Saturday, 27 October 2012

Coming Cold

In the words of George RR Martins books "Winter is Coming" ...
... and it has well and truly hit Luxembourg today - gone are the lovely high teens/low twenty temps of last weekend, which gave me such lovely leave snaps while walking Kika to dry her off after our workout. I had to rug herself this evening prior to turning her out and noticed as I passed the thermometer on my way home that temps have dipped to 7C, bet it's only gotten colder since, unfortunately - sad times indeed!
Here's hoping it at least stays dry for the Guru & my stake driving attempts tomorrow and Sunday as we continue to try to Horsey Houdini-proof our winter turnout area! The good news on that front is, I found a mallet at home this evening - so the DYI job will hopefully be made easier with that! Plus I shall learn from last weekend's mistake and wear gloves this time - no more ouchy mangled palms for me *nope*

Right onto actual horsey matters and the reason people check into this blog (well let's be honest - it's not for my concise way with words now is it?  ;-) )

Miss Kika
Have to say i love this headshot of her  - even though i have caught her rotten admiring herself in the arena mirrors this evening, hahaha! Vain creature that she is - the proof is in the picture, K!
Although I'm not sure that the colours come across as well on a computer screen as the photo itself looks on my phone - seems a lot darker on here, sorry guys if it's hard to see!

Work has been a nightmare this week and has me knackered but thankfully Kika has been a ray of light in the evenings - despite the darkness which is only going to get worse with the clocks changing tomorrow (Saturday/Sunday night in Europe - again sad times *sob*)!
I only managed to ride Monday, Thursday & today (Friday) and she was good as gold all three days.
L also rode her on Wednesday for me as I knew i wasn't going to make it to the yard and as her mare is unfortunately out of action - she volunteered to ride Kika and has asked if she can rider her in a training clinic while I am in Ireland next weekend - to which I was only too happy to say yes, as it can only be beneficial for Kika - the clinic & L's riding her more! *nod*
She also only had nice things to say about K after their work in the outdoor Wednesday afternoon.

Fuzzy Mc Fatterson
As the full body shot above shows, albeit an incredibly unflattering angle - sorry Keeks, Madam Kika is very hairy at the moment - meaning after 30mins work she is lathered in sweat - it then takes me a minimum of 45mins between the walker and solarium to get her dry enough to turn her back out for the night. She is still living out 24/7 until November first, although if i can catch one of the brothers (yard owners) tomorrow I shall see if i can start leaving her in at night.
I was hoping that the trusty Guru who also happens to own a pair of clippers might be able to sheer Miss Kika over the weekend (around our fencing duties) but she won't have her blades back until the end of the week - so now the dilemma is ....clip Kika before or after the training clinic?!

- Before and she could be too full of beans to get full value from clinic...
whereas
- After and she'll be spent 30mins into the session and covered in sweat...

It's bit of a conundrum alright as if the blades don't arrive till Thursday there'll be no chance to ride Kika prior to the clinic's first day on Friday - so the beans theory won't be testable until under clinic trainer's gaze which isn't ideal in all honesty!

So while L's mare is out of work, I've offered her as much Kika-time as she'd like - I feel it's the least I can do considering how much she helps me! Plus she's a much better rider than me, so Kika (and by proxy I) can only benefit from such an arrangement!
I'll ride Saturday, L Sunday, me Monday, L Tuesday, I'll either jump Wednesday or she'll rest, if jumping Thursday'll be a rest day - if not either me or the Guru will ride as it's a day off for all here in Lux that day. It'll be up to L to decide whether she'd like to fine tune her to her (better) way of riding prior to the clinic. Then L will look after her while I'm in Ireland (Friday to Tuesday) for my "baby" sister's graduation. She hopes to ride her in the clinic on Friday & Sunday as she's working Saturday - smelly shiftwork!

Things in particular I have to work on with Kika:
- More impulsion in trot, apparently she's looking a little lethargic;
- Less moving/fidgetting in my canter
- Stengthening my legs and squeezing with my calves rather than continuously nudging with my heels (thereby pulling them up) ... *hangs-head-in-shame* I still haven't managed to crack this one
- Quieten my hands!
I'm after getting into an awful habit of almost sawing rather than closing my fingers on the reins when working on an outline - *more-shame-faced-head-hanging*
- I also need to carry my hands more, they are practically sitting on her neck! Grrr - if only I could keep all/more of this in mind when in the saddle.
(Watch this list grow by 100% if I do get a lesson tomorrow)

We fell back into our "old" problems on Monday evening in our canter work on the "bad" rein. We struggled initially with correct lead strike-off.
I always start my canter work on a circle and when we'd hit the track or turn she'd change behind and become disunited. Thankfully we didn't have either of these issues cantering on our better side - so when i couldn't figure out where we were going wrong I returned to trot work & had a couple of canters on our good rein to keep things changing in our workout. Alternating back to our bad side once our twice to see if we could get it better, not really though sadly it just wasn't meant to be so tried to focuss on more positive work.
 I mentioned it to L the next day as she rode her on Wednesday and she figures I must be moving too much in the saddle and as Kika still (and obviously I) struggle with cantering on that rein. I was/am interfering too much and knocking her off balance.
Have kept this in mind since and when we canter on our "bad" rein, now while carriage isn't how i'd like it - we are back to correct leads in striking off and no longer changing behind - small victories. However as always a work in progress - me more so than her. If only my body could catch up to what my brain wants!

I plan to ride tomorrow during the lull of lunchtime at our yard at weekends as (a) it's quieter and (b) I can work Kika for longer as I have the afternoon for her to dry out.
L and I are meeting about 10am to put a couple of hours work into turnout area then depending on how she feels she's suggested giving me a hand with Kika while i ride (aka a lesson of sorts). I'm making and bringing sandwiches for some lunch and then we'll plough on with more fencing for the afternoon.

Eurgh, as always this post has gotten much longer than I'd intended it to be!
As a way of apologising, here's the final picture I snapped this evening - Alien-Horse-Under-the-Heatlamps-after-work ;)

Beam Me Up Scotty
Again not a great angle for her :(
I'll have to take a more critical look at her tomorrow - but from the last two pictures today she's looking quite heavy in the belly. Plus being so hairy really isn't a good look for her...hoping to get a clip-history type post up tomorrow and perhaps get your opinions on what kind of clip to go for this year! :)

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