ICP Ride

Got to the barn to ride last night, and was told by the barn staff that my trainer had ridden him already that day.  We're holding a pretty big ICP clinic at the barn all week - it's where trainers who want to become USEA certified get judged on how well they teach lessons and also on theory.  I guess they needed someone to ride for something, probably a mock lesson, and my trainer rode Connor.

Plane crash dog

I was totally cool with that, even though I didn't know about it in advance.  Darn, a way better rider than me rode him in front of other professionals who know what they're doing?  And I won't get charged for a trainer ride?  Such a bummer. /s

Instead, I picked out his tail while he slept in the crossties:

Those are some sleepy ears.
And he got way more cookies than he should have.  Honestly, still a pretty good night, even if I didn't get to ride myself.


Photo Dump: Clipping

Every year I try to make it to late October before I clip Connor.  This year, I definitely wasn't going to.  Normal highs for this time of year in October are in the 60's, but it was pushing 90 for a few days last week.  So I clipped on the 15th.  Make hay while the sun shines?

My husband said my clipping outfit looked dumb.  Haha.  I took off the orange and clipped in shorts and a tanktop.  The best way to not get little itchy hairs stuck against your skin is to not have anything against your skin for them to get stuck in in the first place!
By this time of year, Connor has as much of a winter coat as the Thoroughbreds and Warmbloods will have at the height of winter.  #yak

He was temporarily relocated to Barn #3 during the clinic, which is 1/4 mile down the road from the barns you've seen posted here before.  We bathed at the big barn, and clipped at barn 3.
Drying quickly in warm winds.
On alert.
Yackity Yak


Lesson Wrap-Up: Two New Exercises

My trainer had another JLC clinic at the barn last weekend.  I didn't audit, although I was around.  I was happy to see fellow Welsh Cob owner and blog reader S out there, riding in the clinic with her mare Eve.

After a Connor training ride on Wednesday in order to try out some new things she learned at the clinic, my trainer was ready to go for my lesson on Thursday.

First, in the warmup, she had me trot in a forward seat position in the warmup, no faster than Connor's balance will allow, with my hands forward and quiet.  I gotta be honest, this felt incredibly awkward.  But, she pointed out that right now, I really struggle with his trot in the beginning of the ride.  I know I need to do it, but it's not straight or balanced or rideable until later in the ride, and I get frustrated.  And I tend to give and take too much with my hands.  This takes all of that out of the equation and allows him to move and relax into a steady contact without my brain going "This sucks!" and trying and failing to fix it.

Second.  The canter.
Also, this tail.  WTF do you even do with this much mud.

We discussed recently how unbalanced his canter is, and why that held us back showing this year.  A big focus of hers is encouraging him to lift in his withers in the canter right now instead of push straight forward into a flat canter, and to balance him in general.

On Thursday, she had us do this crazy exercise that accomplished a whole lot toward both of those goals in a very short amount of time.  She had done it the day before with him, so he knew it slightly better than I did.

She had me doing a really small "bad" figure 8 in the center of the ring, where the center of the figure 8 is a diagonal instead of the convergence of two circles like in a proper figure 8.  We would pick up the canter from the walk, think canter pirouette (in effect a really small circle with emphasis on the inside hind.  Lord knows we ain't doing actual pirouettes yet.), transition to walk once straight on the diagonal between the two "pirouette" circles, change bend and flexion, and immediately pick up the other lead and repeat on the other end of the figure 8.  The idea was to make the walk transition occur in the same place both directions and with the same amount of steps.

It is so cute.  And also body clipped. Eyyyyyy.

A couple of interesting things happened here.  Within a few transitions, the way he picked up the canter changed from forward and flat to up first and then forward.  I did have to get after him about picking it up quicker.  He tends to pick it up in slow motion, which wasn't helping.

Also, she really nailed me on keeping my reins short and not pulling in the canter-walk transition.  This was really hard, but steadily improved as he got more on my aids.  It got more prompt and less difficult as we went along.

Finally, his lateral balance improved throughout.  He started to feel less like a motorcycle and more like a controllable horse.
Husband had almond crusted chicken strips and a chickpea/cucumber/carrot/queso fresco salad waiting for me after this lesson.  Oh and a Gin & Tonic.

Things I had to focus on:
- Staying upright in the canter transition (easier once he stopped doing them in slow motion)
- Keeping my torso straight, square and level
- Keeping my reins really short
- Keeping my legs down and around him
- Getting good bend and flexion in the walk transition

Because this was such a physically intense exercise for him, we did it for a few minutes, gave him a big break, did it for another few minutes and called it a night.



So, a while back, I started buying Connor Himalayan salt blocks, as an experiment to  see if Connor could be trusted with a salt block.

Two things about Connor: he drinks.  A lot.  And he pees. A TON.  We have done all the requisite veterinary work to be able to say that this is just normal for him.  And besides, it seems to be somewhat genetic.  The first Castleberry Cob I ever lived with, Shae, peed so much the barn manager at the college relegated him to pasture life.

But I was taught in Equine Nutrition that horses should always have free choice salt and water, so I gave it a try out of curiosity.

Everything seemed to be okay.  His peeing wasn't totally out of control, he was enjoying it but not too much.  And then...

I came out to the barn one night around 6pm, when he had been in for about two hours, and his hind legs were TOTALLY stocked up.  The above picture was taken after lunging, which caused them to go down pretty quickly.  It was the week before championships, so I wrapped him overnight as a precaution.

Trainer said he was fine the whole next day, but Liz texted me to tell me he stocked up again about an hour after getting into his stall for the evening.

Now, I know standing around in a stall can cause them to stock up, but it's never happened to Connor, so I started looking for another reason.  I had her pull the salt out of his stall that night as an experiment, and...

He never stocked up again.

So the moral of that story is, my horse can't be trusted with a salt block.  The end.


All the Reasons Majyk Equipe Rocks

A while back, after my review of the generation 2 Majyk Equipe Dressage boots, Bev reached out to me to apologize that they won't be making or selling them in smalls anymore, and to offer to send me a pair of the old generation 1 smalls that they had "sitting around".  

I use them for pretty much every ride unless they're in the laundry.

Of course I accepted.  They won't be making or selling the Dressage boots in small anymore, and mine are getting just a bit ragged after two years - mostly from Velcro hitting the binding on accident than any defect in the boots.

This is after a ride, pre-wash.  You gotta admit they look pretty good for two year old white schooling boots.

Some time went by and I completely forgot about that conversation, until...

This arrived, pretty close to my birthday.  I know ME didn't plan it that way, but we can pretend!

Inside was way more than I expected to receive:

Not one but TWO pairs of the Dressage smalls, and a completely unexpected pair of the ME leather open fronts (Majyk Equipe Boyd Martin Leather Tendon Jump Boots) in the brand new pony (SQUEE!) size!  I was so blown away.  I've admired them for such a long time, and actually having them in my hands confirmed that they are as nice as I thought they would be.

I also realized that since all of my leather stuff is used except my girth, I never get to smell that new leather smell.  These things smelled heavenly out of the box. 

A full review is coming once I receive the matching pony hinds that I bought and are backordered at Riding Warehouse.  But in the meantime, check out how tiny these things are.  They are so tiny, my trainer giggled when she looked at them sitting on a tack trunk.  

I needed something for scale and the closest thing to me was a handle of Tito's.  I realize now that this is a terrible scale photo, oh well.  Trust me, they're T-I-N-Y.
The pony hinds are backordered right now, but look for a full review on the full set as soon as I get them.  Thank you, thank you, thank you Majyk Equipe for making some of your awesome boots in pony sized!  I hope they sell like crazy!


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