Thursday, March 28, 2013

Show Recap Part III - Takeaways (& Photos)

This past weekend's show was a reality check that we are not as far along as I had thought we were. You can practice perfect a hundred times, but you must be able to perform on command the day of the show. That is the challenge - doing it right at the right time.

After some reflecting, I think there were 2 chief factors which caused our dressage performance to be sub-par:
1) Hemie not being ridden the week before the show, due to the minor soundness concern.  
Hemie does better when in regular work, and clearly does not do as well when not.

2) Not immediately addressing his tantrum in the warm-up effectively.
It took far too long for me to get him under control (thanks again, Susan Friend!) and it left both of us rattled and very tense right before the test. 

Clearly I'm going to do everything I can to set us up for success in the future, and that means understanding issues and working to prevent them. Without further ado:

My Main Takeaways from this Show
  • I need my trainer with me at shows.  If she's not available, I need to approach another trainer about day-of coaching BEFORE mounting. Better safe than sorry. Clearly I do need that support, at least at this stage of our career.
  • I need to have a plan ready for when shit happens with Hemie refusing to go forward. For now that plan is the strategy Susan Friend had me use (over flex, then 10m circle, then expanding forwards).
  • I need long warm ups. At least 45 to 50 minutes before each ride.
  • Soundness concerns notwithstanding, Hemie needs our normal amount of rides, or even some extra rides, the week before a show.
Before Hemie and I even reached the trailer at the end of the show, I already knew that I wanted to come back and do the Meadows derby in April. I *know* we can do better, and I want another chance ASAP.

For now I am abandoning any immediate aspirations for doing a full on horse trials.  I need to be able to compete proficiently at the local shows (for $200 each) before signing up for the bigger shows ($1,000 each). If I'm going to take off work and drop the cash, I want to feel confident about our abilities. And the way to do that is compete in more of these schooling shows.  I'm blessed to have 2 local eventing schooling venues, the Meadows of Moorpark and El Sueno Equestrian Center, as well as a bunch of dressage, ETI, and hunter/jumper shows.

So my immediate short term goal is to do more local shows. As many as I can afford and schedule (with my trainer!). As soon as possible. Here are the contenders:

April 7 - ETI show in Simi Valley (  OR Strad Farms Jumper Show
April 21 - ETI show in Thousand Oaks
April 28 - Meadows of Moorpark Derby
May 18 - ETI Dressage ride-a-test in Simi Valley
May 5 - ETI show in Simi Valley
May 19 - Fiesta del Sueno jumping derby at El Sueno OR ETI show in Thousand Oaks
June 7 -  ETI show in Simi Valley
June 15-16 - Dressage at El Sueno
June 23 - Hunter/jumper at El Sueno
July 17 - Jumping derby at El Sueno

On to another topic: mine and Hemie's fashion at the show. Opinions welcome!!

A) Black fly bonnet with silver trim. Thoughts? In my opinion he looked dashing! And he seemed to like its bug prevention.

B) My green show shirt. Is this even appropriate for dressage? Or is this hunter attire? Or neither? Fashion has been my major issue coming to this sport as an adult. I know nothing! My plan for the show was inspired by Karen of Bakersfield Dressage: a white "ventilator" shirt with a (pre-tied) stock tie and pin. I ordered the Ronfh Coolmax pre-tied stock tie, and it arrived just in time a few days before the show. But wouldn't you know it, the stupid button clasp broke the first time I tried it on (tags still on!) so I returned it and wore the green shirt instead. I'm thinking of ordering a regular stock tie, since I bought the stock pin. Thoughts?

C) My helmet cover, black with hot pink polka dots. Too juvenile? Too feminine since I'm riding a gelding? I got this cover when I was riding Spirit and our colors were pink, pink, and more pink. But I never got a chance to wear it due to our issues (and not showing). So I decided to open the package and add some color for this show. Thoughts welcome.

And for those interested in the Point Two air vest, here's a good shot of it. You can see the copper-colored CO2 canister on the right front.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Show Recap: Part II - Jumping

To continue from yesterday's the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly show recap post, I am pleased to finally bring you something a tad more positive.

As soon as we left the dressage arena, Hemie once again slid sideways in a naughty effort to head back towards the trailer. Bah! I promptly did the over-flex exercise and got him moving freely away from that direction. Then I decided it would be safer for me to dismount and walk us back rather than ride through the warm up area. Hemie was a good boy, walked like a gentleman and took a nice drink back at the trailer. He was great for un-tacking, grooming, and tacking back up with our jump gear.

