Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sprinting

First things first. I had to put the picture of my pony up that I bought. I had to buy it even if it is maybe a little weird that I'm not the one riding him. I just love this picture of him! He looks like a real event horse!

Well, the marathon I've been running for the past 8 or 9 months has suddenly become a sprint and I can see the finish lines! But, there are a heck of a lot of hurdles between here and there. Jay's change of command is on Monday and we leave very shortly after that but we still have the packers coming, housing inspections to pass, cars to sell, cat arrangements (for flying) to make... the list goes on and is a little overwhelming at times. Getting our orders so late has definitely made things a lot more challenging b/c you can't schedule most of these things until you have your orders. But, I'm really not complaining just taking a quick moment to breath during the chaos of it all.

We are so ready for this command to be over. Oh the stories and drama I could share! I know my husband will really miss it, though. He loves his job even with the stress but we are looking forward to our two years in Ohio and the slower pace of life we will get to enjoy for a while. Right now when things start to get overwhelming I close my eyes and imagine myself sitting down on the plane getting ready to take off. I can just imagine the sigh of relief I will have knowing that we've finally made it to The End.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Lives We Touch

I just read about the passing of Carlos over on Viva Carlos yesterday. It is hard to be happy when someone you know is hurting so much.

When I first started blogging, reading blogs and then later starting this one, I gravitated towards blogs written by people with similar interests as mine. Horses, yes but also people who were eventers or interested in eventing. I can't remember when I started reading Viva Carlos but L, the blog owner, is a very gifted writer and she easily hooked me.

What I learned or at least what I was reminded is that we are all connected by our love of these magnificent animals. L helped to put a face to the hunter/jumpers out there for me. Instead of reading negative things in the news I was reading about a young lady who cared deeply about the well being of her horse and was also passionate about her sport and becoming a better rider and horsewoman. All of our sports could use that more personal touch. All of our chosen disciplines have negative aspects and selfish people who have tarnished reputations in the pursuit of the win. How nice is it to be able to focus on those people whose presence makes their world and their discipline better.

We might not all agree about the various methods and ways of doing something and that is okay when we put our equine partner's well-being first.

L showed the depth of her love and respect for Carlos by making the hardest decision any of us will ever make for our best four-legged friends. She put his welfare above her own desire to not have to let go. My thoughts and prayers are with her as she goes through this time of grief. Carlos became real for me through her writing about him and even though I didn't even know him I will miss him. And in honor of Carlos I have decided to start diversifying my reading even further to include even more different disciplines. 

R.I.P. Carlos

Thursday, May 23, 2013

WEEZA GOING HOME!!!

Said in my best Jar Jar Binks voice. Yes, he is quite probably the worst Star Wars character ever but I really relate to that particular line. :)

I've been waiting until everything was official before I posted but WE HAVE OUR ORDERS!!! *jumping up and down* and not only that WE HAVE OUR PLANE RESERVATIONS!!! *can't. stop. jumping.*

Our fly date is not too far off what I had hoped it to be. My countdown app is slightly off but only by a few days at this point. I can't share the exact date so I will just keep the counter as it is.

There is A LOT (and that is an understatement) of things to do before we leave. We just had Jay's Farewell from the company last night and his change of command is coming up in about a week. Just two short days after that the packers are coming and they have to get EVERYTHING packed in one day. Our final check out will be the next day and we fly the day after that. Sooooo, not a lot of flexibility for things to go wrong.

But it IS happening!!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Report (part 2) Where Numbers Are Better Than Letters

XC Day! If you've ever participated then you know how addicting it is, the excitement, the adrenaline, the nerves! LOL. I can't wait to do it again.


But Saturday was Loki's first XC Day and without me (sad but happy face). Like the day before it was a bit of a mixed bag of chips.


The good: Loki was very forward and bold. He jumped everything without a second thought. After this trip my trainer has absolutely no doubt, if there ever was any, of his ability to at least go to the Training level and possibly even higher. This is great news because I see myself wanting to go just a little higher someday... maybe... Did I say that out loud?
The not so good: Loki was a little too bold. Okay, it wasn't really a "bold" thing so much as a he wanted to just run at the jumps instead of taking the time to adjust and really use himself over the jumps. Because of this Lori had to do a big circle after fence 12 which resulted in 10 time penalties. This is how she put it:

The big thing for this horse is getting him to stay soft and supple, and then adjustable. He is trying out going fast rather than using himself or taking a moment to answer the rider. The jumps are not an issue and if he was more rateable [rideable?] I would go ahead and take him novice. Training will not be an issue. We just need him to soften and be rideable. He had moments just not enough.

