Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Quick Caber wrap-up before bed.

It's late, so ... here are the highlights:

* Apollo finished with one rail and no time in SJ, for a total score of 37.8 and a fourth place.  Hooray!  Go Apollo!

* The other horses, except for the stallion, had some difficulties: total green-bean moments for one, another uncharacteristically lost his ever-loving mind in SJ, a third decided coffins just weren't his thing, et cetera.

* This ended up being a lesson in Grit It Out for me, honestly.  All kinds of stuff, from the stomach flu that dropped half of us over the weekend and horses that decided not to come out to play, happened, and everyone just dug in and did what they needed to do.  Everyone supported each other, and everyone got on and rode at their prescribed times.  Eventers are SO EFFING COOL, y'all.  I was deeply impressed by the attitude everyone showed, and it made me think about my own riding and attitude.

* Next time, I will:

       o   Have studs and stud holes for Apollo's shoes
       o   Not forget my saddle (I don't know why I didn't think I'd need it; I was planning on riding on Sunday all along)
       o   Bring more food to share for dinners. Maybe tamales, a la my best friend's camping tradition, or marinated steak to grill or something.  Chorizo went over well, too.
       o   Not use Expedia for hotel
       o   Probably stay on site, especially if I can arrange a new tent
       o   Braid Apollo myself, just for fun
       o   Actually be entered to ride!   :D

I didn't get any pictures of SJ, but here are a few more of XC, taken by a friend with Sunsprite Sporthorses:

Cantering along between fences 3 and 4.  Apollo is requiring some riding here ...

Love this horse, love this photo! Good ride, Attila!
Note to self: get blue and white XC boots of some sort.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Caber Farm, dressage and XC

Way too tired for words, so I'll keep it short:  Attila rode like a boss today on both the horses.  Apollo put in a lovely test, with some tension issues, and is sitting in third on a 33.8.  Go Attila and Apollo!

XC was not an easy ride for Attila or an easy go for Apollo; Apollo found several parts of it quite spooky.  He managed to cope, though, mainly through Attila's excellent riding.   They came through double clear and are still sitting on a 33.8 going into stadium on Sunday.

Here, have pictures!  Lots of pictures!
The Shot!  I got it!

Lovely canter, neck a bit short

More canter work, looking better (if blurrier)

Motion!  I think this is the best of the canter shots I got

Entering at A riding Sunsprite Tatiana

Fancy mare, no?

Blurry and so fancy!

Fancy in the canter, too

The only shot I got of Apollo and Attila jumping XC, and it's awkward.  Figures!  :)

Motoring away from fence 2 ... the last time on course it was relatively easy and straightforward.  :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hi from Caber Farm Horse Trials!

We got in yesterday evening, and everybody settled in beautifully -- horses and humans alike.  Apollo (once he got ON the trailer, the stinker) traveled like a champ.   Camp is comfy.  AR and I are at a hotel off site, which turned out to be a huge blessing for a variety of reasons (as well as a pain for other reasons, but those are resolved and happy now).   Our resident European rode Apollo a couple of times yesterday, and Apollo was going SO well, so strongly, and moving big!  Good boy!  So pleased with him.

Here, have some pictures!  I don't have time for too many words -- dressage starts at early o'clock tomorrow, and then XC in the afternoon for the Beginner Novice crowd. Busy day!!

Barley the vicious pibble. She'll lick you to bits.

Corgi mob!  Sorcha, Annie, Sparky, and Sam
Camp: Resident European, TD, and TW
Handsome Apollo; neck a bit curled and up, but nice

So nice!

I love this shot -- look at that canter!  That tail!

Camp: MT and AR

Beer beer beer tiddly beer beer beer tiddly beer

O I die!  I wish I'd gotten this shot a fraction of a second later, but still. Love this horse.

Another a fraction of a second off, but still okay


Sunday, August 11, 2013


I am so pleased with Apollo that I can hardly find words.  :)

(SprinklerBandit came out to cheer and TAKE PICTURES!  Everyone cheer for TSB!)

During the warmup day at the show, he was rather up and looky.  When I longed him, he threw a couple of bucks, ran around, and was generally what I'd expect from a horse at a show.  We had some initial agita over the fact that even though the warmup was supposed to be set up at 9 AM, when we got there around 10:15 there were no jumps in sight.  Not even in a clump in the middle of the arena.  But we were nice to the organizers, and ME's husband offered to help set up the jumps if they would just get them to the arena, and things got rolling.   (I mention this because there were a couple of people, at least one of them a trainer, who ended up screaming and yelling at the poor organizer rather than being reasonable and offering to help make things better instead of actively making things more difficult.)   And of course, when MT arrived to warm us up, the organizer exclaimed, "Oh no, MT is here! We have to get these jumps set up!"   Hehehehe.

Trotting along in warmup (on show day, actually); me asking him to flex right a bit

Anyway, after warming up and working both Apollo and me through nerves and focus issues, we walked into the jump arena, and suddenly Apollo knew his job.   :D   He looked around and basically said "Oh.  Right.  I know how to do this.  We're good."   He warmed up like a pro -- it was really just me that needed work.   My mission for the entire show was leg on, shoulders back, look for your next fence, let him go on, and don't jump ahead.

By the end of the warmup, I felt pretty confident about the next day.

Next day, I got to see just how awesome Apollo is: he unloaded calmly, looked around, and when we walked up to the warmup area ... he was just about all business.  A little bit of looking at the new sights, but once I put him on the longe line, he was the same horse I ride at home.  Completely the same.  Maybe a bit tense, but I know that if I'd been working on getting him into a dressage frame, he'd have done it.  Total professional.