The Good

Laurie still wasn't back by the time I mounted to begin jumping warm up, but my plan was to canter around and get Hemie nice and relaxed. But Hemie was actually quite well behaved, relaxed in his body, and walking and trotting freely. Laurie arrived soon after we started warming up, and we popped over some fences. We had plenty of time for a nice long warm up, and Hemie was acting very happy. Here's a short video from the warm up:


I wore my Point Two air vest for the first time, and Sarah B. pointed out that it wasn't attached to my saddle. I said I knew that, and I'd attach it when we headed out. She said "but where's the saddle attachment strap?"


Uh, the sales lady did not mention this little tidbit. In the end we attached it to one of the saddle pad straps.

The Easy Beginner Novice division had a course of 10 jumps with maximum height of 2'3". It started with 2 stadium fences then 7 solid cross country fences, then ended with one more stadium fence. My goal for our jumping round was to ride more forward than our last jumping derby. When watching the video of myself later on, I didn't want to be clucking at us the whole time.

Well, mission accomplished. Here's the video:

Okay, its not quite as forward as I had imagined we would be. We trotted more jumps than I had thought we would, but that's okay. We got over everything and we both had fun doing it. And I didn't fall off, even when it got a tad iffy after the last fence.

We ended up with 4 jump faults (from circling before jump #6), and 48 time faults for the jump round. Combined with our dressage score that put us in 10th place. Last place. But we avoided the big E (elimination) which is good.

As we headed back to the trailer, I took a moment to dismount. Can you guess what happened next?

POP!  Yep, my air vest. I had forgotten to unlatch it. Hemie barely blinked at it, so that's good.

Anyways, thanks to everyone for their supportive vibes and comments. The weekend didn't go as I had planned, but that's life with horses. I'm still mediating on the takeaways and new goals following this experience. As of now I'm grateful that things didn't go worse, and I am very proud of my horse and myself for coming back from a rough morning to do an improved job jumping.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Show Recap: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Actually, it went in reverse order: Ugly dressage warm up, Bad dressage test, then Good jumping. At least it got better as the day went on.

Firstly, gotta give credit where credit is due. I want to thank my husband for his amazing support. He was a doting horse show hubby. Many thanks to my trainer Laurie for being so encouraging. Tammy and Randee and The Meadows of Moorpark team did a great job putting on the show, and special gratitude to Sarah B. and the other volunteers who make schooling shows possible. And finally, thanks to my cheering section: my mom Barbara, brother Danny, neice Marlie, nephew Bobby, and friends Karla, Andy, Jess, and Jenna. It was nice to see everyone and I appreciate the warm vibes.

Sunday morning was bright and cheerful. I was packed and ready to roll. Hemie munched breakfast while getting groomed up. I took him for a longe and he was very well behaved and not super frisky. I was tired from the previous day's ride (and fall) and thought perhaps he was too. I was wrong.

And so... The Ugly

He was perfect for loading up, for unloading, and for grooming. He was calm walking around, I hopped on him with plenty of time to warm up. We headed out to the open warm up area near the dressage courts. And then my horse started freaking out.

He did not want to move forwards, especially when headed away from the main entrance area. He slid backwards, scooted sideways, and got light up front. I tried putting him to work, but he almost careened into people and horses, so then I focused on getting him to a more open, less populated corner of the warm up area. Once there, I focused on just FORWARD, praising every step forward and trying not to pull on his mouth - afraid of making him go up (or over).

Horse Show Warm Up

Yep, I was that girl in the warm up. The one you cringe at, while thinking "she needs to get a handle on her horse!" while simultaneously moving away and shielding any small children with your body.

It sucks.

I struggled for what seemed like an eternity. I probably nearly killed at least 6 people. It was mortifying.

Where was my trainer, you ask? She was at a different horse show about 15 minutes away where she had two clients riding. I had known she had another show that day and cocky, stupid me had said "I'll be fine on my own - you can just drop me off and we'll be alright."

Ha. Famous last words.

