Sometimes I feel like my life is just a series of countdowns.
Six months until show season starts.
Three months until Trainer is back.
Eight weeks until the end of WEF.
Two weeks until the first horse show.
And so on, and so on.
This time, the countdown is on for Trainer to return. We're down to a week, so... progress? Or perhaps that's just the sound of time marching on.
As previously mentioned, he's off chasing fame and glory at Spruce Meadows, riding for the Team and rubbing shoulders with the other elite of the equestrian world. Neither I nor anyone in the barn begrudge him this - it's exciting, he deserves it, and we're all cheering him on, hoping he makes the Team for the World Equestrian Games this September. But it does mean that we're all at home, twiddling our thumbs a little. We have the Assistant - sometimes - but, of course, it isn't exactly the same.
It's been two weeks since our last horse show. Our next horse show is in exactly one week. I have every intention of doing the 1.10m at the next show, and since the last weekend of our two-week series didn't go entirely swimmingly last time, I have some work in mind for us. This gives us three weeks in between horse shows - a significant break, and not one you usually see in the summer season. All the more time to get to it.
Anyway, my plan for the countdown went thusly:
Week 1, Tues - Sun (barn is closed Mondays): very light flat, normal flat, lesson (small jump school), hack, lesson (slightly more extended jump school), light flat
Week 2, Tues - Sun: give Riley a day off, hack around, give Riley another day off...., flat (no stirrups, pole work), significant flat (practice jump off turns over poles and end up schooling Riley through some rather naughty behavior), normal flat (more poles, not too much though, more of an incorporation, more schooling through naughty behavior; should be noted it was raining today or I might have considered hacking out)
Week 3's plans are thus:
Tuesday: Normal flat, probably work more on schooling through naughty behavior, no stirrups day - last one before show so I don't feel tired going into show
Wednesday: Hack if he'll allow it
Thursday: Lesson (probably jump) with Assistant
Friday: Light flat, work on stuff from lesson, maybe hack
Saturday: Lesson (jump) with Assistant
Sunday: Light flat depending on how he feels, may be a day off or a hack, pack for show
And then we go to the horse show.
Right now, I'm still dying from my self-induced No Stirrup Friday. If you're doing no stirrups, I highly recommend removing them from your saddle entirely. I did an entire flat session - shortened, to be sure, probably 30 minutes - without them, including "jumping" over poles and felt pretty tight and sticky. I didn't think I overdid it at all, but then thought I might fall over when I tried to get out of bed yesterday morning. Maybe my shiny Butet is giving me a false sense of security. But gosh if I didn't feel awfully good about sticking in my saddle when Riley attempted to throw me to the ground on multiple occasions Saturday.... so, worth it!
As a side note, he's developed some irritating behavior lately. The path to the outdoor ring is about a five or six minute walk from the barn, and then you have the option to go straight or turn left into the outdoor ring. The entrance to the outdoor ring is shaded by trees (in fact the entire ring is surrounded by them) and can be rather scary for some horses. Anyway, Riley has decided that once he reaches about halfway down the pathway, he's no longer interested in moving forward, and has taken it upon himself to stop, back up, spin around and start rearing. He's also decided that, once we get past that point, the outdoor ring entrance is going to EAT him, and refuses to go through it until I get off and lead him through. So that's nice. It's a work in progress to fix, but I hope we're on the right track.