Thursday, September 12, 2019

Canter all day

Ok well trying to get more canter work in anyways.  Now that I'm done showing, the 3 days or so I ride a week I'm focusing on getting leads and an even, consistent canter. Someday we'll be able to show without dying being a possibility and when that day comes I want to be ready to ride a training level test immediately.

Curtis loves to canter and his canter is smooth and generally up hill. It's those pesky leads. We still have some trouble with the left lead. And he picks up the right every time but then gets stiff when asked to bend that way. So we're working on it.

I introduced simple changes which get better the more we do them during a single ride. And Monday with T's help to call out "wrong lead! Correct lead!" I was able to do a shit ton of transitions. And yes....and still cannot always tell if he's on the wrong lead. We've also done come hill work because we're both sick of the arena. He loves a good gallop, thoroughbred that he is.

Also we just got blacktop laid down so now I'll have a place to ride no matter how wet it gets this winter.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Burnt out

I'm not really sure how I can be burnt out when I only ride 1 horse a day and only 4ish times a week. In general though, horses and family combined, I've been on the freaking go for months. And I'm losing steam. We didn't go to Carrie's on Sunday due to multiple truck issues and as much as I needed the lesson I'm not really bummed out. We'll go back in a couple weeks.

And Curtis who was a beast right after I got home from NY seems a bit too chill lately and I think he is just sick of arena work. We have been galloping in the field to mix it up a bit and I didn't take him to T's on Monday. We were going to take a family trail ride yesterday but I talked my person out of it and glad I did because it was 95* and the horse flies were nasty. We went to lunch and the mall instead. A.c. everywhere while Curtis stood in front of his fan all day.

I know the good weather is very limited this time of year and I should be super gung ho to ride until the 6 months of monsoon season starts but I just took 3 days off because eh. After his awesome mini show ride a test thing I should be all gung ho but unless Carrie has a schooling show at her place this fall (probably wont happen until spring) I won't be showing again. The next schooling show is in Nov and Curtis would probably have to live at T's for a week to do that because of the crap weather we seem to get every fall.


And if I'm 100% honest I'd say maybe I'm a little burnt out because I've been working every day with this horse...and myself...and all we've managed to successfully do is not explode during a not real show at the end of the summer. I know every horse is different and my confidence isn't helping us along but I'm so worried I'll be starting from square 1 come spring 😑

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Shenanigans free "show"

So this week has not gone to plan. It rained like crazy Monday and Tuesday so in preparation for going to the ride a test I had to ride Curtis at T's and leave him there over night. Then I bring him home for 1 night and my daughter's nasty shitty appy beat him up. Luckily pretty superficial but Rascal is no long allowed in the same paddock at Curtis.

Fucking rascal
Curtis has handled the complete lack of routine well. Trailered well to Lexington. Stood well at the trailer like a big boy. Then I gave him a syringe of Syncalm, which btw works amazing without have a dead head horse. I'm going to buy a shit ton more for trail rides and someday hunter paces and actual real shows.

So I got right on warmed up for 5 seconds then asked to go in because I didnt want the other 2 horses warming up to go and leave and him lose his shit. He was a little looky and my hands where nervous and all over and definatelh pissed him off. The judge (a grand prix rider named Judy) said at the end it was good buy she'd like to see more energy and QUIET hands. My hands. The bane of my dressage existence. But Curtis did so well compared to past being judged experiences that I decided to ride a 2nd test.

I kind of forgot intro a. I went over it super quick right before I went in and almosy did a free walk where I was supposed to change rein. But quickly remembered and picked that trot back up. Our 2nd time around was fantastic. For us. I'm basing my adjectives against our first outing in May. We have a LONG way to go but the judge said she can see that Curtis has a lot more potential that he showed last night. And no lunging and jumping through the test which is a total 1st.

Sorry it's sideways...

I am really super thrilled. Maybe it was the fact that there were only 2 other horses there and it was super quiet compared to a normal show or maybe it was the calming stuff he got 30 minutes before we rode or maybe he's just growing up? I don't care. It's taking us forever but we are at least getting somewhere.

