Saturday, April 20, 2013

Epic Update!!!

Per usual, I suck at getting on here and updating even when I have oodles to talk about. Life just seems to keep getting in my way! Enough loly-gagging, let's get to updating!

I have had lessons, clinics and my first show of the season since my last update so I'm gonna move quickly...

4 lessons were had before the first show. Two were with Lynn and two with my mystery clinician...drum roll please......Ms. Linda Zang!!! Again, this may not be so exciting to some but goodness it is to me! If you click the link I've attached you can see a small blip of some of her many amazing accomplishments.  Between Lynn and Linda, Buddy and I are getting quite a work out/tune up for this show season. Let's review the highlights:
 - keep him pushing forward into my hands
 - keep his shoulders up for more airtime
 - always check for bend-ability and make sure I have him in my outside rein
 - I tend to lean so in order to right Buddy's sometime leaning canter, lean the opposite direction of the current lead we are on to straighten everything.
 - lots of transitions from canter-walk-counter in order to lift his shoulders and get him prepped for the changes
 - in the half-passes remember that it is a variation of travers and make sure the outside eye is looking at the letter to which we are going for better alignment.
 - outside rein to half-halt in half-pass
 - don't quit before the halt is finished, make sure all four feet around square underneath (we tend to park out in the back or leave one foot behind!)
 - don't be afraid to push for more!

I'm sure I'm forgetting some very key points, but these are the ones that are constantly on my mind while I'm riding. Of course I'm still on my quest for perfect position and after watching videos of my lessons and the show, I still have a long way to go ;) But, it's definitely improving and I'm sure Buddy appreciates that!

Well, the NCAHA All Arabian was the first show of the season for me. Although I ended up missing out on going to the Spring Break Dressage Show in Williamston with the rest of the NSTC team, this ended up being a smart decision because it was 40 min. from home, no hotel fees and it was a much easier start to Third level than an open show would be. Buddy tried his bum off and gave great trot work getting consistent 7-8 scores, the canter was a little braced but balanced. The mediums/extensions were mediocre because I was fretting too much about the changes. Being the over-achiever that I am, I signed up for 4 Third level tests over the weekend without having confirmed changes...Oy Vey! Really?!?! What was I thinking (rather I think that was "wishful thinking!")? Anyways, I literally lucked out in the first test because Boo just kind of fell into both changes. The judge gave us a very generous 66+% which means.....I FINALLY EARNED THAT BLASTED USDF BRONZE MEDAL!!!! WAHOOOOO!!!!!

Our USDF Bronze Medal Ride
(photo credit to Tracy Kelsey)

The second test that day did not pan out as great, Buddy was exhausted and everything ended up being lackluster and the changes were non-existant which resulted in weird counter-canters both directions. We tried again the next morning and got two very late changes but still managed to squeak in a 63%. Not bad at all for Buddy's first time at Third! But due to the fact that our changes are still not 100%, I have decided to forgo the May show and probably the June show for now. This way we can keep working and not worry about trying to qualify for anything.

Ok, fast-forward to tonight...I decided to ride both boys tonight since it was so nice outside. Buddy had a lesson with Linda on Wednesday, the Farrier came Thursday and it rained BUCKETS yesterday, so today was the first ride since our lesson. We worked on maintaining centered work. Lots of transitions and leaning in the proper directions, and wouldn't you know it?! Clean changes can occur when all the right pieces are in the correct place! What a wonderful feeling! Next was DJ. He hasn't been getting a whole lot of attention while I have been taking Buddy all over. I am convinced something is just not right with his saddle because I have much better rides when we are bareback than saddled. So, off I went bareback on a dusk trail ride with my boy. We made it around the property and back to the ring. I decided to try and ride him exactly the way I have been riding Buddy lately and again another lightbulb moment. I had collected canter, half-pass and a clean controlled change with no saddle. I was ecstatic! We played with trot-piaffe transitions and really that was just the icing on the cake. I think he had fun tonight. Well, I know that was quite a bit without much detail but as always I promise to change my bad blogging ways and update more often with better attention to detail. Until next time, happy trails!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Insert Witty Title Here...

