I am definitely making it a goal to keep more lengthy blog updates and keep better tabs on my bloggy friends.... I feel like I've really not been a part of the blogging community much ever since Gogo died. I've not actually been part of the human community either.... I've been very solitary for the past two years, probably to a fault. Something else that should probably be addressed, but I really enjoy my alone time, so maybe not.
Anyway. Catch-up time! When we last left off, we were having some nice flatwork sessions in the barrel saddle. Obviously we can't exactly show in western tack (although there is that weird western dressage thing...) so this week it was high time to get back into my other saddles. On Sunday, I trailered out to WD to get some more serious flatwork done... and we were just NOT on that day. She was due for her shot, which I think was part of it, but the other part... well, who knows. Sometimes a cranky red mare just doesn't want to play the game! She couldn't relax through her back at all, and curled up and gnashed away at the bit for a solid hour... she just would. Not. Relax. I mistakenly tried to see if she'd blow off a little steam in the canter and maybe relax a little once she tired out - 20+ solid minutes of canter (with no breaks, at all) later she was still chugging away at high speed, so I canned that idea and went back to the walk. We had a few good moments, but I finally came to the conclusion that we just needed to find somewhere to end the session on a good note. 2 hours in and it wasn't getting any better at all? Time to pick something she's good at and end there. Overall, it was not a very good day, but we did finish on a halfway decent note. Phew!
Yep that's about how I felt about the ride too.
She had Monday off, as I was not feeling very well. Tuesday we got back to work with a nice flatwork session - at a barrel race! (Yes, that means I was back in the barrel saddle.... but oh well. You gotta blend in after all!) She started out being a total monster, tearing off around the ring at high speed and blasting through all my aids. She had just had her shot that morning, so I wasn't expecting her to be settled yet, but she surprised me when I finally got fed up with her and trotted her right out of the ring and over to an empty parking lot - she loosened up, stretched out, took a contact, and got to it. A few laps around the parking lot and we trotting back to the ring, where she then was totally quiet and foot-perfect. Random, but I'll take it! We toodled around after that, watching people make their runs in the below-ground air conditioned arena (!!), and we finished up the evening with a nice bath and some grazing (and some beer for yours truly).
Geez she's so cute I could just die whenever I look at her!
Wednesday night we were slated for a good long walk hack, so we spent two hours walking around in the cow pasture, inspecting the remnants of a fire that the neighbors' dumb welder started a few days prior. Who welds when it hasn't rained in 3.5 months and it is howling windy out? That guy, apparently! He also has let the neighbors' horses out several times, and left his equipment in their paddock, which cut up and crippled THREE of the horses already. Next he'll be burning the house down!
Thursday was flatwork-slash-trails. I've had really excellent luck schooling her out on the trails, where she has other things to think about rather than go around and around in a boring old sandbox, and I can go on straight lines for as long as I please. We do a LOT of flatwork on the side of the road and on the road itself, as odd as that sounds. Unorthodox, but it really seems to work for her. She started out a little tight in her back, as we were going away from the barn (and while she is obedient, she'd really rather not leave the barn and generally takes some ongoing 'please-walk-faster' conversations), and at some point I again got tired of it and gave her a few wake-up transitions to smarten her up. She fussed and tightened up, but we did some leg yields back and forth across the road and she melted right into the contact, right where she should be. That isn't usually the case, but now that she is learning more about isolating one side or another versus leg-on-means-burst-forward, I'm thinking this will be a good suppling tool for her. After that, she was GREAT, and we did some extremely nice, extremely relaxed flatwork all the way back to where S was schooling her mare (somewhere back up the road). S got unceremoniously dumped at this point - her new project mare reared and twisted in an attempt to avoid the right lead canter - but she laughed and got back on. I glanced up at the sky, and noticed that there were some angry black clouds way west of us. "Hm, I wonder if it is going to rain," I wondered outloud. We trotted back on up the road for a little way, finally reaching the top of the hill and patting our mares for their good work. I looked up again at the sky and did a double take - were those clouds closer? "I think we might get some rain," I told S. She nodded, but said that she figured she'd at least be able to get 15 minutes in on her other horse once we got back, and we started up the road towards home. About 45 seconds later I looked up again, and the clouds had taken on the form of a big angry wall cloud, and it was ON us. "Uh... maybe we should trot back?" I casually asked as the thunder started. Trotting back turned into a nice canter for O, who was surprisingly obedient considering the temperature had suddenly dropped about 20 degrees and the wind had started to howl. S's mare was not so obedient, and I heard some choice curse words and yelling behind me as the mare went careering out of control across the field behind us! We all made it back in one piece, and no sooner had we ripped off our tack and gone trotting back down to the barn than all hell broke loose. Lighting, thunder, sideways pelting rain and hail all came smashing down, and everything flooded. We checked the forecast, saw that it was supposed to do that ALL night and all day today, and decided to leave the horses stalled for the night. I wasn't sure how O would deal with it, but she was very quiet, and hung out all day today as well while it downpoured. I was going to go with S to WD, but after I spent all morning in the rain I was feeling pretty grumpy and cold and crappy, so I decided to give her the day off instead. They're back out in turnout as of tonight, thankfully!
"Pardon my flymask nosey rub, I may or may not have seriously sensitive redhead syndrome"
Tomorrow, we ride and go over tests one final time, clip and clean up (is it worth giving a bath tomorrow in the mud? Probably best to wait until the morning of!), clean tack, polish boots, find out what the heck happened to my show clothes... and Sunday, we show!!