Monday, June 30, 2014

St George's Dressage Schooling Show 6/28/14

Optional musical accompaniment to this post:

It was a 50/50 shot as to whether we were going to go to St. Georges, with thunderstorms/heavy rain forecast for pretty much all weekend. I wasn't in the mood to even risk hauling in a thunderstorm, much less riding in one. But, when I stumbled out of bed on Saturday morning, the forecast was cloudy, but rain-free for the morning, so off we went. The Google Maps app on my phone has finally figured out I like to take the backroads, since we moseyed our way down to the show on quiet country road. Except for the gigantic lake in the middle of the only road in or out of the stable, it was a peaceful ride.

We unloaded and I walked Royal around, letting him take in the scenery. They had the super fancy indoor arena set up as a backup show ring, so we ended up warming up in the little outdoor arena, which was still quite nice. There was a random chicken hanging around, checking out the new horses, but he didn't make a fuss. Royal was a bit fussy at first, but settled in with a half-serpentine exercise that evolved into a half-serpentine and circle exercise.

Earlier in the year, I had hoped to enter us in Training 1 & 2, but with all the rain and the pastures flooded, we hadn't had many chances to practice. So we did Intro A & B as a confidence and consistency builder. We first did Intro A, which I thought went well, albeit with a bit of spooking at the judge's gazebo. Still, I was very pleased with Royal. He seems to like the eggbutt Myler much more than the french link, so there was a lot less fussing with his mouth.

Then we had a hour and a half break until Intro B, so I let Royal graze for a while before getting back on for another warm-up. This time, we were the only ones in the warm-up, so Royal was a bit pent up. I let him canter himself out, repeating our half-serpentine to circle exercise, which proved more challenging at the canter.

Intro B also went really well, with Royal being a bit resistant when I asked him to bend right, but overall really well. Then it was a long wait to see about the placings, and continuing with the pattern from Carriage House, we placed in both our classes, and got the highest scores we've ever gotten. 71.875 (!!!) in Intro A and 69.688 (!!!!!!) in Intro B. 1st and 3rd, respectively. The judge said I was a tactful rider and that Royal has a tendency to get short in the neck. But considering they were our highest scores ever, I was very happy. And I was very happy about the consistency between the tests. Often, one test will go well and the other one with have us cartwheeling around the arena. But to have very similar scores in two different tests is a good sign. I was extremely pleased, if very tired.

Royal seemed no worse the wear on Sunday. I did some bodywork and while we was still tight in the neck and scapula (as usual), his back and hindquarters seemed fine. I'll have to work in his ribs a bit to open up the right side. But still full of energy. And apparently still had the piss and vinegar to tag-team with Bandit to take on a stallion that had broken into the pasture. They gave him a good what-for before he could be caught and moved into the paddock. He went home before too long, minus some chunks of hair. And Royal and Bandit earned their wrestling names: El Maestro Loco and Nacho Libre. We should make them some wrestling masks.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Dispatches From The Monsoon

So, I thought I was just being whiny. Just a diva pining for perfect weather and getting away from the bits of rain, but no. This time I am not being a diva. The Twin Cities pretty close to breaking the record, set in 1874, of the wettest June on record. Congratulations! Rain boots for everyone!

Of course, this wreaks havoc on me trying to do, well, anything with Royal. Or anything outside at all, really, since there's standing water everywhere. But, I am nothing if not resourceful, so we've done what we can. Lots of stuff out on the road, where I'm trying to use the debris from the frequent storms to our advantage. Royal spooking at a downed tree branch? Let's turn that into a leg yield. Gigantic puddle? Water crossing. Mosquitoes eating us alive? Galloping time! And so on. We did have one funny incident with the Sheep of Death, wherein we were cantering down the road toward said Sheep of Death, and upon discovering they were in the front front pasture, came to a complete stop with his head straight up in the air. We skittered past them, but after turning around and going back, he walked on the same side of the road as the Sheep with not too much fuss.

The rain is also throwing a wrench in our show plans. St George's schooling show is on Saturday, and I've signed us up, but we don't know if the show is actually going to happen. It's highly likely that it could get cancelled, and even if it doesn't, we may end up scratching anyway. I am quite adverse to hauling Royal in a thunderstorm, thank you very much. So, I suppose the thing to do is watch to see if they cancel it, and if they don't, check the radar at O'Dark Thirty Saturday morning. Hopefully the Weather Gnome is merciful.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Rain, Please To Be Going Away

Good news first: Royal and I got 3rd in the 2'6" jumpers at Carriage House! That makes a ribbon in every class. Veni, vidi, vici, sort of.

But, for the past two weeks, we have had a ridiculous amount of rain. There are rivers in the pastures where there really ought not be, and it's getting annoying. Yes, moisture is good for the crops, and hopefully we can have a good year for hay, but my rain boots are tapping on Death's door. Can we just have a week of nice sunny weather to let everything dry up, please?

But this is Minnesota. The weather is an uncaring beast, and we have to make do. Royal and I have had a quiet couple of weeks. He didn't seem any the worse for wear after Carriage House, and that was a hard day. We've had a few rides out and he lost his galloping privileges after he spooked at some puddles, but for the most part, he's managed to keep his feet on the ground most of the time.

We did have one one incident. The day after the horses got their hooves trimmed, Bandit decided to be an assbutt and lead the other horses on a merry journey back and forth across the Big Field while I was trying to get Royal. After galloping around like an idiot, he was all fired up, so we had to take a walk in order for him to calm down enough to eat his grain. Today we tried playing online in the Big Field, and it was... challenging, to say the least. Even in the high areas, there was standing water and knee-high grass everywhere. He was not a happy camper and we ended up having to move out to the road to get him to relax and stretch out.

An event that I was hoping to go to was postponed and cancelled due to flooding. The next event is in a couple of weeks, and like everything else, it's outdoors. This week is supposed to be rainy, but hopefully next week will be nice and we can get some practice in.

The rabbit who's taken to hanging around. She like to finish the crumbs of Royal's grain