Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Matching Ribbons For The Red Boys

"The only thing missing from this packed day is a hay delivery" said Peggy as we talked about our Saturday schedule.

My farrier came at 1130 to shoe Dottie and DaVinci, but he also walked me through shoeing Rosemary. He is great at helping me and I was surprised how much I remembered. It is a little scary to think that she is my responsibility now. He basically checks my fit and places the first two nails. I think I am getting an anvil in the future. Then once he left, I still had to finish Dottie and DaVinci. It definitely took my mind off the show.

This show prep was a uphill battle:
I was  dealing with open blisters on both heels. Luckily my retired Marine coworker reminded me about mole foam and it saved the day.

Mole Foam and a gel blister guard

A couple days before, Roscoe had a swollen, warm spot just above his mouth. Fortunately, it seemed to disperse in a day.

Peggy also was cleaning the crazy lint off my pads and girths which nearly had me crying when I pulled them out of the wash Friday night. I will never wash pads with towels again :(

I was so hoping the old saying of "bad before, great at" was going to happen.

We had to start bathing Comrade, who was a mudd ball from the storm the night before. Roscoe would get whatever time was left over to have his chrome cleaned and his mane and tail.  We managed it all and loaded the trailer and feed the horses. I changed and we left for the show on time. Seriously a freaking miracle.

I was determined that this evening show was going to be casual so no braids for them and no coat for me. Plus it was hot. There was a light breeze so we were able to leave the horses on the trailer out of the direct sun. Comrade was up first and I realized I forgot my spurs. He laughed at the whip and I was way too conservative because I was still worried about my heels.
Peggy said some people thought he was Roscoe, who they remembered from the last show. She let them know Roscoe would be out later and that Comrade was the same breed. Comrade got the "Maybe he is a Haflinger" comment until Peggy set the judge straight. All we can figure is that Haflinger is the only type people know since Cobs are not as well known.

Comrade gave a pretty consistent test with a whinny in the middle and a good walk especially for him. This judge was tough on the free walk. My boys felt like they had good swing, but they did not stretch through the neck, so she nailed them both.

8 Circle

9 Yay!

For Comrade's first test in years he was super. Next time I will remember the spurs and I think I will add canter to my warm up to wake him up. The judge's final comment made us all laugh


Tail Monster :)
My nerves kicked in for Roscoe. Everything is still a bit an unknown. He was much calmer whether due to Comrade or the fact we were at a facility we had been before. Peggy scolded him when he got pushy during tacking and he was suitably abashed. This time I could mount without Pony Express skills. Immediately I felt better about the show.

Roscoe had a walk and was less of a tourist. Mom coached me through getting him listening and me breathing. We have a connection and that means we share our stress too. Each show we are figuring out how to work together away from home. With the heat, I only asked for canter once each direction. He felt great and reponsive. Our trot work was still a bit distracted. Roscoe needs a more complicated warm up to keep his attention. I threw shoulder fore and leg yields at him and worked corners and transitions. I told Mom, the test would be icing because my pony in warm up was already a win.

The test began and down centerline was much better. At least until I got tangled and did not drop my rein to salute. Palm to head.

Dang it, grr

 Our trot was good utntil poor Roscoe had a coughing fit. We kept going through it and moved into canter. Which we nailed the transitions, but have to work on finding 20m.

We got tense as we changed to the left and it took me awhile to breathe and relax. The left canter transitions were not as good but I was still thrilled.

Walk and then the last long trot actually went well. That is a long way down center and Roscoe actually was not drunk. His 9 score reflected that even though he was not square. Overall I was happy and feel better about moving up to Training.

And when it was all done, the boys got matching 3rd place ribbons and nearly matching scores, 71.562 for Comrade and 71 for Roscoe.

