Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Okay, I'm Back

That was quite the absence, wasn't it? Didn't mean to disappear for so long. I was in a little bit of a funk for the whole horse thing. Still going out to the barn and riding a few times a week, but I just wasn't feeling it.

Never mind that, the energy's back. I think I was just at a low-motivation point in the term. Right now I'm about halfway through dead week - have a lot of writing to do, but finals week is shaping up to be not so bad, and I'm riding a lot again.

I decided to lop McKinna's mane off and make her look like a real sport horse. Cut it last night, and then tonight started in on the pulling. Already it's looking pretty good. Her mane is SO dang easy to pull, and of course she is so polite and patient about the whole thing. It still needs to be shortened up a lot, and more thinning done on the upper part of her neck, but I have lots of time. She is going to look so damn awesome with braids in this summer, I can't stand it.

Photographic evidence:

So cute.

What else? We've added a bit of alfalfa to her diet to make sure she's getting enough protein, since the grass hay she's on is fairly low-quality (fine by me - she gets nasty diarrhea on orchard grass). She is going to be working hard this season, and things start ramping up next month. Surprisingly, no digestive upset whatsoever associated with the introduction. Cool beans. (Ha...ha...get it? Because alfalfa is a legume? Right.)

I took the stirrups off my jumping saddle and have been riding in it more often. This is a good thing for me, because stirrupless work was one of my weaknesses at the rating prep and I have another one coming up in April. It's been miserable work until tonight, when it was still extraordinarily painful (posting and 2-point, that is; sitting trot is pretty easy) but I felt like my position finally 'clicked' and held stable through the whole thing. Also, I have discovered that McKinna is capable of cantering in the indoor arena without totally losing her mind. She still doesn't approve too much, and she's more tense than she would be in a big arena, but it is very nice to know that I can actually school the canter at home.

What else? I'm working on a report for the ABC retreat. Wrote up an outline for the PC newsletter about it, but I know you guys will want more detail! It is also the 8th of March today, which means I need to get my butt in gear analyzing my February goals. I'll work on that one, and at least have it done by next weekend after finals are over. Probably sooner. Writing blog posts suddenly becomes very attractive when you have a mountain of OTHER writing to do.

McKinna is awesome and very fun to ride. I bought one of these lovely quarter sheets because I found it on super-sale, and earlier this winter when it was ridiculously cold out I felt guilty while warming up because I think her poor shaved hindquarters were cold. Also, I bought a pair of these from Tack of the Day today - I came to the conclusion that I dislike my Dublin Aristocrat tall boots because they are too big and the footbed is very thin. I do not like thin footbeds and I do not ride well in those boots. The Mountain Horse Sportives are perfect because they have a slightly chunkier footbed (perfect!) but are still dress boots and can be polished up all nice and pretty, unlike my tried-and-true paddock boots + full-grain leather half-chaps. Pretty polish is good when you're at a Pony Club rating.

Quick review of upcoming excitement: jumping lesson at the end of the month, Show Jumping Rally (yes, I decided to go!) and upper-level prep with Jen Verharen in April, dressage show and/or hunter jumper show + Inavale eventing camp + Inavale unrecognized HT in May.

And after that, things start to get really crazy.

That's all for now. Gotta make some progress on that pesky schoolwork.


Heidi said...

Oh, I just love a neatly pulled mane! I'm glad you decided to go for the sporthorse look :-)

I'm riding with Jen two weekends in a row soon and I CAN'T WAIT!

SprinklerBandit said...

Bravo for you riding without stirrups. I think about it every once in a while, then don't.

Dom said...

The mane is super cute and shows off her graceful neck. No stirrup work is so good for your posture and seat.

Checkmark115 said...

I thought you died.
I am so jealous of the easy pulling! My guys hair is stuck in there like glue. He sticks it out with me though...poor dude. I can only do like 4 in. sections at a time. She looks purty.
I miss pony club :(

manymisadventures said...

Nope, still alive ;)

I have been very lucky in the mane-pulling department. All my horses have had easy manes and been cooperative. Yay me! I think this is actually the first time I've really pulled McKinna's mane.

Heidi: Loooooove Jen. This will only be the second time I've ridden with her but she is awesome.

SB, that is usually what I do too! But I have external motivation now, i.e., if I want to pass my rating I've got to be able to jump through a 3' grid stirrupless with my leg tight as a tick. It also helps when I just hang the stirrups up in the tack room and leave them there!

Loving the pulled-mane look..but I draw the line at tail pulling or clipping. I have not been assimilated THAT much into the world of eventing yet, and I'm not sure if I ever will be.

RuckusButt said...

I have those same Mountain Horse boots and although they were a bit painful to break it (mostly the top of inside of the calf, for me) once they did they were awesome. The leather just needs to get softer and slouch a bit. I've often wondered if I could wear them in a hunter show...

Leah Fry said...

Jaz grows a lovely mane that gets nasty real quick because he rubs on stuff. I finally gave up and roached him seriously short. It's easier to get meds down to his skin that way. And he's such a handsome boy :-)

I want to do some bareback work for the same effect as no stirrups.

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