Monday, May. 27, 2024

Fall Progress

Fall is truly upon us. My weeks are filled with sweaters and warm socks, concord grapes and yams, and frisky horses getting not enough turnout because all it's done the last few weeks has been RAIN. 

Amazingly enough, as my students head into the last show of our year, the Region 1 Championships, there is not one drop in the forecast. Truly remarkable!

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Fall is truly upon us. My weeks are filled with sweaters and warm socks, concord grapes and yams, and frisky horses getting not enough turnout because all it’s done the last few weeks has been RAIN. 

Amazingly enough, as my students head into the last show of our year, the Region 1 Championships, there is not one drop in the forecast. Truly remarkable!

This will be a new experience at Regionals for me—I’m not riding anything. Not one test. I’m not even packing my boots. I must confess that I’m looking forward to that a little. I have six students going, so other than helping with chores, all I have to do is park myself ringside. I might even blow-dry my hair for the occasion. Neat!

At home, though, riding has not been in short supply. Ella’s still up at Michael’s, going brilliantly, and I’m up there nearly every week. Fender continues to do all the things he knows how to do, making maybe a teensy smidge of progress, but mostly in a bit of a holding pattern. So we hack (when it’s not freaking RAINING) and work on the hills and do cavaletti and generally do our thing.

I am forcing progress upon him in that I’m ordering him a double bridle, even if we don’t use it for a while yet. I’m jumping the gun because I’m thinking very seriously about special-ordering a white-padded bridle, even though saddle fitter Colleen has declared them to be old fashioned and fuddy-duddy and is threatening to never speak to me again. I dunno, Totilas wore one with Edward Gal, and certainly if it’s good enough for Toto…What do you guys think?

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Midge is the one leading the charge at present. He was going super for a stretch and then plateaued a little, which he is prone to doing; all horses go through periods where they develop strength before balance, and Midge does this often. He’s so short-coupled and such a little powerhouse that if the two aren’t in sync I end up carrying a freight train around, and since I don’t like doing that, in the past I’ve just waited him out. 

But I decided to see if I could make a difference this time around and put him in a baucher snaffle. Oh. Man. AMAZING. Not sure what about it he loves, but his big, upright neck has just fallen to this lovely soft and supple place, and his whole back has just let go. I swear, his butt has doubled in size just in the week I’ve been using it. In fact, he’s been using himself so marvelously that he just straight up wore himself out, and I had to just hack him around yesterday. We’re not doing anything difficult or super taxing, just walk-trot-canter in a real Grand Prix kind of way, along with some half steps and some canter half-pass zigzags, which Midge thinks are animal cruelty. Poor pookie.

They’ll both get a much-deserved weekend off while I’m at the show, and then it’s back to work upon my return. Fender got picked to be a demo horse for the Young Dressage Horse Trainers’ Symposium up at the Hasslers’, hoorah, so I’ll get some help and guidance on where to go from here then. And it’ll be January—and Florida time—before we know it!

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