Friday, June 28, 2013


As further evidence of my, less-than-stabilized mindset, I decided that what's better to help one decide if the boots are the right-boots than ordering more boots.

Had a slight spree on Dover (ugh) and threw three pairs of boots (from $199-$450) in the cart and and expedited them to me.  I figure I can only gain clarity (I think?) from some serious compare/contrast.  I'm freaked out the Sergio Grasso's are going to be too short and I won't spend that much money on short boots (again). 

I will spend less money on off the rack options that are in the 200-400 range if they get me within a 1/2" of ideal.  Otherwise I will cry, send everything back and continue to show in my boot-capris and embarrass everyone around me.

I suppose I really should give the Hunter Ring a bit more credit if Prair and I continue to place decently even without me looking perfectly prim and proper. 

Maybe it's less superficial than I've always assumed? I could test this theory and try some half chaps, or maybe a purple square pad? how far do you think I could push it???

GAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH boots.  (or problems that aren't actually problems but distract me from obsessing about my horses feet).

In Conclusion

In conclusion... this week can go away now.

I'm so thrilled it's Friday, I can't even.  Nothing horrid has happened, nothing horrid likely will happen but good golly this week has been a handful.  I usually pride myself on keep my latent stress level at something below normal but several times this week I have noticed my heart rate spike from just thinking about issues that are on the table (most non-horsey, some horsey).  I'm pretty sure that can't be healthy.

Anyway, the new boots came! They are really lovely. I like the shape, the foot bed is comfy and the leather is lovely, but not so buttery thin that I think I'll snag it on my own fingernail and rip them open.  I am paranoid that they might not be tall enough.  The back of the boot definitely hits me when I sit, but not much before then.  In theory these boots aren't supposed to drop "much" but I refuse to spend this much money on more boots that will be too short. So we shall see.

Also, the Farrier is coming.  Prair is getting front shoes put back on.  I caved. I want her bare, I'm pretty sure that she can be bare successfully, but I also really want to keep riding while we have our 6 weeks of summer and hit a few more shows. 

I think I'm cheating a little, but I chatted with my vet and in sprite of her very pro-bare bias, she actually thought front shoes were a smart idea for now. 

So, front shoes it is.  I'm thinking I might try to take them off again (with a bit more mindful preparation) in the fall.  We'll see. I am going to keep Prair off the grass for a little while longer and then ease her back on.  I know that's got to be having an impact and I don't want to ignore it even if she no longer appears to be sore.

But holy lord does that mare look pissed when I walked by her gravel turnout.  She spends most of the day either eating tree leaves like a giraffe or staring off into the distance at her pony in her big pasture (or glaring at me when I walk by..).

She'll live. 

I will too.  Today marks the start of about a week of 80 degree weather here, which when coupled with no humidity and access to a lake, makes things very, very nice.

We could both use a little of this...
Happy weekend all!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A few more Liebsters..

If I blog one more time about trying to maybe decide if I'm putting shoes back on OR NOT, or maybe... OR NOT AGAIN I might make myself cry.  So I'm taking a (brief) hiatus from that nonsense and answering a few more Liebster questions from a few more nominations.  

Huge thanks to Kate at The Adventures of Lucy, Sarah at Eventing in Color and KMEquestrian at Kiss Me, I'm Irish.  I'm thrilled you lovely ladies find my lunacy worth checking in on :)

Kate's Questions:

1) If you are female, do you wear makeup to the barn?

I wear makeup if it's already on.  Basically "getting ready for the barn" is a minimal energy activity.  If I'm not wearing makeup, I don't put it on for the barn, if I'm coming from work, I certainly don't bother taking it off.  

2) Do you have "barn clothes"?

Assuming my entire closet counts, then yes :) I do try to minimize the damage done to my "professional wear" but I can't say I'm very good at that as I just returned from a lunch break trip to check on the mare and I *might* have some bute on my trousers and some manure on/in my cute flats.

3) When updating your blog, do you usually have an agenda for your posts?

I don't think ever intentionally.  Sometimes agendas develop if I'm mulling over a decision (likes shoes for Prair. But not boots for me, those just get purchased..)

4) Favourite dessert?

If it's an option I'll take a cheese course over sweets any day of the week, but Tiramisu is my fav "normal" dessert. 

5) If you were locked in a room with Brad Pitt and Robert Downey Jr, which one would you talk to?

