"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and once it has done so, he/she will have to accept that his life will be radically changed." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

FwedFwed and I leave the farm.

There has been some excitement since my last post.  The best news is at the end.  Don't skip to it!

Saturday was Change of Watch at the Susquehanna Yacht Club.  Dad was sworn in as Commodore! 

Mom and Dad at Change of Watch 2011. 

On Sunday, Fred and I ventured outside for a flat ride.  What a nice horse!  Cindy's mother, Mrs. Gilbert, and her friend from New Zealand, Cheryl, were visiting.  Mrs. Gilbert gave Fred her approval.  

Cindy helped me load Fred on to her trailer on Sunday, too.  He went up the ramp and came right back off.  After a few calm words, he followed me into the trailer.  We explored it and then he backed into a stall with some coaxing.  The peppermint treats were inhaled and we were off the trailer.  Having Fred on and off the trailer with little fuss was a huge relief.

Monday afternoon I jumped Fred outside over some real jumps.  We still need to figure out his bit.  Fred had a 3-ring waterford, which is Tyler's XC bit, and it is not right for Fred.  Sally thinks Fred is not a fan of the leverage.  

We crawled over a few fences to start.  My position is doing something wacky while I figure out Fred.  I foresee cantering jumps consistently soon which may stop the crawling.  Fred was sensible, light, and tolerant! Thank goodness for his tolerance.  We put together a few jumps and had a successful evening.  There was nothing tough, only confidence building before Tuesday's outing.

 One of our better attempts.
We walked around the pasture for the first time! No problemo. 

Tuesday was our first field trip off the farm.  We went with Cindy and Patrick to Laurel Hill for XC schooling with Sally.  Oh boy.  Things I learned:

1 - Don't tie Fred to the trailer.  It doesn't work.  He didn't go to far and everything was then fine.  So I have to change my approach to getting ready, no big deal.  

2 - Keep moving.  The hand walk to the bottom of the hill was fun.  This was followed by more moving.  Sally held Fred while I climbed on some jump to then climb on Gigantor.  (Gigantor is what I call Fred when he's in alert mode.)  Sally said just keep Fred moving the entire time.  

2.5 - Look where you want to go.  I'm terrible about that.  Look and the horse will follow.  

3 - Stay in the saddle.  About 30 minutes into the 45 minute schooling, Fred got stuck.  He was backing up in a circle.  Ummm... AAACCKKK!  I wanted to bail and Sally wouldn't let me.  I had no idea how to get him out of this rut.  Patrick walked over to us and then Fred snapped out of it. 

4 - There's potential.  Fred could have been way worse.  He was sensible about other horses coming and going and jumping.  Fred is very tall when he wants to look at something but I never felt that bolt feeling.  He didn't spook at any thing he walked past.  He will stand nicely while someone holds him.  (Any takers?)  

5 - We need more field trips!  It is the only way Fred will become more comfortable with traveling.  This was his first outing in 2 or more years. 
 Hello, perfection!  Cindy and Patrick were prepping for Plantation on 4/16 and 4/17.
Patrick reminds Fred how the water works.
The weather sucked!  It was cold and windy.  I had layers under my vest and that windbreaker on top.  Not my most flattering look.  Fred is carrying a linebacker around.

Ok.  Ready for the most exciting news?  (This is a long blog and will be done soon!) Sally asked if I would help her at The Fork next week in North Carolina.  Tsunami is entered in the ***.   Since I am in between projects right now, I can go!  Most of the upper level riders will be there for Rolex prep.  It will be an amazing opportunity and learning experience.  My goals are to keep Sally from getting mad at me and to help as much as possible.  I might already be driving her nuts with the hotel reservation, but that should be the worst of it.  Expect lots of updates from the road.  Hmmm, can I update the blog from an iPhone? 

PS - Tyler is doing well.  He is cute and happy.

Upcoming fun... 
Tyler returns full time to the great outdoors after the forecast clears. 
Sarah resumes lessons with Fred and I.
The HVS Jump Painting party is Sunday, April 3.  Come celebrate spring and Cindy's birthday.
April 8-10 The Fork horse trials
April 16-17 Plantation HT - Aileen and Cindy are competing.  I will be there with Cindy.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

When Fred met Sally.

Let's get some happy new updates. 

Tyler does not have EPM!  Since everything else has been ruled out, it was most likely the vaccine that caused Tyler's episode.  

