Tuesday 28 August 2018

All the Things

I am very behind in blogging. I don't like to get behind because then my reaction to things that happened in the past gets coloured by my more recent experiences and I can't write properly about my thoughts from the moment. However, I also don't like to skip past events entirely because I like to use this blog as a history to look back on. With those thoughts in mind, here is a brief summary of things that have happened recently and that are coming up on the horizon. I may or may not write other posts going into more detail.

Looking Back

August 4-5, 2018
Cochrane Bronze Dressage Show
- this was my last show of the season (schedule conflicts for any later shows) and it was an awesome show for Kachina and I! I had a lot of fun on the weekend and was sorry to have to end the season
- we finally got components to come together including the contact we had been missing and I loved the feeling I got during some of my warm-up work (talked about here)
- we trail rode around the cross country course in between tests which was fun and educational
- I met up with KateRose from Peace & Carrots and finally got to meet her 3 awesome equines
- we were able to show off some of our newfound good work in the competition ring and ended up winning Training Level high score for the weekend!
- I do have most of a post written up already so I will publish this at some point.
- There were some great show photos but I am a little poor at the moment so still deciding if I can purchase some

Kate Rose, Henry and Apollo (I was holding Mystic)

Beautiful Cochrane show facility

My Winnings!

August General
Barn Anxiety
- Kachina's tension in the barn has been getting worse not better. The contrast between her behaviour at shows (relaxed, respectful, well behaved) and at home (not those things) is pretty black and white.
- I'm trying to strike the right balance between firm but encouraging. It is tough because the behaviour is from a place of fear so I don't want make Kachina more scared, but she is on the verge of becoming dangerous at times with the way she tunes me out and I know I cannot allow that. I've got a few different training techniques in the works but it takes a lot out of me and makes being at the barn not super fun.
- Riding or lunging is still good, it's just all the grooming/tacking up/etc to get to that point that isn't.
- I am thinking about hiring some outside help at this point but finding the right person is another challenge

August 21, 2018
Local Lesson #1
- I kind of want to try a bit of jumping with Kachina as cross-training and to make her more well-rounded which is a thought that has been circulating in my head for years. I also realize that I need some extra motivation to come to the barn and work through all the not-fun stuff above. Finally, I think that it will be good for both Kachina and I to ride with other people/horses (despite moving to a busier barn I still am in arena alone a lot). With all that in mind I signed up for weekly lessons with the hunter/jumper instructor at my barn. The first few lessons will be private and then it will transition to a group lesson sometime in September.
- In preparation for jumping attempts Kachina wears horse boots for the first time ever (non-issue)
- First lesson is August 21 - we do walk and trot poles, both flat and raised. Kachina is a superstar and acts like she has been doing this all her life.

Boots (front and hinds are borrowed here but I just bought some cheap used ones myself)
The hoof boots are actually just so Kachina doesn't wear away her hoof too much by pawing in the aisleway, I've been putting them on in the barn and removing them before I ride (temp solution while I work on training)

August 24-26
Equestrian Canada Judging Clinic
- I attended a three day Judging Clinic taught by the amazing Cara Whitham
- I learn so much but it was very mentally demanding and my brain is still processing
- Clinic was originally supposed to be at a Gold show but the show was cancelled so we did a classroom clinic instead with the use of videos
- Spending a weekend with 18 judges from around the country was enlightening in a number of ways. I was definitely the person with the least experience in the room and I was extremely intimidated to start. However I was surprised to find that once we got into things I didn't feel completely out of place and while I still have lots to learn, my eye wasn't half bad.
- I originally signed up with essentially the thought of just learning, but with the way the clinic was formatted I ended up being tested anyway so I may actually pursue my small r recorded status in the next year (still need to meet some more requirements), still thinking about this.
- Some eventer readers might get a kick out of this: one of the video tests I had to judge for Cara was none other than William Fox-Pitt (I gave him a 68% btw). 

August 24
Lesson on Sky
- While I was in the area for the Judging clinic, I called up a trainer I know and arranged to take a lesson with her on her own mare. I've been feeling very hunched over due to work and wanted a position reset.
- The lesson was great and I was able to work on some valuable connection and stretching as well as working on my position. Sky (the mare) is schooling around First Level but she was a great horse to lesson on because her responses are very honest and consistent. If you ride properly she will go very nicely but she won't listen if you don't ask properly.
- This trainer hasn't seen me ride in a year and a half and was very impressed with how far I have come since then which was extremely nice to hear.

Sky and I (I didn't have my tall boots so had to ride in my cowboy boots)

Looking Forward

August 28/30
Elaine Banfield August Clinic
- Elaine is coming back and I have two lessons scheduled. We've done a lot of work since she was last here so I am excited to hear what she thinks. (this will replace my local H/J lesson for this week)

September 8
Cypress Hills Wish Ride
- I did this last year and it was a lot of fun, planning to do it again

September 15
Side Saddle Clinic
- This is a super cool opportunity that I saw on facebook and jumped on immediately (which was good because it sold out in the first day). A ranch near Calgary is hosting a side saddle clinic with a well known horsewoman. All horses and tack are provided. Also, they are harkening back to the era of side saddle in other ways and the clinic cost includes a formal afternoon tea. I have no plans to take up side saddle riding seriously but this just sounds like a very fun day and good way to give it a try!


  1. I missed the boat on the sidesaddle clinic by a couple hours. Lee is great though, I’m sure you’ll have a great time

    1. I met Lee a few years ago when I was looking at one of her sale ponies, I was impressed with her training and straight-forwardness.

  2. Lots of cool stuff, past and present! Good luck with the judging credential if you decide to pursue it!

  3. I'm sorry Kachina has been acting worse at home, I hope you can find the root cause soon.