Sunday, July 14, 2013

Rainy Days Are Made For Planning

Thank you to everyone who has given encouragement and words of wisdom. You have no idea how much it means to me! I really appreciate when readers come forward with their own thoughts on any major decisions I make, for better or worse, and I feel quite a bit better knowing that others also think I made the right choice. I know I made the right choice as well, but having the support of those around me helps too!

As for today, I'm not entirely sure if I am still currently located in the great state of Texas. It's July, and it is only 65 degrees out and pouring rain. It's been like that all day. In July. In Texas. I'm not even sure what to think.... it just does NOT rain in the summer here. It never gets below 80, even at night. All my windows are open and I am listening to the rain.... it's just crazy!

Due to the neverending deluge and work today, the little red lady got a day off, which I actually had scheduled in on purpose. As per one of my monthly goals, I have a stricter weekly schedule that I have set up, and I intend on deviating from it less than I have been. Playing with the barrels and cows and going on long trail rides is excellent fun, of course, but we have dressage and jumping to do as well! It's also time to sit down and look long and hard at the NTEA calendar and see what exactly we want to shoot in terms of schoolings and little shows.

O eating her lunch in her shed, trying to keep dry (her haybags are out on the fence railing, but I put an extra bag up in the shed in case she didn't want to stand out in the rain. Spoiled!). She says yeah lady, you just TRY to excavate a horse out from underneath this layer of mud....

So our weekly schedule looks a bit like this for this coming week:

Yes, that is a glimpse into my daily neurosis. I really DO have endless calendars planned out.
Our flatwork is mostly just focusing on being able to take a contact and stay there, keeping a steady forward rhythm without altering tempo or speed, and doing correct transitions. We're starting to play with some lateral work now too, but mostly it's just introducing concepts to her without frazzling her. She still has quite a long way to go, but she gets better and better, slowly.
Our hack-outs are simple at this point, just getting her out for increasingly long walks (they'll eventually become 2 hours.... or if we decide to go for a trail ride, they're more like 4 or 5!), with some trotting on a longer and looser contact. Eventually I'd like her to be able to do them on the buckle, and they'll eventually get up to more like 1/2hr of trot, but she does NOT need to be that fit right now, and she definitely is not quiet enough to take a long contact and not zoom off into the sunset with it. And, for fun, she gets patterned a bit on the barrels when she is done... and maybe we'll start to swing a rope off of her shortly! 
Our jumping schools are simple gymnastics, based off of ones in one of my favorite exercise booklets. They include trot and canter work over groundpoles, small grids, and single trot fences. She's WAY too rushy to be cantering fences yet - she needs to canter lots of poles without trying to gallop away first. She's game, she'll do whatever she is pointed at so far... it just needs finesse.
Our "gallop" sets are like our hack sets, mostly just getting her to use different muscle groups versus getting her any fitter than she already is. She is already WAY fitter than she needs to be for what she is doing! She's doing two sets of four minute trots, and two sets of three minute canters at 350mpm (a BN canter). My calender actually has a typo, that should say 2x3, not 3x3.
And lunging is self-explanatory... the Faux-ssoa helps her stretch out over her back, which is good after several back-to-back saddle sessions. She tends to speed up and break gait at random moments whenever she feels like it, and I've put my foot down and been stern with her about her desire to trot around at warp speed. 

With all this rain, there is not going to be anywhere to ride at home tomorrow, so we'll have to trailer out to a local covered arena. You do what you gotta do!

In terms of our calendar, here are some ideas for August:

August 9-11: Open Schooling Weekend, Greenwood Farm
August 17-18: Open Schooling Weekend, Quail Run Farm, and POSSIBLE Combined Test on Sunday (if I can get off work)
August 31-Sept 1: Open Schooling Stadium/XC, Willing Draw Farm, and POSSIBLE Derby on Sunday (if I can get off work)

And September:

Sept 7-8: Open Schooling and Schooling Horse Trials, Curragh
Sept 21-22: Open Schooling and Schooling Horse Trials OR Combined Test, Lazy Dog Ranch

EDITED to add in October:

October 5-6: Open Schooling and Schooling Horse Trials, Curragh
October 19-20: Open Schooling and Schooling Horse Trials, Quail Run Farm
October 25th: 5th Annual Brazos Valley Hunt Fun Show & Trail Ride Challenge (for funsies!), Greenwood Farm

Mostly, my plan is to take her out to little schooling events this fall (no recognized this year), going up from Green as Grass to BN, and maybe a N combined test. Then in the spring, we'll do some more BN/N schooling shows, and then hopefully be ready for the recognized things. And if we're good enough, the goal is to get to the AECs, since they are here in Texas after all - and you just can't pass that opportunity up!

As we get closer I will decide for sure what we are going to do, but that's a great start in terms of ideas. 

Planning stuff on rainy days is super fun. What do YOU do on your rainy days off?


  1. Do you still have the site you got your Faux-ssoa from? I know you posted it on here or fb a while back but I can't seem to find it:( thanks!

  2. Andrea ....I,ve just caught up on your last few posts .....sounds like the decisions you have made regarding your horses is best for all of you and they are lucky you put so much thought into their welfare . I'm looking forward to hearing how O goes in the weeks ahead

  3. PS .....oh and if it makes you feel better it's raining here in NZ too!!

  4. What do I do on rainy days? I dream about having a horse, of course! :)