Sunday, November 18, 2018

Curtis' First Show

I guess you can say he's officially a dressage horse. Even though when I entered the warm up ring and all through our 1st test (Intro A) he acted like I'd gone down the road to Keeneland, pulled a racehorse out of the stall and said "hey let's go ride dressage". Needless to say it was a hot mess. And the relaxed fancy horse I had at home and even at T's house was not the same horse I had at the show. Partly because he's barely been ridden all week thanks to the weather. And partly because there was a lot going on and he got tense.

so tense. I don't even know what I was doing...

But we made it through 2 tests. Stayed in the ring, didn't die or kill anyone, stayed on and stayed on course. We finished dead last in both classes but I was thrilled. I think the first show is the hardest because you don't know how the horse will act. And as bad as it was, it was still better than Twister's 1st test where I had to whip him past the judges booth because he was acting like a giant took even though he's been out and seen things. Curtis only spooked at a giant pile of blowing, rustling leaves, making terrifying horse-eating noises and was super looky at a guy on a bike also making horse-eating noises.

So we got there and the idiot flew backwards off the trailer like a dummy. But he got in his stall and settled right in. Also he and T's mare are now in love. *insert brain-viewing eyeroll here* That must just be a gelding thing. To fall in love with all the maremares. Once we got there I had about an hour until my test. I tacked up and went to the warm up ring, lunge line in hand. I found an empty ring to lunge him in, only after getting on and him nearly deciding to buck me off after 4 seconds and me dismounting and ripping a button of my coat.

I lunged the pants off him and took him back into the warm up with the other horses where we continued to be tense. I tried so hard to quiet my hands and to breathe. He was a total giraffe and when my number was called I thought "what the fuck, let's wing it". At least I remembered the test. There was a lot of weaving. A lot of unintentional should-ins instead of straightness on the rail because people were going to eat him. And trees. And the pavilion. And the man under the tree who was clearly horse-eating Frankenstein *more eye rolls* He was a mess. D3 (there are 3 Ds. Little, Big D and D3, so you can keep track) said our first test scared her and it looked like he was a racehorse in training, not a dressage horse. I can't say she was wrong.

warm up before 2nd test

After the test I walked and trotted him around a bit trying to let him look at things and keep him calm. Then because I still had an hour until our other test, I brought him back to the barn and let him chill out. When I brought him back to the warm up ring an hour later, he was a different horse. He was a bit more stretchy and more relaxed. He wasn't trying to bolt or buck and I thought maybe this test could go better.

walk was full of impulsion but not straight at all

It did. Much better.. But it was still bad. I didn't really care. I was thrilled with how we did and that even though Intro B was really bad, it was far better than Intro A and we'd survived our first show. I honestly think part of it was that he liked having the ears on, which we only used the 2nd time around after I was desperate to get him to chill a bit more.

Da Money Man 11.17.18
Intro B

You'll notice my hands are LOUD. And in previous posts I've mentioned that the more I do with my hands the more pissed he gets. And I was legit trying to hard to be quiet with my hands but I have no idea what happened. It's ugly. But I will practice quiet hands all winter until I KNOW the difference between when I think I'm not moving them and I am actually super loud and when I'm actually being quiet.

And now the weather is going to suck for months and I have no decent footing and I'll have to back way off. Just when it's getting good and I think I should ride all winter and have a show ready horse in April. Blehhh. I want a damn indoor.

if nothing else, he looked gorgeous braided and dressed up
in white

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Waiting for Ride TImes

I'm getting the pre-show jitters. Like I wish it would just hurry up and get here. Hoping ride times will be posted tonight or early tomorrow morning.

coolers double as 1/4 sheets (or maybe it's time to invest
in a 1/4sheet....)