The old man, who only earned that name after Fred arrived, had a vet check up on Thursday.  As I thought, he proved to be very sore through his back.  His neuro test was great!  Tyler is tracking up nicely and moves fine at all three gaits.  The vet suggested we do carrot stretches each day.  Tyler seems game for the stretches.

On Friday Pam called me that Tyler was acting like a youngster in the indoor.  He was kicking up his heels and running around.  I told Pam to let him stretch out.  I'm so happy he feels good enough to play.

Yesterday I cleaned Tyler's stall with him in it before Sally arrived for lessons.  Calvin was in the round pen and I didn't want Tyler loose in the outdoor ring.  Tyler annoyed me so much while cleaning his stall that I decided to let him in the pasture about a week early.  Pasture 5 was up top and the gates were closed so Tyler went outside yesterday.  It was HILARIOUS!  I've never seen him so rambunctious.  Tyler hasn't been stall bound that much for a long time.  Thankfully he played for about 10 minutes and then settled down for grass.  TRose tried to get everyone to play with him and only Fred took the bait for about two minutes.  I'm a bit afraid to see how much mud I will have to scrub off of him today.  We might try the great outdoors yet again today.

Then there's the other one.  We're having fun!  Thursday was a good flat ride in the morning.  I need Sarah to help me figure out the canter aids.  That's slated for next Friday. 

Friday we rode with Anne and Romie.  We did trot poles and a small cross rail.  Then Cindy made the cross rail a little vertical.  Lauren was there and some how that rail went up.  It was uneven, so we hiked up the lower side and had a nice 2'6 vertical.  The first time Fred caught it with his back hoof as it surprised him a little.  The second time was perfect.  He's a very nice jumper!  I feel remarkably comfortable with him.

Yesterday, Fred met Sally.  I think she likes him! We rode with Anne/Romie and Paige/Bootz.  By the end of the lesson we did our first mini course of 3 jumps and were cantering jumps!  I was so nervous but didn't let it bother how I rode.  Sally noticed that Fred probably doesn't like a single jointed bit.  We'll be sorting that out for a few days.  Fred is such a light jumper.  Sally was happy he does trot poles so well.  We will keep that up to help strengthen him.  

 Fred and his head bumper for trailer excursions.

Assuming work keeps going the way it is, I have some fun scheduled.  Tuesday will be my first XC schooling with Fred.  Cindy and Patrick will be going to Laurel Hill with Sally and we'll tag along.  Not sure how it will go, but why not find out.  Sarah will be here Friday and Sunday is the jump painting party for Cindy's birthday.

There may be exciting news about The Fork horse trial in the next few days.  Keep your fingers crossed about that one.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What day is it?

If you work for IBM, please do not read the following statement.  It has been 6 weeks, including this one, since I have done serious work for IBM.  I had planned two weeks of no work for Aiken and time at home.  The additional four were not part of my plan.  And until my next project comes along, I'm keeping busy here at PA.

I did a few good days of spring cleaning in the house and the yard is still not quite ready for work.  We all know that my idea of busy is being at the barn.  My time has been spent puttering around the barn doing all the things I never quite find the time to do.  We cleaned the tack room, I organized my tack, and we are fixing and painting jumps.  Depending on how much time I have left at home, I would like to do some tweaking and organizing in the trailer and help set up pasture two for an outside course.  Little Red and the diesel will need some major interior cleaning soon.  I'm making quite a mess in both trucks. 

As mentioned before, Tyler came home on Friday.  I was emotionally and mentally okay on Saturday but Sunday and Monday were rough.  As Dad states, "Think it has something to do with Tyler." I rode Patrick on Sunday for the HVS no stirrups challenge.  Riding Patrick was the first time I realized that Tyler isn't my Tyler anymore.  I don't have a horse now who will put up with anything I ask him.  Fred is a whole other story.

Tyler is the only horse I completely trust.  Riding him, while it may not look pleasant, is second nature to me.  We just go. Tyler may totally recover.  My gut says don't ask Tyler to be what he was, no matter how well he recovers.  He owes me nothing.  There is nothing else he could do that I feel we missed out on.  That cute white horse took us from clueless about eventing to novice.  We competed in Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.  We qualified in an ugly fashion for AECs last year.  Tyler and I jumped the novice trakhener at Fair Hill.  We paper chased, hit the trails, did dressage shows, attempted hunters and jumpers, and I painted him like a My Little Pony once.  (Do not paint your pony.)  For heaven's sake, I hauled Tyler to Milwaukee for 10 weeks so I could see him every day.  Tyler earned the Buccaneer trophy at Stonewood for the Beaufort Hunter Trial.   Ok, I'm gonna stop with all that now.  Everything listed is way more than I ever could have imagined when I brought him home.

