Saturday, June 7, 2014

Great Day!

I am so utterly blessed!!! What a most GLORIOUS Day!! I took both boys to Ashland and they were both wonderful!!! Fleck and I schooled in the jump ring and did some work over the ground poles again. He felt really good and we worked on our leg yields and counter canters. Afterwards I took a short trail ride and then Fleck hung out while I worked with Dan. After Dan's ride, I got back on Fleck bareback again and ponied Dan and we all played in the lake. Both boys had fun cooling off and they were both splashing so much, they drenched me too! So much fun! I'm so glad I have this wonderful place to enjoy with them. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Collection Lesson

Such a beautiful day! I hauled both boys to Wishing Tree Farm and had a lesson with each of them. With Fleck we worked on getting his trot more collected and him working from his hiney. We started with a trot and Beth had us trot over three ground poles and change directions. With each change in bend and over the ground poles Fleck had to stay soft and round and over his topline. That was tough! But we got it. It was harder to go from the left to the right because he did not want to go into the left rein, but we got it. I also had to work really hard to keep his rhythm the same and the tempo the same. Then to make it harder, Beth shortened up the poles. So I really had to collect Flecky. I had to use my core and get his hind end bouncing without him getting longer. It was fun! Then Beth added more poles! Eeeks. But we did it. It was good hard work. We quit with that as Fleck was really using himself the whole ride.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Another Pool Party

FUN!!! Fleck got to play with his favorite pal Cash. We went for a nice trail ride and then we all got untacked and went back for a pool party!

Hee hee. Fleck does NOT like Danny interrupting his pool fun. Goofball! We were laughing because Danny was messing with Cash and Fleck was ignoring him. Then Cash turned and went to rub his head on Danny's butt and Fleck went all "big brother rage" on Cash and dragon faced him. hee hee. It's MY brother... and only I can discipline him. Grrrr. ;) 

Love my boys!

Pool Party

Fleck and I had a good flat ride. We just worked on the same stuff we've been doing... keeping it simple and basic. So as a reward, we went out bareback and took Dan with us and played in the lake.

Relaxing lake time!

Fleck and I having some fun relaxing after Paradise. This is OUR paradise!

Paradise Farm HT

Oh Paradise.... not exactly how we wanted it to go. But there were definitely some good moments. And we came home and know what we need to do. 

We got to Full Gallop, where we were staying the night and got the ponies settled in. Then it was time to ride. Ugh.. it was 97 degrees apparently. But there was a nice breeze so it wasn't too horrible. We got tacked up and went out to school some XC. Flecky felt pretty darn good. Especially since we hadn't done much that week because of the hot nail/abscess issue. We warmed up and tried to keep it to a minimum since we were showing the next day. I had a stop at the trakehner. What?!?! That was poor riding on my part. He was all over the place heading to it and strung out. I fixed it and he jumped it great. Then we went down to the water, which was empy, but we did jump a big barrel jump. Then we headed to the bank complex. We did the double up banks, then the double downs. Then we played on the double up/down bounce combo thingy. It was WAY easier going up, though I had to kick a little to keep the energy going up. Going down... ha!! That was crazyness!! The first time Fleck stopped, then plopped down with the front feet and stopped. I almost slid down his neck. We hopped down the rest of the way with me managing to not fall off. Argh. Trying again. Beth told me to sit WAY FARTHER BACK! Ha.. you think!? So I did.. and it was still awkward. So I finally sat WAY Back and got Fleck much more collected and we did it. It wasn't pretty, but it was a bounce double down off a roll top. So come on!! I was just proud we did it. 
Then we headed up to the water and did the training line. We then came around and did the prelim line, which was a chevron, 90 degree turn to the log/roll top in, through the water, up the bank and out of the roll top. We stopped at the drop. Sigh... I think he was hot and tired and I definitely lost his shoulder. We tried again and another stop. This time I was running him off his feet. Sigh... So we got the proper canter and he jumped through just fine but he kept landing way to the left, which made the exit awkward. So we finished on that as we were both hot and tired and we had a full horse trial tomorrow.

We headed back to the barn and bathed and then decided to let the ponies chill and eat dinner while we went to eat. Hannah and I went to O'Charlies, then Walmart to get tape and ice, and then Marble Slab. Yum!! Then we came back and braided and got in our "Hotel". ha! We slept in the trailer, which was actually fairly nice once we got the fan rolling. Oh, and... I finally had to cut Fleck's tail from where Dan ate it. His mullet had to go. :( And we were left with the sassy bob! hee hee. Poor Flecky...

My ride time Saturday am was 8:03 for dressage. Or something crazy like that. Maybe it was even 7:30...Regardless, Fleck was still asleep. It wasn't a horrid test but he felt very sluggish. I was afraid he'd break from the canter into the trot. We did at least break into the 30's again, with a 38 and change. Sigh.. but still, better than our recent 40 and change.

