Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bad Places....But a good Day

So... today Fleck and I went to Pine Top to school cross country. They had their show last weekend so the fences were still set for the most part :) It was a blast!

  • Support him with my body and keeping a connection
  • Drive and Hold: meaning I need to keep my leg on and also half-halt at the same time so that the effect is to push him up into the bridle
  • Don't sit so much.. get up in two point and GALLOP on... no wimpy gallops!
  • Consider trotting up banks to roll tops over ditches
  • speed is great.. but the balance has to be there
  • think ahead.. plan for the turns, etc as I'm in the air, not upon landing
So we started in the warm up area and worked on getting our GRRRR. I needed that forward bouncy canter and I needed to support him. We got rolling and headed into the second field with the bank complex. Fleck jumped the second and third prelim fence amazingly well, but we had issues at the bank again. Sigh... We jumped the novice and training fine, but stopped at the prelim roll top. Repeatedly. It was like he shut down. He came up to it, and slammed on the breaks. Repeatedly. No matter what we tried... up bank to the roll top, going the other way doing the uphill to the roll top, bouncy collected canter to give him more time to see it and read it, cropping him at the base and then softening my hands, even following close on Phinn's heels. Nothing seemed to work. I was getting frustrated because he wasn't even trying. He went to "his bad place" and just shut down... So... we decided to move on and come back to it. Then I thought...why don't I try trotting it? I asked Beth and she said she was going to suggest it but thought I might turn green at the request. Ha ha... I told her at this point I was just so mad... I would trot it, no problem. Well.. the first time up he stopped but he almost went and I didn't quite have enough trot. The second time... he pricked his ears, and over he went. Are you kidding me?!?! I don't know if he just needed more time to read it, or couldn't read it unless he was trotting or couldn't manage to get his feet right unless he was trotting. He would come up at the canter, then shut down one to two strides out and just.... wouldn't try. So.... I don't know. We did it three times or so and he was happy as a clam to trot it. But... even when he picked up the canter, he stepped back down to the trot one stride out. Maybe he didn't trust his landing?!?! We then circled and trotted the up bank and over the roll top he went. Sigh... goofy boy. But.. it was an important lesson. When Fleck shuts down... come up with a new plan. Which... we did... we tried multiple different things and then were going to come back to it, so.. go us. And I suppose I'll be trotting similar questions for a bit.

So then we moved on and jumped some fun stuff. We did the double hanging logs, with those giant trash cans on them ;).We then moved into the big field and jumped a skinny coop on the downhill, bendy line to a novice bench. But it was a tough line. Fleck and I did it the first time but it wasn't super smooth, so we tried again and smoothed it out. Then we did the prelim combo down the hill. It was a offset coop/roll top thing (Skinny and upright). Then two or three strides to a corner. Fleck actually nailed it beautifully the first time. Then Beth had us do it backwards and I wasn't quite as supportive so he wasn't as bold into the corner and did it in three, but it was still nice. We fixed it the next time. Then we moved on and did the hay truck. :) Then onto the next field. Beth had us do the "Irish bank" thingy... which isn't an Irish bank, but I don't know what it's called. It's the up bank, bounce to the log stack with the drop. Super fun actually... kinda like a roller coaster. The first time I wasn't as forward and Fleck rolled his shoulder a little.. It was a little scary... I looked over his shoulder and didn't see legs... "Put your landing gear down Fleck!!! Quick"! But he was fine and did. The second time we nailed it :) (Sensing a trend here... sigh, but at least we're getting better at getting it quicker and the first time on some things of the day).
We then went to the coffin. Guess the trend is offset lines... We did that decently and then went across the pond to the next field. Did pretty well over the drop fence, down into and out of the bowl and up over another skinny then over another hay cart thing... also with trash cans.
Then to the back water. We did it piecemeal and then put it together. Back to the trashcan car, GALLOP to the big huge table and fly that, then collect and sit, jump the alligator, drop into the water, then jump out and over the chevron offset. It was fun but we really nailed it the second time. Then back to the other water. We did the training line great, then did the training trakenher, then did the prelim line pretty dang well, then... duh dud duhhhhhh..... to the ditch and wall. I almost told Beth I didn't want to do it. I was almost feeling okay about it since he was doing pretty well and I was feeling pretty brave in general, but as soon as she said that, my heart sank and I got nauseous. I went to it saying "Come on Flecky.. let's do it on the first try so we don't have to do it again!" But yeah.. not so much. Of course we stopped. We came at it again.. and again... and I don't remember how quickly, though I think within the first 3 or 4 times we got over it. Not pretty and not fun, but we got over it. Then we came again and stopped again... and again... And then Beth suggested we "cheat". She said that you don't want to do this all the time, but... to lift his head. That means he won't peek at the ditch and by default, I think it helped me keep my upper body up. So we tried that and it worked... only I threw myself over first and bless Flecks soul... he threw himself over to catch me. But knocked his front legs a tiny bit. So... we tried again... and stopped again. And again. So then I told Beth.. I was scared.. I didn't like that jump..... And she said that I needed to get in the back seat and keep kicking. So I tried another few times and Fleck though about going, but each time.. I just couldn't make myself sit back and keep kicking. He started to back off and I'd just flop forward. I told Beth that *I* went to my bad place and... I just didn't think it was going to happen again. Unfortunately we couldn't break it down by knocking the top post off... cause if that was the case, I think we would have been okay. So... we'll try to recreate it at home. I felt awful, but.. it just got to the point where I felt it wasn't fair to Fleck. He was willing to go over it if I told him... but I just didn't want to do it and couldn't tell him to do it. So... we'll set one up at home and play around.. then go to Ashland at some point and raise theirs up... and then come back to Pine Top another day.
So... Beth made me go jump both trakenhers again. I was able to ride forward and soft to them. Which... I used to be just as bad at them as at the ditch and wall so I have faith I'll eventually get that darn ditch and wall. But man oh man do I hate them....