The weather here has been total shit. Rains every 2 days. I haven't ridden on even ground in over 2 weeks. Every other ride I spend half the ride reminding Curtis to be an adulting, future dressage horse when what he really wants is to do his racetrack prance and toss his head and gallop.

fat and healthy and his feet look fantastic!!!!
He's spent every other day (or two) off and a lot of time in the barn due to cold rain. But today after a day off and long night up in the barn, he went right to work. Very workity. He warmed up, then gave me that fancy trot and did several excellent transitions and halts. His free walk today was big. I may not get to ride him again until the warm up ring in the show though. Because it's going to fucking sleet and snow tonight. I wanted fall. I wanted sweater weather and ride without fucking melting weather. But now I want it to be daylight until 10pm and 80* because winter sucks.

happy, fancy horse spit

My show box will have a lunge line and whip and a tube of Quietex. I'm also hoping the judge will allow fly bonnets. Because it was super windy today and he was happier when I put the ears on him. My past experience says sometimes judges don't care and sometimes they really do. I've schooled both ways but still........

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Let's Talk NSN

No stirrup November. I've always been big on it. When I was in high school we did bareback lessons and no stirrup lessons and we all wanted to die (even though many of us did several minutes or more of no stirrup work on a regular basis). But then December we goofed off and played games and went on trail rides.

The last few years (except for when I was pregnant and the November after having SJ) I would take the irons off and I would work my ass off. In the summer I ride multiple horses and do hay and take walks and whatever. But I always used NSN to get me back into workout mode. After November I'd start working out in the evenings every other day or so until spring time. I can't not ride and not workout all winter because I like junk food too much.

This year I'm doing an alternative NSN. While Twister is used to someone sitting a trot and ridden bareback often, Curtis is not ready for me to be all over his back for more than a minute or two. I haven't even done sitting trot on him apart from those 2-3 strides when asking him to canter. I don't want to make him sore and I'm not fit enough to not fall off....

Yesterday I rode him bareback at the walk only. I tried to trot but he has a big trot and I knew I was only going to piss him off so we just walked. Then last night I did my work out. I have 2 YouTube videos I like that are about 5 minutes each. But seriously, if you're not in shape and barely riding (thank you, fucking never-ending rain) it hurts. This morning trying to go down and let the horses out hurt. I'm like a wobbly baby calf. Today I'll work on my core, rotating core day and leg day.

This is the first year I've been riding a horse that wasn't NSN ready. Even our big tub of lard appy who is hardly ridden could handle it. Because he is a coffee table and is barely aware of your existence. But I guess the point of this post is not to forego NSN if your horse can't handle it hard core. Let NSN push you to do leg day and strengthen your core on the ground so that you can get attempt some no stirrup work on your horse later. Build up to it. It's the first year I've ever had to do an alternative and honestly, if it wasn't NSN I would still be sitting on the couch with Netflix and my kid's Halloween candy every night saying "I'll work out tomorrow. I'll stop with all the junk tomorrow. I'm just too tired from momming today. Tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow". After the show I will probably start doing some bareback and no stirrup rides on Twister as Curtis will be getting a much needed break.

Even though it wasn't much of a ride yesterday, I was all smiles after. We walked around, on the buckle for the most part, he was relaxed and biggest thing: he went RIGHT in the pond. No hesitation. All the way up to his belly. I've been riding him just over 4 months and we are becoming a pretty great team. I feel very comfortable and relaxed on him at home and just hope and pray I can keep that feeling away from home.

 And now, thanks to MORE rain, the pond is half the way up to the gate. We need to move. I can't live here forever. Apparently we live on top of underground springs.....which we didn't know until this past month. So. Much. Water. 😒


Monday, November 5, 2018

November Goals

Goals for November are simple.
-mail in entry
-get through first show
-possibly start over permitting.....
-give a bunch of time off because it's hard to fit riding in this time of year with weather and holidays

Curtis has earned a few weeks off after how how hard we've been working this summer and fall. As for the show, I just want us to both have good experiences. I don't really care what the score is, I just want us to do our best and not be a nervous wreck, hot mess. I'm optimistic about his behavior. While we haven't been off farm again, the days of constant pouring rain and not even enough dry days to dry anything out has left us with very little work time. But he's been great. I can get on after 4-5 days off and lots of stall him and he's great. Goes right to work and feels great. I just hope I don't have to have days off right before the show. The extended forecast is showing sleet and snow the couple days before the show. I'm freaking out. I need an indoor....