A little picture into what life looks like for the Big Man.
7-7:30a: Come in from turnout to eat breakfast- grain and hay.
7:30a-12p: Nap. Drink some water. Bother the people cleaning his stall. Nap more.
12p: Enjoy some more lunchtime hay, since he’s managed to hoover up most of his.
12-3:30p: Nap more. Flat out on the side. Naps 4 dayz. Slop some hay into the water buckets for a change of pace.
3:30-4p: Eat dinner grain, then go outside with his buddy Nolan.
4pm-7am: Eat more, play with Nolan, sleep some, ruin blankets, play more.
On days I show up, he gets to hang out in his stall after dinner for a bit:
3:30-6p: Digest dinner, eat more hay, stare out the window.
6-7p: Get scratchies/groomies/tacked up.
7-8p: Go for a ride. Sometimes a little earlier if traffic allows. Lessons are a full hour, other rides usually are a little shorter.
8-8:30p: Groomies, rinsing when weather permits, more scratchies. Then outside with Nolan again.
Around November we’ll switch the horses to daytime turnout, which means they’ll get turned out after breakfast and come inside for the night at dinner time.
Frankie will only stay in when weather forces it- a real downpour, temps extremely low, thunderstorms, things like that. He’ll still go out in a drizzle, and I love that he gets solid playtime every day along with social time with his little herd. Yes, he comes in with dings and scrapes sometimes from playing too hard, but I figure horses will manage to hurt themselves no matter what, and this way he at least gets plenty of benefit out of it.
And of course on the weekends, I go during the day and rudely interrupt Frankie’s naptime. I’m a mean mom.
Pretty much our whole schedule revolves around naps. Hey, it’s hard work being such an awesome pony!
“Olivia, it’s only August!” “Olivia, live in the moment!”
I am seriously so freakin’ excited for next season already, I just have to share some of the plans.
First of all, we will be kicking off next season with a bang in Ohio. I snuck this into my sidebar, but Frankie and I will be heading over to WEC in February! We had a barn powwow about whether or not we wanted to do Ocala this year vs WEC, and the unanimous consensus was to head west instead of south. It’s closer to home- less stress on the horses, easier to get there, CHEAPER to get there. It’s overall cheaper- in like, every way. There’s a great variety of classes. Because it’s so much more accessible in terms of location and price, we should have a bigger group able to go. We’ve all heard only stellar reviews from people who have competed there. AND IT’S CHEAPER. Did I say that yet? All y’all that live within driving distance of Ohio will have to come visit us!
Our other big exciting plan for the year is two weeks up in Lake Placid next June/July! We’ll be doing the I Love New York/Lake Placid shows. Our barn went a few years ago for one week and loved it, so this year we’re heading back for both weeks. It’ll be a nice escape from the Virginia heat and we’ll get to see some really world class riders go. I’m hoping some of my family will take the excuse for a vacation and get a lake house up there- it would be the perfect mix of competing and vacation! I’ve never been but I’m already so excited.
This will definitely require some creative scheduling- I do not, in fact, have unlimited vacation time. My boss has given the thumbs up for me to work remotely when I’m in Ohio at least part time, and as long as that works decently she’s OK with me doing that next summer as well. It’ll also require careful budgeting, so I’m already in savings mode to prepare. Sometimes I think about all the vacations I could take and shoes I could buy if I didn’t like horse shows so darn much…
We’ll fit in some closer-to-home shows next summer as well- I’m hoping we can do either Upperville or Loudoun Benefit again, do some Lexington shows, head to Prince George’s, etc. We haven’t decided whether we’re going to try for Regional Finals again, since we’re going to play next year by ear as to which division we’re competing in. This year was a very definite “move up” year and I expect 2018 to be more of a transition. We may move up and down depending on how we feel. Heck, I may even finally make it into an equitation class like I’ve been talking about for years. Trainer tactfully changes the subject every time I bring up doing a hunter derby so that might be a hard pass (Why doesn’t she doesn’t think my paddle-moving-llama-pony can win in the hunters???! I don’t get it?1?!). I still plan on us working hard to get after it, but I’m less married to my division for next year.
Frankie and I can’t wait! Well. I can’t wait. Frankie is just happy to be here.
Woohoo for schedules! When I first got Frankie I was a little lost- I get to ride whenever I want??? (Seriously Olivia what did you think happens when you own a horse). I’m a creature that craves structure, so I came up with the following: a tentative outline for our rides for the week, and a tentative outline for our hacks. There will likely never be a full week that we go with this schedule, and I doubt we will ever stick to my hour-long outline perfectly, but that’s ok! This is just to help guide me to make sure Frankie is getting worked consistently without being over-taxed, and we’re working on what we need to work on.
Sunday– Fun day. Trail ride, bareback, etc. Clean and condition tack Monday– Hard hack, 1 hr. Check everything for wear and needed repairs Tuesday– Day off Wednesday– Lesson (jumping) Thursday– Light hack (30 min) just to stretch legs OR fun day. Clean and condition tack. Friday– Hard hack (1 hr) Saturday– Medium hack (45 min). Tidy up trunk.
Summary: Frankie is in work 6 days a week, one of which is jumping and the rest with varying levels of intensity. I talked to my trainer about the frequency of riding and we agreed that he’s in fantastic shape (shout out to his eventing barn for doing conditioning sets with him!) and this type of schedule will work well to maintain muscle without over-stressing him. I’ll be taking any opportunity to get outside the ring for any of these days- we often use a big turnout to hack in, there are lots of trails nearby, etc. Once we start showing on the weekends he will get time off after each show to recover.
I wipe down my tack after every ride, but they get more thorough TLC 2x a week. My trunk is pretty neat and I intend to keep it that way, and especially now that blanket season is over it’s pretty quick to give my gear the once-over for any problems showing up.
And before I forget to mention- Frankie gets a minimum 30 minute (usually longer) grooming session every time I hop off. He’s just too pretty, I can’t resist!
60 minute flatwork
0-10: Walk on a loose rein all over the ring- circles, changing directions, get our muscles moving. 10-20: Trot on a loose rein. Lots of 2-point, no stirrups, serpentines and circles and changes of bend, slowly asking for more contact as we get moving. 20-30: Walk/trot/halt transitions on a contact with a little lateral work thrown in there. Lots of extensions/collections plus transitions between gaits. 30-40: Canter work, including lots of extensions/collections. 40-50: More dedicated lateral work. For now mainly at the walk and a little at the trot, but we’ll up the difficulty as we go. 50-55: Stretchy trot. 55-60: Walk, preferably outside the ring
45 minute flatwork
0-10: Walk on a loose rein 10-20: Walk/trot/halt transitions, slowly asking for more contact
20-30: Canter work
30-35: Lateral work, extensions/collections 35-40: Stretchy trot 40-45: Walk
Again, these are just frameworks! This is what’s working well for Frankie and me for where we are right now- tuning up our transitions within gaits and our lateral work. I’m trying to be very conscious of letting our warm-ups take plenty of time and building up the intensity slowly. Certain days we tweak it to spend extra time on one thing or another as necessary. Frankie is a very relaxed, confident horse and I want to do everything in my power to keep it that way. I don’t plan to be the person that makes him tense and anxious.
So there you have it. Frankie is working hard and loving it. We had a great hour long ride earlier this week and even though we were both sweating and tired by the end, he was still stepping out with his energetic walk and ready for more!
How do you plan your rides? Do you have a standing “framework” or do you make your plan based on where you are that day?