From Kate Rakowski:
I know, I know, eventers are hardy; we ride in all weather, no matter what. But it’s a drizzly and cold Friday afternoon after a few loooonnnggg weeks. The catalogues went out from the tack shop and I worked extra afternoons there. Progress reports went out today (which probably means many e-mails and phone calls waiting when I get back to school on Monday) and I gave the first chapter test which I now have to grade. Cider’s standing in the barn all snuggly in his rainsheet and I don’t wanna. So, I’ll just go feed, then write an update about how things have been going in preparation for the 3-day.
2 weeks ago, He got new shoes and there was no sign of bruising which is what kept us out of the 3-day last year – let’s hear it for Shock Tamers! Then I decided at the 11th hour that Eric Smiley shouldn’t miss out on a chance to see me 3 times this year, so I joined the show jumping day of his recent clinic at Hitching Post Farm in South Royalton, VT. I did XC day of the June Clinic at Ledyard Farm in MA with Eric. I’ve done 2 clinics a year with him for about the last 5 years or so and I never go away without something new to ponder. For a variety of reasons, Cider hadn’t been ridden in 4 days and I hadn’t ridden in 5 days. His owner, Melissa, keeps telling me that I should be vary wary of getting something with Arab in it this fit in fall weather. I don’t listen well. I thought we’d be fine without the running martingale. I had what my friend, Jocelyn, called “dragon pony” for about 5 solid minutes at the beginning of our jumping exercises. He was throwing his head, rearing, running sideways, spinning, etc., and when I finally pulled him up sharply, he snorted loudly several times. Thankfully, he was then quite well behaved for the rest of the lesson. Would you believe that the reason I have been struggling to find jumps out of the canter without having terrible distances or making major pace changes in the last 2 strides is because of the lack of a quality canter? I’m guessing that’s not a shock to anyone who’s ever given or taken a jumping lesson; why did I not recognize that? Because someone needs to keep instructors in business.
From the clinic, Cider headed off for a flashback to his previous career as an endurance horse. A young friend was scheduled to go to ME for a 30 mile Competitive Trail Ride but her horse had an unexplained muscle cramp. Did I think Cider could do it? What the heck do I know about how fit a horse needs to be for 30 miles? I said, give it a shot. He was fit enough. He won. He was a superstar. He’s like that. Try to kill me at a clinic, be wonderful for a 30-mile ride. It all depends on what he thinks is fun. However, that does give me a confidence that he can handle a paltry training level endurance day.
Now, I just have to get through a week and a half of teaching, write sub plans for 4 days, judge both Saturdays, pack everything I need, do one more good jump school, go to a few after school meetings, figure out what to do for my husband’s birthday and decide how long I can hold off before I turn on the heat (it’s only frosted once here and we just got new windows so we’ve been ok so far. There’s a long winter ahead.)
But first, I went for a lovely hack/dressage school today on the sunny Sunday following the yucky Friday. How can you have a bad ride with a face like that on a day like this with that kind of foliage? Now you wish you lived in VT, don’t you.
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