Wowza, it’s been awhile since I last blogged! I’m really not sure where to start. If you follow me on Instagram (Maren_Eventing) then you probably aren’t too far behind on what’s been going on around here (spoiler if you aren’t on Insta, absolutely nothing.).
Obviously, I haven’t really been doing anything Lately because of Covid, and therefore don’t have a lot too update anyone on, but My coach opened back up for lessons earlier this month! I had a fabulous jump lesson* a week or two (who can keep track anymore?) ago, and I have another one booked for tomorrow as long as the weather corporates.
* social distancing style of course!
I think I’ll just stick a bunch more pictures from My last lesson and leave it at that for today… I really want to start blogging more again, but it almost feels like I need to do some massive update on what’s happened in the past 6 or so months? No way that’s actually going to happen so I’m just going to pretend I’ve been blogging and try too start up again. Maybe I’ll do a lesson recap sometime in the next week or so after my lesson tomorrow.
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!
Maren: OllieI 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!
This post is going to be big and a random bunch of stuff, but please bare with me. First off, lesson yesterday! My coach started off by setting up a zigzag bounce that looked like this;
which we trotted through with the poles on the ground. We cantered through, Then coach put two of them up into jumps. Once we’d done that we repeated in the other way, then coach put the remaining two poles up into jumps and we cantered through.
Annddd… I made a bit of a mess of it. But we went through again and it was good. And we went through it the other direction as well.
We’d been doing this bounce, then around to another bounce besides the barrel jump. We switched things up through so that instead of the second bounce we would do the Barrel/Tarp jump. Ollie didn’t realize that, he still thought we were jumping the bounce (my fault.) so when he say the tarp he just stopped. Also, tarps are the one thing that Ollie seems to be scared of.
once the “drama” had been resolved, we jumped it off of left rein.
then it turned into a little course; yellow upright, stone wall, bounce, yellow upright going the other way, barrels, FORGET COURSE! (But It should have been triple combination, into the indoor and out over the blue polka dot to red upright line.)
Coach raised the two line sides, the stone wall, and the second two jumps in the triple combination up to (😳) three foot. (coach also laughed and said that Entry would now look easy. Not sure that will happen but what ever lol) and after a walk break we went and did that.
Weee!!!🥳🥳🥳🥳🥳🥳🥳🥳 can I say how much I love my pony?!? Bc I don’t think I say it enough! He was totally opening up his stride and giving me his all! And the striding was actually tight for him on the last line. (Hence the rail) which is a new thing for us! Hehe. (Can u tell how pleased I am that I’ve now survived TWO courses at 3’?)
on to the next order of business, Lilliput! She’s been doing great in her ground driving! And I finely got new tires for her buggy…. can you see where this is going?
I’ve had her pull her buggy a couple times recently, either with me leading by her head, or standing behind the buggy and walking along with the reins to give her an idea of leading by herself. (not sure if that’s the right way to train or not… maybe don’t do it? Worked for me though.) so today when I took her over to my coach’s arena, and she was being SO GOOD! I just couldn’t resist hopping in. I only went around once, I didn’t want to over do anything:) but I did get to ride down coach’s driveway and then up mine.
(sorry, Video is sideways.)
I’m veerrrryyy tempted to put more photos, but I’m trying to tell myself that I’ve already posted so many.
also, I’ve now got an Instagram! although I have no idea how to use it… so please go check it out at Poniesandpotter! And questions for anyone who have a blog and Instagram, how to you get your Instagram feed to show at the bottom of your blog? Right now I’m thinking It’s wizardry. (Hey! Maybe I should just send a letter to Dumbledore and ask him.)
Recap on the h/j show that was on Saturday! It was at a local venue so my Sister and I hacked over. Since the format of the show has the Hunters go in the morning then the Jumpers after, we were able to arrive a little later in the day then normal, Which was lovely! It also meant that I didn’t have to wake up at 5am 😉 it’s always very unpredictable about when you should show up if your riding the Jumpers. Like I said, hunters go first, and they start at 8am. The height options for Hunters are x-poles, 2’, 2’3”, 2’6”, and 2’9”, And there is never a very large group of people in the Hunters. And you can NEVER guess what/how many rounds each person is planning on. So… show up in between 9:30-1? Luckily my coach had a couple students in the Hunters, and I was able to phone her and ask how things were going. She read out the order of go to me as well, so I could go;
40 rounds at 1 1/2 minutes each, means 1 hour, add in 30 minutes for raising the jumps a couple times, and the 30 minute lunch break, you have 2 hours! Which put us at 11am. We left at 10:15, and got there at 10:50ish. They were just finishing with the last couple Hunter riders, so we’d gotten there a Little earlier then need be… but it worked out. I hopped off and stood in the shade with Ollie for a bit, and Brianna got a longer warm up on fox. Once the jumps had been changed and lunch break was over, the show started back up again with 2’3” jumpers. Brianna and Foxy had two awesome rounds at that height! I think Brianna is pleased, and fox was a really good girl! I managed to get a couple warm up jumps in while the 2’3” class was on. Trot into the upright, canter the upright, canter the oxer… and done! The jumps got raised up to 2’6”, and Ollie and I headed in. 2’3” and 2’6” were being run as speed classes, with no jump off. We got in pretty tight with all the jumps, and I could have gone more forward… but we got around Clear! Although… slightly embarrassing, I forgot to cross the finish line. 🤯 IN MY DEFENCE, none of the other people in Jr did either. Lol… the last two jumps in the 2’6” course were VERY mean. 7-8 was a bending line, 7 just had some small flowers, but 8 had the big box ones under it. Then it was a SUPER SHORT turn to jump 9, which was a BRICK WALL.
