Thursday, April 20, 2017

Horse Hubby Feature: NCIS...but cooler: An Air Force Husband Speaks


The Other Half just did an interview with Horse Hubby.  If you missed the last post about who Horse Hubby is, click HERE.


And to read the recent interview, click here:

http://horsehubby.com/2017/04/12/ncis-cooler-air-force-horse-husband-speaks/

And...if you are an Elisa Wallace fan like I am, you know she and Johnny are in England right now prepping for Badminton.  For the schedule and other event info, click here:

https://www.badminton-horse.co.uk/

Go Johnny Go!!!!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Full Size 2+1 Trailer vs. Mini 2+1 Trailer


For the sake of comparison and general trailer info in case anyone out there is looking for something similar of either model here is a break down on my previous trailer vs. my new trailer.  I am OCD with details and I research every tiny bit of information I can find on things.  I have even physically measured my previous trailer, and before I purchased my new one I made the sales guy go out and take some physical measurements for comparison's sake on the new one.

Overall Length:

Full - 30'1"  (floor length 22')
Mini - 26'    (floor length 18')

Height:

Full - 7'6"
Mini - 7'6"

Width:

Full - 6'9"
Mini - 6'9"

Weight:

Full -  5,902  (empty) 13,000lbs (GVWR)
Mini - 5,760 (empty) 12,700lbs (GVWR)

Why so similiar with the weights?  The mini is a steel frame with aluminum skin, the new full is all aluminum.

Tack/Dressing Room:

Full - 4'
Mini 4'

Here is a walk through video done by a dealership in Michigan that gives a good overview/tour of the full:


Other differences:

The new one has drop downs at the heads of the straight load stalls.  This is a feature that began somewhere around 2013 on the fulls.  You will see fulls pop up for sale that will be around 2005 or newer and not have drop downs at the head.

Bigger wheels and tires, this is partly due to the trailer being longer overall.

Sliding windows in the tail curtains, this is another feature that the new fulls have that you may not find on older model fulls.  This also started showing up around 2013 as well.

Here is a side by side comparison where you can see that the 4' gain in length is.  It is behind the axles.  I had the sales guy measure from the start of the floor to the middle of the first axle on the new one and it is the same length as the mini.  This just confirmed that the floor length gained is behind the axles.

 
Mini.

 
Full.



Walk through door in the tack/dressing room.  Not a big deal to me but nice to have.  The tack room in the mini did have a window that you could see through into where the horses were, which was also not really necessary.

Carpet in the tack/dressing room.  This is just an overall change to various models that Sundowner has made.  No more carpet in the tack/dressing room.


The box stall is a big difference in the mini vs. the full.  The box stall on the full is 7'6" in length.  The area where you can put in a divider for a box stall (it doesn't come stock) on the mini is, making it more like a stud stall/ very small box stall.  The ramp on the full is also wider.

 Here you can see just how close the divider is to the front compared to the full.  I gained a couple feet in this area with the full.

 The width of the side ramp is also different.  On the full the ramp is 5' and on the mini it is 4'.



I like that the horses can see eachother through the head divider on the full.

I LOVE that the straight load stalls have drop downs!  Maximum airflow is SO important to me.

Here is the factory diagram of the full:


All the lights on the new one are LED and really bright, I'm sure that's on all newer Sundowners though, that is not model specific. 

So how does it pull?  Like a dream.  There really isn't much difference between it and the mini.  I can feel a little more weight to the new one, but it is barely noticeable (because it's barely a weight difference).  Actually, I must have not have plugged it in tight enough in my excitement when picking it up, because half way home I looked down and noticed my brake controller was off, I know it was on when I left.  I pulled over at the next parking lot and plugged it in, didn't have an issue again.  The only reason I noticed I didn't have trailer brakes was from looking down and seeing the light off.  I never felt it pushing the truck, but my truck is a manual too, and this is also one reason I bought a manual truck, in case stuff like this happens.  I have had my brake controller die on the way to a show.  Luckily the way I was going was on back roads with no traffic but if I was on a busy highway with no brake lights, yeah...problem.  Braking without my trailer brakes was no problem though.

Turns are about the same since the axles are basically in the same spot, I just have to watch the rear end a little more since there is just more of it now.  I was a little concerned about the tight turn into my driveway, but it was no problem.  I had actually taken some video of the mini leaving the driveway and pulling into it to get a good idea just how much more room I had to spare.  Plenty.  No problem.

