Wednesday, September 27, 2017

9/4-5/2017 - Trail Riding and Lesson

Monday 9/4/2017:

Monday was turning out to be a beautiful day, but getting hot quick! Austen and I got to her barn, and I tried to see what Penn was up to- he was just chilling in his field in an apparent grass coma. Austen and I messed around with Baybuilt (a trim and a ride!), then she went over and fetched Guinness while I got Penn tacked up.

He made me walk across the entire field, then thought about running away! He was very happy out there by himself and did not want to be caught.

Penn kind of stopped eating well on this trip- he didn't eat all of his dinner, and only ate a bit of his breakfast. I know he goes off grain a bit while he's on a lot of grass, and when he's away, so I still chalked it up as normal for him because he was in a grass coma and not at home!

We had to keep the trail ride short- I needed to leave for GP Trainer's by a certain time to make it in time for her staff to be there when I arrived (I believe Monday is her day "off", aka minimal work day, and her staff is usually done by 4pm).

Penn decided to be a bit of an ass about water on our trail ride- backing up, not wanting to cross. It took us about five minutes to have a "moment" at the first creek crossing before Penn decided crossing it would be a good idea. Austen knew of another great crossing that we could walk up the creek a bit, so we went there to finish our ride:

This one was fine. It was so pretty! I wish I had it at home.
He was staring at Lyra who was hunting something from the creek.

Too soon, it was time to head back to the barn and pack up. I love visiting Austen! We always have a good time. I cannot thank her enough for being my eyes at the show and having great tips that really helped (and spending her weekend on horse show mode!), and for keeping me company after my parents called Sunday. I would have been in a really bad mindset if I had been alone.

I arrived at GP Trainer's right as her staff was finishing up for the day at 4. They showed me where to put Penn to eat his dinner, and which field he could spend the night in (the horses were on night turnout). Of course, Penn wanted no parts of his dinner.

Asshole. This is why I don't use feed pans either- both Mikey and Penn dump them.
I scooped the feed back into the pan, and the asshole grabbed the pan and dumped it a second time WHILE I was refilling it.
I just turned him out at that point and put his dinner back in a travel ziplock!

I turned him out and he was like "See ya mom!" and meandered off to investigate his neighbors and chow down on lush VA grass. I went to my hotel, had a nice dinner by myself, and went to bed early! #paintingthetownbeige

Tuesday 9/5/2017:

I arrived for my lesson in time to massage Penn a bit before it. He really likes that phaser! He took a snooze while I massaged him. GP Trainer was super sick with some sort of plague- she taught her mom in the lesson before me, and then peaced out to go to the doctor after my lesson. I had looked on her schedule to see if she had any earlier slots available (I did want to get home ASAP after lesson), but she didn't have any earlier lessons, and no lessons for the rest of the day. I have a feeling she cancelled her schedule except for the two of us, which was nice of her to teach me anyway!

We worked in her outdoor since it's a standard size ring and I wanted to work on 1-3 concepts in the correct riding space since Championships was coming up. I told her about the weekend, (yay bronze! boo 2-3) and how I needed some hand holding because I felt inept after the 2-3 disasters.

She immediately got after me for accuracy- 10m circles and not cutting the turn right/halt/turn left stuff. ("You're a bronze medalist, ride like one!"). We looked over the halts too- she told me to stop touching him before I thought I needed to because I was pushing him out of the square halt. Then we went on to address riding the movements better, and I had some major DOH moments. I told her, "Why the hell didn't I think to ride them like this?!" She laughed and said that's why she gets paid the big bucks, lol.

We're going to put some graphics in here too.

Left: Leg yield zig zag
Middle: Right lead shallow loop
Right: Left lead shallow loop
Green is the track, blue dash is your eye.
Did you know, the only thing harder than riding a shallow loop is actually drawing one on a computer? Please forgive those horrible green shapes! I couldn't free hand it, and Excel shapes were limiting.

