What my horse thinks of Dressage.
(Picture is from my last event. Used with purchase)
Just a girl and her horses trying to event
What my horse thinks of Dressage.
(Picture is from my last event. Used with purchase)
Maren: I wrote a whole recap about XC, but then I thought it would be fun to have Ollie write a recap? So you can enjoy both of our recaps.
Oliver: Hello one and all! It is I, the one and ONLY!! OLIVER! I know you’v all been awaiting the day when I try my hoof at blogging, and lucky for you, TODAY IS THAT DAY! My mommy said I was only allowed to do one post, and that it had be be helpful to her…? What does h e l p f u l mean? I asked, and she said to just write about XC. Ok! That I CAN DO! YAY! So the day started out ok-ish. Except for the fact that whoever fed me my breakfast forgot my mash.* but besides from that it was OK. My mommy showed up with my mash (finally. Who does she think she is showing up 10 minutes late with my mash?) and more hay, then she took me for a walk. I noticed that the warmup ring now had… A XC JUMP!! In it!! Clearly, it was XC day!! Whoohoo!! I started to prance around a bit to warmup. My mommy didn’t seem to like that, but I paid her little attention. She put me back into my stall, kissed my nose, (RUDE. Why does she always do that?!?) And left. About 10 hours later** my aunty Brianna came to get me. When I saw her I immediately knew what it meant! I was going to go out on XC soon! YES! So I started my warmup stretches; spin in a circle to the right, then the left, then hop in the air, mini rear, etc etc. Once she’d put my boots on and brushed me, she took me out of my stall and led me towards the XC field! We met my mommy halfway there, and I did some hops in the air to show her that I was READY! Her and my aunty put my saddle on (it took them forever! I think they didn’t like the fact that I was moving while they tried to put it on, but I had to continue my warmup!) then led me back to my stall and put my bridle on. Once I was ready my mommy got on! I was so excited that she had trouble getting on… once she was on she made me go in the ring that I’d used to warmup in for Dressage, but it made no sense! The jumps were in a different warmup ring! I tried to tell my mommy this by running towards the gate the led to the other arena, but she got really mad? I guess she wanted to be in the weird no-jumps-in-sight ring. After I trotted around in there for EVER, my rider asked this person standing beside the ring what time it was. I guess she’d done her timing wrong. She finally listened to me and we went to the ring with jumps in it.
*here I will have to interrupt Oliver. the day before when the lady who fed all the horses in the barn where Ollie was staying (he was staying in the barn where the month long boarders stayed) had noticed that Ollie was quite upset about the fact that I was yet to come feed him, and he was panicking about that fact🙄 so she very kindly offered to give him a flake of hay the next morning when she fed the other horses if I left one outside of his stall.
** it was only about 2 hours later if anyone is interested.
Maren: Finally getting around to doing that XC recap! The recap for Dressage and Stadium is here. Anyways, after Dressage and SJ we had a score of 48.9. Ollie almost NEVER gets poles in SJ, he hates hitting jumps, and he loves SJ, so I was feeling less then confident about XC. Plus with the fact that this was our first time running Entry… (yes I will constantly remind you that this was our first time at Entry. I will not stop.) when I walked my course I wasn’t to worried about it, except for one part of the course went off into no mans land, and the SCARY BRUSH MONSTER.
Combined with the fact that this one looked to be a full 2’9” while some of the other “scary” ones were more like 2’7”-2’8”.
