Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Anthony Lothian Clinic: Day 2

Show Buddy had a lesson right after me, so I made her
stop and pose for a picture. Her mare, Tally (long-time readers will
remember I leased her years ago!) was not a fan of Annie, hahaha.
After Anthony's ride on Saturday, I was looking forward to my turn on Sunday morning. In fact, I was a bit sad I didn't ride both days, haha. Unfortunately for me, I had had a little mountain-biking accident Saturday evening which rendered me a bit... incapacitated. A variety of NSAIDs later and I was feeling slightly better, but still incredibly stiff and sore. 10/10 do not recommend doing a front flip down a steep cliff-side with your bike.

It didn't stop me though - I was going to ride my horse come hell or high water. And ride I did.

Pictured: riding.
When I hopped on to warm up in the grassy opening, Annie was tight. Tight and resistant. I don't know if it was body soreness from the day before, or if she just felt like being a spicy bean, but she was not having any of it. I tried to focus on lengthening and lowering her - asking her to relax into the contact and move rhythmically. She did, for the most part, but as soon as we addressed the canter, the wheels fell off. 

I had a tail-cracking, cross-firing, tense mess under my seat. And boy, oh boy, riding it out was not fun. Had I not been injured, I'm sure I could have been more effective, but I mostly just did what I could and kept asking her to still do the things while she was having her tizzy. Unfortunately, Annie just wasn't really working with me, so we duked it out for a lot longer than I would have liked for a warm-up.

Not unhappy in here!
Our canter right was particularly terrible, and any time we cantered away from the arena, she would swap leads. So I kept pressing on, insisting she do the thing and she do it correctly. It felt like a lifetime of hoppy, bracey circles, but we ended it on a good note and I parked her near the ring and waited for our lesson.

In no time at all, we were wandering into the ring and our lesson was underway. Anthony said he had looked over at our warm up at one point and said, "Looked like a bit of a excitement over there, what's going on?" I explained the cross-firing and lead changes, as well as what I as doing to attempt to rectify the issue.

The cutest little bean <3 
We focused primarily on the items we addressed in Anthony's ride, and how some of my bad habits intensify the negative aspects. We worked a lot on the flat, keeping her haunches straight and encouraging her to both lift and lower her frame. In no time at all, we moved onto the jumping and I was eager to pop over some "bigger" (to us) fences. Interesting to note, Annie offered exactly zero hijinks at the canter, and aside from one wrong lead, was quite amicable to maneuver and play around with. Which, kinda got the brain churning a bit.

Why is it that we have cross-firing and canter issues in the open grass field and the Dressage arena, but never any real issues in the jump ring or indoor? I did note that our schooling ring at home has been a battle-ground a time or two for her misbehavior, but there is a lot of consistency in the issues we have in those two particular spaces. Hmmm... something to think on.

Despite this, Annie felt quite behind the leg and lagging... but I think it had a lot to do with the fact Anthony had rode her quite correctly the day prior. Perhaps sore muscles or just overall body tiredness? Whatever the case, she was certainly tired, but made no excuses and showed up to do the thing and she did it well. We had a fun little three jump course which I repeated a second time, as I felt the initial round was not as polished as it could have been.

It was a bit funny, because I celebrated after the little course, stating that that was our first time jumping fill. Anthony kind of looked at me and I gave an exasperated sigh, throwing my hands up in the air and stated, "I know, I know. A jump is a jump is a jump."

He smiled a bit, and remarked, "A ground pole can be your liverpool. Practice it like that."

I nodded, but retorted with, "I know, but we totally jumped the fill though." 

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Anthony Lothian Clinic: Day 1

June brought about another Anthony clinic, and this time, I decided to do things a bit differently. Instead of riding both days, I opted to have Anthony ride her on the Saturday for a few different reasons. Mostly though, I wanted to see Annie go around with a professional on her back - because who doesn't love watching their own horse go around?

It was also a good opportunity for Anthony to really feel how she rides, and in turn, be able to play around with what works and what doesn't work, and to verbalize those findings back to me. As someone who has done most of Annie's training (aside from some help from the amazing Trainer K last Spring), it was an opportunity to see where we stacked up and where we were falling short. I trust Anthony's opinion and knew he wouldn't hold back. He is completely and utterly honest, which is also part of the reason why I didn't get him to ride her before. There was a bit of intimidation there, if I must admit, haha.

