Thursday, July 27, 2017

Glacier and Dressage Day

What magic looks like.
On Monday, we headed out to Glacier National Park. This was my first visit there, and it is BEAUTIFUL. The views were incredible the whole drive through the park until we got to Lunch Creek. We hiked along the melting snow flowing down the mountain, with wildflowers popping up all around us. I am always at the back of the pack, because you know, arthritis and asthma make hiking a little more difficult. But we still trekked right along.
The start of the hike.
Headed toward the first waterfall. Apparently it was a blue kind of day.

Made it to the first one!
We got to the first waterfall, but kept on going. Up above it was a great big bowl surrounding you. I was hoping the edge of the mountain side was going to be dotted with mountain goats or big horn sheep, but I couldn't see any. But far off in the distance was another waterfall. So we boogied towards it so two of the boys could get under it. I went and stood next to a small fall and that was cold enough! We also hung out with a rock chuck of some sort. But my legs were dying and we still needed to ride our ponies later that day. Uphill is pretty hard on the lungs, but downhill feels like someone is stabbing me in the knees.
See that waterfall in the back? That's the second one.

Hey there, buddy.

One of the boys by some frozen water hell.
Our ride that day was not great. It started out as a nice hack through the canola field and Bacon was excellent through there. But when we got to the arena, she lost that nice relaxation and I worked through some of her tenseness. In the end, she put in some nice stuff and called it good. Tuesday was another long and tense ride, but again we ended with work I was happy with.
Next to a smaller fall. Good enough. Fricken cold.
Nope. Don't sign me up.

The fast way to get back down. Warning: hands will freeze, warming them on the rocks is best. 

Snow slide!
Wednesday was dressage day. Based on my couple of rides there, I knew I wanted a fairly long warm up and I wanted to start with a nice, calm hack through the canola. We were all alone out there, and it felt very nice. Well, except for the deer that was out there, but Bacon did not care about it. Or the bird that flew at her face. I thought maybe we would have a nice test. We got to the ring and checked in, with the gate keeper asking if I wanted to go in early for my test. I told her no, I would like to stick with my ride time because Bacon needed as long of a warm up as possible. We were out there for about 5 minutes when they called me over and told me that I needed to head over to bit check. I was confused, but headed over. Once checked, they told me I could go in and do my test. I looked at the clock sitting there and it was 22 minutes before my test. Ummm. No?
It looks like we were starting out ok.

I think we got an overbent remark for this. 

Stupid saddle of doom.
I asked if I could head back to warm up because I wasn't going to go until my ride time and they told me no. I asked if I could ride in front of the dressage ring like I had seen other people doing, and was told no. I could only ride in the grass next to the ring. Unfortunately, the grass area isn't really meant for riding and is very uneven and shaped a little like a skate ramp. Any bit of relaxation I had with Bacon vanished as I tried to get her to soften and bend. I was frustrated, especially with one particular rider who kept buzzing up behind us and making things worse, so I just entered into the ring a few minutes before my test.
This is not how we do a downward?

At least our outfit is good?

She likes her freewalk. Need more stretch out, but I'll take this.
This was probably one of our worst tests to date. Bacon was bracing from the start and wanted nothing to do with downward transitions or remaining soft or bending or any of that. I felt like I was riding a vibrating board and just aiming it at letters and hoping it would cooperate. I tried to have a little longer rein, as that usually helps a lot for keeping some relaxation, but I think that may have hindered some. Our stretchy trot was the worst, as she likes to race around on the forehand and cut in the circle anyways. But there was no putting the head down and stretching, just very awkward speeding around the circle and me just trying to get through it. A stark difference from Camelot.
Nah, I don't want to put my head back down. That's dumb.

Canter was mostly downhill, but there was a little bit of good in there.
We ended the day with a 42.3 and nearly last place. I am pretty competitive and I knew that crappy score was coming, so I didn't want to know until after xc where we were. I think a few factors were at play here (I do not like the saddle I am borrowing at all, tense horse naturally, not a long enough warm up) but I think the biggest was being called over so early and not allowed to go back into any ring for continued warm up. I wish I was a more effective rider at getting Bacon to relax, but I am not there yet. I am incredibly thankful for the volunteers everywhere there, but I am not sure these ones understood how it all works and seemed a little peeved that I wanted to wait until my ride time. But, it is what it is now, and I can try to learn from it to better prepare for future shows. Sorry Bacon!
Moving during halt, because we wanted the hell out of there.


  1. I am so familiar with this type of mare. I would be so mad at that steward about your ride can really throw off your game.

  2. I didn't think that they could do that- your ride time is yours and it's up to you if you want to go early. I've never heard of them not letting you back into the ring. I would actually complain to the

  3. that is such bullshit about the gate person. ugh i wish i had been there, i wouldve been like go warm up and i will administer the smack down to these pushy gate people.

    i had someone do that to me at a ht, first of the season and they would not let me wait until my scheduled jump time so my trainer couldn't warm me up. being a nervous goo pile this totally unhinged me, and i came back and said something to the woman later on. usually big events like this have a place you can review it, i'd mention something.

    1. ugh and i got totally distracted --- I AM GOING TO GLACIER IN THE FALL!! suggestions for hikes and things to see would be appreciated, that hike looks BRILLIANT

  4. That's really awful about the gate person :( Ugh. Sorry about the test.

    But the Glacier photos are to die for 0_0

  5. That warmup thing is poo. Glad you had fun in glacier!

  6. That sucks. I would have probably just told the gate person to go F themselves, but then I am not a nice person and regularly make everyone hate me. Glacier National Park is gorgeous though. I really need to get there one day.