Next up, stadium! The course was fun!! Fleck was still pretty sluggish feeling but perked up in stadium warm up and jumped the fire out of some fences. It made my day because some railbirds asked me how old he was and seemed shocked when I told them 17. :) We finally got to go in and it was... ugly! Ugh..He just felt asleep still and behind my leg. I think I resorted to pony club kicking at some point. But he jumped clean despite my flailings! And a few lines were nice. I think it was probably nicer than it felt, but I was not thrilled with it. I was nervous about trying to ride "this" Fleck on XC. And worried... that something was wrong. But he felt great and was happy enough to jump around and was jumping beautifully. No stopping, no balking. Just... half asleep still. In his defense, it wasn't even 9 am yet I don't think and that's normally his wake up time. ;)

So it was time to get ready for XC and Beth had to ride Tucker, so I had to warm up myself. It was a bit daunting with the other 5 prelim riders, who were all seasoned pro's (at least in my eyes!). I think one girl was an ammy. But they were all super nice. I got to warm up and Fleck was finally waking up. We did a little gallop and then I jumped a jump or two and kicked him on landing to get him moving. And he was! He had woken up and was rarin' to go. YAY!!! THIS is the Fleck I know how to ride. I jumped him over the skinny chevron and he launched at it. I thought to myself that "Perhaps I should jump that from a proper canter rather than just running him at it", but didn't. And then it was my turn. I was the first horse on course. Daunting again, but I was feeling okay about it. The course looked super fun! It was a lot of roll backs and turning across the field and a lot of technical stuff, but nothing super huge. It was all stuff I knew we could do, but I knew I was going to have to ride smart.
And... I blew it! I started out okay but I think I let time play a factor. He jumped the first four fences like a boss and we were on our way. The fifth fence was the skinny chevron downhill to the ditch. I ran him at it and he got underneath it but jumped, with me on his head. I landed on his head as we got to the ditch but he heaved over anyways. Good boy!!! Then up the hill to the fairly spooky cabin, which he only briefly looked at. Then, our shining moment! The downhill rolltop to the corner. I thought it was only 2 or 3 strides but on the helmet cam it may have been four for us. I don't know.. he rode it beautifully so it doesn't matter. Jump, lock on, canter over. :) Gorgeous fences! And honestly, that was one I was more worried about. So then we cantered on to the giant trakenher and he took a tiny peek but only a tiny peek. Up the hill to the upright brush and he went happily over. And then.... our undoing. I was probably most worried about this, despite the fact that we had done the double down bounce the day before. This should have been nothing. But I let him haul butt up the hill and then we had to roll back down to it. A skinny tall hanging log to the drop bank, bending slightly to the swoop brush. And I ran him around the corner, lost his shoulder, and of course he stopped at the skinny. I knew it was coming and just couldn't get it together. So crap... We circled and I collected his canter more and he jumped, then jumped down and landed in a heap off to the left, but turned and jumped the swoop brush at a severe angle. Good boy. At this point, I was a little sad but figured it was bad riding and the rest of the course would hopefully go well now that I was paying attention to how I was riding. He jumped the barrels nicely and then we crossed the valley and turned to the angled trakenher. It was set so that you could almost make it a corner (it was angled over the ditch) because after landing you had to immediately turn right to make the very sharp line to the small drop into the water. Fleck sailed over the trakenher like a beast and then... stopped at the water! I was rather surprised. Looking back now, I think I had him so big to sail over the trakenher, then never got him collected or got his shoulder, and just surprised him. However, I circled back thinking... it's just a tiny drop into the water, and he stopped again. Man... elimination... I should have withdrawn after the first stop into the water and that was my plan... NOT GET ELIMINATED. But my dumb self was too stubborn, and I also forgot we only get three at prelim. So.. eliminated.

I felt so bad... I was really worried about him being sluggish and kept saying I wasn't going to ride him XC if he didn't man up and wake up. And I asked him to wake up and be game. And he did! And then I let him down by running him off his feet instead of setting him up in the proper collected canter. I KNOW he can't jump technical stuff when he's strung out and on that long of a stride. I KNOW he likes the smaller step, especially going downhill. I wanted to cry. It would be one thing if he had still been asleep.. but he manned up for me. And then I let him down. :(

But at least it was me being a bad rider and not him not understanding. So we watched everyone else and headed home.

After the fact... I think his knees were starting to bother him again. Not enough for him to be blatant and really for him to even stop at the drops or the downhill stuff. But just enough that having already jumped halfway around and down the steep drop, and after doing all the drops the day before, AND combined with me not supporting him....I think he finally just said "I really don't want to,  not without your help and support". So... I was planning on doing another IRAP round anyways, as I was thinking his knees were maybe starting to bother him. So since I will be out of town for 9 days, it's perfect timing. He'll get a super easy month this June, no jumping, IRAP, and we'll see how he feels. Hopefully he'll be back in action soon and we can redeem ourselves. :)

And I'm sure he's forgiven me for letting him down. He's a stand up guy. :)

Here's the helmet cam up until the first stop at the water. XC run at Paradise