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We had two shows in June, Saturday and Sunday of the same weekemd, with Jill Barron from Canada as our judge. The Saturday of the show was the day that my divorce was finalized. We are just waiting on the sale of the condo, with the corresponding purchase of a home for T and I, to finally sever the last bits of my shattered marriage. Ashke was pretty solid both days and for the first time, I had zero anxiety It was a great feeling.


Intermediate B Test June 22 - YouTube

The test from Saturday

In kind of a weitd fluke, there were three riders at the upper levels (L3, L5) and all three of us went off course in our dressage test on Saturday. It’s fairly rare to get a course error in dressage, but to have all three of us do so was strange. It rained most of the weekend, with periods of heavy rain showers and it was very difficult to warm up. On Saturday, we were brought into the indoor for ten minutes or so before our tests to warm up inside. That combined with the little bit of warm up we could do in the outside arena was enough. 


Intermediate B June 23 - YouTube

I remembered the test this time,

Warm up on Sunday was better than the day before, at least for the dressage test. I thought he gave me a solid ride and that was acknowledged by the judge. I was very pleased by his effort and how well he listened. I think he was a pretty solid citizen and a great partner for our dressage ride. The EOH was another story.




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We injected both top and bottom joints on both hocks on the 6th of June. He got four days of hand walking and bute, then moved slowly back into work. I made the decision, based on how he was moving (and the suggestion from Saiph), to go to Previcox daily to help with inflammation until the left hock has fused. He has been moving better and better each ride.

Sunday we were in the outdoor and I talked Flambe into taking video:

Half pass flying change - YouTube

The aid is now as slight as relaxing my outside leg and shifting my weight slightly. I do need to get him straighter going from right to left, so he doesn't feel the need to throw his body around as much to get the bend.
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Marvel
I love this truck and I love that I added the Marvel logo to her hood.

 
 And to the tailgate for good measure.
If you haven't seen Captain Marvel, you should.
Marvel is cutting edge on strong female characters.


 The front range view from the barn.
Magical doesn't begin to cover it.

 
Barn family supporting Gail and Squish in accomplishing their qualifying scores for RMDS Championships.


 Handwalking and searching for fresh alfalfa


 He does look pretty in red, even though it is not my favorite.


 Last ride before the injections


A bit of grass after every ride


Lily crashed on my bed.
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To answer Lytha's question, Ashke has been lame for the past three weeks or so, with the lameness getting more pronounced as we went along. Two weeks ago, I scheduled Dr Scott to come out and do injections again. Granted it has only been four months, however, he is really favoring his left hind (which is the opposite leg from where almost all of our issues have stemmed from). Doc came out last Thursday and did an evaluation of his gait and was amazed that it was definitely his left hock.

Dopey horse is dopey.

The good news is that the right hock seems to have fused (which explains why he is suddenly favoring the left) and we will need to do x-rays next time before we do more injections. Doc did both the upper and lower joints in both and Ashke has had the weekend off, with handwalking and Bute.

 Not wanting to weight the left hind. This tendency is why the left hind hoof looks different from the other three. He has been favoring it for at least six weeks.

I washed him off before the injections (he was a mud colored brown) and got his hocks pretty clean. Doc scrubbed with betadyne and alcohol for a significant length of time prior to injections.

Beginning to wake up. He was not happy he wasn't being fed with the rest of the horses.

I think this week I will talk to Amanda about flying vs simple changes when it comes to the hocks. It may be that I will need to show L4 for the rest of this year to take some of the pressure off that hock until it is closer to being fused. We will see what happens.

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The Skittle Bug on a mission to run on fresh grass.

The Lily Bear always on alert.

Here he is in the flesh. We are dealing with some issues, mostly in his left hock, so injections are scheduled for Thursday.


From the side. His back is so strong and his shoulder is amazing. Too bad it doesn't show well in this photo.

Ashke was not as amused as I was at the conversation between me and a friend.