Anthony seemed a bit confused as to why I wanted him to ride Annie, but thankfully he humored me and climbed aboard, haha. I explained our recent cross-firing issues (once again, sigh), and a few other minor issues we've been battling (haunches tipping inwards, lack of connection through transitions... among a few other little things we've been working on). 

Some key points from Anthony's ride:

  • Overall, he stated I've done a good job with her - all the basics are there and she is receptive to the aids.
  • She does indeed like to tip her haunches in, which is evident at the walk and trot. This is where our missed canter leads and cross-firing comes from. I need to ensure stable outside rein connection.
  • She likes to move her rider in the saddle so they sit on their inside seat bones while she tips her haunches in, which makes it feel like an insignificant adjustment on her part. Need to stay straight and upright in the saddle.
  • She likes it when things don't change - she works quite well trotting around in a nice frame so long as there are no other questions being asked. Once you ask for leg yielding, or a circle, etc she'll pop above the contact or change her rhythm (Anthony said she'll change something) in response to the change of aids. He suggested that I change it up on her a lot. Ride an extended trot for four strides, collected for 5 strides, halt, etc. Lots of movement, lots of change of direction.
  • She likes to bulge her lower neck muscle when resisting the contact. Need to keep contact and encourage her to seek the bridle.
  • In regards to her cross-firing (which she did once for a whole two strides), Anthony stated that he believes the issue starts out minor before it comes to a head and that I simply miss the "warning signs" that it is about to become a bigger issue. (I had asked why every few months we have to duke out the cross-firing issue before she gets over herself).
  • Anthony also mentioned that he feels she is very weak overall. This kinda made me sad, because I've done so much work with her, but I did see what he was meaning. He stated he wasn't sure why she is such a slow developing horse, but gave me a few tips to see if they'd help (nutrition-wise). It's interesting though, because the new Vet we saw this past Spring had said Annie is a very slow maturing horse based off of her body structure. He mentioned that Second Level would be attainable, but down the road (when she is 10-12). It kinda hit me and has left me a bit bummed, but we'll do things at our own speed and keep puttering along. I've been told this exact thing by countless other professionals, so it isn't exactly a shock.
  • Riding her in a higher frame (2nd lvl frame) is hard for her - she naturally wants to carry herself downhill and onto her shoulders. Practice this, but not frequently.
  • He also mentioned (and I found this interesting), that he would not call Annie a hot horse. He stated that when she gets frantic/antsy, it's moreso to do with being nervous or unsure, but he wouldn't call her hot. He said, "This is a horse who wants to do the 2'6" hunters."

Overall it was a beneficial opportunity - it allowed for Anthony to actually feel how she rides and how she responds to different pressures. It gave me a few new tools, too, and an appreciation for my mare and her level of try.

And if anything, I was super excited to ride the next day!

Monday, June 17, 2019

Another Summertime Recap

Whenever Summer comes along, the wheels kinda fall off the blogging wagon. This year is no different, especially since I am neck-deep in a particularly difficult school course at the moment and any spare computer time is spent researching and reading vs blogging. 

It is kind of the nature of the beast tho. The days are longer and warmer, and more time is spent at the barn (not that I'm complaining!) and sometimes, divulging a recap in late summer trail rides or yet another schooling session doesn't make for very interesting blogging fodder, esp with lack of media!

C'est la vie, though.

I am hoping that once this course is completed (two more weeks!) that things will get better and soon enough I'll be able to return to our regularly scheduled programming.

For now tho, you'll have to enjoy the few photos I have from the past two weeks of silence (fear not, I have a clinic recap from this past weekend coming soon!).

We've done a lot of grazing in the one section of land behind the BO's house.
It's full of buttercups at the moment from all of our rain activity, but there is a
decent amount of grass available for Annie to graze on.
Unfortunately, she does not seem to do well if she is alone in the paddock - so
long as she can hear me working in the area and walking around, she is fine.
As soon as I get in my truck to leave for a few hours, she gallops laps. It's frustrating
because it would be nice to turn her out for a few hours, but I just let her out when I do
chores or read my school book. It works, so we'll just do that.

We've schooled a few times in the arena and it was full of #feelings.
On one of our rides, Annie forgot what her left lead was and decided to
cross fire instead of lower and extend her neck.
Sooo, that was fun.
It didn't take long for her to get her hamsters back on their wheel,
which I was thankful for.
Oh, mare.

More grazing - lucky girl!

