Monday, August 11, 2008

Strange Day

Weather Fronts Coming Through

One after another, it seems. More thunder this morning and rain. I locked the Boys in after breakfast. It finally settled down after 11 AM, so I turned them back out and it was gorgeous weather. Cool with a breeze...yummy.

I went back into the house to change into my riding clothes. Back outside, the sun had come out from behind the clouds and it was warming up. I decided to do some neglected chores around the barn.

First, I poo picked the arena. It's part of the Boys's turnout area, and they had been busy in there last night. I think they may be hanging out in the new runin, but I'm not sure. Then, I hooked up the drag and groomed the arena and part of the paddock area near the barn.

Then, I headed for the run in shelter by Toby's and Tucker's stalls. The old hay tends to collect under the roof area and the Boys wet it. It didn't look too bad but as I began to dig it out with the front end loader it seemed to multiply. The trouble is that the hay tends to roll out of the loader so I have to fork it in in order to get rid of it. The tractor digs it up and loosens it and then I am back to hand work. Since I was also cleaning Toby's and Tucker's stalls after their having been stuck inside off and on for the last two days, I had plenty of debris to cart off. I probably dumped about eight bucketloads. And that meant climbing on or off the tractor at least 16 times.

Then I drove around to the other side of the barn to clean the other run-in and muck out Chance's stall. That ended up being another three trips. Six more mounts and dismounts which, added to the other climbing and the times I had to get up and down to open the paddock gates and hitch or unhitch the drag built up to a pretty good number of repeated "knee" efforts.

The work also took over three hours. By the time I was done I was tired and my knees were really sore. Still, I could not ignore the great weather so I saddled up Tucker and schooled him.
I hadn't put on the bug armor, so he was twitching at flies--I think. But what the heck else he was doing, I'll never know. He was fine on the long contact but when I picked up the reins to put him in a frame he was crooked. He wasn't off, but when he was on the left rein, he kept poking his hind end out to the right. Maybe his right stifle was a bit sore and he was trying to avoid putting that hind leg under his body.

Once we worked for a while he got better so I guess it worked itself out. When I cantered, I just decided to pretend he could do the flying change so I gave the aids when I changed directions. We had mostly "skips" into the new lead, but on the last left to right, he bucked up into the air and did a real flying change. I surely don't like the feeling of a buck, but I guess for now that's how he'll learn. Ugh!! Not fun for wimpy me.

That ride did me in. I was going to take Chance out to see how he felt, but my knees were aching pretty badly by then. I opted out.

It was perhaps 75F at that point and when the sun came out, it felt hotter. I figured I head over to the swimming pool to at least ride around the lazy river. When I got there, the parking lot was nearly empty, and so was the lap pool. I am not foolish enough to give up an opportunity like that so in I went.

The water was chilly. The last two nights have been rainy and in the 60's so that drops the water temperature. But once I got moving, it felt great!! I did my ten laps, took a hot shower and here I am.

Last night I watched nearly all of the Olympic 3 Day Cross Country on the Internet. I was disappointed with the US riders, but that's the way it goes. One little mistake, one missed stride or a bad line to a fence and up go the penalties. The course looked great, very fair, pretty safe as it turned out, and technically demanding. Some of the top riders had jumping faults and the Germans...rode to near perfection. I don't think anyone made the ideal time, however, and that includes a good number of fit horses really galloping on.

I am most pleased that despite some falls, no riders and no horses were injured. I felt bad for Amy Tryon of the US and Andrew Nicholson of New Zealand, both favorites and experienced riders who were eliminated with falls. I was sad too to see Alex Hua Tian of China fall so he could not complete. Still, I have to support the new rule about not allowing riders to continue after a fall, even if they and their horses are unhurt. Harsh, perhaps in this case, but a good safety precaution.

At any rate, I am delighted to have coverage of the equestrian events here in the US. In the past, all we ever caught were glances of our sport. One year, I did subscribe to a special cable TV network for a hefty fee to see full coverage, but this is so much better. The feed was great on my computer--DSL connection--and the camera shots were wonderful. All I can say is, more! More!

Can't wait for the dressage. I saw it live in Montreal in 1976 and in Atlanta in 1996, so I will be able to feel the electricity of the event in my memory as I sit here in my comfy house. Then I'll go out and ride, pretending I'm as good as one of the medal winners.

Hey, it can't hurt to dream!

PS: Muriel. When I was cleaning the riding arena, Chance came out to "help." So I tried the commands from some of the Parelli games to see what he would do. I had to touch his side to have him move over, but he both backed and came to me with a hand signal. It seems I have been training the games for years with my horses and never knew it. *lol*

Just a possibility that the games are really just commercial packages of good training techniques horsemen have been using all along??? I know that was true about the "mystical method" of the Tellington tTouch.

Oh, and for a treat, Chance spelled his name....except for the "E." He is definitely having trouble with that one. Didn't even ask the "Bad Boy" today.


  1. ///Just a possibility that the games are really just commercial packages of good training techniques horsemen have been using all along??? ///

    Definitely. I often find that I have been doing "this method" or "that method" for 25 years without knowing it. Like yours, my horses back and come forward to the "Parelli" body language signals.

    Blimey Jean you wore me out reading about your work rate today!

    I was shocked when I read that even the GB TB's couldn't get within 30 seconds of the time in the Olympic xc. Looks like the time was wrong! It's done on distance though, so I suppose it was just the heat and humidity that slowed them up.


  2. "Just a possibility that the games are really just commercial packages of good training techniques horsemen have been using all along???"

    great minds and all that - i agree!

    i thinkit was the rain that slowed everyone up and made the ground slippy.

    USA - individual silver

    GB - individual bronze, team bronze.

    german amateur (he's a dentist) individual gold to add to the team gold.

    I think the internet makes them look quicker than they really are, especially the dressage...more "rushed" than they in fact are.