Much to report today.
It rained a lot yesterday – the ‘consolation prize’ for having missed the brunt of hurricane Alex. The rain was welcome since we are almost having a drought. I still managed to ride Faeryn carefully around the puddles in the arena – but could only do trot work. Footing just was not good enough to canter. I am trying to do much lateral work and reinback to help strengthen her stifle. Also plenty of ‘forward and back’ at trot to develop her lengthenings and some collection.
I rode Fling in the field, which had better footing in the arena at this point. Still on the plan of trying to supple her BODY and keep in mind that the warmup work is the MOST important stuff and not something that I have to get out of the way to get to the ‘more important’ work – like half pass, flying changes, etc. An interesting development — I always give Fling a piece of sugar or a peppermint before I bridle her, to encourage acceptance of the bit and that much-desired ‘lipstick.’ And, well, because she just likes it. 😉 Tuesday when I was riding I kept seeing these small things ‘flying’ in front of me. At first I truly thought they were flying insects. And then I realized it was drops of saliva. Fling was salivating – a constant flow. Not just foam. Not just ‘lipstick’ – saliva. And copious amounts of it. Solid proof we’re on the right track! They salivate like this when their poll is supple and she could not have a supple poll without a supple back too!
Last night her trot work felt super. Very dancy. Half pass is getting almost effortless. The canter felt better but she still is blowing through my half halts and I need to work on that. She is better (or I am getting better!) in getting downwards that are ‘up’ – that can only make sense to a dressage person! LOL! And just to see if we could (it’s been awhile since I asked for one) I asked for a flying change and got a big, but clean one.
It started sprinkling partway through our ride. And I discovered Fling does NOT like working in the rain. It’s not the working part — it’s that she HATES getting the rain in her ears! A horse will always turn its butt to the rain. It is just instinct. Whenever I would face Fling into the rain she would lower her head and shake it. So, I guess if I am ever at an outdoor venue, and it starts raining I will definitely SCRATCH my rides! Some horses don’t mind is so much. Fling minded it VERY much.
To add to my list of things to do every day — they all have scratches right now. Scratches is sort of a misnomer – it should more properly be called ‘scabs’ – because that’s what they have. Scratches is a fungal thing that horses with white legs are especially susceptible to. It causes little scabs to form all over their lower legs (although it can also be found on any part of the body). If it is not treated, it can get infected and they can actually become lame from the pain and swelling. It has to be treated every day and is a pain. With four horses, I have one dark leg among them, and that’s on Faxx. And he even has it on his dark leg! There are many different concoctions you can make to treat scratches and some work on some horses and not on others. It can be a real hit or miss thing. Right now my arsenal includes Desitin, Triple Antibiotic Ointment, Betadine iodine scrub, Absorbine antiseptic shampoo, Shapley’s M-T-G, cortisone cream and something else I can’t remember. They have to be treated every day. And you have to pick the scabs off – yes, gross.. Now, they are not big scabs, mostly they look like a little clump of dandruff, and when they come off they do not generally cause any bleeding or redness. But it does not matter to Faeryn. She does Not Want You To Do That. So it takes three times as long to treat her as it does anyone else! She would really LIKE to kick me over this issue, but she knows better!
Today, Mike says it has not only rained cats and dogs at the farm, but also pigs and cows! He said he hoped I didn’t plan on riding tonight. Well, given the forecast, I pretty much figured that. But that’s OK. I’ve not missed much riding due to rain this summer! Plus the rain has cooled things off – I actually could start riding at 6 last night and it was quite pleasant!
In show-related news, Faxx and Faeryn have earned their minimum eight scores to compete for USDF National and All Breed Awards. But it took a few weeks for all the results to be processed by USDF and USEF. Faxx has a 69% USDF Median for the Horse of the Year awards and is in 5th place in the nation in the Amateur standings right now. Faeryn has a 64.879 median (that first show really hurt her!) and is in about 15th place. Those will change drastically in the coming months, since the show season does not end until Sept. 30. But still, very nice median scores and I am proud of both of them.
In the USEF Silver Stirrup Award Standings, Faxx is in first place for our region and Faeryn is in second place. This is a competition based on points – you get points for placings and for how many horses you beat in the class. The Silver Stirrup Awards is a competition for horses registered in the Performance Horse Registry. The PHA started out as a way to recognize and record thoroughbreds in non-racing pursuits, but then branched out to any horse registered with PHA. They track performance by pedigree, and offer awards in several Olympic disciplines.
In other news, Arabian/Half Arabian Sporthorse Regionals start two weeks from today! I need to work with Faxx on his trotting in hand! At this point we may have to do it up and down the driveway – but at least that’s a good “too wet to ride” activity!