Well first I'd hope the lock down lasted long enough to hit up both of them.. But realistically RBJ.  I'm drawn to slightly crazy eccentric personalities :)  Brad (while charming) is probably too normal for me.

6) Did you grow up in a small town? Big city?

Smaller town 20 min from a big city.

7) If you had to move to another country, where would you go?

If I had to go tomorrow I'd pick the UK.  If I had time to learn a language it'd be Italy (I think).  

8) Do you speak any other languages?

I took Japanese for a (very) long time and was fluent but haven't had to use it in over 8 years.  I can still understand most conversation I overhear, but struggle to actually formulate sentences beyond basic vocab.

9) How do you feel about Christmas sweaters?

I think they provided a nice opportunity for ironic christmas sweater parties.  However, I'm ready for the next ironic thing I think

10) What is the best Halloween costume you ever had?

So many contenders.  I probably need to go with when my housemates and I all dressed up as lunch ladies.  I liked it because I was supposed to look kinda gross and I was SO COMFORTABLE all night.  (I also just spent like 10 minutes trying to find a photo and failed, which is too bad...)

11) What is the best power tool in your opinion?

I use my plain ol cordless drill the most, but I'm infinitely more entertained by band saws.

Sarah's Questions

 Sarah cheated and told us to pick questions.  :) I'm gonna assume that the 77 I'm answering is enough.  (cheater cheater pumpkin eater!!)

KM's Questions

1) What is the most embarrassing/funny thing that has ever happened to you?  

There are many to choose from.  I think perhaps the most appropriate for this blog is the first time I bought white breeches (I know, doomed) and wore them to a schooling show.  I spilled hot chocolate all over them before I even rode and then I SPLIT THE SEAM during my first course.  I was horrified.  It was traumatizing and the last time I bought uber cheap white breeches.

2) If you could have any horse in the world, which one would you choose?

cop out answer- but my hands are full with the three we've got :) and I can't imagine trading one away.  Well. Maybe Pia on a bad day... 

3) What is your favorite book?

"100 Years of Solitude" is my all time fav, though my current trashy indulgence is the entire "Outlander" series.  I mean who doesn't love a good time traveling Scottish love story!?

4) If you ever decided to become a working student for a professional rider, who would you most want to work for and why?

Lord have mercy for every working student.  I don't think I have the gumption for such a position, but I wouldn't mind being a fly on the wall in Silva (or Boyd) Martin's barn.

5) If you were stranded alone on an island and could only take three things with you, what would they be?

Still assuming Husband isn't an option, Wine, Horse, Tent (I think earlier this week I said kindly instead of wine... silly me.

6)If you were a super hero, what would you choose as your super awesome B.A. name? 
I don't know but it'd probably have to do with my amazing spending powers....

7)What is your favorite sports team?

We have seasons tickets to the Sounders (Seattle's pro soccer team). I guess they are my favorite? I do love me some Seahawks though.

8)When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A Lawyer.  romantic, huh?  But now I sell sewer pipe so I suppose that's even less charming...

9) What do/would you say to people who claim that riding isn't a sport?

I usually let it go because I figure I'm not likely to convince them that it's all that different from sitting on the couch.  If it's a good friend, they know better than to say something like that in front of me!

10) What is your favorite board game?

Trivial Pursuit and Cranium get a lot of play when we are out at the cabin, but The Boy and I tend towards Card Games, specifically Spite and Malice.  I usually win :)

11) Which celebrity would you want to star as you in a movie of your life? 

I dunno, people always tell me I look like Leelee Sobieski so I guess she could pull it off.
At least she can ride a horse?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Well if last night I was leaning toward shoes this morning I'm leaning away from them. 
Tacky, but accurate...
Yesterday when I went to get Prair I was surprised to see a chain attached to her halter.  I used a chain with her briefly early on (when she was supremely unaware of where her beak was) and a few times when hauling to a new place (again, beak management).  I've never needed one at home so my little antenna went up.

Prair seemed quiet and normal to me when I pulled her out of pasture (if anything her relaxation and attention when being led has improved significantly in the last 4-6 months). I jogged her out behind the barn on my way back and she *seemed* to be significantly more comfortable than on Sunday. 

On Sunday her walk was a little short over gravel and her trot was reluctant at best.  In fact after I jogged her once, she gave me a "really lady??" look when I asked her to trot off again. (she politely declined)

Yesterday she moved up to the trot willingly several times.  Definitely a bit sore, but decidedly less so, and certainly more eager. 