Anyways, despite both of us going to our bad places at one point, the rest of the ride was a success and Fleck was pretty darn impressive. He is also pretty darn fit, though we do need to get our gallop back up to speed. Literally :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I finally get to ride again!!! Our last ride was the trail ride on Wed. Then I worked Thursday and Friday. I got home Saturday and should have ridden then, but decided I'd nap first as it was a long night. Well... I woke up and went to get Fleck and he was standing with his back to me. Awww man.... Are you stuck in the fence, buddy/?! Sure enough... I love the fact that when he gets caught... he waits. But I HATE the fact that he finds the need to seek out the last little remaining bit of fencing I haven't replaced to stick his foot through. So, I walk up and poor guy... he's got his right front through and halfway pulled his shoe off with the wire. The other foot is all bloody and fly covered. So, I grab his foot and as I get him untangled, his other leg starts shaking. Poor baby. Luckily all he did was create a tiny scrape on his heel bulb and halfway rip off his shoe and twist it slightly. So.... SUPER glad he wasn't hurt, but a little annoyed that  I can't ride. Argh... it's been a really rough week and I needed a ride to help soothe my heart. Oh well... At least Flecky was fine. But still... I had to work Mon through Thursday morning, then Fri and Sat half day, then Monday... then back to work Wed... And we've got Chatt Hills coming up soon!

And that also meant that I couldn't do my Beth lesson... Grids at WTF. And she said it was the evil grid again, but with a twist!!! Man....... oh well. So anyways, Kip said he'd come out Tuesday am, so Flecky spent the weekend with his foot wrapped. I did manage to pull the bent nails and duct tape his shoe back on, so he wasn't too uncomfy. Kip came Tuesday and fixed him up. Then I swore I would ride Wed am between my shifts since it had been so long, but... Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were long nights... and I was starting to really get exhausted, so I bailed. I had to sleep.

Which brings us to today! FINALLY I get to ride ;) I had a lesson with Beth and it was soooo worth staying up for! We worked on striding today. I forewarned Beth that she would have to tell me things more than the typical excessive amount because I was tired. So... we started with two lines... a four stride set line, but Beth wanted us to do four in one and then five in the other. So we tried... and didn't accomplish it. But then we fixed things and got it.... The trick is ....

Half-halt with my core... and my elbows. NOT by raising my hands... And do it quicker, then release so he can be soft to the jump. It worked :) We're getting it. Yay!!! And I'm so proud of myself.. I don't think Beth ever had to say anything to me about my hands. Yay!!! Though I did feel them creeping once or twice, but hey... I felt that they were creeping up. :) And corrected it.