On the morning of XC I was able to get up at a reasonable(ish) hour as I wasn’t riding until 12:17. Also the very kind lady who feed breakfast to the horses in the boarding barn (Ollie was staying in there became he will jump out of the normal stalls🙄) had offered to give Ollie a flake of hay in the morning if I left one on my tack box. I guess he’d gotten pretty upset when she had fed them the morning before and he didn’t get any food… oh Ollie. I still was over there by 7 to muck his stall, give him his mash, and take him for a walk though. He was a little more interested in looking around at EVERYTHING then he was the day before, but he wasn’t unmanageable. I ate my breakfast (Well… I tried. I think I got one or two bites of sandwich down before I wanted to throw up?) then I walked my course one last time. My mom kept trying to come with me, (um. No. Everytime she gets within 20’ of a jump she’s like “this one is HUGE! It has to be over whatever height your jumping!”) but I managed to convince her to stay behind on the condition that I bring my sister Brianna + the two dogs. Her reasoning was that the day before when I was walking my course we’d run into a baby bear. So I guess it wasn’t bad reasoning… after I
took one last look at my doom took one last look at my course, and waited for 20 or so minutes, the first prelim riders started going. That was fun to watch, besides from the fact that only 3 out of 5 didn’t get eliminated… eek! My sister and I headed back to our campsite for a bit, and we could see a couple of the jumps on the training course from there. Then Brianna went to get Ollie (brush him and put his boots on, then bring him over to the trailer so we could put his saddle on.) and I changed into my magnificent hunter green XC outfit. I left my vests/helmet by the trailer and went to see how Brianna was doing (she was slightly behind schedule…) I ended up running into her halfway to the barn. Well, more like Ollie almost ran into me. He was O U T O F C O N T R O L. Brianna was doing her best to manage him, but he was lifting up in mini rears/trotting on the spot/and spinning all over the place. My first thought was I do not want to get on this horse. But I thought ok, let’s get his saddle on, then we’ll see. Oh well let me tell you. Have fun getting a saddle on that monster! I think it took us over five minutes to simply get the girth done up. No way were either of us wanting to take his halter (haha, this is why I like to use a chain at horse shows!) off to get his bridle on. Brianna held him (thanks for risking your life to hold my horse for me btw sister!) while I yanked my helmet/hard vest/air vest/pinny/boots/spurs/gloves on. brianna carried my Bridle back over to his stall and I got the honour of leading the beast. One person who I know was like “Ollie’s pretty excited.” Haha. Then some other person (no idea who they were) was like “he’s looking forward to his job… have a good ride!” Lol. He calmed down *slightly* in his stall, and I was able to get his bridle on. Mounting was very hard. Luckily I knew what to expect bc he’s always a pain to mount at shows. The minute he feels weight in the Stirrup he backs up and starts either hopping or doing mini rears. So the trick is to have one person by his head feeding him treats, oh but never hold his face. That will end in disaster. While I throw myself on, then I have to give a huge kick and find my Stirrups. He’s normally a little better under saddle then on the ground, so I was hopeful. But since I knew he’d blow up if I went into the warmup ring with 5+ other horses, I went into the dressage warmup ring for a bit. I was the only one in there which was nice. He had a “moment” going down the long side, where he stopped (we had been trotting…) and starting running backwards… he’d wanted to run for the gate but I said no. Didn’t ask for backup up though lol. in my experience with Ollie this can quickly turn into mini rears so I started kicking like a little pony clubbier on a pony. I did a bit more work in there; trot circles both ways, before I realized that I only had 10 minutes until my XC time. Oops. With no choice I went into the busy warmup arena. (the one I was in had no jumps:/ ) and I was pleasantly surprised! Ollie was actually behaving himself! I cantered both ways, then trotted over the little log there’d put out. Trailer J called out for me to come canter it, so I picked up my right lead canter, and turned towards it. Right as I was turning two horses passed by on my outside and Ollie just flipped. He spun towards to left to follow them, and I said no. We are going right towards this jump. But Oliver didn’t like that idea. So he started being a bronco. First he bucked, which is one thing while he has forward momentum, but quite another when he’s standing still! Then followed by a mini rear, (not fall-over-backwards high but not tiny either) then followed by him trying to spin, again I was like NO. NO TURNING LEFT. So he continued his buck-rear-buck-rear thing*. I just remember grabbing my neck strap with one hand and hitting him on the bum with my whip as hard as I could to make him go forward. of course that didn’t make a single difference to Oliver. He continued his bronco act as though I wasn’t doing anything. I finally just let him turn left. I know. Probably the worst horsemanship ever. As soon as he stoped though I did make him go to the right… someone who was just outside the arena looked quite concerned and asked if I was alright, which was nice. I continued my 5 minutes of warm up by jumping a couple more jumps, all of which Ollie was well behaved for. Then it was time to go over to the startbox.
* I’d like to point out that while yes, he was being a bronco, his bucks/rears were actually quite small. It was more the knowledge that I knew things would escalate quickly that was scary.
Oliver: once my mommy finally decided it was time to jump, I got to trot into this tiny tiny little thing that I really wouldn’t call a jump, but my rider seemed to think it was appropriate? So then she asks me to canter it, but right as we were going towards it, a horse passed me on the outside! And the horse said “hay!! Why don’t you follow me around? We can go jump that oxer over there together!” And I was like “ok! Yeah that sounds fun.” But when I turned to follow this horse my rider wouldn’t let me! So I stopped, and I tried to tell her that it would be SO MUCH MORE FUN if we followed the other horse. But she wouldn’t listen!