Of course, if she was a loon bucket all day and needed a chain to get her to pasture it's possible that her "willingness" is really just excess energy building up from 10 days functionally off work.  I've seen Gus mask his lameness like a champ when he puffs up and gets excited.  He trots off like big fancy Dressage horse, but hen returns to his usual limp when he calms down... With that in mind I tried not to get too excited about the potential improvement, but still.

I threw Prairie on the lunge for a few minutes and while she did look a bit short, she didn't look uncomfy.  She's still swinging her head around, willing to stretch down, look around, etc.  When she's been super ouchy in the past she doesn't get distracted by what's around her and tends to just wear a face that says "ow, ow, ow, ow."

So, that info gives me hope that maybe I can get things under control more easily.  That hope prompted a text to the barn manager to move Prair to a dry lot for the time being and a text to the Farrier to not kill me if I haven't made up my mind yet.  He responded politely that he could easily push our possible appointment to Friday to give me one more day of observation...  (I really like him).

To speak to some of the comments on the last few posts, I appreciate the support.  I think my problem is that I don't know what my threshold is for allowing Prair to be sore.  I know successful transitions can take months (and months, and months), so I think my (unrealistic) expectations for a quick turnaround are predicated on the previous success we've seen.  I am honestly dismayed at how quickly Prair's feet got out of shape.  Rationally I know I shouldn't be surprised, I've seen feet transform in a week... so a couple months of shoes should have a huge impact on her feet, and specifically her soles. 

I would prefer to not miss the rest of the show season, but as I continue down this path, I'm not sure how mission critical that is, or how much I would enjoy it all the while thinking that the transition will just keep getting harder and harder if/when I ever try it again.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Follow Up Thoughts on Feet

Thank you for all the good thoughts/comments.  I think most of my internal struggle stems from the fact that up until a few months ago Prair was happily barefoot through all seasons in all of her work. 

She was bare as a pregnant mommy...
bare in full dressage training with limited turnout...
bare with me jumping with lots of soft turnout, etc...

so I'm frustrated that she's *this* uncomfortable *this* quickly.  If I didn't have knowledge of her being successfully bare with minimal thought or consideration on my part, it would be much simpler for me to say "eek, not working, shoes please."

Left Front from 7.2012
But because I know how good her feet can be and how good they were for the first year I owned her I feel more responsible for changing them with the few months of front shoes.  That being said, I had a slight panic attack about the transition and my ability to get it under control and texted my farrier.  He's headed out of town for a couple of weeks and if I need shoes back on I wanted to be able to get him out before he leaves.  He's holding an appointment for me on Thursday morning which (currently) I'm leaning towards taking.

My thoughts are this (though my thoughts are subject to change and keep flip flopping approximately every 60-90 minutes).  Prairie moved to the big, gorgeous, totally wonderful pasture last Wednesday.  Last Friday I ripped her shoes off and sent her back out into the sugary, lovely greenness.  I'm am reasonably certain that I underestimated the effect of the rich grasses.

I could pull her off the pasture and put her back on a dry lot and I think I'd have more success in eliminating her soreness.  I'm oddly reluctant to do this because the big, pretty, grassy pastures are only open a few months of the year and I also place a lot of value on her being able to run/play/roam over a larger area during the day.  All of the dry gravel paddocks are smaller and Prair spent a good chunk of the winter cooped up in one trying to avoid fungus.

So currently I'm trying to balance my priorities of allowing for large, lovely turnout (with buddies) vs pulling Prairie back into a dry gravel lot with my concern over the (relatively) quick deterioration of her strong happy feet.

Added to this is the continued disapproval of some of those around me and the general thought that uncomfortable bare is worse than unsupported with shoes (this stemming from the slow creep forward of Prair's foot in shoes).

I also recognize that putting shoes on doesn't halt the effects of the green grass, but rather just masks them which isn't necessarily the perfect answer either.


Headed to the barn now with fingers crossed for some tangible improvement.  I think if Prair is at the same level of soreness I will tack shoes back on for now and perhaps consider a transition when she would be on the dry gravel lot anyway.  Who knows.

