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Saturday, May 28, 2016

A Week

 There has been some travel in the front half of the week, but also the passing of my grandmother, who died at the age of 96 died in the company of family in her home in Findlay Ohio.

I'll be flying back to Cleveland tomorrow to spend the week with my family, and while I am very sad, am also looking forward to celebrating her life with those who loved her.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Clinic Prep: Outfits

Let's choose to just ignore the weekend weather forecast that has gone from sunny and 70's to chilly and rainy for a moment!

A few of the other helpful tips for the upcoming clinic centered around cleanliness of tack and conservative apparel.

I land into SFO on Friday evening just after 11pm and given Ellie's very poopy state this morning I'm glad I spent some time giving my tack a polish and condition so it will be ready to go on Saturday bright and early!

Going the conservative outfit route on Day 1 to test the waters and if all goes well I'll bust out the Sky Blue Odyssey for Sunday. I think these looks are sleek and sporty with a few pops here and there!

Poor Ellie doesn't get to change her look- we have a sharp new White Ogilvy saddle pad, our favorite Navy Eskadron boots, and some Herbal Horse Moody Mare to keep her happy.

Can't wait!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Clinic Prep: Elevator Speech

Wowza! So many fantastic and HELPFUL comments for the upcoming clinic- thanks Blog friends!

One of my favorite tips, echoed by a number of comments, is to prep a short, yet insightful, background about Ellie and I.

I figured I'd detail a number of bullets, memorize, and use based on her introductory questions.

Training:
 The Good:

  • Building confidence
  • Tidy execution- the handier the better
  • Improving transitions 
The Gaps:
  • Hind end engagement on the flat
  • Lateral movements off leg alone 
  • Understanding ideal flatwork prep to prepare for jumping
  • Rider position up to fences (sitting still)
  • Improving pace 
Goals:
  • Continue to build confidence over fences
  • Division move ups at horse shows 
  • Be a clearer and more consise communicator of my aids with Ellie
Usual Warm Up:
  • Stretchy walk for 5 minutes
  • Warm up trot with loose reins for 5 minutes
  • Down to work with lateral movements (leg yields, shoulder/haunch in) and upward and downward transitions to engage the hind end, circles to focus on bend and rein aids
  • A few minutes of break where she literally drops her nose to the ground to stretch her back
  • Forward canter followed by shortening and lengthening of stride 
About the Horse & Rider:
  • Owned for 2 years, horse just turned 9
  • Discipline change from Endurance to H/J (not without its trials- ahem right lead)
  • Has been to 2 off property horse shows- SUPER STAR
  • Is a DIVA

Even coming up with this short list was hard! Right now we're mostly just about jumping all the fences- equitation and everything in between be damned..... we're just about the jumping!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Clinic Etiquette: Help Requested

Our Karen Healey clinic was moved back to this weekend. Turns out she had double booked herself judging a show at Old Salem Farm. No big deal of course!

I just have another week to stew over it! Having never ridden in a clinic myself, and only audited a few...., I'd ask my fellow bloggers what their tips and tricks are for riding in a clinic!

A few thoughts thus far:
* Dress conservatively
* Be polite
* Don't be afraid to ask for additional direction
* Bring a notebook (for auditing the other divisions)
* Listen

What else! I mean,.... I'm concerned about the basics.....whether I do my usual walk down to the ring and mount....or do I get on at the barn and walk down? Do I use my show girth or do I use my "old faithful" because I know exactly what holes will be tight?

Help! What am I forgetting!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Tootsie Roll

Something pretty cool is happening...I'm pointing Ellie at fences outside of my comfort zone (like the log below affectionately known as the "Tootsie Roll" jump) and Ellie is jumping them without hesitation. Well, with a slight peek that makes her jump with her little knees up by her nose.

I feel like we're on the back end of whatever mental block was preventing confident jumping!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Dover Show Haul

I never got around to posting about my Dover haul prior to the show. Per the usual, I had a relatively tidy list going in with a fleece girth and hairnets on the must have list....naturally that trip didn't go quite as planned.....

Charles Owen Wellington- Why a new helmet? It was on sale of course (I also have, it turns out, a helmet addiction. It's a sickness). But the rivets on my ARY8 are literally blue and/or rusty with corrosion and it's always damp when I put it on- I think it has outlived its three year lifespan. Mind your melon!
 
RJ Classics Basic- This was THE BEST purchase! The navy jacket my barn friend had given me was just not the right fit and I didn't want to go into my DERBY feeling uncomfortable! Cheap, washable, and a quality to it that surprised me given the price!

Cheapie Girth- I was glad to grab this- my current girth needs some help!

Ogilvy Baby Pad- yeah- for all of those schooling rides we did at the show right? No. Luckily it will come in handy and help us look sharp for our clinic.
I wrestled with the idea of putting one of the above back and buying the navy, gray, and burgundy colors as well! I really want to have them all!

