Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fun Show

Today was the schooling CT at High Point. I figured it would be a good chance to get in the sandbox and practice that blasted test and do a jump round. And Fleck was HOT! He really felt good. Almost too good. ;) While I went to say hi, the goober snuck into the trailer and sucked down a handful of peppermints...with the wrappers! Eeeks! Goober. I got on and went to warm up and he was on fire. Dancing around, cantering instead of trotting, and even bunny hopping. Goofy! I love goofy Fleck! And then suddenly he was flipping his face about 8 times, then suddenly slammed it down to his leg. I thought he was going to "tuck and roll". Turns out he had a bee on his nose as I saw it fly off when he rubbed it on his leg. Poor guy. He was still dancy and jumpy and humpy afterwards, so the bee was no excuse. I had a tough time getting his right barrel over but he settled into it towards the end of our warm up. We had a pretty decent test. But it was a 39. :( Mostly 6 and 6.5's. We need more suppleness. He was wound pretty tight, but I thought it would have scored better. I'm glad Denni was harsh though. I'll read the comments and have a good idea of what to work on for Texas. Not that I have much time left. ;) 

Then it was time to jump. YAY!!! Fleck was thrilled! He was a "bucking" machine. For him. ;) We warmed up well and Beth basically said that I had to control his shoulder. That's where I was losing him. EVEN if it meant that I had to literally plant my wrist on the side of his withers (so NOT crossing over) and then using a very wide opening rein on the other side. And then I had to get him straight! If he wasn't falling in, I did this pushing his shoulders the way I needed to go. If he was falling in and I was losing his shoulder out the wrong way, then I would have to "counter" do it and get him straight first. It was actually really helpful. And it made me keep my hands low. Yay! So into the ring we went and Fleck was great. I held a little too much instead of half-halting and closing my leg, so we had some tight distances. BUT he jumped them well despite being underpowered and underneath some of them. Yay! Then we finished with two extra lines for kicks. For the slightly long lines, I really have to ride long! Fleck's stride is not that long, maybe even short. So when he comes in tight, I have to really kick on. NO HALF-HALTING! We managed it on the second attempt and even then, I almost half halted as soon as we landed. No... forward!! And it was also evident that a bigger step in over the first fence was an easier forward ride. Duh. The first time we did it (on course) I knew we jumped in little, so I actually held for the extra stride. Beth said nope... don't do that. Push more for the big stride. She's afraid I'll shut him down by holding. 

Regardless though, he was jumping well and felt great! He was having fun! And so was I!! I'm really starting to get excited about Texas. Though I'm still nervous about dressage. I feel like we're capable of scoring closer to the top 1/3 or maybe even top 4th, but know that most likely we'll be lucky to end up in the middle. Because I blow it! I tense up and make him tense, or I don't ride at all and we get sloppy. Especially because I hate that test! So... we'll see. At least the jumping part should be fun. :) I'm hoping there won't be anything too bad. We've been running prelim (albeit easy prelims) so hopefully championship training level will be fun!

Wish us luck!

Friday, September 20, 2013

No more funk!

Well, maybe some skin funk, but no more funky bad mood!!! And you know why?!?! Because my pony is SOUND!!! And felt good.... and without drugs.... and without being distracted by Danny! YAY! YAY! YAY!!!

Such a relief! Not only just for AECs, but because I don't want him hurting. I'm not ready to retire him and neither is he. And yep.. I totally over-reacted... I knew deep down I wasn't going to have to retire him. It's just tender soles (knocking on wood and praying to God)! But when I'm that tired... and haven't ridden in that long... the world as I know it is ending!!!! hee hee...

Anyways... I took Fleck to Ashland today, sans Danny, and we had a blast. We worked on dressage and I focused my warm up on getting him round, onto the right rein, and transitions! I think it helped. Right as I was about to run through my test, some friends showed up. Of course Fleck was distracted. We went over to chat and then they headed off to play on XC. I figured Fleck would be horrible with them leaving us. He's had herd bound issues before, but I resolved them. With Danny around though, they've resurfaced. But he was really good!!! Like, encouragingly good! I'm sure we will still be in the middle of the pack (hopefully) but I'm aiming for that low 30 score. I think we could do it at prelim, but... at training test B... we'll see. I definitely need to work on the transitions and even the elastic band type stuff. So yay!