Overall, again, I couldn't be happier.  I love this trailer, it is exactly what I need, and I look forward to many happy miles with it, and happy ponies!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

New Trailer aka The New Hotness!


I have had my Sundowner mini 2+1 for about 4.5 years now and I have absolutely loved every second of owning it.  It has been the most versatile trailer ever and it has served me more than well.  I have hauled my girls across the country with it and put a ton of show miles on it.  It took me three months of searching the country over to even find it because I wanted that exact trailer and they are hard to find.  I ended up finding it at a dealership in Connecticut while we lived in Georgia.  I had it shipped down to me.

The only issue with it, is that it is not big enough to fit all three of our horses solely due to length.  Klein and Wes fit wonderfully in it.  It is a 7'6" tall trailer and the straight load stalls have plenty of room for them.  You can also turn it into a box stall as you saw in the trailer videos which any draft would find comfortable.  It has a ton of airflow in it, which is another huge reason I wanted that type of trailer.

Previous trailer, the mini 2+1.

I always knew that when the day came for a new trailer I would go for a full size 2+1.  You just cannot beat the setup that a 2+1 provides.  There are just SO many great configurations you can do with that trailer.  The only difference with a full size 2+1 and mine is the overall floor length.  The box stall is a full size box stall.  This would allow me to haul all three of ours together, no problem.

Every single time I have my trailer worked on at the dealership here I look at the new 2+1s, and I make The Other Half look at them too.  The guys at the dealer also ask me every time if I am ready to trade mine in for a new one.  Well, yeah...but not quite was always my answer.

After this latest round of obsessing earlier this year I decided I would just buy one next year before we move again.  I won't be taking all three of mine anywhere all together until we move so did I really need a new one?  Not really...until you think about emergency situations, then yes, I do need it.  If some situation arises where we would have to evacuate, I could load them and be gone.  No second trip, no finding anyone a ride.  And really, how do you make that decision?

So, yeah, I had talked myself out of it earlier this year and decided next year I would do it...until a week and a half ago at my lesson.  My instructor said she got her new trailer.  She said it wasn't what she had planned on getting and so I asked "Oh, what did you get?"  A new Sundowner 2+1.  G...t...f...o...  I had to go drool over it after I was done riding and seeing it all hooked up to her truck, I decided I'd had enough.  I called the dealership the next morning and said I'll take one.

I picked it up from the dealer today, a brand new 2017 Sundowner 2+1.


Full box stall.

 
The two straight load stalls behind the box stall.

I am a loyal Sundowner owner.  I have always had such great experiences with them.  Oh and if you are ever near Newfield, NJ, stop by Crossroads Trailers.  They have a big inventory of horse trailers, utility trailers, and RVs, and can do any work you need on your trailer.  Not only did I just buy this from them, they have been the ones that have worked on my previous trailer here anytime it has needed anything.  They have been great.  Great customer service and quality work.  One day while we were waiting for them to finish putting a new jack on mine, they ordered lunch of all of us in the waiting area.  They made this purchase extremely easy too despite using an out of state bank.  We did everything over the phone because I didn't need to go look at this trailer, I have looked at them a thousand times before I picked it up.  So when I did go to pick it up they had everything ready and all I had to do is sign a couple things and then they adjusted the GN for me to the clearance I needed and I was out of there with my new trailer in about 45 minutes, maybe less.

I will do a comparison post between these two trailers this week so that if you are ever in the market, or curious about the differences, or all the possibilities of a 2+1 in general, you will have some information.  I couldn't be happier with my purchase! 

P.S.  My smaller trailer is sold.  It went quick, sorry to those that contacted me about it.  I posted it Friday evening, had an offer in 10 mins, and it was sold by Sunday evening.  I'm super excited for the buyer, I genuinely hope she loves it every single minute she owns it as much as I did, and I am confident she will!

Monday, April 10, 2017

HN's Oh Crap Monday Revisited


Every Monday our friends at Horse Nation do a little feature called "Oh Crap Monday."  Last Monday Klein and I had the honor!  Click here to see us do the honors!  In our lesson that week Klein I happened to get on video what happens when Klein is right and I am very clearly wrong!  

