Executing the Plan

Last Tuesday, Jack had a chiro appointment that saw not nearly as much out as I expected, but a couple notable things needed adjusting on both sides of his neck. Then Friday we had our saddles fitted as planned, and big changes made to both my jump saddle (now sitting up much further off his withers) and my dressage saddle (which is less inclined to scooch left as much as it did, though still some).

Type-A personality at work here

Sunday we did our first proper conditioning set, which we did in the big ring at the trainer’s where there was plenty of space to work in, and where the footing was dependably good. This workout looked like:

  • 7 min walk warmup
  • 4 min trot, just working around edge of the arena
  • 2 min walk break
  • 4 min trot, incorporating some circles and working to get proper bend
  • 2 min walk break
  • 4 min trot, insisting on correct bend and staying straight through his body on long sides
  • 2 min walk
  • 5 min canter, mostly thinking about my position, last 2 minutes sending forward and back and trying to focus on just using my upper body to change speed/balance
  • 2 min walk
  • 5 min canter


At the end of this [37 min] work out Jack was heaving as expected. Granted, so was I! I very hurriedly took off his tack and got him under water as soon as possible, then in front of the fan (note to self: bring my own fan out next time so he can get both at same time). Without counting his breaths per minute, it appeared to take him 20 min to return back to completely normal breathing.

With the show this weekend there’s no point in doing conditioning, since we’re running XC and Jack will be getting a heck of a workout as is. So my plan will be to do another set like the above next Thursday, and Sunday get out to the XC field to do laps as part of our cardio routine.

was obsessed with this show as a kid, for obvious reasons

I won’t lie, doing this kind of work in the heat sucks. I’m not great in heat, and my tomato face is famous and unfortunately long lasting. But no pain, no gain, and so we will forge on in the safest way possible so that Kentucky doesn’t kill us, if we get to go.

I fully expect to roast at the show this weekend, though Jack will try out a Flair nose strip to hopefully make breathing a little easier. Has anyone had experience with those before- did you find it helpful? Any tips for putting them on??

The Pep Talk

Since I’m feeling particularly wilty today thanks to a very ill-timed cold, I find myself trying to get syked for the coming weekend. Catching up with friends! Pony time! Nice weather! All things to look forward to! And yet, still the little mean thoughts about embarrassing myself creep into my mind.

That’s when it’s time for a pep talk.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m obviously a visual person. While mind over matter is certainly a principle I subscribe to, the quickest and easiest way to regain confidence is to show myself I’ve done it before. Evidence that it has been done is proof that it can be done again. So here are some of the highlights of Foster’s career, my video pep talk for myself!


We can do this!

How do you mentally prepare for a show?

The Weeks Ahead

Where has the time gone? I’d been comfortably thinking of the Recognized event as being way off, and all of the sudden, I’m staring it in the face and trying to come up with a solid plan for our preparation, so as to not repeat the disastrous effects of last-minute-schooling at the Hunter/Jumper show.

Somewhat legit plan in place for next week.

Somewhat legit plan in place for next week.

Between lessons and more traveling for wedding/engagement/photography related stuff, it’s going to be very important that I stick to a schedule and not be left scrambling days before the show. I’m not sure that I’ll be able to manage any hill work or uber conditioning rides, since it seems unfair to do that either right before or after back-to-back lessons, but I believe the intensity and repetition of rides will keep him fit enough to compete. The terrain at FENCE is somewhat rolling, but part of the cross country course is on a giant hill- something new for Foster after having competed mostly in the rather flat lands of Southern Pines.

My last event at FENCE with Merry.. Dear Lord, I'm so thankful I don't dress like that anymore.

My last event at FENCE with Merry.. Dear Lord, I’m so thankful I don’t dress like that anymore.

This show will mark my return to Recognized competition, after 10 years away. To date, Foster has only competed at schooling shows. They’re cheaper, they’re local, and they don’t make me feel bad when we seriously goof. But with my pondering the decision to move up to Training level, it’s time to up the ante and see if Foster can handle a bigger atmosphere and tougher course. Also, prize money! Though I expect the competition to be stiff, I am confident in Foster’s abilities at this level and hope he puts in a pretty good performance.

Another photo from FENCE, Ivan at a dressage show

Another photo from FENCE, Ivan at a dressage show

Because this event is a pretty big investment in time and money, I’ve been somewhat aggressive with our lesson schedule. Last night’s training ride will be followed by a lesson next week, as well as another session with Doug over fences. So expect an unusual amount of lesson recaps in the next couple weeks as I try to keep all of this newfound knowledge and skillz in my brain! Yay busy horsey schedule!