Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Grit your teeth and keep going

Kind of a frustrating, meh ride last night.  We got where we needed to get and had some good work, but we just weren't clicking at all.  He wasn't real interested in the 'move forward into the contact' concept.  Bay giraffe at any gait other than walk was okay with him, though. *grrr*

I realize that no matter how many people think I should be going to the little jumping shows, I don't feel ready.  For one, we haven't had many lessons lately because finances are the debbil.  For two, Apollo didn't much like getting galloped past last night.  It's very good for Apollo to be working with other horses, because he went "eeeeep!  RUN!" when Brego came up behind and past him.  No big deal: he didn't bolt or anything, but he still wanted to.  He wasn't connected to me well enough last night to notice and then ignore.  So until I feel like we can handle a crazy warmup arena without getting spun up like a turbine, I don't think going to the NWWJS is a good idea, what with all the chaos in the warmup (more than at a regular show) and the mirrors on one side of the arena.  Sure, we could do ground poles, cross-rails, or 2'.  It's not the jumping I'm concerned about.  It's everything before and in between.   No need to have a bad experience.

Also -- heh; it seems like when I really want to have a dressage ride with lots of free space for figures, there are standards and poles out in the arena.  When I feel like riding in my jump saddle and practicing poles, the arena is clear and blank.   Poles are easy to get out and set up, though.

Hoping for more clear space tonight.  I'll check before I tack up. If the standards and poles are still out, I'll just plan to do that.  If not, I'll go with the dressage ride.  Either way, it's one of those days when I need to push myself into getting out there; I am in that "I don't feel good and I have things to do at home" place.

Meanwhile, it's cold.  Really cold.  I do not approve.

And I hope Apollo's doing okay in the pasture still.  There weren't any shenanigans yesterday, but that was yesterday.  And he didn't have a full day in the pasture, so ... we'll see.

Honestly, I think I'm just having a bad day.  It happens.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Productive ride last night -- I longed first, then hopped on.  Pony was a little up and spooked at the mirrors, then gave the standards in the corner a really hard look, considering whether he wanted to spook.  I decided that yknow, I'd rather not fight that fight.   Work smarter, not harder!   So I plopped him back on the line and side reins and made him work.   When I got back on 10 minutes later, Apollo was much, much more interested in being cooperative.   Heh.

So we worked on steady, rhythmic trot, trot-canter transitions, and some shoulder fore and leg yield.   We're in a good starting place on the lateral work: I get the concept and the basics, but I need to refine my aids and make the movements better.  He needs to strengthen.  This is a good place to be in.  :)

And the Naughty Pasture Instigator goes back out to pasture today.  *nibbles nails*  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried -- for his safety, for the other horses' safety, for the fences ... but I'm hoping it works out.   Please, Apollo, don't be the pasture troll.  Please.

Monday, December 17, 2012

More saddle pondering

(Another entry before this if you missed it.)

So like the Sprinkler Bandit, I too obsessively tack-shop when I'm broke.   And I am definitely shopping for my future saddle.   I got the Collegiate back from the FLTS, all fixed and with the red medium-wide gullet installed.  It needs a good cleaning and conditioning, which I will probably get to this weekend.  But other than that, I think it'll work okay until I save up some money.  I think.  I'll see if MT or TD will look at it with the new gullet in, see what they say.  I'm a little concerned that it rolls with the wider gullet -- either it rolls or I didn't tighten my girth enough on Friday, because it slid a bit when I dismounted.  That latter is possible.

ANYway.  The problem with this obsessive saddle shopping is that I'm not entirely sure WHAT I'm looking for.  I think a Black Country or a County.  Or maybe a Devoucoux.  Or maybe a Prestige.   I don't think a Stubben.

And I'm not a thousand percent sure what size Apollo wears or fits me best.  17.5?  18?  18.5?  I don't know.  Shorter flaps are definitely better for my short little legs, but those are a bit hard to come by used.

So I'm thinking I ought to get a professional fitter involved.

But ...  The only fitters I can think of around here are affiliated with specific saddle brands.  I wouldn't mind talking to the County fitter, but would she recommend a Black Country?   The other fitter is pretty loyal to her brand.   Is it worth it to send a tracing to Trumbull Mtn?  I kind of suspect yes, because they'll be open to recommending various brands, but then again, the idea of fit-via-internet is a little scary.