A little extravagant perhaps but I felt great and this gear will go a long way. Pennies on the dollar right? Now I need one of my blogger friends to lend me a one on one coaching session on how to sell stuff on the internet so I can make room! Volunteers requested!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Working late....

wishing I was at a horse show!


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Wilbur: Appointments

Wilbur got a vet AND farrier visit just before Paul and I left for our Monterey weekend so he's right as rain in the vet department. I love Pioneer- they actually called ME to schedule the second round of vaccinations because they had another horse they were coming out to check. I am never going to turn down a friendly reminder!

Shoes have been a slightly different story. There are a couple of different folks that shoe at Brown Ranch and Wilbur has been on a schedule as part of Amanda's group of horses. We try to keep him on a bit of a tighter 6 weeks shoeing because he grows hoof so fast but it can stretch to a little longer and he's just fine.
We've run into a bit of an issue this last cycle getting the farrier out....let's just say when I went out to meet the vet on Thursday I was more than a little embarrassed. It's hard to not send multiple stalker like text messages daily (I kept it to once a day) when you know your trainer is trying her best to get the guys out. Still.

So when I was chatting with a few folks while waiting for the vet, and a guy comes up and introduces himself as a farrier new to the area getting his name out, I asked if he had time to do one real quick. Sure enough- shiny new shoes for Wilbur and a new farrier for Emily. AND a reminder that I'm Wilbur's person and perfectly capable of running his schedule and managing his appointments. In fact, I find that I prefer it.
For those who manage their horse's vet and farrier schedule- any scheduling tips? Are you on-site for all appointments?


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Monterey Escape

Paul and I took a long weekend and headed a few hours South to Monterey. Aside from being simply gorgeous coast, the weather was clear (typically foggy and windy), and Paul and I had a much needed weekend away.

Some highlights included visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium (they were housing a juvenile Great White on our last visit a few years ago....no such luck this time but the Tentacles exhibit was not to be missed), a hike around Point Lobos (the Crown Jewel of the California State Park System full of seals, otters, and a pair of gray whales spotted just off the coast), and a Whale Watch (I'm spoiled after our Hawaii Humpback encounter....plus you can't spit in the Monterey Marine Sanctuary without hitting a whale....in this instance a few Humpbacks...was hoping for a few Orcas but we're sorta in between seasons),

Plus lots of wine, walks, and delicious food!
Clockwise: Gorgeous walk to dinner (photo 1 & 2), Kelp forest at Point Lobos, playful rescue otter at the Aquarium

Clockwise: A windy selfie on our whale watch, tail spotted, Point Lobos tide pools, glimpse of China Cove at Point Lobos

Seals relaxing at Point Lobos, Jellies at the Aquarium, MORE seals, coastline of Point Lobos

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Brookside: Sunday

About time to wrap this show recap up! 

Sunday was 2' Derby day and I was 15th in the draw and my barnmate was the last at 20th. The class was first to go at 8am- so a bright and early course walk with plenty of time to get ready.

Cue the parade of cute ponies and kiddos in Shadbelly coats.

I was so proud of Ellie- we killed it! A slight bobble to the option fence when I pointed her directly at the center standard between the two options. She drifted left but I firmly suggested we do the 2'6" version.

Coming up to our trot fence it appeared she had just realized there were giant Disney cutouts (theme of the Derby: Disneyland) posted on the standards and paused a beat. Not a stop per say.....and with the help of a collective "cluck" from everyone on the rail we proceeded onward and did our bending line in a less-than-workmanlike 10 strides (it walked an 8 or 9).

All said (option included) we came out with a score of 83- which in hunterland is like WHOOOO but I'm pretty sure the judge was being a bit relaxed given the average age of the class. Either way, I'll take it.

The back ring announcer had been reading ribbon cutoff scores and it looked like we might be in for a victory gallop. An here's where I did win.....the Sportsmanship award as my barnmate (yes- the last rider to go) knocked us out by a half point.
Ah well. I think if we had smoothed a few of those rough spots out we would have been just fine.

We wrapped up the show with a 2'6" Medal just after the Derby and had a fine round, got our lines, just a major biff at the long ride to the last oxer. Theme of the weekend.

So much good right? An Ammy division move up (I've actually never jumped 2'6" in a California show), a mare who is quickly moving from green to finished (a fine ammy horse to boot), and some nice ribbons in a competitive Baby Green division.

I however, need to take a spin down "blog memory lane" and give myself a good kick in the butt to remind myself how far we've come. The blunders at this show were pilot error and as a highly competitive perfectionist, I can't help but come away slightly disappointed in my riding. I suppose there's always another show right?

But for the moment I'm focused on something else. We're riding in a Karen Healey Clinic in a few weeks and I've got to get my Equitation on!
Derby Course Walk!

Look of relief! We're done!

Spotted! Blue bow in Ellie's mane!

Ready to roll!

Homeward Bound!