Monday, September 12, 2016

Crunch Time

We're getting down to the wire- we leave for Championships on Thursday.

At least I haven't starting freaking out yet. I might have obsessed over the ride times and figuring out how many are in all my tests (Friday: 1-2 has 17 horses, 1-3 has 16. Saturday: 1-3 has 17 horses. Sunday: Championship 1-3 has 29). But I've actually been really good about not freaking out, all things considered (just wait and talk to me on Wednesday or Thursday).

USDF sent out Preliminary Year End Standings two weeks ago. I checked out where Penn and I were when they sent it out, we were a lackluster 119th place or something in the First Level AA with a median of 63.603. I was like, "Wow, I guess we aren't doing so well this year." I checked out the listing after this last horse show... Penn and I made a huge leap up the ranks, to 31st out of 198 horses! You have to have 8 scores with a median of over 60% to make the list, and we had 8 before the last show. It seems you get drop sub-60 scores once you have more than 8 scores, because our median jumped to 67.941% (I dropped a 58 and gained a 67 and 69!). I'm so super pleased to be so far up the ranking. I do not expect to move up any more- in fact I expect we'll move back down some as riders go to their championships and earn more high scores. But it helped soothe my nerves a bit since we got to drop our worst score, which was actually our first recognized score, so yes, we've improved a ton this summer and I can hopefully expect to keep scoring 67-69% this weekend. Just a cool bit of information.

So what has Penn been up to in this last week for prep?

Being stinking cute, that's what!

Almost nothing. I'm actually starting to check out a little. I always feel a bit drained after a horse show, but the desire to go to the barn isn't there. Not good.

He had Tuesday off after his long adventurous weekend. He earned it!

I rode him Wednesday and Thursday in the small court we have in the outdoor and worked on walk-halt-walk, trot-halt-trot, canter-walk-canter. I checked on our shallow loops too since he did a couple flying changes in the last week. Everything worked well. I drilled the halts though- he's been resting a hind way too much in them. After two days of working, he doesn't rest a hind too often and I've learned a bit more about how to ask him to halt properly (it's such a skill). He may not be perfectly square every time, but he at least has even weight on each foot. Otherwise, he felt nice and sharp and I didn't feel the need to school anything else. I can only mentally exhaust him and break his training at this point. I am going to add halts to the end of our warm up plan. He doesn't start off well in them, but gets sharper with practice.

He was off Friday and Saturday because he saw the chiropractor Friday afternoon.

Sunday I loaded him up and took him to Trainer's barn for a trail ride with our old trail riding buddy. We briefly visited Mikey's grave, I teared up severely as I said hi to him, then we kept going.

Penn is off today because it'll be his last day off until next Monday (I didn't feel right riding him 8 days in a row), and I really need time at home to clean the house and do laundry before we leave on Thursday. I want all the show and horse laundry done so I can pack it all in the trailer on Wednesday and then do last minute laundry Wednesday afternoon/evening.

We have our last lesson tomorrow evening. I want to go over our last few tests and touch on making the lengthen trot better on the straight line, work the halts again, and smooth the leg yields. I don't think there's anything else to do, just smooth things over.

I'll probably write up a lesson review in the truck on Thursday while we're driving, but then I probably won't write again until after Championships (or maybe I'll do cell phone updates, I donno, I haven't decided). But just in case, I'll see you all on the other side.