As a reward, I traded saddles and we went to join our friends! WHEEEE!!! Fleck and I jumped around a little bit and he was good and felt ready to go. Then we headed to the lake and soaked for a bit. He loves that spot. He just sits there and watches. Then splashes. Then watches. He's so freakin' cute. I was soaked because he was splashing so much.

Ahhhhh.... Now I feel better.
Then I packed and organized the trailer. Jeesh... I've got SOOOO much stuff to take. And it took me forever. I didn't even have time to go get refills for my poultice and shampoo. Oh well. I've still got... oh, just two days ;)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sound again!

What?! I gave Fleck a previcox today for our dressage lesson. And because I wanted Peri's help, I took Dan too. So again, we had the previcox and the Danny distractions. And Fleck was sound. Nutty, but sound. I never felt a lame step. We even had a rockin' medium. :) But man was he a twit! He was lovely, and then suddenly he was spooking, or inverted, or neighing his fool head off for Dan. Jeesh. I was trying hard to not react. But I admit I caved some. I'm just still tired and I was almost more frustrated that he was sound. Not that I want him to be lame, but... he's so back and forth. It's frustrating. But regardless, I was glad he was feeling good and even glad he was being silly. At first. ;) 

We had some good moments though. His trot is really coming along. I just need to remember to bring his ribs and belly to the outside and I've got him now. And to not lock my elbows. And to focus on my seat. 

Now if we can just keep him sound...and I can remember how to ride. And he doesn't turn goofy without his stall/trailer buddies. He's definitely worse when it's Dan as opposed to Sunny or Sham. 

So... fingers crossed. I'm praying he's sound and happy and that if he's not, he makes it clear for me.  

Oh, and... AND... I did get a lovely flying change today. Granted it was during the three loop serpentine. And I didn't ask for it (at least not on purpose), but still! :) :) :)


I left the previcox off on Tuesday night and after a nap on Wednesday morning, Fleck and I went to Ashland. We did not take Dan, so there was no previcox and no distraction. And Fleck was lame. Sigh...not super lame most of the time. Most of the time it was almost imperceptible. But there were definitely multiple instances of him being blatantly lame. Argh. I kept riding, because... I really do think it's tender soles/foot. And i HATE that stupid training test b. It's too much back to back sling shotting. Argh. So Fleck and I had words. And I felt horrible. It's not his fault. I was more mad that he was lame. After all I've tried to do to make him feel awesome. And I know. It's stupid. Sigh. So a very frustrating day. I should have just stayed asleep. :(

Nah... cause then I would have missed this :) 

YAY!!! Back on!

So... Fleck got shoes on Monday. And on Tuesday I took him to Ashland for a jump lesson. I gave him Previcox on Monday night. And he was maybe the teensiest bit mincy but it was really hard to tell. Now, he did have previcox on board and he was definitely distracted by Danny being back at the trailer. But he was happy to go and happy to jump. We had some fun. Beth set up some decent sized fences and Fleck didn't bat an eye. She wants me to get him supple in his jaw before the fences. I almost had to think dressage canter. She wanted him that soft in his jaw. And really, to get him that soft, he had to be very low. Very round. As he approached the fence, he could lift his head obviously, but he had to stay soft. It was a little scary. Beth said that for now, we had to exaggerate a bit. But ultimately, we don't want him that round and low in his head. But it was cool. The canter was very powerful so it wasn't scary and he was jumping great. To accomplish it I had to use my alternating half halts and even alternate my leg. When he was nice and rocked back, it almost felt like I was almost asking for canter tempi's. (forgive me if this is SOOOOO not how you ask for them... but he felt very rocked back and ready to swap if asked). It was pretty darn cool.

Lots of fun and I was so glad to be back in the saddle!

Saturday, September 14, 2013


So.... not only did I not get Fleck's shoes back on... now he's lost his front left too. Argh... Which means, no trail riding today... on this glorious beautiful almost even cool day. And that also means no cross country schooling at Bubba's tomorrow. 

I'm soooooo frustrated... Between being out of town, all the work, the lacerated foot (which is just about healed up yay!), and now the darn shoes... I feel so behind the 8 ball for Texas. I mean... it's training... I know. But still. It's a LOT of money to get there... I'd like to feel like I'm prepared. Sigh.... 