Post-schooling ride. Bannie worked hard in this ride, mostly because she
decided cross-firing was easier than just cantering 15m circles.

Our Farrier appointment went well - she was really well behaved.
The farrier made a comment that I have been riding a lot, because
her shoes were quite thin in some sections, haha.

This schooling ride featured more poor decisions re: cantering, but a lot
less #feelings. I was pretty pleased with her, actually.

We got a new pad... what else is new, haha. Except, I won this one in a contest
from Trainer K. We were pretty #matchymatchy on our trail ride.

Speaking of which, we went for a nice long trail ride with V and Geronimo again.
It was a good ride and the horses were really well behaved.

The trail featured some sink holes - there is a second hole
at the upper right corner. It was kinda sketchy, but we made it!

Of course, Spud has been getting out lots too!
Mugging me for treats.
Sidenote, I am not impressed with this muzzle - it has
already started to fall apart and I've used it for maybe...
3 months now. I'm gearing up to order the Green Guard. 
We did one last schooling ride before our clinic this past weekend.
Surprisingly, Bannie was pleasant enough to ride and had
absolutely 0 canter hysterics. She was also verrrry lazy this ride.

She was let out to graze after our ride last Friday, and spent
more time trying to nap than eat.

We've been seriously working on our Dressage.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

More Cowboy Challenges Please

After a few days of recovering from the subsequent #ladiescamphangover that followed such a busy weekend, Annie and I saddled up for a low-key hack around the subdivision. I chose to tote Spud along, since the potato had a short break from any real strenuous activity until the chiro could see him. Thankfully, he's back to normal and ready to rock and roll!

Don't they look excited?!
I played around with a lot of lateral movements - which is quite the feat, since I was dragging along a stubborn pony, haha. Despite this, we had some really good movements and Annie was happy to comply, even whilst wearing her bitless bridle. The object of the ride was a low, meandering ride to stretch out the muscles and ligaments, as well as start to tackle some of the tension and resistance I get when asking for shoulder in or haunches in.

Suffice to say, the ride went really well and despite some moments of tension, Mare started to understand what I was asking and we had some really great moments. I was pretty pleased and planned to do some schooling later that week since the weather looked promising.

I made a mental note that I would either need a buddy, or haul to the grounds, as the subdivision was starting to crawl with wild critters of various sizes and shapes. While I realize encountering wildlife is sometimes an unavoidable issue living in the Northwest, I also know well enough to not encourage any unplanned... meetings. Animals are hungry and a single horse on it's own may look mighty tasty in the right circumstances.

Spoiler alert, we also did something really fun on the weekend!
As it turned out, I ended up making a last minute trip to visit the SO for most of the weekend. It was well needed, as he's been away for work for far too long and a weekend of riding paled in comparison to spending time together. Especially considering the next few weekends are chock full of pony-plans.

Although... that particular weekend was too, haha. And it may or may not have seen me waking up at 6am on a Sunday to jet back to town, hitch up the horse trailer, and head out, haha.

I had mentioned it before on this blog - our area has been a bit lack-luster the last few years horse-wise. Many people have moved away from home, or those who did have horses, no longer own due to: retirement, old age, downsizing, increased traveling, etc.

But now, the status quo seems to be on the rise. Lots of young kiddos and first-time horse families are slowly making their way out of the wood-work, and as someone who used to be an active member in 4H and our local horse club (which was disbanded several years ago due to inactivity and low members), it pained me to see there was no real sense of comradere or acknowledgement of one another. Not because of personal vendettas or attitudes, but mostly because none of us were formally introduced to one another.

And what better way to get to  know one another than planning an ice-breaker of sorts fun cowboy challenge day at the fairgrounds?

This was towards the end, but we had a
grand total of 13 horses show up!
So that's exactly what I did (with kinda maybe a personal agenda of my own? haha).

Not only would it be a good way to get people out and introduced to one another, but it would serve as a fabulous opportunity to recreate a busy horse show. In all the time I have owned Annie, the local riding arena has never been busy. We've ran into maybe two other horses there, but as far as Annie is concerned - the ring is our personal playground.

Which is fine, but sometimes things need to be shaken up a little bit. And when the first trailer pulled into the grounds, Annie whirled her head around like "WAT."

She was a bit spazzy at the trailer when she realized the horses that had joined us were ones she recognized, and she started swiveling back and forth and snorting. When I saw she wasn't going to kick out or otherwise, I simply walked away.

