Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Got my neck fused last Wednesday.... still sore and tired but I think I'll be back in the saddle faster than anticipated :) Rode until the day of surgery, so I think by the beginning of next week I'll be able to put Toga on long lines so he doesn't lose any fitness. I've been riding a few horses on the side and I sure do miss the exercise. Funny how rest can make you feel bad - when I'm lethargic I actually feel ill. But the walking I've done in the past few days has WIPED me out and it just goes to show that your body tells you when it needs to slow down. Very hard to do but worth the relatively little bit of time off to get going at 100% in a few weeks. I'm really excited that a rescue horse I've had for a little over a year is going to a new owner - gets to stay here and have a stall!! Super sweet horse I would have kept him around forever just because of his attitude. He's only four but has had it rough - messed up knee surgery has left him with little to no flexion in both knees, but he goes along as best he can, no spook, no 'tude, no worries. What a lucky horse. And Ari (my coming four year old) is just dying to get to work I can tell. Hope everyone has a great New Year - I'm looking forward to getting started on it ASAP :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I think taking a lesson in wind chills of 8 degrees qualifies as getting over my cold issues......kind of....holy cow it's COLD! The horses seem to be taking it all in stride so far, but will for sure be happy to see a steaming mash for dinner tonight. We put fresh water in the outside tubs each morning when it's this cold, but on a day like today it's impossible to keep it from freezing up. So we'll get some water in them tonight. One of my favorite things is listening to the horses sucking up a sloppy mash (we call it "sopa" in our barn) and seeing it all over their faces.

This weather is a challenge not only to stay warm myself, but to properly warm up my horse and keep him at a temperature that keeps his muscles relaxed, but not overheated to the point he'll catch a chill when I try to cool off. Toga was clipped late fall just before Waredaca, and his coat is a little long but not full winter length. I think I'll keep him this way the rest of the winter as long as he doesn't suddenly get really furry. He doesn't seem to overheat much even after a hard lesson (he's still pretty fit yay, even though I don't ride as often as I've intended), but he's not naked. It's the wind that is the issue - they surprise me with how warm they can stay in the sun even when it's cold.

Monday, December 13, 2010

2010 Season Ends

The season ended for Toga and me at Waredaca with a good run at Preliminary.  Morven Park Intermediate was a blast - all three phases went well, finished in the ribbons at 6th,  and it was good fun.  Loch Moy, however, was one of those maybe-I-shouldn't-have-even-gotten-up days....we finished 8th, but a lot of the division didn't finish at all!!  Strange mojo for Intermediate that day I think.  The only stops cross country I've had in years, AND in show jumping.  I knew as soon as I got on for dressage that I was not with my horse, and he was not with me.  But we pushed through and finished.  That's why the Prelim go at Waredaca....finish on a good note :)

So now how to keep up with the horses that are going south and will be competing through the winter????  In the past, I've pretty much just started as soon as the weather lets up - usually at least by February 1 - to get my fitness training in.  Going around in circles in the indoor makes me a little crazy and I hate being cold.  At least I have an indoor....it does give me that much of an advantage over not being able to get on at all.  Starting at Preliminary in Southern Pines has been my goal to start in the past couple years, and it probably will be the earliest I can get out next spring.  You can at least take bad footing out of the equation down there, and get in a good school.

Toga is clipped and still in work.  Not having ridden at this level before, I know he needs to stay in more work than ever before to keep his muscles fit for the flat work.  It's hard for him - he has a really short neck and back which is great for jumping, but the "big horse" dressage frame is a struggle.  He has a great work ethic though, and I'm proud of him for it .  Get on him and it's all business. He tries his best to do exactly what you are asking him to do, right or wrong......he'll do whatever I ask him.  So if I am schooling countercanter and move even a little....you know how it goes.  Lead changes are now a new trick.  So it's all new stuff for us both, and we both have to be a little more fit this winter.  I'm going to have to get over my fair weather rider issues...grrr.

I discovered one way to stay fit....ride GAMES!  This past weekend I rode in the MGAA (Mounted Games Across America) competition at the PG Equestrian Center.  WHAT FUN!!!  I rode our old faithful games pony For Pete's Sake....Pete has been to many many Pony Club rallies, championships, and even MGAA World Games I think.  He's not so fast any more, but he knows the games and thinks he's pretty fast.  MGAA has a division for us old folks called Fossils, and we had a full heat of five teams that was pretty competitive.  We were the Ring Crew, and in the last heat on Sunday really made a comeback.  Had a great time, now need a week of "regular" riding to heal.

So instead of ending my season and letting my horse down,  I'm ending my eventing competition season and starting on the road to spring already.  Right now I'm trying to get in a flat lesson every week (OK a BIG issue for me is how am I going to afford this trek??)  or will jump once a week.  Lots of hacks, trots, and even just walks will keep Toga pretty fit.  I love a TB for that - they get and keep fit quite easily.  Hopefully will get in some jumper shows before the weather gets bad, and maybe a combined test or two.  Toga already had two weeks off (wow it went fast) after Waredaca, and will get more time for sure in the dead of winter.  He needs some time to unwind, but he does like to work and gets a little cranky when he's bored or when I'm riding other horses.  I'll keep myself fit riding sales horses and starting Ari up into real work.  He's my coming four year old Holsteiner/TB that I bred and broke.  He's pretty special...we'll see if pretty is as pretty does!!