At least Fleck will get shoes Monday and Beth is coming to teach Tuesday. So assuming he hasn't bruised himself or made himself sore, we'll recover one of the days on Tuesday, then have Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun and Monday before we leave early early Tuesday morning. Oh my!!! It's CLOSE!!!!!!

Let the freak out commence!

Cedar Ridge Fun

Fleck and I had a decently fun day at Cedar Ridge. He was really good but we started out with a loose right hind shoe. And we ended with a missing left AND right hind shoe. Sigh... But Fleck was good. I just need to remember to ride him straight and forward and powered. And to remember that we shall not take the long one to trakenhers! Every darn time... Luckily Fleck is smarted than me, sighed, patted the ground, and hauled my flung forward self over. :) 

Good times, good times... So now we just cross our fingers that we get a shoe put back on before Saturday!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Cindy Lesson

Yeehaw... So, yesterday I got up and Fleck had his massage. We then hauled straight to Dr. Browns and had them adjusted. Then I had just enough time to get home, feed them, and change into scrubs and head to work. And we were busy! So it was pretty steady all night. And the only patient that stayed overnight had an owner who was late to pick up. So I rushed home and fed ponies, changed into breeches, and Peri picked us up. I was still late for my lesson. But it was a good one.

Fleck was pretty good about going straight into the bigger non-mincy trot and I was better at asking for it. I tried to focus on the right rein connection and I do think it was much improved. MUCH!! We actually had right sided slobber! However, once I got into my lesson a bit more I stopped focusing as much and there wasn't as much slobber. But still! We had some good work. We played with some canter half passes again and Cindy threw another change or two at us. I didn't accomplish it today when I asked. And then I had to do some significant balancing around the corner while counter cantering as we bottle necked with Ari and suddenly he changed! Cindy cheered and I had to be like "um... I didn't ask". She said that she bets I did, I just didn't realize I asked. :) Sure.. why not! :)  We let him quit with that.

One more day of fun Flecky and then you get two days off and then a fun trail day. Hang in there buddy. Tomorrow is XC schooling at Chatt Hills. I'm excited. :)

Spa Day!

For Fleck.. ha, not me!

After working hard all week, Fleck got Monday off. Kathryn came and gave him a massage in the morning. She did a lot of work on his head and he really seemed to be very stuck in his poll. More specifically, he didn't want to open his AA joint. After some work, he was much more open which allowed him to soften down through his jaw, neck, and over his back. Aha!! Makes a ton of sense. It also makes sense that he is really resistant to going into the right rein too and why he's always cocked some. 

After his nice massage he got to go for a long ride with his bestie Sunny and was chiropractically adjusted by Dr. Brown. Good news - his knees really didn't seem to be bothering him again!!!! But he was definitely hock and SI sore. He seemed to work out of it pretty well so fingers crossed. 


Double dose of Kelly E

What a FUN day. Hot, sweltering, miserable day, but fun. Fleck and I hauled up to Wishing Tree Farm and got there in time to get ready for our dressage lesson with Kelly. I LOVE riding with her. She's really funny and I think she gets that I'm really dressage dumb, so she really makes it blatantly obvious for me. I told her what we had been doing and how I was so excited at what Kelli said the other day. She said that my core was engaged and my shoulders and upper body were working independently of my seat and legs. YEAH BABY! Even Kelly whooped and hollered with me about that. :) And once we got started she said that she could tell we had been working on our homework and that he was much softer already. Whoo hooo. 

