Sunday, February 22, 2009

Today's Ride and a Fun Dilemma

So, after a week's vacation, it has been a week since I last rode. Pooh! The weather and temps just did not cooperate this week. Yesterday it was bright and sunny, but FREEZING with the wind howling. My mom was here (built-in babysitter!) so I was determined to ride, but it was just too cold.

So this morning, S was so thoughtful and recommended I ride in the morning instead of waiting for C's nap time at 1PM like I usually do. The forecast was calling for snow after lunch, so it did seem like a good plan. It was overcast this morning, but no wind and the temps were mid-30s. Time to ride!

Our ride was much like last Sunday. However, due to the storm this past week, there is now tons of ice in the driveway, so I had to either ride in the field or not at all. I tacked up, praying that the footing would be OK. It seemed to be to me, but I am not a 1000 pound horse with hooves.

Anyway, the footing was fine. It was a little more crunchy than it has been all winter, as we got some freezing rain (hence the ice in the driveway..), but Dreamy went around at the walk just fine. We broke a good path and she was happily in the bridle and marching forward. The sun broke out while we rode (and promptly hid again when I dismounted....weird!) so there was odd noises coming from the woods....snow dropping off the branches. It was enough to make Dreamy scoot her butt and jump a couple of times. Oh mare. She is NOT generally spooky, but she often will spend a few moments going, "WHAT IS THAT?" before she settles down again. After a few minutes of silly fluttery noises and one more tuck-butt-jump thingy, she sighed and figured life was OK again. :)

We did some trot work on the upper part of the hill where the snow was not as deep. But of course, my smart mare says, "HEY! Isn't this field where you let me CANTER??" So she was very up and sitting underneath herself, getting ready the entire time to canter. I made her trot a few times, did some walk-trot-walk transitions, and then practiced our stretchy walk. And she sighed and figured no cantering for her. It is my fault for doing our winter walk/trot work in the driveway and then only going to the field to canter. But why does she have to be so smart?

After I figured she had forgotten about cantering, I picked her up and asked. OH and what a nice mare.....right into the left lead like she was born to do dressage! We went about 8 strides and I brought her back, trot then walk....no pace (!!!!!). I almost ended right there, but it was so fun I had to do it again. LOL!

I spent some time walking her around again, as she was blowing pretty good. Cantering in the snow is lots of work! Her breathing came right back, so that was good. She might be out of shape, but at least she recovers quickly.

Then we went to the right. Not as nice. :( Her upwards transition seemed hard for her. She wanted to run from a pace (AHHHH!) into the canter in this direction. I sit up SO well and tried SO hard, but it just was not working. I tried 3 times, then just walked her out for a moment. She gets so jazzed up and I wanted to reestablish her calm mental state again.

OK. This time I decide to move her out into the deeper snow to ask for a canter. That way she would have to rock back and up to get the transition. We had made such a nice path, she was physically able to just run/plow into the canter. I know this is her weaker side, and I know she is not in good shape, but I really wanted a "decent" transition at least once.

The deep snow helped. She did exactly what I expected. She did rock back and come right up into the canter, but she also lunged her head forward. Well, we cannot have everything the way we want it, now can we? :) After a stride, I was able to get her to drop her head and the canter was so springy and balanced and calm! WOOO-HOOO! That was enough for me, so we spent some time walking and cooling out. We practiced some halts and called it a day.

I am proud of the Dream Girl and the fact that she really has not "forgotten" anything since last fall. Yes, she needs to regain her muscle tone and stamina, but that is easy to build back up. I am so pleased with her left lead canter today! Just having 7-8 strides of a decent canter is so fabulous right now. I did not have that a year ago. Hell, I did not even have a canter AT ALL a year ago! So even though I want to start lessons and I want the footing to be "normal", I cannot complain about my fabulous mare! :)

Oh, and my fun dilemma!? I would like to attend a show on April 19....but there are two different shows to attend! Which one do I do? They will end up costing about the same, though the 2-phase will cost a bit more in gas.

Dressage Show - 34 miles away (1 hour, 5 mins.) I would probably do Training 1 and 2. This is not a rated show, just a schooling show, but would give us a place to start this spring.

OR

Two-Phase - 70 miles away (1 hour, 25 mins.) I could do either the W/T test with 18" crossrails or the Mod. BN phase with 18"-2'3" jumps. I plan to do all Mod. BN this year, but I could justify the W/T as just a warm-up event.

They both open on March 6, so I have to choose soon! :)

And of course, right at about 1:30, it began to rain. I am SO GLAD I rode this AM! :)

2 comments:

moonowl said...

Hey at least you can ride. Footing is still terrible here in the southern part of New England.

You'll probably have a snow day tomorrow if the weather channel is to be believed.

One of the BEST things about Standardbreds is they can sit for a while and when you get back to them they pick up right where you left off like it was yesterday. That is one of the things I love most about them. Their wonderful work ethic.

I can't tell you which show to do. LOL.

I start Dressage lessons March 4th and will be riding either a Swiss Warmblood or a Dutch Warmblood. Hopefully when you come down in April we can go take a lesson together and ride both of them at the same time.

OnTheBit said...

Well I will ask you this...do you want to jump or not? And which one is better for year ends? If all things really are equal I think you should jump...you love it and talk about eventing a lot. I could be wrong but it seems like eventing is where you heart it, but your brain knows dressage is important. I think no matter what you do you will have fun!