Monday, March 31, 2014

Awards 2013 and 2014 Plans.

Saturday night was the awards banquet for last years' show season. Since my horse was 4 last year and I had never shown hunters, or anything at all since I was a child, I did our Ottawa Valley Primary Show Circuit which is our "bronze" or schooling level.

Armani finished Reserve Champion in the Green Hunters and 4th in the Hack division. The Hack award is funny because we only showed that division 4 times and I only did so when it ran right before the Greens, just to keep from standing around the whole time.

I wish you could somehow share awards with your horse, it doesn't seem fair that I get the trophies. I tried to get something for him - I won a door prize at the banquet and ignore cooler prizes in favor of what I thought was a box of fancy horse cookies. Yeah...they were people cookies. Since I really don't have much of a sweet tooth, I brought it to the barn for boarders to enjoy.

The executive committee for this circuit has made some major changes to the divisions offered.  The result of which means I will be showing Trillium.Silver this year. My coach and I had discussed making that move in the fall but had ultimately decided to just do the schooling circuit again this year in the 2'6" jr/am since Armani is only 5, I only have one show season under my belt, and we are in no hurry.When they posted the list of pointed divisions and I saw my division was cut, plus the other core divisions pushed us out because they were either too basic or had rules about how many 1st place finishes. The only interesting divisions for us were "optional," meaning that venues could choose to host them or not. I can't plan a season around that, so Trillium it is! Now to decide on the schedule...

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Three Mishaps and Three Rides.

Saturday I rode Armani for the first time in three weeks. I can't say it was my first time sitting on him in that time since one night, after a good lunge session, I told Alex I wanted to just sit on him while he cooled out with Alex leading. It was not such a good idea since Mani had never been sat on bareback and he takes advantage of my  poor husband's lack of horsemanship.  I got on and Mani got very wiggly under me (bony buttocks bones, even after all the lack of exercise??). Armani basically smooshed Alex against the wall and he dropped the lead. So, I was on my horse bareback with the lead trailing, holding mane, and Mani progressing from wiggly to mini-bucks. I was still very protective of my hand, so I bailed. Hard. On my ass. Did I mention I wasn't wearing a helmet?  Decisions made while under the influence of serious pain-killers are not good ones! No bruises though.

Seeing me on the ground put Armani on edge. At least that's the best way I can describe it. We walked a bit and went back to the barn. He was being bad because his grain was in his stall - he had already dragged Alex in there earlier, before heading to the arena. Alex has been doing all the tougher grooming and really learning on the fly (thank you, thank you!) but as with all who are new to actually handling horses, there is an uncertainty that bratty youngsters can take advantage of. Anyway, after the failed attempt to sit on him, we were doing his bedtime grooming when Armani threatened to kick.

Sometimes he lifts a hind leg in anticipation of being asked. That is good! But I have also seen him on edge and do it in a threatening way, which typically results in a knee/elbow etc to his ribs. That night, he lifted his hind leg and brought it slightly outward. Not cool. I was standing in front of him so I lifted my leg to give him a hoof first. I didn't get anywhere close - he knew he was in trouble for the gesture, so he pulled back. I was slow in my reaction to take the pressure off and his leather halter broke (as it's supposed to, really). He smoked his face on the barn ceiling. Ok, natural consequences.  So he was free in the barn while I ran in my Percocet haze to get another halter from my locker. Frig.

Ok, so that's 2 mishaps. Then last week, we had another. Alex had been away for work and Armani didn't get worked from Saturday til Wednesday when I was out next. I just couldn't handle him alone yet and not risk injuring my finger. My coach was going to work him the Monday or Tuesday but she ran out of time (it's been a lot for her to add 3-4 rides on him per week on top of her schedule). So he was fresh, fresh, fresh on Wed. But he was good for the most part. Alex was leading him around the arena and he could not contain his energy so he trotted next to Alex for 2 full laps before I put him on the lunge. He was respectful and didn't pull or do anything rude, just full of himself.

We had a great session. I rarely lunge but since the injury haven't had much choice. Armani always used to want to come in when asked to walk and I never "fixed" it because I don't lunge very much and don't like it as a general rule. Well, the few sessions before I had worked on teaching him to stay on the circle when asked to walk and this night he demonstrated he remembered our lessons. Yay! He was great the whole time, even though he started out with a ton of energy.

Just as I was finishing, Armani spooked hard at something. Not being able to use my right hand well, the line popped out of my left hand and he was off with the line chasing him! He tore around with the lunge line "chasing" him for several minutes. I just got myself out of the middle of the arena and repeatedly said calming shit that didn't seem to matter as I waited for him to step on the line and break his neck.

Fortunately, that didn't happen and he eventually stopped and allowed me to rescue him. He was sweating & steaming nose to tail...of course it was bedtime. I de-spooked him to the line that was chasing him as we cooled out. I don't think he actually put 2 and 2 together - as soon as I was holding it, he seemed to think it was not the same creature that was chasing him. That's all to the good! But we had a loooong cooling out session before he was ready for his stall!

Ok, so that's 3 mishaps.

This last Saturday, my coach rode for awhile and then *I* got on for the first time time in three weeks (other than the bareback incident). It was sooo nice but weird with a splinted finger. I used one of Alex's gloves and put my hand in with on the dressing and put the splint on the outside. There is no ride-able glove that will fit the splint inside. At least it's my middle finger and so doesn't directly affect the riding rein but it is still pretty awkward. I was on for only about 15 minutes but it was good.

Sunday, I rode for about 25 min and it felt a lot better.

Last night, I intended to only do a short ride since he had been worked each day Thurs-Sat by my coach, Sunday by me and Tues by my coach. But he was wound up because another horse left the barn just as I was bringing him in and then he was alone. Super jerk behaviour. Tacking up was no fun (Alex saw a whole new side to Armani, I've seen him like that a couple times) and it took a lot more work than I should have done to even get him to semi-relaxed. Jeesh.

But I got it done through burning abs (it's all about core with Mr Manners). My finger paid for it a bit today. Overdid it, for sure. But I'm on the mend and determined.

Now I just need this crazy cold winter to end and to shed about 10lbs and I will feel a tiny but closer to normal. Though I'm still about 6 months away from having a nail, assuming I don't need sugery somewhere in there. Have I reminded you to be careful around doors? Lol. It's no joke recovering from this!

Sorry for the lack of pictures. Bor-ing!