Friday, January 29, 2016

Feeling better about our re-re-re-re-re-debut at Prelim next weekend. :)

We had a jump lesson today with Beth at Wishing Tree. It was great!! And I am soooooo glad that I trusted my instinct on the saddle. SOOO much easier on both of us. :) 

So yep... we jumped out in the jump field. And my dumb self got distracted and forgot to stud Fleck, but it wasn't too bad. We slid in a few spots but when I rode properly by putting my hands down and using my inside leg and outside rein, Fleck was much more balanced and didn't slide. :) So... yeah.... there's that. ;)

Beth pushed us pretty hard which was perfect. The fences looked a little big but Fleck was in beast mode and just hopped over all of them. We worked on courses and me keeping my hands low, keeping Fleck supple and on the bit and balanced. And.. .its' amazing how that thought process gets me riding properly so that Fleck can keep a more balanced adjustable canter. And then he can go into beast mode jumping. :) 

We were a little frantic the first trip or two through but then once I concentrated on my hands, it got MUCH better. Our last course was actually pretty darn good. And Fleck was jumping the crap out of those big ass fences. We finished over the chevron and Beth said that the standards were 4 feet. It wasn't on the top hole, but the top of the chevron was even with the top of the 4 foot standards. And we nailed it!! 3, 2, 1, and float over :) Even the big oxers weren't bad :) 

Yay!! Hoping for a great XC school tomorrow at Cedar Ridge and then another good stadium lesson, either back at WT or at Ashland, before Sporting Days. :) :) 

Sneaking it in....

I managed to get home early enough to get a ride in. I'm feeling the pressure of Sporting Days Prelim re-re-re-re-re-debut in a week. But it was nice to get to ride both boys. :) I hopped on Dan first to give Fleck's meds a chance to kick in (his respiratory meds) and was hoping for a nice hack on Dan so that I could then figure out what to do with Fleck. Well, Dan didn't quite cooperate. Of course. ;) So I ended up having the nice hack on Fleck. Especially with him missing that hind shoe still.

We finished as the sun was setting and as we were taking a picture I heard a voice say "Hi Holly".... I could not find where it was coming from to save my life. The sun was in my eyes. But luckily Fleck didn't freak out and we finally saw Alex and Ti coming out of the woods. :) We hacked back to the trailers with them. Of course at that point the sunset was glorious!!! I can't quite figure out how to time it at Ashland. Oh well. We had a good ride.

I think we ended up doing 5 ish miles. We walked and trotted and cantered a good bit too but nothing regimined. We just played. It was nice. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Favorite and most Frustrating

Sigh... I love Fleck. I do.. He really is my favorite. But man is he frustrating. And it's not his fault. It's my doing. 11 years of riding him like I have been have created some very bad habits in us both. And when we need to fix them, it's frustrating. I get annoyed with myself because I can't get it to work right and annoyed with him because he's not doing it right. But.... we're making progress. I just need to stop and think sometimes.

Today Fleck was so not laterally supple. He just didn't want to loosen up. Cindy was giving us exercises to try to get him to let go through his topline but it was not going well. I ended up hanging on the left rein because he kept popping that left shoulder out and just bending at the base of his neck, instead of through his back and ribs. Cindy calmly talked me down. She said that of course he is throwing out his left shoulder... he's not yielding at the girth on the right side. BUT... hanging on the left rein isn't going to solve it. The problem stemmed from the lack of bend at the ribs on the right. So she said that yes... I did need to fix the left stiffness, but I needed to get in and get out and not give him the crutch to hang on. And to focus more on getting the bend at the ribs. Ah... yes. I know... I KNOW THIS! But I get caught up in the old body habits. Argh. So once I let go of the left rein and softened and just suppled instead of hanging, it made a big difference. Tracking right I need to ride him shoulder in at all times. And even think a little bit about shoulder in and haunches in at the same time.

We swapped to the left to let his right side rest and wow!! We got an amazing left lead canter. :) It was awesome.

I just need to remember to breathe and think things through. Find the culprit and address it rather than just tugging at the glaring problem.

Night Riders

I got motivated and snuck in a ride. It's actually quite nice at Ashland in the evening if it's warm enough. We snuck in two laps around the XC field before it got too dark and then we enjoyed the lights. :) 

Fleck was a bit amped up and rarin' to go but we had some good rides. I had some "lightbulb" moments with not blocking him with my inside or outside leg (specifically with the spiral in and outs) and we had some good work. However, he was too amped up to get good canter trot canter change of directions. Sigh. Oh well. 

It was still a good ride overall and a beautiful night. We even heard the coyotes singing as we started our ride. Of course afterwards.. when the lights were off and it was just us.. It got creepy! Fleck was staring intently into the dark and I swear I heard some sort of scuffling noise. But I couldn't see anything as the moon hadn't yet risen. It really kinda gave me the heeby jeebies, so we booked it out of there. 


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Fitness with a race horse

Hitting the trails with Buddy and Cindy. Fleck couldn't let Buddy win. ;) But Buddy let Fleck win.
Still breathing heavy but clearly no problems going.