What I do know is that my pretty-new-didn't-actually-need-them-boots are supposed to be delivered on Thursday.  No idea where the saddle currently is, hopefully on its way back too...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Staying the Course (ouchy feet)

The past week has been filled with introspection fueled by some frustrations.  It's possible the the Big-Boot-Purchase-of-2013 was potentially driven by some desire to control some controllables (though seeing as how I still don't have a shipping confirmation I'm not sure how "in control" I am..).  I suppose that I'll take refuge in the fact that when I need to control something I buy pretty boots as opposed to something more self destructive.  (it's all relative right??)

Anyway, nothing is overly tragic but I was doing some soul searching after we got home from the show and was trying to recalibrate my compass in terms of goals, process, etc. 

The most tangible example of this is Prairie's feet.  I put shoes on her because she was foot sore and I didn't want foot sore to turn into body sore, or for foot sore to bring our training to a total halt.  Of course I left her hinds bare which was still strange enough that I heard multiple comments about it at the show.  Specifically people were concerned whether or not she had enough traction behind.  The big Hunter ring did get over watered and the sand turned into slick mud and Prair was not a fan.  I suppose shoes would have given her a bit more purchase on the sandy-mud-slime but I reacted negatively to the suggestion.  I don't think I said anything out loud but inside I was growling a bit. Especially as I watched other (fully shod) horses slip-sliding around as well.

Thinking about whether or not I was being responsible about Prairie's hind feet led me to thinking about what I wanted with her front feet and what was driving my horse management decisions.  Did I put shoes on so I didn't miss any shows? if that was the case what else would I be willing to comprimise on, pain killers to mask discomfort? sedatives if it would mean better scores? Kneecapping the competition?  I joke a little but I can often feel my primary goal of progression (both at home and at shows) cloud my judgement however minimally. 

It (should) all come back to my basic guiding principle that I want to do what's right by my horse and what gives them the best chance of long term soundness
When I put front shoes on Prair I justified it because I was worried she would negatively impact her body trying to protect her toes (a la the great rein lameness of 2012).  Also I blamed myself for not anticipating the soft squishy soles that tend to come with spring rain and lush grass.  Now that it's "summer" and at least less wet than it usually is, I have a chance to pull her shoes off and return her to her lovely nakedness. 

So I pulled the shoes...  And the mare is SORE. 

Shoes came off on Friday. She was a little footy over the gravel on Sat, but sound in the ring so I rode (and gave her some bute).  Sunday she was more sore so I only walked around in the arena, but even after hopping off she seemed uncomfortable standing in the sand/rubber and I got a sinking feeling in my stomach.  I don't know how long I'll be able to stare at her standing uncomfortably before freaking out and calling my farrier.

I feel guilty that her once beautifully rock hard feet are now all ouchy and used to shoes.  I feel antsy that I look like a bad mother with a crippled horse which makes its even harder to defend my decision to those who are not used to seeing barefoot sporthorses.  And I'm having to think about where the line is between staying the course and working through the transition versus deciding that shoes are a better option for the current situation.

I know that the recent days of rain aren't helping toughen Prair's soles and neither is the gorgeous pasture that she just got moved to.  Thus far I've just been giving 1g of bute and applying Hoof Freeze once a day.  I'm totally willing to cancel our next two outings (schooling show this weekend, A show middle of July) if need be, but I don't want the mare to be uncomfortable or for us to be out of work any longer than that. 

The concern voiced by those around me definitely makes me feel a bit more stressed about the decision.  It's not that it's peer pressure per se, but it's hard to stand on a soapbox and tout my righteous decision when I'm secretly jogging the mare out behind the barn in hopes that no one else will see her mincing her steps...

It's not a tragic situation, but it really does highlight what my priorities are (or should be).  It's easy to skip a schooling show here or there, but at what point do I compromise on what I think of as a long term health decision so that I get to "use" my horse, versus letting showing/riding goals slide versus a legitimate argument that I might not have the right environment to support a transition right now.  In that case there is no glory in letting the mare be uncomfortable.. but where are the respective lines?

Argh.  Very stressful.  Hate hate hate. 

Would love that magic wand now so I can just hocus-pocus her feet back to where they were in January. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Shoes Off!!

The ponies had a spa day yesterday which means I spent the day writing checks. Prair had some bodywork related to that heavy right shoulder and Gus got some shockwave on his right front along with his tear ducts flushed. 

My farrier was also out working his magic  (more checks) and the good news is that Gus' feet are looking a bit better. Still crappy, but his hinds are down to a 1 degree wedge shoe. No pads and no acrylic!!