As you can see I didn't have the greatest approach, Klein can jump from a counter canter, I decided not to fix her, that wasn't the issue, the issue was I cut that turn a little bit too much and didn't see that distance.  That's what I get haha.  So, Klein went for it as she should and I took a flyer.  I got launched and just couldn't right myself.  

I realized once I was coming off that if I let go of her neck I was going to take a knee to the face because she just couldn't stop that quick.  She does her very best to avoid me in situations like this and she always stops, she doesn't just keep going.  She always just looks at me like "Can you get it together?  Please?"  I didn't want to scare her if she kneed me in the face, so I pulled my knees up the my chest and just hung onto her neck until she got stopped.  When she stopped, I just lowered my feet, stood next to her, apologized and told her what a good girl she was.  The video stops before that last part.  

I hopped right back up and came around again and we nailed it as you can see in the post.  It's been a while since I've come off, so we should be good for a while now!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Hacking in a Wind Tunnel


Saturday I picked up Megan and Runkle and we went to a WMA not too far away where there are 6,800 acres of riding.




Klein had other plans for our morning.  She hasn't had a fit about loading for a couple months now, I guess it was due because she let me have it this morning.  She is SO random with her loading fits.  We will go months of her basically self loading and then one day, when the moon and stars are aligned and the ambient air temperature is perfect, I have a fire breathing dragon that gets pretty ugly.  On one hand, of course it's annoying because these fits are usually when I have time to be somewhere.  On the other hand, I'm kind of impressed with her ability to stand up for what she believes in I guess.  Either way, she's not winning.  She has never, EVER won that battle.  I'm the undefeated champ when it comes to her loading fits.

I texted Megan to let her know I'd be a little late and not sure just how late.  I had the equivalent of a Marlin on a deep sea fishing line on the end of my lead rope.  I'm serious people, when Klein decides she doesn't feel like loading, she can hop around and have a complete melt down.  It's possible!  Thankfully it is very rare, and I was actually telling Megan that because it is so rare I have to remind myself that she is so good the majority of the time that she is allowed to have a bad loading day.  At one point I even asked her "Why are you acting like we're deep sea fishing right now??"


I actually had an idea she might not be super excited about that morning.  When I pull my truck and trailer up she knows that it's most likely her that is going somewhere.  That morning she saw the truck and trailer pull up and she walked to the farthest corner of the pasture.  I promised her she was just going to hang out with her buddy Runkle and go for a nice, long hack.  In all honesty though, I really do think that her problem was that I hadn't fed her yet.  It was still early, so I thought I would feed her on the trailer since she'd be on it for a little while.  I thought that would be better than throwing their hay and then taking her off of it if she wasn't done.  Of course I'd put the left overs in the trailer if I did that, but she would still realize I just took her away from hay where Mochi and Wes still have some.  My plan was to feed her on the trailer, then throw Mochi and Wes their hay.  When this kind of stuff happens I always tell her, "You know what?  I do shit I don't feel like doing all the time, you're going to have to take one for the team this morning girl."

Remember I don't have an option for help right now either, so I was prepared to just wait her out like usual. She was not going to win.  We were going to the WMA and I didn't care what time we got there.  We were going.  She would put a hoof on the ramp and that was it.  Then sometimes she would stop 20ft from the ramp and not want to move.  This is her typical melt down.  Lunging her by the trailer doesn't work either, been there a long time ago and tried it.  The only answer is to be repetitive with her and continue to turn her around and walk right back to the ramp.  I tried something different this time though.  I put her bridle on her.  It worked and we were out of there in two minutes.  My undefeated streak continues.

We picked up Megan and Runkle and headed out.  Luckily they are not only close but in the direction we were going anyway.  Klein's circus routine delayed us about 50 minutes.  Thankfully on these days Klein also is immediately over it as soon as she is on the trailer.  She never brings her attitude with her.  She never gives me that kind of attitude about anything under saddle too, thankfully.  So she can act crazy but it doesn't have any affect on the ride.

Adorable!

 We had a great time!  Klein was great, Runkle was great and aside from feeling like we were caught in a wind tunnel most of the ride, it was nice weather.  This place is awesome because there are miles and miles of trails and there are big hills so even if you go for a long, slow hack, it's great for the horses because of the terrain there.  Or if you want to do some hill sprints, it is perfect to do them and cool out with a scenic hack.  I love this place.


