Saturday 24 March 2012

Bare Naked Lady

I have left Kika without her rugless for tonight, hence the title,  
We had an absolutely gorgeous day today and indeed all week (think 20+C still after 6pm)  so I didn't want her overheating and then getting crabby.

No real news to report, Thursday was her day off after having been very good under saddle since Sunday (see previous posts). Farrier was due at 8am Friday morning, but hadn't arrived when L (The Guru) got to the yard to let the girls out at 10.30am before she went to work, so I asked her to leave Kika in and told her I'd swing by at lunch time to pop her out after she'd hopefully been done. By 1pm there was still no sign of the blacksmith so I left a message on his voicemail to say that I'd popped her out to the field and that I wouldn't be able to come back to bring her in until after i finished work at 4pm. Fearing that he was en route and hence unable to pick up when I rang, in which case I was gone back to work and would be unable to bring her in to have her feet pared.
I needn't have worried, received word that evening that it was actually his birthday and his kids had surprised him with a trip away for the weekend - how sweet is that! So he was full of apologies and re-scheduled for Monday - but there was no need, who could be mad at someone on their birthday!

So Friday ended up being another day off for her as I'd forgotten I'd arranged to meet the parents for dinner, so the time I had set aside to lunge her melted away in a three course meal, yay for gift vouchers!

I let the pair of them out this morning in the fabulous sunshine at 10.30am and L brought them back in about 4pm as she was heading out for a hack in the woods. I managed to get to the yard before feeding time (roughly 5pm) and was in the dressage saddle so missed that kerfuffle of stamping/snorting...get the food to me faster carry on of a large yard of horses.

Was very happy to find my favourite arena to ride in empty so set about my usual 2 laps in each direction on foot to let the saddle settle on her back and contribute to her warm up period. By the time i was getting up three riders had joined us - funny thing is i'd wager the 2 other indoors and outdoor were probably empty, but what the hey - company is fun.
I had decided in the essence of the dressage saddle to see how Kika and I would get on without a martingale/breastplate for the first time ever! I have never ridden her without one - thought never crossed my mind before. Thankfully this fact escaped Kika's attention and while she was more prone to lifting her head then in recent weeks, this may have had more to do with there being more riders than usual in the arena and lots of changes of direction/lopsided circles as we all tried to work around each other.
We did nothing fancy, I avoided the leg yielding as no one on the ground to tell me if we're doing it right or not so don't want to be teaching/learning wrong!
We did however do lots of canter transitions on circles starting with what had previously been our "good" rein but in recent lessons/schooling sessions had been our worse side, as I've typically been starting on our "bad" side to get fresher work that way - which has had the knock on effect of making me more tired and less together when attempting to get good canter work on our previously "good" side. So today I made the conscious decision to alternate and regular intervals the direction and work both sides as best i could.
We started with our previously "good" side as that's the one we'd been having most problems with of late - took a couple of circles to get ourselves in the right frame and bend for correct lead strike off, which thankfully we managed and K came down nicely into an outline for a circle then as a reward I came back to trot to rinse and repeat - this is where we often run into issues of anticipation and then wrong bend so wrong lead...Took us a couple of tries but we got there and when I got two correct strike offs with some nice outline in a row I changed direction and tackled our previously "bad" side - thankfully she was still better on that side so it required less work and we were able to change back to focussing slightly more on the other rein.
I am really happy as things feel like they are coming together and she might actually be starting to carry herself better and work from behind - her last few canters today I could really feel a difference on the circle and power coming from her backside - although with no one on the ground to tell me, I'm not sure if what I was feeling was right! Will have to watch this space and see if I can get the same sensation some day in a lesson to ask The Guru if what we are doing is correct or if Kika or I are cheating in some unconscious way...I wouldn't put it past us!

Unfortunately I finished up shortly after that as one of the other riders in the ring took a nasty spill after her pony took off bucking on her and from where Kika and I were as she landed it looked like he may have trod on her once or twice. As the pony was loose, myself and the other rider (her sister) hopped off and she caught him - thankfully their mother was there as well as the Yard Owner so all was well under control. The mother hopped up on the pony as he really did just take advantage of the poor girl in spooking at nothing, the brave little soul sat for a few minutes then asked to get back up. So hopefully she hasn't done herself a lot of damage although if as it appeared the pony did step on her she'll be undoubtedly sore tomorrow, poor pet!
While all this was happening with the girl on the ground I walked Kika by hand and loosened the girth a few holes as she was blowing a bit and i didn't want her to stiffen, when we got the all clear from the mother I hopped back up and got Kika moving again (trotting) to get her to stretch a bit and then came back to walk and cooled her off. We could have done more work but as she'd been good and not spooked herself when the other pony was acting the utter maggot, I decided to call it a day and gave her a thorough grooming (by our standards) after a roll in the sand.

Plan for tomorrow is to see how the energy levels are as I'm taking the graveyard shift (3.40am to 7am time change alternating on 30-40mins shifts) on the "Walk For Life" cancer charity fundraiser relay.
It should be good fun, it's held in the national sports hall running track - inside track is for runners/joggers outside track for lazy sods like myself who only want to walk.
Basically there are teams and each team must have a member on track for 24hours, so we all get allocated shifts depending on how many team members there are. I'll be walking for Team Canada (colleague from work is Canadian) and Team Ireland organised by the Irish Club of Lux. It's not a national thing it's all down to the organisers of the teams, there are also teams from schools, banks, groups of friends etc etc.
The atmosphere is great as there are always a load of people "on course" at the same time, there are local radio DJs spinning tunes the whole time to keep everyone motivated, food stands, drink stands etc etc it's a pretty big event all things considered!

L is very kindly letting the girls out in the morning and has offered to bring them back in depending on what time she's heading to the woods for another hack with someone else tomorrow and is waiting to hear from them as to time. My plan tomorrow is go to bed when I get home and then exercise the mare late afternoon/early evening. Ideally I'd love to do some pole work under saddle and if energy levels and behaviour permits - I'd love to pop a fence or two...but that will also depend on if i can have someone on the ground to fix up an obstacle or two for me.

Right I'd best shut up typing and go to sleep as it's now after 10pm here and I've to be awake and ready to walk 4ish hours - yikes! This time change is messing with my mind, wish the organisers of the event could've picked any other weekend...Oh well, I'll hopefully update again tomorrow and if i do get to jump it'll mean I'll have had a helper who may play photographer if we're lucky!

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