I'm not gonna has been excruciating trying to write this blogpost. I am officially suffering from writer's block!!! So far, I have tried three four FIVE times to write something here and either deleted it or just got up and left it. Nothing seemed to stir my creative juices as of late. I could blame it on the weather and life in general but I feel that this is becoming my crutch cop-out. No more! I will write about something with purpose... Ok, blocked again. Damnit. So, in attempt to free myself of "the block" I ask myself, "What does one literary genius (HA!) do when she is suffering from 'the block'?" Duh! Of course she goes online to Barnes and Noble to spend her Christmas gift cards on an insane amount of books! Yippee!

Now, let me back up before I delve into my recent purchases. I am currently reading The Seven Deadly Sins of Dressage by Douglas Puterbaugh & Lance Wills as well as Janet Foy's Dressage for the Not-So-Perfect Horse. Both of which are great learning tools on how to handle dressage emotionally, mentally and physically. One of my new purchases though is an easy read and really I was half-way done with it an hour after I took it from the B&N box. But it is now becoming dear to my heart! It is Jenna Smith's Dressage: Eight Secrets to FEI by an Adult Amateur Who Did It! She is very direct and too the point about the steps someone like me needs to really focus on to obtain the coveted FEI rider status. Mmm, I love learning :)

The rest of my book purchases were not as equine enthusiastic...2 biographies and a 4 book young adult fantasy series (No, it wasn't Twilight or that smutty fan fiction that developed out of that mess!). So out of the books and into the saddle...

My riding has been so sporadic lately between rain, snow, bad footing and a few other natural disasters that I know I'm forgetting. I do try on the in-betweens to be somewhat productive. DJ and I have taken yet another direction with his semi-retirement, wait for it...Freestyles!! Now, unfortunately his 19 yr. old Arabian body is having a very difficult time maintaining Third level work so, I have dropped him back to the bottom and we are going to attempt the new Training Level Freestyles in order to get our feet wet. Buddy is still working diligently on his Third level work but again the bad footing isn't necessarily the best for trying to teach him flying changes. But I do have a small remedy for that. Many lessons are scheduled in the next three (yes, I said THREE!) weeks, two at NSTC and two with my mystery teacher (who shall be named within the next two blog posts).  So, life is getting exciting again (I hope!).

On a different note....Even though we are barely into 2013, I have decided on a major equine related plans for 2014 that I am very excited about but do not want to jinx myself so, unfortunately I will not be able to talk about it for quite sometime :( But until that fateful day when I do decide to share my exciting plans with you internet readers, you can sit and try and guess! (Author's Note: Please don't hold your breathe in hopes that I will break my silence early because I won't and I really do not want to be responsible for any untimely deaths ;). In reality though, you probably have better things to do with your time and will find out when I post it. At that time, You will probably say to yourself, "I vaguely remember her mentioning that a long time ago" or "Really, she had us waiting for that?!?" Either way, I am still excited and can't wait to share the news :)

I understand this post was a bit all over the place. You probably have already written it off that I was drunk, which I'm not, although I may be suffering from severe fatigue since I did decide to try a new workout place today which resulted in me being in bed by 8:30! Oops :) Well, hopefully next time there will be a more coherent blogpost. Happy trails until next time everyone!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

She's Alive!!!

That's right internet peeps, I'm alive! Although I planned a blog post the day after the last one I posted, I came down with that dreaded flu plaque that everyone and their brother was getting. It kicked my butt!!! I didn't go to work or the barn so getting on the computer to write about my New Year's resolutions and pony escapades was entirely out of the question. But now I'm back and I've got some catching up to do ;)

I'm going to make this quick and pretty straight forward since I've got cooler stuff to get to...