 
 Happy pones.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Spring!


Finally!  It is starting to look like Spring around here.  Now that the weather is being a little more consistent it was time for spring clips for everyone earlier this week.  Wes looks five years younger at least without his winter yak coat.  I can't get over how much better he looks.  He looks (and probably feels) like a whole new horse.


It can be hard to tell just what is hiding under Wes' super thick yak coat.  I can tell you I was ecstatic when I got done with his clip to see that he looks just as good as I thought he did.  He is owning the hell out of being 26 years old!  

 Such a Handsome.

Klein was already half clipped so I took the rest of hers off, and Mochi, while she doesn't grow much of a winter coat, it is still getting too warm for what she does have, so I took it all off too and she looks much better as well.

The derp is due to being mid chomp with a granola bar when I took this.

Klein's workload is steadily increasing with conditioning.  Her gallops felt absolutely amazing the other day.  I have galloped a ton of light horses of all sizes and builds, but there is just nothing like her gallop.  Her gallop is so powerful, it feels like she is gliding over the ground.  I love it.  It's an awesome feeling and I feel lucky to be experiencing it every time we gallop.

#bamf

Friday, April 7, 2017

First Show of the Year, Complete With Prelim CT


Last Saturday we had our first show of the year.  It was a local CT.  I entered Klein in the Training and Preliminary CT.  I have wanted to take her in a Prelim CT for a long time now and for some reason I just haven't.  There is no good reason I haven't.  We've been schooling up to 3'9" for a while now.  Not regularly of course because there is no need for that, but I know she can do it no problem.  We have ridden Prelim A at a dressage show, it's easy.  It is just a goal I had for us to do some CTs at Prelim since a three phase will never happen at Prelim for her, Training is her max.  Eventually I realized that we haven't accomplished that goal by accident honestly.

We had not been to this barn before.  Dressage was in an indoor, a very nice indoor.  Stadium was out on their xc course.  The indoor, while very nice, was a bit dark with a huge glass wall right above the judge where their viewing area is.  Klein for once in her life actually was a little looky in there.  I'm not sure if it was the reflections on the big glass wall or what.  Normally she doesn't care about things like that but something in there caught her eye.  So I had to put a little more leg on to keep her going since she was a little distracted.  She wasn't bad by any means.  She was listening for sure, she was just a little hesitant I guess would be the best way to describe it.

 
 Here you can see the glass wall, this was the first leg yield in Prelim A.

Even with the new iPhone 7, low light videos still suck.  I give up.

 
She warmed up great, I would have liked just a bit more from her lengthening and I did add something different into our warm up for that while we were waiting to go back in for our second test.  My main concern was to just ride the tests as accurately as possible with what she was giving me that day.  Mission accomplished.

We rode Training A first and with that I would say that our lengthenings lacked, and so did our 20m circle where she needed to stretch down.  She was a bit too distracted to be consistent with her stretching on that.  For Prelim A I would say we lacked a bit of energy in our first turn off the center line and through our 10m circles.  We also weren't as straight as we could have been in our final turn up the center line.  For both tests her halt wasn't perfectly square like it is 99% of the time in our tests at shows, but I really can't complain because those are very minor things that can be instantly fixed with a change in venue.



She is being slightly dramatic here, I was not intending for her to get behind the vertical like that.


A post shared by Stacey C (@jumpingpercheron) on

After our Prelim test I went straight to my trailer to change tack.  I didn't have much time to get to the stadium warm up.  I had already walked my course and knew where we were going.  Thankfully Klein never needs much of a warm up for stadium.  Her usual is get a good canter, some good transitions and clear half halts so I know she's listening, jump a vertical and an oxer each way and we're good to go.  Then we usually go wait ring side and Klein takes a nap.  True to form, she stood there like a statue, dead to the world while the other rounds went and the course was raised.  People always comment on how calm she is standing at the ring.  She's always been like that.  It's her zen, she knows what she's doing, she knows why we are there, and she will bring it when we're ready to come around to #1.  So, I don't mess with that, at all.

