Pre-Event XC Gymnastics…

Tonight I just wanted to get out and do each of the tricky questions in the valley at least once so we could go into our first Intermediate event with confidence. Here is the video: We did a bunch of verticals and oxers — first at a trot then working up to a canter — and then the line of vertical-oxer-coop-rails-corner. Then we did the large table is where we just about had an issue. Gamble did a bit of a stutter-step with this front feet before taking off so we didn’t have the velocity to get over the fence cleanly. He almost pushed off with his hind legs on the top of the fence, and then stumbled when he hit the other side. I lost my balance when he stumbled and actually pulled my left stirrup leather right off the saddle so I had to stop and reattach it. Anyhow, we were both no worse for wear, so we continued on. We then did a coop into the water, which was no issue. Then the bench on the other side of the ditch. He looked at it but really didn’t give it any respect when he went over it, so he banged it with his hind legs. Then to the steps up and drops down — including the big drop — and he had no issues with that either. Finally to Rapport’s water park — which I’d mostly emptied so there was between 6 and 12 inches of water. Continue Reading →

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Dressage Lesson – Ready for the Event

Tracy came out today to give me a dressage lesson. It went very well. Lots of little things on which to work, but we ran through the ** Test A a couple of times and it was not terrible. Enough to get me to Stadium!

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Stadium Practice Test: Con Brio Show Jumping Development League

Tonight, Kate and Oz and Gamble and I went to the Show Jumping Development League at Con Brio. It went amazingly well. I started with the 1.0 m. division where Gamble got around fine other than knocking one pole on fence #2. Then we went to the 1.1 m. division, where Gamble went clear, and Kate and Oz only had one “unlucky” rail. We were waiting to do the 1.15 m. division when Holly came over with some news. Someone had been schooling in the arena the night before and had raise a bunch of fences before they left. So, in fact, some of the fences were 1.2 m. I’m not sure if most of the other fences were 1.15 m. or 1.1 m. — but at least 3 fences were 1.2 m. which is what we have to do this weekend. So, I’m comfortable that Gamble won’t have a problem this weekend at my first Intermediate event at Woodwind. And I’m super happy that Holly runs the SJDL. Its an opportunity of which more London area riders should take advantage. Kate and Oz are definitely ready for Prelim eventing — although she’s going to start with Training level in a couple of weeks.

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Tempo Gallop – 6.5 km with 4 at Intermediate Pace

We galloped along the side of the field to the west of the stables today, rather than out on the road. The ground is firm, but definitely softer than the roadway. I started with 1/2 km of trot, and then worked into a slow canter and then finally into a gallop. Here are my splits. 4:34 (pace, for 500 m., at a trot) 2:31 (pace, for 500 m., at a canter) 2:00 (aiming for 2:15) 1:55 (aiming for 1:55) 1:46 (aiming for 1:49) 1:46 (aiming for 1:49) 1:49 (aiming for 1:49) 1:47 (aiming for 1:49) We trotted out for about 400 m. and then walked back through the trails (about 1.5 km). He was totally cooled off by the time we got back. I’m definitely comfortable that we’ll be able to hit the XC target times this summer.

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Stadium Jumping Practice – 3′-11″ (1.2 m.) Combination

We did Stadium Jumping practice today to make sure that the height wasn’t going to be a problem for Gamble. While we knocked rails, he did the height without question. I’m very confident, now, going into our first event at Woodwind in 10 days.

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Speed Work – 6 x 1 km Repeats (1:30 was fastest)

Tonight we continued our cardio conditioning with some more 1 kilometre repeats. This time, we did them at the side of the cornfield behind the stable, rather than on the roadway. The advantage to this venue is that it is more like a real cross country course with turns and changes in elevation, plus it is somewhat softer ground on which to train. My goal was 1 km at 2:15 (Training level speed), another at 1:55 (Preliminary speed), one at 1:45 (a bit faster than Intermediate speed), and then three repeats at 1:35 (much faster than Intermediate speed). But I decided that it was going so well, I’d do my fifth repeat at a 1:30/km pace (40 km/h.). Here are my splits: 2:09 1:53 1:42 1:38 1:30 1:35 Gamble had energy to spare. I certainly could have done one or two more repeats — but at this point, it isn’t necessary. My longest distance next month will be the CIC * at Will O Wind — which should be 2600 – 3120 m. or possibly Woodwind’s Intermediate class (3300 m.).

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XC Gymnastics

Gamble was good as gold with our jumping gymnastics today. We did a lot of warm up and then went through a bunch of the trot-verticals, then at a canter. Then we did the 5 jump line (ending with the corner fence), looped back and did the prelim max-sized table fence — probably the best he’s ever done it. Finally, we did the 3 banks up and came around and did the 4’6″ bank down. No sweat. I’d say we’re ready!

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Tempo Gallop – 6 km with 2 at Intermediate pace

I was going to do some XC jumps today, but decided that it was just a bit too slippery with some light rain that we just had.  So instead I did a tempo run along Neil Road.  I was looking to start and finish with 1 km of trot, and for the gallop work it would be 1 x Training pace (2:15/km), 2 x Prelim pace (1:55/km), 2 x Intermediate pace (1:49/km) and 1 x Training pace again.  Here are my gallop splits: 2:22 1:58 1:55 1:47 1:47 2:15 So I’m pretty happy with these splits. We cooled off with a nice 1/2 hour hack.  I think he’s in good shape from a cardio perspective!  

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Dressage — I think we’re ready!

I just worked tonight alone practising a bunch of things that Tracy had me doing at our lesson a week ago.  But I must say, it went well — at least from my vantage point!  I finished off our workout by doing the CIC ** Test A and it went really well.  I don’t think I’d get incredible score if an Event were held tomorrow, but I don’t think I’d embarrass myself either!

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Speed Work – 6 x 1 km Repeats

Today was fairly cool compared to what we’ve seen in the past week or two. By the time I got out to ride, it was about 5 degrees C. But while that is cool for pleasure riding, it is perfect for speed work, which was on the agenda today. My goal was to do 6 one-kilometre repeats separated by a 2 minute walk break. My target pace per kilometre was 2:00, then 1:45, then 4 x 1:35.  Here are our splits: 2:00 1:44 1:34 1:30 1:36 1:34 That fourth repeat where I hit a 1:30 pace, I was actually doing about a 1:33 pace when a truck hauling a trailer came up beside us.  For whatever reason, Gamble decided we were in a race and kicked into another gear.  Before I knew it, our pace was 1:22 per kilometre — 44 km/h.  So even at a better-than-Intermediate-pace, he has enough in reserve to get faster if need be. He cooled down very easily and was barely breathing hard at the end.  We could have done another 2 repeats easily.  I may want to aim for a 1:30 pace for a couple of repeats next time just to make sure he’s working hard. Anyhow, it was a successful night.  Extra oats for Gamble tonight!

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