So.. while I was trying to get the five in, I asked Beth "Do I have to add a stride in to get the five"? ha ha... Peri and Beth just looked at me and burst out laughing. Hee hee... That's not what I meant... Honestly!!!! I meant that I had to ride him a little deeper to the first fence and add the stride in instead of taking a flyer at it. Hee hee... But it made us all laugh.

So anyways... then we did some fun crazy S bending lines and roll backs, etc. Which I sucked at. I used to be the queen of rollbacks... But eventually it dawned on me (with Beth's help) that I needed to start the turn over the fence. Duh... HUGE difference.. our rollback went from a 40 meter circle to a 15 meter circle and the jump was even smoother. Yay!

So fun day... then I came home and slept and... now am going to go sleep some more.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dressage Goodness!

Alright!!!!! Another great dressage lesson!!! Flecky is amazing and Cindy is wonderful!!!!

So... I started off at the walk and Cindy noticed how "busy" I was. I must make him sensitive to my aids... So, when he is putzing around... don't just nag him... ask once.. if he doesn't respond, then pony club kick (or squeeze harder) and then carry on. No nagging!!! Also, I must remember to KEEP MY SEAT MOVING!!! I noticed today that when he starts getting short and slow... I stop moving my seat and brace and... that's not conducive! ;) At least I realized it today. Yay!!! It's slowly sinking in Cindy ;)

 So then we got some great trot work and even did the canter to trot across the diagonal without him bolting like yesterday ;)

Then we went to the canter transition... from the walk. Just walk... and then.. just canter. It's that simple. Cindy didn't want me to react.... to throw myself forward... just canter... and.. badum! So... we did!!! It wasn't perfect, and Fleck and I didn't believe in it at first, so it wasn't beautiful. But it got better. Then canter to walk.. then walk to canter. I wasn't riding the transitions attempting to go from the walk to the canter and maintaining both of those gaits. Instead I was riding the transition. Instead... Cindy wanted me to ride the canter.. then ride the walk. Maintain the true gait... keep the inside bend...
And lo and behold.. it worked!!!
I rode the canter.. then asked for the walk by riding the walk with my body, and... badum. :) :) :) BEAUTIFUL downward transition... Fleck stayed round, soft, on the bit, and supple. I kept my body position in place... and ahhhhhhhhhh, the angels sang, the sun broke through the clouds (and through the arena!).... ahhhhhhhh... :) It was lovely!!! Simply lovely. So we quit on that! :)

Ahhh..... now if I can just manage to remember that.... since tomorrow is Danny and Fleck trail ride.. then Friday is work, then Saturday is grid day.. so maybe Sunday. I MUST remember yesterday and today and get that back :) Cause it was AWESOME!!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dressage Bootcamp time!

So... both Fleck and I seem fine after our "attack on the ground".... hee hee.. Found this and thought of Fleck.
So anyways... today was a Cindy lesson as is tomorrow. We started off okay. But I have to remember it's not about my hands... it's about lifting his back up by riding inside leg to outside rein. But... it didn't take nearly as long to create that nice lifting stride. :) yay!
We worked on getting a nice trot and then worked on the canter some. We had some really nice counter canter loops too :) Yay!! But I MUST not tip forward and keep my butt in the saddle.
We then did another cool exercise... it was a 20 meter circle... canter one fourth of the arc, trot the second arc, then canter the third arc, then canter the fourth arc. BUT.. the key is to get the transition via my seat. It took a few times, but we eventually got it really nicely!
Then we finished with a stretchy circle. And this is where it kinda fell apart. I get so frustrated with the whole ping pong effect. Fleck starts out okay and then he starts running on his forehand. I can't figure out how to slow my seat to help slow him, so I post like a maniac up there.. then I figure it out and slow down, which results in him breaking to the walk. So then I get mad and boot him back into the trot which then means he runs... Sigh... So Cindy pointed out that I need to slow my seat... but keep posting. I'm smart.. I KNOW he's going to over react and walk... but I allow it by stopping the post. So I'm essentially asking him to walk. Doh... I should have known it was my fault. So... if I slow my post... half halt with my core, but then keep my leg on and KEEP POSTING... he almost breaks but doesn't and we get what we aimed for... a slower post. Now to work on stretch and bend while we maintain it. :) But.. it's working.