You get the point.  Tyler is my heart horse.  And so after checking in on him Monday morning, I stayed home and was sad for myself.  But I wanted nothing to do with the barn that day and all the happy people and their happy ponies.  Some days just aren't happy.  It sucked.  That's not me. I'm usually one of the stupidly happy people.

On Tuesday, I got my act together.  I rode Fred.  As in, we have to get past Chelsea's stupid insecurities.  I'm up for the challenge that is Fwed.  (He's not so intimidating when you call him Fwed.)  We walked and trotted outside.  And then we cantered.  Then we cantered a pole on a circle.  We went both directions.  He gave a little jump over it each time and we were fine.  I knew I was back where I needed to be mentally.  A little self ass kicking is always good.   

I took Tyler outside for a walk after Fred's workout.  I might not have my Tyler back, but he needs to stay active to recover.  Someone should be able to experience what Tyler has left to teach and share.  

Words of advice for the next lucky riders, Tyler loves peppermints and ALWAYS jumps the left side of a fence.  

Tyler and my cousin, Gillian in 2009.  Tyler likes the beginners.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tyler is home.

Tyler came home on Friday, March 18.  New Bolton said that he could wean off the steroid (dexamethasone) and continue the Marquis treatment for EPM at home.  He is on 2 weeks turnout in the roundpen/stall rest.  If Dr. Dill gives the ok, he can go back out in the field for another 2 weeks.  Then it's back to New Bolton for a full examine to determine how he has recovered.  At that point we will talk about Tyler's riding future.

I know that Tyler will not return to the level of riding he and I were doing together.  Tyler has done everything I asked of him and more!  I would rather he semi-retire and have many years in front of him being as healthy and happy as he can be.  

Tyler looks fairly normal to me.  He has a healthy appetite.  Thankfully he can eat whatever he wants.  He is allowed to hand walk and graze at will.  So far Tyler has been tracking up while he walks.  He seems strong walking.  I saw Tyler lay down and take a nap yesterday.  He got up on his own easily and has been turning fine.  

Tyler is having difficulty eating grass or hay on the ground.  Cindy lent me one of her cool hay cubes to slow Tyler's hay consumption and he does not have to put his mouth to the ground.  I'm hoping that he will regain the ability to graze without being uncomfortable.  It's frustrating watching him trying to enjoy something he loves so much. 

Here's some fun scientific reading on Tyler's clinical exam when he arrived at NBC:
On presentation, Tyler was bright, alert, and responsive and in good body condition.  Tyler's vital parameters were with in normal limits.  He was ambulatory on arrival and exhibited a low grade spinal ataxia affecting all four limbs; his right hind limb was most severely affected.  Initially, he also had generalized muscle fasciculations and displayed an exaggerated response to stimuli.  His mentation and cranial nerve exam were within normal limits, except for slightly weak eyelid tone bilaterally.  Initial serum chemistry and hematology were within normal limits.  

Here is the prognosis (which is the best part of the paperwork): Prognosis is favorable in light of Tyler's response to therapy.

The official diagnosis is still outstanding pending the EPM results due by Friday.  

Monday brings a phone call to the Boehringer Ingelheim.  Now that I have a horse at home and paper work, I feel better prepared to call them.

Fred gets back to work now.  The abscess broke open on Wednesday.  He has big horseshoes to fill.  I rode him for about 20 minutes yesterday and should be leaving for the barn now to ride.  Oops!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

How can I thank you all?

All the well wishes, good thoughts, and prayers sent our way certainly helped.  

There is still no definitive answer as to what is wrong with Tyler.  The plan is that he comes home tomorrow and will wean off steroids and continue the EPM treatment until we have results late next week.  New Bolton had to work pretty hard to get spinal fluid today but they did it.  The fluid was normal which means the inflammation that caused such havoc on Tyler is gone.  

At the end of today, it sounds likes the cause of this was a reaction to the vaccine.

Wow, I'm trying to blog and I'm exhausted.  Not gonna lie, I've felt everything from the worst despair to the best joy knowing my boy is coming home.  Dad has to be in Philly tomorrow so he is going to meet me at NBC and follow us home to the barn.  I'm going to sleep so I can be at my best for Tyler tomorrow.  I can't wait to see him.  