Finally, someone had the kindness to help me out. That person was well-known So Cal eventer Susan Friend LeTourneur of Goldspirit Farm, who now has a special place in my heart. She gave me some encouragement, and more importantly, a specific exercise which worked to fix the issue. She had me over-flex to the side, then move into a 10 meter circle, focusing on getting the hind feet to move forwards. Have solid rein contact, sit deep on the seat, really driving forwards with the hips. From there, move straight out from the circle. Switch directions if the problem arises again. Pretty soon you'll have larger circles, then figure eights, then you're like a normal person in the warm up. She even threw in a few coach-like, empowering words, which helped my brain to click back into gear. Thank you, Susan - you earned a new friend and supporter today!

The Bad

Moving on to our actual dressage test.  The best I can really say about it is could have been worse. We did stay inside the arena at all times, and we didn't get eliminated.

But to be honest I am very disappointed. I think we could have done much better had I been a more effective rider in the warm up sooner, and a more positive rider during the test. But, c'est la vie. The judge was actually quite generous - she gave us lots of 5s for what really should have been 3 or 4s. Here's the video. Brace yourself - it's painful.

Both of us look tense and why, oh why, didn't I bend my elbows and squeeze the outside rein more!  Seriously people I'm not normally this bad of a rider. So frustrating!

 I went off course twice in the test, but because she didn't ring the buzzer the first time she did not dock me points the second time. Specifically, I added an extra trot circle before picking up the canter each direction. I also got some points off for clucking to him during the test. I could feel him getting stuck and felt I needed to do it in order to help him move forward. I already knew we were scoring horribly anyway, so I just wanted to give him as good an experience as I could at that point.

Here are the scores and comments.

Alright, time to do some de-stressing. Next post will cover the jumping part, ending on a much more positive note. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

And...we showed

To cut to the chase, Hemie fully recovered and we did compete in the local derby on Sunday. It was our first ever dressage test, then we did a combined stadium and cross country jump course.  I'll be getting photos and videos and will do a show recap in another post soon.

But to catch up from the last post...

Following last week's tiny bit of unsoundness, we pronounced Hemie fully recovered Friday evening. I still gave him a short longe instead of a ride, just for good measure. So Saturday was our first ride in...well, one full week. I longed first of course, but he was still hot-hot-HOT. We did dressage, and all was going very well.

Until we worked on a challenging exercise: bending right while tracking left on a circle. This fried poor Hemie's brain, and challenged my physical coordination efforts in being an effective rider with all aids. At one point he took off cantering downhill, and when I gave him a half-halt he started bouncing up and down. I got disseated, hunched forward, and basically rode Hemie's neck as he cantered around the arena.

Laurie yelled at me to drop my whip - apparently bouncing on him. Then she yelled at me to sit up, which I was already trying my damnedest to do. At some point I realized I was not going to be able to fix the situation, so I abandoned ship and rolled off his right shoulder. Surprisingly, Hemie did not run me over, or kick me, or keep running. He stopped a few feet away. I laid huddled for a minute - my abs were fully contracted and tight with pain from the effort of trying to sit up. I had my safety vest on, so that's good.

Laurie hopped on while I caught my breath, and poor Hemie went back and forth between having naughty spells in one corner of the arena to being a hard worker at the exercise in the other areas of the arena. After a bit I got back on for a few minutes, then we ended the lesson and I began the pre-show bath and tack cleaning extravaganza.

Not the best pre-show ride.

As to the the unsoundness last week, there's of course no way to know exactly what the issue was, but Laurie seems to think it was hoof sensitivity. All the walking and driving paths around the barn are made of road base, which is basically gravel with chunks of asphalt. I don't know why he'd show sensitivity now versus, say, when we first moved to the facility. But ultimately I want to be proactive about hoof health and Hemie's comfort.

So I did what many an American would do: search for a product to buy to help solve the problem.

Well, actually, I already had a product in mind, but this incident was the push to actually purchase it. Its Keratex Hoof Hardener. It came highly recommended by a local eventer who does Training level barefoot with great success.  To my shame, she had recommended this product some time back, but since my local tack store didn't carry it, I had bought the Tuff Stuff hoof toughener instead, and have been applying it regularly per the instructions.
But I fell for a classic case of buying what's affordable and accessible rather than what's right (or at least, recommended by a great referral).

So I ordered the Keratex on Friday and will start using that instead of the Tuff Stuff once it comes in. The Keratex can be applied to the sole of the hoof and specifically advertises for soundness, whereas the Tuff Stuff seems to be more to prevent chipping of the outer wall. For 3 times the price, I sure hope it will do the trick and prevent any more issues from arising!

