Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Trailer Improvement Suggestions

Olivia at DIY Horse Ownership posted a tutorial for putting in a new tack room floor.  Trails (and trials) also has a tack room modification. This is now high on my list as I hate the carpet in my trailer tack room.

However, this leads my to another issue. My tack room leaks. Does anyone else have trouble with this? I think it actually condensates more than it leaks. Have any of you added insulation to you trailer tack room?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Much Better

Roz had a successful hour out in the pasture today (with out me standing watch). I set up a pen by the field and Roz was much happier with his donkey on babysitting duty. However, Liam was not a happy camper. By the time I came back out to bring them in he was mad! He charged out of the pen and thought about trying to drag me back to the barn. It was pretty funny because he's such a tiny little guy. I pulled him to a stop and told him to knock it off. He then jogged back to the barn in a fairly obedient manner. He's seriously so cute! He'll have to continue babysitting until Emi comes home but I actually think a dry lot/holding pen, next to the pasture, is a great idea. That could come in handy for Emi too who does not need unlimited time on lush green pasture. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A Horse and His Donkey

Roz had his first turn out in the pasture at the new house. It went great for the first 30 minutes or so as I was snapping pictures and my nephews were hanging out with me.


He might be 25 but he's still got it

So much grass!
And then....we all walked away. Game over. He started screaming and galloping like a maniac. Of course I hadn't gone far so I went right back out to catch him. He was in such a dither it took me a little bit to catch him. By the time I got him stopped he was huffing and puffing and starting to sweat. We walked around for a while and I hand grazed him for a bit before taking him back to his paddock. I think that we are going to make a small pen for Liam, so that I can bring him over to the pasture as well (since it's on the other side of the farm). It's always something!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Any Tips?

Asking for a friend (really), do you struggle with memorizing your dressage tests? Do you use a reader? If not, why? What are your best tips and tricks for memorizing your test?

On another note, I had a great ride on Emi tonight. She came out wound up so I opted for a quick lunge as I hadn't ridden her since last Thursday. A few minutes of lunging and one huge buck later she looked like the kind of horse I'd like to ride. It's amazing to me how much she seems to have grown up in the last month or two. She's feeling more and more broke and is becoming pretty reliable.

We have a clinic in about a month and I'm super excited to get more input. The only real problem I've had with starting Emi myself is knowing when it's time to push her further. At this time I think we are definitely ready to up the ante. Today Emi was pretty sure she had no idea what giving to the bit would mean. I could hear JW warning me to be careful that I don't let her out of the contact when she won't go. In other words, don't throw away the contact to get her to go as that will quickly teach her that sucking back solves the question of having contact. Tonight was one of the first nights where we really had a discussion about it. Luckily for me, Emi discussions usually last about, oh, 10 steps. Haha.

I was careful to push her forward and not give up the contact and after llama necking half a circle she gave it up. I tried to be really aware of whether or not she was actually being soft or if she was just faking it. My attention to detail paid off and by the time we finished up she felt awesome. I could have ridden longer but I know she was tired.

Since we are tackling Intro C at our next show we worked on several canter transitions and got some that were decent. I'm excited to see if JW thinks we are at a point where I can start to influence the canter.  The last time we saw her, in February, she still didn't feel like Emi was ready so I've basically been riding her around in a nice forward canter but not asking anything more than that.

Thursday is going to be Emi's first ride with someone other than me.  A good friend is going to ride her 2-3 times while I'm at Rolex. I'm excited to see how she does with a different rider and also what Melissa thinks of her.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Arena Planning

I'm currently in the planning phase for an outdoor arena. When I was discussing my plans with my farrier, he mentioned another client who had an arena put in recently. He thought she's be willing to talk with me and she said yes. It was fun to see her arena and to discuss the process with her. Her arena was just put in this past fall and she's been very happy with it. We've had a super rainy winter and she's been able to ride in it all winter long. There were two things she would change...1) she'd make it bigger 2) she would have planned better on how she was going to water it in the summer.

I'm calling the person installed hers tomorrow, and I've got another person who will be coming out soon to give me a bid. I'm curious if anyone else has had an outdoor arena put it. Any advice? Things you like, things you would change? I'm so excited!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

It's Hard to be Three - Day 2

Sunday we had test two for our team division. I hadn’t signed up for an open class as I thought Emi would have probably had enough by this point in the weekend. As expected, she came out nice and quiet for our warm up. Once in the show arena the tension returned full force. She started calling as soon as we got in there. Have you ever noticed that when your horse isn’t ready to start their test the judge rings the bell way too soon? That’s what happened for us. I was doing my best to settle her when the judge rang the bell….so off we went. 