So I find myself needing a reminder that hey, he's only been at this for about 6-7 weeks or so after having 7 months off! We've really asked a lot of him and I think he is answering as best he can. I learned enough about him last summer to know that he is as honest a horse as they come. He might try to find a way out of working hard but it is never out of a bad nature.

And He did end up in 8th place out of 13 riders. So maybe not quite the result I was looking hoping for but he had no jumping penalties and finished on his dressage score with just a little time. That is really HUGE! (No pesky letters like E on his score!)

For more pictures you can go here: Click on the Greater Dayton tab and Loki was entry #93. You might also notice that the cover photo for Greater Dayton is of Loki (that's how fine he looks, lol)!!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Report! (Part 1)

So, THE weekend has finally come and gone... swooosh... just like that! It has been both fun and a little disappointing for me. Fun because of all the photos and stories I've gotten to hear about my bayby. Disappointing because I'm just hearing the stories and not living them myself. But mostly it has been very exciting and I am even more anxious than ever to get home.
Lori and Loki during Dressage warm-up
So the weekend was a bit mixed. Loki seems to have really done well, especially considering he had 7 months off and has only been back in full time work for about 6-7 weeks. He had a lot of tension in his warm up and in dressage but he maintained his composure and was totally rideable. That is very important to me b/c I will be coming back with quite a lot of rust myself.
He didn't score so well in his dressage test. You can watch it here. (Warning: my sister's phone froze at the end of the test so she missed the last canter and the final halt. Although, she did tell me the canter looked about the same and he did pick up the correct lead. Thanks Mindee!!!) You can definitely see the tension he is carrying and there is quite a bit of resistance in some of his downward transitions but I don't see anything that makes me too unhappy. Actually, quite the opposite. I am very proud of him! But he only scored a 47.1 which put him in 12th place (out of 13) after dressage. Boo!
Stadium was a double clear!! Well, actually there was supposedly one time penalty I've been told but it is not present on the online scores so I'm not counting it! This put him in 11th place. The time was very slow because Loki has a tendency to rush between fences. It is sort of his way of dealing with tension I think, perhaps remnants of his race horse days when work and crowds equaled run really fast. So Lori really brought him up sharply in a couple of places to make him take his time. He is actually a lot better than he was at any of the schooling shows we went to last summer and his actual jumping looks TONS better. Last year we had a lot of deer jumps but for the most part he looks nice and round over the jumps in the video which you can see here.
I got the stadium jump from someone who posted it on facebook for my trainer. I'm not sure how many more I will get.
Here is what my trainer wrote me about Loki's dressage and stadium rounds:
So looking at his d score, I am sure you are disappointed and I am too, but there are tons more good things to point out. His warmup was good, he didn't really want to take big steps but he stayed soft and round. He just got tense in the ring and didn't come back. His stadium was better than expected, he wanted to run and listened when I said no which is why we got the time penalty. He jumped everything easily and with no problems. All and all a successful outing for his first in a long time. We just need to keep working on that relaxation. I have no worry about him refusing a fence, he has the jumping down and is jumping in fantastic form. Once he lets you adjust his balance he could easily go training and most likely higher than that. Looking forward to this summer, and really getting him to use his back and be adjustable. Take care will report back about tomorrow:)
So I can't be more happy than I am, really. We definitely have some work to do this summer. The name of the game really will be relaxation and balance. We might play around with some different bit options, not stronger bits, mind, but just some different options. He has gotten very comfortable with leaning on the bit he has now and that is the biggest reason he tends to lose his balance, in my opinion. I may even try some bitless options. We'll see...
So I haven't gotten the report on XC yet from my trainer so I'm going to wait until I get that before I do a XC write up. :D
Until next time!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Hurry Up & Wait

Normally this is the name of the game for anything military. When Jay and I were both in the service we spent lots and lots of time standing around in various lines and formations waiting. Usually we had to show up to these meetings super early to make sure everything was ready on time so yep... it was a whole lotta hurry up & wait. Get there early so you can stand around for an hour or two to do whatever you're supposed to do.
This time around the theme seems to be wait, wait, wait, wait, wait and then sprint for the flags and pray you make it on time. We STILL don't have our orders. We are down to our last two to three weeks and I am very frustrated with the entire situation but of course there is nothing you can do about it except... WAIT. I hate waiting! Honestly I'm ready to leave and just say screw it... keep my furniture and all my stuff (I already sent all my riding stuff home anyways) I'm just going to get on a plane and leave. That seriously might happen.