And so I leave you with a random shot of Hemie's tail - looking much nicer than when I first adopted him almost a year ago.
Tail is looking longer and fuller!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Lameness update + photo dump

As of last night Hemie seemed to be doing better. If Wednesday night was a "1" then Thursday night he was a "0.5".  He trotted around nice and evenly, without head-bobbing, but every so often I thought I saw a hint of a bad step. According to Laurie that is classic stone bruise or hoof sensitivity. 

The poor guy has so much energy, he danced in the air and bucked and tried to canter off a few times. I got his mind off of things by walking him all around the soft arena, including into the water. He got to sample many tasty bushes, get up close and personal to the jumps, sniff at and walk through the water, and then shake his head and prance like a hot little TB.

Our farrier called me back last night after the longe, and said that hoof-testing would not be helpful. In his opinion it wouldn't indicate if the issue is or is not with his hooves, since some horses are just more or less sensitive in their feet and we have no idea what Hemie's "normal" sensitivity level is. He said we could try putting shoes back on, but I decided I'd rather just give him some time, since he is already showing improvement. He said Hemie could be just a little more sensitivity due to the gravel walkways at our barn and the lack of rain to soften the footing. 

The plan is to check on him again tonight, and then again Saturday, and on Sunday is the show. If he is 100% then we'll still go. Thanks to everyone for the warm vibes - they do help!

Meanwhile here is a photo dump:

My horse is a very messy eater.
This next series is from a random evening when The Birds were at the barn. Hemie was a very good sport - we tried our hand at bird chasing but ultimately the birds won!

Sorry for the blurry photos - handling crazy horse while taking photos is not the best.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Catch Up Post. Lameness

I've been slacking on the blogging front, but hey, that's life sometimes.

Hubby and I went to Pismo Beach for a long weekend to celebrate our 1 year anniversary. It was lovely and relaxing.

I got an 8 am lesson this past Saturday before leaving, and it was a great ride. We worked on our usual stuff for now: straightness, slowness. We added in some work on my equitation (still working on sitting up after the jump to better collect and prepare for the next jump). Overall it was a fun lesson and a great start to a lovely long weekend.

Last night I went to the barn, accompanied by hubs. As Rick was getting a refresher on how to longe, I noticed Hemie was ever so slightly off.  Hind left. No, hind right. Left front. Bah!

I hopped on to see if it was just my imagination, and no, I did feel the slight hitch. Poor Hemie had lots of energy and wanted to go-go-go, but we ended the ride and hosed off his legs. No heat, no swelling. I called Laurie whose gut feeling was that it was his hooves and we may need to shoe him again. That was not my gut feeling, but she said she'd take a look at him today and call me. My gut feeling was just a small soreness or owie from his wild bucking (he was feeling fresh), or perhaps a small injury when getting turned out. I've learned personally that there doesn't have to be any heat or swelling for there to be some inner damage (knee issues still ongoing from my fall last Thanksgiving).

Well, today at lunch time Laurie called. She and another trainer, Mary Jo Lord (her website here) checked out Hemie and both thought it was front left. Laurie left a message for the farrier - the plan is to hoof test him and get his professional opinion then take it from there. If we didn't have the show on Sunday, I probably wouldn't even do that - the lameness was so small, I'd be inclined to just give him a few days off and see. So please send him your warm vibes for a quick healing.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

XC School!!

Today has been an excellent day.

My sister is finally home from Pittsburgh, where she donated 60% of her liver in a live transplant to our uncle. I'll be visiting her tomorrow afternoon. I'm so happy she is healing well, and is back home getting lots of love from her kitty who missed her very much. Thanks again to everyone who sent a prayer up on her behalf.

Today we went on a fabulous XC outing. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get any video, and here is our sole photo:

It was a gorgeous day. The footing at The Meadows of Moorpark was excellent, even with the recent rain (which actually cancelled our schooling planned for Galway Downs or Shepherd - thank goodness for the Meadows!).

Hemie was an absolute rockstar. I hadn't ridden him since last Tuesday, due to aforementioned rain and my new barn being super prissy about all 8 of their arenas (seriously - couldn't they let us just have one for rainy days??). So he was fresh, and got a good longe before loading up in the trailer. But he was happy to get out and about and got right down to work. We warmed up excellently over a few cross rails, then headed over to some very small intro-sized logs and other solid jumps (under 2' high).

