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Sierra In Training | Week 6 Update

Ride 23, Sunday, February 16, 2020

Since the short string of excellent rides began, it seems as though CA and Sierra have been on a roll.  CA had yet another early morning ride on the queen due to a clinic, and it once again elicited super results.  Sierra was lovely once again, and CA decided to revisit the Flying Changes - something she had put on the back burner the passed few weeks as they worked through some serious tension which lead to some behavioral issues.  CA was happy to report she was clean and connected 90% of the time, which I'll take.  She tends to bounce between 50% (with me) and 100% (once, with CA) provided she's relaxed, connected and focused.  There are still days when mentally it causes physical issues (IE tension) that there's no point in even touching on the changes at all, so they are absolutely a work in progress but I get the impression she's really starting to understand what she's supposed to do.. but sometimes, when she's tense, she can't quite make her body do what it needs to in order to change clean.  Sierra was apparently pretty excited at all the jumps set up in the arena for the clinic so that could be contributing to missing or being late a few times, but CA rewarded her by popping over a few fences at the end of her ride.

Ride 24, Monday, February 17, 2020

CA sent me a super cute video of Sierra sighing while eating her grain before CA began to tack up.  She doesn't particularly like one ingredient in her mash and I made them quite hefty as I anticipated her to lose weight (surprise, she didn't really lose any - CA said somehow she seems fatter lol) in Training, and she was struggling to finish them in one sitting.  As such, we decided to give her the bucket while CA tacked up, and then she could finish what was left post-ride.  It has helped her clean up her grain, and even though she's free-fed I do like the idea of knowing there's something in her tummy before a ride.  Despite her lazily rummaging through he bucket pre-ride, CA said Sierra was rarin' to go under saddle. She said she was hot and forward, but in a very positive way which made CA really happy. She was game to do the things, and seemed really happy and excited, though CA made it sound as though she was a lot to keep up with. I'm not really sure why, but occasionally Sierra had days like that even with me where I would literally just bridge my reins and pick a gait and let her do that gait as fast as she wanted. Her ears were always pricked and she was just livin' her best life - so sometimes, you've just gotta go with the flow and enjoy the happy horse you have underneath you.

CA advised me that she wouldn't be riding on Tuesday due to a sudden temperature drop yielding temps around -40 yet again. Luckily (and I realize I am 100% jinxing this), it looks like, and I feel like, this might be the last horrah of winter.. Please, let me be right.

Ride 25, Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Ride 25!  Crap weather had slowed the process a little given that Sierra spent the first week 'in training' just monchin' in the field but regardless I feel like CA has made great progress in just 25 rides.  Their ride on Wednesday resulted in a very physically exhausted CA as Sierra was fresh and feelin' herself and CA spent the entire ride using her core and seat to try and maintain a rhythm without touching her face because Sierra was a zoomy noodle.  She said she wasn't naughty at all, she was just very strong and forward in a positive way. We joked about the fact that I am 100% going to die because she's getting really fit, and I suggested CA ride her for at least 7 hours before I get back on her.

CA: "I hope you're ready to use your core"
Me: "........ what core?"

Ride 26, Thursday, February 20, 2020

Ride 26 yielded another tough day for CA as Sierra was once again, feelin' herself.  Between that, and the snow sliding off the [very, very tall] arena roof, Sierra was a tough ride and CA definitely earned her paycheque.  At one point, Sierra spooked and ran off with CA to which she mentioned how grateful she was that she was in the indoor otherwise she would have needed a pickup man to rescue her.  I can't say I've ever had a legit run-away on Sierra, but it seems like she's really pulling out all the stops for CA.  

Ride 27, Friday, February 21, 2020

On Friday morning, CA and I finalized Sierra's entry form for the show the following weekend and CA headed to the barn to get on with her day.  Several hours later, I got a text from CA that said Sierra was "so good today", followed by several crying emojis.

Ride 28, Saturday, February 22, 2020

On Saturday I was swamped with a trip to the city for an ultrasound and some shopping and I didn't have a chance to catch up with CA about her ride. I knew Sierra was getting Sunday off, but Sunday was a busy day as well and we finally were able to connect later in the evening. I didn't have a ton of time to chat as we were taking our big mare in for a Vet appointment, but she reported that she had a great ride - She said Sierra had a few spazzy moments but she was quick to relax.

The game plan for her last week is to just show prep.  She's hoping to keep things relaxed and just work her through the test requirements with ease and have a slightly lower expectation - in her words "I'm not going to drill her and expect them to be Fourth Level quality as I have been".  I think trying to keep things relaxed on this last week will help get Sierra in a better mind set for the show and I can't wait to see her in just a few days!!


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