Mare is like "Ok, this is my life now."
As we got the various obstacles set up, I snuck a few glances at Annie who seemed relatively comfortable, but obviously annoyed I had tied Spud on the other side of the trailer. We had parked in a bit of an unfortunate spot, which meant Annie couldn't really see any of the other horses. Which... kinda too bad, so sad?

Anyways, I ended up being quite busy running the event, going over rules, snapping photos, and Annie ended up being stuck at the trailer for a lot longer than I had anticipated. Which was kind of fine by me because I was exhausted from a weekend of late nights and early morning driving. I had wandered over to the trailer once or twice and was pleased to see Annie eating her hay, nonchalantly watching the other horses work through the course.

A small girl who was there asked if she could take Spud through, and I said yes, so we headed to the trailer to grab him. If I am being completely honest, I was worried about removing him from the trailer. I don't think I have ever been in a circumstance where I have left Annie tied and I have worked him out of her eye-sight. After her naughty behavior at the Karen camp, I was determined to work her through the issue, and figured it was no time like the present to test some boundaries, especially since she was being pretty chill after her initial stupidity when other horses first arrived.

She saw us leave, and watched as we wandered far away into the ring, out of her eye-sight. And, I'll be damned if she didn't even make a peep.

The cutest thing you'll see all day. She was waving the
flag at him too, haha.
I relaxed and was able to guide the young girl through a variety of obstacles, even forgetting Annie was tied to the trailer. I snuck a peak a little later on and saw her quietly observing, a hind leg cocked.

As per usual, Spud was his most amazing gentleman self. He spooked at precisely nothing, and even humored the girl by trotting laps around the ring as she ran, haha. He certainly got his workout.

Can you spot Spud? Hahah.
At long last, most of the kids had had their fill with hand-walking over mattresses and through pool noodles, so I untied Annie and headed over. She was a bit excited to be led over, knowing she was going to join her friends, but a quick correction and she was behaving again. We did some groundwork in the arena and then set to work with the various obstacles.

She did really well with all of them and was giving me her undivided attention, which was nice. She surprised me by walking right through the tarp liverpool on the first try, and also surprised me by not liking the mattress, haha. It wasn't very firm and the horses had a bit of a tough time balancing whilst walking over it.

I returned her to the trailer by herself while some of the kids got saddled up and ready to ride the various obstacles. And to be honest? I totally forgot about Annie again, haha and didn't really pay attention to how she was doing until I walked back over to tack her up. She was happily munching her hay tho, watching the horses play around. Spud was still running around the fairgrounds with the little girl, which was both hilarious and adorable.

No hand-lead photos, so enjoy one of our
matchy matchyness, haha.
The riding portion went well - Annie fell asleep in the middle of the arena while I waited for a friend to successfully tackle the pool noodles on a very nervous horse. She did all of the questions, and even motored over the mattress without issue. Also, I totally forgot - but we totally tackled the trail gate! I don't know if readers remember Annie's complete and utter distaste for the gate earlier this year, but I was on CLOUD NINE we finally did it with ZERO issues.

I didn't ride her for long, since I felt like what we had gone there to accomplish was achieved (and part of me was ready to just lay in the arena dirt and sleep). I tied both horses back up at the trailer on opposite sides, untacked, and headed back into the arena to put the obstacles away.

Pool noodles, no problem.

Tacking the mattress, with Spud photo bombing.


Frisbee disc retrieval. 
This is the only photo I have of the water crossing without a rider going through it!
Super fun.

Many pats for a job well done.
At the end, a the remaining crowd and I went over the success of the event and it was proposed to continue the "meet ups" and alternate riding styles/ disciplines. The masses voted, and we will be doing a Gymkhana-style games day within the next few weeks (most likely early July). And the proposition is a Dressage/Jump day to follow, with the possibility of planning some group trail rides. I do hope the younger, less-experienced crowd continues to attend, as the lack of instruction in our area can be quite detrimental over the long-term.

Overall, a super successful outing and it also really filled my heart to see the fairgrounds bustling with activity again. It hasn't been that busy in years, and I hope to eventually broaden the invitation to join in on the fun to the surrounding horsey communities who have welcomed me with open arms for years.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Ladies Camp: Day 3

Spoiler alert - we played with some cowboy challenge stuff!
You guys... I am so far behind on the blogging bandwagon. It is not for lack of media or content, it is simply due to lack of time! The past few weekends have been busy, and it's ramping up to get busier as the month of June rolls ever onwards. I think as we go along, it's only going to pick up speed, as the 2019 haying season is nearly upon us (first/second week of July... eeek!)!