We went back to what we talked about last time. First comes the connection. And Fleck was much mroe willing to give it without as much work on my part. But then Kelly wanted me to release the outside rein to allow him to bend when we were tracking right. I sighed exasperatedly and said that this was a big issue with us. I never knew how much to release because I always felt like I had to hold him up. If I drop that outside rein, then he falls in and it all collapses. But it makes it very hard for him to supple then. I then said "And I KNOW that holding him up with the outside rein isn't the answer, but....".  So then she stopped and got to the nitty gritty. And I know people have said this to me before. Probably repeatedly. But now Fleck and I were in a place that we could hear it and get it. She said that the reason he was hanging on the outside rein (going right only) was because he was not going into the right rein at all. And that made him push to the outside, fall out, tilt/cock his head, etc. OH!!!!!! That makes so much sense. So we went to the left again and worked on the classic "inside leg to outside rein" and tried to get Fleck into the right rein. It took some counter bending and then rebending to the inside for flexion to get it. And he kept wanting to fall out, but we did get it. Then we went back to the right. Kelly said that technically this isn't correct riding, but in order to get him closer to correct riding, we had to do this first. So.. same thing.. only it's not inside leg to outside rein.. it's "outside leg to inside rein" but only because the inside rein is the one he's avoiding. It was a bit mind boggling but really... not as bad as I thought because it made sense to my brain. I need to put him INTO the right rein, even if it's the inside rein. For now, the weight will be much more heavily weighted into the right rein, but the ultimate goal is to get him even in both reins, and then.... I'll go back to riding the proper way that direction. And it was accomplished the same way.. counter flexion (which was ultimately true flexion to the direction, but not to the rein) and then back to true flexion. I had to use that right rein to supple. 

Egads.. it was hard work but we managed to get it and Fleck was much better than the last lesson. Yay!! No one got any picture (poo!) but trust me.. he felt AWESOME. Once I was able to get him into that right rein, then I could work on the push and impulsion and back lifting and it was awesome. His trot felt amazing and his canter was so bouncy, I couldn't sit it. So much fun!

By the end of our ride we were both drenched in sweat and tired. Fleck got a bath and then hung out in the cross ties and shade for a bit and then hung out in the pasture with Gizelle. I watched Christy and Beth and Kathy ride and learned more. The theme of the day for jumping (as that's what I watched mostly as I missed the earlier dressage rides) was all about a soft seat. Kelly was explaining that when we sit before the jump (which is common for eventers) we usually take our leg off. And she explained that if we sit before every jump.. it loses it's "surge" effect. She wants us to reserve it for the scary jumps and when we really mean it! If we use it at every jump, it becomes dull. 

Then it was time for round two. Of course Fleck had rolled in the red clay and was orange on one side. Sigh.. Oh well. We got back on and I will admit. I was feeling pretty miserable at this point. It was 3:30 in the afternoon and HOT. And HUMID. And I had been sweating non-stop since 9 am. I was not feeling it. Kelly wanted us to warm up over a little vertical and she wanted us to maintain a steady rhythm and be organized. I think at first she said to land like you are heading somewhere else. I asked if she meant like "our tail was on fire" or more like "there's another jump". hee hee. She did NOT mean "like your tail is on fire... I want ORGANIZED". Oh dear... Fleck came through first and scrambled through the turn, lengthened and flattened to the jump, landed in a heap, and sped up on landing. I was impressively more unorganized up top. Sigh... OOPS! We came again and it was slightly better but not really. I finally realized that Fleck was aiming and locking on to the triple bar as we came around the turn and that's why our turn was so unbalanced. (Well, one of the reasons). I was then able to organize better and we managed to not be an embarassment. We then moved on and worked on the same stuff but adding in more fences. Kelly reminded me about my release. I need to reach down and forward with my hands and my feet. Use my landing gear! We managed to get some decent jumping in although Kelly noticed that my first fence was usually fantastic and then it got worse. She told me to ride each fence like it's the first fence - with that much control and thought and management. She said that Fleck is great and will go, but he requires a lot of management to keep him perfect. 

So... super educational day. Lots of fun and lots of learning. Yay!