Yay... hope tomorrow is a good day too!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Getting my GRRRRRRR on! or... I got the power!!!!!

So.... had a wonderful time schooling today :)  Beth is an amazing coach :) We've come so far!

Basically we jumped all of the prelim fences that were combinations and a few that were non-combinations. And we're getting it!!!!! It's a little frustrating though that it takes me two times to get it though. I just can't quite get motivated enough to make it happen the first time. Beth says it's cause I don't get my GRRRR on quick enough, which means I don't make the canter happen... and then of course it goes poorly, then I get my GRRRR and then I get the canter and it goes well. Duh! But for some reason, I have the hardest time making it happen the first time. Sigh... But we did accomplish many many things on the second attempt ;)

We did the double up banks to a skinny coop and then back down. We started down... and ha ha!! It was hilarious... It was a skinny coop, two strides to a drop, bounce, to another drop. Well, Fleck did the coop, went down the drop, and went "Wha what?!?!". He sorta stalled out with his hind legs on the top of the top bank and his front legs on the next bank.... going "how the heck do I do this?".  I thought I was going to slide down his neck like a slide! (Remember this!!!). So... luckily he only stalled for a second or two before figuring it out and continuing down. Hee hee... It was hilarious! So we did it upwards and NAILED IT!!! THAT'S how you ride!!!! POWER and roundness and impulsion and just a teensy bit of speed :)

We also did an angled cabin line on the hill. It was super fun!!! It was basically a straight line but you had to jump both cabins on the angle. We actually did that on the first try. Yeah baby... Although we did drift. So then Beth told me to stay straight and I misunderstood and turned it into an S turn... then we finally did it right. That was uphill. Then we turned it around and did it downhill. I lost his shoulder the first time, but he was honest and we made it happen. So we came again and this time I half-halted a few times on that left rein and lo and behold, I didn't lose his left shoulder.

What else did we do... Oh, the banks... did a brush, down the bank, to a skinny chevron. That was fun. Then we did a corner to an uphill bendy line to a roll top. Then we tried down... Sigh... this is where I lost it. He either jumped the roll top huge and we landed flying WAY past our line to make the turn to the corner. Or if I tried to collect him more, I ended up stalling him out. So... then Beth pointed out that I was not even aiming for the corner from the get go. Yep... WHY on earth do I not focus on the whole line?! So.. when I aimed for the corner from the rolltop, I managed to make it happen. It wasn't pretty, but it worked. Then we made it!

We then did the ditch and then came to the scary trakenher. Eeeks... I don't know why I still hate them, but I do. I pretty much gave up the first time and we stopped. So the second time I focused on the canter and held my right leg on him (despite the screaming rubs I was getting.... those stupid treadway boots are soooo thin and the seams in the breeches rubbed a giant huge double raw spot on my right leg... odd that it's only my right leg.. guess that ought to tell me something). And it worked... we came again and made it a little smoother. Yay.

We then went on to the coffin. Jumped the training one, which was a big log, to the ditch, bendy line to another hanging log. Then we circled around and did the prelim one, which was a Chevron, ditch, one stride to a double chevron. We actually got that the first time, but he was way behind my leg. So I got my GRRRR on and we came again. MUCH better :) Yay!

