Monday, July 24, 2017

Percentage Days/ Clear Rounds: July

I had meant to do a recap of my ride from last Tuesday, but lack of media and lack of motivation... blah blah blah. A quick rundown of the ride was that it was pleasant - we worked a lot on the canter and did a little run through of a Dressage test that was messy, but decent. All around it was a good school where we worked more on consistency and response to my cues.

We went and picked up some square bales on Thursday evening.
The  rest of the week was pretty hectic but when I found out we wouldn't be working on Saturday like initially anticipated, I jumped at the chance to take Annie to another Percentage Days/ Clear Rounds event. For those who are unaware - it is basically a fun and low-pressure way to get young horses (and nervous riders) acclimated to the pressures of the show ring with volunteer judges and some good old fashioned fun. A lot of people go just to brush up on their schooling, or to just have fun.

I decided that before leaving on the trailer, I would dose her with some Omega Alpha Chill - not necessarily for her benefit, but for mine.

Being a good pone - for the moment.
Nicole and AJ came with us, and it quickly posed as a bit of a problem. The minute AJ loaded onto the trailer, Annie went into full blown heat mode. She was pretty good about not being a complete slut, but would tense up and lose her marbles if she couldn't see AJ. I'm not sure if this attributed to her poor attitude the remainder of the day, or if she was just being a normal green horse at a bit of a hectic event.

Nicole and I opted to tie the horses on opposite sides of the trailer and I dosed Annie again with the Chill after she pawed the crap out of the side of the trailer. She was good to be tacked up and I opted to wander over to the warm up arena solo - I was curious to see how she'd react without AJ and I didn't want to start having to rely on a buddy when we go places. A death sentence? Maybe.

At the mounting block, she tried to move around but after I stern talking to, she stood quiet enough for me to mount. Nicole and her gelding weren't far behind us, but Annie was still pretty hyped up about it all. She jigged and jigged and jigged in the warm up, which was totally irritating but we worked through it and eventually got some good work. The canters were nice - at one point during a trot-canter transition she decided she was going to give a half-hearted buck so she got a spank for that and we carried on. AJ was lunged at the opposite side of the arena and I tried to avoid where he was and tried to keep Annie's attention on me by asking her to flex, bend, leg yield... just anything that would take her mind off of her buddy. Her bad lead was picked up after about three tries and we ended it there. I felt like the work I got in there at the end was really nice and felt similar to my Karen lessons.

I have many feelings today, none of them include
Once we left the arena without AJ, she started to get jiggy again. I gritted my teeth and contemplated asking Nicole to bring AJ over, but in the end I opted to work it out and literally just walked and walked and walked some more. We did loops and circles at the walk, not asking for much, just asking her to walk. I could feel the nervous energy bundling up and it wasn't a very good feeling, but at the same time Annie was really good about it.

After another rider had finished, it was my turn and by that time Nicole had parked AJ outside of the arena. I'm not sure if him being closer helped, but Annie and I laid down a really nice Dressage test. I mean, it wasn't fault-free, but it felt really nice. Our geometry needs work and getting her more relaxed will help put the pieces together.

I opted to do Training Level 1, since I would be showing that later in the week and wanted to get over my fear of cantering in the open arena. The only issue (which really cost us points), was her right lead canter - she actually picked it up correctly and I had thought she picked up the wrong one so I shut her down and proceeded to be unsuccessful in obtaining the lead again. Oops, sorry Bannie.

Kinda embarrassing to have a test score under 50%, but ah well.

I love the amount of lift she has in the front end.
Now I just need to learn to sit it and put my
fucking hands down.

Some more stretch would be nice, but happy with this!

A moment of slight relaxation - it was short lived.

Tense and resistant, but still doing the thing.
A quick chat with the judge re: the lead and she asked me to come back and enter the court and try leg yielding her into it. I don't think the judge saw she had actually picked it up, but figured hey why not try. She didn't get the lead and we ended up saying screw it and let's go for the next test since Annie was getting frustrated with me asking and then shutting her down.

My second test ran right after the first and was Training Level 2. This test felt less harmonic than the first despite us getting all of our leads. She was more tense and gave me some serious attitude in a few movements - at one point she gave a half-hearted buck and in another she did her very best "fuck you I'm a llama" impression.

Me: "I think I might die today."
Annie: "You are thinking right."

We did the canter thing!! Complete with swishy tail sassiness.

Annie: "I hate you Ihateyou Ihateyou."

I think our enter at A was a bit.... wiggly.

My personal favorite of the day.
Annie, kindly telling me to fuck right off.
That coy smile is because I'm like "wow. I survived"
I was kind of discouraged by the behavior, because she is usually quite an agreeable mare with a "yes ma'am" attitude. I think a lot of her poor behavior was stemming from the fact it was a little chaotic, she was in heat, and she was being kinda buddy-sour. A win in this situation was that I wasn't afraid tho, which made me proud and to be fair, Annie DID do everything I asked at the right times and for the right amount of time - it was just more or less abrupt, rushy, and very hollow. I suppose the relaxation will come.

We wandered back to the trailer and I stripped Annie's tack and let her eat some hay. She was quiet and calm as I went and watched a few other people's tests and there was only one point I had to walk back over and tie her a bit shorter and give her a stern talking to for pawing again. For a mare that hasn't really been tied like that at events, I was pleased with her cooperation.

After helping the volunteers set up the jumps, I went into the ring where Annie had NO steering and not really any brakes... or cares... or anything. She kind of reverted back to how she felt when I first got her - just like a wet noodle. She did everything I asked tho - and didn't even hesitate at any of the jumps or throw in any stops.