Adding to the resume

Fleck and I have broadened our horizons today. :) We went on a competitive trail ride with Cindy Phillips and Buddy. It was FUN!! I really had a good time and was so proud of Fleck. He was much braver than I expected. Especially considering we've never even practiced that stuff. 
This particular one was put on by Flat Creek, the old eventing farm. We got there and had the briefing and then had a brief delay before our ride time. Fleck was so confused. He didn't know what was going on. You could see his little brain saying "This isn't an event.... and definitely not a dressage show.... what on earth is going on?!". When it was our turn we got tacked up and headed out. Fleck was pumped!!! He recognized the start box signs. Hee hee... And then we walked off. What?!?! Hee hee. He was cracking me up. Such a silly looky boy. But not spooky... curious! He kept looking off into the fields that had the cross country jumps. He knows... he KNOWS!.
The first obstacle was the vines. It was about 15 hoses hung from above and the horses had to walk through it. Fleck was a little hesitant because he didn't understand. But his friend was on the other side and I was encouraging him so he ended up going in. Once he poked through he was fine. Until they came back to his butt and then he spooked a little. But considering, not bad at all!
The second obstacle was the gate. It was apparently causing a lot of problems. It took me a lot of wiggling and maneuvering to get Fleck lined up right, so that cost us. But then he was good for me to pull the gate. He even let me swap hands under his neck. We almost got the gate closed too, but the rope wasn't long enough and he scooted a bit. But we were close. After the gate, Cindy and I did a little mini detour and had a little gallop. Wheee! It was fun.
The third obstacle was the "Papparazzi". For this one they had an open shed (roof only) with a small piece of plywood on the floor. You had to walk onto the plywood with their front feet and then turn in the saddle and take a picture of the three hollywood celebrities they had pinned up. For the open division (instead of just pleasure), you had to do a turn on the forehand to take each picture. Fleck marched right up and stood, so I opted to try the turn on the forehand. He actually did pretty darn well! Our final turn was a bit more all over the place, but the first two were decent. We even got two stars for that one. :) 
  Apparently Fleck was hungry. He carried that around for at least two obstacles. :)

The fourth obstacle was the toughest one. They had an old barbie horse on a pulley system. The open division stood with their backs to it and it had to come up behind them. It was slowly pulled, not raced! The pleasure division was allowed to face it as it moved in front of them. It was supposed to stimulate a deer or a dog. And quite frankly, Fleck wouldn't care about a deer or dog. But the freaky floating hovercraft horse doll was SCARY!!! In his defense, he didn't bolt or run away, but he was snorting and bug eyed! They offered to let him sniff it and I tried but Fleck said "No Thanks!". 

The fifth obstacle was super easy. You had to walk a few steps down a small hill (mogul really) and then trot up it. Easy peasy. Though I don't know that we scored that well. 

The last obstacle was the funniest. There was a big pile of trash - plastic water bottles, empty buckets, etc. The pleasure division had to walk through it. The open division had to walk through it and the rider had to pick a piece of trash up with the grabber sticks and then put it in the trash can. Fleck walked through very bravely but was a bit high steppy. He stepped on one water bottle and somehow FLUNG IT into the air and it landed.... IN THE TRASHCAN!! Ha ha. What? What??! Of course when the plastic hit the trash can it made a noise and Fleck scooted a little. Hee hee... Awesome.

We finished in good spirits and the boys chilled while we waited on results. Cindy came in fifth! I was just glad that Fleck did as well as he did. And it was fun because as usual, he had admirers and old friends. :) So proud of my boy!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Double Dressage Days

I like when I can do back to back dressage lessons. It seems to be very beneficial for me. Our two lessons weren't our best lessons. Fleck was hanging a good bit on my left rein and wouldn't supple. And I'm sure I was hanging just as much back. But we had some good work. Cindy had us going down centerline and doing about 4 ten meter circles on the line. That is hard! She also had us do some 6 meter circles. Also hard! Fleck was cute though as he kept spooking at the speakers on the railing. About the 5th time past them he stayed straight in his body but his ears "Spooked" and went sideways. Hee hee. The second day was much better! He was much more supple and softer. We worked on more of the same. And then... we did some canter work and Cindy was calling stuff out as we went. 
Canter at C, 10 meter circle at H, short diagonal with a simple change, then continue on the counter canter. Then at C again.. flying change. Gulp?! What?! Luckily, she saw my panicked look and told me what to do. And HOLY SMOKES!! Flecky did it! I think we were both surprised. Four strides later Cindy said that I had lost my canter and to get it back. She said I was still trying to figure out if he did the change and giggled at me. Hee hee. You bet I am?! Did that just happen??? I mean sure.. it wasn't lovely. It was probably late behind. And it fell apart after.. but he changed... when I asked!! Then we tried it to the right to left and it didn't happen. Oh well. It's okay. 

