Thursday, July 29, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Hey everyone! I hope you are managing to stay hydrated, it has been really hot and humid there.

I have been really fortunate to not be doing the summer circuit of events - not my favorite thing to do. Regardless of how much the organizer/crew works, footing is hard, the heat is brutal, and the humidity makes you want to take a dip into the water jump. I only entered one event this summer, and retired in the middle of show jumping. It just wasn't my day, and Deacon wasn't feeling too hot either. I think our new competition plan with Deacon is to leave him in the night before, lunge in the morning before shipping, then go to the event. I kept him out the night before, and I think it took too much of an edge off. While I like my horses quiet and respectful, event horses need that "sumthin sumthin" extra. Especially for horses like Deacon, who already like the slower, scenic route, that little extra piece can make you or break you. I am excited to see if I finally have this horse figured out!

I don't want to talk too soon, but it seems like the root of all my problems was in my horses' feet. Their shoes were put on too forward, toes too long, and poor Deacon actually only had the shoe touching his tippy toes and heel. No wonder the poor thing didn't want to jump! We got his feet done right before Maryland Horse Trials II, and since then he has been an absolute star, no more bucking, no more stopping. The big test will be XC schooling at Maryland this Saturday, and Olney on Sunday. His flat work has been absolutely fabulous as well, so I'm steering him full throttle toward the Training Three Day. Willy's tendonitis also stemmed from his poor shoeing - his feet were actually crooked, being shaved down tremendously on the inside, throwing his entire support system off. After his new pedicure, Willy has been a champ. It goes take him a while to get back into the swing of things, but he is finally (mentally) coming around (and doesn't always think in terms of SPEED).

Both horses jumped gymnastics today, and I was really pleased about their progress. Willy is working on his muscle/fitness. Plans are to start him out again at Loudoun at Intermediate, then head to the AECs. Deacon jumped better than ever. I have been really concentrating on allowing him to make some decisions. My problem has always been that I am a complete control freak - I LOVE to get the perfect spot every time. I have been establishing the correct balanced, forward canter - and allowing the horse to figure out footwork.

So all is well on that front, now exciting news! NEW HORSE! A friend of mine is doing a semester in DC, and will be dropping off her horse this Sunday for me to train and compete through the fall. I've had my eyes on this horse for a year now, having first seen her when I taught a clinic up in Ithaca, NY. Her name is Zoe (aka Cover Girl), and her daddy is the famous Windfall. She is quite uptight on the flat, but has tremendous jumping ability. Her owner has done a wonderful job getting her though novice, now it is my job to get her to take the next step up.

Until this weekend!

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