Thursday, September 8, 2016

Bullet Points of the AEC's

I will go into more detail later but the general results of the AEC's go like this…

Best dressage test ever with Chimi!

I suck at time management and f'd up my xc start time which potentially resulted in me screwing up how I rode through the water at 7 (it was a not so simple water crossing) and Chimi spooked at the 2 jumps in front which resulted in a clear round… oh wait… they changed my results a couple hours later and gave me 20 penalties for a stop at the water… grrrrrrrr… angry face…sad face… accepting face… ( must go through the 6 stages of grief over a jump hahaha!)

Stadium was in the fancy ass George Morris arena and woohoo a clear round!!! Even cantered past the scary Land Rovers parked in the middle of the ring!

Happy with results overall even if I was a bit disappointed with the stop on xc. I did try to argue it but it didn't work. But at the end of the weekend I came home with smiles and a happy healthy horse so what more could I ask for? There is always next time for a ribbon!!! (We would of been 7th if they hadn't counted the stop)

Headed to jump 15 at the AEC's

Monday, August 29, 2016

Dressage Woes and Impending Personal Olympics

I have an embarrassing amount of unfinished blog posts sitting in my drafts folder… Sorry folks! But here's attempt #4,042 (or something like that hahaha)

Schooling HT at Jumping Branch in February 
Somedays I have a fruitcake for a horse and other days I have the most rock solid bombproof tank. I regularly take Chimi out on trail rides by himself and we easily encounter 10-60 deer while we're out. Do they bother him? No- not even when I jump because they've surprised me! But the fruitcake side of Chimi...well it tends to show up at shows, and even more specifically in the warm up. Why are our warm ups so terrible you ask? Well it's because the other horses freak him out when they get to close. Chimi will stop and run backwards if a horse approaches from the front and will leap forward if a horse comes up from behind. Normally these horses are being very respectful and not traveling to close so it really is just a Chimi issue not terrible rider problems. Unfortunately this leaves an already alert and tense Chimi very frazzled and even more tight and tense so our dressage ends up being crap. We keep getting nailed about him being short and tight and I just haven't figured the best way to deal with this at a show. 

On a hunter pace this past spring

At home Chimi is pretty darn awesome and my coach regularly comments "now why can't he do that trot in the dressage ring? You would win with that trot!" He can be so lovely and have the most fabulous ground eating trot when I ride out on the trails or in my front field and  even in the ring during our lessons. But as soon as we get to a show all hell breaks lose.

Love the view from the cross country course at FENCE

Our first show of the season was FENCE HT and I thought we were doing fairly ok. I knew we weren't going to get a 20 or anything crazy but I figured a mid to upper 30 would be about where we landed. Instead we ended up with 41.6 and the judge said we weren't forward enough. Ok, I can live with that bc it was very true- Chimi felt like he was trotting through molasses the entire test and I was worried if I pushed him that he might explode. Even with our terrible score we weren't in last place and we finished the weekend with double clear XC and some random time faults in stadium (how the hell did we go to slow in stadium???? Still not sure)

Not sure how it happened but we got 2nd at Windridge which was our first qualifying score

As the season progressed I did get a little better about riding him more forward  in our dressage test but then he started losing his canter leads on the long side before we were suppose to trot. At the most recent event he gave me the most lovely flying change from the left to right lead which resulted in a score of 4 for that movement. I've worked with my coach trying to fix this problem by riding him in a slight shoulder fore down the long side and if I can keep him together it works. But he's so frickin big that sometimes I lose him and he'll swap behind and it turns to crap.

we squeaked by with a 5th place at River Glen which was our last qualifying score! 

And now I've got the biggest event I've ever participated in looming in front of me and I can't help but feel a little underprepared. Chimi and I somehow qualified for the AEC's and in 3 days we will be trotting down centerline at TIEC and competing against other adult amateurs who probably get scores of 20's in their sleep. As much as I would like to come home with a ribbon (ok I'd really like to WIN) I'm ok with whatever place we get as long as we finish on our dressage score. But this is horses and I am just going to ride my best and hopefully it will work out in the end! Just look at the Rio Olympics- top eventers had problems on the course for various reasons and unfortunately had run outs or fell off. So going into my own personal Olympics (who cares if it's just Beginner Novice!) I'm going to do my best and we'll see how the weekend shakes out!!!!

