Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Flying Cross Part2- The hot OTTB

After SJ and Rascal won the day, I had to deal with Curtis....

Curtis who came off the trailer calm. Stayed tied nicely with  Rascal to the trailer and walked up the hill to the dressage ring only mildly alert. We got up there and he seemed ok. We walked around and looked around. But after 10 mins I got on him he was a completely different animal. He wanted to take off the moment I got on him and when I tried to pull him up he wanted to buck and prop.

Anyone who knows me or has been reading my blog for a while knows that I'm not gutsy. I've never had to deal with a lot of dangerous shit with horses from the saddle and would rather just not. Since I became a mom, I'm even more timid. I do not want to get hurt. It's not falling. It's the fear of something terrible happening once I hit the ground.

My person is not very understanding. "Ride through it or get off before you break your neck". He's right of course but instead of being pressured and yelled at I need someone saying "it's ok. Just sit up. Ok. Give him a little rein. Make him circle. Breathe." Curtis was bad though. Like a switch had flipped. It was the other horses in the warm up. And the horses out galloping xc. And the person walking past the pond. And the fountain in the pond. And the stack of brightly colored jump standards and poles. It was the whole damn thing. He has no business being there.

My person ended up on him. He had him doing flying changes and going WTC, quite hotly, but doing it. In short he rode the shit out of that horse. Let him get it out of his system and when he tried to buck he kicked him forward.

someone buy this man a shadbelly and some white breeches.
HE needs to be showing Curtis

Then I got back on and the damn horse was trying to drop me again. Finally the warm up cleared out a little and I had him in the warm up with only 1 other horse and made him walk and trot and circle and felt sort of okay. There was some hold up in the dressage ring so we ended up down the hill there where it was actually way better. He couldn't see the pond as well or the xc and the horses in the warm up were further away. We rode in there for a minute and luckily T was there and talked me through a bit of warm up just like she did at the show in Nov. Seriously need to start paying the woman a training fee.

scary shit EVERYWHERE

I rode both tests back to back. We scored terribly and it wasn't until the very very end of Intro B that he broke out the relaxed fancy trot. And then spooked at himself in the mirror (for the 5th time) as we came down the center line and our halt was super wonky. I praised him like he just won a gold medal rode out and got the fuck off. I was done. I was crying. I couldn't even.

if my face does not say it all....

It was not fun. I don't show because I'm particularly good at it. I'm a mediocre rider at best and have to practice my ass off to manage to do things other riders do with God-given talent. And that's fine. But I enjoy showing. Going out there and trying to beat my personal best. Showing off with my horse. Getting all glitzed up. I enjoy the weeks and months of training leading up to a show because it gives me a goal to work on everyday that reminds me that I was a horsewoman before I even became a mom. That I can be a mom and a rider. But this sucked. My horse was a monster. I was stressed and embarrassed even though everyone was incredibly understanding and nearly every other rider and the ring steward and the judge all said "it's ok! we get it! we've all taken that horse to a show." Thankfully it was a schooling show and they worked with me. That even though I rode the tests way after my ride times, I still rode them. And other riders let me cut in front of them or understandingly kept clear of us in warm up. Almost made up for how they acted about SJ.

girl power for sure! 
I haven't gotten Curtis out as much as I had planned this spring. But I've purposely been riding him during all the shit and construction and next door auctions we've had going on here since October. He never cares about a damn thing. When SJ and my person ride I purposely go to another paddock and ride him alone. We went to Masterson and he was so mellow and I was even schooling in their dressage ring at one point when they rode over the hill and he did not fucking care. But being at a show clearly reminds him of his racing days and makes him way too hot for me to deal with. I didn't even bathe him until an hour before we loaded up to go and had him out the whole night before.

10 seconds of half way decentness

I was, and still am for the most part, very discouraged. I expected him to at least be better than November, which was also a shit show, not worse. My person says I either need to figure it out and grow a set and ride him through the shit or sell him. I'm going to spend the summer and try to work through it. No actual showing until the fall. I'm going to take him somewhere every week, even if it's only to T's house. We can both ride. Leave all her horses out in their paddocks to run. She can leave me and he can learn to do his own thing. We can go back to Masterson. We can trailer to shows with her and alone just to school. Even if schooling is just standing next to the warm up ring with tack on, dismounted, learning to not be an idiot just because horses are going fast. He's also being weaned because I think part of the reason he might have been worse is because he realized his buddy wasn't there. So he's on solo turn out from now on. And then in Sept or Oct I'll take him to another show. If he isn't any better, selling or just trail riding might be an option. He's very athletic. He's fancy. But maybe I'm not cut out to be his partner in crime. Even the idea is killing me. I've been waiting for years to get my hands on this horse as a dressage horse. But it is what it is.