I was questioning my sanity at the beginning, but we all survived. This was my first time riding two horses at the same show. Plus the two tests happened in different size arenas. Next month will be even crazier with a dressage show one day, with a farrier visit the same day and a Welsh show the next day. I think it will be two Cobs to one and another two the the next.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Feathers Fly, Hearts Soar

I kept telling Roscoe we were going to have fun. He did not believe me since he had to have his chrome cleaned and his tail washed. He at least was able to have some turn out before we loaded him at noon. Loch Moy farm is a two hour drive into Maryland, so we definitely wanted to make sure we topped off the tank. After driving by the entrance once, we made it there by 230. That gave Roscoe an hour to chill. Well it turned out to be a bit longer. The 230 person still had not gone when we arrived. I was okay with it. We got to watch three sessions and see how things worked.
The Jump Chute set to beginning height

Chris Ryan the clinician, comes from Ireland and it was wonderful to watch him work. First he has the head collar (yes that is what he called it) removed and let the horse settle into the area. Once they are ready he asks the horse to move around the arena. During this time he checks their balance and their acceptance. One two year old Appy/TB cross had some balance issues, cross cantering, wrong leads, and he figured out that he could barrel through the pole barriers. Chris kept telling the owner not to worry, his talent was still there. He found positive points with every horse. This horse he also recommended he learn to respect people.
The arena wrecker :)

The next horse was another young one, either two or three, Donnerhall son. This big boy floated around the ring. Chris said he did not trot, he danced. He had the owner lead him into the chute so the horse would be comfortable. I did not get to see much of his session since I went to get my screaming horse off the trailer. Peggy was practicing with the camera which is why I have this photos.

Dancing Donnerhall son

Roscoe was a bit of a shit when he caught sight of the other horse, but he was not unmanageable. We walked down to the arena to see how things would go. I think they were all cautious of the fact that Roscoe is a stallion.
I think someone grew...

Chris asked if I would be able to catch him if the head collar was removed. Of course I said yes. So off Roscoe went to explore.

Can someone open the chute?

Chris said "This will be fun." Watching Roscoe canter around, Chris was thrilled with his build and uphill movement. He asked me if Roscoe could cover TB mares. He proceeded to say that he should cover a line of TB mares. The Irish are big into TB/crosses so I took this as a big compliment.

Then they opened the chute and had Roscoe trot in and go over pole, pole, pole, baby x, three times. This let him see the chute and focus on the work. Plus he tested the helpers.

The jump was raised and he went through again, no worries. To back him off, Chris put coats on the jumps and when the second jump went up, a back pack under it. Roscoe was funny because he got tired of waiting for them to put the jumps up and went for a run. When it was time to go in, he played hard to get. When they left him alone, he did a U turn and went into the chute. Silly Cob!
Long spot

They raised the verticals and the oxer, which Roscoe took in stride. Chris was saying he wished Roscoe would hit one and learn to respect the fences. It never happened, that boy flies. As Chris raised the oxer he said Roscoe is exhilarated to fly. Roscoe's canter gives him the awesome jump. I have heard it forever, you can fix the trot, but not the walk or canter. That they are born with.
The final jump over 3 or four runs, you can see the changes.

The rain started during this part and soon turned into a downpour. Roscoe kept working. He had his hiccups, but with some encouragement he moved on. Last 30sec is pocket fuzz, since the rain got too heavy.

The jumps went up and Chris asked him to canter in. He needed to come in controlled and rock back for his take offs. Chris said Roscoe would like it better since he wants to push off square. He said Roscoe is a smart pony. In the saddle I would need to keep my hands soft and my leg on.

The final run made all our hearts soar as Roscoe's feathers flew over a big oxer. Chris asked all during the session if I was happy.

Hell yes! Chris worked Roscoe in hand a bit to get him to respect a person's space. I was pleased that Roscoe worked well with him. All the volunteers seemed to figure out he was not a fire breathing stallion as he visited them during the session.

Sadly, the USEA photographer/writer left just before. Chris even told Peggy that they should do an article about Roscoe. Coming from someone who evaluates young horses all the time, that was an amazing comment for Roscoe. It is always nice when a non biased person tells you your horse is wonderful.
Checking out his audience

He comes back in September and I am considering going again. It is definitely worth the $70 and 4 hours of driving. Even if you have a mature horse the jump chute can be beneficial to reminding them to be quick with their feet and to take care of themselves. After putting Comrade through at home, jumping him today was night and day different to our previous jumping sessions. Comrade has a confidence that made the jumping easier today.

