Unlike many, I do not have an indoor riding space where I keep my horses. There is a 30-foot round pen, but that's it. All of the training I put in at home is performed in a field across a creek from the main pasture area and that field has been inundated with water for a very long while. Every footfall would result in a very unsatisfactory squish, squish, squish these past many months if the temperatures weren't cold enough to freeze it.
But finally, at long last, things are drying out, the water table is returning to a more normal place, and riding can commence again!
We started the month by heading to the annual vaccine clinic where I saved a ridiculous amount of money getting all three horses vaccinated and cleared for out-of-state travel for the year. As per the norm, the day of the vaccine clinic was cold and wet. I swear, if we're ever in a drought, people could pay my vet to schedule one of these clinics and be guaranteed rain.
|Stan celebrated his 17th birthday by going to a vaccine clinic and getting stabbed repeatedly! Wee! But really, he got to eat a bunch of hay and wear seafoam green and chill with Q all day.|
Following our exams, Chelsey and I spent some time riding in the covered arena. Griffin was on HIGH alert due to a particularly terrifying parade float (and a not-terrifying firetruck) that was parked in a far corner of the arena. I had no desire to ride a horse kite, so I just set him loose to burn off his energy and calm down.
He was more animated than he's ever been and it was hilarious to me. Eventually though, he calmed enough to trust me to lead him to the float where he nudged and snuffled it with his nose. He was a cool cucumber once he realized it couldn't eat him!
The energy he had when he was scared dissipated into some lovely trot work during our ride. Overall, he was excellent for everything we worked on at the arena. I could tell that all of the lessons from last year carried over in both our work product and his mental game. Such a damn good horse.
|And then I had to jump something after bringing our jumping attire. So we flopped the barrel down and tackled it.|
A week later, after days of sunshine and wind, the footing in our back field was finally to a place where I felt more than comfortable putting in a solid jump school. We hadn't jumped much of anything in MONTHS. In fact, if I'm being completely honest, we simply haven't ridden much in months. (See note about seasonable winter above.) I was psyched to get out and work over real jumps and was even happier when Griffin showed up to work on the same page as I.
I'm really pleased to report that 2'9" feels like nothing to us now. I mean, it felt like nothing to Grif before, I'm pretty sure, but I had a mental block with it quite often. Fortunately, after months of working on my own weaknesses both physically and mentally, I'm on the same page with Griffin.
: : : : :
I'm heading east to audit a dressage clinic this weekend. I'm confident it will light a fire in me to get to work with even greater renewed focus this year. I hope to get some lessons scheduled with a relatively local instructor in May and then get to a trainer in Virginia by June.
But mostly? It just feels good to be out there riding and working toward improvement goals, one step at a time.
: : : : :
How about you! Do you feel good with where you're at going into this competition season? Perhaps you live in an area that has facilitated an early start to your season - how do you feel with what you've done so far? Or maybe you're still waiting on some things to fall into place in other areas?