We encountered our first and only issue - exiting stage right on approach to jump. Specifically, his hips would swing right, then his ribs would bulge out against any form of bend, and then he'd drift sideways right. We put that to a stop right away with solid right leg forcing right bend and moving left, plus bending right while opening left rein for him to accept and to guide him back to straight. Luckily we were jumping tiny little things that we could jump sideways. Which we did once or twice before he went "OOooh, I have to go *straight* in order to jump. Okay!"  I could feel it click in his horsey brain, and from there on out just a small tap of the whip on his right shoulder or and extra bump with right leg would do the trick if I felt him starting to drift his hiney.

We did several intro sized jumps then moved onto some Beginner Novice sized fences. He was a pro and bravely, yet carefully, jumped all of them. We did ditches and banks too - no prob. He went straight into the water without so much as sniffing it - just walked right in. We did a course of about 8 jumps and he was loving it. After one jump he took off a little bit - not crazy wild, just a little excited. So we circled and did it again and he came right back to me.

For the first time we did some jumps on a hill, and Hemie did a great job of staying balanced and listening, while figuring out where to put his feet. I could tell he liked the puzzle, and always was looking for the next jump.

I'm just such a proud mama, and very happy that he is enjoying cross country.

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dressage with Chemaine

Lovely weekend riding weather. I love so cal!
Laurie was out of town this past weekend, taking some other clients to the Twin Rivers horse trials up in Paso. So, last minute, I decided to take a lesson with the resident dressage trainer at our facility: Chemaine Hurtado of Symphony Dressage.

I met her at the Dr. Christian Schacht clinic in January, and came away very impressed with her horses. She is friendly and approachable, and according to her website she started off competing in eventing and then switched to dressage due to her horse's injury, which I think is noble. She is competitive at the 4* and international dressage level.
She offers a discount on your first lesson with her - only $25 for a half hour, so I was game to give her a try.

Given that he had been ridden the day before, Hemie was uncharacteristically amped. It was our first time in a dressage arena (ever), and there was a screaming horse-eating baby in colorful clothes nearby, and a group jump lesson across the way. Hemie was particularly looky-loo, but Chemaine specifically instructed me not to turn his head away from the distractions as that stops/shortens his stride, increasing tension rather than encouraging relaxation.

What If I Told You Meme - What if I told you not to use reins or legsShe had us do an interesting exercise I've never done before: true bend, then counter-bend, then stretch down, only using seat pressure. No reins or legs to encourage bending! Specifically I had to sit heavy on the seat-bone on the side you're asking them to bend to. If you want them to bend right, sit heavy on right seat-bone and sink weight into right stirrup (not applying right leg pressure, though). The idea is for the horse to lift up against that pressure, carrying us both via the bend. I also had to be sure to move my shoulders and look in the direction of the bend. We did this on a figure 8, then on circles, then on a straight line, at the walk and trot.

She complimented my riding and my feel several times, which was encouraging. However she also asked me to have way longer reins than I'm used to (I normally get in trouble for them being too long!). And she had me sit back on my tailbone more than I'm used to, which turned out to be helpful with the exercise.

Hemie responded surprisingly well to the seat pressure, though I do think he was looky-loo much longer than he otherwise would have been if I had been allowed to turn his head away and put him to work in a more direct manner than just bending while walking. At one point Chemaine even said something like "I'm sure you could get him on the bit and put him to work, but we want him to enjoy dressage and this new arena, by being relaxed and staying relaxed."  implying that he would get tense if I asked him to get on the bit (apparently this has been her experience with OTTBs) though that is not normally what Hemie does. Oh well.

Overall I enjoyed the experience and would be open to taking another lesson from her in the future.

Afterwards Hemie got his normal bucket o' goodies. Just beet pulp and rice bran at this point, actually. Somehow he manages to wear a good portion of it on his face. Silly pony.

Dressage lesson tonight, then hopefully XC schooling this weekend!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Trust, continued

To follow up yesterday's post, the 3rd miraculous moment in our lesson last weekend shows me that Bohemian is game for cross country. 

Here is the water complex corner of our event arena:

We handle water just fine and have done the shortest banks on both sides without issue several times.

So Laurie said we should do the middle bank on the left, down to the stacked logs. Yes, those novice sized logs on the right of the photo. It's not that tall of a log, but for some reason I was still nervous about it. Its just so solid. and we haven't jumped even a baby log in over 6 months! She saw the trepidation in my eyes, so Laurie says "Ok, come down the other middle bank and hop over that black tube jump instead."