Now to get back to dressage for the weekend.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Jump Chute Time, Happy 4th of July

Whew, they finally posted the times for the jump chute clinic. Lucky for us we are not bright and early. With a two hour drive, that would have been tough. Instead we are second to last at 330pm. Maybe the heat will settle the stud :)
My little firecracker

Roscoe and I jumped the line we set up for jump chute practice, the other day. Peggy and Larry observed so I had my safety net in place. We are not at a point where I can do a ton of jumping alone. Roscoe tends to choose the long spot, but we worked through and managed to finish all three jumps.
Roscoe's opinion of this photo shoot

He was wearing his patriotic colors as he flew. Happy 4th of July everyone! It is the one holiday I actually have to work. Someone has to sell the beer tickets... Be Safe.

Friday, June 30, 2017

"Got You Covered"

Wednesday was our final lesson with Natasha :( My lesson turned into a trainer ride because Roscoe was acting like a teenager. He was in no mood to bring his hind end under his back. After she worked him through his issues, I opted to let him be done rather than get on.

 What was cool is that Natasha mentioned that someone who also rides at Sprieser recognized the Castleberry prefix. She happens to own a warmblood bred at a farm owned by Roscoe's breeder's mentor. She was really happy Roscoe was being trained by Sprieser. I did tell Natasha she nearly got Roscoe's name spelled right when she did a show recap. Though she remembered the capital "F", she forgot he has two "f's."
Farewell Natasha
I was worried about having to start over and find another trainer. Or have to trailer to Sprieser for lessons. Luckily Natasha said "Got you covered." The newest assistant trainer will take us on. So fingers crossed we will click. I have not meet her yet since she was in Florida during both camps. The new trainer did say she is "Pony sized," so that should be great for having her show Roscoe.

Okay back to the lesson. Rosemary was the star of the day. No stomping, no grunting and she listened so well to Mom. They worked on leg yields and she actually did not rush them. Then Mom had a milestone and worked canter.  Natasha said she loved proving Mom wrong.

 Meanwhile, Comrade and Peggy worked on leg yields too. Then Peggy got overheated. So I took over and was promptly put to work on shoulder ins. I lose Comrade out the outside shoulder so this was a way to straighten us both in preparation for canter. When we got it right, everything slowed and I could feel him carry himself on three tracks. To the left he wanted to overbend, causing a kink in his body. I had to use more right leg to move him over. Out of the shoulder in, she moved us to 10 meter circle - shoulder in- canter depart. We seriously nailed the transition a few times and one time it was exceptional. It felt so slow mo since he lifted up and pushed. It was so smooth, I was surprised. So awesome to feel! Now Natasha said I have to work towards getting that feeling on Roscoe.

Next Wednesday is the Jump Chute Clinic and the following I may try to fit in a lesson with the new trainer before the show on the 15th. Another first for me, I am bringing Comrade along for the show. We will stick with Intro B for him and Intro C for Roscoe. I have orders from Natasha to move up to Training at the next show. I am a bit in awe of what has happened so far this year. I never would have expected this outcome. My best decision this year is definitely going to Adult Camp.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Busy July Ahead

I mentioned Roscoe has some stuff coming up. Some of you may remember that when I got the stud fee for the May breeding that I had plans on how to spend it. Early this year the owner of Roscoe's 2017 filly said that I should get him inspected. My initial reaction was "Uh, no way." Especially when I looked at the prices for RPSI, which this year merged with Westfalen.
Individual annual membership: $110
Pony stallion annual registration: $200
Inspection: $250
Microchip: $50
Vet Exam: $?
Yes Roscoe, More braids are in your future

Getting that stud fee made the financial burden less and then it seemed fate when the inspection is being held at a farm 30min away. So July 29th Roscoe will be inspected and I will pay a ton of money. He will have to do the triangle, move at liberty and do the jump chute. Anyone with long legs want to show him in hand?

Roscoe has been practicing his jump chute at home. He needs to be able to do it with no hesitation. With that in mind, I signed him up for the YEH Jump Chute Clinic on July 5th. He will get a 30 min session at Loch Moy in MD. Hopefully that will get him ready to play away from home.

Beginning and the end are filled, so the middle will possibly have a show. My original plan was to have Natasha ride Roscoe at a show. That would teach him to pay attention and take my nerves out of the picture. Unfortunately, I found out this week she is leaving. I am not sure where that leaves us. Hopefully at our last lesson she will direct us. So probably the show ride will fall to me. My other thought is to bring Comrade along to a show so he has a buddy.

And if all that is not enough, there is the possibility of a breeding happening early in the month.