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The week started off pretty optimistically.  Since my clippers had been making what sounded like a death rattle, I figured it was maybe time to try replacing the blade drive.  WBBF was kind enough to Amazon Prime me one, so it arrived over the weekend, during which I was working and in no way up to the additional mental challenge of clipper repair.  So Monday morning, after my morning cup of Darjeeling, I watched the Andis YouTube instructional video, dug out the screwdrivers, and started in on the project.  Which stalled out nearly immediately, as I couldn’t get the first set of screws to turn.  WBBF, being the world’s best, pulled out the WD-40 and a screwdriver with more leverage, and nearly instantly fixed my problem, and I went to work.

After that pesky set of screws were out, the second set came out easier, and I did some intensive hair removal before actually removing the old blade drive.  Actually setting the new one in and putting the clippers back together was a pretty easy task.  So I headed out to the barn all proud and optimistic.

It had been so warm the day before, but it was not that day.  The horses were all frisky, and when I went out to get Cally from the field, I watched her go bucking off away from me, attempt to spin, fall down, get up, and go squealing off again.  Well.  If a close nail doesn’t explain her wonkyness the other day, that certainly does.  Just brilliant, horse.  So I pulled my now mud covered horse in from the pasture and tacked her up.  I actually set up 2/3 of Kelley’s pole zig-zag exercise, like thus:

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So that let us do a lot of bending and suppling work, making some fun circles and curves and loops over the poles.  And Cally never realized it was flatwork, because poles were involved.  Win!  Then since a friend’s beginner student was having a bareback lesson, and being a little timid about moving forward, we did some losing.  We offered to challenge them in a walk race, which I handicapped by doing it without reins.  So we promptly lost that one to a draft cross, as my TB meandered windingly down the ring.  Then we played follow the leader, me first guiding her through the poles at a walk, then me following her.  It seemed to do the trick, and was just the right level of fun and non-working riding for us that day.  So we finished with a walk down the driveway, and I then scurried home to await my new bridle’s arrival, per the UPS shipping notification I’d gotten.

I decided that if we’re going to go be hunters this year, we’re going looking proper, and after some comparison shopping, settled on a Smartpak Wellfleet wide noseband model.  I liked the price point, the sizing looked right, and I felt like the model being called the “Wellfleet” was a sign, as we’ve had two amazing summers staying in Wellfleet.  Daisy A Dog was very intrigued by the box, as it was a box at the door full of good leathery smells, but she watched politely as I pulled the lovely pieces apart, inspected it, and began the oiling process.  Just one light coat of neatsfoot moved us from orange to lovely.

Before and after oiling

Even though I had a dressage lesson the next day, I took it out to the barn to try on for size.  I think it probably needs another coat of oil to just even out the coloring, and I’m still not madly in love with the really giant buckle on the noseband–I wish it was tapered to something slightly smaller–but it fit Cally well, and I think it’s going to look really sharp in the ring.  (Excuse Cally’s face here, she’s incapable of putting her ears forward when being photographed.)

Then I swapped out the bridle for our dressage tack, and we got to work on our last lesson of Dressage Boot Camp.  It did not go as well as our other lessons have.

She warmed up nicely enough, and we actually had some really nice canter.  Then we decided to work on a few bits of the tests I was planning on doing this weekend, Training 2 & Training 3.  There is one thing I know is always a sticky point for us, a canter circle at E, then a transition to trot before K, and a stretchy trot circle at A.  It tends to turn into more of an “attempted gallop circle” so I wanted to work on that.  We began the trot across the diagonal to set us up for the canter just as in the test, and as we turned into the corner where we’d pick up the canter, she spooked.  At what I’m not sure, pigeons, the sunlight on the footing, but something, and then she just didn’t feel right.  Total crazy ball of tension, sucked back, and felt like she’d explode if I tried to push her forward.  So I tried to let the reins out and just walk her, and get her to relax, and she just felt like she was getting more and more tense.  Then a tongue came flapping out of her mouth, waving around at us, and Barbara realized she’d gotten her tongue over the bit!  No wonder she’d been tense and worried.  Barbara half-disassembled her bridle with it still partly on, got her tongue back in place, and adjusted the bit up a hole, and we went back to work.  She was feeling a lot better after that, but still a little suspicious.  Our canter circle wasn’t bad, but as predicted, we were left without much stretchy to our trot.  We did a lot of work on that then, just trying to loosen her up and really get her to relax, but I think a lot of it was residual tension, because once she’s been freaked out a bit, she’s very hard to get back. We did end with a very nice trot to square halt at X, so that was our positive note to finish on. I briefly discussed show plans with Barbara, including a joke about showing in a quarter sheet, given the forecast.

I needn’t have worried. Less than 24 hours later, notice was sent that due to the forecast (with a balmy high of 19), the show was postponed. Naturally, it’s postponed to the date of the McDonough show where I was planning to make our debut in the Adults, so I opted to scratch. It’s not that I don’t like dressage, but doing the Adults is my bigger goal for the year, so that’s got to win out for me.

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