Ollie I tend to get jittery in the startbox, but nothing crazy happened. Trainer J was giving me some last minute advice, etc etc. I just walked/trotted in some circles around it. Does anyone else get this rush of adrenaline when the starter starts to say “10, 9, 8…”? I totally do. (CONFESSION TIME. I didn’t have my helmet cam bc my new helmet does not have an attachment. And no way am I putting one on! New helmet is way to pretty. I guess I just have to buy another less-pretty helmet.)
jump one was nice and easy, it was a slight uphill from the startbox, but nothing extreme.
Oliver: jump one was sad… I wanted to do the jump on the far left with the green and white numbers, but my rider wanted to do this little one. She is weird guys.
Maren: Jump two had a kinda weird approach, you had to go right up beside the bushes that were on the left, and just hug the side for a while to get the right line.
Oliver: jump two was better, but I still thought it was too small. Also my rider made me stay out beside the hedge FOREVER before letting me turn towards it.
Maren:I forgot the get pictures of jumps three and four… sorry? Jump three was a new looking wooden ramp with pink flowers, Ollie looked at it, but we got over!
Jump four was very sad. I think it was about 10” high. It was a bending line from 3-4… and they put jump 4 on the SMALLEST little down hill, but it was sad. Very VERY sad. These jumps are supposed to be 2’9” not 10”!! (Don’t get me wrong, I find nothing “wrong” about a 10” jump. I just feel that it should have been bigger given the fact that Entry hight is not 10”. And 10” should not pose a problem to anyone going Entry, so why even put it there?)
Oliver: #3 was pretty scary. I was the bravest horse ever though and safely carried my rider over it. She turned me to the right, and I almost fell on my face! Someone had accidentally placed a large stick on the little downhill slope!
Maren: back on track though, jump #5 was actually Max hight, and on top of a hill, so it made up for the lack of difficulty regarding #4. It jumped very nicely:)
Oliver: jump five was ok. It still seemed a little small to me, but my rider didn’t seem bothered by it…?
Maren: then is was This one, I only noticed when I walked it my third time that it was a open flag option… you could jump this, or, if you wanted to do something harder, you could jump through two really tall bushes on the left. I just did the one on the right.
Oliver: my rider had me jump this one a little right-to-left, and I totes aced it😏
Maren: then a nice straightish line to this one:
this line was a bucket of mash. Super easy. It was a little weird though, around this point on the course my rider started blabbing away about how awesome I was or something. I wasn’t really paying much attention.
Maren: Then it was off into no mans land.
Oliver: I wasn’t 100% sure about leaving all my friends behind, but I was having so much fun I didn’t care.
Maren: Then the weird bit… after that jump there was a long gallop stretch, then a REALLY TIGHT right turn to down a steap hill, once you get down onto the new path, there is a creek that runs along beside it with a small beach area. While I was on the ridge, I saw someone walking around on the path below me (where I was headed) I called out “coming through!” As I was cantering down the hill. When I got to the bottom, there was people swimming!😲 Luckily Ollie wasn’t to badly spooked by them, and I was able to just continue on… but what if someone had a spooky horse? Or didn’t see the people like I did?
Oliver: we ran into some people! I wanted to stop and say hi, but my rider was totally weird and wouldn’t let me…
Maren: Then it was a bit more galloping, to jump #10. This one had a really bad approach. I’ll make a weird picture of how it looked.
it was a fairly simple approach to my next fence
Oliver: huh. I somehow missed the last couple fences… oops… moving on, this next jump was pretty good! It definitely wasn’t big enough for ME, but my rider was more then pleased with the height. The approach was weird.
Maren: the next jump was a nice little drop! Ollie didn’t mind it at all and the approach was fine.
next it was the A-B. I always have trouble getting the striding in related distances as Ollie’s stride is naturally shorter… but WE ONLY GOT TWO STRIDES! YEAH.
the crowd beside the gigantic puddle went crazy the minute they saw me! What can I say? I am magnificent.*
*umm… Ollie? That’s not really what happened…
Maren: then… it was the BRUSH MONSTER. Actually, Ollie didn’t even glance at it😂 ha! Now I feel embarrassed lol.
then it was down hill to this drop.
Oliver: we ran towards this awesome looking fence, it had stuff coming out the top! Super cool!!!!!!! My rider seemed a little nervous of it, can’t figure out WHY she was though. Then it was down this weird step thingy. I don’t know why we didn’t just go around it but whatever.
then we just had to go over the last one, THEN WE WERE DONE!!!
