I just looked at my blog and realized I haven’t updated in over a month!! And then I remembered why… I’ve hardly even ridden since mid-December. Our weather has gone back and forth between ridiculous cold (negative air temperatures, not windchill, for the HIGH of the day) and too much snow/ice to get around. It’s been horrible, I can’t remember ever having a winter where I missed as many riding/teaching days!
This past week finally got a little bit better and I got the boys back to work. To my surprise and joy, I was able to hop on and go to work on all three of them, without a buck, snort, or high-speed lap from any. I’m also happy to report no one has forgotten anything, but all of us have lost some fitness and stamina. I’m sure it will come back pretty quick once we can get back to a regular work schedule, but after a decent week I’m missing another day today (currently 2 degrees outside, feels like -14… ugggg), so we’re not quite there yet…
I’ve been really pleased with all my students too, they’ve somehow managed to keep trudging along, riding whatever days the weather allows, and despite a little lost stamina, everyone is still inching along making progress. That shows such dedication!!
The only plus of less barn time recently is that I’ve been doing a ton of cleaning and laundry. No, don’t get the wrong idea. Not the house-y kind. The horse kind! My coordinating saddle pads and polo wraps are ready to go back to work, and my tack is sparkling clean and conditioned to the utmost softness.
We’ve also recently had a technological upgrade in the house. After upgrading the internet and STILL getting frustrating slow speeds we were finally sent a new modem which has fixed all of our internet and network problems! Now I can actually upload pictures and videos in a reasonable amount of time (I used to leave short 2 minute clips to upload over night, sometimes that would be enough time, sometimes not… it was crazy!!!) so there should be lots more of the fun stuff coming if the weather ever improves enough to actually do stuff in the barn!
I’ve also spent some of new-found free time enjoying the internet upgrade and doing some research on the quickly growing field of Western Dressage. It’s still a bit controversial, but I really like the all-inclusiveness that it seems to have. It seems, at least currently, there is a real openness to different breeds and the option of competing in blue jeans will surely be more appealing to men in general and probably many women as well! Beyond that, it’s drawing in many of the good things about dressage training, but seems to offer a more laid back, supportive atmosphere that strongly favors kindness to the horse and correct riding and training. Like all disciplines, I’m sure there will be the bad stuff with the good, but the over all feeling I’m getting from it is quite positive, so I really hope to give it a try this coming season!
I’m also seeing such enthusiasm for OTTB’s and that makes me so happy! So much is being done to promote them as sport horses that can be successful in second careers, and it’s neat to see the variety of careers that they are going on to do now that it’s being shared. I’ve been thinking about why it is that they have the unfortunate reputation that they do, and I think a lot of it is because they are just a different type. They aren’t necessarily harder or easier, better or worse… just different. If you understand them and what they need, no problem. But the problem may be that many people don’t understand them, and try to treat them like they would a warm blood or cold blood while the hotter or more sensitive ones require a slightly different training style and may be more particular about tack and riding technique. I’m going to be sharing a series of ottb-specific tack and training suggestions in upcoming posts, and I’m always open to ideas, so just post a comment if there are any specific topics you’d like to read about.
Beyond that, it’s all hurry up and wait, trying to be as productive as possible and make use of the not-at-the-barn time, but mostly I’m just impatient to move on to spring, as I’m sure everyone is at this point! So, it’s not much of an update… but it’s something! Hope everyone is surviving the winter!