  • Leg yield zig zag: leg yield right K-X, leg yield left X-H. Ride the shoulders down the K-X-M diagonal like you would the half pass right, but aim about 2m to the right of M. This puts you on the centerline a bit before X, so you have "plenty" of time to straighten over X (and ensures make it to X). Then when you leg yield left, aim for about 2m to the left of H so you get to H on time and are straight again at H.
  • Shallow canter loops: Right lead on K-X-H and left lead on H-X-K. Look at the letter on the 3/4 diagonal (R and P in our loops), when you get towards centerline start looking to C/A, straighten on centerline, then look down the diagonal and aim slightly before H/K. Riding the loops like this ensures you make it to centerline, show more than just two straight diagonal lines, and ensures you show some counter canter.
It's magical nonsense, I tell you! Like, durrrr, how did I not think of AIMING THE MOVEMENT?! I'm sad it took me this long to learn that, and here we are, basically done with 1-3. The shallow loops are SO FUN to ride when you ride them like that. They are SO EASY to ride when you ride them like that too. So easy. I am seeing all the points I've lost in the past on the 1-3 loops AND the T-3 trot loops fly past my eyes.

I'll certainly keep that magical nonsense in the back of my head for the next ever because it will ALWAYS be applicable to basically everything else.

We worked a little bit on the simple change through trot as well. I have it down so Penn takes 2 steps of trot and off we go again. She wanted me to take 3, if only because it sometimes looks scrambled when you take so few trot steps. Guys, we royally sucked the big one here. Waiting that extra step messed us both up- he started picking up the wrong lead, or just trotting off really fast. I guess that means we've over-schooled the movement and he's anticipating.

We finished by running through 1-3, which went pretty well except he simply got tired. She finished with, you'll be great as long as you:
  • Don't warm up for 35 min.
  • Get his coughing under control. It's a huge problem.
  • Make sure you know your test.
I told her two of the three were just fine, I normally warm up for like 15 min, and I've ridden this test at least 20 times in the past year and a half, I know it. **foreshadowing famous last words**

The coughing was a huge problem throughout lesson. He had his warm up coughs, but then would rip me out of the tack and cough up a storm in the rest of the work, to the point where it was detrimental to getting the work done.

I got on the road shortly after lesson, and made a few phone calls. Penn was scheduled to have his fall shots the next day (stupid USEF 6 month and not within 7 days of the start of a show rules made this appointment really nerve wracking if they had to cancel for an emergency). I called the vet office and asked them to have the vet bring an antihistamine with her to the barn. I didn't believe Penn was sick, I thought he had allergies. He's a seasonal cougher anyway, particularly in the fall (he came home in 2015 and a few weeks later I was almost in tears because I thought he had heaves and was doomed). They asked if I had a preferred drug choice, I said no, they're all illegal to show on, so just one that usually works fast and well.

The next call was to my barn owner to fill her in on my grandfather and the vet visit. I work for her 1-2 times a week, so I needed to tell her my schedule would be up in the air. I also told her all the things I needed for the vet, since we hit crunch time as we were 8-10 days out from the start of Championships.

Towards the end of the phone call, the sky started looking REALLY scary.

This does not do the darkness justice.

I didn't worry too much about the rain, I've hauled through it before, NBD. I take it easy and it's cool. I already drive super slow with the trailer anyway.

Nope. I ended up pulling over about 10 min after hanging up with BO. The road was no longer straight, and the rain was coming down so fast and hard that my wipers did exactly nothing to get it off the windshield. The wind was very strong too. I limped along for a little bit at 35 mph before looking for a safe place to pull over.

I watched Penn in my cameras, and originally panicked because his head bumper was wet and I thought I had a leak in the roof. No, the wind and rain were that strong that they made it into my limited screened windows and soaked his face and side. Sorry buddy :(

The rest of the trip was uneventful, just long. I got the trailer parked and unpacked in record time once we got to the farm, tossed Penn out, and went home to empty my suitcase to pack it for a trip to NJ for the funeral.


  1. Woah, that rain looks like it was crazy!! Sounds like a great lesson and I really learned a lot from your diagrams :)

    1. The rain in the video isn't even the worst of it. I pulled over, it got lighter, I took a video, and as soon as I stopped it came down even harder. The 18-wheelers that were passing me had their blinkers on, along with some of the cars! I'm glad you found the diagrams helpful! I was just going to describe it, but then I was like, or I could draw it!

  2. ❤ Hanging with you at the show was so fun. Wouldn't trade it!

    That bit about where to look in the shallow loops is so smart. I remember doing something similar after greying nailed repeatedly for not hitting the centerline. Fun fact: I've never seen a judge nail someone for going OVER the centerline. Lol. So I always aimed to overshoot.

    1. <3
      Aiming to overshoot is a good idea. But I'll be using this logic for all future half passes and diagonals!

  3. Sounds like a great lesson! Hope you can get the coughing sorted.

    1. It was super! Wish I had it a few tests ago, lol. And yup, the coughing has been sorted!