Then we went to the water. Again, just not a pretty ride the first time. Whether it's sitting and then going or me just going at it all la de dah... or both.. Even the little stuff just didn't go wonderfully. I mean, we did it.. it just wasn't smooth and lovely. But.. by the time we did the prelim line we pretty much nailed it. The final drop off into the water was just a hair behind my leg. I think at that point I thought he was rolling and took my leg off and he went "huh?! Oh yeah" and just stuttered. Not even a stutter, just a slight stall in the stride. to the new sunken road. Well, I went to go first. Beth wanted me to do the training line first, then come to the prelim line. Which was pretty impressive! Big skinny coop to a one stride to the drop to the up bank to a two stride to another skinny coop. Well... we trotted off and picked up the canter to loop around and..... Fleck tripped, then kept tripping, and couldn't catch himself. I pitched forward onto his neck as he was scrambling on his knees, and then with me on his neck, it made it worse for him. So... I somersaulted down off his neck, and flipped over. Landing right underneath him more or less. That saint of a horse, managed to pick himself up at that point and NOT step on me. Impressive, as I saw hooves coming at my head! Luckily he stepped free and then went trotting off. My reins happened to be knotted and because he likes to go hollow and inverted, he was able to trot to the far end of the pasture without breaking his reins! yay!! Beth H managed to corral him into the corner and I was able to go get him. He had gotten snagged on his boot somehow (whether that made it so he couldn't correct himself, or he happened to do it while falling I don't know) because his front right boot had slipped about halfway down his leg. There were no marks or any swelling. I think he stung himself as he was a little stabby, but once we caught him and got him settled down and I hopped back on, he felt sound and happy. So... eeeks. That was a little terrifying!  So then I made Beth H go first, while we calmed down. So... off we went... still sound and fine. We did the up bank alone first and he was fine, then came around to the training line. It was fine, but he launched the banks a bit. So we came again and settled it. Then we came around to the prelim line... and had two stops at the first coop. Sigh... Beth said we were just rattled and it was okay. Focus on the bouncy canter and breathe.. and we did, and we got it. It was a little scrambly down and up the bank and then we had to really stretch over the out coop, but we made it work. We tried again and not much smoother. I just can't figure out how to get him to drop off the banks without launching and then landing in a heap. And I'm sure most of it is that I land in a heap. So, then we tried just the drop and up bank to the coop and still not much better. But he was honest and jumped it, so we quit on that. It's just hard for us. Both of us. And we just have to remember that.

So... by the end of the ride, it was pretty clear what worked and what didn't.... I found that if I put him into a gallop, then closed my inside rein and leg, and held the outside rein... he became round. And by becoming round, he went up into the bridle. And when I sat my hiney in the saddle and closed my leg... we GOT THE CANTER!!!! Yay!!!

So whoo hooo!!! A great great day, despite the scary trip and the saddle rubs. We're getting it... :) And my pony is a rockstar... a giant clutz, but a rockstar!!! He got extra treats for not stepping on my head too!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Dressage Bean!

So... had to squeeze in a ride this morning but was soooo worth it! The pasture was a little damp but not too bad. Fleck was GREAT!!!! We started a little mincy, but I was able to get his back up and get a bigger stride. Then we got some nice shoulder in BOTH directions!!! It's wild, but if I just put my right leg forward, Fleck's like... "Oh... shoulder in...why didn't you say so?!" Duh... Renvers is still a little hard that way though. So we got some good work and then started on the canter. YAY!!! It's sooo much better. :) We even got some awesome TRUE walk/canter/walks on the right lead. The left lead is still hard to get the downward and the upward is just a hair late. But making progress.

He was such a good boy. I didn't have much time so we finished with that.

Then as we walked back up the driveway, Danny came running up.. and the big brush pile was in the way... so he just popped over it! He's such a cutie!!! Definitely need to start devoting more time to him. He's getting bored!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Jumping Bean!!!

Poor Flecky.... all jumping and no dressaging lately! We'll see how badly Cindy kicks our butts on Monday! ;) But we've needed jumping boot camp and it's been fun!!!

So... Wednesday, I ended up hitching a ride with Christina to Wishing Tree to get a jump lesson with Beth. I had been working the last two nights, only slept about 4.5 hrs Tuesday, stayed up all night working Tues night, and then stayed up all day Wed. So... a jump lesson Wed may not have been the best idea. But.. turns out.. it was!!! Sooooo worth it! We had a blast!!!
I got on and it was at 6pm, so we rode to big beautiful gold sun setting. Beth had an 'eeeeevvvviiiillll' grid set up. Muhuahuahaaaa! ;) The ring is set up in a rectangle with a a dressage arena within... only the dressage arena only has the corners up. From the short side, it's probably ten to fifteen meters to the rail. So Beth had set up a single verticle in the midde of that short side. On each side of the verticle was a raised ground pole (though not at the same time at first). The goal was to trot the cavaletti and then jump the jump. NOT to bounce it or treat it as a canter pole. And suprisingly... Fleck did just that... trotted happily over the pole. Well.. that's not true. The first time over it he was all ADD looking at his buddy Sham in the pasture and then spooked at the candy cane pole. But after that.. he was all business and trotted over the pole and jumped the jump. We did it both directions and Beth kept raising it. Then she moved the poles out a bit and we got to canter it. Same thing...

