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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

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

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Countdown to Old Chatham: Five Days!!

Oh man. Area Championships are just five days away. FIVE DAYS PEOPLE. That's completely insane... wasn't it just January like five seconds ago?

On a totally unrelated note, you guys HAVE to check out these pictures from Grand Strides Photo, particularly this one, which is my favorite. ISN'T SHE GORGEOUS. There were a ton of professional photographers at this event, but wow, these are by far my favorite. These ones are going to get ordered for sure!

While large parts of my life are all under major construction, karma has been very apologetic and helpful when it comes to Gogo. She's been punky as all hell this week, and I love it because it means she's feeling great. After a nice day off on Friday, we went for an early morning two-hour conditioning hack on Saturday, and spent our 25 minute trot in the orchard cruising. She stretched out to the contact and took it on her own, and was POWER TROTTING around. Now that's what I like to see! THAT trot will build stamina and muscle! We then headed off, as is our custom, to Dunkin Donuts for a nice Strawberry Coolata. Of course, when we arrived, the entire Dunkin crew came out to take pictures of us, and they said they're sending them to the bosses with that great "America Runs on Dunkin" caption. Now that's marketing!
Of course, then punky lady decided on the way home that the bugs were outrageous, and she head-tossed the entire way home. It was so bad that I actually went into the dressage arena and cantered around for a few minutes to get her to focus on something else when I got home, but she had other ideas and danced around on her hind legs for a few minutes before settling down. Punky, punky, punky.

Sunday was a riot. It was HOT and GORGEOUS out, and I had just gotten word that my gallop field had FINALLY been mowed and was being baled (more good karma!!), but it wasn't ready for use yet, so instead I waited for the temperature to cool down in the evening and set this weird little thing up in the orchard:

Two haybales = XC schooling? Well, not really but you know. It simulated a very skinny fence AND it was something we could practice at varying speeds. She did awesome with it! We got a pretty good clip going and she jumped right out of stride, something she'll really need for Training when we move up. And she never once hesitated even though it would have been very easy to run out. Nope, it was lock and go baby! After we finished, I hacked up to the big gallop field and discovered that the hay was all baled and gone. YES!

Gallop city!! Yesterday, after it cooled down in the evening, we hacked up and began our gallop sets again in our big field. The sets went as such:

15 minute walk hack to the field
5 minutes trot
1 minute walk
5 minutes trot
1 minute walk
5 minutes trot
1 minute walk
4 minutes 350mpm canter
1 minute walk
4 minutes 350mpm canter
2 minutes walk
5 minutes 470mpm gallop
15 minute walk hack home

The footing was beautiful, and she was on fire. My GPS, however, was not. It continually gave me faulty reading, and I spent so much time looking at it during my 5 minutes of 470mpm that I didn't pay any attention to how she actually felt. It took me awhile to realize my GPS was totally faulty, so I spent a fair amount of time booting her onward when I probably didn't really need to. As a result, she had an ENORMOUS adrenaline rush at the end, and came out of that field prancing and pop-eyed. SPOOK at the rock! SPOOK at the jogger! SPOOK at the mailbox! And then she saw Lynnie's stone stairs. And she turned on her heel and BOLTED. She obviously didn't get all that far, but I made the mistake of turning her around and booting her forward. Oh great, NOW she thinks it bit her! Now she REALLY won't go near it! She wouldn't get ANYWHERE near the staircase, and was trembling all over.. she really was that terrified of it! I had to dismount and lead her over to the stairs, where I then stood on them and convinced her that they were not, in fact, horse-eating stairs. It took at least 10 minutes though. I finally mounted back up, and the stairs were no longer scary. Gogo... you are a punky little critter.

Today was a giant collapse of... well, life. I was utterly exhausted after a horrible night's sleep, and couldn't manage to get up at 4am, which I needed to do in order for my 8am lesson. As it turned out, I did not end up having a lesson at all, but went out for a walk hack because she tends to be SO gallop-y during our dressage lessons if she's galloped the day before... not what I want the week before a show! As I was thinking about tacking, I happened to check the radar, and noticed we were under a severe thunderstorm watch, and that a huge storm system was moving across New York right at us. I though, well, I've got time, and tacked up. I checked the radar right before I left, and WOW, it had gotten a lot closer. No worries, it wasn't predicted to get anywhere near us anytime soon. Well, I was wrong, and it was almost a very bad and very dangerous judgement call on my part. The storm ended up picking up dramatic speed across Connecticut, and halfway through my walk hack loop, the sky turned black. BLACK. The wind started to pick up, and thunder started to rumble. I was getting close to home when an ENORMOUS bolt of lightning made contact with the ground only a few miles away, right in front of me, and I decided we needed to haul our way back to the barn. It had been my plan to have a nice relaxing walk hack, with no trotting at all, but the situation was quickly becoming dangerous and I had to move. We FLEW down the road at a park trot unrivaled by anything, Standardbred style!! Man we had some serious suspension going, I tell you. It was like Motor City Dragway in the driveway. She felt fresh as a daisy - maybe it was the adrenaline again - and showed no signs of being tired AT ALL from yesterday's gallop. I dismounted and we ran back into the barn just as the sky opened on us. We missed the worst of the hail, but I hear there was some damage not too far from us. It was pretty scary... and thrilling at the same time. Not safe at all, but thrilling. Won't be making THAT bad call again.

Tomorrow.... dressage. Thursday.... dressage. Friday.... dressage. Saturday.... off. Sunday.... WE KICK BUTT AT AREAS.

Oh yea. And Colleen gave us this to use:



Albigears said...

GORGEOUS photos!

I got caught in a thunder & lightening storm last week while riding with a couple of boys- the wind turned our old grandfather horse into a colt and he bolted for the barn. Punk.

Golden the Pony Girl said...

agreed very scary, though I love those moments when something in the environment goes really wrong during a hack or trail ride and you and your horse have to depend on each other and it works out. It is great for building trust!

Ambivalent Academic said...

GREAT photos - I'm jealous! I noticed you were carrying a whip in the dressage ring - have they changed the rules then? It's been a few years since I last competed, and at the time no whips allowed, so we would carry them while warming up and drop them at A when we entered. Silly.

Good luck at the Championships - love the saddle pad. My retired mount is called Bugs - we did quite well at our own area championships back int he day so maybe you'll have some of his luck - not that it sounds like you'll need much!

Nicku said...

Awesome photos. She is stunning and in such self carraige. Wow. As I was skimming the rest of the blog and saw the hay bales picutre the very first thought that ran through my mind is "this next sentence better be about how she jumped those bales!" was!!! You guys have way too much fun!

Trypton88 said...

Where are you in NY? Those storms come in FAST. And they get nasty really fast.

Those pictures are awesome!