"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

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Spring Thanksgiving.

There is so much to catch up on! 

Happy Birthday, Fred!  He turns 11 today.

Let's get the good but boring news out of the way.  I am going back to work on Monday.  Ok, tomorrow.  I'll be working from home for 2-3 weeks and 2-3 weeks in either Ann Arbor or Long Island.  I hope I go to Ann Arbor because I could spend the weekend in Milwaukee.  The software group I work for is having our learning event in Phoenix, Arizona this year from May 31 - June 4.  We're staying at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak ResortAfter that adventure may be the opportunity for 2-3 weeks in Hawaii for work purposes.  Sounds like Lauren will be stuck riding Fred for me! 

 Doesn't this look like fun?  A lazy river.
Where I will spending most of my time.

Tyler is doing quite well.  He has finished his first week back to work.  We walked a lot.  Tyler feels strong and I have yet to notice any issues.  He has started trotting and I have enlisted the help of other riders at the barn to help him back into shape.  I will ride in the evenings, but I won't always have time for both horses.  My goal is to have Tyler eventing BN in June and I'm sticking to it.  In fact, I'm taking him to the Fair Hill XC schooling day on Saturday, April 30.  

Fred has been so good this last week.  We were rained out at Laurel Hill on Tuesday.  As a back up plan, Cindy, Wende, and I went to Sally's.  Her jump field was not as muddy, as it sits on the top of a hill.  Fred was perfect about traveling.  He didn't sweat as much on the trailer and there was no excitement when he came off the trailer.  I was able to get on him as soon as we walked up to the ring.  We trotted around in the ring to test my equipment and quickly headed out to the field.  Fred jumped barrels, boxes, spools, gates, and flower boxes like a pro.  He tends to snuggle to a fence, which I appreciate.  Fred was fun to ride once I remembered how to breathe.  

We had a good flat school on Wednesday.  I was able to practice the canter departs before our lesson with Sarah on Friday.

Thursday night I jumped Fred with the grown-ups - Julie, Jean, and Diane.  They are so nice to ride with as they all understand it might take Fred and I a little extra time to get around the course.  Some of the kids get bored or frustrated and I don't blame them!  Sometimes I feel like I'm riding an octopus.  For a stride or two around some turns, Fred does not appreciate the incorrect aids I'm giving him and legs start to go everywhere.  I can't keep track of them!  It's funny.  We're starting to understand each other more and we're now jumping some 2'6 things that don't bother me at all.  It's the activity between the fences that I need to sort out.

Friday was a ridiculously awesome lesson with Sarah.  The trot work is going very well.  I'm learning what is correct for Fred and what it takes to get there.  To free his neck and the rest of his body, I must bend him for a step and then push him forward.  Turns out, the same is true at the canter.  The canter departs are way better than they were 3 weeks ago.  Then we practiced the timing of the canter with the bend.  I must remember to move Fred forward on the release of the bend or he will break to the trot instead of continuing the canter.  It was a lot of hard work but so very rewarding.

 Does your dressage trainer do this?  NO!  Sarah was demonstrating what happens when Fred is hollow and above the bit.  She showed me how to correct this from a structural standpoint, not just simple instructions.

I would like to take Fred for the training level tests at Linden Hall on May 29.  I was aiming for the CT at Quentin on June 5, but Phoenix will interfere with that.    We need more XC schools under our belt but I do think a starter trial or two will be scheduled for this fall!  

It's Easter morning and the weather is beautiful!  It was supposed to rain all weekend, but seems like passing storms instead.  I, gasp, didn't ride either horse yesterday so I'll be off to the barn after lunch with the family.  I celebrate the commercial Easter, not the religious one.  However, it is a perfect day to celebrate all the wonderful things in my life and say thanks to everyone who makes it possible!

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