Because it was a tight turn we had to ride forward through the turn and stay balanced. Then I had to wait for it... and it was there. The cavaletti's made Fleck get to the base of the jump and he had to rock back and use his hiney. Wheee!!

So we also worked on me. It's cool how it works, but when I keep the connection to the base... my hands stay down on his neck and don't float up in the air. However, I do still have chicken arms.. so I need to think about pushing my hands forward up his neck (or along side his neck) rather than giving or releasing. And yes.. I still release, but Fleck prefers when I keep the connection and don't just abandon him.

So... once we got that under control and were doing it at the canter, Fleck was amazing. I really felt like he was having fun!!! He was coming out of the turn, pricking his ears, and I could just feel him saying "okay.. I got this!... Yeah baby!". It was great... We were jumping fairly high too and Fleck was really jumping well. Wheee!!!
Well then Beth asked how brave I was feeling. I was feeling awesome so I said "pretty brave"!. She raised it... only two inches really, but... of course I panicked a little. I tried not too.. I really did, but I ended up changing the ride and so we had a stop or two. But then we fixed it... and HOLY SMOKES!!! Fleck jumped like a mad man. He lifting in his withers... lifted his chest, rocked up his knees, and pushed off!! I know it was only two inches higher, but jeepers!! It felt amazing!! I could hardly stay up there with him. ;)

So.... so much fun!!!! Super glad I manned up and did it :) We had a blast. And thanks to Beth's boot camp... my confidence is back, as is Flecky's!! Bring on Chatt Hills!!!!! I'm feeling good about it :)

Then we cooled off under the big white bright moon!!
ahhhh... life is good!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Grid Day with Over the Hilltoppers

So... I've joined the Horsemasters group, which is basically adult pony club. Since we piggyback onto Hilltoppers Pony Club, we became Over the Hilltoppers. ;) It's a fun club. I got suckered into being the Liason, which means I have to organize the meetings. Which... sometimes I do a better job and sometimes it turns into a disaster.

The March meeting was one of those disasters. Luckily, everyone rallied and things worked out a-ok.

Anyways... the mounted meeting was "Grids with Kim". She's tough!! She set up some canter poles to a cross rail... which Fleck and I floundered through. Kim wanted me to keep him round through the poles and to the jump. When he inverts, I lose my adjustability, so by keeping him round.. he can hear, and therefore respond, to my half-halts. Yep... what we've been working on. So.. we tried it a few more times and it... got a little better. After helping the others, Kim came back to me and gave me a quick private session. Her thought was that Fleck needed to be rocked back onto his hocks and really powering up to the jumps. He needed to stay round, use his back and be able to respond to my comments. In order to do this, we needed a BOUNCY powerful canter. She felt like he lengthens his stride, then goes past his distance, and then it's hard, so he quits. Again... all stuff I've heard before and am supposedly working on. (Kinda embarassing that I've been working so hard aon and it was still a disaster!). Anyways... she had me canter a skinny vertical on a figure 8 and get that bouncy powerful coffin canter. At first, Fleck kept blowing me off and taking off long... during which I wasn't giving up and held his face, floated his teeth, and... rode like crap.Which resulted in a lovely deer jump. (NOT Lovely!) So.. we eventually got it figured out and managed to create a bouncy sproingy canter.. get to the base of the jump.. and clear it. And then she increased the height... which started the fiasco again, but.. it quickly got better and we finished jumping boucny and to the base.. of this!!
Whoo hoo. So then, we were done!! YAY.. thank goodness. That was hard work!!

The unmounted meeting session was "Chiropractic Care for your Horse" by Dr. Dayton. Fleck was the lucky duck that got to be the demo horse. He was great. He enjoyed it and was a good demo pony. Christina did a great job adjusting him and he felt better!

Whoo hoo. Now he gets 2 days off!


Take that Poplar Stadium course!!! ha...