I'm also planning to give a calming supplement leading up bigger outings. If anyone has any suggests please let me know. I know magnesium is good. Horses often get that as an injectible a day before a race. I'm thinking more like a pellet or powered.

I want to prove my person wrong and my self. I don't think either of us are entirely convinced I'm going to succeed with this kid, being the chicken shit I am....

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Flying Cross Horse Show- Part 1: SJ

This will be a 2 parter because the part about me and Curtis is a long one. So stay tuned.

Yesterday I hauled Curtis, Rascal and SJ to a show. We pulled Rascal off and tacked him up and got SJ geared up. Left Curtis on the trailer alone and after we were out of sight he stopped screaming and worked on his hay net.

We walked up the hill to the dressage ring and he was looking at everything but behaving. He's not a fan of cars coming up from behind him but there was no spooking. Once in the dressage warm up, SJ and Rascal weren't even on the steward's list. So that annoyed me. Because were were on the check in list. Shouldn't they be the same????? So 15 minutes after she was supposed to do her test we start the test and little Rascal and SJ were awesome. That big appy is worth his weight in gold. And that's saying a lot because he looks 9 months pregnant.

cutest thing EVER

We went down to the stadium ring and again they had no idea what was going on or that there was even a leadliner. Kind of put up a stink saying they had to change the course. Well we paid for this so let us do our 6 "jumps" and you can do your course. After we got through our short course everyone clapped and cheered and she told Rascal "GOOD BOY!!!!!".

And then the "xc". I get there 20 mins past our ride time. Leadline was supposed to go between divisions and they just went on because we weren't on their list....again. Whatever. They wanted me to wait another 20 minutes for the division to be over but I said no. It's not my fault we were late. We'd been jerked around at the dressage ring because they didn't even know why we were there. And I had another horse to ride so could you please give us 5 minutes to walk over our 6 poles on the ground and call it a day for my leadline pair. They said yes. But then. They sent riders out on the course after we were in the middle of it. Send the 2nd one out even after the 1st horse galloped by us spooking Rascal and nearly throwing SJ. Who luckily thought it was funny and has a great fucking seat for a 3 yr old. We didn't even finish our last "jump".

i got a workout for sure
I was so proud of SJ and of Rascal who mostly kept his shit together. It wasn't his fault! But I had words with the show secretary. I paid for this! Do NOT act like my daughter, doing what she has a fucking right to do as a paid rider in a division you added for kids like her, is an inconvenience. You don't even let more than 1 horse on a course for baby starter. WHY THE HELL would you for leadline?! I was so pissed. I still am. I won't go back there. Not for leadline. I need to find 4H shows because this kid is hooked. Even if it means we don't show the same day. (more on this in part 2).

She was the only leadliner that day to show up and won a huge blue ribbon and she is hooked. She is in her room right now "napping" but really laying in bed sounding like she's reading a dressage test and telling stuffed Rascal "good boy! there ya go! x halt salute!"

God, please give my kid all the guts on a horse I lack.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Choosing Tests

I need to place my entry asap for the show on the 11th. I've been getting plenty of riding time and Curtis feels great. He's looking fantastic too. Actually, they all are. Especially Twister who no longer looks like a borderline rescue case. His age showed this winter and he will be getting senior feed all winter from now on.

I need to pick my 2 tests to ride. I think I can handle 2 tests plus hoof it for SJ's leadline. I should have some help and if not then I will scratch a class when I get there.

I desperately wanted to do Intro C or Training 1. But our canter transitions turn into a gallop at the track. He starts out calm for our first transition each way and when we go all the way around. But when I try to trot-canter-trot-canter-trot-walk-trot-canter-etc he gets hot on me. He jumps into the canter and I have a hard time keeping him on the 20m circle even for the half circle of canter required for Intro C. He gets beastly. I don't think I'm going to fix any of those problems in the next 10 days or so. I'd love to run over to T's and see how he behaves off the farm in a proper arena but rain is coming and I wouldn't have time before I needed to enter.

In all other things, Curtis has been great. Our walk-trot-walk transitions are beautiful (finally). And although he juts his nose out the moment he comes to a halt, the transition to halt is smooth and square. I'll figure out how to keep him on the aids while halted eventually.