We are supposed to go to Carrie's Sunday and I'm kind of getting burnt out and after this week I'm not sure I have the energy. We'll see though.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Back at it

SJ and I are finally healthy and I've started Curtis back into work. He's so happy. He really isn't a horse that likes to do nothing day after day. I do think some time off did him good because he put some weight on and has a new burst of energy. Which is great until I take him somewhere....

Yesterday we went to T's and he was strong and playful but making sure everyone knew how fancy he is. We had a couple of spooks just because stupidass and repeatedly kept looking at the standards T was trying to put away. But he felt fantastic.

Also I have a new saddle. It's shorter in his back which I think should make him happier but mainly it's a saddle that fits me better. And I'm probably preaching to the choir but having a saddle that fits you so that you're not fighting your body to stay upright or keep your legs back or keep your pelvic where it belongs is incredibly helpful. No it's not magic and I will always have a ton of work to do on my eq. But I feel more secure and I'm not fighting the saddle. It's another wintec, this time an Isabel. And I need a smaller gullet for Curtis but really it fits him pretty well because he's beefed up so much this summer.

There is a mini show every Wednesday at Masterson and I am planning on riding Intro B on the 28th. And then a lesson with Carrie soon after. And I'd love to ride another test in the fall but the shows are either too big or too far. So we may be out of shows  for the year...

Napping at T's after our ride
My wintec pro 18" is for sale if anyone is looking. $400 shipped.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Never flying again

After the show I gave Curtis 2 weeks off while I went to Buffalo to visit family. He had been working hard so 10-14 days off would do him good. We got home and I lunged him for 20 mins one day and he just galloped around me both ways like a beast. The next day I rode him and he was strong but behaved.

And now SJ and I have some nasty virus we must have picked up in the airport or airplane and I've barely left my couch in 3 days. It's making my asthma horrible and I haven't even made sure he gets his magnesium.

I'm never flying again 😩

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Attempt at being a dressage horse: 3.0

Took Curtis to another schooling show yesterday to actually show. So it was his 3rd trip to be judged total. November, May and yesterday. I love schooling shows because the judges are so lenient and are completely okay with things like silent ear bonnets, throwing your whip out of the ring mid-test, occasionally talking to the horse (yes, I need to quit that but he was naughty) and wearing a vest to make me feel better about potentially eating dirt. What I don't love about schooling shows is the rank horses everywhere. There is a giant xc field behind us and several people with really bad horses (ok, yes Curtis was this horse only 3 months ago) getting all the other horses worked up (we took Curtis away from the warm up and schooled him on his own where he wouldn't get horses pumped and people hurt....). One horse was being extremely common and the steward asked them to leave. That's how dangerous they were.

I learned so much about Curtis yesterday. Like nothing phases him....not bright red tents, car doors slamming, 500 kids screaming and playing soccer across the field, not people in tiny boxes watching you (he stuck his head in there to see if the judge had any food for him). What bothers him is in short, other horses. If they are behaving or walking he doesn't much mind. Get one acting up and he can't even. Even a good strong canter from another horse bothers him. I wish I could show him in blinkers. He raced in them. Clearly for obvious reasons.

all the tenseness. the braids make him look awesome tho

I also learned that Curtis only has 1 test in him.

Our warm up was barely a warm up because of all the stupid ass horses and my main goal was to keep him calm and relaxed. While waiting our turn in the ring he stood pretty relaxed watching everything. We were both a bit tense but there had been no serious shit fits or antics.

We got in the ring and kind of fell apart. He was hardly listening to me, so I talked to him a lot which is a no no but the judge said she didn't count against me. But i got 3s and 4s so I guess she didn't want to make it even worse? We had one momo during our first circle at A and I was surprisingly chill about it. Told him no, put him back on pattern and kept riding. It was a shit test but compared to the last 2 shows it was a huge improvement.

We only had a couple of minutes until Intro B so we just stood around chilling out and maybe that was our problem.... he though he was done. Just trotting around near A waiting for the bell he was starting to throw shit fits. I know when he hollows and acts stupid I'm supposed to put my leg on and ride him forward into the bridle, but I'd put my leg on and he'd get pissed again because he kept throwing his head up and hitting the bit. Some of it was me (esp in test A) but some of it was him just being a dick/just being done. We had like 3 moments during B and though I was almost done and saluted, said thank you and got out of there.