Thank you again, everyone, for such amazing support.  Tyler still has some hurdles to get past but we are going to make it past this! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I thought I lost my best friend today.

I'm scared.  Really, really scared.  Here's the quick and crazy version of why. 

Lux met the end of his days this morning.  A heart breaking decision, no doubt.  What a fortunate horse to have the life he had.  

Tyler had his spring vaccines this morning.  I arrived a bit later and took him out for some grass.  He was staying in so he could be clean for the little girl coming to test him out this afternoon.  I put TRose in the crossties like I always do.  Went and cleaned his stall after grooming him.  TYLER COULD NOT WALK TO HIS STALL.  He couldn't move his hind end.  It was falling one way and he couldn't put weight on his right hind.  I got him into Romie's stall because I thought he was going down.  Tyler kept nudging for treats but he was losing his balance. 

I immediately had Gale and Pam helping me sort him out.  I called the vet back and then called Cindy.  And yes, I was crying.  I was terrified.  I thought of the worst.  What had happened? What did I do wrong? Why is this happening to my horse?  Did I cause this?

Tyler was upright on his own for a bit.  Then he started to sway and rock and stagger around the stall.  Tyler was using the wall to stay up  He got a huge dose of steroids.  Then he fell.  My heart shattered after it stopped.  I was watching the most awful thing.  I could see Tyler start to panic as he realized he was losing control.  He was asking for help the best he could.  All I could do was stand outside his stall and hyperventilate and cry.  Thank goodness for all the supportive people around.  Gale told me I had to be strong for him and that Tyler had to hear me tell him he was ok.

Cindy got the truck and trailer once Tyler was cleared for New Bolton.  New Bolton is one of the best equine facilities in the US and at less than 2 hours away, how can you not utilize it?  Tyler was tranquilized and then will great help from everyone, he safely loaded onto the trailer.  

My dad was at the barn right before we left.  Yes, I'm still his little girl and needed a good cry on his shoulder.  He sent us on our way and told me to get all my options before doing anything.  Yes, I did ask the vet before we left if I should even put Tyler on the trailer.  I thought the worst at that point and did not want to make that decision.  Erin told me to give him a chance and so we did.

Thank you to everyone who checked in during the drive.  I love you all and deeply appreciate your concern for us.  

Cindy drove Tyler carefully to NBC.  He looked much better when we got there.  Well, he was standing on all 4 legs and didn't look like Bambi on ice like he did 2 hours ago.  I was so relieved.  He got off the trailer ok and was put in his isolation stall.  Since NBC has several possible causes, they thought it safest to isolate him.  I won't be able to see him again until he's cleared.

They explained all the options to me.  They also explained we may never know what caused this or what exactly the problem is.  There are lots of blood tests and a spinal tap on order.  The first spinal tap today did not produce fluid so there will be another one tomorrow.  

The NBC vet called me tonight and said that he isn't cured but he is doing well for what he is going through.  That's my Tyler!  He is strong and determined.

I had some other phone calls tonight that I didn't enjoy but had to be made.  There was a lot of options talk.  I feel like I have a lot of options no matter what the results are.  Of course, I only want him home and out in the pasture covered in mud and eating to his heart's content. 

Gah, there's more to all this but I'm tired of crying today.  I'm still scared for Tyler.  His situation hasn't totally sunk in yet.  I hope Tyler knows that I am doing everything I can for him.  He's my best friend and I will do right by him.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rain, rain go away!

I complain about the rain we had Thursday with a good perspective from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.  What a tragedy.  

Cindy and Dave went to visit Dave's dad over the weekend and I stayed at the farm.  It reminded me that my desk job is so cushy.  Don't get me wrong, I loved wearing my awesome Kerrit's Coaches' coat while zipping around on the Gator in the rain.  I loved wearing rain boots instead of high heels.  The company at the barn is an even draw with some of my co-workers.  (You know who I'm talking about.) However, the feeling in my shoulders and arms after we were done was killer!  Bring on the ibuprofen.  

My search for a new project is ongoing.  In fact right now I should be applying to IBM projects and I'll do that next.  And then I'll finish paying my taxes.  Fun!

Tyler is doing well right now.  We had a great ride on Sunday.  We rode outside and did some jumper work to prep for the Cross Road Tack jumper show at Linden Hall on April 10.  He has a trial ride on Wednesday for a potential lease situation.  More news on that after something is decided. 