1. FOR GOD'S SAKE, I am getting that blasted USDF Bronze Medal this year if it kills me!
2. Qualify for Arabian Sport Horse Nationals in Sport Horse Show Hack, Third Level (Open and ATR) and MAYBE Fourth (only ATR)
3. Qualify for BLM Championships at Third Level
4. Qualify for GAIG Championships at Third Level
5. Attend at least one clinic (ridden or audit)
6. Work out at least twice a week (and no this does not include riding!)
7. Travel someplace besides VA and NC
8. Read 24 books (Audio books and Graphic Novels do count :P)
**This next one is not really a resolution but an attempt at bettering my daily life...always be thankful in the morning when I wake up for the life I live. It's really a pretty great one ;)

I love clinics, lessons and really any opportunity I can get that will help further my knowledge and love of dressage. So, when the occasion arises that there is a chance to take a lesson with a dressage great, one does not simply say "Sorry, I can't," or "Oh my, isn't that a bit expensive?" No, you do not think about price, distance or weather, you load up your spicy black horse who has not been ridden in a week and ask what time the lesson starts! Now, I can't tell you who the person is yet. And in all honesty, you may not really even be that impressed when I do tell you who it is, but that's okay. I have been DYING to take a lesson with this person and I finally got the chance! Luckily, the weather was great and Buddy was a star. His mother, on the other hand, is  apparently a mess in the saddle!

Apparently, my horse looks like two different horses in the front and back end when we begin our workouts. I have been told that Buddy can have a lazy or "weird" backend. It does not match the activity of his front end thus making him look occasionally uneven. Thus, my lesson was spent fixing a problem that no one had bothered to teach me to fix. So, with lots of moving the haunches away from my inside leg (to activate the inside hind), leg-yielding away from my outside leg (to lift the inside shoulder), and pushing forward into both of my hands, I was able to achieve actual throughness without having World War III with his face. His back was up and he was pushing underneath him and not behind him. How cool! I've only had him for 7 years and am now just feeling this?!?! Man, we are behind the curve! While I was learning this newfound concept, it was also brought to my attention that my shoulders are uneven (right is higher than the left) and my left hand is constantly trying to be the center of attention. Ugh! Like I didn't have enough to work on already! But I have my homework and another lesson scheduled for March when my mystery clinician returns to NC. Until then, it will just have to be a little secret :)

I have a regular lesson scheduled with Lynn when she comes back for her annual "clinics" while she is wintering in FL. I missed the last one due to scheduling with my new job and then the flu plague was still hanging around. So, fingers crossed no sickness or health problems in general for me or the black horse and hopefully the next blog post will happen on schedule! Until then, Happy Trails!

Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in a nutshell

Since I started this blog a couple of years ago, I usually make a blog post on the last few days of December to recap what the year has brought me and see how I did on my year end resolutions. Let's start with the 2012 recap. Well, I have to say that one of the biggest things accomplished this year was that we all survived the apocalypse! I know everyone was worried about that one but now we can all breathe a little bit easier (take that Mayans!! lol). In all seriousness, my riding got better even though it seemed harder this year. There were no super impressive scores but lots of hard work in solidifying our second level work. Our high was definitely the GAIGs with our best second level to date. We had some rough moments with Buddy jumping the fence and DJ's mysterious mouth sores (still working on my theory for this one, expect a blog post soon!). But at this very moment, I'm happy with where the boys are in their work. We are ready to take on new challenges next year and ready for our first lessons since before the BLMs in 2 weeks.

Ok, it's time to see how I faired on my 2012 goals:

2012 Goals:

  • Finish that darn USDF Bronze Medal!!! 
    • Well, I almost had it and I only need 1 more score! I'm not so sure DJ will be the one to finish it but at least he was the one who got me most of it :)
  • Qualify for GAIG's & BLM's at Second and Third Level
    • I did half of this one and I am REALLY glad I did not pursue the other half. In the summer I tried to make the transition to 3rd level with the addition of flying changes...long story short, bad idea! Bud was so confused with what I wanted it started effecting everything about our rides. So, we went back to really perfecting 2nd level and it ended up being the right decision for us at the time.
  • Get into better physical condition - last year I set a goal for lbs. lost and I accomplished that but this year I want muscle along with it...that means, ugh, working out :(
    • Hahaha! Silly me! I knew this one would be difficult for me personally since I'm not the biggest fan of working out. I recently bought a living social deal for a new Pure Barre studio that opened near my job and it expires in February. Maybe now I will actually try this time around.
  • Get to at least one clinic this year (audit or riding)
    • GOAL ACHIEVED! I had the great opportunity to go audit a clinic with JJ Tate. One day I will work with her on a horse. She is FANTASTIC. I went both days and learned so much it was ridiculous :)
  • Read 20 books with at least 1 being a book to help my passion for the sport
    • GOAL ACHIEVED! See the list below:
  1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor
  2. Daytripper - Fabio Moon & Gabriel Ba (Graphic Novel)
  3. Dressage Masters: Techniques and Philosophies of Four Legendary Trainers - David Collins
  4. Brisingr: The Inheritance Cycle Book 3 - Chistopher Paolini (Audiobook)
  5. Septimus Heap Book 1: Magyk - Angie Sage (Audiobook)
  6. Septimus Heap Book 2: Flyte - Angie Sage (Audiobook)
  7. Septimus Heap Book 3: Physic - Angie Sage (Audiobook)
  8. Septimus Heap Book 4: Queste - Angie Sage (Audiobook)
  9. Septimus Heap Book 5: Syren - Angie Sage (Audiobook)
  10. Septimus Heap Book 6: Darke - Angie Sage (Audiobook)
  11. A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness
  12. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahame-Smtih (Audiobook)
  13. Anya’s Ghost - Vera Brosgol (Graphic Novel)
  14. The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack - Mark Hodder (Audiobook)
  15. At the Mountains of Madness: A Graphic Novel - H. P. Lovecraft & I.N.J Culbard   (Graphic Novel)  
  16. Inheritance: The Inheritance Cycle Book 4 - Christopher Paolini (Audiobook)
  17. Pirate Latitudes - Michael Crichton
  18. The Maze Runner - James Dashner (Audiobook)
  19. Locke & Key Book 5: Clockworks - Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez (Graphic Novel)
  20. The Scorch Trials  - James Dashner (Audiobook)
  21. The Death Cure - James Dashner (Audiobook)
  22. Tiger’s Destiny - Colleen Houck
  23. The Kill Order - James Dashner (Audiobook)
  24. The Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater (Audiobook)
  25. Divergent - Veronica Roth (Audiobook)
  26. Insurgent - Veronica Roth (Audiobook)
Ok, really I only read 9 and the rest were audiobooks but that's ok because my requirement was still met including my dressage read. I provided a link to that book since it was a fantastic read and will definitely be revisiting it for inspiration. 

I will post my goals/resolutions tomorrow. Until then, Hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Onward and Upward

The 2012 show season is over. Two of the three championships we attended I can count as successes! The first one I wrote about in my last post Quiet Laughter...that was clearly not one of the successes. Next we were onto the CBLM Championships held in Lexington, VA. Any fall show at the Virginia Horse Center is going to be one of my favorites. I grew up showing at this facility but there's something about it in the fall that makes it perfect. The leaves are beautiful in their wide array of fall hues, there is a crispness in the air and I get the chance to eat at all my favorite local digs! But I digress, back to the show...besides the terrifying drive over the mountains, everything went seamlessly. Buddy was positively lovely to ride. He was soft, adjustable ad forward in all of our schooling both inside and out. He  went into his practice class and had a BEAUTIFUL ride with only a small spook earning a 2nd place in a large class. This pumped me up for our Championship the next day. My ride was in the very middle of the class so we were lucky the pea soup fog had finally subsided by my ride time. We went in with the same mentality of keeping it quiet and forward. The test was going  SO WELL that I took at moment to sit back and back in the glory of it...and then we broke out of the canter! Ugh! No biggie, I can fix it on the other side...and it happened again!!! Really?!?! So I opted for trying to make up for some lost points by driving the last medium trot home. The score wasn't awful but it knocked us out of the placings for a respectable 12th place of 27 riders. Not bad but not the best. Performance wise, I was super pleased after having quite a few difficult rides this season with Bud. We had a blast with our friends from Beech Creek Farm and overall the show was awesome!