I guess my criteria are pretty simple:  1.  In my price range   2.  Fits Apollo   3.  Fits me   4. Appropriate for cross-country and showjumping   5. In good shape; serviceable   6. Makes me feel secure.

And I guess my path is ... uh ... clear?    1.  Figure out what I'm looking for   2. Save at least $1000    3.  Sell Collegiate jump saddle   4. Find the best deal available on the saddle I'm looking for   5.  Buy saddle.

It's that #1 that's the doozy.  :/   I'm skipping to step 2 for now.   Step 1 is, like, hard and stuff.  :/

Monday, I think.

Maybe it's just me, and maybe I'm not fully well yet, but it's amazing how much judging -- i.e. sitting/standing in the cold all day, no lunch break, paying close and careful attention to everything going on for eight hours straight -- takes out of a person!   I arrived at the show grounds at 10:20, got situated, and we got the show going at 10:40 or so.  I didn't get home until after 6:30.   And it was cold out there!  I swear, you never really respect judges and volunteers until you stand in their shoes.  Or their judging box, or whatever.

Only a couple of minor mishaps through the show -- the Swedish oxer got crashed more than a few times, and one rider had a Really Bad Day at the plank fence, falling twice and having way more than her share of refusals at it.  I felt for her; I have had that Day before!   I was only scared to death by a round twice.  ;)   So no broken bones, no broken horses, no broken fences, and only one broken piece of tack -- I will take it.

It might not have been the world's best idea to go hang out outside all day when I wasn't really healthy yet, but ... heh, I kept having to repeat things over the radio because I was so stuffed up.  I'd say "dat's zero jumb faulds and a tibe of ond ond dine," trying to communicate a clear round and a time of 1:19.   It was fun anyway.   But by the time I left, I was wiped out.  Completely done.  Stick a fork in me, paint a line down my back, dun.

So no ride for me on Saturday.  Sunday was given over to my mom and to grocery shopping before I fell over in an exhausted stupor.  I did at least pick up a new set of Bogs for the barn, but other than that there was no horsey goodness on Sunday.

So maybe I can haz ride today.  I can certainly haz longe.   I have as much time as I want, so ... yes.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Catastrophe arrived last night in the form of a nap.  I should know better than to think I can snooze for 30-60 minutes, no matter how healthy science says it is.  Especially when I've been sick and am trying to get better.   Especially-especially when stress is added in there.

So I'm heading out to the barn tonight.  I need to work my poor cooped-up horse.  Too much longer and I'mma have a stick of dynamite instead of a horse.  Fair warning for folks at the barn: I'll need an end of the arena to longe in before I get on.   ;)   I doubt Apollo will be terribly squirrelly, but it's good for him.

Really looking forward to getting on and spending some time in the saddle.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Poor Sparky!  Pseudomonas infection in his right ear -- fortunately the left ear is completely clear.  I'll be picking him up from the vet later this afternoon, avec antibiotics and pain meds.   He was really, REALLY unhappy about having the ear examined, much less cleaned.

Apollo has nice neat feet again, too.  I hauled my butt out to the barn to be there for the farrier (we loff him!) last night, despite feeling crappy.  Kind of a good thing I wasn't riding, because things were crazy busy last night - apparently Tuesday is a busy evening at the barn!  I plan on riding tonight, barring catastrophe.

Just a "not really ded" post, I guess.

Monday, December 10, 2012

House of pain (edited) (edited again)

It's shaping up to be One Of Those Winters ... I'm sick.  Again.  If an alien does not spring forth from my face, I will be rather surprised.  

It's irritating for a variety of reasons -- first, I've been doing SO well with vitamins, diet, exercise, allergy meds, all that.  The fact that I can do so well and still get miserably sick is annoying.  

Second, obviously, lack of riding.  I don't want to do anything but sleep and lounge inside.  Definitely not go outside and ride.  I just feel rotten.  I did call TW and ask if one of the three riders could put a ride on Apollo this weekend; she said that could be arranged.  This will be awesome, I think.  Still.  I will get out there tonight after work, by hook or by crook.

