Friday, February 19, 2016

Catching up at long last

The time has come again for real updates. The hardest part of not blogging is that it gets much harder because when you haven't written, it feels like you have so much backstory to catch up on you can't just update on what's new. No more. I am going to update on now, or I'm never going to start again. 

Jazz has been doing awesome. I've been riding with an eventing coach since the summer, learning pretty much only dressage so far.  I took almost the entire fall off of riding lessons when classes started up. My first semester schedule was a horrible drudgery which left me with basically only time to ride on weekends.  I was really struggling through September and most of October, because I couldn't ride enough to keep Jazz fit, so it was conditioning work constantly, and I felt like I never got to do anything actually fun or productive, just fitness and more fitness. I ended up half leasing her out to a girl I rode in my group lesson with in Pony Club.  It was perfect because I had seen her ride, I knew her to be at a similar level to me, and her lease horse had gone lame in late August. She also took lessons with my trainer, so I knew Jazz would be being worked in a way I'm comfortable with.  It was awesome, Jazz was in the best shape of her life, and I got to just play on the weekends.  I even taught my lessee to barrel race on Jazz and I's fourth anniversary (it was a terrible decision in a way since I hadn't been cantering much and my back was killing me for three days after, but it was fun). It worked out perfectly, because just as my schedule opened back up, her lease horse was coming back into work so I got to take Jazz back full time.

Jazz was covered in frost the other day, so after I laughed at how hilarious she looked  for about a minute and a half, I had to take about a million photos.

Back to the present, I've been working on dressage and I am RUINED. FOR. LIFE. Oh my god did you know how much crap you have to do to get correct work? And more importantly, HAVE YOU EVER FELT HOW MUCH BETTER CORRECT FEELS? I can sit the trot! Bareback! No stirrups! I was not sitting in the middle of my horse. Ever.  Now I can go through a month of lessons without once being corrected to sit in the middle. My legs stay in place! I'm barely losing stirrups once a week when it used to be ten times per ride on a good day. I'm figuring out what previously mysterious phrases like "inside leg to outside hand" and "leg to hand" and "connection" mean. Jazz moves FORWARD. The prancy annoying moving nowhere canter of our past is (almost) completely gone (with occasional reappearance when she's getting tired). Strung out gross crazy trot is also only found when Jazz is tired and frustrated.  She's overtracking at the walk and trot! Dressage is the worst kind of drug.  I will probably never get to the point where I'm up there at perfect, but I know what's out there. I know better and more precise is attainable.

Frostbeard the pony pirate

Lately, our W/T has been going like gangbusters.  Jazz is getting lighter and rounder, and we're learning about connection, there's a lot more forward in our trot, and my hands are getting better.  Most lessons I've been taking lately have been a short walk warmup and then an exercise at trot, and a bit of canter at the end.  Our work at the trot has really felt like it's progressed almost every single week, and I'm really happy with how it's come along.

What's that? Oh no, I couldn't possibly listen today. My ears are frozen.

The canter is another story.  It's really been deteriorating lately.  It started with Jazz not being able to pick up the right lead.  She was having so much difficulty that my instructor suggested something was probably out so I should get her looked at by a chiropractor. I had her adjusted a few days later.  I can't remember if I've mentioned it here before, but Jazz had really uneven shoulders that were causing some difficulty with saddle fit.  We figured it was mostly incorrect muscling, and worked on getting her more balanced and even, and I bought a saddle pad with adjustable memory foam shims to help compensate.  Since she's been adjusted (and he did work on something near her withers), I found my saddle felt really high on the side with the extra padding. I started taking more and more layers out until it ended up level, and I'm back into regular saddle pads again.