Emi wanted to look around so bad and was calling away. We were managing alright until we got back by the exit door. Just as we turned to start our free walk a horse came clopping in to the area outside the door. Emi wanted to turn around and look so bad! We blew both our free walk and medium walk (getting a 2.5 on both plus an error for her stopping during the free walk portion). I was so thankful to get back to the trot work since that gives me a little more to work with. Just as we started our second trot circle a train whistle echoed through the arena. At this point all I could do was smile since things were so not going according to plan. We made our final turn down centerline and executed a nice halt. That test was really not what I wanted to end on but sometimes it just “is what it is.” 

Further remarks on this test: “Some tension this test really affecting the walk work. Rider did well with tactful riding.” The collective marks were all really low. 6 for gaits, 5 for impulsion, 5 for submission, 6 for rider position, 5.5 for effectiveness of the aids, and 6 for geometry and accuracy. This resulted in a final score of 53.438%. Ouch! I was a little disappointed that both halts only scored a 6.5 as both felt really good (and had scored well the previous day). I was also disappointed with the collective marks. One thing about dressage that I find frustrating at times is the wide variety in scoring (and this was all the same judge). I had scored a 7.5 and a 7 the previous day on my position and got a 6 for this test. Let’s be honest, it’s not as if my riding miraculously changed overnight! I understand that how my horse is going reflects on how I’m riding it but sometimes how your horse is going has less to do with how it’s being ridden and more with it’s emotional state. Does anyone else think that can be true? 

At the end of the day I’m still thrilled with how well Emi’s doing. I’ve had more than one person comment that they are glad to hear she’s not always perfect. It was a great outing and she gained some valuable miles this weekend. I’m pleased that despite her level of anxiety I was still able to ride her and she didn’t have any major explosions. I feel like I rode her well and did a good job thinking while doing my test. There are definitely things that we need to keep working on and ways that I could be riding her better but we are getting there. 

Since I have no plans to sell her I don't mind sharing what a lovely 53% at Intro looks like. Haha.

As it turned out, her high score and low score averaged out for Reserve Champion in her division. Our team was also Champion of our team division. Emi got her first Reserve Champion ribbon, a whip and I got a medal. It was a nice way to end the weekend. 

My barn mates and I 
Now we have about another month before our next league show, where we will be doing Intro C for the first time. I guess I better keep practicing those canter transitions. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

It's Hard to be Three - Day 1

If you follow me on Instagram you've seen me use the hashtag "it's hard to be three." Emi definitely thought that was the case this weekend. We went to our third show, which was a league show called the Adult Team Show. As the name implies, it's a show for adults only and is run as a team competition. Teams are made up of 3 or 4, divided into divisions and off you go.

Emi and I had a team ride and an open class ride on the schedule for Saturday morning. She warmed up fine and accepted a fairly busy warm up arena with out any trouble. The competition is held at our State Fairgrounds and it has a pretty cool old arena that is used for showing. I love the character of the arena but it can be a bit of an intimidating location as the arena is very enclosed and isolated feeling. Emi walked in for her open ride (Into B) and the horse in front of us walked out...Emi was not thrilled with this situation. Although our test was marked with tension she remained rideable and settled more as the test continued. You'll see in the video that she really stalled out and was looking in the walk portion of the test. That end of the court was lined up perfectly with the doors leading out of the arena and she was able to catch a glimpse of the horses outside in the warm up arena. Not only did her looking affect the medium walk but also our free walk across the diagonal, which is normally a good move for her.

After that test we had about 30 minutes before our ride for our team competition, which was Intro A. I gave her a break before trotting around a bit more and heading in for our next test. She was more rideable and less anxious, and I came out feeling better about our efforts than with the first test.

After getting Emi put away I was changing when a friend found me to tell me that my test, ribbon and prize were all back at my stall. What!? Emi had won her open ride class with a 63.438%. Our prize was a glass thermos with "Oregon Dressage Society" on it. Cool! Further remarks: "Cute horse and pair. Connection into hand needs development - try to maintain steady activity in walk."

It wasn't too long after that, that results came out for Intro A. We won that class also with a 72.500%. We got a 6.5 on submission but everything else was a 7 or 8 with one 8.5 for her final halt. Further remarks were "well ridden, lovely moments, try to steady connection into hand (half halt).