Bruce Lamb's Eventing Blog - April 2011

Remainder of April I kept generally with the same schedule -- speed work on Wednesdays, dressage lessons on Fridays and the occassional stadium jumping session if Tori and I were bored. We found that Rapport was a bit stiff in his hocks so we called in Dr. Bob to have his hocks injected before Tori and I went off to watch the Rolex 3 Day Event in Lexington Kentucky. While Dr. Bob was looking at his legs, he had a look at a pronounced splint in his off hind leg and suggested that we "shock it" (ultrasound) to hopefully bring down the size of the splint. We scheduled with him to do the "shock" the following Tuesday, but when he came by he did some tests on Rapports legs and found his suspensory ligament was sore on his near fore leg -- and strongly suggested 6 weeks of rest and no more jumping. Which ends his Eventing career. But, since we were going to retire him from Eventing at the end of this season anyhow, we're going to give him lots of rest and look for someone to take over working him for flat work in mid-June. It definitely sucks, but better to keep him healthy in his legs until he's 25+ years old than have him limping around at 17. So, time to look for a new Eventer!

April 13: It's Wednesday, so it must be cardio work this time. We did 7 km of canter at the following splits:

1k canter: 3:05/k pace
1k gallop: 1:58/k pace
1k canter: 2:55/k pace
1k gallop: 2:00/k pace
1k canter: 2:44/k pace
1k gallop: 1:50/k pace
1k canter: 2:47/k pace

This time, though, we weren't on the perfectly flat roadside. We were on the grass covered lane beside the cornfield, which has several turns and slight inclines (in the direction we were galloping), so it was certainly different than last week's cardio work. During the canter work, we did several very small XC jumps along the side of the field. We need to build more of these since it is a good exercise for him to do these jumps when he is tired. By the end, he was covered in sweat, but after a 15 min. walk, he was almost perfectly dry and had cooled right down. I should find a stethescope so that I can track his heart rate after these sessions!

April 11: Did some dressage outside, this time. Rapport was an idiot during the long stretchy circle -- since part of the circle had him looking at the jumps at the side of the ring. I'm going to solve that this weekend. Anyhow, after about a gazillions spins around the long stretchy circle track, he finally calmed down (and so did I). The leg yields were excellent, though. Tori said that my trot should have been more forward.

April 10: Did about 25 minutes of dressage -- and Rapport was excellent. He did his long stretchy circle at a trot very well and did excellent leg yields in both directions. I still need to concentrate on keeping my hands up and steady -- all the while looking relaxed and not stiff! We only worked for 25 minutes because we were trying to get outside for a hack with Tori/Joey, Lisa (bareback!) on Caleb, and Lutz on Rifka before it got dark. We cantered up the steep hill -- so that should help build a bit of hindquarters muscle!

April 9: Took it easy today. Just hacked around the trails and rode through the river which was getting fairly high. Water was rushing by and was pretty close to as high as my stirrups! Rapport was fine, though. Did the last steep hill at a walk because there was still a fair bit of snow on the upper part of the path.

April 8: Dressage lesson today. Lots of low, stretchy stuff to get Rapport to keep his back round and to get him to be flexible. I still need to remember a couple of half-halts before the second loop in Preliminary Test 2 to get him round. And I need to graaaaddduuallly work him into the long stretchy circle near the end of the test. But the main focus of today was for me to keep my movements almost invisible to a person on the ground. Hands high and together, legs long and low.

April 7: We worked on dressage today. I was swamped at work, so I just popped out while Coach Tracy was working with Mom's horse, Meisha, and rode for about 40 minutes. I had time to go through my first Event's test - Preliminary Test 2 - a couple of times. I need to work doing a couple of half-halts before entering the second canter loop, and need to work on getting Rapport to stretch down during the 20 metre trot circle near the end. Must keep flexing him even though I'm on a long rein during that circle. Other than that, the transitions and bends were good and Tracy said our pace was good as well (I'm aiming for a purposeful "march" during the movements).

April 6: Rapport and I did cardio work today. 3k of canter, 2k of gallop and 1k of trot (split between the beginning and end of the canter/gallop work). Here are the splits:
550 m trot: 4:34/k pace
1k canter: 2:39/k pace
1k gallop: 1:51/k pace
1k canter: 2:29/k pace
1k gallop: 1:47/k pace
1k canter: 2:44/k pace
450 m trot: 3:28/k pace

My first event is 2.8 km at a 520 metres per minute pace (1:55/k pace). But that terrain is going to be all sorts of stuff -- not the flat roads on which I've been doing this cardio. Plus we'll have jumps for which I'll have to slow down. So targeting a 1:40/k pace is probably where I want to be.

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