I was a proud Momma. :)

Yay!!! Better

Fleck had Mon and Tues off because of work. Tuesday morning when I palpated his stifle he just about hit the floor!! Poor guy... the right side was awfully sore and the left side also goosey. So I cancelled my lesson with Beth for Wednesday and crossed my fingers. Wednesday morning he was barely tender at all! I had to dig and poke and prod to get a reaction. ??? So I took him for a ride that afternoon and we had a blast! I rode for quite awhile because we were just having too much fun to quit. :) Ahhhh... I needed that!
We started with a trail ride and just walked around a bit. We trotted some and even did some cantering. No lameness!!  Yay! So then we went to the XC field to do some flat work and he was still sound. So then I decided to do just a handful of jumps and just see what he would do. And I wanted to push him a little bit because I didn't want him to be sound while we were farting around but as soon as I got back to work have him be lame again. And then I've lost a few more days. So we hopped over a fence or two and he was good. Then we went to the prelim roll top combo. I had thought it was a two stride but Fleck repeatedly put in three. Granted, two regular strides and a short one, but it was way too long to make the two. I tried it two or three times and finally decided maybe it was a three and went and jumped another table just to end prettily. Well, he finally opened up over that jump so I put him at the roll top combo again. Yep.. this time he made the two fairly easily. Doh! I must remember that it's prelim. We need a good bit of go!

So then we headed back to the trailers but Fleck was up now and jigging. I took him into the dressage ring because I wanted to see how uneven he was in a lengthen. We did a tiny bit of canter work (mostly because he was hyped up and throwing his barrel around) and then did a lengthen. He felt pretty darn even to me! Yay!

As we were finishing that, Judy came by with Cash and said she was going to walk to the lake. I decided to tag along since Fleck had been looking for friends all day and we finally had one. We headed out to the lake and I told Fleck he wasn't allowed in yet. Because of his wound. But he insisted. So I let him in. It's mostly healed and I figured I could clean it. He HAD A BLAST! Oh how he missed his lake time. He went right in and got fairly deep and was splashing around. Yay!

 We finally headed back and got him cleaned up and he was a very content little boy. :)  Especially after cookies! ;)
 He cracks me up!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Bleeechhhh... Training Level Test B... booo booooooooo

I remember now that I LOATHE training test b. I wish it would die a fiery death. ugh.. Especially after doing all the fun first and second level tests. Ugh.. 

Today we had our Over the Hilltoppers pony club meeting. It was a ride-a-test with Chris Pritchard. It was good. I wanted to see how he felt after the dressage show and I needed to run through the test for the AECs. I swear, I think I moved up to prelim to get away from that test. Ugh. It's too much sling shot back and forth nonsense. 

Considering I haven't run through it... since probably the last time we ran it which would have been a year or so ago maybe.. I thought it went well the first time. Especially since I was running late (as usual) and didn't get to warm up like I wanted. Fleck was great. He just marched in and did his test. I didn't prepare him well enough so our downwards were a little braced. Chris said he was quite lovely and very workmanlike. She said we would get great harmony scores and great obedience scores. She did say that he was very haunches in coming down centerline the first time. (Hmm.... wonder if he's trying to take some weight off that right hind?). She said he tilted his head in my left lead canter so try to keep his ears even. She said that my canter lengthen needed to be much more lengthen from the get go (not a progression as it says because those that show from the get go will score better than those that build to it) and it needed to stay the same rhythm and not get faster. I asked about preparing for the downward earlier and she said yes. That way he comes down more balanced and the next two transitions are more balanced. And if I show more lengthen initially, then bringing him down a bit sooner is okay. He also needed more stretch in his stretchy trot and his free walk, but that's always the case. 

We took a breather and tried again. And it was a disaster! Ha! I'm not sure what happened. He and I were both out to lunch. He trantered at the first canter, then had the wrong lead. We were halfway through our first canter circle before he picked it up. But then we both woke up and it got better. Our second canter lengthen was MUCH better she said. But she did notice him being uneven. She felt it was more muscle soreness. 

After I untacked, I did take note. There was no back pain, no swelling in his stifles. But when I touched his right SI, he scooted. So I gave him a liniment soak and massaged him. I'm hoping that will help. I'm going to get Super Doc to come look at him and see. I'm hoping we can get him feeling better before AECs. He just keeps on going but I don't want him to be hurting.

But at least it was better than yesterday and not worse! And it was good practice to run through that test. I'll definitely need to practice it quite a few more times. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Super Woman and her Super Pony!!!

