Monday, September 30, 2013

The Weekend Riding Continues

This is long, but I have a lot to catch up on...

Friday, I went to the farm to practice for the dressage test on Saturday morning. While Spyder was eating, I decided to clean up my dressage tack better so I could get a ride in the saddle again prior to the test. I put the test that I printed out in my pocket, and we rode to the ring. I went through each step that I could remember while I walked through the ring. I did this twice, and then thought we should get in some canter to make sure that he wouldn’t kick out again. He did try in the dressage ring to kick out, but we worked through it. I was happy that he was behaving decently so we had a quick 35 minute ride.

Fits him well, I think?
Saturday, schooling show day, I got to the farm and brought Spyder in to eat his grain. While he ate, I cleaned up my dressage bridle since it wasn’t in good shape. I forgot to mention that both were used, but that makes for broken in comfort. Since the tack sat in the barn, it got a bit of mildew on it so I never rode in it being that I never had the time to clean it up (or the desire because we’ve been working on some jumping, and I love my jumping saddle). I got a cover months back thinking that if I cleaned it and covered it, I’d actually use it. Never happened. Now that it's clean, I plan on using it more often.

After Spyder ate, I had to rush to get him brushed and tacked up. The saddle looks so nice on him! Now, I know nothing about this sport, but I think that the buckles should be further down? The straps are really long so we can definitely get a shorter girth, but since I am not sure if this is correct or not, it works for the time being? The bridle was giving me trouble since it hadn’t been used, but we got it figured out with just enough time to get over for our Intro A at 9:18.

It was just a schooling show at the farm, but it was held next door so we had to ride over. Headed down the driveway, Spyder was very up. He stopped a few times, and I had to push him forward to keep going. He listened well, but he wanted to head back to the barn so bad. I kept pushing forward until he spooked at a car that was going fast down the driveway. He always gets funny near the marsh that is on both sides because it’s taller than him and the wind blows through it so it moves a lot. I don’t blame him, but we needed to get over there. I kept pushing even though I wanted to hop off and walk over. We got to the street, and the scary part was over. A car was headed towards us, and he was OK with it passing by which was great!

Once we got over there, the BO asked if I wanted to warm up or go for it. I decided to wing it since I thought I could remember the test, and it wouldn’t have made a different either way. I was SO happy with how we got through both of our issues that I didn’t even care how the test went. Spyder rode into the ring like he had been doing this all along. Although we weren’t straight, we changed from grass to sand, and I was sure he was going to pace (which he didn't.. whoo!). We got a decent transition back to trot at C, and he was perfectly bent down the line. The 20 meter circles were more like squares, but his pace was fairly consistent, and we could at least get the commands going that were given in time. Our halt was perfect (Spyder’s favorite… stopping). 

It was great to hear what the judge had to say, too. She could tell that Spyder resists me asking him to work as he sucks in. She suggested transitions to help with his listening skills and getting what I ask for on point. Schooling shows are the best when you have a great judge because they always offer such wonderful advice. I decided to hang out at the farm for a bit since there was a lot going on: cars, trailers, trucks, unfamiliar horses, unfamiliar jumps. It was all SO wonderful for both of us to experience together. We trotted around the jumping ring, and Spyder didn’t flinch a bit. He did, however, not want to stand still which was annoying. I need to work on standing in one place as he likes to turn his rear end in the direction opposite where he wants to face thinking I won’t notice that just half of him is moving! He’s young and social so I can understand his desire to check it all out, but he doesn’t respond to leg pressure when he’s into what he "needs" to see. He backed himself into a few things moving, but I let him do it hoping it would teach him a lesson. Nothing bad, but annoying. Just stand still! He loves being lazy and stopping… but then he also likes to be antsy and social.

One of the girls from over at "Barn 2" where Spyder is stopped to chat, and her mom decided she didn’t want to wait for her so she drove over to get her  daughter's horse out and brushed for her to ride. It worked out perfectly because she had to walk over to the barn so I went with her thinking it would keep Spyder calm, and it did. We’ll have to work on riding over from Barn 2 to Barn 1 more often, but I usually only do it when I HAVE to. He’ll get better so I need to suck it up and do it.

I let Spyder graze for a while and took pictures of him with his 3rd place ribbon! We were schooling with 7 people in Intro A for the 18+ division. I was THRILLED with third and just happy that we did everything we needed to do even if it wasn’t pretty. We ended up getting a 66.25%, and a great comment sheet with items to work on. What better? I was unsure of why I decided to do this test prior, but it made me feel like we accomplished something (and it got my saddle and bridle cleaned). I put the cover on it so now I plan to ride in it more often. It was pretty painful since I don’t have the right muscles developed to work in it, but we’ll be working on those. My jumping saddle puts me so far forward that I’m accustomed to bad posture when riding. I’m thinking about looking into Spyder’s saddle fit per my last post, but I am still unsure how I can give mine up (I'm going to end up getting the SAME exact brand/saddle). It’s going to be so hard because it was the very first large purchase I had ever made on my own… and with my very first credit card! :) I’m just in the beginning stages of thinking about this, but I’m also going to wait for what the vet has to say next week.
Had to get the ribbon shot
Sunday, I got up early so Chris and I could go out to breakfast together. We have both been so busy it’s been hard to spend time together so we’re going to try to make a point to set time aside for some relaxing each day. We talked about everything going on including Spyder and my test yesterday which made me happy to talk about overcoming so much. We set out our separate ways – Chris to go mountain biking in Delaware and myself, riding. I am in Georgia for work now so I wanted to get a ride in before my flight. The Atlantic City airport is about 15 minutes from the barn so I had to get tacked up quickly and get in my ride to head there. We rode out to the big field where I noticed the brand button on the saddle flap came off. It's no biggie because it’s not broken (the metal is still there), but the button/cover for it with the brand came off. UGH… I think that’s what got me thinking about a new saddle even more. I know it’s just cosmetic, but I’m driving myself crazy looking at the way it fits him.

Out in the field, we headed into the dressage ring and rode through the test again. I wanted to work on our flaws, and we fixed most of the suggestions I was given.  We rode out to the field and worked on trotting at a steady speed, and went over a few x-rails. Spyder was listening so I moved up to canter, but something is REALLY bothering him there. He is not only grumpy but looks uncomfortable so I can’t wait to get him checked out, and I’m happy he’s getting time off while I’m away. We did not get any kicking out which made me happy, but he’s having a really hard time keeping the gait. Because something is up, I didn’t push hard, but I asked him to pick it up and shortly brought him back to a trot and patted him. He stood nicely to be untacked so I was really happy we only worked for 20 minutes. I got to the airport, and of course, the flight was delayed. It was SO nice and it will be so nice this week so I wish that I looked before I left the farm. I could have been going through my tack trunk since I never finished doing that the day prior.

I’ve been noticing an issue with my ankle, and I can’t decide if it’s from riding in my dressage saddle with the long stirrup or from the fall I had where I tried to catch myself. It wasn’t bothering me much since then so I’ll hope it’s just feeling like I rolled it from the strain in the new saddle, but time will tell. It’s always something, good and unfortunate.
Tired from his mental awareness of all the commotion