Merry Christmas Everyone!
Even though the mud has been horrible, Sharlie's eye and leg have been acting up (though apparently, there is nothing wrong with Sharlie's leg) and all that, I have been having fun! My goal this vacation was to exercise Sharlie till we both drop, trying to work some of those pounds off. And unfortunately, according to Sharlie's still tight-fitted blanker, we have failed so far. But school starts on January 6th, so I still have some time to work off maybe a millimeter of that very fat waist. (No, there is no waistline, none at all. )
The only good thing about Sharlie being so fat right now, is that her back is cushioned, so bareback riding had become more comfortable then usual, and thus helping me self-assess Level 1 Freestyle. It's nice to know we are now all around Level 2/3 (except for Finesse) and also to know I don't have to ride in the saddle all the time. I dread riding in the saddle, because it pinches Sharlie and so it speeds up her already very fast walk & trot. I have managed to get her to keep her walks slow, some of the time, thanks to lots of walk-stop-backup-walk transitions.
Again, even though its been terribly muddy, we have been able to do some amazing Online play. Even though we have taken a break from working with the trailer (fearing that Sharlie will slip in the mud when she does one of her rushed, unplanned backups) we have made progress in other areas, such as jumping poles and low jumps. Its so amazing to watch Sharlie struggle over coordinating herself to get the right footing and timing with just some simple ground poles, to getting her to jump over a 1 foot jump, somewhat gracefully! Also, we have been doing alot of cantering on the 22-foot line. I am growing more confident with Sharlie cantering and she isn't taking me grass-skying every time she does canter. The other day, she finally cantered nicely with me on her blind side without bolting when I asked her to trot. I am also starting to look at the Level 3 objectives because I am hoping to be able to film my Audition when I go to Jennifer's camp, because there are pedestals and many other obstacles and toys there that would be very helpful to the audition.
One of the most surprising things this week was Sharlie's RBI attitude toward the little platform that holds the rolled up hoses by the side of the barn. Sharlie has passed by it, glanced at it and thought nothing much of it. But the other day, we approached it while playing a game of Sniff It, and she totally went RBI! It was so odd and definitely a shock to see my fun little LBE (for once, not having to use treats to motivate!) turn RBI, so unsure, with a glazed over look creeping into her eyes. The Sniff It game became the Porcupine Game as I tried to get her to put her head down a few feet away from the platform. And the Porcupine Game quickly became the Friendly Game as Sharlie saw me as a predator for asking to put her head down. Even though we weren't close to the platform at all by this point, it was still too close for Sharlie. So you can see how quickly the simple Sniff It game got out of hand! But it ended on a good note, and I am proud of myself and Sharlie!
As the New Year comes around, I set my sights on the trailer once again. Along with it, Freestyle and finding my balance point and confidence. I really want to go to Jennifer's camp, and I want to be prepared. It's annoying and depressing that my parents don't understand how much this camp means to me, and how much I think it could help Sharlie and me with our relationship and our confidence! But I am going to go. No matter what. Sharlie is going to get in that trailer and be ready to go down to camp. I'm taking the awesome groom bag that I got for Christmas as a sign that I should go. Right now, your probably thinking "Huh?" It's because it's a traveling groom bag. Meant for people who compete and need to bring all their stuff with them. I even found a compartment that would be perfect for Sharlie's meds. And...if your not superstitious, I'm sorry, but the moment I picked up the wrapped present, I immediately thought of Jennifer, Jeff and their farm. If that's not a sign, what is?!
It's getting late, and I have to go free Sharlie from her stall tomorrow morning, so I am going to have to leave you. But I will leave you on a humorous note...you see the photo below?( Ah, I miss green....) Well, imagine it as a great big brown slop. That's what it is right now. *sigh* Let's hope it drys soon! :D
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!