For Prair I opted to pull her shoes off. I felt like her toe was starting to run and her heels we starting to contract. Since we're headed into the (brief) dry period that Seattle sees once a year I'm not sure if get a better time to try to transition her back to bare. 

Her feet are in relatively good shape. She was a tad sensitive jogging out on the rocks but not crippling sore.. So we went with it. I'm a little worried that the big beautiful green pasture she just moved to will make it a bit harder but I'm hoping all goes well! 

Bute and a bit of Hoof Freeze and fingers crossed!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Boots (or how my visa finally exploded into a million pieces)

I have a semi-diagnosable addiction to Boots.  Boots of all sorts.  Rubber boots, riding boots, absurdly high heeled boots, flat boots, leather boots, canvas boots, boots boots boots.

You can read more about my obsession with Boots as they relate to this blog Here, here and Here.

Therefore it is without too much shock that I convinced myself of a need for (more) boots.  I've been thinking about new boots ever since the (too-new-to-admit-I-don't-love-them-anymore) Konigs dropped about 5 more inches than I was hoping they would and now look like I'm wearing some sort of abhorrent boot equivalent of capris. 

This is sort of to be expected since my legs are of mutant proportions and I've never bothered with custom boots.  But Boot-Capris are not very sharp looking and particularly in the overly subjective Hunter Ring I feel like I might as well have shown up to the party in pink cowboy boots.

So, while I've been considering what boots I might get if I consider someday maybe getting new boots... this week I had a fit after watching video and reviewing photos from the last couple shows.  This fit coincided with a glass of wine that emboldened me to impulsively purchase a new pair.

I spent more money than I ever have before on boots.  In fact, I think if you add up what I paid for all four pairs of leather tall boots that I've ever owned in my life ever, the total would still be less than one this one pair.

(I will confess to owning a pair of absurdly gorgeous over the knee lovelies that did in fact surpass the price tag of the new boots, but I maintain that I bought the absurdly-gorgeous-lovelies when I didn't have horses and couldn't be expected to spend all my money on horsey things).
missing boot.

oh god.
For the record, here is my history of Tall Boot Purchases.

1995 - Devon Aire Cheap-Ass Field Boots (On sale and ill fitting) for $119
1997 - Effingham Field Boots in what seemed like a perfectly fitting Tall/Slim for $198. (for the record I still school in these things daily.  they are worth their weight in gold.  Ugly as sin though.)
2010 - Konig Dressage Boots.  Bought used from my then Trainer they were a steal at $150 and fit me oddly well.
2012 - Konig traditional Field Boots.  On sale at my local tack shop they were marked down from $900 to $299.  I snapped them up like whoa.

Thus far that's a total of $766 spent on boots, 3 pairs of which are still totally functional and get used (lord knows where the Devon Aires ended up..).  The Dressage boots fit nicely, the other two (while squishy and comfortable like socks, leave something to be desired).

I feel pretty good about that.  So good in fact, that I figured a big Boot Splurge hardly impacts my per year cost of boots (assuming I depreciate the cost of all boots back to the initial leather boot purchase of 1995. That's how accounting works, right?)

Does it sound like I'm trying to justify a totally unnecessary expense? Cause I am...

 Anyway.  I'm sure you're thinking "Jesus woman, didn't you just spend a fortune on a saddle that doesn't fit?" (ps saddle has been sent off for adjustments, it's gone again... WAH).

Or perhaps you're also thinking "Jesus woman, didn't you just drain the horsey account at a show? and on Gus' weird nicotine patch things, and on Prairie's new open fronts? and on EVERYTHING ELSE YOU CONSTANTLY SPLURGE ON!????"

If that's what you're thinking, then yes. You would be correct.  And I deserve to be scolded.  A lot.

But instead I said "God dammit, if I'm spending all this money on shows and saddles and giving the hunter ring the college try, then I should not look like a ragamuffin at a middle-school fun show."  At the very least the photos of us standing still or on the flat should look decent.  (over fences is another issue, but boots can't fix that).

So while an unnecessary expenditure is to totally be expected, what isn't to be expected is for it to happen without significant Tack Ho research.  I googled for about as long as that glass of wine lasted me before throwing up my hands in an expletive ridden bout of self assurance and pressing "confirm order."

