Thursday, June 11, 2015

3 Things

1. We have a new addition to our eventing team!

Less than a day old. She was born in the early morning on 6/10/2015.
My trainer has a client that breeds warmbloods. She thoroughly enjoys researching the proper stallion matches for mares, and it's quite interesting. She tries to match the mare and stallion's movement, strengths and weaknesses (I'm guessing these are things you should always do anyway!) and spends quite a bit of time shopping around for the right stallion. One of my trainer's other clients was traveling out of the country for at least 2 years, and had a nice warmblood mare that she didn't know what to do with. So my trainer took her on a broodmare lease and sent the mare to be artificially inseminated last year in the hopes of getting a quality foal to raise and train to be an event horse.

Yesterday was the long awaited day, a nice healthy filly was born! No name yet obviously, but it apparently has to start with a C due to her sire's name and registering restrictions.

The filly's daddy: Cornet Obolensky
We were all hoping for a gray filly (trainer doesn't want to have to maintain a stallion at a boarding barn and all of her upper level horses have been gray). At first glance, we were like, aww she's adorable, but definitely won't be gray! At second glance, she is going to be gray- you can tell by looking around her eyes, they're black/gray. When she sheds out her baby fluff, she'll be on her way to gray! She only has an adorable upside down exclamation point on her face, no other white markings.

The plan is for the filly to come home to the home farm between weanling age and yearling age, and the mare might be bred again. But the filly will do all the in hand showing (a goal is to show at Devon) and go to mare/broodmare inspection and in general do all the fancy warmblood registration things. But in general, for several years she'll just be loved on and get used to human touch.

2. My cavaletti are done!

And they were trainer approved, and gladly accepted as additions to the outdoor! She has commissioned us to make 4 sets for her, but I can't seem to get Husband on board (we'd be paid for our time and materials), but he has other projects he's working on. I'm trying to figure out if they would turn out as nicely if I did them entirely myself. I did all the measuring, routing, sanding and half the cutting myself, but he did the cutting that required hand held precision and the final assembly (the boards were HARD and the screws weren't easy to get in).

Material costs for 8 blocks (items purchased from Lowes):
  • 2x4x8' Treated boards, $7.94 (2 @ $3.97 each)
  • 2x12x8' Treated boards, $24.94 (2 @ $12.47 each)
  • 1lb box of 2.5" Exterior Deck Screws, $8.47
  • Approximately $1 worth of glue, if that (we had a bottle at home)

Final cost, after tax: $45.31, and 6 hours of labor.

That doesn't include the paint, but I kind of like them as wood. We can't paint them for another year anyway, the wood was still a bit soppy. It needs to spend a summer drying out in the outdoor arena's hot sun!

I am super excited to have them, watch out Mikey!

Some assembly required. The last 6 blocks, cut, routed, sanded, and ready for assembly!
A picture that shows all of the height options next to each other.
A stackable option. I didn't have enough beams to do it, but I want to fill in underneath by putting a pole in each of the full holes, turning the bottom blocks around so the half hole is up and then putting a pole in each of those, so you have a very liney hogsback jump. With enough blocks (another 2 sets required), you could make a nice 3' tall, 3' wide triple bar.
I brought the blocks out yesterday and set them up in the arena as 8 raised trot poles.
I spaced them at 4', which I found to be a bit short.
Yupp, I drove the blocks down to the outdoor. It's a quarter mile walk one way, and I couldn't carry more than two blocks at a time!
3. Mikey is awesome!

Mikey got his hind shoes back Monday, and yesterday was the first time I had worked with them on since before his surgery. The difference was INCREDIBLE. He had a few touchy moments, as if he expected some foot pain, but as soon as he realized he had his support back, he was super and sure about his hind end. All of the iffy hind end movement I've been feeling since April went away. He actually feels better now than he did pre-accident.

I worked him through the line of 8 raised poles, and he was a champ. I've never worked through that many at once (raised or not)- never had the space/poles/time/blocks to do it. The first time through he was like, "ahhh!", then the next time he tried to hurry through, but I kept my posting trot rhythm and he finally settled into a lofty trot through them. I did shorten my stirrups a hole so I had better support through the poles in case he got wonky. Super long dressage legs in posting trot don't give that much support.

Going through a line of more than 4 poles was awesome and it had an immediate effect on Mikey's trot. I've always had a hard time keeping him through and connected in poles, but the sheer number of lofting efforts helped him look for the connection on his own. I'm sure he was poking his nose out a bit, but he wasn't inverting and using the underneck muscles. He usually drags his hind toes in trot. The immediate effect of a prolonged effort was no more toe dragging. He kept the swing in his back and hind end the whole way around the arena. He'd reengage when we got back to the poles, then carry on for a lap, reengage, carry on, etc. He'd seek out the contact and connection immediately after getting out of the poles.

I changed it up to trot through the poles, pick up canter, canter around the arena to the beginning of the poles, trot, do a 10-15m circle to rebalance (he's simply not strong enough right now to hold the engagement and connection and not fall on his face in downward transitions), trot the poles, repeat.

I'd add in a couple canter poles on the far sides of the arena. An interesting thing I noticed was he never rushed the canter poles, ever, after learning not to rush the trot poles. I had that problem the couple times I used canter poles last week. He'd wait and listen to me for a stride size, then sit down and keep to it. I was very pleased.

I tried to keep the ride going with the thoughts and ideas of this video in mind. I found it when I was looking for cavaletti.

I plan on using poles like this a couple times a week (we only work them for 20-30 min) to help get him strong again, try to find that incredible trot he has when no one's sitting on him, and to keep/increase the flexibility in his bad hock. I also plan on using them to get his medium/extended trots better engaged and lofty.

He was simply incredible last night, very strong behind. I'm 99% sure he's going to be ready to go 2nd/3rd level in August! I just need to add his lateral work back in. I assume if the hock holds up to working through cavaletti, it'll hold up to the lateral work.

Looking over the poles before heading back to the barn.

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