Thursday, May 26, 2016

Capital B

I debated writing this post because it  might be rather lackluster and has zero relevant media, but whatever.

Coming up on B's 2 year anniversary with me I thought would give me mixed feelings, but more than ever I find myself grateful for his existence and the fact that he is 100% mine. I used to have my doubts, and sometimes still really can't stand him, but more than ever, appreciate fate and how it worked out for us.


Rides like I had wednesday really make me momentarily hate his cute butt, haha. Yankee is pure joy to ride everytime-something that comes with age and a long partnership. He is just so EASY, calm, quiet and consistent. I love it and I love that I made him that way.

Training up another baby is and will be that rewarding someday, but most of the time, some or all of our rides are frustrating to a point.

Yesterday was the first ride in a while that he was an actual hellion. He wasn't wearing his bonnet, but also hadn't been ridden since Saturday, so I'm wondering which one affected him more, if at all.

I figured a nice, long, quite hack in the field would be sufficient for a day back after a long show.

It was not nice. It was not quiet. But it was long. And bad with a capital B.

I hope someone gets this reference.
Oh baby B. I was mildly surprised with the amount of sass I was getting, since it was our first truly hot day here (84*) and we both feel lazy AF in heat..., but he loaded on the jazz on our walk out to the field and I knew our ride was gonna be a bit wild.

Looking back, he's been much, MUCH worse in the past. Like dangerous. Wed. he was just snazzy and energetic. I can deal with that. Trying to kill me, not so much.

It was all I could do to keep him at a nice trot, as he was yanking my arms out of their sockets slash sideways flailing every direction. Finally, I gave up and let him canter and it turned into a tug-o-war in which many aggressive half halts were needed to keep said horse in check and not madly galloping off in every direction.

Media not from said ride
 I hate aggressive half halts. They make me feel terrible for invoking that amount of pressure on his face, but I also don't tolerate a horse that bolts (sideways or forwards) with me, or tries to.

Manners, child.

This type of fuckery carried on for another 15 minutes with him lurching into a canter, jutting his nose forward and taking off. If I attempted to corral the energy in a circle, he would pop a shoulder and carry on with an impossibly bent body in the wrong direction.

At one point though, I had to sit back and half halt so hard his tongue flopped out of his mouth and I was like, okay. This is not okay. I just want you to trot & canter calmly and not rip your face off. Also at this point, my very very old boots gave out and both of them ripped and my legs were getting rubbed raw. Probably because I was wearing leggings and not riding pants, but whatever, it was a spontaneous trip to the barn after work and I just cleaned out my car of spare clothing items.

We have had a lot of success lately with backing, so a new battle plan was created for this day. Whenever he would get jiggy at the walk or trot, we would halt as calmly as possible and back until he relaxed.

This strategy actually fucking worked and within 8 minutes I had a soft, relaxed and engaged horse that spent the rest of the time beautifully cantering, trotting and practicing flying changes.

Just kidding, not done. But it is a work in progress. Always frustrating to have a bad day, but it is a good feeling when you find a solution to the problem you're having, while you're having it. B is a very complicated, emotional and tricky ride and we are still figuring each other out, thats for sure. But I think its getting easier and he is learning much faster now.

I can never be certain when or how the change happened. I truly believe in the effects of Magnesium and his magical bonnet. Having him at EME has helped as well. I also truly believe in massage therapy and his lady comes tomorrow actually for another session!

Coming in to our two years together feels like a marathon, but a rewarding one. I think I have finally decided our direction. I will not event with B. At least for now. He is still much too green and I am much too poor and scared to spend $700+/weekend to compete, just to get eliminated in the jumping. Because it will happen. We need many many more XC and schooling shows before I am willing to drop a load on more events. Its fine actually, I have made my peace with this decision. I thought about it long and hard, and right now, with this horse, eventing is not for me. Maybe with Yankee sometime, when his leaser doesn't want to ride or something, but for now, I am done with it. Moving on.

Until we meet again Eventing
For now, I want to focus on show jumping. I have always loved the jumper shows with Yankee and its a blast with B as well. There's something inviting about speed, power, rollbacks, cheap(er) shows, more opportunities and more satin. Because lets be honest, everyone loves ribbons.

I'm not hanging up my eventing spurs just yet. For now, yes, but for good? Probably not.

Also, next post, stay tuned for a very legit giveaway contest!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Jumpy Things

This last weekend was a ton of fun, even if it did rain almost the entire time. I feel like mother nature has not gotten the memo that its almost JUNE. It was freezing, windy and rainy most of Friday and Saturday.

Stormy Saturday
Friday I almost peed my pants with excitement because I got to ride Yankee again! There's notch to report except he is his good ole' self and if anything, he feel better than he did before he left. The old man makes me so proud to be his momma. He is my greatest joy and success and I love that he is so consistent, even after 3 months off and major surgery. I kept the ride brief, but I hopped on to demo for his leaser, then she hopped on to try him out.