My Birthday!

snuck in a ride. it was FREEZING!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Beach Trip 2016

I really am the luckiest girl in the world! Fleck and I headed up to Hunting Island again for our third beach trip. This time we went with Kelli and Arwyn because Missy and Zhar couldn't come. It was great. Fleck likes Arwyn about as well as Zhar and they got along great. We had an absolute blast, despite the weather not quite cooperating as well this time around. 
We got there Thursday and it was late enough that we decided to let the ponies settle in and rest after the long haul. We headed out to get our beach passes and some groceries and dinner. I got oysters. I couldn't resist. And they were pretty darn tasty. We ended up at Plums again but missed the sunset by a lot. It was too cold to sit out on the back anyways. 
Friday we woke up to pouring rain. Sigh. We watched Lord of The Rings in the morning and then decided to go get lunch and go shopping while the weather was uncooperative. Of course once we got unhitched and headed towards Beaufort, the rain stopped and it ended up being quite nice. Windy, but not too chilly and the sun came out. Oh well. We had shrimp burgers for lunch and then we shopped and had fun. I found a really cool pair of silver hoop earrings that I've been wanting for awhile and then a funky fun necklace. By the time we were done shopping it was about time for dinner. We were giggling because we ended up at Dockside at 5 pm. We're soooo old. But we were hungry. And it turns out it was a good thing because they got crowded about 5:30 and started to have a line. Their she crab soup was delicious but the service was crap. 

Saturday was supposed to be sunny and nice so I made Kelli get up for sunrise. :) So glad we did. We had fun doing some photos and then went for a little ride and got the ponies acclimated to the waters. It was fun! We did some trotting and cantering and had a blast. Then we headed home for lunch and let the ponies chill a bit. We headed back out late afternoon, and it ended up being way later than we wanted but that was okay. We took the dresses (because of course we had to do fancy dress shots at the beach) and tried that. It got cold but the sunset was pretty. We snuck in a little ride too first. We rushed back for the pretty sunset light. And apparently a bunch of other people had the same idea. We were trying to get pretty shots and a bunch of people kept showing up and doing scary things and distracting things. Some little girl was waving a palm frond around. Then they brought out this huge dragon kite! Fleck was on edge! And then of course all of the people wanted to talk to us and pet the ponies. Which was fine, but... I was getting a little frustrated because I wanted pictures of Kelli while the light was good, Fleck was nervous and dancing around enough that I was a little worried he would either step on my bare feet or run into/over the random people wanting to pet us, and then the camera was misbehaving. So despite our best efforts, the lighting was just too tough for my camera and most of the shots were blurry. Argh! I felt so bad. Kelli wanted pretty beach shots so bad. We ended up eating dinner at home that night because it was so late by the time we got back. In fact, the park closes at 6, but we didn't leave til 6:30. We got to the gate and it was shut!!! Eeeeks. Thank goodness it wasn't latched though. Phew. 

Sunday morning was rainy again but it cleared pretty quick. We decided to hop on as soon as it cleared and head out from Camelot and go tour coffin point road and the sound. It was high tide at the beach anyways. We had fun. We went down the pretty tree lined road, saw the Forrest Gump tree, had a little gallop at the beach on the Sound, saw an egret on the way home, and just generally had a good ride. After a quick snack and rest for the ponies, we put on make up and put on more dresses and took some in the spanish moss in front of the house. There was much prettier views farther down coffin point road but we just ran out of time. So then we popped them in the trailer and headed back to the beach for another ride. We managed to get about an hour in and had some fun exploring and cantering. God was all around us. It was such a beautiful night. And thank goodness He was there for us, because we almost had a disaster. It was an important lesson to learn. As the tides were still fairly high when we started our ride, we hit the driftwood and there was still some at the edge of the water. We were cantering happily along and I happened to see a rock in the water, right where we were cantering. Arwyn managed to miss it but basically cantered right over it. Unfortunately since I was looking at her, I didn't notice all the debris and cinder blocks!!! right in front of me and Fleck. He tripped over something and pulled up. Luckily neither of them were hurt, though our hearts were pounding at the thought of what could have happened. So once we made sure that they had all their shoes, weren't cut and were fine, I wanted to trot to make sure he was sound. Not 4 strides into the trot we hit a sinkhole where a tree had come down or something and Fleck sunk up to his knee and tripped. Good grief!!! It was scary. So.. important lesson... do all the cantering and shenanigans long before we hit the driftwood and watch for sinkholes. Thanking God we continued on our way and didn't do any more trotting or cantering til we hit the open beaches again. 
 We managed to get back with just enough time to put on some pretty dresses for more picture attempts and this time we used the cell phones and got slightly better shots. Then it was time for dinner. We were so craving crab legs. We ended up at the Foolish Frog and it was delicious!!! But their oysters were horrible!!! Like slimy boogers and two of them even had little tiny crabs in them. Soooo gross. Somehow I did manage to mostly eat them, but ugh... Won't get oysters there again. But the crab legs were awesome!! And the service and atmosphere was great too.

Monday morning was our last day but we got up early again for sunrise. It was getting really cold but we got some great shots. We decided to come back home for a little bit and take a nap and pack and then head back out to ride. Technically check out was at 10 am but I doubt Mark and Anne would have noticed/cared. Of course we got distracted but I did manage to rest for a 45 minutes. Then we packed up and headed to the beach for one last ride. And it was awesome!!! We mostly walked but did a good bit of trotting and cantering and we both even got in two little short gallops! And this time I actually got Fleck IN THE WATER for the gallop. :) Yay!!!! It was so much fun. We stood for a bit and soaked it all in and Kelli said a prayer. Then we meandered and stalled a bit more, not wanting to go home. It was so pretty and lovely. Sigh... But we had to go. 

  Til next year beach!! It was a glorious trip!