Jack and I are gearing up for our first show of the year this weekend, a Combined Training event at Beginner Novice. What I thought would be a small show actually has ~25 competitors in my division (maybe they’ll split it? probably not), but I’m hopeful that we’ll be competitive. I hope I’m not jinxing myself right there.
The dressage test is pretty straight forward and flows nicely with the exception of that stupid first centerline. A enter working trot, then at X turn onto a half diagonal to M? That’s right judges, because the best way to make a good first impression is by starting to exit stage right halfway into the arena. I’ve been starting to repeat the pattern with Jack, but each time it catches him off guard. Probably because centerlines were only recently becoming an obvious thing for him, now we throw him for a loop.
Our canter transitions are starting to come along, and though there’s tension in the depart, he no longer goes totally inverted like he used to. Once in canter he is so much more balanced, and I can start to maneuver his shoulders more and more. I haven’t gotten to asking for more jump in the trot, but in general he is steadier in the connection.
The Fun Stuff
In my last lesson, my dressage trainer [gladly] kicked my butt, and we introduced half-pass as well as tuning our renvers, shoulder-in and haunches-in. We’ve also come back to the walk-canter departs, something we avoided in order to establish the trot-canter depart (which didn’t exist before with any quality). Jumping-wise, we’re working on related distances, getting the correct lead on landing, and not snowballing down lines in general. Fences are creeping between the BN and N level depending on the technicality.
The above picture was taken December 22. The temperatures started dropping around then, and my guess is that the lack of grass, cold/thin-skinned TB part of him, and the regular work schedule just took its toll. Lest you think he’s neglected or abused in any way- Jack eats almost twice as much as any other horse in the barn. He’s a big guy at just a hair under 17h, but with the coldest months just getting started I really want him chunky. After discussing with my vet, homeboy is now on:
- 2 flakes compressed alfalfa once/day
- 3 quarts Pro Force Fiber 2x/day
- 1.5 quarts Empower Boost (fat supplement) 2x day
- 1 quart alfalfa pellets 2x day
- Free choice orchard hay at night (~5 flakes)
And finally in the last few days he’s starting to look like a normal horse again (see below picture on right). I’m hopeful that the return of grass in the spring will mean we can back off some of the new additions to his meals, but we’ll obviously do what it takes to keep him in good weight.
That’s the latest on everyone’s favorite Barbie Dream Horse!