SUCCESS!!! Phew... that was a close call too. During one of my lessons with Cindy last week I jokingly (or maybe not really jokingly) said that "Getting my bronze medal would be a lot cheaper and easier if I was a better rider". Ha ha.. Well duh! But I meant it in the sense that if I could achieve my scores the first time out, instead of having to show repeatedly, I could get more bang for my buck. I'm too poor to not get a score at each show. So that was my goal. Ultimately... I mean, I don't want to be a score chaser.. because that's not what it's about, but... I really wanted to just get my last first level score and ideally my first second level score. And we did!!!!

I worked Wed, Thurs, and Fri overnights so Fleck had Thurs and Fri off. After my overnight Friday, I stopped at Christinas and got hay, came home, fed ponies, hitched the truck and ate a bowl of cereal. I then bathed Fleck and braided him and loaded him up on the trailer. I changed into my show clothes and we headed out to the horse park. I called Peri at 10:30 as I was pulling out of the driveway asking "I'm at 11:46 not 10:46 right?!?". Thank goodness I was right. We got to the horse park and I somehow managed to park the truck and trailer amidst all the others. I tacked up and off we went. I didn't find Cindy immediately but luckily found Christina and Julie. I started to warm up and my suspicions were confirmed. Fleck was lame!!! I thought I felt something while walking from the trailer. What??! He's been sound all week. Christina didn't see anything super bad and said it was just a little hitch and to keep riding. I did and Fleck got a little better. Cindy showed up and said that it was because I wasn't riding him properly. My brain was so upset though. I couldn't ride anymore and was worried about him. Cindy was finally able to talk me down and get me breathing and get me riding. But it got ugly for a bit. I was tense, pinching, bracing, and pulling and Fleck replied with the same. But Cindy got me riding and we settled into a nice rhythm. And the lameness disappeared. I could still feel it a bit in the lengthen, but not anywhere else. And he always feels slightly uneven in the lengthen. So, we weren't quite ready but close enough and it was our turn.
We started with our 2-1 test. Eeeks... Only our second dressage show and my dumb self though we could do second level. After working 40 hrs in 3 days. And with my not quite right horse. Eeeks!! But... we managed a fairly decent test. Our lengthens were pretty bad. Which is a shame because they were actually getting quite nice lately. But with him being funky behind, he was obviously crooked and uneven and I didn't know how to help him. Our trot work was very polite and our canters were pretty nice. I thought. I was quite happy with the test and Cindy said it was pretty good. It wasn't our best and needed more push and impulsion, but she said she could see me thinking and riding. So yay! Turns out the judge thought we were decent enough to get our score!!! YAY!!! We squeaked by with a 61 and change, but still! It was a score towards our bronze. Whoo hooo. And to top it off, we weren't last! We got a pretty yellow ribbon out of 4 people. hee hee. I'll take it!

Fleck got to rest in his stall (without shavings.. I'm so mean.. but he was only there for 3 hours!) while I ate and watched friends. Then it was our turn again, for our 1-3 ride. I got back on after doing his stretches and he felt MUCH better. Back to his normal self. I could still feel it a bit in his lengthens but not any other time. I have no idea... muscle sore? ?? Anyways.. I thought I was riding quite well in warm up (no melt downs this time) and was feeling pretty good about things. I even had to giggle because this other girl passed me and said "You just look like you're having so much fun on your horse"!. Best compliment all weekend long. I was!!! He IS fun! I was all set to go in and wow the judge and WIN that class. Ha ha.. Well, maybe not win, but I really was hoping to do well. There was about 20 people in it. Ugh. I thought we had a really nice test!! He was very workmanlike and very obedient. There were no bobbles. I really thought it was one of our best tests. The last lengthen got a bit crazy and uneven and heavy on the forehand but he was getting tired. I thought our first one was pretty good and our canters were really nice. Cindy said that I rode well and when he went on the forehand, I didn't follow, but sat up and kept riding. However, apparently it wasn't quite as nice as I thought. We scored a 60.8. Doh! But... we got our last first level score. So mission accomplished!!!! And we weren't last again! I think we were 15th out of the 20. So not too bad. Not as good as I wanted to do, but that's okay. I'm anxious to go back and watch the video and see how it looks. I always see what the judge sees but it did feel very nice.

Fleck was wonderful all weekend long. He made a lot of new fans too! I love him. He's just so kind and wonderful that everyone wants to meet him. :) He's so good. He just agrees with everything and does it all. I'm very proud of him for this weekend!! Now we'll finesse our stuff and get that second 2nd level score without just squeaking by!