He at least looks cute

Here's to hoping a miracle happens and all my dressage woes disappear and Chimi continues to be beasty awesome on XC and he listens to me in stadium!!!! AEC's we're coming for you!!!

a little luck on our side?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Snow Shenanigans!

As I'm sure everyone is aware this past weekend Winter Storm Jonas harassed much of the Mid Atlantic region. Here in the foothills of NC/SC we got our fair share of the snow (though nothing compared to DC and up areas!) but nonetheless a lot of snow for this area with a total ranging from 6"-8"ish.
Why I have to buy good blankets- the boys like to play!

It started snowing here Thursday night/Friday morning around 2:00 am. I had kicked my ponies out in the back pasture after I fed thurs evening and planned to bring them in around 11 before the snow started falling. I totally fell asleep on the couch and when I woke up it was 1:30am! Oops! Ponies didn't mind though- it hadn't started precipitating so they were still dry. I topped up their water buckets with hot water that I carried down from the house, gave them plenty of hay, and kissed their velvety noses goodnight and walked back up to the house just as it started to snow. 

Zion, Nova, and Jello running through the woods

The next morning there was a blanket of pretty white fluffy snow covering the ground and I couldn't help but giggle with excitement because there was SO MUCH SNOW!!!!!! Usually we get 2"-3" of icey snow but this time we had 5"+ glorious inches of the perfect fluffy snow! The dogs were jumping up and down at the door filled with doggy excitement and as soon as I opened the door they flew into the snow and frolicked around. Hope, our tripod beagle mix wasn't so excited about the snow and immediately ran back inside because this snow was touching her poor little belly! But the other dogs, especially the hairy ones were so excited to be running around in the snow. I grabbed my camera, hot water bucket, soaked hay cubes, and headed to the barn. 

Vida watching

After feeding the ponies and taking pictures of the dogs, I let the ponies outside in the back pasture. It was sorta sleeting but the ponies were all cozy in their waterproof blankets and I knew that if I didn't let them stretch their legs I'd have a few angry ponies! Plus my guys are barefoot so I don't worry about snow packing into their hooves like a shod horse. Right now I only have 3 horses at my place bc of the flooding issue. I can manage 3 horses and 2 working stalls but not 4. So Marley is boarded at my neighbors for now and Gus is at my mom's (Marley and Gus switch out as the 4th horse at my house based on various reasons such as grass or if one is being ridden and at which location-basically it's complicated but it works) and I have Arrow, Finn, and Chimi with me. 

Chimi and Finn being silly boys

As soon as I let the ponies out they trotted around shoving their noses into the snow and frolicking around like teenage boys. Finn and Chimi started rough housing while Arrow stood patiently off to the side not wanting to be involved with the shenanigans that the boys were up to. And oh boy- Finn and Chimi were having a blast! They were biting at each other's blankets, rearing, kicking out, playing chase, rolling, and just having a blast! All play was totally harmless and very little contact was actually made, the pictures look worse than it actually was, they were just having a great time in the snow!

Finn says- I'm taller than you! Chimi laughs in his face

After they got their sillies out I tossed them some hay, cleaned the barn, and headed up to the house to enjoy my snow day :) The dogs had enough playtime and were ready to come inside until later on. That evening I brought the ponies in and left them in their stalls overnight. We got another 1"+ and had around 6" of snow the next morning. We were suppose to get another 5" but the storm moved more north and we were able to escape with only 6"-8" (some friends in the area measured 8" at their house) instead of the 2ft of snow the more northern areas got! 

Nova in her "natural" habitat

Now 5 days later most of our snow is gone and the ground is sloppy wet. It should dry out by this weekend with temperatures climbing into the 60's (YAY!!!) and sun in the forcast. I'm glad I live in an area where snow is exciting and rare. I'm happily exhausted from the extra work the snow brings but very glad it's over too! I'm looking forward to getting back in the saddle and prepping for this season's events!!!!!!

Finn being silly