Thursday, May 14, 2009

Preparing for District

My day at District is Saturday, and I've been working with Stellaphone all week long. We've been fine-tuning our pivots for showmanship, working hard at riding, and I've been currying her down and making her look her best for our big day. This is my last year at District, so I really hope everything goes well.
I'm really worried about my hip and knees. In the six years I've been suffering from chronic pain, no one has been able to tell me what's wrong. I'm trying the whole horse liniment, max-dose ibuprofen, and heat treatment for my knees (and sore leg muscles, I'll admit) right now. It's making a positive impact on my soreness, but my knees are still killing me. At least the Absorbine smells good. I had to crawl up the stairs to get a towel because my knees hurt so bad. I also spilled water all over myself after accidentally dry-swallowing my pills and frantically trying to get some water down my throat before I choked on them. I found both of those things quite amusing and ended up laughing between each moan and groan, so at least I've got my sense of humor on my side right now :)
I'm sorry this has turned into my whine outlet. Hopefully it won't continue to be.
Stella and I had a good, hard workout today. We started with some showmanship. I worked on getting Stella to move off me and to pivot on her haunches. If we make it to the callback, we'll likely have to do some sort of pivot, and I really hope we'll make it to the callback. We also worked on taking up a trot at the same exact moment. Running alongside Stella was murder, but I ignored the discomfort and continued with our work. We slowed down and worked on coming in straight to a set point, halting, setting up, backing, and doing quarters. I wanted to make sure that Stella would stand still if I were to go back and fix where the judge messes with her tail or coat. She did a great job. At the end of our session, she would halt and set herself up before I even asked. I gave her lots of hugs and whispered sweet nothings into her mule ears because she's just so amazing :)
I longed her for a bit and then rode her. We rode hard, and it was a good ride. I had a little trouble posting the trot at the beginning of the ride. My lower legs and upper body wanted to slip forward, which irritated me and made Stella go all wonky. I eventually fixed it so everything was properly aligned, and the improvement of her movement was impressive. Our canter was very nice too. I felt like I was sitting correctly, nice and tall and soft, most of the time. I stretched a little bit in the middle of the ride because I could feel myself stiffening up and things were starting to hurt a little. It got better quickly, though, and we rode on. We did so much cantering. I'm sure that made Stella happy. As soon as I cued her into the trot at the beginning of the ride, I could tell that she was just begging to canter.
I've got to finish getting ready tomorrow so that we can leave nice and early on Saturday. Stella needs to be longed hard before we go into showmanship, and longed harder before I mount up to school. She really was a good girl last year, but there are lots of monsters and distractions (as Mac and I found out my first year, when he spooked and dumped me in a class) that I need to be wary of. If I can just keep her head between my legs and out of the clouds, we'll be fine.
I also need to pick out a song. For larger shows, I pick out a song to think about in my classes if I start to feel nervous. It usually takes care of things. I'm thinking something by Nine Inch Nails, maybe "Sunspots" because it's such a great song.
Here. I'll prove that it's great. Have a listen--

See? :) It's uppity enough to get me all energized, but it can still relax me.
I'm so excited.

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