowed her to canter on Sunday...and she would NOT pick up the right lead. Ah ha! I knew we would have a training issue eventually! LOL! She picked it up easily the first few times back in the beginning of the spring, but she wouldn't at all during our last ride. So something to work on! She is smart enough that I am not too worried.

Sparky is looking good and shedding well. She wintered so well I think she looks a little chubby. LOL! :)

I have two clinics this spring too....Reva is going to a Chris Lombard clinic in June and I just heard back from my local dressage club that Dreamy and I got into an upcoming Heather Blitz clinic! YAY! So I get to ride with her for two days at a gorgeous local farm. I am very excited!

So things are good...the mares are happy and healthy, which makes me happy too! :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

More later....

Just a pic of Reva from today! Just turned four! My little greenie is growing up!