The horses that head South to train and compete at the beginning of the year get their dentistry done and spring vaccines taken care of either in late December or early January. We trust the expertise of Old Dominion Equine's Dr. Gallaspy to keep my horses' teeth in order. Even with our easy access to fantastic vets I find that it's easy to get caught up in our travels and to lose track of where we are in our routine care. So the beginning of March is a good time to get caught up on vaccines with the horses that stay home for the winter as well as to deworm all of the horses with a double dose of strongid.
I absolutely love the line of boots and half-chaps that Tredstep has to offer. They have the look and feel of top of the line custom boots but without the hefty price tag. It takes no time at all to break in the tall boots since the leather is such great quality and they have added stretchy bits in all the right places. So I will admit that I was a bit concerned that I may have ruined my Tredstep DaVinci Field Boots when I took an unfortunate dunking in the water this past weekend. After hanging them upside down to allow the water to exit they dried out and after one quick cleaning and conditioning they are as good as new. These are boots that truly understand the life of an event rider and have the same toughness!
Check back here for the diagrams and descriptions of the additional jumping exercises that I utilized while being stuck in a small indoor...
After arriving back in Virginia we ended up buried in snow with frigid temperatures and no relief in site. While I was feeling good about the foundation that I was able to build while in Florida I did not want to let all of that work simply slip away. I was fortunate to find a local indoor arena with a clear enough driveway to get my trailer into so that allowed me to get a good flatwork school in but then what to do about my jumping... My plan after Pine Top was to work on keeping my focus sharper in show jumping as I found that I was landing and cruising for too long after the jumps then doing too much adjusting in the approach to the next fence.
We've just completed the first leg of our winter training and competing being on the road between Georgia and Florida for 3 1/2 weeks. To try and keep Quincy eating well during his travels we added Triple Crown's Alfa-Lox to his diet once we arrived in Florida. Triple Crown recommends supplementing with 2-4 pounds per day so I began by top-dressing his AM & PM meals with 1 pound each. He loved it! In the past he'd go right for his feed but lose interest quickly and he may or may not decide to finish it at some point. And when I have tried adding chaff in the past he has sifted through to find his feed and left the majority of the forage behind. During our travels he has literally hung out at his feed bucket munching away non-stop and when he does venture away the bucket is clean. Quincy loves his Alfa-Lox... definitely a must try for picky eaters.
At Pine Top this past weekend I visited with Paul at VTO Saddlery and wouldn't you know that he had something new that I just had to try... For anyone that loves spending countless minutes bent over going through the several steps necessary to clean, tap, re-clean, and then line-up and crank in your studs, this is not for you. But for the rest of us that want a quick and easy way to go about the stud process Paul has found a winner. The MV Fastuds are self-tapping and the tool that comes in the set not only does a quick debris sweep of the hole it also holds and tightens the stud into place. They're amazing! Try them...your back will thank you.
Again I am not quite organized with the photo taking of the exercises but I've made a simple addition to Delta's previous canter cavaletti exercise. She has mastered the one-stride rails on a curve so the next challenge is to incorporate an actual jump.
Canter cavaletti on a curve with a Jump
This year I'm trying a new plan to start the season. I decided to compete at the Poplar Place Horse Trials in January as a way to get a good sense of where each horses' performance stands so early in the year. That way I can make the most of the 2 1/2 weeks I have planned in Ocala which will be dedicated to training and conditioning. The goal is to put a good base on the horses so that I can travel back to Virginia via the Pine Top Horse Trials and work from home for the majority of the winter/spring season. This training time will be especially important to get to know my newest partner, "Shame on the Moon" (aka Delta), as she has only been in the barn since the beginning of December.
First up for her is a get-to-know-you lesson with DOC. While the majority of the feedback during our show jumping lesson was positive there was one very clear area that needed my attention. It came as no surprise
You too can have a best dressed pony without breaking the bank... All thanks to Shires! My newest favorite in their line-up is the Tempest 100 Combo Stable Blanket. I really don't know how it could get much better than this blanket...An absolute must for winter layering with just enough fill to keep the chill away but so light weight that it is truly a 3 season gem. I was very thankful for the full body coverage to keep the gray girl spotless and the bright bay dustless during our first event of the year. Plus they just look sharp! Now if I can only convince Shires that the trim would be even better in purple :)