Custom blog header by Bre!

In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

6/2/01 - 10/11/11
~ Forever the Marest of Them All ~

Monday, May 18, 2009


The title of this post doesn't have much to do with anything really. I just like the word 'snafu,' much as I like the words 'jabberwocky' or 'catawampus.'

Yesterday we jumped! It was more of a breath of fresh air for her than an actual school, something other than boring ol' dressage. We did a simple gymnastic, set like this:

The distance was set pretty short for her. She definitely favors the long spot, so exercises like this help her be very tidy and quick with her body, as she must tap the ground pretty cattily and come right back up again. She had one time where she came in a little quick and shimmied through it a little awkwardly, but every time before and after it, she put it together pretty easily. I had Shannon help me put the whole grid together as we steadily warmed up through it, and I also had her put two poles together to form a triangular chute propped up against the top rail of the final vertical. I really like what it did for her straightness and tightness up front. We didn't go for too long - about half an hour - but I felt that she was excellent and saw no need to continue. As Shannon said, she's not a horse that needs to really be schooled per se over fences. She, as this point and at this level, is point and shoot. There isn't enough I can set up at the farm that'll really challenge her. I do want to, in addition to the jumping lessons I'll be taking, set up a few steep slices and a few really narrow skinnies for her, just to see how honest she'll be. She really seems to have grown up over the winter, and she's being more honest on her own than she ever has. Last year, I felt very strongly that I had to be there to hold her hand for her to every fence, and this year I feel like as long as I'm pointing her sort of towards the right fence, she'll take it no matter how we get there. I've been really, really impressed with her.
The other thing I did yesterday that I haven't done in well over a year is jump her in her snaffle. I usually have her in the waterford, but really and truly, she just LOVES that blue plastic bit. She was dead quiet, completely response, and took a half-halt like you don't know. Maybe I was just being softer, but seriously, I think that's as responsive as she's ever been to a rein aid while jumping. I'm not about to go gallop XC in the thing, but man, blue plastic bit is my friend right now!

Today, more boooooooooooring dressage! Or well, that's how she sees it :) Gogo actually came out feeling AMAZING and completely responsive RIGHT off the bat, and was giving me awesome trotwork and leg yields right from when I first picked her up. I thought about just getting off and calling it a day, but I went on to work more. And, of course, the more we worked, the hotter she became. And she got HOT. Not sure exactly what happened, but wow, she was HOT AS HELLFIRE by the time we were nearing the end. Our second canter was, in fact, a large disaster, although for some reason this didn't really bother me. She was racing around a 20m circle completely inverted, flinging her head in my face, completely in gallop mode for whatever reason. I just sort of sat chilly and waited... and waited... and waited. Finally, she quieted down and gave me something resembling a quiet circle, and I went back to trot and cantered the other way, which was much better. Much, much better, actually. I dunno if her brain just finally settled down or what, but after that, we did a little more nice quiet trotwork and called it a day on a perfect halt. Mares!

This is the eternal dilemma with a pretty fit event horse like mine. It might be only Novice but the fitter she gets, the hotter she gets. I wonder how confusing it can get for her doing everything in the plastic snaffle. She now hacks, gallops, does dressage AND jumps in it, which is great and kind of bad at the same time. She has no real way to differentiate between what we're doing based on tack alone - and she's the kind of horse that would definitely know what different bits mean. I don't ask her to come round while galloping, as I want her to have her own head for balance, and while actually doing a course I don't bother to mess with her head while I'm jumping either. Hacking is usually done on the buckle or a loose rein. This is the other problem - I'm working all sets of muscles, the bad ones included. I'm no fool to think that all this dressage is going to eliminate her ewe neck, especially when her natural balances lies within a high head carriage. I'm not going to fight nature when she needs to balance that way. Her neck looks awesome for her right now, but in the grand scheme of things, it's a pretty unimpressive neck. We do what we can, and I try my hardest to make sure she knows a distinct difference between everything we're doing. King Oak was proof enough that if you leave her alone, she'll go there on her own. Home is for trying to school her through that mindset. Dressage is slowly and steadily becoming more of a conversation between the two of us as opposed to me quietly hoping she'll decide to play the game that day. Now, I feel as though I can ask her a little, and while she'll have moments where she's not totally connected, she'll go where I ask her to go, and she'll take my corrections instead of fighting them, although sometimes it's with a grain of salt. I like this new direction.

And... um.... Gogo's fat. I mean really, I look at her and go oh man. Fattie. I tried and tried to tell everyone here that she's an easy keeper, and nobody believed me until now. I put a little weight on her over the winter seeing she was on the thin side after the long trip out here, and that seems to have backfired as now she won't LOSE the weight! I've cut out all the Ultium except for a tiny cup of it at nightcheck just to give her a little something along with everyone else, and she's now eating 2lbs a day of the Triple Crown 30% ration balancer, which I actually don't think I like much, and about 10 flakes of okay-ish quality hay. Not sure what else I can cut out, as she's at the low end of the Triple Crown's recommended poundage for a horse doing her kind of work! I MAY have found somewhere to get Gro N' Win though.... here's hoping that works out!! I thought about putting her on Platinum Performance instead of the ration balancer, but I'm pretty sure she won't be getting all the protein she needs on that system. Nothing replaces a quality ration balancer in my book.

Vroom vroom!!


*Sharon* said...

Two pounds of hard feed sounds like a lot to me. If she's a good doer, and she's fit and still fat, I would look at cutting back the hard feed. She is getting plenty of bulk from the hay and I would think the feed is just too much.
Just a thought - you know your horse better than anyone else. But that's what I'd do with my little chubster!

Andrea said...

Normally I'd agree with you, but the ration balancer isn't actually a hard feed. It's a supplement, a top dress not meant to be fed as a feed. You don't feed more than 2 pounds of it a day because it's 30% protein. The calories in it are very low, and the protein, mineral and vitamin content is very high, so it's an ideal feed for an easy keeper - they get all their vits, mins and protein in without having to feed them a lot of grain. The hay we have here is of moderate quality, but I KNOW she wouldn't be getting all of the nutrients she needs from it alone. She needs a good vit/min/protein supplement on top of it, and that's where the ration balancer comes it... it balances her ration of hay :) It's not really something I can decrease, much like you can't feed a half a scoop of Cosequin and expect it to do the full job it was intended for. She gets plenty of bulk from the hay - too much in fact - but just not enough protein or vits/mins.
So... back to square one really.

Anonymous said...

My horse was on Platinum Performance last summer and did great. Just thought I would share!