0.o  Uh, not much better is what I thought. I was nervous about it, but for some reason didn't say anything. Its almost as high as the log and to a horse it looks pretty darn solid. I walked him by it so he could get an eyeful. The plan was to come down the middle bank (the first time doing that size of a bank, by the way), come to a walk, then trot out over the black tube jump.

Well, down banks have been a challenge for me (dating back to Spirit days), but I was sure to stay back and have long arms and reins. Hemie just stepped down like a pro. He came to a walk right away, but I was slack in picking up my reins and getting our act together. Instead of a trot we were at a quasi-jig (a walk+, really) by the time we reached the tube jump, and you know what happened? He. jumped. it.

He must love to jump, because I thought for sure he was just going to come to a nice straight halt in front of the jump, and instead he put in a great physical effort to lift his body and jump this thing from a walk. I was so proud. He loves his job so much, and he understands his job, that he took me over this thing. We came around to do it again, and I would say I marginally improved my performance and we had a slow trot going on. I got left behind but that's okay. 

I am coming to see more and more what a great horse I have - and that its okay to start trusting him to do his job. I still need to be the best rider I can be for him, but I just really appreciate having him step up to the plate and help things go successfully even when I haven't done my full share. Good boy, Hemie.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Landmark: Trust

I'm a week behind in posting but last Saturday I had a jumping lesson that brought tears to my eyes. The good kind.

It was a gorgeous day and we suited up for jumping in the cross country arena. We worked on straightness and slowness. Hemie would break to canter and run at the jump for the last 3 strides, so we worked on keeping him slow. Laurie said that he's allowed to break right before the jump (1 stride) as he is figuring out where to put his feet, but he only gets that last stride and its my job to keep control of rhythm and pace before then.

One does not simply fly into Ardor - One does not simply keep a horse straightMy most recent aha moment kicked in several times - I'm able to correct his swinging haunches by using legs only and keeping my hands light. He tried to bulge out a few times out of excitement, so we circled to correct the bend and then approached at a walk. I could feel his aha moment, figuring out that going slow and straight actually helps. I'm so blessed to have such a fast learning horse!

There were 3 moments in our lesson that really indicated our partnership has entered a new level of trust. Each single one was amazing and I'm still floored that we had 3. This is a very special landmark for us as a team.

First was when we came to an oxer that was a bit higher than what we've been jumping lately. It was probably 2'6" and we've been sticking to crossrails and the 2' or 2'3" area. As we approached, Hemie squiggled right, so I corrected with my right leg to straighten, then he squiggled left and I used my left leg to straighten, then he squiggled right again and again I used my leg to straighten. And then - he jumped! I was so proud of myself for being the confident rider he needed me to be - to tell him clearly that he needed to be straight, that he wasn't going to be able to dodge out, and in return he trusted me and went over the jump. He didn't even think about refusing. And I realized that I could start trusting him to go over, even when he gets the squiggles.

Next was during our schooling with ditches. Ditches have been awkward for us - and its been months since we've worked on it. We introduced him to a liverpool first and then a small ditch. He was a very fast learner. Then we had a ditch followed by a small jump maybe 3 strides away. I had to give him his head over the ditch so he could look at it and hop over, but as he cantered towards the jump his hip swung right and I corrected with right leg. However, I had a moment of major awkwardness; apparently I can't move my leg while also lifting my torso and gathering reins. I was completely discombobulated and then...he jumped anyway. I fell onto his neck - reins flapping in the breeze. He seemed to say "Mama, don't worry, I got this" and hauled us both over.
Imagine the poles and liverpool removed from the ditch.
I was too lazy to remove them for the pic.

It was one of the proudest moments of my life. Being saved by my horse. Such a sign of maturity - that he knows his job even when his mama fumbles the set-up, and that he likes his job enough to do it even when not in perfect circumstances. This is the kind of horse you need for eventing - the kind that will cover for you when you mess up. He could have stopped. I would have gone over his head and into the jump. But he didn't. He saved me.

Gonna save the third moment for tomorrow's post. Hope you're having as productive a weekend as I am!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Dieu Merci!

...c'est vendredi!   (Thank God its Friday en francais).

Super crazy hectic work schedule
     = posts half-written, sitting in the queue.
     = horse not exercised as much as I'd like.
     = house is a mess.

Only an hour left at work. I'm listening to Lady Gaga because everyone else has gone home.

See you soon.