Tag Archives: Mojo

TSHA Dressage Show 2016-2

For Father’s Day, Vicki and I rode in a dressage and 2 phase horse show.  Alex and Amanda didn’t want to show and we decided that was fine.  This was my first show (other than some fairs) since 2010 when I was still on King.  This was also the first time I have ever actually entered a jumping class.  While I was not necessarily totally ready and refined, I wanted to take Mojo to the show and see how he behaved.

King was always a great horse at home, and still is, but about 3 times as much horse once you got to the show grounds.  “High energy” would be an accurate description.  I was extremely pleased to find Mojo was the same horse on the show grounds as at home.  I think he was actually more focused and ready to work than schooling at home.  Mojo and I entered the 18″ cross-rail 2 phase division which includes dressage test Intro B.  We separately rode dressage test Intro C.  To get ready for the show, I did ride Mojo through the Intro B test twice in the weeks before the show.  We never tried Intro C.  As for jumping, I think I jumped Mojo 3 times in the month we have had him.  We never actually jumped a full course.  In fact, I don’t think we ever put more than 4 jumps together in a set.  Anna’s opinion was I was crazy to go so under-trained and having no idea what would happen on the jump course.  I figured why not give it a shot.

Let’s be honest.  Dressage is boring.  I’ll just summarize the 2 dressage tests with we have areas to improve on but I wasn’t last in my divisions.  But Vicki did get higher dressage scores on Devil, riding the same tests with the same judges.

The jumping was much more fun.  When we got out into the warm-up area, Mojo and I started working over the practice fences and it was awesome.  He was ready to go, so we headed on the course and jumped a clear round.  He didn’t give me any hesitation and we had a blast.  Anna would not that my form requires improvement, I look down at the jumps, I sometimes catch him in the mouth, and Mojo doesn’t always get the correct lead coming off the jump.  That’s why she is a better rider.  I just know we had fun and he can definitely jump higher!  Vicki and Devil also jumped a clear round and had a blast doing it.  We want to find a jumping only show…

I would also like to note that Mojo has now been with us for 5 weeks and has been out of shoes for 5 weeks after many years in front shoes.  He has been tender on his front feet (to be expected for the transition) so we normally ride him in boots.  However, for the dressage show, I couldn’t ride him with boots.  Last week I gave him a trim and applied Hoof Armor.  The Hoof Armor worked like a champ and he didn’t take a tender step all day.  I will be continuing to experiment with the Hoof Armor on my own horses before offering it to clients, but so far, I’m happy with it!  The next step is to put it on the ponies and see how they do on the rocky trails without any boots.

Eventing and trails

Now that May is coming to an end, our schedule is calming down a little.  Things have been non-stop with music concerts and horse activities.  This weekend, Alex and Vicki participated in the local Pony Club eventing rally at Mystic Valley Hunt Club.  At a Pony Club rally, the parents can help set up the area first thing in the morning, and then the rest of the day is up to the kids.  We arrived at MVHC at 7 and didn’t leave until about 5:45 that evening.  The kids had horse management inspections (including verifying all required equipment was present and labeled), a written test, formal inspections of rider and mount, dressage tests, stadium jumping, and cross country jumping.  Parents are not allowed in the areas at all, so it is all up to the kids.

Eventing Rally Team L-R Alex, Nina, Vicki, Christina, Alexis
Eventing Rally Team
L-R Alex, Nina, Vicki, Christina, Alexis

It was a long and hot day, but the team managed to keep their spirits up and had some good rides.  Alex and Nike had great jumping rounds.  The jumping Steward (keeping track of which rider was next and sending them into the arena) turned to me after their first jumping round and said “Is he your son?”  I said yes.  She replied, “I was not prepared for how well he would ride.  They are a really good team.”  It perfectly captured Alex.  He was moping around during the course walk and acting like he hated everything.  But as soon as they enter the jumping course, it’s pure business and Alex had a huge smile on his face.

As good as Alex’s day was, Vicki’s was even better.  She rode the best dressage test I have ever seen her ride and it was reflected in her 69 score.  Then on the stadium and cross country courses, she had clear rounds and loved every minute of it.

At the end of the day, the team won 1st place in Horse Management and 5th overall.

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Yesterday was wet and still hot, so we gave the horses a break.  This evening, we decided to head out for a trail ride.  Alex really didn’t want to go, so he got a pass (I’m sure Nike didn’t mind).  For those who have been following, King had EPM over the winter.  We have been bringing him back into work slowly and are cautiously optimistic that he might actually make it back to competitions this summer.  This evening, Anna rode King, I rode Mojo, Vicki rode Dakota, and Amanda rode Huey.

Amanda is becoming quite the trail rider.  We only rode 5 miles over 1:15, but Amanda was constantly announcing when we needed to trot or walk based on the terrain, although her default is always more speed.  They did plenty of trotting and cantering.  She and Huey are a great team.  Mojo was great.  I love his trail demeanor and he is very level headed.  He is definitely powerful and loves to race, which makes him a great match for me.

Hands down, the best part of the ride tonight was watching King back in work.  King was the first horse that was “my horse”.  We bought him in 2002 for me and he has been a rock star.  The last 2 years have been rough with injuries and illness, but tonight he had every bit of his power back and was moving great.  I look forward to his return to hunter paces.

