Saturday, January 7, 2012

Our first Completed Training HT: No more vowels!!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

So anyways.... here's the gory details :) Sorry, but it's gonna be long!!! Oh, here's the link to the pics! BN9qD
Fleck is such a goober!!! The faux corner.... number 30... Fleck decided to drift left...over the widest part of the fake corner as well as having to jump the flowers... but hey, I guess we never said he wasn't that scopey!

Okay, so this was our first training back. Last spring we had tried two trainings. The first one was at the Ark and it was just not a good move. I should have moved down to Novice cause it was a crazy big scary training. But it should have been doable. However, even some of the BN jumps looked pretty freakin' impressive. However, he felt great, we went... to get like 5 refusals.. it was like jump, refuse, jump, refuse, jump, jump, refuse, jump, refuse, etc. So boo..... blame it on being overfaced for the first rec. training. 2nd time was at Full gallop and SHOULD have been fine, but... I couldn't get him into the water. It wasn't a "water issue" really...The next day we schooled their other water and he went right in. This water was just toooooo busy. Fleck just couldn't figure it out. Once I finally got him in and walked the line, he went right back and jumped in and out like it was nothing. It was just too much stuff in the way and too distracting and Fleck couldn't figure it out. But... we got eliminated trying to get him in. So then we took the year off and trained hard, and then had all the health issues at the end of the year and beginning of this year. So then we were all set to go and had to scratch two shows cause of the stone bruise and cause of a lack of a jump saddle. So FINALLY we got a chance to go and we didn't have to scratch. Well... we ALMOST did!!! I thought I might be cursed. So yes... I'm psyched we actually arrived at Chatt Hills with no mishaps :) So we got there Friday cause even though it was a Fri, Sat, and Sun show... the non-championships only ran Sat and Sun. It is such a lovely place but HUGE!!! My barn was almost the farthest barn, but not quite. It was quite a hike to the concession stand, the vendors, and then even farther to stadium, dressage, and then even farther to XC. I swear I must have lost about 8 pounds this weekend!! But it is just a gorgeous place! So anyways, we hacked on Friday. Oh, and my new jump saddle had arrived!!!! I actually picked it up at the show cause the saddle fitter couldn't get it to me before then. So....being that it should have fit Fleck perfectly... I put it on on Friday and rode in it, thinking I could get an idea if I should jump in it or jump in the one I was borrowing from the saddle fitter. It was so freakin' hot that I didn't ride long, but Fleck was AWESOME!!!! Seriously felt lovely!!! So whoo hooo. I loved the saddle and it was sooooo soft I really didn't even oil it. So yay! So then it started to storm. Luckily AFTER my ride!! And man did it POUR!!!! So Fleck was settled in for the night. Saturday morning was dressage day! I had a 8:48 am ride, and of COURSE....Fleck had laid down overnight. I just couldn't bring myself to sheet him cause it was sooooo hot and muggy, even with the storm. So.... he got a bath and then I braided quickly. They actually didn't turn out too horrible. Then I tacked up and we had enough time left to get in a good warm up. Oh... the footing was pretty soggy, so I put in grass studs for dressage even! So... we went in and did our test. It felt GREAT!!!! He stayed soft and supple, and maybe wasn't super flashy, but felt pretty obediant and good. Then we cantered.... um, not so much anymore!!! He decided to "porpoise" through one canter. Think of a porpoise riding the waves... not quite a buck, and not quite a rear, but.... bouncing through the canter. And I think he kicked out once. Yeah, we got a 4. The second canter was better, but not by much, though we did manage a 6. Then I forgot the walk by like 3 strides. Crap!! So a 2 point error. But overall, not horrible. Ended with a 38.5 which was better than I expected. :) Yay! So that put us in 7th out of 12th. Not too shabby! And I think I even got an 8 on something... oh, our stretchy trot :) YAy! So then I put him back in his stall after rubbing him down and then it started to drizzle/rain again. I had to walk stadium and that took forever! Then I had to get ready and with the rain, I didn't think to walk Fleck before. So then I get him ready for stadium and put in giant honkin studs. Seriously... big ol' honking studs!!! Because...the footing was HORRIBLE!!!! ! Seriously really wet and nasty. I watched a few rides and basically if you studded up and rode big, it was fine. If you tried to compact or settle or get really deep.. the horses slid and/or refused. Plenty of people had eliminations and just about everyone had rails. And apparently Chatt Hills stadium almost always gets people. No one can quite figure out why but there are always so many rails down. So...anyways, I get Fleck and start tacking up. I lightly tossed his saddle pad on his back and he about hit the floor!!!! With just the weight of the pad!!! So then I tried to touch his back and he hit the floor everytime!! I was mortified. Here he was doing GREAT!!! His back was not even the slightest bit tender and now this. All I could think was "oh new saddle!!!! That I've already ridden in too!!!!". So I panicked and called my friend and she told me to tack up and hack over and she'd look at him. And I was running a bit late so I couldn't even find Dr. Kim! And of course I thought about putting the borrowed saddle back on but it was raining and I had already pulled off the stirrups and the d-ring savers....So. ..I tacked up and hand walked him down. Then hopped on and started to trot. You could tell he was ouchy cause everytime I sat on him, he'd bolt or buck or get mad. So then my friend looked at him and told me to just give him a gallop. So I did and that seemed to help. So then I jumped..... meanwhile, crying inside! I felt like a horrible Mom for even being on his back, much less still somewhat considering jumping. But... we jumped. And he jumped great. He was looking at them, going after them, and as long as I didn't touch his back and stayed in two point, he was gung ho. A few friends came by and said he looked great and like he was having a blast. I even told a few his back was hurting and they replied with "You sure can't tell"! So I finally decided well hellsbells.. . he certainly isn't thrilled but he hasn't really told me he doesn't want to do it. So....I figured I'd head in and give it a shot and if it was bad or he told me he wasn't happy, I'd quit. game plan was stay in two point the ENTIRE ride and hope for the best. And holycrap!!! It was an awesome ride. He was FANTASTIC!!! He cleared all of it!! There was only one rub but it stayed in place! Even the triple, which I love!!!, was awesome. He was sooooo freakin' good. So we were one of a handful that went clean. 2 points worth of time, but I'll take it. So...then I immediately got off and untacked and he seemed okay. His back was a bit sore but nothing compared to what it was when I was tacking up. So... I thought maybe he was having a spasm or was tight from being in the whole day and night. So I took him over to my horsey vet who felt him and said it wasn't bad at all and what she considered "normal". So....???? I gave him some bute (legal time frame and amount) and icy hotted his back and made sure to do plenty of walks that day. Then we watched some more rides and walked XC and fed and walked again. All during RAIN!!!! The barns were getting sooooo nasty around them and people were getting stuck in the mud. It was awful! So.... we finally got back to the hotel and showered off layers and layers of caked mud :)