I jumped this last jump thing, then my rider made me stop so she could get off. I don’t know why we couldn’t do it again? She started pulling all my boots and other tack all and then I had to have a bath. I don’t like baths.
overall, I am SO pleased with how the whole event went! Yes, Dressage needs work. (But hey! Guess who’s having a dressage clinic?) and so does Stadium. We need to work on ground manners. There is, and always will be, an endless supply of work that I “need” to accomplish. But that’s only looking at the bad. We got through dressage with a 40.1, we got around Stadium without getting eliminated, and you know what I’m most happy about? My cross Country score. clear jump and 4 time faults. When I first saw those time faults, I was slightly disappointed, I’ve always gone a little too slow, and I realize that, but I’d honestly thought I’d been going FAST. Then… I looked more closely… our time was 4 minutes and 32 seconds. Optimum time was… 5 minutes and something. Minimum time was 4 minutes and something seconds. You know what that means? WE WENT TOO FAST. HOLY MOLY HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? Maybe it doesn’t make sense that I’m happy because I got time faults. But I am!
Since it was a two day event, Dressage and Stadium happened on the same day. Dressage was in the morning and Stadium Started a Little later at 10am (hahaha. Yup 10am was “later”) my main coach didn’t end up going to this event, but I managed to find someone else to coach me in the warmup rings. It was a bit harder, not because this other coach (let’s call her trainer J) was bad, not at all! She was quite good! But just because she doesn’t know what I normally do in my warmup, or what works for Me and Ollie, etc etc. But my warmup was pretty good. Ollie was definitely tense, (and I bet me being a little nervous didn’t help!) but he was willing to consider listening to me.
ok… we got a 7. Which is the best mark in the whole test. I think my attempt at a “smile” probably looked more like a grimace as I worked as hard as possible to keep Oliver on the bit.
huh. Half circle? That means… it’s supposed to look like a half square right? Again, a HUGE struggle to keep Ollie on the contract for even the two-three steps that we managed. Mark was 6.5
This can be accomplished by having the horse throw it’s weight into the front end then bolting for the middle of the arena. Forget about the up coming “circle” (6.5 was very generous of the judge!)
Comments include, but not limited to, “hurried, rushed, and shaped like a 0” Although a fun 1/4 of the circle WAS completed on a contact. So. We scored a 6.
I was unprepared for this, and the score reflects that at 5.5 but at least we Survived!😉
I actually thought this was pretty good. But apparently our pace changed, and we got a 6.
Here my circle was VERY shallow. It more resembled a straight line across the arena. We ended up with a 5 on it.
Ollie can up above the bit again, and I was wasn’t very good about my track. We got a 6 though.
The less said about this the better. 5.5
I needed to balance more, and the down transition was a bit rushed. 5.5
A little tense. But not bad. 6.5
Needs more “March” 6
Free walk has never been out strong point. We got a 6, which I think is actually the best mark I’ve ever gotten on it lol.
I think I got a 4.5 once. we could still use more strength in the walk and more stretch. But we can work on that.
some tension, and we needed more bend in the corner. 6
i should have done more preparation for the halt, but we got a 6. Overall, our score was 40.8. I mean. Not our best. But then not out worst either! Plus we had moved up a level! While I wouldn’t say I was 100% *happy* with it, I’m not annoyed with myself about it or anything like that. I realize that we have a lot to work on. But both Ollie and I have come such a long way from the four years ago when I first got him! Now on to Stadium…
I almost think it would be easier to just post the video. Ollie was good in the warmup, (although, I’m starting to think that I should change a couple things about my warmup routine… more on that later) and I was feeling pretty good going into the ring. The first “sign” that it wasn’t going to go according to plan was when I entered the ring and Ollie, would. Not. Walk. He had to trot, or canter. And I ended up in the top corner before the judge had dinged her bell. I did not get a good approach to jump one. At first, he saw it, and started pulling me towards it. I thought, this is awesome! He’s super eager! But then about two/three strides out he was like “NOPE” and started stalling. I gave him a little Whack, and he went over. (though very hesitantly) jump two was… fine. But don’t even ask me what happened at jump three. He brought the whole jump down lol. Then it was the
two three stride. Then an oxer on a weird angle, to a yellow upright, then a five stride line, around over the last jump which Ollie and I also bought crashing down. Hahahahahahaha. It felt awful, but again, at least we survived! (Btw, yes. I was starting to FREAK OUT about the thought of XC.)