Two weeks later we made the trip down to the last show in Williamston, for the GAIG/USDF Region 1 Championships. This particular show made me a little more anxious than the others because of the test. Second 3 has been giving me problems all season. I haven't felt confident with our balance in the canter  let alone the counter-canter teardrops, but we were going to try our hardest anyways. The week leading up to and into the show was a tough one for us anyways. The weather was very rainy (preventing any riding), Buddy sprang the corner of ones of his shoes the day after the farrier came (Friday). I  knew my farrier was unavailable so I called another who told me he was too busy, I called a 2nd farrier who was unfortunately out of town. So, Monday came and my farrier was able to put the shoe back on. I rode Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday it went to hell in a hand-basket at work so no riding and Thursday we left for the show. I get everything settled with Boo in the barn (we were stabled with all of our friends from NSTC and Beech Creek was right down the aisle) and go to check in. I had left my Coggins at home on the printer. Commence full freakout mode! I called my vet's office but they were closed for the day. I ended up calling the Emergency number and luckily the vet on call was headed back to the office and would fax me a copy. 1 hour passes and no fax. I call the vet back and she says she's been trying to fax it but there is a busy signal (i.e. the show's fax machine is busted). UGH!!! The vet says she will attempt to email it. Another hour and the email finally comes through, EUREKA! We get our numbers and fly back to the barn. By this time it is 6:30 and the rings close at 8 for riding. Our championship ride was going to be in the Coliseum (which is not one of Buddy's favorite places to ride) so the first night, the next night and the following morning either included a ride or hand walk in this fear inspiring building. I get him all tacked up for the first warm-up ride in the Coliseum and boom, left front shoe is missing. Cue the tears. I try to collect myself and find the show farrier, wouldn't you know, he has left for the evening. I call and plead for him to put this shoe on and l  he begrudgingly agrees and will be there in 5 min. I run back to the barn to get my horse and go to bring him out of the stall where I proceed to break his etched wood show plaque. UGH AGAIN!!! The day was just not a good one! I get the shoe on and run to the Coliseum for a 7:15 ride. It was full of spookiness and tension but I decided to call it quits on a decent note since I was pretty sure I was the problem and not him. We started the next day anew and it all went up from there. We had a super ride for our practice test and ended up 2nd in a large Dover Medal Class behind a friend of mine. We went to dinner with friends from the barn then came back for a hand walk around the Coliseum. The next day was the big one...and I was the first ride of the championship class. I went in and rode my tail off. I came out of the ring in tears and my mom asked what I thought of the ride. My response was, "That was the ride I was waiting for all season!". I wasn't sure if the judges would agree but at that point I didn't care. To make my very long story a little shorter...I sat in first place with a 66% for the next 12 rides. The last three bumped me down but by only tenths of a %! We got to victory lap with the other placers and I wore a stupidly big grin the entire time! It was a perfect ending to a rather frustrating season.

Now, the boys and I are enjoying a little down time with lots of fun strength building rides including gallops through the back pastures, flying change schooling and cavaletti pole work. Buddy's changes are coming along quicker that I expected and DJ is just working on not being so strong in the mouth. I think we are going to have a real winter this year meaning actual snowfall. It may put a little dent in our ring work but who doesn't like a good gallop through the snow?!? Until next time!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Quiet Laughter...

Wow, again I have neglected my blog in favor of riding, reading, fall TV and just plain laziness. Epic Fail! But enough about my lack of enthusiasm, let's get to blogging! I saw we start off with DJ since he usually ends up in the backseat due to all of Buddy's show adventures.