Now, because this course was surrounded by xc jumps, they immediately had Klein's attention.  She cracks me up.  She LOVES the sight of xc jumps.  Every single time, no matter where we are.  As soon as she sees them, her ears perk straight up because she realizes she's headed to the playground.  As we are coming around to the first fence in our Training round she was trying to pull me to the left toward a xc fence.  I told her "not today, you need to be looking at these stadium jumps, but I promise we will come back SOON so you can tear this place up!"  We were a bit sticky to 1 and 4.  1 for no reason other than my own incompetence of not putting my leg on when I should have and 4 because there was a nice looking turkey feeder looking xc jump next to it.  After 4 though I was like ok, stop playin' we have to go.  The rest of the round was picture perfect and she didn't touch a thing even with chipping in on 1 and 4.  Fences 6 and 7 were almost on an angle to eachother so we took them on an angle and she nailed it.  I wasn't planning to jump that on an angle when I walked it but when we came around to it, it was the easiest way and I knew it wouldn't be an issue.

See that jump the people are leaning on in the background?  When we came around there to go to the first fence she was ALL about that jump.

The Prelim round, there must have been something off with my approach to 1 because we took a rail at 1 on the Prelim round but the rest of the round was picture perfect and she didn't touch a thing.  One noticeable thing about both rounds though, her canter was unbelievable.  Hands down the best canter we've jumped out of, no question about it.  Coming around to 1 on the Prelim round I felt her come REALLY through in her back and though "O...M...G...  Get excited because this is about to be GOOD."  I'm super proud of her.  These were two of our best stadium rounds to date.  They were the most powerful, confident, and accurate we have ridden and I know that is a direct result of my jumping lessons here.  I go to my jump lessons and we IMPROVE.  We aren't stuck floundering around in a comfort zone doing the same thing every lesson, we make noticeable progress.  Then, we put that progress to work.



A post shared by Stacey C (@jumpingpercheron) on

A post shared by Stacey C (@jumpingpercheron) on

Where did we end up?  After I got Klein taken care of and loaded I went to the office.  We ended up scoring a 36.19 on Training A and a 37 on Prelim A.  Normally, those scores would mortify me because it is rare I see anything that high these days with Klein.  However, I looked at everyone else's and it was across the board.  Everybody was in in the 30's, some were the 40's.  Out of the CT riders, no one was in the 20's.  Last time we rode Prelim A we scored a 25 or 26, something around there.  Of course I know that won't happen at every show, I just felt like, yeah she wasn't as good as she could have been, but she was by no means bad.  What I felt we could have been better on in the test was accurately reflected in the marks too so that made me validated that what I was feeling, is what the judge was seeing as well.  We were 2nd in the Training with less than two points separating us from 1st and we were 1st in the Prelim.

We had a great time, and we will definitely show there again.  I am also keeping my promise to Klein and taking her back to school xc soon too!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Saturday XC School


A week ago Saturday Klein and I went to school some xc at a place where we have competed before, but never schooled.  The course is fun, the footing is good and they are now doing Training at their unrecognized events.  The last time we were there is last year where we won the Novice Rider division at their unrecognized event and it rained from the second I pulled out of my driveway that morning until the second we pulled back in the driveway that afternoon.  I feel like we got robbed of really enjoying the course that day because we had to be careful with all the rain.

That Saturday was gorgeous and we had a great time!!  I didn't run Klein at Training speed since it's still early and her gallop workload is steadily increasing at this point.  This was more about just getting her out on a xc course.  This is our second xc school of the year, second of a ton.  I just wanted her to pop over some stuff confidently and not run her too hard since it was going to be noticeably warmer that day than it had been in weeks and she still had some of her winter coat.  I knew she'd get hot easy that day.

She was a good girl like usual.  She did get a little looky at the trakehner I would guess since no matter which direction you come from you are coming down a steep hill to it so she can see into the ditch under it and it probably looked a little odd, but she was fine after the first time over it.  It made sense to her that it was just another jump, nothing special.

The water was closed that day unfortunately but that's ok.  Klein goes right in and out of water, so yeah it would have been nice if it was open but it's not a big deal that it wasn't.

At 3:40 you will see us jump up on a bank that has a steep little hill on the top.  Well, I forgot that it very literally drops straight off the other side.  That is why we slowed down.  That would NOT be run like that on an actual course.  I was like, "Well, we're already here, go ahead" and Klein went off of it.  Might as well, right?

Here is the helmet cam from that schooling:

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Dressage Gains

"What?  You thought Prelim A would be a challenge?"