I am slowly but surely moving forward and hope to be back to this space on a regular basis. I am taking it one day at a time and can see an end to the process that I am going through, although there is still a lot to do between where I am and where I am going to end up. Tristan and his gf are doing great, Ashke has some issues but we are addressing, Lily and Skittle are happy dogs. I am surviving.
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Saturday was the first show of the season. I opted on Friday night not to show on Saturday. Too many things had gone wrong on Saturday (buying a new club printer at 9 pm at night because the one we’ve been using had given up the ghost) and I was in a very emotional state. I decided that it would be in the best interest of Ashke and my relationship to not bring him into my emotional mess. It was a wise decision. I was too tired and too unsettled for that to have been a good riding day for either of us. Instead, I spent the day managing the show, which was actually a good decision, for our first show. It will get easier going forward.

Sunday started with a warm water rinse for Ashke, since he decided that rolling in the dirt on Saturday was a great way to keep himself clean. He walked right on the trailer, stood mostly quietly at the trailer all day and was a great companion. He was clearly worried about me, but seemed happy to be showing. His relaxation improves with each adventure.

Note to self: it is recommended to actually ride your brand new to you dressage test in a regulation court prior to the show. Same thing can be said about the EOH course as well.

There were some really good moments. That said, I really need to have Amanda set out a specific series of things for us to do during warm up, so that I'm not floundering around wondering if I have done too much or too little. I want him warm, relaxed but not tired going into the court.



L5 INTERMEDIATE B DRESSAGE TEST - YouTube


I have to laugh at some of the comments, because my running commentary inside my head is actually funnier in light of the comments. Maybe I will do a spoof and change the comments to what I am thinking during the ride. The part that really sticks out to me is the 10m serpentine after the first leg yield. I don't know why I have such a hard time riding that particular exercise, but I was two strides past E when I realized I should be turning.

Doreen was very complementary on the condition of my horse and how much his topline has improved since we rode for her two years ago. That was really the turning point for me in terms of how I was expecting him to go, plus that was the last show we rode in a bit other than the Garcia. We have both improved immensely, but that was definitely the turning point. I thought that my score was exceedingly fair and was very happy with our first show. There is plenty to work on, but that is part of the journey.

Probably the biggest change, was my lack of anxiety about showing. I actually felt pretty calm and okay. I did use an inhaler, since my chest has been tight due to everything blooming at once.


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And I didn’t even get a picture. However, I did hook up Marvel to the Maverick and hauled Ashke to Circle Star Arena for a Tarrin Warren Clinic.

Do you see that blue hash mark in the middle of the center blue line?
That would be a hitch guide.
Yowza!! I love my truck.



Canter circles 1 - YouTube
Tarrin had me work on really small circles.
One handed.
Because she is a sadist.



Canter Circle 2 - YouTube
He had a much harder time bending to the right.
Not a surprise.
This has been a chronic issue.


Canter Circle 3 - YouTube
Tarrin had me walk forward. Halt. Back around the corner then canter off.
Ashke was a little frustrated by the whole thing.
He really hates not having the answer.



Canter Circle 4 - YouTube

We ended on a good note.


Double slalom 1 - YouTube

I am only sharing the best of our practice.
My riding was pretty shit, but Ashke forgave me.


Double slalom 2 - YouTube

Second fairly good video of the double slalom.
There was much fail.


Single slalom - YouTube

The clips from working the single slalom.

We were both pretty wiped when we were done. Ashke was a trooper and tried very hard for me, even when he wasn’t sure of the answer.



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I am struggling to come to this space right now, mostly because I feel I must edit what is on my mind the most this spring. Suffice it to say, I am doing okay. Not great and it ebbs and flows with each day, but moving forward one step at a time. Ashke is doing awesome and our connection gets deeper with each day. He seems to love what we are working on, and I am excited to show him in our first show the first weekend in May.

Until then, here are some pics:

Lily posing for her picture in bed with me in the morning



Amanda keeping the boy warm before our lesson on Weds.



Two of my very favorite creatures on earth

Billie, born on the 24th, finally let me touch her


Putting everything in her mouth, just like any other Bebe.

