To ride dressage is to dance with your horse, equal partners in the delicate and sometimes difficult work of creating harmony and beauty.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Long overdue

Sorry for the radio silence. A lot has happened since my last post – and not much has happened. What hasn't happened will probably take longer to tell than what has, so I'll save that for the next post.

On March 24 I hauled Lance down to the NW Horse Fair & Expo in Albany to participate in Jec Ballou's session on "Cross-Training Exercises for the Dressage Horse." I do a lot of cross-training, so this sounded right up my alley. But that session wasn't until 3:00, and Lance had to be there from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm. Thankfully, a friend came to help me pass the day, and we attended Jec's classroom lecture at noon. It was very good; I wish I'd taken better notes. I did take photos of some of her slides, though. Some take-away messages were:

1) Several different veterinary university studies have confirmed that it takes a minimum of working four days a week to keep a horse in condition. Considering how long it takes to get a horse fit, it behooves us riders to keep them fit! I feel pretty good about my long-standing policy to not let Lance stand around more than two days in a row, but am being more intentional about riding four days a week now.

2) Trail-riding, schooling, and conditioning exercises all need to be part of the mix; a well-schooled horse isn't necessarily a well-conditioned horse.

These points were confirmed in the riding session. Lance and I were one of three horse and rider teams that Jec used to demonstrate some conditioning exercises. The good news for an energy-conserver like Lance is that a lot of valuable work can be done at the walk.

Just a few days later (with no time to ride again), we flew to Omaha, NE to attend the FEI World Cup (and see family and friends). What an experience! I cannot accurately convey what it's like to see that many world-class horses and riders up close and personal; when the Grand Prix competition started, I actually teared up. Not that all the rides were beautiful to watch; I wanted to rescue some horses from harsh hands, and was once again struck by how gracious horses are to allow us on their backs. I took photos of every single test (SIXTEEN in a row!!!), but you can see far better images taken by professionals elsewhere, so I will spare you the long slideshow. I did share a few excited images on Instagram – you know, as proof I was there. ;-)

Other high points were getting to meet a blogger whose posts have inspired and challenged me, and reconnecting with an old friend I haven't seen in 26 years. There were also celebrity sightings (I kinneared a couple) in the extensive vendor area:

No shopping for me except for a few small thank-you gifts; "all I want for Christmas" is a healthy, happy horse!

And with that, I will segue into the next post . . . .


Theresa said...

I'm always amazed at how you all get around! What a lovely get-away. From my own experience on trails that require slower gaits, walking is crucial in conditioning, hills help too. There are few places up here to really open a horse up, we do a lot of slow trotting, and a bit of cantering but mainly our pace is walking. Faster on the ay home I might add. ;-0

thecrazysheeplady said...

I'm so glad you got to go and it sounds like an awesome trip :-).