Wow, I’ve had a long break in journaling.
Bali hasn’t been to any shows this year because she had a reaction to a vaccine, spent about 6 weeks with enough of a cough to require some medications that aren’t show legal, but luckily not bad enough to completely require rest, so we are still working. I was going to ride with Gary Rockwell again, and then I had to go on a trip with my husband that weekend, so I gave my rides to Ashley Douzant of The Frame Sporthorses, as I can get some trickle down out of them, because she teaches me lessons. Her excited clinic reports to me made it worth it, I love hearing someone else as excited over amazing lessons as I get.
I’ve spent the past several months working on getting Bali stronger in lifting her shoulders and carrying more behind. Getting more forward without nagging, working on going with her. It is time to do a progress check with a test or two. I may go for a schooling show, much more cost effective. Changes are getting better and PSG is looking attainable.
Neuf is finally growing up! I came off after he had a legitimate spook that he escalated into his bolt & buck, I realized that I’d had that “I should lunge him” feeling before I got on, so I finally started to listen to that little voice and I lunged him during high sugar grass/cool spring mornings. I also realized that I needed to add a one-rein stop to his repertoire, and I was able to change my reaction to his starting to bolt, and redirect. My attempting to keep his head up with both reins is never going to work super well.
Then I had to start truly wanting him to go forward. I’ve been guilty of asking him to go forward, and then saying “WAIT, not THAT forward!!!” with my aids and body. This reaction is directly tied to his signature bolt & buck, because true forward felt remarkably like the start of the bolt.
We had a show in Lexington, VA, Martin rode Neuf in 1.10 meter classes and I rode in .90 meter. I was pretty nervous at this one. I hadn’t shown Neuf at a rated show for over a year. I’d done some local showing, but this was a big, multi-ring show, crazy warm up ring, but I love the Virginia Horse Center.
Day one, I handwalked Neuf around the colliseum (the 1.10 meter was in there) in the morning, walked him all around the ring I’d be riding in later. He had a bit of playing in the one corner before we started, and we were a bit slow, but a respectable round.
The next day, I was still nervous, oddly, almost MORE nervous. I didn’t eat much, and so my stomach was more upset than normal nervous and I had a pounding headache. But, Neuf was pretty chill when I got on after Martin had finished the 1.10 meter. My warm up was going super well, with both of us relaxed, until a rambunctious gray buck/bolted in front of us as we’d just landed from a warm up fence. Neuf spun, started to bolt, I remembered to use ONE rein, circled, never left the canter until we were fully in control, then I trotted, asked how much more warmup the other horse had left and waited for him to leave the ring. I finished my warm up, never finding my good forward again, but it wasn’t awful
I was riding more forward than a year ago, but not as forward as I should, and I gave myself 4 faults by crossing the timer after the buzzer but before I actually started my course. I had entered the .95 meter, but my not eating enough and a pounding headache caught up with me. I asked how long until the .95 meter, and it was going to be too soon to go untack, eat and get back on, but longer than I wanted to feel nauseous. So I scratched the second class, because I felt I’d accomplished my goals.
My biggest take-away from Lexington was that I need to find MY nutrition plan for shows. What can I eat when I’m nervous, so that I can get to the start. Once I’ve got my first round under my belt, I’m ok and back to eating, but that is sometimes pretty late. I also realized ages ago that I do better if I take an ulcer med like Prilosec in the day before and during a show, so basically I need my GastroGuard, just like some horses.
Next big show was going to be Upperville with Martin riding.