But for now, let's back track to last weekend wherein I was still at Trainer K's and still playing pony all weekend long.

Sunday morning dawned earlier than the rest - at the potluck the evening before Trainer K had her white-board out and was arranging lessons and times to ensure those who had traveled a greater distance (ie. us, haha) had the best opportunity for hitting the road during the daylight hours. By this point in the camp I was feeling exceptionally sore, tired, and lackluster from late nights, hard lessons, and lack of fresh water facilities. I swear, after I had a shower at home I felt like a brand new person, haha.

So with that being said, I signed up for two lessons back to back - the first would be a "trail challenge" and the second being a Dressage/flat lesson. The Trail Challenge would be very low key, and I knew it wouldn't burn Annie out too much, so didn't really worry about having a flat lesson right afterwards.

She was a brave little bean!
I pulled Annie out of her paddock that morning and aside from small shuffles (which she was reprimanded for), she stood quiet enough that I was able to put her dressage boots on without nearly getting side-swiped. She was still antsy, and looking for her friends, but overall I was pretty happy that she was much more agreeable and quiet.

We hacked up to the outdoor arena, and upon arriving, Trainer K noted I had forgotten to bring my halter. I grumbled inwardly at no one but myself and wandered back down the hill, grabbed my halter from the trailer, and headed back up once more. Annie didn't seem the least bit phased about all the wandering around, and by the time we had crested the hill, most of our lesson mates had joined. I popped off near the wooden bridge, noting Annie's eyes bulging out of her head (haha), and switched out my bridle for a halter.

The basis of the Trail Challenge was to do every obstacle from the ground first and then mount up and attempt the items one by one. I was excited for this, mostly because who doesn't want to play around with a variety of equipment with their ponies?! And there were tons of different things to try - and I'm sad I didn't get photos of them all, but there was: a "car wash", pool noodle gate, tarp, canter poles, cavaletti, a trail-style gate, log drag, old moose antlers to pick up and drop off on a barrel, a bag of popcans to pick up and drop off on a barrel, two bridges, two balls to push, "L" shape poles to back thru, a mattress covered in a tarp, a pedestal, wooden discs to use as pedestals, etc.  I figured it would be a good way to work through stressful situations or scenarios, and have the assistance of Trainer K to help resolve any issues should they creep up.

Dressage pony turned Ranch horse extraordinaire. 
Annie was a bit wired, but not necessarily in a bad way. She was just very... aware of everything around her and I didn't really blame her at that point - there were almost 10 horses in the arena and a variety of scary obstacles. 
We went to work and she surprised me by going through almost all of the obstacles on very first try with minimal cajoling from me. Of course, the simplest obstacle was the one she had the most issues with, haha. The pedestal was a cause of much dismay for Annie, who simply insisted she needed to step over it and not on it. While I appreciated her attempt, it was a bit frustrating since I seemed to be the only one who literally could not get her to step on it, haha. We moved onto some wooden discs and she failed to step on them as well, and carefully stepped over it nearly every time I asked. We did end up getting both front feet on one of the discs, but as soon as Trainer K let go of her other leg, Annie was like "I NEED TO STEP OFF OF IT NOW" and immediately removed her leg.

Which, is totally fine. I made a mental note to make a tire pedestal at the barn to play with for next time. New tricks and all that.

Aced the pool noodles!
I finished up playing with the pedestal and figured to just leave it be instead of pressing the issue - Annie was not understanding what I was trying to get her to do and pushing it wasn't helping. So, onwards to the mounted practice!

Overall, it was very underwhelming for Annie and I, haha. She felt more up than usual, but I wouldn't say hot. She was just very... aware of everything going on around her. Which, I didn't blame her. There was a young horse having a meltdown over the mattress, several horses trotting by, etc etc. It was a busy atmosphere.

We did several of the items and spent some time just standing in the middle of the ring (working on that whole patience thing ;) ) and Annie did everything very well. It honestly was the highlight of the trip, haha. Something about just playing around with obstacles and achieving them was a good feeling.