EDITED:  Um, well ... since I can't decide if I'm freezing or roasting and generally feel awful, I am staying home.

Third ... I'm sure I had a third reason in here somewhere.  It's lost in the headache.

ANYway.  My jump saddle is fixed and ready to go at the FLTS.  I'll pick it up Friday, yay!  We'll see how it goes.  I might need to grab a riser pad while I'm there.

Saturday is judging at the schooling jumper show, with TSB holding the timer.  Woo!

Meanwhile, I sniffle.

ALSO?  Who needs human kids?  Sparky, my boy corgi, has an ear infection.  I have to giggle a teeny bit, because it's such a familiar story: one member of the household gets sick, then the others fall one by one.  And ear infections in kids are standard issue ... my kid just happens to have four legs and a tail.  :)    We'll get to the vet as soon as possible.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Zzzz ...

There is not enough coffee in the world right now to shake me out of the sleepies.   Adrenaline might do it, but really, who wants a disaster?  Or a freaking giant needle?    No, what I really need is a good long nap.  Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen.  Finish work, go to barn, take care of dogs, maybe even eat dinner, THEN sleep.   Then get up again tomorrow morning to be at work on time, then work, then barn, then gym, then take care of dogs, maybe even eat dinner, THEN sleep in!  

(Getting up, walking around, and then wiggling around in my cube helped.  Yet another reason why I wish I worked at home: so I could do some exercise when I get tired like this and not worry about looking the fool in the office.)

I *did* have a good ride last night, though.  Apollo was listening, and I had some success with maintaining the canter.  The trick seems to be swinging my hips very clearly and, to the right, using a strong outside leg to keep him on the track.   We also got some good left bend, working on keeping his shoulders in front of my hips and asking him to push from behind.

We still need more push in the trot and better maintenance of the canter, but I think just this week we've had progress.

The OTHER thing we need?   Freakin' Miracle Groom, or maybe just Nature's Miracle.  That horse sleeps in his pee spot in his stall.  UGH.  I love him and I totally want to hug his neck, but he's smelly.  The wash stall isn't an option ... so I'll have to give him a sort of sponge bath.   Yuck, yuck, yuck, and ugh.   At least he's not grey!!   So yeah.  Must remember to take towels to the barn to deal with the grossness.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pony still tight with Jesus.

The lesson of "quit kicking at my leg and canter when I tell you to, on the longe and under saddle" seems to have stuck.  Good pony!!   :)

We're back to sunshine and roses, which makes me pretty dang happy.   Not to say that we don't have things to work on, because that pile gets larger and larger the more I ride ... but at least I have cooperation and a pleasant attitude from my sweet pony again.  

Irritatingly, I won't get to ride tonight.  Grumble.  I have to work late, so I will go from work to the gym.  We'll see, though.  I might get lucky and get to ride after all, but ... work is important.  Gotta keep a roof over everyone's head!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Gen. Apollo McAuliffe

Well.   Said Sarah of Eventing in Color:   Maybe he needs to give himself a chiropractic adjustment with the help of a turnout and you with a longe whip.

Heh. Heh. Heh.   That is almost exactly what he got.  :)    Here's how the conversation went on Saturday:

To the Horse Commander:

      Come to Jesus. 

The Human Commander.

           To the Human Commander:


          The Horse Commander.

To the Horse Commander:

     Perhaps a longe line, longe whip, and side reins will make you change your mind.  I say again: Come to Jesus.

The Human Commander.

           To my Human Overlord:

                  I'm tight with Jesus.  Did you want me to come at a trot or at a canter?

           The Horse.

When I was longing him to the right and asked for canter transitions at first, he bulged as far left as he could possibly bulge and threw his head in the air.   I figured that he probably needed outside aids, so I busted out the side reins.  I didn't put them on tight, of course, seeing I had no idea whether he'd ever used them before.  But once he figured them out, the canter issues improved quickly.    That plus me insisting on forward motion at all times, and not letting him off the hook no matter how far left he went, did the trick.

After that longe lesson, I got quiet, polite canter transitions when I asked for them under saddle.  :)   

Didn't ride yesterday, but looking forward to tonight.  I do believe I'll longe him again before I ride, just to make sure he's still on the straight and narrow.