Fred is nursing a lovely abscess. His right front is swollen and hot.  He's currently on stall rest next to his red dork bud, Poleon, until the darn thing runs it course.  Fred was groomed and shines now while he wears a diaper on his hoof in the stall.  After I'm done blogging and doing taxes and finding a project, I need to hit the tack shop for poultice.  I think Fred is going to teach me a lot about injuries.  Grrrr.

Sally comes home March 20.   She will be at HVS on the 26th and I really want Fred ready for his debut!  Sarah will be here Friday for dressage lessons and it looks like she'll have to settle for a lesson with me and the TRose.  

On a random closing note, I just watched Mike Rowe's paper towel commercial.  Can we find a younger version of him for me? 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Back in the land of mud and snow.

We came home from Aiken on February 21.  A lot has happened since then.  

I had not planned on traveling for work the week we returned home.  Traveling after a twelve hour drive and unpacking is challenging.  I had done it before and have learned not to.  February 28 was to be my return to Milwaukee, but that never happened.  On March 1, our project was terminated.  I still have my IBM job but will not return to Milwaukee.  Sudden changes is a normal occurrence in our business. That doesn't make it any easier.  

Nearly two years of my life was spent in Milwaukee and I did love it there.  I will miss all the friends who didn't get a proper goodbye.  

What happens next is up in the air right now. 

The good news is of course that I have had lots of time with both horses.  Fred has been put into regular work.  He is on a routine of lunging, flatting, and most recently he has done some 18" crossrails.  

Fred is a lot of horse.  However, he is sensible.  He has a lot of training and skills that I need to learn how to manage.  I'm hoping for dry weather soon so we can ride around the farm, outside of the ring.  Sarah quite likes him and dressage is really fun now.


On March 6, Melissa Hunsberger came to the farm for a clinic.  We had cross country fun in the indoor.  I loved the lesson on Tyler so much I took Fred in a lesson later.  Fred and I jumped our first cross rails together.  Boy, he is light on his feet.  He has a light mouth and I must give him a release.  Yeah... me.... release... sure.  We're figuring it out.  I giggled a lot. 

Two days ago, I fell off of Fwed.  He gave an unexpected little buck at the walk outside and I couldn't get myself back in the tack.  We learned that when you fall off of him, he runs like a race horse and you better get out of his way.  It's good to have that first out of the way.  I got back on and he jumped a few cross rails and the bubblegum jump with a rail!  As Melissa told me, he will jump whatever he is presented with.  

Ok, Fred jumped the bubble gum brush box with one rail on top.  He didn't jump this height like Tyler.  Yet.

As for the TRose, time at home as changed our plans a little.  I will not be taking him to recognized events as I had hoped.  We will probably do Novice at the Fair Hill starter trial and then Plantation.  I'd like to go to MDHT Loch Moy, too.  

The more and more I work with Tyler and Fred, I realize that Tyler will be just fine as a lesson horse.  In fact, he will be happier jumping under 2'6 and not doing the dressage work I ask.  Of course, sharing Tyler breaks my heart.  Tyler is mine and I worry if people will take care of him as well as I do.  I worry if he thinks I'm ditching him.  I worry that he will get ring sour and hate all of us. 

Then I tell myself that he should be able to make other people as happy as he has made me.  Both Vanessa and Melanie (both are 12 years old) have ridden him lately.  They are mighty little riders and he likes them.  I watch Tyler with the kids.  He adores kids.  Tyler doesn't fuss with them or test them like he does me.  Tyler is now a  trained horse that can teach others and he should do that. 

Tyler and Vanessa in a dressage lesson with Sarah.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How can it be Sunday already?

The last day in Aiken is the worst.  You spend the day fighting the urge to stress about going home.  However, Lauren and I had a plan to keep ourselves under control.

Speaking of Lauren, I love that kid!  My sister asked me if Lauren is the little sister I always wanted and that would be a big YES!  I couldn't have asked for a better partner in crime for the trip.  Lauren was great fun during the drives.  We spent a lot of time singing and talking about what 2011 could bring for our horses. Throughout the week we had a blast.  We both stumbled towards the hot chocolate in the morning before the barn.  Lauren was great at helping me with anything if I needed it.  Hopefully I did the same.  I am very fortunate to have such a good friend.  Thanks for a great week, Lauren! 

Lauren even drove the truck and trailer!  As Sally said, there are a lot of kids Lauren's age able to drive the trailer.  I don't expect Lauren to do major driving, but I feel better knowing that she knows about the truck and trailer and how to drive it. 