Sunday am I got up and walked Fleck and his back was still fine. Not perfect, but how it's almost always been until recently. So I figured, well... as long as he's game, I'll finish. So I walked and walked him and then got tacked up again. Put in the big honkin studs again as it had rained again most of the night. The footing was not too horrible XC but still pretty bad. So then I warmed up and was coached by Lellie. She was great and had me amped and ready to go. So off we went! In the drizzle again! (hey, at least it was only drizzle for me!) The course looked awesomely fun, but there was a few I was worried about. The first two jumps I jumped ahead cause Fleck took the short spot and sorta "stuck"! I think he was feeling out the footing. They were just simple jumps. Then the third jump was a combo that you could take on a straight line if you jumped them angled. But they were set up to be jumped beautifully angled and Fleck soared through them. Then I let him run a little to get to the next jump, which was the trakenher. Shouldn't have been a problem at all but I didn't quite get him backed up and off his forehand enough so we had a stop. Doh!!! Stupid stupid stupid me. Of course we circled and he jumped it just beautifully. Then on we went to the kennel, which he jumped awesome!! (aside from the closed eyes on me, it's my fave pic). Then back across the road and up the hill to the giant stone wall and down the hill. His back must not have been bothering him really cause he didn't even go bucking down the hill like he had when we schooled. So then we had to trot to get our lead, and cantered over the roll top and then over the bern and headed to the drop into the water. SCREECH!!! to a halt we came!! Water?!?! WTF?!? So we danced a few steps and then he jumped down. Fleck's not a great big fan of water and of drops but... I just didn't tell him it was coming and set him up. Maybe I was afraid to sit too much on his back, maybe I was just carried away with the thrill of XC, I don't know. But in he went and after that it was smooth sailing. We jumped the next table and two hogsbacks well, and then he jumped the bendy line cabins just fine. Then came the coffin which was a worry area for me. Ditches are my nemesis and I tend to not stay with Fleck. This was a bendy line, almost like an S line, through the coffin with a fairly narrow backside to it. So... instead of riding it bendy, I almost rode in straight with the slight angled jumps and it worked out beautifully for us! Fleck was a ROCKSTAR over it :) YAy!!! Then we flew over the coop and headed to the skinny bounce which was great, then on to the faux corner.... Ha!!! We jumped the right side, but Fleck drifted just a bit left so we ended up jumping the widest part, and then he had to jump the flower basket too. I sorta felt him start to put his feet down and be like "oh shoot!". Then the second to last jump was a palisade with a tree in the center, so you had to pick a side. And it was fairly narrow, but not a true skinny, so I was worried. Fleck didn't care one bit and we soared over it and then flew over the last jump!! We had some time faults but not too bad considering the two refusals. So... that unfortunately dropped us to 9th out of 12, but hey, we finished!!! No more E's, which was ultimately the goal, though a clear cross country would have been better! But I really think the issues were mine and felt bad that I let Fleck down, so now I know how to fix it. Just have to see if I can remember to fix it :) So whooo hooooo!!! Then we had to get towed out onto the road cause the mud was so bad. And today was spent demudding everything and trying to dry everything out. Fleck gets today and tomorrow off cause I have to work and then we'll get back to it. I'm going to get the saddle fitter back out and see about the saddle and we'll go from there. The only pics I have so far are of his braids and the one scary jump!!! Seriously... tell me honestly about the braids. I'm tempted to mohawk him again, but figured that maybe, just maybe, I should keep the braids for the T3D jogs and stuff. Thanks for listening and being such great moral support!!! I'm already planning for the next event and figuring out how I can be a better rider on XC and make it happen :)

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