Monday, June 19, 2017

Hilltop Dressage Show Thoughts


We did our first dressage show in a few years on Saturday and I was so pleased with Jet.  He scored 69% in Intro A with a second place and 62% in Intro B for a third place.  He was definitely tense and distracted yet kept it together enough to do some very nice work intermittently.  The judges comments included things like "tense", "could cover more ground", "allow horse to go more" which were totally accurate at moments, but also things like "much to like", "adorable horse", and a string of 7.0 and 7.5's in test A.  Overall, for not being off my farm for at least two years and not doing a dressage show for something like five years he really tried to hold it together well and even seemed to enjoy himself at times, especially when my husband fed him pancakes with syrup between classes.

The funniest and coolest thing of the show was at the start of test B.  Something wound him up and he honest to God started to passage as we entered the ring.  I just went with it and kept riding and about half the test was done in passage, not working trot.  It felt like passage to me and at the time I couldn't believe it, but when I looked at the video his tail was held out and he was doing a pretty good basic passage.  He has never done passage under saddle before, and I bet the judge has never seen THAT at Intro before!  He stayed obedient and listening though, and relaxed enough eventually that I could lengthen his stride and go back to working gaits.  I guess all that lateral work and beginning collection has made him a bit stronger!  A good problem to have with your $800 auction pony.

Anyhoo, much to like and much to work on.  The TRT Method ground work was amazing.  I got him off the trailer a bit fired up, put him through the "horse yoga" in hand and within 1-2 minutes he had his head down licking his lips and sighing.  I looked at my husband and said, "Holy S%}# it really works!"  Every time he got wound up we went back to the TRT stuff in hand or under saddle and it helped him so much to relax and keep it together at a pretty busy and spooky venue.  I was also pleased with how I spent the 2 weeks before the show working on scenarios like a mock judges stand, riding by my kid in a chair in the bed of a pickup truck, and lots of other scary/stressful set ups.  I need to do more of the same and also work on having him tense/distracted and not just get him around the test(that's a good start though!) but also get him focused on me a bit more for more consistency in the test.  Maybe with the basic alignment exercise or some shoulder-in?  

Next show is Saturday at a different venue, so stay tuned!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Ribbons Baby


Went to our first dressage show in a few years and Jet tried his little heart out.  More info to come after I process the day...

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

June Dressage Shows


So the deed is done.  Jet and I are entered for a couple of dressage schooling shows in June.  We're doing super easy classes to see how he does with the show environment and general tension.  I'm hopeful that the TRT Method training has him much more settled in general and also gives us tools if things get a bit wonky tension wise.  After June there are 7 more shows in this series in 2017, so depending on how he settles, we will either keep it easy and keep doing mileage or start moving up to tests that are more in keeping with his current training.  It will be interesting to see how he handles things!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Ecovet Fly Spray Yeah or Neigh?


You might have heard of a new to the market fly spray that uses a different mechanism to keep your horse fly free without the nasty chemicals.  Ecovet uses food grade fatty acids in a silicone base to repel flying insects.  It seems a little unlikely to  work in the real world, but the science and the FAQ are here and after seeing a few reviews on blogs I follow, I thought I would try it myself.  


I bought the 8 oz size and totally appreciated not having to buy a full sized bottle to give something new a try.  Yeah Ecovet!  We have had some humid high eighties weather, so I thought this past week would be a great time for a trial.  Other bloggers have mentioned the smell, so I was a bit prepared but there was no getting around the fact that the spray does have an odd smell that kind of clings to the back of the throat.  Not disgusting, just a bit weird.  That said, if you stand upwind and/or hold your breath it is not that bad.  Within a minute or two I couldn't really smell it on the horse and it did make their coats gleam nicely.


But on to the important stuff.  Does it work?  The answer is a resounding yes.  With a light coat mostly focused on ankles, belly, and back, pretty much no flies at all for two days.  By the third morning all three of my horses needed a re-coat but that didn't seem unreasonable.  Only one horse didn't care for the smell but she just lightly coughed twice and turned up her lip, so nothing huge.  So far, I am totally impressed.  I am using very little to get a fly free effect for two solid days, so I think it will be the same cost or a little lower as conventional fly spray and all without the nasty chemicals.  A little bit of stank when applying seems like a small price to pay.