Once we picked up our tests later that day I realized I should have kept riding. As bad as I felt it was he had 5s, 6s, and some 7s. Or maybe the judge just really liked her visitor from earlier (judge for test A was a different judge) or she was just more lenient being it's a schooling show.

I told my friend H about it and she said "My Sarah, you didn't tell him if you act like a shit you get to be done. You told him you're listening to him and understood he was fried and let him be instead of forcing him." Or something along those lines. She's right. Maybe someday we'll have more than 1 test in us but right now he can't do that. The warm up is it's own giant test for him and by the time we get through with the test he is mentally done.

I'm thinking the next show we go to, I find an empty field far away from any horses and warm him up and then just walk him to the warm up, check in and ride the test. Only give him limited exposure to the zoo that is warm up.

I paid the prereg for photos because I expected a bit better of a ride but hopefully she got a few where we don't look like half broke, fresh off the track idiots. But she did offer some good advice. She said while I'm feeding daily magnesium and even upped his dose quite a bit this last week, before we tack up I should give him a tube of calming stuff to really get him to chill. She also said if I'm afraid of his lunging and bucking I should be taking jump lessons on a steady school horse to learn to sit that movement and be confident about it. I'm such a nervous jumper so maybe it's not a bad idea. And also, I need to get my confidence back and my seat by maybe riding a school master or well broke horse. I'm thinking maybe it's time to pull Twister back out and take him places. Maybe even a dressage show. He can throw shit all day everywhere and we both know it won't go far and I never get phased by it.

Plus side of the day, he got on and off the trailer all day and stood quietly with a buddy in the shade on board as each horse had a turn at the dressage ring. Winning.

In the end I just need to keep going with Curtis. Because he was better. So much better. It's not great but it's slowly getting there. We got 5th place and I'm over at the office all excited because I wasn't the worse in the class for once in my life and then after I pick up my ribbon I notice the other 2 horses in my class scratched. So I actually only got it by default. But if anyone asks there were 9 horses in my class. And even if it was last place, to me it's a "yay we didn't die and did better than May" ribbon. We fucking earned that.

we all got ribbons!!

Monday, July 22, 2019

What a Monday this had been

SJ and I were up early and took the trailer to have her NEW TIRES put on. Which my person said should take 20 mins but took them like an hour. I should have walked SJ over to the dollar store but whatevs.

So we get home and I a quick U-ie and go to throw Curtis on and the mother fucker would. not. load. My person saw me struggling and came down and couldn't get him on.
SO like 4 years ago when he was racing he was great in the trailer until one night he just wasn't. No no reason anyone could decide. Just didn't want to leave the track and it took my person and his racing partner hours to load him. If I remember correctly it didn't take him long to bounce back, and really, he didn't have much choice as he was being trailered somewhere every other week. And since I've been riding him, he has loaded awesome. Going on and off like a pro every time ad last Sunday loading up to go to Carrie's he literally, no exaggeration, drug me up the ramp. He couldn't wait to go places. Then Sunday afternoon when we dropped Waverly off I took him off for 30 mins and then he refused to load again and he had to spend the night. The next day it took a while but I got him up with grain. Today he wouldn't load for anything and got really hot and stupid. My person ended up having to blindfold him and back him up.

 So after our ride a neighbor who is really great with horses helped me load him. She worked with him for a while. If he took his attention off the trailer she got after him and made him listen without getting him worked up and hot. I was really impressed. By the end of the hour or so we worked with him, you pointed and he went in. End of story. I'm not sure why his brain occasionally says fuck you to trailers, but it's not cool. But now I know how to deal with it in a positive and productive way.

Our ride started out with me wanting to beat him or shoot him but after a while he settled in and focused his little adhd brain on me. Our canter took a little work but felt really awesome. And at the very end he stood in the middle of the arena chill as can be for another 30 mins which is absolutely unheard of, so as mad as I started the day at him, I ended our ride pretty happy. I'm going to bring him over Friday afternoon before the show to work with him again on the flat. My arena is terrible and slanty and now the guys are here fixing the pond so that should be fun.

AND!!!!! I won the Riding Warehouse giveaway from last week so I have so fancy white show breeches coming to me and a new pair of paddock boots!!! So freaking excited!!!

As wild of a Monday as it's been, it's actually been pretty awesome.