Friday, July 10, 2009

Rider Fitness & Final Dinner

Yes, camp has finished. Katchi is back at home - actually the crazy horse went for quite a gallop when I turned him out in his field tonight! So much for exhaustion! He got his two field buddies all riled up - they were galloping and bucking and rolling! And I felt sorry for Katchi today thinking it had been such a long week.

I know you all are anxiously awaiting to know how it all ended... but you have to wait until tomorrow! My mom is driving my car at the moment, on the way back to my house, so I could do some typing. Wanted to finish off yesterday's events, and tomorrow I will tell you all about today's competition.
Yesterday afternoon, we had a rider fitness session in the grass under the trees. We lost one groom to sleep - yep, in the middle of the rider fitness session, there was a groom, laying down leaning up against a tree - sunglass on - and totally asleep! It was fantastic! Just to give this groom a bit more credit, he is the brother-in-law of one of the riders (and, ladies, he's single!), so really no-one can fault the guy for taking a little snooze!

The rider fitness session focused on core strength. We had a bit of reluctancy to try the exercises ourselves - probably because none of us were so silly to think any of them would be as easy as our trainer had made them look - and probably a bit because half of us were afraid volunteering for the demo would make us too sore to ride on Friday! Evie bravely took on the first challenge - with a broken toe (there was a little incident with a bag of ice earlier in the day!). We were all very impressed with her one-legged 1/2 squat skills despite the broken toe!

Eventually, we all started talking about our various injuries, aches and pains - and suddenly the session got pretty exciting! From backs to knees to hips - we all got some tips on various exercises that could improve our flexibility and strengthen the areas. Several campers had a hip range of rotation assessment done, which looked pretty frightening! I actually didn't know that hips could move like that. Nate Chambers won the contest though - he apparently has almost freakishly flexible hips! There are a few things I could probably say about that, but I think I should just walk away!

Later that evening, we had our final guest lecture and dinner together. We had an excellent talk by Kevin Keane (I sure hope I got his name right as my sheet is in the trunk of the car at the moment), who is a veterinarian. Kevin spoke to us about qualities that make a good event horse - everything from conformation to strong backs - and lung capacity and injuries. And then we had a chance for questions. Well, actually my mom had time for questions! My mom is a nurse, and she has been an outstanding groom all week - she was chief horse holder which was an enormous help as anyone with a horse knows! Anyhow, being a nurse, we have had a few "discussions" over the week regarding differences in treatments between humans and horses. So, my mom quite liberally took the opportunity to put our "discussions" to the authority of a vet. jeeze. She had excellent questions and I think everyone appreciated the answers (the questions were:
1. Why doesn't ice directly on a horse's leg burn their skin?
2. What causes ulcers in horses?
3. Should you put hydrogen peroxide on a wound - during the answer of this one, we had to modify the question a bit to add whether flesh wounds and hoof wounds should be treated differently (the answer was Yes! it is good to use hydrogen peroxide to help get dirt and possible infection agents out of the hoof, but is too strong to put on a flesh wound).

I think one other person was able to ask a question, but I've forgotten what it was - I think I was too happy to know I had won all three of our "discussions" this week!!!

Anyhow, I tried to get my mom to stop asking questions after the first two, but Phillip said she could ask her third question - and if Phillip said it was okay, I definitely was not going to be able to stop her!!! Of course, I did LOVE it when Phillip harassed my mom for the extra 30 minutes her questions added to our evening! My mom is very easy to harass and he did it good!

Next, Phillip called each of the 11 riders up - oh wait, that reminds me, an update on the rider who fell into the ditch on Wednesday. She is okay - with a chip in her knee. Will likely require surgery, but we're all hoping that she'll be up and riding again in no time! Right, so Phillip called up 10 riders to the front of the room - and he came to the rider in the leg brace! Each rider came up and Phillip made a few comments about their development over the week. And where he thinks they should head in the immediate future. It was really nice to hear Phillip's over all impressions - sometimes in riding, we get so stuck in the details that we forget to think about whether we're even on the right road, even if the right road has a lot of pot holes! We also each got a picture of us and our horse with Phillip taken at the start of our one-on-one lesson earlier in the week (before Katchi got Duttonized!). Phillip had autographed each one - that's something for a frame on my tack room wall, someday, when I have my own barn. We also each had a typed up 'formal' evaluation of how we're doing and things to work on. I wonder what Jimmy would think if I just hand him a copy of that letter at my next lesson! :)

The evening wrapped up with a bit of video watching from the previous two XC schoolings. Although I had seen quite a bit of the other groups, it was really nice to sit with each other and watch some of the successes and not-quite successes of the past 2 days!

And, so I just have one more day of camp to report on. I have to admit, I am pretty sad that it's all over. We are almost home, and my cat probably thinks I ran away to join the circus! So, I will post this now, and hope you all come back tomorrow to hear about the final day!

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