The end of July was my first show with DJ since 2009. Nervous was not enough of a an adjective to describe how I felt about bringing him back to the show world. I knew he wouldn't be bad or crazy, I feared he wouldn't be accepted. We had had many years doing (what I now can see was mediocre) 2nd level resulting with less that encouraging marks from the judges at open shows. Along with the remarks came bitterness, discouragement and confusion. I felt myself constantly asking "Why didn't they like my horse?" "He did all the moves and he wasn't crazy, why I am scoring in the low 50's?" "Do they not like him because of his breed?" (yes, in fact that was a problem with one judge but that's a story for another time!). All of these thoughts would run through my mind and unfortunately at the time my education could not help me rectify the situation. Since moving down here, my riding has changed drastically and even though DJ is not my usual lesson mount he gets to partake in my riding reinvention through the homework I obtain. He has become more balanced and confident and even though he turned 18 in May, he has also become more athletic. Because of this, it was time to dip out proverbial toe back into the waters of competition. Luckily, the show I picked was only half an hour away so that meant showing out of the trailer, thank goodness! Our first day was a good learning experience. The test was tight and very quick, the changes were not really clean and VERY braced which resulted in a 56%. Understandable, it was his first time back and I put a bit too much pressure on myself thinking that this might not be the best idea I've had. After getting my test back and reading, rereading and re-rereading the comments as well as multiple views of the video, I knew what I had to do the next day for better scores. I came back Sunday was a fresh view and a new game plan. I fixed what needed fixing in the warm-up, practiced a couple of changes and went in to try again. The test was much smoother but the changes were still bleh although they were clean this time! Our homework paid off and we were given a 61%!!! DJ gave me my second to last score needed for my Bronze medal. I couldn't have been more proud. Again, I read, reread, and re-reread my tests then made a plan to take DJ out again before the season was over (I'll elaborate on that trip a little but later).

August was Buddy's month.  I had taken him to see Dr. Bob Grisel from Atlanta Equine for a second opinion and follow up after his little "incident" when he jump the fence. Just want to let you all know that Dr. Grisel is AWESOME and so are his staff. They extremely knowledgeable, patient, and pleasant to work with. Dr. Grisel travels a lot so if he comes to a city near you, go meet him and have your horse checked to make sure everything is running properly, you won't regret it!!! Back to my story...We were given the go ahead to go back to work, so that is exactly what we did. Championship time was looming ever closer and the first one would be cutting it a little close but I figured we'd try anyways since we qualified. I signed up for the NCDCTA Championships and we rode our butts off before the show. I asked Lynn to have a lesson on the Friday before the classes started. She hadn't seen him since the June show and before his injury. Honestly, it was probably one of the best lessons we have ever had! He was so spot on I had great hope for the weekend...(now comes the reason for the blog title) Have you ever heard the saying, we make plans and God laughs? That basically summed up my weekend. Saturday and Sunday came around and my wonderful, talented, and willing horse went back to being my crabby, unwilling, UBER tense mule in the show ring. The scores were in the low sixties and nowhere near the quality of work he had been putting in the weeks before. I'm not sure if he was exhausted or just having a bad weekend but boy, was it discouraging. We went from the previous day of being so awesome to going down the centerline trying to mimic the body posture of a giraffe gazing at the heavens. As Charlie Brown so appropriately put it "UGGGGHHH!!!" We ended up fourth for the Championships but my pride took a pretty good beating. I eventually snapped out of it and now am working towards Championship #2, the CBLMs.

