Friday, April 13, 2012

What The Friday


WTF is all I could say when I saw this.

I saw this a few weeks ago and thought it was clever photoshopping, or a huge joke.

NOPE.


I cant even...

Woke up today to torrential downpours and some cray cray thunder. I was wondering if I should even prepare for the show, but I got an email saying it would carry on, rain or shine.

Fantastic, since its supposed to storm all day tomorrow.

And I walked in to see this...

Awesome sauce!

I don't even know how to fix that! So the water just sat there. I'm sure I'll get a squawking text from the Icequeen about that, but whatevs.

Practiced First Level Tests 1 & 2 today, and a few movements from Second Level Test 1. He was pretty good, just a little tense from the pounding rain. His leg yields were pretty shitty today and maybe thats because we've never started at X and only had half the arena to get over. I think we will just do the best we can tomorrow, but Pronto/Hannah is (some of) our competition for First Level and they have some legit leg yields.

Cleaned tack, clipped Yanks nosey/ bridle path and prepped the trailer as much as I could in the rain. Luckily I don't ride till 2PM tomorrow, so I can spend the morning prepping if I need to. Still deciding if I want to braid for a schooling show. I love braiding him :)

Slightly panicking because I can't find my
a) hairnet
b) white breeches
c) camera charger

I think I will die if I don't have video of our first 2nd Level Test. Also upset because the Boy says he can't come because he has to study. PFFFT. What part of "this-is-one-of-the-few-shows-you-will-be-able-to-watch-me" doesn't he get? Besides I ride all 3 tests within an hour. Whats an hour?

At least Big Sexy got a bath from the rain. One less thing I don't have to do.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gridwork

Grids are by far one of my most used/favorite tools in my Toolbox for Success. They can be used for almost any level horse that knows the basics of jumping and can be manipulated in infinite ways to suite the horse and rider. A grid will increase athleticism, as well as improve rhythm and balance. By utilizing what grids have to offer, riders can improve their mounts form, take off distance, teach and correct striding, strengthen, and help horses learn how to properly jump and carry themselves over fences.

I've been doing grids with Yankee since he was 5 years old. He used to have all sorts of issues (most OTTBs do) and grids gave him a focal point for his energy and improved his over all straightness, impulsion & balance. When he had a baby brain, we used lots of ground poles and cross rails, switching up the long distances (2-4 strides) to keep him on his toes. As he progressed, we shortened distances to occasional bounces, 1 & 2 strides and integrated oxers & verticals. Today, I vary it every time, but he is more than competent to tackle multiple bounces, verticals, varied striding, and oxers.

Yesterday, this was our classroom:

I consider myself a master at pulling jumps out of my ass, and with Jackie's assistance, set up this lovely grid. Our goal was to get him to set back on his butt and use himself, lifting through the shoulders and challenge him with verticals and bounces. The first is a simple crossrail, 2 strides to a 2'3 vertical, 1 stride to a 18in. vertical, bounce (no stride) to a 2'9 vertical, bounce to a crossrail, then 3 strides out to a 3'9 oxer.

Jackie had the bright idea to have a larger vertical to a smaller, to a an even larger vertical to a cross rail to help set him back even more. By giving him the chance to regroup over the lower vertical and crossrail before the oxer (physical break), we alleviated the chance of excessive brain stress (mental break)-which I feel is imperative for a successful training session.

Obviously, we started all of them off as crossrails or groundpoles, and each time he moved through successfully (impulsion, balance and not knocking any down) we raised them-usually 1-2 holes. At first, he was having issues staying balanced( drifting majorly to the right) and maintaining impulsion. The key for Jackie (as with all riders through grids) is to maintain stillness and let the horse figure it out. Occasionally riders can assist with a well placed leg aid but normally, it is up to the horse. That is why it is important to progressively make the jumps higher.



The final jump


Looking very composed and tidy

I had his striding memorized yesterday but it completely slipped my scattered brain today. The standard formula for a canter stride is 12 ft plus 6ft for take off and landing, so
Bounce = 12'
1 stride = 24'
2 stride = 36'
3 stride = 48'

However, Yankee is a complete weirdo and none of those worked out for him. He is a rather short strided TB and I'm pretty sure it was
Bounce = 1o'3
1 stride = 16'3'
2 stride = 32'
3 stride = 48'

Weirdo.


He is LOVING the hackamore. This is his, "locked onto a fence" look

Overall, we were happy with how well he did with the challenge of the bounces and verticals. He whacked his hooves twice through but otherwise, he was a gem and really accomplished what we set out to do-set back on his butt and work it!