But for this weekend I will be anxiously waiting for news and hopefully pictures and dare I say video??? of my bay baby boy making his eventing debut at beginner novice. His ride times are dressage on Saturday at 1:15 followed by stadium at 3:11 and finally XC on Sunday at 1:27. My trainer is actually riding three other horses this weekend so her schedule is going to be a little crazy. Luckily she will have at least two people there to help her out.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ready, Set Show!

Well, we got our show in finally on Mother's Day. Unfortunately I already had plans for the holiday so I didn't make it out for the first part of the day but I was able to help out the last half.

It was pretty much one of our typical fun shows. I missed all the jumping classes but stuck around for the obstacle course classes and something called Uma Harase. Uma Harase is basically a pacing class. You have to ride down one side of the arena and around a cone and back. Whoever comes closes to the "ideal" pace wins. Our pace was set at about a slow to medium trot pace.

We had three falls but no one was seriously injured although I'm sure many will be bruised. One Japanese kid did go off in an ambulance but he was fine just a little frightened and (in my utterly honest opinion) completely over-reactive, but what can you do?

Other than that everything went off without a hitch. I was able to see many of my old clients and got lots of hugs and said goodbyes. The other instructors and I talked about going for a beach ride but I don't know if that will happen. For one thing it is looking very wet for the forseeable future and for another I just sent my saddle and all of my riding stuff home with the exception of my helmet and an old pair of boots.

I'm very nervous about my saddle going such a long way through the postal service but after looking at all my options this seemed like the safest way. I insured the crap out of everything and I'll be biting my nails until I hear from my Mom that everything arrived safe and sound.

Still no orders. Jay called branch and was told that they should be here by the end of the week. I hope that is true but the cynical prior military in me is rolling her eyes and hearing a "form" response. You know how that is. We're just going to tell you something so you'll leave us alone. But we'll see...

Some pictures of the show:
Sky around the corner
For the first time (that I know) we had horses from another barn come to compete.
Of course I have to include a picture of my buddy Mocha!
If you have facebook (and are interested) you can check out the rest of the show photos here.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Seasons

It is the start of the rainy season here in Okinawa. The Spring horse show was supposed to be today (after having to be rescheduled from it's original date) but was rained out... again. The crazy thing is it has been a really dry spring so far compared to what the weather was like last year. It seems to only really rain on the days we are trying to hold this show. I have promised to help with the show but at this rate it might not happen before I leave.

I'm experiencing a low season of my own. We are STILL waiting on our orders, still sitting in limbo. Without orders it is nearly impossible to do much of anything in preparation for the move. I have a very firm expectation of getting out of here by a certain date and even that date is much later than I really want to leave. Heck, today is later than I want to leave yesterday would have been better and the day before that even better still. But at this rate as the days slowly creep by with no official word it is beginning to feel like word may never come.

Of course I know this is just a temporary thing. I realize it won't last forever but when you are in the middle of it it can be hard to think positively. I'm just so ready to be out of this place for so many reasons.

And that's when I have to remind myself that this is just one season. No season ever lasts forever, although the good seasons seem to go too quickly while the rough seasons linger well past their welcome but still they all pass eventually. So as much as it sucks I'm going to keep trying to make the best of it. I'm going to try and enjoy the time with my family that I have and hopefully not waste too much time worrying and stressing. No promises, though!

 

Monday, May 6, 2013

UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!

Oh my gosh, I am so glad I got this FEI-TV subscription. I just got done watching Badminton Horse Trials and it was so incredible. By now most of you will probably have already heard the results but it was so much fun to get to watch it live. William Fox Pitt's and Andrew Nicholson's hopes for a Rolex Grand Slam have been crushed but the most surprising thing about this is that it was NOT Ze Terminator who won. Jonathan Paget and Clifton Promise, Badminton first timers, jump double clear for the win! (Michael Jung did still beat both Andrew Nicholson, who finished 3rd and WFP who ended up 5th.)

And I'm totally blaming the commentator, lol. Picture this: Michael Jung is coming to the last fence he's well within the time all the rails are up and the commentator starts to announce him as the winner before he clears the last rail and wouldn't you know it that rail comes down, late. This competition was really a hold your breath and bite your nails thing, unforgettable!

Rebecca Howard and Clark Montgomery both jumped double clear rounds. Rebecca finished in 12th and Clark in 27th and Tiana had one very disappointing rail to finish in 17th (Correction: Tiana had two rails). Colleen Rutledge and Shiraz had a tough round picking up 24 faults but they still made history as the first horse and rider pair to complete all five of the 4* events in the northern hemisphere.

If you haven't already seen the full results can be found here: http://results.badminton-horse.co.uk/results/2013_results/final_results.aspx

I'm off to bed. Less than 4 weeks to go. Time is marching!