So my dear readers (and poor husband), in about a week I am expecting a pair of brand new Sergio Grasso Imperias to be delivered.  I somehow took comfort in the fact that I "saved" $50 by not getting the Veronas.  Much like with the CWD there is a voice in the back of my head going "they won't be riiiiiiight.... something won't be perrrfecccctttt" and I can assure that for their hefty price tag they will be promptly returned if I don't think they will fit my mutant legs like I hope they will.   Part of me thinks there a chance I'll exchange for the Veronas, which have a slightly slimmer profile...  Realistically I went with the Imperias on the sole basis that they have a swagger tab, which the Veronas do not and I think that makes them look a bit too.... boring.

But can we just pause for a sec and oogle the pretty boots?  I think they would be a stunning addition to the collection. 

So, that's my confession.  Forgive me readers for I have splurged.  It has probably only been about 20 hours since my last splurge/confession.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Pre-Adults (or Ammy Hour)

This is a long post.. be warned. :)

Aside from having fabulous grooms, I also found it very easy to get behind the notion of not showing my horse until the fourth day of the show.  There's no doubt Prairie was a different mare on Tuesday when we hauled up to school than she was on Sunday when I finished my Medal class.

Does it feel a bit like cheating or copping out to have a pro show her first? sure.

Would I have given anything to have ridden my dressage tests on the last day of an event rather than the first? absolutely.

But was I complaining when I climbed on to warm up for my first few classes and the mare was already dialed in? Not even a little bit.

I will take this ride any day.

By the time Friday rolled around I was also less anxious than I had been on Tuesday.  I had figured out what taco I liked best from the taco truck, had already seen what side of the ring Prairie thought was spooky and had already watched enough other people screw up that I was no longer convinced I'd make a complete fool of myself.  (always helpful).

My classes were slotted for first thing on Friday morning.  I got on the mare about 7:20, which gave me a few minutes to hack around the show ring (I still can't believe they let you do that) before moving to the warm up ring to take a few fences.  Prair felt pretty good to me.  She was definitely a bit antsy, but she was still feeling more adjustable than she usually does at a show and I was enjoying that small victory.

My goal going into my 2'6" warm up class was to work on finessing my half halts after the lines.  Two of my lines were "coming home" and I knew Prair would be wanting to motorcycle around the turn.  S wanted me to focus on keeping my outside hand low and making it look like I wasn't ripping her face off.  But I was also given full permission to halt the mare in a straight line if she was blowing me off.  Warm up classes are for warming up after all.

I didn't end up needing the full stop, but maybe I should have used it.  We blasted through our first two lines, but in our third line I was actually able to soften and move her up as we jumped out.  A definite first.  We placed 7th out of 10.  I'm not sure what anyone did do fall below us but it must have been ugly!

Then it was straight into our first Hunter course, which was predictably almost the same as the warm up.  Prair was a tad softer and we ended up pinning 3rd out of 6.  Possibly the first time we've beat that many horses in a hunter class ever. The Eq course was absurdly boring.  No rollbacks no bending lines.  I guess the only thing "eq" about it was more single fences.  I like single fences so I was ok with that and we squeaked out a 2nd.  Prair was a very good girl, but I let my reins get long and started releasing like I was going down a bank.  Apparently not what I was supposed to be going for.

About 15 minutes after I hopped off The Boy arrived, so sadly, no photographic evidence.

Friday Results:

Warm Up 2’6”                 7th/10
Pre Adult Hunter              3rd/8
Pre Adult Eq                    2nd/8

Saturday all of my classes were at the end of the day (which I liked less) and there was no obvious warm up class (which I liked even less).  I added in a couple Long Stirrup classes just to get my rhythm going and that proved to be wise.  Prair was a bit of a steam engine to start (this is getting to be a habit) so I appreciated the opportunity to school a bit.  We had a not so fab 4th place out of 6 in our Hunter Round, but then managed a 3rd out of 8 for the LS Eq.

I was a little bummed that there was a Water & Drag break before my 2'6" classes started because I thought I was going to lose the benefit of my warmup but Prair was a stud.  We rocked our second Hunter round and our third, ending up 1st and 3rd out of 8 in both.

Yes you read that.


In a Hunter Round. 

With Prairie. 

And me riding. WHAAAAAAAT.

