A Winter Chill

2013-12-09 07.46.05

We’ve had a quick bout of nasty weather here in Virginia that’s made life a little difficult for getting Oh So out for his walks. He’d been going out for about four hours a night, but the last couple of days I’ve been reduced to just putting a flake of hay on the ground in his paddock and holding him for an hour since it’s been so muddy.

I’m crossing my fingers for good news and counting down the days until his next ultrasound on the 23rd.

Bear had a good lesson two weekends ago (we skipped this weekend due to the weather). We set up a three stride line that ended up being four since we trotted in. It was just a cross rail to a panel, but we cantered the second fence, so that was kind of neat.

We also trotted in to a one-stride of cross rails. At first he was a little tentative and wiggly in between, but once we did it a couple of times, he got the idea.

The flatwork is coming and he’s starting to accept the bit and come a round and push through more consistently. His lunging is coming better now that I’m using the rope, and I try to do it twice a week. It seems to help him come over his back better and his trot is then better once I get on.

On the ground, we’ve done some more trailer practice and he starting to go on better with only some encouragement from a person behind him. I’ve also been playing with the clippers on his body, but he’s still a little tentative about them being near his ears.

I’ve also started to put him in the cross ties in the aisle way instead of the wash stall when I’m done riding and he’s less fidgety.

Here’s a short video of some highlights of our lesson last week. It’s a little tough to see because of the lights, but hopefully you’ll get the idea!

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A successful schooling

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Despite Oh So trying to thwart my plans with a lost shoe (for the first time in months) on Friday, we made it to a cross-country schooling at Gordonsdale on Sunday. Thank God for my wonderful farrier, who came out on Friday at 7pm before he was due to leave for a conference at 5am the next morning!

We started out with a good, strong trot around the property. Oh So was really extending his trot and had lovely suspension that I wish I could get at home. We popped over a few warmup fences, then went for a good 450mpm canter around the same track. We put together a string of training height fences so we could get a good gallop going at them, and he actually tried to buck! It was pretty hilarious, but he focused once we got to the jumps. I wasn’t completely happy with the effect of the pelham snaffle, so I’m bringing the Myler pelham with me to Southern Pines just in case.

We popped down some banks into water and had a lovely ride over a new trekehner, four strides to a roll top. I know he’s going to be strong at Southern Pines, but I guess I’d rather him be that than backing off a stronger bit, so I’m hoping he’ll be respectful of the snaffle pelham.

I’m trying to keep my expectations low for the event. I’m not going to be gunning for time, and I’m going to just work on keeping a strong lower leg. As for dressage, I’m feeling confident after some nice rides these last few weeks. The only tough part about Southern Pines is the insane warmup ring. It’s kind of a shock for both of us to go from riding mostly alone all winter, to sharing the ring with 50 horses.

Since we haven’t been to a jumper show since last November, I’m also keeping my show jumping expectations low. If I can get to each jump in a good rhythm and not screw up my distances, I’ll be happy. Hopefully he’ll get his feet out of the way.

My plan when we get down there on Friday is to school a bit then hack, then walk my cross-country course. We’re expecting a random snow storm on Wednesday, so I hope I can get a ride in tomorrow and Thursday. What a winter!