A week break was exactly what I needed. It was horribly, disguitingly muggy out yesterday and I turn into a total Snickers-needing diva when I get hot. However, even with a few frustrating moments, I totally kept my cool and didn't get upset about anything. My head is back in the game and I'm ready to get my beastly Red stallion ready for Plantation.
I gave my shiny horse a quick curry since there's almost no hair coming off now (YES!), then debated on whether or not to boot his bald leg. Decided against it since I have only neoprene lined boots, and left him bare. I would have thrown some polos on, but the arena was kind of muddy still and I hate soggy polos. I took him out with me so we could set up a jumping exercise. 2'9 vertical closer to the right side of the arena (when tracking left) eight strides from when we turned off the rail, then a six stride bending line to a diagnol 2'4 vertical. Make sense? I'm better at drawing, so see my diagrams below.
First, we did a kick ass warmup. Usually Red's kind of pokey when moving off my leg in warm up, but since he hadn't been ridden in a week, he was moving out great. He was also BENDING at his circles while still moving forward! Usually it's one or the other. We practiced out trot to canter and canter to trot transitions for the BN dressage test. Usually I pick up the canter from the walk, and it took Red a big squeeze for him to pick it up from the trot, but he did do it, and his transitions back down to trot were really well balanced and dead on. We did those a few times each way, then moved on to the jumping.
He went over just the diagnol first. We tracked left, then came off the corner it was in and jumped it, picking up the right lead when he landed. I took him over the big vertical by itself next and he jumped it perfectly. Since he hasn't done anything but little 2'4 verticals once since his XC school, he was awesomely cool and collected about it. No out of control leaping or anything.
Exercise 1: We put the two together. First time over, knocked down the vertical, made a quick adjustment to get the line, jumped the second fine, didn't get his lead, but when I asked for it, he switched right over. Set the jump back up, and tried again. Knocked the first over again, got the second fine, got his lead fine. Tried again. Same thing. Now, as said many times before, Red hates touching rails, so for him to continually bring them down something was going on. It felt like he was having to get a half stride in there, and Red doesn't do great with half strides. I'm actually surprised he didn't try to just take it from a really long spot. I decided to try from the other way (Exercise 2) with a BIG canter. You know, a show jumping canter. Helllooooo. No hunter canter over a jumper course! Not surprisingly, he nailed it. Back we went to Exercise 1 with our new-found big canter. Perfect. Found his spot, didn't touch the rail, got the six to the second fence with ease, and landed on the right lead. We did that a couple more times correctly, then had a quick breather.
Exercise 3: I decided to mix it up and do each fence seperately but in a more challenging way. I came up to the diagnol fence tracking right and got the short three strides to it after a tight turn. That was a tricky one since Red was pulling his "I'm cantering strongly. Why must I also bend?" Didn't touch the rail though. Then we went to the big vertical tracking right. That was also a really tight turn that we didn't manage to make so that we were lined up straight to it right after we turned, but I got us straightened out quick and had a good five strides up to it.
I feel more confident after that school for this event. Since I only have two sets of standards, I can't practice an entire course, but at least I can break it down into combinations and work on those. I've also been psyching myself out over some of these BN fences. Not height so much as fill around it. I hope Red puts on his brave pony pants and doesn't throw a fit.
Now for Robert. It's been one week since he's been on the SmartGain and while he doesn't look like he's put on any more weight, after his really thorough grooming, he is definitely shinier and his coat looks healthier.
Note the one wrapped leg. He had a small bandage bow on his LF from the day before from him dicking with it, so I just left it off and put on even more chili powder on the right one. He's not lame on it in the slightest, but the bottom half was still really swollen. I sweated it again after giving him a kick booty lunge--15 minutes each way at the trot and canter, in which he let out crazy little Bobby bucks and head tosses. He was really sweaty afterwards, so he got a nice long walk out. He was striding out so great with this big swinging trot and stretchy canter. All this alfalfa (10lbs a day) should be upping his energy, so he'll get lots of lunging and hand walking to put the muscle on him the old fashioned sales prepping yearlings way.
I really wanted to take Red to Olde Hope, but there are just too many issues. 1) It's a Saturday. Hubby works Saturday, and obviously Friday. 2) It's five hours away. I already sent in my entry for Plantation and I need to save all the money I can for fuel to get down there. 3) No truck. 4) I don't really even have the money for the entry fee.
I'm going to do some serious bill rearranging and planning and map out a really, really specific plan for this summer and fall. I want to do as many events as I can, but until I sell Bobby, it's going to be really tight.