She wasn't a fan of the ball, but pushed it with her chest once or twice.
She just didn't like when it came rolling back at her, haha.
We finished on a really good note and as the volunteers drug some obstacles away, we got ready to start our next lesson. I had wandered into the shavings ring to wait for the arena to be cleared and S showed up with her gelding, as we were riding together. I parked in the corner of the ring and Annie got a bit spunky when Tyson walked by - she attempted to kick out again so I gave her a good whack with the crop and followed it with a one rein stop before putting her to work while we waited.

After that, she was over herself and into the ring we went. We did a variety of things, but mostly focused on some cavaletti and canter poles, which proved to be difficult for poor Bannie. The canter striding was set for the larger horses, so we botched it a few times and she really had to stretch to get over them properly. The cavaletti took some figuring out, but eventually she got it.

A wee, tension-filled set of haunches in, haha.
We played with haunches in as well, wherein Annie's alter-ego "Bannie" came out - she simply did not understand what I was asking and was having a meltdown when I insisted she keep searching for the right answer. And by meltdown, I mean swishy tail, pinned ears and gnashing at the bit. It was relatively tame.

She got over it once I popped her with the whip, insisting that I did in fact want her butt pointed out. We managed to get quite a few nice moments down the long side and quit after a particularly nice attempt on Annie's part. I made a mental note to play with them a bit more, since I seem to neglect the lateral stuff in favor of the simpler exercises I may be working on at clinics. It can be hard to balance it all though, because some days I feel like we are incapable of shoulder in, but then Trainer K reminds me that without practice, we will never be capable!

A better attempt at the trot.
Some things to remember:

  • Push for quality - she can work hard and she can do MORE. Just remember to give her breaks as she works through things that are hard for her.
  • Remember to be slow but powerful through the cavaletti.
  • Don't fight with her - just make a circle and try the canter again. (The exercise was thru the cavaletti, turn left, canter and canter down the poles. Annie picked up the wrong lead a few times through the exercise and I was getting frustrated).
  • Start her off long/ low and then transition into a higher frame. Remember to keep this work short, as it is harder for her.
  • Do not let her get more than 45 degrees during the haunches in - and remember that even if she does 3 steps, let her walk out of it and try again. Small increments correctly.
  • Don't let her rush through the cavaletti - set her back and compress her, but don't lose the forward.

We finished there for the day, and once back at the trailer, Annie stood like a perfect angel. She had Tyson to keep her company, so wasn't as antsy and although Tyson could have cared less about Annie's existence (he called out a few times for Fru, haha), Annie was more than complacent. I decided against tying her to the Time Out tree again, just because she had acted loads better at the trailer earlier in the day and had performed very well in our lessons, as well as after our lesson. 

I tossed her back into her paddock with water and hay and got to work getting things packed up to head home. It didn't take long and everything was more or less ready - I was smart and packed all of my tack (aside from saddles) in a large tote so when we arrived back in TBC and I had to transfer all of my things from S's truck and trailer to mine, it took less than a minute. Annie traveled well, but did look at me like I had three heads when I led her up to my horse trailer. "Uhm... I was just on a trailer for 5 hours. You want me to get in another one?!" Thankfully she humored me and walked right on, but not without giving me a snide little look, haha. 

Canter poles are confusing!!
She seemed happy to be home tho, and happily grazed in front of the barn for a few minutes before I turned her back out with Spud, who was very pleased to see his mare home. Make no mistake - Spud was very well pampered during my absence and one of our awesome traveling chiropractors came and adjusted him (I had noticed during our jogs he was short striding on his hind right) and gave him a quick massage. My suspicions were correct in that his pelvis was rotated, and after that quick fix, he was striding out normally. 

That being said, even though I was happy to walk through the front door of the house, I started unpacking right away and even had a load of laundry done before finally crawling into bed. For the next three days both Annie and I felt the effects of the clinic - Annie actually scared me the day after we returned, as I had let her out to graze and she kept laying down flat out, grunting, in the one paddock. I walked around with banamine in my back pocket like a crazy person and stayed at the barn for an extra hour to monitor her. The diagnosis? Mare was just hella tired, haha. 

Note the droopy lip.
(She had a halter on bc I thought she was colicking so wanted her easy to grab if needed).
Overall, it was a really amazing weekend and great preparation for busy show atmosphere. We had some really progressive lessons, learned a bunch of new things (and rediscovered some old tactics I had forgotten about), and spent the weekend with some really great people. I am planning on attending again next year, hopefully with a few more horsey friends :)