Tuesday 26 April 2016

Carrots & Cocktails II - Saturday

Sorry for the delay - I took a mini-vacation to Toronto to visit a friend. I figured I would have lots of time to blog during vacation but we ended up cramming a ton of stuff into the short trip and there was absolutely zero down time. It was a lot of fun though.

Anyways, back to the show...
Previous part: http://autonomousdressage.blogspot.ca/2016/04/carrots-cocktails-ii-friday.html

Saturday Morning 

We got to the showgrounds just after 6am. I only had one test scheduled for Saturday: Training 1 at around 9:30am.

(Side note: Kachina gets hay out of slow-feed net 24/7, both home and away. I love this system for multiple reasons, but an added benefit is that I don't need to worry about leaving extra time to feed and let her eat in the morning since she had hay all night)

A bit blurry, but one of my new favorite photos of us
(hay net in background)

I was happy to see that Kachina had drained 3/4 of her water bucket. I was even happier to see that the cut looked good. No heat and no swelling.

Grooming came next. I had a mountain of dried mud to remove as a first step, so I knew it was going to be a long process to get her show-worthy. Kachina was in full-on shedding mode at the last Carrots & Cocktails show. I had hoped I would have a summer coat to work with by this show. Kachina chose to start a whole new shedding phase just in time for this show though. Luckily, it did make getting the mud off easier as the hair just came out with it.

The indoor arena where the show was being held was open for schooling from 7-7:45am. By the time 7am rolled around, Kachina was pretty antsy in her stall so I decided to walk her down there in her halter and do a little lunging in the ring if it wasn't busy. (The mud was gone by this point, but we still had a lot of grooming left to do).

Kachina was pretty up and looky on the walk from the show barn to the arena, but once I got inside she got very quiet. The arena only had one other horse walking so I did a bit of lunging at just the walk and trot. Kachina seemed nice and relaxed at the walk. However, when I went to trot, she was reluctant to trot and kept pinning her ears. I started freaking out that her leg was hurt, or that she had tweaked her back or something during the commotion in the trailer. I watched her super carefully at the walk and trot in both directions, and did some palpation and stretches to check out her back and neck. Verdict: totally sound and no pain anywhere that I could find. I decided to continue grooming and tacking up, but that if she seemed sore at all when I got on I would call it and scratch.

It turned out that Kachina wasn't injured but was in heat. She's usually fine when she's in heat, but I think the combination of her hormones, being in a stall, and all the new horses around made for a bad mix. She was well behaved under-saddle but was just in a super pissy mood for the rest of the weekend - pinning her ears, kicking at the stall, throwing a fit whenever I walked away from her, etc. None of it was dangerous behavior, just really annoying, and made me a bit embarrassed to be the owner of "that horse" in the show barn.

The mare is not amused

I finished grooming and braiding Kachina. She looked okay, but I was sad I couldn't bathe her, as without water I couldn't get her perfectly white and sparkling. I am determined to find a way to bathe before the next show. I tacked up and mounted in the outdoor warm-up with 40 minutes to go before my test - right on schedule.


The warm-up was so-so. I love my current warm-up routine of getting her to move her hips, ribcage, shoulders, and neck. It was a massive warm-up arena with several other horses but I was able to get her focused on me almost immediately and get her supple and relaxed. Unfortunately, once I moved up to trot and canter work, we had some steering issues. I would say that she was falling through my leg, but that isn't accurate since the problem was that my leg wasn't there. Things were okay at the walk, but as soon as we were trotting I could not get myself to put my leg where it needed to be. Without my leg doing it's job, I was doing all sorts of wrong things with my seat and rein, and we were unbalanced and running. Not ideal. I went back to walk and did a few successful straight halts and medium walk to free walk transitions before it was time for my test.

Warm-up ring in background

Training Level Test 1

My test was almost completely opposite from last show with what was good and bad.
The good: straight halts (not square, we're focused on straight right now), decent walk, no breaking into trot from free walk (I actually thought it was a nice free walk, but the judge disagreed), right canter transition (not objectively good, but good for us)
The bad: all trot work (running, not using my inside leg so bad geometry), left canter (she started on the wrong lead so I had to bring her back down to get the correct lead)

I didn't get any media of this test since my friend was warming up her horse at the time (probably a good thing, it wasn't pretty!). I did get video on Sunday though

After the test, I mounted back up in the warm-up ring and got one decent trot circle each direction so we could end on a good note and I could convince myself that I can in fact ride. Then I was done for the day, before 10am, that felt really weird.

We got dinged pretty bad for the rushing in the trot and rhythm mistakes so ended up with a disappointing 52% and 7th in the class. I was pretty devastated when I first saw my mark, but I gained some perspective over the weekend. 1. It didn't feel like a good test, so I shouldn't have expected a good mark. 2. I Know we can do better. 3. The judge was fair but she certainly didn't shy away from using the whole marking scale, when you looked at the score-sheets, the marks for the weekend ranged all the way from 43%-75%! and there were several marks in the 40s.

Rest of Saturday

For the rest of the day, we:
- watched a bunch of other riders go, including some super nice training level rides, and even a few FEI TOC rides.
- checked on the horses regularly, where Kachina was eating and drinking well but let me know how pissy she was still feeling
- went to 3 tack stores where I succeeded in buying nothing! I'm proud of myself
- at one point on Saturday I was sitting outside in the sun eating icecream in a t-shirt, while letting Kachina graze. In contrast, yesterday it snowed all day. That's April in Alberta for you!
- went to bed early, it was glorious (especially after only about 5 hours of sleep the night before)

Grass for Kachina, ice cream for me!