Monthly Archives: November 2011

Bad, bad blogger!

You would think since I am ‘unemployed’ that I would have plenty of time to keep up my blog. Not so, unfortunately. Hunting for a job takes almost as much time as actually working at one. And not only am I job hunting, I am also building a website and online portfolio in case Plan A (get a real job) fails, I go to Plan B – which is to freelance. And on top of that, I am trying to finish all the projects I started and get the house in order for holiday entertaining. I’ve painted the entry hall, main hall and dining room, chosen fabric for several pieces of furniture and took them to the reupholsterer, am almost fnished with the living room redecorating and the dining room is done, except for reupholstering my ‘new’ 1940s Chippendale chairs, which arrived from Michigan a few weeks ago. Unfortunately my upholstery guy can’t get to them until after the first of the year. I also have painted my tack shed exterior, and finallly painted the columns in front of the house. Now on to the horse update.

Faeryn underperformed at the Championsihps and ended up in the top third of two very large classes – almost 30 in each. Doesn’t make me love her any less. The week after, she went to a schooling show, and under a very tough “r” judge, scored a 62%. I was very happy with that. I rode her both days in a Debbie Bowman clinic last weekend and we really made a lot of progress getting her to take more weight on her right hind. Her canter improved dramatically. Debbie also helped me sort out the shoulder-in to renvers that is in Second Level Test 3. Ihave not ridden that test in competition yet, but will have to at the Houston Dressage Society schooling show championships Dec. 18.  I am taking Faeryn to a schooling show Dec. 4 to ride Second 3 for the first time in competition as a warm up for the schooling show championships.

Fling is doing super. I have been schooling her through parts of Fourth Level Test 1. I hope she will be ready to show at the January HDS show. I may take her to a schooling show Dec. 11 to just ride through it.

Faxx has been doing well. I am riding him regularly now but he is definitely not as ‘trainable’ as the other two. He really has a good work ethic, but he is harder for me to ride because he is so big, and because he is so big, he is not quite as ‘handy’ as the mares are. I had a big disappointment last week when the Arabian Horse Assn announced they changed their plans and Sport Horse nationals, which were going to be at the Kentucky Horse Park for the next few years, has been moved. In 2011 it will be in Idaho and in 2013 it will be in Lexington, Virgina. I was really bummed and also a bit angry since I spent a lot of money going to Kentucky in September to scope out what was supposed to be the venue for the nationals next year to prepare for taking Faxx. So my plans for taking him to Nationals next year are definitely toast. Virginia is about 3 hours further than the Kentucky Horse Park, but who knows what will be happening two years from now. I’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, I am trying to ride him with an eye toward getting him ready for second level next year – schooling shows anyway. It is a ‘wild hair’ but I am considering taking him to a regular Arabian show and showing him in hunter pleasure with an eye to qualifying him for the regular Arabian National Championships which are held in October in Tulsa, OK. Faxx has earned all the points he needs for the highest achievement award from the Arabian Horse Association – BUT he needs a Top Ten or higher to close the deal. I figure going to OK will be a lot cheaper and easier than going to Virgina. I would just have to see how competetive he would be. It’s an idea. I generally hate riding in ‘rail’ classes, though, so not sure I can really get myself motivated enough to do it.

Soon I will need to think about goals for all three horses for next year. Hard to do since I am not sure how much money I will have for training and showing. If that is not a factor, I definitely want to get my scores toward fourth level with Fling. I want to show Faeryn second level and qualify her for the championships at that level, and show Faxx first level at recognized all breed shows and qualify him for first level. I only took him to two shows t first level last year and they were both Arabian shows. I am concerned that I still have not managed to confirm Fling’s flying changes. I almost have to ‘teach her to the test.’ IE, if she knows a flying change is required in a certain place in a test, I can teach her to do it THERE. I cannot get a flying change at random in any spot in the arena, and I can’t get two in a row anywhere close together. Prix St. Georges requires changes every four strides. I think she will be doing piaffe and passage before she can do that!!

Reporting from the Region 9 Dressage Championships

Since the arena we are riding in tomorrow did not empty out of competitors until 6, I was in no big hurry to get here today. Although the show started Thursday, our classes are Saturday and Sunday.

Faeryn has become an old hand at showing. Bree the braider commented on how she has become quite the grown-up, patient girl. She has become that way under saddle too. It is an incredibly busy show with all six arenas booked with rides all day long. She didn’t bat an eye at anything and she worked really well. Very much on my seat and super responsive. We spent a little bit of time in the Otto Sport arena and she really BOINGED off the surface. A watching trainer asked me if she was for sale. Well, we all know the answer to that.

I have no ‘aspirations’ about tomorrow. Just to go in and ride the best test possible for where she is right now.

Championships here we come!

Despite a lackluster show at a schooling show a few weeks ago where we did Second 1 (it was the infamous ‘chicken’ arena that undid Faxx a few months ago) I am happy with how she is working pre-Champs. She is showing First level at the championships – Great American Insurance Group Championship class on Saturday morning indoors and the Southwest Dressage Championship Sunday morning outdoors in the Ottoa Sport Arena that is rumored to have cost $80,000. I really hope I don’t like it TOO much, since I will never have one at home! LOL!

I still think she could do the leg yield from K to X better, but her canter work just keeps getting better and better. One big lightbulb moment in my lesson this week was when Marie had me do ‘diamond’ circles in an effort to keep her shoulders from drifting out. Also to keep encouraging her with my outside leg to get her to step under herself better. She is getting very, very fun to ride.

Faxx has been on light duty – how is it that I am not even working but I have no extra time to ride more? But he’s been a good boy when I’ve ridden him.

I am spending a lot of time driving all around town meeting with career coach, meeting with former co-workers to network/practice interview, painting several rooms in my house and putting the final touches on my guest bath  — hung the window valance that I made today and the shower curtain is next. Then I need to find a few decorative accessories to complete the whole thing – but those are things I will jus thave to get when I run across them and have an ‘ah hah’ moment.

Fling continues to do well. I am trying to really push the flying changes – that is what is going to hold her back from the FEI level. She HAS to learn to do multiple ones, and exactly when I ask. Last  night I just decided I was going to push it and did not care if it got ‘ugly.’ (Sometimes dressage is not pretty” is something I have heard from several trainers over the years and they are right!) Fling is veyr smart, and once she figures out what i want, she usually does it. I am just in new territory here. So last night I rode in the field and just decided I was going to do a straight line and do flying changes for the entire 800 feet or so of our large field. Back and forth, back and forth. For the first time I felt like Fling and I had a ‘rhythm’ to the changes. And I also kept her much more contained and really ‘micromanaged’ at the canter. And tried to give the new inside rein, which is what I think sometimes blocks her and makes her change late.

I did not try to count strides between changes – we’re a long way from that yet – but I wanted to show Fling we could DO multiple changes, and that she is not ‘done’ when she’s done ONE change and so she has to stay on my seat and not go “whoo hoo”ing after the change llike she really wants to. Basically she has to wait and listen to me, which is a recurring theme in our relationship! 😉 I felt like we’d made a giant step forward at the end of our ride.