I also wanted Jackie to work him over the horse eating barrels I had trouble with on Sunday, so I set up the fence and asked her to simply swing him around to it after the line.


Cake.

He seemed to be mocking me with this move...


AW YEAH, TAKE OFF FOUR FEET EARLY, YEAH!



I'm pretty sure its just Jackie's awesomness as a jumper. She has no hesitation or frumpy shoulders, like I do, hah. Must emulate.



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Holy Hops Batman



This is old (May 2011), but hot DAMN! CAn we please talk about how the jumps in the race are like, 3 feet tall and the fence the rogue horse jumped was about 7 feet?!

And yes, about 20 people got injured, none killed though.

Still insane, and I had to share.

On a lighter note, THIS video is an absolute riot (wish I knew how to get 2 visoes on one post). I seriously almost shit my pants with laughter. I needed that after this ridiculously awful past 4 days. By the way, feeding my comment whore ways is really improving my mood. Thanks ya'll.


Also if you need more laughs, Dressage Curmudgeon has had some rip-snorting posts lately. I want to be like her.

Also, if the last 4 days are any hint to how the rest of this weekend and weekend will go, it can be expected that myself or Yankee will have a freak accident, like step on a pebble or something, and die.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Wherein Chin Meets Poll...

I've had an interesting and long Easter day.
I stumble out of bed at 6am, still suffering from a sinus infection. Its freezing. Get dressed (remembered my bra this time!), make coffee and bring along breakfast.
Walk out to my truck, hands full. Notice there are copious amounts of vomit covering my windshield, driver window, and door. DAFUQ neighbors!?

1. Thats a lot of vomit
2. WHY my truck??
3. HOW? unless you climbed up there mid spew or are 6'6 there is no way...

Pretty annoyed at the shannanigans surrounding my apartment complex.

Nevertheless, I arrived at the barn in a chipper mood. I'm pretty sure Sundays are my favorite because they consist of horsey time till about 2PM. Even though I feed & clean the main barn, I love doing it, since I get to be outside and with the horses! As I said, it was flipping cold this morning, luckily BO left her jacket at the barn.

While the horses were nomming, I cleaned the shit out of the grain area. It needed it bad and I was more than happy to set my OCD cleaning frenzied hands to work.

Isn't it wonderful?! I just love organization, labelization and cleansification. It's pretty much inevitable that a barn will have a remarkable amount of random, usually useless, crap laying around or stuffed into corners and dust covering literally everything. Including teeth. BO was pretty stoked that SOMEONE finally organized it. The labels..OH THE LABELS! Swoon.

Around noon I finished up and headed to scrub my nasty pony and get him ready to ride. Normally I hate riding at noon, but I was already there. Snapped some pretty ridiculous, cliche photos. But dang, he is so cute I couldn't help it.

Oh pony.

I was still high off our stellar dressage practice yesterday, & was pumped to get my jump on. The course we rode last week was still up and I made it about 3'3-3'6 with plenty of high verticals and airy oxers & my all time favorite, the swedish. I also had him decked out in everything he will wear at the show Sunday. I always like practicing on a regular basis in what we will show in, so there is no drastic change.

Mmmm, yeah. Lookin' sexual in that bonnet Yankee.

Our warm-up was brief and we quickly got to work. I started stringing the jumps together one by one, eventually making a course. Everything was going swimmingly until...







...And smack goes the weasel. Apparently upright standing barrels are horse eating monsters and should be avoided at all costs. He slammed on the brakes pretty ridiculously hard at the VERY last second so I was major unprepared and almost died.

OK not really, but I did almost go flying and thanks to my wonderful flailing ability, probably would have broken something. No worries though, I just racked my face/chin in his poll. Literally, I feel like my jawbone might be fractured. Instantly my face was overcome with pain and I was pretty stunned. I just sat there for a minute, blood dripping down my face, wondering WTF just happened.

We were only 5 minutes into our ride though so I sucked it up, layed the barrels down and made it a low vertical which he hopped fine. I moved them back up vertical. Refusal. Refusal. Jump. RETARD! Not to self: vertical barrels require more urging.

Other than that though he was pretty much a boss and after only a few rounds, I let him be done. Plus my head was throbbing.

So its official, I can only eat soft foods for a few days since I can barely open my mouth. It hurts like a bitch but I'm too poor to get X-rays, so I'm thinking I just sprained it. CAN you sprain jaw ligaments? I have no idea.

Went home, exhausted and promptly passed out for 3 hours. Oops. Least I have the excuse of being sick and injured. I'm pretty pissed because I just bought a plethora of healthy noms that require extreme chomping. Steak and chicken. Asparagus and broccoli. Carrots and hummus.

Le sigh.


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