videos of my Dressage test and Stadium round if you’re interested:
Ok! That’s all for now. I’ll try and get the XC part of my Adventure written and posted soon! Because I’m sure everyone is dying to hear about the horrifying Brush thing that is still giving me nightmares;-))
I went to a couple events with my horse Oliver this year (ahh! Sorry,) LAST year, which was really enjoyable! Some history; In 2017 I took him to one Event, and… let’s just say it didn’t go as planned. It was his first event ever, and my second. (Actually, third if you count the one where I rode my sisters horse Rasty and fell off basically into the water…) plus, it was only about my third time doing XC with him😬 we went Pre-Entry and I think At the time I was not quite sure about that… and then Ollie realized that I was not sure and it all summersaulted from there. We didn’t actually get eliminated. But we had the max number of refusals on XC and FOR REASONS UNKNOWN TO ME I spent forever trying to get him into the water instead of just going over the alternate jump after we decided he didn’t want to get his feet wet?? So we had mega HUGE time penalties as well. I also got heat stroke just as I was finishing my XC and pulled out of the rest of the event. ☹️🤷🏽♀️😑 It was around 37 degrees out though! And galloping around in 37 degree heat in long pants, long sleeve shirt, hard vest, air vest, pinny, helmet, Gloves, and tall leather boots is not the best way to stay cool. Just saying.
Anyways! That got off topic fast😂 back to the events I went to in 2018. The first one was easier, jump wise. it’s a great event to move up a level, or, in my case, to be able to go And have fun/get XC confidence back! I was really happy with Oliver, we went double clear on both XC and Stadium. And while our dressage needed work, it was mostly me just panicking and forgetting how to get Ollie on the bit. We didn’t place, but I’m fine with that because I had a blast and I’m still pretty happy about going double clear☺️
As for the next event we went to! while the first one we went to in 2018 is known to be easy, this one was known for the exact opposite. The Pre-Entry course looked like how to the Entry course did at my previous event! So of course I was panicking a little bit. It was also at the exact same time my coach was away on vacation! We’d arranged for a different instructor to coach me, which worked out… but was still slightly difficult. We got though Dressage in the normal fashion; we had a fantastic warm up, only to have me turn into a rubber chicken the moment we enter the dressage ring. The problem with finishing your Dressage test is that you know the next thing you have to do is go out on the XC field. So.. yeah.
XC day rolled around bright and sunny. We’d set up camp with some friends, and Breakfast was interesting. Basically it was my Mom, Dad, and my sister Brianna (the ones not riding) sitting there munching away and laughing while the rest of us (the ones riding) stared at our untouched plates, and tried to breathe. But of course we all wanted to watch the Prelim Horses go, as well as some of the other people who we knew at this event. the preliminaries got to ride first (Lucky them.) so we all went up to the top of the hill to watch… unfortunately about a gazillion people fell off!!! Which did absolutely nothing to soothe our nerves. Quite the opposite actually.
We were, at this point, obviously panicking. I actually had to sit down. So after we had seen everyone who we knew go (in the time that we had) we headed back down to the trailers to change and tack up. After all that was done, it was mostly just remembering to breathe. you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget how to do that! AND THEN while I was warming up, yet another person fell off!! (I believe they were fine though!) so that definitely didn’t help my nerves and was really unfortunate for them as well obviously!😢 Then I was on deck… I FINALLY got to walk around the start box, although I had to ask them. normally they let me know when I can walk in it. And then It was trying to breathe, not faint or have a panic attack, (I failed on the first one (breathing btw) again. Then 10, 9, 8… etc. And then go!! and the rest is pretty blurred, I remember realizing that I had no breaks just after jump 5, and taking in my first breath after jump number 9, (a good 3-4 minutes into my course, turns out someone can not breathe for awhile?) and then crossing the finish line after jump 15. It would be an understatement to say that I was happy. I was so pleased with both myself and Oliver, who had really given it his all.
Also I would like to say that my sister is the best!* She was ready at the finish line of XC with Gatorade for me and made sure ollie was cooled/sponged down. And Stadium passed by with a second double clear blur, earning us our first ribbon in eventing. We got 7th, I nice pretty purple ribbon, and loads of fun! I’m excited to event with Oliver this coming show season! I am hoping to move up to Entry level. Anyway, thanks for reading this, a lot of time and effort goes into just getting to the event and surviving the course of the weekend. Huge thanks to my sister, (who is the best human ever.) for being Ollie’s amazing groom, (and waking up WAAYYYY to early🙈) and thanks to my mom and dad for bringing me there and always having millions of water and Gatorade bottles on hand. And thank you to my amazing horse, who truly is one in a Million.💚
*sorry about that! My sister ran in and edited my post right before I published it… and added all that stuff in😑 all the stuff I crossed out was her, so Please don’t pay attention to it!