"I am not enjoying this." -Annie

Looping back down to where AJ was and passing him..
Yah... she was not impressed.

Being super defensive, but pony is happy.

Initially, the plan was to do 4-5 rounds, but I only ended up doing three. Two trot pole rounds and one cross-rail round. Each time we did a round, I had to give her a spank with the whip to get into the arena, mostly because she didn't want to leave her friend.

The first trot pole round was really awful feeling - she ignored my aids and kinda just turned on her own and wiggled all over the place. The second trot pole round was better and I actually let her canter over some of the poles, wherein she knocked a few. The cross rail round was by far the best and I let her canter most of it. I had to really half-halt a lot tho, because her canter is not really compressible right now so she was ZOOOOMING through it. Still - pony went through it and did it all.

All in all it was a pretty good day - we had some major fail moments and some really good moments. Sometimes it is easy to get discouraged to not have the same horse at home as you do at an event, but I suppose it'll just take time. I am still pretty happy that we got to do everything I wanted to do, despite the minor theatrics.

We stayed and watched Horse Show Buddy jump Tally (remember her?)
and Annie all of a sudden was like "OHMAHGOD I AM SO TIRED NOW."
 After our third pass in the jump arena, Annie was parked outside the ring to watch a few rounds and she fell asleep. Until AJ and Nicole left back to the trailer... then Annie decided to forget I was leading her and she decided to just be overly rude and pushy. We did some in-hand work and when I asked her to yield her haunches she kicked out... so she got a spanking again. Oh, mare.

She loaded up good and hauled home just fine, even when AJ was dropped off and left.

Anyone else find more exposure makes their horse easier to deal with? Any mare-in-heat horror stories? How long did it take for your horse to get used to the chaos that is horse shows/events?


  1. Congratulations on doing such a good job at the show. I often think that young horse's first shows are like your kid's first concert/dance recital/etc. Sometimes the little darlings don't show how they can shine. It's all about the miles and the learning. I am glad that rode her through the buddy sour-ness. That will pay off because having a horse that gets super attached to another at a show is a real pain in the ass. I think that you both did well. I giggled at the 'so many feelings none of them including dressage-ing'.

    1. Aw thanks :)
      I think I handled it decently enough and figure most of it will be just more exposure and experience.

  2. That sounds like a really productive outing! I think just going to the show and doing the things is a huge win with babies. The rest will come as she learns it's all no big deal :)

  3. Congrats for sticking with it and navigating through a tough day! There were definitely some nice looking moments in there. For all of mine, getting the same horse at shows that I have at home was all about exposure, exposure, exposure. Then more exposure. Which I think you're well on your way to achieving with Annie ☺

    Idk if you've considered this option, but mare magic (or rather, organic raspberry leaves which is identical but cheaper) really helped mellow out one of my mares when she was a raging demon during heat cycles. YMMV, it won't offend me if you file this comment away under "unsolicited internet advice".

    1. Thank you!!
      I was actually looking into that! So no, not unsolicited internet advice :) I appreciate you taking the time to let me know what has worked for you and what didn't

      How much did you give your mare? And did you give it to her all the time or just when she was in heat?

    2. Basically when my mare was being wretched one spring I bought an actual bag of the brand Mare Magic to try, and I really felt like it was making a difference. But you can get organic raspberry leaves for like half the cost, so I started ordering those on Amazon and using the scoop that came in the original Mare Magic bag.

      I've seen lots of differing opinions on how much to feed but I've had good luck with the mare magic scoop so I stick with that. I'd guesstimate it's maybe 3 ounces? Once a day, year round. Sometimes twice a day if it's a show day.

      I started both Ruby and Cinna on them before I even started riding them and have never had any significant issues with heat cycles for them. I had a repro vet tell me to my face that it was just a placebo and doesn't do anything, but it's cheap and I think it helps, and since I'm the one paying for it (and it's not hurting them), that's what counts... Haha.

      Hope that helps!

  4. What a good first show! I love how positive the dressage judge's comments were, and the pictures are so pretty! What kind of footing is in the first set? So glad that despite being an in-heat monster, you still had a good time!

    1. Thank you :)
      The footing is, I believe, hog fuel. I find that once it breaks down a bit and is worked, it is decent enough footing!

  5. It sounds like you handled all of that really well! Man, does it ever suck when all the marbles fall out with a mare in heat. Besides my worst dressage test ever laid down, I actually had to get led into the xc start box because my mare in heat would not leave the group for our turn. So. Embarrassing. Your pics look great!! Annie is so lovely, even with attitude :)

  6. I think you and Annie did well at the show. It was good for her to get the exposure and experience. It all takes time and lots of patience.

  7. Love all the tail sass. I have several similar photos. Congrats on making it through. I'm sure she'll get better with more experience.

  8. Though stress-filled, it you completed something to be proud of. That isn't easy for anyone. Way to go.

  9. She's lucky she's cute ;) And she IS cute, even when she's being ornery. Better luck next time, but it sounds like you handled her attitude and lack of willingness with great sportsmanship, which is so important. This is the downside of horses having minds of their own :(

  10. Oooo, she is a sassy little thing! I'm sure that will all get better! One of my boarder's mares had a hard heat cycle, and she opted to have her implanted with progesterone pearls. It was like night and day!

    1. Sassy is the right word, haha. I'm glad she's pretty tame for the most part, but that redheadedness shines through even tho she isn't a redhead lol