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To answer Lytha’s question:


The Straight Egyptian Arabian began as long ago as our recorded history of domesticated horses. They were integral in the spread of Islam, as Bedouin warriors mounted on the finest of Arabian steeds proved to be invincible. At it’s heart, the Straight Egyptian is the product of blending strains of pure, undisputed, desert heritage. They were significant in the battle between the armies of the West under Richard the Lionheart and the conquering King Saladin from the East. King Solomon of Israel housed 40,000 of them in his royal stables and Sir Walter Scott hailed them in his work “The Talisman”. 

More recently, the Turkish ruler, Mohammad the Great, brough together the finest Arabian horses he could find and demanded Arabia’s most priceless desert horses as terms for his peace treaty. His collection brough to Egypt 1100 of the most beautiful and valuable Arabian horses in the world. When he died, his herd was passed to Abbas Pasha, who kept incredibly detailed written records of the breeding and history of all of his horses. He combined Mohammad’s herd with the horses he had gathered from the Bedouin’s, the cream of the desert horse. When he died, his herd was dispersed.

Some of the herd was purchased by Lady Anne Blunt, who divided the horses she purchased between her Crabbet Stud in England and her Sheykh Obeyd Stud in Egypt. Egypt itself formed the Royal Agracultural Society and gathered up the best of Abbas Pasha’s herd for the overall good of the country. All the Straight Egytian horses in the Arabian world are decended from the Abbas Pasha stables, either through horses that Blunt purchased, or from horses that were later purchased front he government of Egypt. Some of these horses were imported to America. 

In 1952, the Blue Catalog was created. It is a proven list of horses that trace their lineage to the desert on every line. This Blue Catalog was started by one woman, but taken over by Al Khamsa (Letha - Al Khamsa is basically the breed registry for the SE Arabian). All of these horses trace in every line to the Bedouin desert horses or horse purchased by Lady Anne or from the herds of Abbas Pasha. The Asil is a German organization with the same goals. Asil means purebred. Egyptian related means the sire is SE Arabian, but that not all the lines are pure. 

The Crabbett stud is not Straight Egyptian, since Lady Blunt’s daughter did not keep the breeding lines clean. They do have a high percentage of Egyptian blood. The same applies to the Russian, Polish and Spanish Arabian. The foundation sires were straight Egyptian, but the breeding lines did not stay with SE Arabian breeding. 

The SE Arabian holds less than 2% of the Arabian breed registered in America, but holds 30% of the National Titles. 

The Pyramid Society was established to preserve the SE breed, and hosts the Egyptian Event annually. 

The purity of the Straight Egyptian breed has endured since the beginning of history due to the passionate devotion of its caretakers. They are known for their beauty, stamina, courage, intelligence and strength. I can attest to how special they are. And Ashke has not forgotten that his ancestors slept in the tents of their owners, carried their chosen riders into battle, and carried Kings in parades. In his veins in the unbroken heritage of thousand of years.

Arabians LTD, where Ashke was bred, is closing down their operations. The woman who shaped the breeding program for that stud is retiring and selling her blood stock. I’m sad, because I had hoped to someday visit and see where Ashke was born.
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I rode on Saturday and Sunday morning with barn buddies. On Saturday, I went to lunch at a wonderful Mexican restaurant and ate incredible tacos. Maybe close to the second best tacos I’ve found in Denver so far. 

Overall, my rides were pretty good. I still struggle with keeping my mind focused on “what to do next” when riding by myself. I tried to ride without spurs on Saturday and Ashke was like “I don’t know what you want” so we went back to them.

Here is video:


Floating - YouTube

They got to run around and be wild horses before our ride


Working hard - YouTube

Changes



More half Pass - YouTube

Half pass to change



Double double - YouTube

Sunday’s practice of the double slalom

I also struggle to set myself up correctly for the changes. I am back to that place where it feels like I am struggling with slowing down the timing so I don’t feel like I’m rushing. Moar practice and better body management on my part. At least we have started to correct him throwing his hips in when on a lead. I also need to remember to do twice as many right to left lead changes as the other direction. So, many alternate them with simple changes to help him gain strength and understanding.

First baby born in the barn.

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