So... we went to the Poplar schooling show today despite the tornado warnings and storms. Although... not without some kicking and screaming ;) Ha ha.. I wimped out.. I admit it. The original plan was to show at 10 am... which meant leaving at 6:30 ish. Well, then they postponed the show by 2 hours because of the bad weather. It was hot and quiet here until the wee hours of the morning. I think it was 2 am when the storms hit. Mostly just thunder, lightning, wind and rain. But it POURED. So when the show was postponed.. Beth decided to school at 8 am... Drats.. now I still had to get up early. Well, I woke up around 4ish and it was still raining and lightning, so I rolled over and went back to bed. I figured I could try to squeeze in schooling between dressage and stadium. I wasn't about to haul in the heavy rain, winds, and lightning. And in my defense, I had been up working the overnight the night before, only took a two hour nap, and then... couldn't sleep because of the storm and the storm phobic dog... So.. I woke up at 6:30 I guess and was planning to leave at 8. Texted Beth and she said it was raining there (they went the night before). Was sooo tempted to bail, but she motivated me and I'm so glad I did go after all!! 

I hitched up in the light drizzle, fed, and loaded Fleck up. We were off... I managed to stay awake and only had to call someone once. :) We arrived and with the clouds and light drizzle, I decided to get a stall for Fleck. Settled him in and watched Stephanie's dressage test. It was LOVELY!!! Then realized I had to go get ready, so Beth took pics of Jamie. I didn't get on quite as early as I wanted... partly because I was just running behind and partly because I didn't want to get on too early because of schooling before stadium. (Beth and the girls opted to school after my dressage and before my stadium because it was raining that am). So... our warm up was limited and he wasn't really ready yet when we went in. But... overall, I was pleased. He felt more balanced and less claustrophobic in the ring. We had some decnent trot work, but he blew through my simple change and the canter was bleh.. BUT we had an amazing medium trot at the end! He stayed up and on his haunches and consistent! It was wonderful. Even the judge said so. Of course it was Pam and she knows us some, but still.

So then Fleck got a break while we watched Stephanie jump her first round. Then while she did her second round and Jamie jumped, I tacked up and met them for XC schooling. It was WET!! Beth told me to bring the big studs. I told her "Fleck is a big stud"! Hee hee... But anyways, even with big studs... Fleck slid around a fair amount. I think I'm going to have to put front studs in especialy now that he has those pads up front. Oh well. He schooled pretty well.... made up for my mistakes for the most part. We did some of the beginning of the course, then did the double banks up and down and the single bank with the big coop up and down. We moved on and attempted the angled cabins. We had a stop at the second cabin at our first attempt but Beth said he just got to it on a half stride and I needed to not let him drift. So.. we came back and did it pretty well. Then we did the trakenher again. And then...we did the double up banks with the bounce to the hedged coop. And nailed it!!! Yay!!! It's really ALL ABOUT THE CANTER! We did a few more things... and by the time we hit the water, Fleck was getting feisty. Not sure why.. they started tadpole and amoeba... maybe he wanted to go play. But we finished decently in the water and then it was time for stadium.

He warmed up on fire!!! He was mad that Nike and LC left him and was carrying on like a green bean... crow hopping and a little tiny bit of baby rears. Naughty boy... so I just sent him forward and started jumping warm up jumps. He felt pretty good. They set the jumps up just for me ;) (Felt bad but dangit I wanted to jump the big ones... even if they were all rails). So... we went in and the goal was to ride forward up into the bridle, keep the engine coming, ride forward through the turns, and... don't float my hands... keep the connection. And I think we succeeded. I didn't go off course ;) and Fleck was awesome!! We went double clear! There were a few spots where I sorta lost it and he covered for me. But... I was able to get my act back together and get back in gear. Yay for me too!! Sweet...
Check us out!!!! Whoo hooo.
So...we finished on our dressage score.. in first... out of one! ;) ha ha.. But it was a good confidence boosting outing. I knew it wasn't him... and was me, but it was nice to realize I was able to fix ME. :)

So.. onward and upward :)

Fitness Work

So... I manned up Wednesday and went to the horse park to do some fitness work... rather than sleep before work. But... it was fun! It was great weather and Flecky and I had fun. Despite being hot, sweaty, and bitten by mosquitos!! IN FEBRUARY!!! Granted, the last day of February... and a leap year today... But anyways... regardless it was fun.

However... perhaps too much fun...we lost a shoe!!! Oh no!! Now that means no jump lesson in the am. Argh... OH well. Luckily Uncle Kip is coming Fri so we can still hit up Poplar :)

We did manage to get in a 20 minute trot set with some hills, then about three 4 minute canters with a 2 minute breather in between. And during the second one we did a gallop in the middle.
Fun fun!!! Not sure where/when we lost the shoe, but he was sound and happy the whole way.....