Monday, June 8, 2015

Warning: Whiney Content, then Non-Whiney Content

So I'm thinking I won't be taking Cody to a USDF/USEF show in July. The close date is in 2 weeks, then the show is just 3 weeks after that. He's still on vacation and it's getting close enough that it's not fair to ask him to do the work with only 4-5 weeks prep after being off for two months. And I would really like to ride him for more than two weeks before the show (trainer will be riding him for a week or two first I'm sure). Without an indoor (so riding will be as footing allows) or dressage arena to school figures/ride a test to see if I can even get through a test with him, I'm getting to a point where I don't feel prepared. Plus I haven't even been schooling the movements on my own horse. Or sitting the trot (umm I tried sitting the trot the other day, those muscles are gone and need reconditioned ASAP). I liked that particular show because it was a 3 day show so I would have 6 chances to get two third level scores above 60%. Also, waiting for another show isn't really an option- he's going to be getting super fit again for the fall 3* eventing circuit again come August/September and he'll have his own schedule to keep to.

Oh well. I'm feeling pressured to be ready because it'll be a hideously expensive weekend. If I'm not ready, I'm wasting a lot of money. So I guess I'm not really itching to go. It's just over $400 in entry fees (not bad for 4 days of stabling and 6 classes I thought), plus 4 days of coaching (I'm not taking him without my trainer to coach us), hauling/gas (I refuse to haul a horse as valuable as he is by myself), food, and either hotel or RV hookups. Plus paying my member fees, Cody's USDF HID number (not expensive), and probably for my trainer's membership (owner has to be a member too!) since it's not something she would do on her own. I'm looking at close to $1000 for one weekend I'm sure.

If I was going to take him, I was going to make sure I did it right. Now I'm not sure I can, so I'm unwilling to spend the money. I'll save it and take Mikey in August and September, he should be good by then.

I also wanted to get my bronze on a horse I trained, and on an OTTB. I don't like the idea of borrowing a horse just to get it done with, but borrowing a Rolex horse would have been super sweet! He's not an easy ride either, so I felt better about borrowing a horse just to get my medal.

So now I wait for my horse to get back up to par. I'm worried we'll hit the same wall we did before, and stall out and stop advancing. We spent a whole summer trying to get his changes together last year, and I spent the fall working in an indoor on it and had OK luck at it. When he was changing leads consistently, I couldn't ride him consistently due to poor footing from a lack of indoor, so we'd rush it when the footing was good, so now the changes are a baggage filled movement. I know he's capable of them, but now it's going to be even harder due to his hock injury.

I'm also looking at the impending winter without an indoor arena, again. They're working on getting one at our farm this year, but I'm sure if they don't start soon (by August I'm guessing), it's not happening, and then from November to March, I won't be able to ride during the week for lack of somewhere safe (unfrozen) with lights to ride. To be honest, I'd be happy with a covered arena. Put up a roof, plywood kick boards to keep most snow drifts out and I'd be happy. Don't need footing, we already ride on clay/sand anyway, just drag it or roll it smooth. The ground would still freeze, but it would be smooth and well lit. All I can do is hope. After the debacle this past winter at our winter house, I'm hesitant to look again and I think my trainer might kill me. I have a place in mind, but I'm still afraid to pull Mikey from a barn he loves so much.

Geez, this post is taking a turn for the whiney and depressed. Sorry! I think I'm feeling burnt out from last year's stressing about showing and 'finally getting it done this year', Mikey's injury, and lack of monetary funding. Showing isn't even high on my list of things to do this year. Maybe I should just retire Mikey and we'll take up trail riding 24/7.

So how about the good things this weekend?

Mikey was a superstar on our weekly trail ride Saturday. I took one of the older ladies (not old by any means, but almost twice my age!) and my trainer's soon to be stepson (he's 8ish) out for a walk in the woods. Mikey was quiet and went on the buckle without any nervous chomping like last week. The other lady and I chatted about how both of our OTTBs are quiet and wonderful trail horses, if American Pharoah would win the triple crown, etc. We had a lovely ride.

Mikey got a shave after we got back to the barn. His bridle path was about 3inches long, his whiskers were about the same and getting caught in the buckles of his Micklem, he had that goat hair from throat to chin, and he was starting to grow almost respectable feathers.

On Sunday, I took Mikey back to the outdoor to work over the poles again. I tried setting some of them up on the base of the jump standards, which worked out really well until he wacked them and they fell down and I didn't have a jump crew to put them back up. So I kept riding with them down.

One of my raised rails. It didn't stay that way for long.

Mikey is unimpressed by the exercise as I'm setting it up.

The work wasn't as nice as Thursday's, but Mikey had a lot of try (dont be mislead by the above picture!) and the canter work came together at the end with some nice circuits of poles where we kept the throughness and rhythm for several laps of poles, and it was to the right!

I decided I am going to use Husband's workshop to make these:

The red ones. And not exactly like those. Those have pole settings 6"-8"-10"-12". I don't think with Mikey's hock injury we should be doing 12" high trot poles or whatever. I probably wouldn't even use the 10"!
I figure I'll buy a 12" x 2" x 16' pressure treated board, cut it into 16-1' squares, glue and screw two squares together for 8 "uprights", sand them smooth, drill a 4" hole into them, paint them white, and voila, I'll have 8 "uprights" to either make 4 totally raised poles, or 8 half raised poles, or a mix and match.

I am tired of having poles roll away from me. I don't have a really good way of setting up raised poles either. Making 8 should cost around $70 (after buying the 4" hole saw since husband doesn't have one that big) where buying the 2 red ones above cost $70.

I have sent my idea to Husband, complete with Excel-drawn diagrams of what I want. He has already countered with CAD-drawn diagrams. I'll keep you posted! I'm really excited about these.

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