It looks tamer in the video then how it was to ride. (Also, fun fact, listen with volume and you can hear my coach yell “yeehaw! Good girl!) also you can see how I turned JUST in front of the timing pole after jump 9, if I’d gone just 5 feet more! Oh well lol. The jumps got raised up to 2’9”, and Ollie and I went out again. (You will be getting pictures instead of a video, bc my phone is being annoying and is taking forever to load the videos.)
then I did a second round at 2’9”, before the jumps went up to 3’. Let’s be honest here. To me, 3’ Looks huge. But Ollie felt awesome, and he was SUCH a good boy! First ever course at 3’ success!!🎉
Then we got to go do our jump off, and coach was like “ok, so if you can, take the inside turns!” Haha… maybe I should have tried them at a lower height first?!? But we did one inside turn (that I am ridiculously proud of) but skipped out on the other as we were on the wrong lead. Here’s my 3’ round, I’ll put the jump off after. (Again, fun fact, listen with volume and you can hear these two people talking about Ollie in the background when we go through the A, B. You can also hear me clucking 😂)
The first inside turn I was going to try was after jump one, turning inside the green oxer but still going around the blue upright. Unfortunately, I forgot I was planning that when I was lining myself up for jump one, and I ended up jumping in with to much of an angle. We also landed on left lead, and I could tell it wasn’t going to happen. The second one however, worked! After jump off jump #4 (regular jump #5) the green oxer, we turned inside of the brick wall, where the route everyone else went was around the brick wall, blue and white spots, and red gate.
That put us at an angle coming towards jump off jump #5 (reg jump #6) but luckily my coach is always having me practice jumping on angles, so it wasn’t that hard for Ollie. we got actually got a REALLY nice jump over it. Which is nice, especially since that was the jump that I thought looked HUGE and much bigger then the rest.
once I’d finished that round, I was just walking Ollie around the arena waiting for Brianna to get on Foxy, (she’d dismounted to wait for me while I was riding) but then I look over, and there is Foxy in her halter… what? Apparently, Brianna had been passing the reins to my mom, so that she could put Foxys hoof booots on for the trail ride home, but my mom didn’t catch them before Brianna let them go or something… and Foxy stepped on them… then lifted her head up… and the bit feel off the bridle. Luckily, the way Fox pulled her head up meant that she’s totally fine! And when she pulled it didn’t put pressure on her mouth. But regardless, the bit and reins were now on the ground. I suggested attaching the bit to the halter… but we weren’t sure how well that would work lol. Brianna (can’t blame her) didn’t really want to ride the excited baby TB back home in a halter, so we kinda just sat there for a bit thinking about what to do. Finally I came up with the idea to use Fox’ Bridle as a bitless. She uses a Micklem, and they can double as bitless bridles, so we figured it would work. I mean… it worked for a bit? Once we got about 5-10 minutes down the trail (past the “hippie” campsite that I was explaining Here. This time there was a shirtless tattooed dude with a vicious dog + 3 school buses + 5 cars) Brianna Realized that she had no brakes, so I went in front and boxed Foxy in. The worst part was when we were almost home and we were going down our road, and Fox was sooooo excited. Then a truck zooms by, and fox let’s out this big buck… luckily B stayed on. And we were right across the road from our coach’s driveway. So B was able to kinda trot across the road and I followed then grabbed Fox from on top of Ollie, and we were able to get her to stop by putting Ollie in front of her. (he’s such a good boy lol) I held fox while B jumped off, then I left and went up my driveway 😂 Ollie got hosed off, offered the whole bag of horse cookies, then put out in the grassy paddock to graze. Turns out we won stuff to! We got reserve high point in the juniors, and I won a polo shirt for the judges pick award? The judges pick award is kinda just what is sounds like. The judge gets to pick someone, then they give them a award for what they liked about that persons rounds. Apparently I was very consistent with all my rounds… so free polo shirt with the equestrian clubs logo!
haha, we were definitely overdue for this! Recently my coach has been into angled jumps, I personally love angled jumps! So I’m not complaining 😁 in my lesson just over a week ago, we did this course;
it was very fun! But SOOOO hard to set up! Like omg, it took forever. It was making sure that all the striding was right while making sure that nothing was blocking the path of anything else that took so long! And, of course, dragging the poles and standards around. I don’t really recall much from that lesson. (Ugh, my memory is horrible) but the course I did today was this one;
Ollie was a bit stiff in his hind end, so we decided to only do X-poles, which he seemed totally ok with! First we trotted into the second jumps in the lines, (the jump on the bottom right and then the one on the bottom left) just cutting in before the first fence and leg yielding out. Then we put the jumps together and cantered through.
Then the angled lines;
Then we put the whole thing together, first jumping the oxer in the middle by itself going away, then right hand turn- across the diagonal, through the vertical line, left turn across the second angled line, then through the oxer line. We had a couple “questionable” moments, but Ollie felt good! And I somewhat remembered how to ride… so overall, it was definitely a success!