Just jumping a little warmup X
Jumped a few warmup fences, generally got myself in order, and it was off to the arena!

I have to say here that I am SO glad I'm an eventer.  We have time and order of go, and if you're not ready at your time without a major reason, well ... the show goes on.  There's no downtime, no stretches of 20 - 45 minutes with perfectly good jumps/weather/footing and no one in the arena jumping the jumps.  (Unless someone got hurt or there's a hold on course for some reason.)   At this show, there were several stretches of time when there was ... nothing ... going on in the arena.  I was there, prepared, warmed up, and ready to go, and ... nothing.  In the middle of my 2' class, they actually broke in the middle of my class to have the Walk-Trot class go!  0.o   Say what?!    Anyway, when they were going to do their break, I basically had to assert myself and say HEY!  I WANT MY ROUND!  Very strange.

The course - the second element of 4 wasn't up for my classes.
Numbers in parentheses are jumpoff course.
Not quite to scale, but you can get the idea.

I'd been worried about forgetting my course and the jumpoff course in the days before the show. I actually used Suzanne's technique of identifying storytelling to help myself get over it -- the story is that OMG I will forget my course and look ridiculous and be disqualified!  The truth is that nothing like that had happened yet, that even if I did forget the course it's not like no one has ever done it before, and if I wanted a second go-round, I could buy in again. It worked -- I didn't forget either the main course or the jumpoff!   Of course, the order was the same in both of my classes, so that helped.  ;)

The 2' class went quite well!  I am sure the judge heard me muttering to myself "leg on, shoulders back" at every fence.  :)  I felt like I achieved my goal at almost all the fences, only getting ahead once or twice, and only losing my leg once.  In the warmup MT had told me that if I have a rail with Apollo, it's because I've leaned forward.  I took that as kind of a diagnostic tool: if I hear him knock the fence, I got ahead, and don't do the next fence that way.  I got ahead, he klonked (but did not drop) a rail, I didn't do the next fence that way!

Leetle tiny fence; looking for next leetle fence

Anyway, we had a good round, and we came up with a lovely third place ribbon.  :D  Seeing as my whole goal was to ride well, rather than get a ribbon, the scrap of satin was a bonus.

I felt like the 2'3 class went much better for me than the 2' class did.  I felt like I rode better, chose better lines, and generally had a smoother, more rhythmic go.  I'm running out of words, so here, see it in pictures:

Fence 1 - Apollo looking good and me looking for fence 2

Fence 7 - I lost my leg a bit because my heels weren't down enough,
but Apollo's looking good in this one. You can tell we came with
enough pace to this fence.

I like this one of me.  A bit forward but not so much as
to interfere, and my leg is tight if not quite forward enough.
This might be a jumpoff shot, judging from my turned head.

What a very, very good boy he is!  The judge agreed;
she said "yes, he IS a good boy!" as we went by.
Love this horse!

Of course, when I went to go ride today, just to hack around and tell Apollo how great he is, he'd lost a shoe.   Alas.  :)   We'll get it put back on tomorrow and get back on track.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

As usual, mea maxima culpa

Yes, you're right -- as usual, I'm behind on my blogging.  I've been really slammed with my new position at work, so I haven't had time in the middle of the day to update like I have in the past.  I've also been riding a lot, so no time for updates from the saddle either!

What's over there?  See my muscles?
Anyway, the updates in brief are:

Apollo is looking fit, fat, sassy, and shiny!  I had to bump up his feed again, because a cup of rice bran, 2 cups of beet pulp, and 2 scoops of Cool Calories weren't putting weight on him.  So now he gets 2 pounds of beet pulp (OMG, soaked, that is a LOT of food), 1.5 to 2ish pounds of rice bran, and 4 scoops of Cool Calories, along with salt and U-Gard powder.  Voof.  That's a lot, but he's looking gawjus.   See?

Of course, in the time between when I wrote that last sentence and now, a day has gone by.  In that day, he managed to scrape the inside of his upper right thigh, and apparently -- he tells me -- it's quite tender!   Yesterday our resident European rode him, and his comment was that Apollo was stiff at first but worked through it fine.   I got up for a bit several hours later, and "a bit stiff" was not quite nearly enough description.  He was really unhappy with the idea of moving much at all, so I didn't push it.   Plus, he'd already had a good jump school, so I didn't need much except Horse Therapy and just to get in the saddle.   So sympathy, cold hosing, bucket, and carrots for Apollo after a calm ride.

Come on, human.  Pictures are boring!

He was much less stiff today and barely needed anything more than a good long walk to get warmed up.  We worked on the grass instead of in the arena, and I have to say I really like it.  It's really pleasant to go thundering around the cross-country field, even if we're not jumping!  Plus, it's good for me to ride at speed on terrain.  Not huge speed or extreme terrain, but still.

We have a little jumper show coming up soon -- I'll update when I get back, for sure.  There should also be pictures!  Hooray!   Action shots, even!   Of me in my finally-I-got-them tan FITS.  No jacket, but we'll just be going in the jumper ring, so no worries.

Like, really, really boring.

It'll be our first time off property, so I'll be interested to see how he does.  I honestly expect him to be mostly calm, with some "OMG lookit that!" moments.  He's pretty relaxed, though, so I'm not too worried.  We'll school before the show itself, too, which will help.  Very much looking forward to it!

It's true: I is handsomest pony.

Then the other big news is that he's making his debut as My Event Pony (he did go once with redheadlins, so not his official debut) at Caber Farms at the end of the month.  :D   I am SO excited.  I even get to go!  Our resident European will be riding him, so he's sure to get a good, confidence-building ride before I take him out myself.   Super, super excited.  :)