I get to use my cranberry pad again, which is one of my absolute favourites!
I also managed to perfectly capture Jazz's three modes: 1. Perfect statue look how proud and pretty I am
2. Nap time
And my personal favourite, 3. Adorable doof
 After her adjustment, the right lead has come much more easily, but now it's the left that's causing issue. Easy come, easy go I guess.  In addition to the transitions being harder and harder to get, she's been totally running away with me, and refusing to turn on circles correctly.  It's been hard because I essentially can't canter in an acceptable manner at all right now.  I actually had a lesson yesterday, and it was going swimmingly, and then I was holding back tears by the end of the canter.  It's been hard to put up with, but I'm counting my blessings because Jazz has been a thousand times better behaved in general (canter notwithstanding) than any of the past winters I've owned her. 

 I also got instagram so now I can make artsy photos and collages like these:

So here we are! Back again! I've missed updates! I can't wait to stay more current on this blog again.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Micro Update from a bad blogger

I can blame a lot of circumstances for my lack of blogging in the last little while, but I'm tired of doing so.  Instead I wanted to share a teeny tiny little update rather than the mondo update I really should write that I've been putting off for months now.

For years I've toyed around with the idea of a show name for Jazz.  For a long time I toyed with the idea of ColbyJazzmus (which I still have as my blog URL and blogger username), which I have explained previously here.  I always liked it in theory, but there were two big problems with actually using it.  Firstly, Colby Rasthmus, the inspiration for the name, was traded from the Blue Jays some years ago, so it's no longer a Blue Jays reference.  Secondly, it just didn't sound much like a show name to me.  I've always liked show names that are short phrases, which Colby Jazzmus didn't really fit.

All the photos in this post are going to be reposts to break up the text on account of how lazy blogger is lazy and doesn't want to locate and upload new pictures onto my laptop right now

One of my all time favourite horse nicknames is AareneX's  mare Fiddle, commonly referred to as the dragon.  Over the years, Jazz has acquired many nicknames:
-Lovey Bear
-The Red Beast
-Freight Train
-Train Wreck
-Bag of Snakes
-Conspicuously Coiled Spring
-Rocket Waiting for Blast Off
-World's Greatest Pony
-My Hero
-The Lord is Testing Me With This One
etc., etc., etc.

Really the nickname depends on the ride we are having (bag of snakes was actually coined today when we were riding in some beautiful weather rendered irritating by the snow suddenly and loudly falling off of the tin roof of our arena. Jazz was a really good girl considering, but she was just positively roiling under the surface), and how patient I am feeling.  The Red Beast has usually been used in good humor, when I'm offering to trade horses with other boarders at my barn on Jazz's very best days. It has always been one of my favourite nicknames because it's accurate on the bad days, and brings a smile to my face on the good days.  However, it wouldn't make for a show name.  Then, as fate would have it, dragon happened to be floating around in my brain when Jazz had her teeth done a couple of weeks back.  It was a cold day of about -8 degrees celcius, and Jazz was as midly uncooporative as she usually is for the dentist.  She requires a minimum of a double dose of sedative, and if the appointment takes too long, she needs a booster.  She learned at a young age that the big giant gag bit thing they put in to do her front teeth is easily moved sideways if she chews on it just so until she gets to the elastic on the side, which is much less cumbersome to have in her mouth.  She also likes to move sideways as much as she has room to (we usually float at home in a stall, as opposed to in the stocks at the vet clinic), and occasionally try to barge directly through the front of the stall, which is funny since her head is tied way up in the stratosphere.  My barn manager was around for the first part of the appointment, and I forget how it came up, but I mentioned I'd been toying with the idea of putting Dragon in her show name when Jazz snorted loudly, and I had to laugh at her with steam coming out of her nostrils and her teeth (sort of) bared.  I think dragon will be perfect.

Not from the most recent float, but also one of my top 5 favourite pictures of Jazz

Dragons would eat cats if the cats would stop squirming around for two seconds probably

Scary Dragon Breath

Beware of Fire Breath

I'm also assuming dragons can look into your soul with those eyes

So far my ideas are:

Rey's Red Dragon (my personal favourite right at this moment)
Red Dragon Jasmine
Dragon me down
Regency Red Dragon
Rio Red Dragon

mostly they're R words followed by Red Dragon. Any thoughts? Anything that stands out to anyone? Any more ideas? I'd love to hear some feedback!