 We took it easy on Sunday.  The horses were supposed to ride over at Sandy Hills, but Tyler thought that would be too much work.  We hacked around the property and did a pony switch. Both Hilary and Lauren rode Cody the pony. Vanessa did some work with TRose in the dressage ring.  Then we packed everything up.  Lauren is also super organized like me and treats the trailer like her own so we were packed in no time.  

 We had one last meal together at the chinese buffet and then ice cream at Marble Slab.  It was so warm throughout the week that we had ice cream almost every day.  Lauren and I earned 2 free ice creams for being frequent customers.  I'm not sure I'm proud of that.  

By 9pm we were passed out and ready for the drive home.

This trip was Tyler's third and most likely last trip to Aiken.  What a difference 3 years makes!  He is my comfy pair of slippers, as my good friend Diane says.  I appreciate being able to take a horse I trust completely.  (Well, except that 2 nights in a row  he licked his way out of his stall.  Oops!)  I will be forever grateful to him for allowing me to have so many great experiences.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sunburn in February. Ok by me!

Friday brought a day off for Tyler and Napoleon.  They took full advantage of it.  Tyler had a bath and I even allowed him a good roll afterwards.

(I admit, I have to research what we did each day! At the time, I was burned out from work.  Blogging meant using the dreaded laptop so I avoided it like the plague.)

Lauren and I watched dressage lessons in the afternoon.  It was nice to sit out and audit everyone's work.  There were a lot of basics covered that I appreciated hearing again.  

We went to Duke's BBQ for dinner.  Yeesh, that's so much food! Best buffet for $10 EVER.  

Saturday morning we got to the barn a few minutes early to put the horses out.  We left the barn chores for later so we could go watch the Preliminary riders go around the XC course at Paradise Farm.  I was off a little in the start time, so we all walked the cross country course.  And by all, I mean - Lauren, Aileen, Hilary, Alexa, Laura, and Vanessa.  The novice riders liked the novice course.  A fair challenge, but nothing over facing.  The entry level riders really liked some of the BN fences and learned a lot about courses and jumps at higher levels.  We ran into a good friend from home, Ellie Rawle of Watermark Farm.  One of her horses was running in the Prelim division.  

Everyone younger than me piled in the truck and we sang with the radio and the windows down on the way back.  It was hot!  The weather could not have been any better.

Before our jump lesson, we watched two groups of gallop lessons.  Lauren and I did this lesson last year, so we decided to be the paparazzi for the day.  Everyone loves the gallop lesson.   Sally has everyone trot 220m and then canter 300/350/400m.  Nat drops cones along the field to manage distances.

Lauren and I had a jump lesson in the early afternoon.  Poleon was great, as usual.  Tyler was really starting to signs that he felt challenged.  Our steering was diminishing and Tyler was not jumping over the center of fences.  For example, the chevron we had jumped before was a few inches higher and freaked me out a little.  What I didn't know until Sally told me at the end of the lesson was, Tyler's not afraid of it, he's just trying to get out of work.  He jumped the left barrel each time, never once the lower chevron.

My biggest take away from our week, and this is nothing new, is to get my eye on the next fence much sooner.  I must improve that and continue to use an opening rein more aggressively, at the right time, and independently from the rest of my body.  

We continued to wash and dry whatever we could in the sun.  Friday brought sun burn for me, so I spent the day in a long sleeve shirt to prevent any more. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Good advice - don't step on the rocks and don't jump into the tree. Well, I didn't step on the rocks.

FINALLY! XC at Full Gallop completes our checklist of farms to ride at in Aiken.  (Paradise, Jumping Branch, Sporting Days, Full Gallop, and Sandy Hills.)  We rode with Cindy/Patrick, Lauren/Poleon, Aileen/Archie, and Sally/Delight.  

Tyler experienced a lack of energy and tougher elements than usual.  He kept up with the group, save three fences.  Sally kept us from jumping things that could cause a problem or would use energy I would need elsewhere.  Tyler gave me a few issues with his attention over the first six fences.  Once we finally clicked, all was good.

We had a training issue with the bigger ditches.  We hadn't been over ditches that big before, we hadn't seen a ditch in months, and there was water in the ditch.  Tyler usually doesn't care about ditches but those things affected him.  After a few tries, we figured it out.  

Before one fence, Sally warned us not to canter over a pile of rocks.  We didn't.  At the red ramp, there was a tree over the left portion of the fence.  No one else ran into the tree, except us of course!