Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It's almost time...

To say this winter had been busy would be a huge understatement. Sometimes I wonder if it's because I'm getting older that time seems to fly by so fast. I had a lot of plans for this winter, but for a variety of reasons they seem to have blown past me. I've been riding regularly...Toga started back at the end of December, very sound and VERY ready to move forward. He seems to have picked up just where we left off which is really helpful and really fun. My young horse Ari is ready to go...his epiphany I out on a trail ride one day has left him a jumping machine just like his "brother". A year ago I couldn't get him near a pole on the ground, and now he drags me down to anything I point him at. What fun!!! Except that he is nearly 17 hands tall and moves like the Titanic....very very big. A huge change from the quick, instant reaction of a thoroughbred. When I ask Toga to move, he says, "when, where, how fast?" when I ask Ari, he says, "huh? what? Oh OK what was it you wanted me to do?" That time lapse is very disconcerting and very hard to switch back and forth from. But he's one of the sweetest horses I've ever ridden, so even though it's hard to ride, it's a pleasure. I'm looking forward to winning the novice AECs on Ari - which he is more than capable of. One thing will be very different for me is that I just may start with a good dressage score instead of having to jump up! Ari is 1/2 Holsteiner and ALL warmblood in his movement. Not as much work for him as it is for Toga.

In two weeks we leave for Southern Pines, NC. I can't say Toga is very fit, but he'll make it around at Preliminary the first time just fine. Ari will be surprised at a five minute canter, but he will also be fine. We've done a lot of trotting this winter, which gets them pretty fit pretty fast. The temperatures have been very pleasant, but the ground has been very wet which makes just getting to our galloping places a challenge. So trotting and cantering indoors and in the big outdoor arena has been our answer. We've done it before, and it always works out. Once you get the gallops in at your first couple events, they seem to keep it up very easily. I've had a few lessons now, and I'm really excited about how Toga has taken to the dressage this winter. He seems to be happy to be in the higher frame, and WOW he moves great!! Very exciting.

Toga will do the Preliminary at SP I and Ari will go BN. Then Toga moves back to Intermediate at SPII and Ari gets to play in the big sandbox for a couple weeks since they don't have lower levels at the second one. He'll have to wait to catch something at home. We'll be working with Bobby Costello, and staying with my friend Dana who has been living down there for about a year now. I'm pretty jealous :) Just hoping I can get in a xc school and a couple more jump schools in before we leave; we'll have a lesson with Bobby when we get there. SOOO excited to get this new season going! Big plans for the big horses :)

Anyone who runs a boarding stable these days knows that it's becoming a cost prohibitive business. It's been really rough this winter trying to keep up with the rising hay, feed, fuel, etc bills, but thank goodness it's been mild weather. It sure helped with heating costs. Anyway, I wasn't able to take lessons for a while so I worked on my position and Toga's straightness issues. The time off was just what he needed, because he was ready to go and ready to move on. My hopes to get to jumper shows crumbled as the days flew by. Turns out there are very few shows for an Intermediate jumper in our area. Plenty of stuff for Junior, but not for T. Thanks to the weather, though, we got a lot of schools in at home.