I've been meaning to write about Klein's dressage progress lately, then we always have some awesome jump school and I end up writing about that first and think I'll save dressage for later.  We had an awesome xc school last weekend...so I'm going to actually put that post on hold and write about dressage FIRST.

Just like how we have been working hard on specific improvements this winter with our jumping, we have been paying the same attention to our dressage skills.  Klein is noticeably building strength and improving her way of going.  She continues to be more adjustable and lighter in the bridle and I'm beyond excited for that.

I have seriously had to refine the way I ride with my seat, making it even more independent.  Before this winter I would say I was lacking the ability to be quick enough to half halt while still driving her on through my seat which was hindering her ability to really collect her canter.  She would get a bit confused and break to the trot sometimes because I was essentially giving her half an aid and that half was to transition.  Now we have it to where I can half halt her into coming back and up with her canter yet drive her on and not be confusing about what I'm asking.  I can feel her strength building with it too.  I am all about progression and whole heartedly believe in taking a few quality steps of whatever we are working on, rewarding her by giving her a break, then getting a few more quality steps.  Through doing that, she is building strength and the number of quality steps steadily increased to where she's strong enough to continue with the quality steps for as long as I ask.

I know what it's like.  If you follow Denny Emerson, from time to time you will see him post about how you need to realize that training your horse is putting a load on them and asking them to build strength that may not be there to begin with.  Therefore, when it is not there to begin with the horse may seem like it is being disobedient or not trying when the reality is, it's hard work and the horse just isn't strong enough yet.  I couldn't agree more.  I know Klein tries, and she never protests, but I always give her new things in small doses because I know exactly what it feels like.  I've been in the gym for years, I actually was a Fitness Specialist before my current careerfield and have several personal training certifications in addition to a degree in Fitness Management.  I'm a former half marathon and triathlon competitor, and a recovered CrossFit Kool-Aid drinker.  Now I just lift heavy five days a week in the gym.  It is my other hobby, I don't do it because I feel obligated, I genuinely enjoy being in the gym and running myself into the ground.  Not to mention the perks it provides in the saddle, but that is for a whole other post.  I come up with some of my best ideas during the beat downs I give myself in the gym.

 
Current level of conditioning.


 And because I'm a super dork when it comes to data like this, here is MY data from one of our dressage rides recently.

I know horses get DOMS like we do, it's been proven through testing their lactic build up levels after hard workouts.  DOMS sucks, and sometimes you feel like you need a wheelchair or a personal assistant to dress you or wash your hair.  Knowing this, I cannot even imagine what it would feel like for a horse to feel like that in any way shape or form, and be taken out and asked to work hard again.  You better believe I anthropomorphize the hell out of the this aspect of training horses.  Klein is not a horse that would ever protest either, she's not one that would ever consider dumping me because she didn't feel like doing something, or it hurt.  She would just grit her teeth and try until she couldn't anymore and I think that makes it even more important to be mindful with work load and progression.

Anyway, another thing that I have put some focus on this winter has been getting Klein to relax a bit more over her back in our sitting trot.  She's fairly easy to sit the trot on, but she still needed to relax over her back a bit more and be a little more adjustable in that gait as well.  It's not like I never ride the sitting trot, I do a lot, I have no problem with it, I just needed to build on it because we would be a bit hit or miss with her relaxation over her back.  I needed to actually put some focus on that area.  Again, a few steps here and there.  Well, check that one off the list too because we have managed to build up to riding entire tests in the sitting trot with relaxation and adjustability in the sitting trot.  I have been focused a lot on being distinct with my aids within that gait too.  She feels absolutely amazing lately.

Oh, one more noticeable difference, I haven't rode with a dressage whip for about two months now, and there has not been one time in those two months that I have wished it was in my hand.  Klein's self-going has improved that much.  She has never been a slug by any means, but sometimes just having the whip in my hand was all she needed to just give me a llllittle bit more energy.  Not any more.  I attribute that to using my lower leg more effectively.  Also, all this work has been in her french-link boucher.  I haven't changed any tack, aside from removing the dressage whip from the equation.

I'm proud of us, and I'm excited to see our dressage scores this year.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Horse Hubby Feature


If you don't read or follow Horse Hubby, you should. Timothy Harfield is the mastermind behind it and is the Horse Hubby of international 4* eventer Elisa Wallace (Go Johnny Go!).  A lot of you guys actually headed over to Horse Hubby to cast your vote for The Other Half to make it into the Horse Hubby calendar, and he did.  Timothy also has a podcast called "Horses in the Morning." 

