Sunday, February 22, 2015

Thermal Week V - Knocking the Rust Off

Well, it's in the books.  We had a great (and busy weekend) and we all survived.  Maybe a tad more sleep deprived than at previous shows, but all together not so bad..
Heart Melt.
Friday, Prairie started with two rounds at 2' with N - which went well.  We thought it was worth it since Prair didn't do any pro days and if nothing else I wanted N to know how she was feeling in the ring. The first round Prair was a tad nervous, so N added in the lines, which I think was the correct decision.  Second round they did the strides, and Prair looked fab.  They nabbed a 4th in a huge class. 

Then I got on for a 2' Hunter Division.  We had 4 courses and a flat.  The first round was GLORIOUS.  Just absolutely glorious.  I was ready for some anxiety and rushing, but Prair just felt lovely.  Her back is strong enough now that she can carry a much higher balance and I'm learning that if I really stay forward over the tack and keep my hip closed - Prair stays more confident. 

As soon as I drop back or open my hip, Prair gets a tad braced and wants to scoot.  So forward it is.  My thighs are very aware of the difference....

Our second round, both of our changes to the right lead were late, which is a ghost of Christmas past, but the jumps and lines were lovely so I was thrilled.  Our final round we fixed the changes and did ok again. 

I don't know if it's because everyone is starting off the second half of the circuit in conservative divisions or what, but the caliber of horses was NUTS.  Totally gorgeous movers, with pretty jumps and auto changes.  Last year I wasn't so swarmed by gorgeous ponies, but the increased competition is sort of fun. 

Our first round was good enough for a 4th (out of 25), and our last round managed a 6th.  The late changes were a big enough mistake to keep us out of the ribbons in such good company for the two middle trips, but that's okay.  We managed a 4th in the under saddle which was a compliment given who was in the ring and the fact that Prair thought she was being chased by a herd of wildebeest. 
All in all, I finished the day impressed with how chill the mare was.  We're walking to and from the barn (which is in BFN) on the buckle and relaxed.  She's so much more comfortable it's insane.  I'm especially pleased given the fact that she's been living in a stall and an indoor since July.

Saturday we had two divisions - a 2'3" Hunter and a 2' Eq.  The 2'3" Hunter is not very memorable (no videos since The Boy was camped at the barn with the baby..) but I remember struggling with our leads again.  We had three courses, the first two we were out of the ribbons but we won the last round out of 22.  The hack was a tad brutal, but again - 4th. 
Picking out her pony
Mare had a good break before our Eq, which ran late in the afternoon and most of the 2/2'6" riders opted to go home and sit by the pool or drink wine rather than stick around.  7 of us did though (stupid..) and rode (another) 3 rounds and hacked.  Prair was aces the first round and we won.  The second round we got stuck in our change which freaked the mare out then I pulled her up before our next fence to reorganize.  Somehow, we still pinned 4th (lol) if that's any indication how much everyone else wished they had opted for the wine/pool option... We recovered for our last round and squeaked out a 2nd, but got a frustrating 3rd on the flat. 

Now normally I'm the first to acknowledge that there is always someone better than me on the flat, but seriously - I'm pretty sure I won that class.  Prair was a star and even though the judge was a tad odd (called for lengthenings in a 2' class????) I was confused by the pinning.  I did get on her bad side when as we entered the ring I pulled my number to the outside and she snapped at me saying "DO NOT DO THAT."  I apologized and said I thought they preferred it, and she said "ABOSULTELY NOT, IT'S OBNOXIOUS"


Not sure how you recover from that, but whatevs.  The 3rd kept us Reserve, though I was a little grumpy that the 4 point difference is what lost us the cooler.  wah.  No matter though, still super impressed with how we're going.

The Baby got Guacamole (and my phone) I got a margarita the size of my torso.
Today, we wrapped the week with one final division at 2'6".  If youtube ever figures it out I'll post videos, but right now I'm in a losing battle... so no promises. The first round was great and Prair was smooth with her changes.  We were a little behind the pace so our six stride lines were a tada stretchy, but that's a new problem that I'm ok with for the time being.  We still managed 4th in a field of 18.  The second two rounds were about the same and we missed the ribbons in one - nabbed 3rd in the other.

Prair was her best in the hack and she really stayed relaxed and calm the entire time.  I was able to float the reins without losing her shape and she felt lovely - so I was a tad surprised to pin 6th, but in talking with N - I wonder how much of it is due to her big, heavy egg bar steel shoes.  I sorta feel like she's trying to float in ski boots while everyone else is in ballet slippers.  She's definitely not quite as flat in the knee, but all in all she feels 100% more relaxed and happy in her work... oh and sound.  She feels sound, so I don't really care about the hacks.  (slight lie, I miss winning them, but I'm ok with it). 

Oksy, sorry for the boring recap, next week I'm really going to try to post daily so I have slightly more interesting observations than "line.. diagonal... ,line... missed change... line" But for now I'm tired, and the glass (cough, bottle) of wine I'm nursing isn't exactly making my thoughts more cogent.

To sum up, I'm over the moon.  It's so fun to feel like your horse is enjoying their job and to be at the point where I'm worried about a single change and not running out of the arena feels like a victory.  Hell, after 6 months of rehab, just feeling good and sound is something to celebrate. 

Week V down, back soon with Week VI.

Go Prair.

The Boy has been busy taking baby pics instead of Prair pics.. so here's another.


  1. Wow, what a great showing, especially considering all you and prair have been through since this time last year! I'm liking the mix of horse and baby pictures, keep em coming:)

  2. Not a boring recap at all! Sounds like y'all are off to a very successful start and I bet there is more winning in your future next weekend :)

  3. Prarie is SO stinkin gorgeous. I swoon over her every time! Congrats on the results so far :D

  4. Wow, you and Prair look so lovely! I'd call your first week at Thermal a great success! Here's to another wonderful week in the desert :)

  5. I love that your first show back is Thermal. :-D


  6. Ahh, what a beautiful canter pic! P.S. what shaped pad are you using now? I'm on the hunt for a new one [again]...

  7. I think I may need to agree with Aimee. I hear a cooler calling your name! You guys are doing great so far!

  8. Oh my look at those beautiful blue eyes!!!

    And congrads on a great first week. You two look FAB! :)

  9. Seriously sounds like winning all around! Considering all the set backs and the dealing with nervousness + added competition and throwing in a baby and yeah totally still winning :)

  10. A couple things:
    1) Your baby is gorgeous
    2) I'm totally living vicariously through you. I love these Thermal posts/wish I was somewhere warm, where I could ride my horse without getting frostbite

    Can't wait to hear how the rest of it goes!!

  11. I enjoy living vicariously through you and prair! Looks like a blast out there!

  12. oh wow - congratulations!! i can't wait to see the videos - it sounds like you and Prairie are making seriously easy work of it all!! :)

  13. I'm so glad she is sound and you were able to make your comeback at Thermal. I love reading (living vicariously through) your show posts. Praire is gorgeous (that shine!) and the baby is adorable!

  14. No complaints to the Boy because the Baby pictures are great! Such gorgeous blue eyes!

    Sounds like a great first week of showing!! I'm so happy she's so relaxed and sound!! Oh and it's been a while since I mentioned it.... Prairie is GORGEOUS!!


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