I think I spent 5 minutes patting any hugging him before I did anything else!

Yankee is a definitely a bit weak through his back and hind end, but I expected that. Despite the weakness, he was more than willing to WTC beautifully for me and V.

For V, I am hoping there isn't too long of an adjustment period for her and Yankee. I think they will do well together & he will enjoy his job of taking her through the levels of eventing.

Then, after much love for Yankee, I tacked up B and hoped to pop him over a few jumps and hack out in the field. We didn't have the greatest jump schools over the week, but I was still hopeful for a good show over the weekend.

My main objectives for the show was no refusals and a good experience for The Baby.

Sidenote, how long can I call him a baby? haha.

He was surprisingly doing well, minus spooking at the fake flower jump. Uncharacteristic, but moving on....

Lovin' this horse even if I still look like an amazon on a 17.1 beast

We played around in the field a bit, and then my friend L hopped on. I trust her completely, as we've been friends for years. She actually leased yankee for a period in 2009 when I was injured, was on a college athletic riding team and competed at Congress numerous times. In 2010 we actually went to a few events together as well!

Anyways, she got on B and learned that he's no the easiest horse in the world, but fun! In comparison to Yankee, his stride is massive- something I struggle(d) with all the time.

Saturday EME loaded up and headed out to the Serenity Valley jumper show and CT. I did not sign up for the CT because I didn't know about it in time, but planned to do the green as grass jumpers, starter jumpers and BN jumpers. Obviously very low jumps, purposefully so.

I wanted to focus on not refusing the fences and consistency in-between. B has a tendency, as most younglings, to get more and more on the forehand throughout a course. So for this show, I wasn't too concerned about speed and winning, and more on balance and consistency.

The most perfect baby
B surprised me by also behaving quite well all day. Especially while at the trailer! No tantrums, no freaking out. He had a few moments of anxiety in between a class, mostly induced by his hind boots (I think), where he repeatedly would kick the air. After removing them, he stood stock still in-between all classes. Miraculous. He's a spoiled princess who doesn't like hand boots. Figures.

Our warm up was a bit sticky, literally, since it had rained all night and day and I gave up after a few jumps. B seemed unsettled by his feet getting sucked in the ground, and the course was all of 2ft so I wasn't concerned.

It also had no flowers, but he was notorious for refusals first time out. 

All black everything. Like my soul.

Again, he surprised me with a flawless and eager round. I was so floored by his performance! Granted yes, the jumps were wee tiny but he was HONEST and quiet. There was one moment where he looked hard at fence 6A because there was a western saddle on that standard, but other than that, he was great. This round had no jump off because of height, and we got 3rd place despite the slowness! I believe Amy and her wonderkid beat us, haha!

Video is here.

Sorry the videos are up and down.

Hanging out with adoring fans
The second class was the starter class and I believe it was 2'3 or 2'6 or something around there. It also contained oxers and flowers this time around.

While very pleased with his first round, I was still skeptical of how he would handle the added height and spread, PLUS  the horse eating devil flowers. 

He was great.

Seriously so freaking good. 

B was eager to jump and locked on to almost everything. I really had to ride to one or two of the fences and the turn after fence 6AB and 7 was rougher than it looked to 8, but he handled it all with ease. I was so proud of him! A clear round sent us to the jump off and I let him out a little for that slightly. 

Pats for the good boy
Video is here.

We actually snagged 2nd place in that one, with only Amy's wunderkind beating us! A pleasant surprise indeed!

The last class of the day was the BN height and I think it was like 2'9? I'm terrible. They also added an element to fence 10, making element A an oxer and element B a vertical. I thought that was odd, but figured we could negotiate it just fine.

Since I'm a giant wimp, I thought this course looked more like 3'3 but I wasn't as nervous as I normally was. The horse under me was so game and he seemed to be enjoying himself and I was having fun too!

The course rode beautifully, and B was quite honest to everything but the 10A. He looked hard at it, since it magically appeared out of nowhere and jumped it last second, which put us in a bad place to the vertical. I tried my best to readjust, but he knocked the rail anyways. Disappointing ALMOST but the win to me was the fact that he DIDN'T refuse even though he thought about it.

Video is here.

We still snagged a fourth place ribbon, which was cool since we didn't make it to the jump-off.

Normally, I would have been disappointed since I usually am out for blood when competing, but I think having such easy goals for ourselves for this show made it easy to have fun regardless. I went in not trying to win and it was pretty damn fun even getting 2nd, 3rd and 4th place ribbons!

To me, building the foundation now is essential for him and I want B to enjoy showjumping before we get too competitive. Eventually thats my goal, but for now I am content with the baby fences and the baby pony learning his job! I think our next one will be June 5, but we will see!