We had our second Eq round and I think I was a bit cocky because I didn't give her as deliberate of a ride.  All was going pretty well until I didn't get a full change to our right lead so we cross cantered to our Rollback.  I thought I had us back on track, but my eyeball deceived me and we bunny hopped over the second half of it.  We got knocked down to 6th for the pilot error which was an unfortunate way to end the day, but whatever because we WON A HUNTER CLASS.  We must have looked like real hunters!

Here's the video from the (relatively) fabulous Hunter round:

And since I also like to post my humbling errors, here's the Eq (wah wahhhhhhh):

In theory we were supposed to have our two flat classes after that but a conflict with the Jumper ring meant we had about an hour delay.  Everyone happily agreed to push the flat classes to Sunday morning before our last Hunter Round (and the Classic and Medal classes..).

Saturday Results:

LS Hunter                        4th/6
LS Eq                              3rd/8
Pre Adult Hunter              1st/8
Pre Adult Hunter              3rd/8
Pre Adult Eq                    6th/8

Sunday I was totally relaxed and we only warmed up for our flat classes for like 10 minutes.  Prair felt great.
But, she felt decidedly less great when the Eq on the flat started and she was surrounded by 7 other horses.  Traffic is definitely not her thing.  I ended up fighting her more than I wanted to, especially in the canter, but we managed to win the class.  I was a bit surprised at that, but gladly accepted the ribbon.

We went straight back in for our Under Saddle and Prair really relaxed quite a bit.  I was so focused on letting her nose poke out and keeping a loop in my rein that I ended up letting her get too flat.  The Boy snagged a couple clips of it and she looks totally unimpressive.  S told me to shape her more and as soon as I worked on trying to lift her ribs the picture was much prettier.

While I was underwhelmed with her trot and she realistically looked sub par, I was over the moon at her relaxation! It's a new feature! Now I know I can ask for a little bit more from her without sacrificing the poked nose :)

We pinned second behind a very cute bay with chrome.  I was also surprised to do as well as we did in that class.

Our final Hunter round was also the "first round" for the classic.  We scored a 74 (not bad) and pinned 3rd.  Realistically it was all pretty good aside from the first fence which I decided to pick a fight about and ended up chipping something awful.  

That moved us onto the second round of the 2'6" Classic.  Prair started out lovely.  She was soft and listening and totally with me until I threw her at a long spot going into a line and we rushed through the rest of it.  Then we recovered for a single oxer rolling back to a single vertical, but when we landed Prair wanted to spook and we sorta raced through our closing circle.  Whoopsies.  we scored something in the sixties and ended up 6th out of 11.  Not horrid, but definitely could have been, much better with a slightly better ride.

Then we had a break before the Good Seat & Hands Medal.  I like medal classes and this one looked fun.  We had to enter at a sitting trot, trot the perimeter of the arena then turn across (basically K to F) and pick up our right lead canter.  Then it was a rollback, a couple lines, a halt, a couple singles and we finished with a vertical pointed out the gate with only about 20 feet on the landing side.  My goal was to keep Prair super organized, nail the roll back, and eliminate our closing circle by just going straight to the walk and out of the ring.

(The Boy passed out back at the barns and failed to wake up when we came back for our ride, so sadly, no video).   I only warmed Prair up with some canter-halt-canter transitions and in we went.  The sitting trot was fab, the canter transition was LOVELY, but sadly on the wrong lead (WTF?!).  I corrected and we headed for our rollback.  Prair had a very tidy, collected canter and we made the rollback in four strides.  It was RAD.

I was so pleased with the rollback that I totally forget to get our step a bit bigger for the first line and we added a stride.  I literally laughed when it happened as it's never been an issue for us.  Oh well.  We moved up in our next line, got it, had a nice clean halt.  Had a great transition back to the canter (on the correct lead), a great line, great single and then as we approached the last fence I bundled Prair up, we landed, dropped immediately to the walk and slid out of the ring like rockstars.

I'm actually kind of bummed we don't have video.  Aside from my piloting errors I think it was our best course of the weekend.  I was so pleased with how adjustable Prairie was and how tuned in she was.  She nailed everything I asked for (given I actually asked) and feeling her drop right back to me after that last fence was very, very lovely.  It was a fabulous end to the week even if we finished second to last (LOL).

Sunday Results:

Eq Flat                            1st/8
Pre Adult US                  2nd/8
Pre Adult Hunter             3rd/8
2’6” Good Seat               3rd/4
2’6” Classic                     6th/11

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