Finally, we arrive at last weekend. Remember I said I was going to sneak in one last show with DJ? Well, I decided to take him to down to Pinehurst for that last attempt of finishing my Bronze. The week before I had his teeth floated and feet done so all would be set for the show. During his floating, my vet noticed some sores on the inside of his mouth that we initially thought were caused by calcification that was lingering on his bit. I thoroughly cleaned the bit (Now, don't think badly of me. I clean my bit after every ride but what I thought was hurting his mouth is the white/yellow stuff that sticks to the bit like glue after a while), started applying GlyOxide to heal the sores and bought my new favorite product in the whole wide world Bit Butter! It worked like a charm! The sores were healing quickly and my pony was softer in the bridle and worked his tail off at home for me. I felt great going to the show. We arrived on Friday with time to sneak in a quick ride. I wanted to make sure both of our jitters were gone so they would not hinder us come show day. He rode around like a champ and gave me quiet beautiful changes. This was going to be a great weekend...wait, do you hear that?? Yea, that would be God laughing again. Saturday was an utter catastrophe. We didn't ride until 3:27 so I had the whole day to sit around and think, not such a good thing. I took DJ for hand walks and made sure he was clean and happy. Somehow, I didn't plan correctly with all that extra time and only gave myself about 28 minutes of warm-up. Warm-up was tight, tense, heavy and overall unpleasant. I couldn't figure out what the problem was until about 8 minutes before my time. I had forgotten his Bit Butter. I tried to convince myself that it couldn't make that much of a difference. Boy, was I wrong! To sum up that test, I had people stopping to watch the rodeo that had my test had morphed into. There was excessive running (head up in air style), plank straight laterals and emergency braking. It was a red hot train wreck!!! I got back to the barn and untacked trying to think of why that was such a colossal failure, then I checked his mouth. The wounds were back and twice the size they were previously! I felt AWFUL!!! I spoke with some of my friends and show neighbors about the problem and the general consensus was that my bit was old enough that the outer layer had worn away and the under layer of a different type of metal was causing a very bad reaction to the inside of his mouth. I checked the trailer for other bit options but was left with ones that were too large or illegal for licensed dressage. I even went to the tack store on site to try and purchase another but alas, they didn't have any either. My plan changed to trying warm-up the next morning with an excessive amount of Bit Butter and see what he did. If it was bad we would scratch. He was much happier with some added lubrication so we attempted the test again. The changes were still a disaster but the rest of the flowed much better bring our 5s up to 6.5s and a couple of 7s. We ended with a 56 % and really positive comments from the judges. His old bit is in the trash so it cannot cause anymore harm and the quest for a new bit has begun. DJ's show season is over but we will spend the winter working extremely hard on 3rd level to get that last score in the Spring. Buddy and I will be off on the 17th to our beautiful home away from home, Lexington, Virginia, home of the Virginia Horse Center. Hopefully, this outing will be a bit more successful that our last. But, we will not be making any definite plans for what will happen at the show and I will keep my ears open for that ever so quiet laughter from above.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Summer, Why Must You Hate Us?!?!?

It's no new story that most of the United States has been continuously blasted with unbearable heat waves that could easily rival that of Saudi Arabia. In order to get anything done under saddle without melting or causing heat stroke, it is necessary to be on your horse at an ungodly hour every morning. Well, that's been my routine for the past few weeks or so. Up at 4:30 and on my first horse by 6:00. UGH! Now I'm exhausted all the time but at least I'm keeping up the routine. My next show isn't for another three weeks but I'm still trying to work as hard as I can. This will be DJ's first show since moving to North Carolina. I'm excited yet extremely nervous. His Third level work is much more solid then when we left Virginia but I'm still a little leery on his "exuberant" flying changes. We went to a lesson yesterday and he was amazing (even though the two of us were sweating buckets!).  I am thinking more positively about our classes and hopefully *fingers crossed* the Bronze medal is within reach!

The other two boys have not had a great summer. Khakie, the "gaited dressage wonder", has had a relapse of his laminitis and will probably be unridable once we get him out of the woods. It has been very difficult for everyone involved and very emotional but we are still doing everything we can to make sure he is comfortable and that his quality of life has not depreciated in any way. I'll keep this updated for milestones in his journey to recovery.

Then there is Buddy...Buddy, Buddy, Buddy....dear goodness, this horse is going to be the death of me! It all started with a phone call at work. He had jumped the fence on his paddock because a neighbor on his ATV scared the snot out of him. No, he did not clear the gate.

Luckily, the vet was going to be there within minutes and would look at him when she got there. About a half hour later, I got a call from the vet to discuss his current status. He was really scraped up and swollen but on the whole everything looked to be superficial. He scraped up both stifles and had a nice flesh wound on his right front tendon.

Two weeks after, the wounds were all healing very nicely...

but the swelling on the front leg was not going away. While he was wrapped, there was no swelling and we were about 98% sound. No wrap = tree trunk swelling and 100% lame. That worried the heck out of me! After much coaxing and prodding, I got the vet to take some X-rays (no, she really thought he was just being a sissy!) and wouldn't you know it, he has a stress fracture on his Splint bone!! Good grief! I was told that this will heal itself but all the riding she had me doing before the X-rays, to keep the swelling down, had not been such a good thing after all. So, we are restricted to walking under saddle and we are going to get a second opinion next month since I have lost faith in this particular vet. He is going to get another set of X-rays in about 30 days to see his progress and make sure nothing is hurting his suspensory ligaments. Sigh.... That is where everyone stands at the moment. Hopefully, the next entry will be a little bit more upbeat with positive reports for all three horses! Until next time!