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Anna and King enjoying the sunset in Pachaug

NEATO 25 2016

This morning, Anna and I rode the NEATO 25 mile Limited Distance Endurance ride at Arcadia in RI.  Anna rode Dakota and I rode on Mojo.  Since Mojo only arrived on Sunday, this was a bit of a gamble.  He has experience in LD rides, but the longest I had previously sat on him was about 45 minutes.  We took the horses over yesterday afternoon and vetted them in.  We set up some corral panels that were tied to the side of our trailer and the horses shared the space (Dakota and Mojo get along great).  Alex hung out with me at horse camp while Anna took Vicki and Amanda to their music concert.  The girls stopped by on the way home to drop off a few things forgotten in the barn and to pick up Alex; I really like the 15 minutes from home rides.  I camped over with the horses.

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This morning, we had a sitter at the house at 6 so Anna could get back to the ride.  We tacked up and waited a few minutes to head out after the ride started at 7:15.  I had been warned that Mojo tends to be strong and hot for the first few miles.  I was pleasantly surprised that he wasn’t crazy, he just wanted to go.  We held back some and worked on patience and listening.  After the first 4 miles, we had been averaging a 7 mph pace which was faster than we planned.  We slowed the horses and made sure we didn’t overdo it.  Anna was concerned that Dakota was not as fit as at the GMHA ride last fall.  We also had some technology issues.  While we love our Garmin 310XTs for tracking distance and speed, we also use them for watching the heart rates on the horses.  Today, we didn’t have good connections and Dakota’s heart rate reading was running about 35-40 bpm higher than it should have.  There was a lot of discussion during the ride about whether or not Dakota was in distress.  Of course, every time Anna put him in front and let go of the reins, he started trotting at 12+ mph.  I voted that he was fine.

When we came in from the first 15 mile loop, Dakota actually pulsed down to under 64 bpm (the required level) faster than Mojo.  That ended the concerns about his fitness and proved that technology isn’t always great.  I ended up riding the second loop without the heart rate monitor recording on Mojo because of the bad data.  It is just a distraction that isn’t needed and I think Anna and I are both going to shift to using heart rate as an occasional training tool, but compete without it.  Maybe.

NEATO 25

After our 45 minute hold we headed back out.  We ended up averaging about 6.2 mph on the first loop which was fine.  We took it easy on the second loop of 10 miles.  In the end, we completed the 25 miles with a ride time of about 4:15 and averaged just over 6 mph.  Both horses cleared the vet check at the end and were deemed fit to continue, which is the criteria to be awarded a completion.

NEATO 25 Mojo

Mojo and I had a good ride together.  We have a few things to work on, such as personal space.  Mojo likes to be in my space and stood on my feet more than once.  He also likes to use me (and Dakota) as a scratching post for his head.  Despite these minor things, he moves out very nicely on the trail and has a powerful trot.  He had no problem holding a trot up to 12+mph.

I do have a few things I want to change before another distance ride.  Anna and I have both been somewhat unhappy with the halter/bridle combos we bought last year.  She has recently switched to using a rope halter and adding a basic trail bridle.  I think I’ll be making the same change.  Also, I got a few rubs from my clothing (like sock tops on my calf where the calf and saddle touch) that require fine tuning before going up to any longer distances.

In the end, it was a good ride, but now we have to get ponies ready for the kids to show tomorrow!

 

Got some Mojo!

Last night about 9:15, I unloaded a new horse from the trailer into the barn.  He had spent 6 hours getting hauled in from VT.  Since we took this one sight unseen, Anna and I put him in the cross-ties and checked him over.  At the end of the barn, there was a 10 year old girl sneaking around in the shadows trying to catch a glimpse of the new pony.  When we spied her, she darted back into the house.  I went inside and told Vicki it was ok for her to join us in the barn, so with a huge grin, she grabbed her jacket, slipped her boots back on, and happily followed me back out.

He was a little lonely today, turned out in a paddock alone, so Devil got to join him.  They made fast friends and spent the afternoon mowing any new shoots of grass.

After work, I had a few trim appointments and then finally got home to get to know my new mount.  His shoes were just pulled this weekend, so the first order of business was to get him fitted with boots.  One benefit of being a dealer (and having 6 other horses on the farm using boots) is I can usually fit a horse with something we have on hand.  Once that was taken care of, we tacked up and headed to the arena.

Introducing Mojo!  He is a register Half Arabian (the other half is Dutch Harness Horse) and his registered name is Money Shot.  Mojo is owned by a local farrier who has been following our story and thought we were the right match for her horse.  Mojo is 10 years old, 15.3 hh, and 850 lbs.  He has long legs, a long back, and a narrow barrel.  He spent the early part of his life as an arena/show horse and has spent about the last 3 years as a trail, endurance, and CTR mount.  He seems very well matched for our desire of a versatile horse for some dressage, eventing, and endurance.  We are a little concerned that Vicki may try to claim him.

As the light was fading fast, I did manage to get about 30 minutes of saddle time on him tonight.  This weekend we are doing a 25 mile Limited Distance endurance event with NEATO, so that will be a true test of our compatibility.  We have him on an extended trial, so stay tuned for more Mojo!