Thursday, January 31, 2013

The "AHA!" Moment

Don't ya just love those awesome moments when something just clicks and you're like... "Why couldn't I do this six months ago?" That has been this whole week for me and I'm loving it!

I have a horse that is forward, engaged, in front of my leg while also reaching softly for the bit in the most lovely frame at all three gaits. And I'm not even sure what I'm doing differently but I like it!

Ben is getting a well deserved "play day" tomorrow because he's been doing lots of dressage work because I love doing dressage when its good. We'll probably goof off over ground poles and gallop around a bit. 

I also found a lovely place to go schooling in April with an epic water complex. No trainer necessary, and the schooling fee is super reasonable. Bring it on 2013!

Of course this is when I start getting cabin fever and begin obsessing over cleaning tack, and making packing lists for horse trials, and color coding my calendars and training schedules... Its a bad time for a Type A person like me who has too much time in the off season.

And also, here starts my constant countdowns: 72 days until the first show of the season! (Yeah...its that bad.)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Game Plan

My excuses for the lack of posting this time: applying to college, the ridiculously cold weather preventing me from riding much, and filling in for my mom's coworker for the past two weeks.
But here I am, back and ready with a sort-of outline/goals post for the 2013 season along with a general catching up of sorts.
I never really wrote a post abut our Training moveup and thats because I was kind of bummed about it. 2/3 of it went really, really well. And the xc was not so good. Dressage was decent with a 38.6:

Stadium was also great with just a couple of wonky fences and my mom also forgot that there was another fence so the last fence which was probably the best one of the whole course is missing (always the way, right?). I later found out that Ben was the only horse in our division to jump stadium clear!:

XC was all my fault. I walked it, it was a lot harder than I expected (completey doable, Ben could've done it with his eyes closed), and I freaked out a little bit. There were two half coffins, a skinny-corner combination, one absolutely huge table, a fence-two strides-bank down combo, and a wicked offset combo labeled A/B. Again, Ben didn't have the problem, I did. I was super nervous and just came out of the box like a snail, riding backwards and picking at him every stride. Of course he stopped at the first fence because of that. So I circled around and got moving on and he jumped the first two fences perfectly. Next was the first half coffin, a rolltop, two offset strides to a ditch, and I again started riding backwards and picking because I was concerned about the ditch. So he stopped again. At that point I knew it was not my day so I retired before either of us got hurt or lost confidence. I was mad at myself because we could've rocked that course but it was just so unexpectedly hard. If I had known ahead of time that it was a hard course and to expect tricky combinations and such I think I would have been fine but it was such a shock that I just freaked a little.

So I think we'll be working on the Training moveup for the spring and I am going to be back with a vengeance to jump the black numbers.

We've also been doing the jumpers again this year but we've been doing the 3'3"s and as long as I can remember my courses Ben has been doing that fabulously too. His dressage is really coming along because I have stopped being complacent when he sucks back and I'm really demanding that he stay marching forward. We have recently had some of those beautiful moments of self-carraige where I can push my hands forward and he stays exactly where he is. He's had pretty much this whole week off because its been upper teens and windy and I worry about lung inflammation working them in temps that cold. It should warm up again by next week, however, and we will be back to it.

I have been super into reading all of my horse books while I have been on my involuntary riding hiatus. Lots of dressage books and of course Wofford's 'Training the Three Day Event Horse and Rider.' I'm also participating in an online Equine Nutrition course through the University of Edinburgh which starts this Monday. So, yes, that does make me one busy person especially considering I've been filling in for my mom's coworker who injured herself. I don't know if I've ever mentioned that I don't attend traditional high school, but I attend high school online through an independent study program which gives me awesome flexibility. That being said, attending work, doing my normal high school work, going to the barn and riding, along with the equine nutrition course is going to stretch me pretty thin but I'm learning a lot while also making some money! All good things!

I recently talked about maybe taking a gap year and being a working student for awhile which is still on my mind but more on the back burner. I applied to colleges around here so I can commute and still have Ben but I'm thinking of getting my bachelor's degree in Business Administration and then going on to receive my MBA. If I do not have a serious job that I love at the end of my four year degree I may still go for a working student position before going for my MBA. I think it would be a valuable experience but I also think right now I need to go and get college over with! I also think I can get more out of a working student position if I am already going Prelim instead of just moving up to Training.

The plan for this season is to go and get some schooling done in the early spring, head out and do one Novice, and then get out butts back out at Training level and show the cross country course whose boss! Definitely more my problem than Ben's! I am going to head on over to my Eventing Season list at the top of this blog and write out my tentative schedule right after I hit 'Publish' on this post.

So some goals for this season:
-Keep up the scoring in the 30s in dressage
-Show First 2 and 3 by this fall
-Jump 3'6"-3'9" courses by the fall (he's been jumping single fences at this height. The course thing is, again, more my problem than his!)
-Master leg yield and really start up the shoulder-in, renvers, travers schooling again
-Clean xc rounds at Training level!

Hopefully this season will be a successful one just like the majority of last season! Bring it on!