Side note.... why am I just now getting into the sunshirt game???? I am super fair-skinned and even when I'm tan...ish and have sunscreen on I burn. I should have a huge ass collection of them by now but I'm just figure it out. I got a few SmartPak brand ones at the event previously known as Rolex and I have a Dublin brand one from RW coming in the mail. And I think Imma have to get more.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Scratched and No Regrets

It's so gross here. Not even 40. It snowed early this morning even. And it hasn't stopped raining. I emailed the show secretary yesterday and said if we scratched could SJ's entry just be moved to the show 3 weeks from now. They were amazing about it and said to check early next week as they would add her to the entries for the 11th! I'll have to reenter Curtis which is fine because in 3 weeks I might have decided to up my ride a test game.

why do bay horses take 1000 years
to shed out????
Curtis  and I have been working very hard to keep our upward and downward transitions round. And the last few rides they have been amazing as well as semi-round and completely square halts. I was really looking forward to today because I thought we would ride a pretty great Intro A test if he could keep his racehorse brain under control.

In addition to doing some hill work to build his muscle back up, I've been asking him to be on the aids and collect his canter for a few strides at a time. I get half a circle or one pass down the long side and let him go then ask again. He's getting better but taking a lot of effort. The moment I sit deep, half halt and as him to come back to me he wants to break gait and I have to really push him to keep up with the canter. Probably I should have a lesson. I almost want to try Training Level 1 in 3 weeks, but we shall see. Might do Intro B and C.


SJ is really bummed. I told her we couldn't go to the show because it rained too much and they closed it. But then was like HERE! COLOR EASTER EGGS! and she's been successfully distracted. I promised her after her birthday we would take her pony to a horse show.


And Rolex is next week already! We are planning on going to XC day! And the week after that is SJ's 3rd birthday and Derby day. So 3 weeks is going to fly by!!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Pre Show Stuff - edited

A show that gives ride times several days in advance? Awesome. It being gorgeous all week just to have it be cold and rainy on show day? Not awesome. The fact that my scrawny thoroughbred has put on some weight and top line? Also awesome.

Not the best angle but he is
starting to get his summer bod💪

Honestly I would scratch if it was just my test we'd be missing because in my old age I've become a fair weather show-er. SJ is so freaking excited to take her "beautiful pony" to a show that I guess we'll just tough it out. Can't be raising no sissy 😂

I know this is a tiny schooling show. Very low-key. But I always get major pre-show jitters. Buy having to get SJ ready and worry about her and ironically kept me calm. It's so weird.

And now I'm like 99.9% sure we're scratching because I don't want SJ's 1st show and her tender little age to be a freezing, raining mess.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

I hate saddles

Ended up at the tack shop today. Just for fun I sat in my saddle but a half size smaller. And I'm pretty sure I need a smaller seat size. The smaller saddle felt amazing. More secure. Not that my saddle isn't comfortable but I've had a lot of problems for almost a year now that I've blamed on leg and core weakness. I've spent all winter trying to stay semi fit and have done a better job of it this year than most. But maybe at least half of it is that I'm swimming in a saddle that is too big. So after this little show I'm going to see about trading my 18" for a 17.5". I'll call around to some of the consignment tack shops in Lexington before I try to deal with Facebook nonsense.

I also need a smaller gullet plate for mister lost all his muscle tone this winter...

Wednesday, April 3, 2019


We had so much time off over the winter. Even if Curtis didn't impale himself we would have had so much time off. I can't keep doing this every winter and ever progress.

 He remembers things but loses all his muscle to be able to do things consistently. I do have a trailer now and could go to T's a a couple times a week to ride. I just have to make myself do it or we will never progress through the levels.

What I am struggling with (again) is my hands. Keeping them quiet. I feel like I am but when I watch playback they are all over. I've had all kinds of advice and watched all sorts of YouTube videos and read books. Part of it is my seat. Which had improved as of November but with several months off, went to shit again. No amount of off horse core work can make I'm up for actual saddle time.

(Breaking in tall boots....still. Why are they still so stiff? 😩)

If you read this, tear me apart and give me your advice. I need to schedule a lesson but I'm not sure if I'll have time before our ride a test in 2 weeks. It's only $26 for it and I mainly want to use it as a please don't be stupid experience. The biggest goal in 2 weeks is to get SJ out on leadline with her "pony". She's so excited.

Cutest salute ever