Horse Hubby provides a funny and relevant look into the lives of Horse Hubbies everywhere, and if yours doesn't read or follow, they definitely should! 

I recently wrote a guest post for Horse Hubby, it was posted today.  You can find it here:


In addition to Horse Hubby, you really should follow Wallace Eventing on Facebook as well. Elisa posts vlogs regularly that detail her training and shows around the world.  Her helmet cams are by far some of my favorites.  I love the way she talks to her horses on cross country course, their bond is so evident.  She also is a huge supporter of Mustangs.  She trains them and owns several and won the Extreme Mustang Makeover in 2012.  You may have seen one of her demonstrations at a horse trials near you, or Rolex.  She is an all around shining example of a real horsewoman.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

First Jump Lesson of the Year


I have been waiting for some warmer weather and days that are lighter longer to start jump lessons again.  That time is here.  I have missed riding with our instructor, I really, really enjoy her lessons, actually, thinking about it, she is my favorite to jump with so far, like, ever.

We had a lesson Monday night and it was awesome.  I was excited to show her the improvements we have been working on this winter.  She put us to work like usual.  Part of why I like her so much is she ALWAYS has creative things for us to ride.  She always has gymnastics, skinnies, things in tight spots, jumps with a lot to look at, tight turns, you name it.  I love it because it broadens all of our mental and physical skills.  And true to form, she had a xc corner in the ring Monday night.

We worked on getting Klein a bit more in tune to locking onto the stadium jumps.  She said she knows how forward Klein is out on xc and said we need to channel some of that energy for stadium.  She told me to try posting the canter around the course to help Klein maybe move out just a bit more.  It worked.  I'm going to add that in to our warm ups before stadium or xc schools as a kind of transition cue for her, as well as use it on course in stadium.  She has no problem galloping like she's on the attack of anything I point her at on xc and she needs to have a little bit more of that mindset in the stadium ring, posting the canter seems to help that out by getting her slightly more forward with out messing with the quality of her canter, which is great right now.

Eventually the corner was added in with some stadium fences.  One thing I'm still a work in progress with is counting to and between fences.  I would say I'm 70% consistent, aka not good enough.  Liv immediately caught me not counting and therefore getting four where I should have been getting three from a skinny to the corner.  Sometimes I just have so much fun, counting just flies right out of my head.  Here is how important I know it is, and what a priority I've made it to get better, I wrote "COUNT!" on Klein's breast collar.  See...

 

When I count, I'm a lot more accurate (duh) and see almost all of my distances (gee, imagine that).  I also got a great lesson on how to ride a corner properly.  I did get Klein to a couple odd spots approaching that corner because of the fence we were heading to next, and I was making my turn a little too tight for it to put us in the perfect spot.  When there was an oxer on the other side of it I wasn't focusing on that next jump enough to put Klein where she should be.  Liv explained it a bit more, we made our turn to it a lot bigger, locked onto the oxer AFTER it and nailed it.

Approaching it like this just makes your life harder if your next fence is that white oxer in the left corner of the picture.  By making our turn wider and approaching it like we were lined up as if the front face was a vertical, we nailed it.

 

This lesson also helped us adjust our approaches from stadium to xc and back.  There is a derby next month that I'm going to enter us in because I think that will be a great place for us to put those skills to work, and it will just be fun.  Unfortunately it only goes up to Novice, so, we'll enter at that.  I REALLY wish it was Training, but there should be another one at a different venue this summer that will have Training, and we'll hit that one too.

One thing I also really like about Liv is that she makes sure the horse AND the rider are holding up their end of the deal.  If I try to make an excuse for Klein doing something and blame myself, she'll make sure I realize that I could improve by holding Klein just a little more accountable.  It's a fine line for sure, but Liv always sees it and points it out, and I'm appreciative for that too because to me, Klein walks on water, everyone knows that.  Just ask The Other Half, he'll tell you how high Klein's pedestal is, because he reminds me every time I put her on it or make it higher.  But, give me a break, because he also calls her The Princess.

Here are a couple videos with the corner:

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We school xc this weekend.  This lesson was a great prep for a solid Training level school this weekend.  I'm already super excited for next's week lesson too!