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!
1. What is the first thing you do when you get to the barn?
When I go out to the barn in the morning the first thing I’ll do is get the horses fed. I’ll probably clean the paddocks/stalls then, or sometimes I’ll go inside and eat my breakfast first then do them later. The second time I’ll go out to the barn will probably be to ride, and I’ll get Ollie in from the paddock right away, then be a meanie and make him wait in the cross ties while I brush him and get all his tack out. Then out again a third time to feed dinner.
2. Is their a breed that you would never own?
I’m fairly open to whatever, but I can’t see myself wanting a Gaited horse. At least not as my main riding/competition horse. If someone offered me a free Icelandic I’d take it!
3. Describe your last ride?
Um, XC! More on that to come later!
4. Have any irrational riding fears?
5. Describe your favorite lesson horse?
TYSON! (Lesson Ponies count right?) I LOVE TYSON! BEST PONY EVER! I started riding him when I was, um, little? Around 8? 9? Wow my old brain can’t remember. I was little. Anyways, he is a 14.2hh bay pony, who was gelded at 9, and thinks he’s the king of the world and can’t be bothered. His mane is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. I think he’ll be 26+ this year, but I was never completely sure about his age. I leased him for awhile, took my lessons on him, went to a YR XC clinic with him where I jumped 2’9” for the first time! and did my first ever event with him. (I forget our dressage score, but we got a run out on fence 1 on XC, a bunch of time, and double clear stadium) I continued to lease him for a bit after I first got Ollie, while we were seeing if he’d be a fit, and I miss riding him so much! I also did a fox hunt with him! (Drag scent! No live fox used)
6. Would you ever lease out your horse?
As of now, no. Down the road? Maybe. Depends on how things go. 7. Mares: Yay or neigh?
I really honestly don’t have much of a preference. I know some grumpy mares that I would not want, but I know some amazing ones as well!
8. How many times per week do you get to see your horse?
8 days a week. The bonus of having your horse live with you! 9. Favorite thing to do on an “easy day” with your pony?
Grab a rope halter and go for a bareback walk/trot if it’s windy/rainy, (no canter though because Ollie gets to excited and starts trying to buck lol) or a relaxing trail ride. I love both!
10. Conformational flaw that bothers you the most?
Agh! I’m FAR from an expert, but there is a lot of things that I don’t like the look of! Anything weird with the legs is ☹️
11. Thing about your riding that your most self conscious about?
I don’t really have one thing that I’m “more” self conscious about then anything else, so really just everything. 12. Will you be participating in no stirrup November?
I’ll try and do what I normally is, which is to warmup with my Stirrups (I don’t like the thought of bouncing around on Ollie’s back if he isn’t warmed up) then work on one Stirrup/no Stirrups. Although I generally try and do a little no Stirrups every now and then, it’s nice to have a reminder lol.
13. What is your grooming routine?
Get Ollie from the paddock, pick his feet (and check his legs), brush his mane and tail, then I use a dandy brush with a couple quick swipes with a soft brush to finish off. My un-tacking routine is more complicated. I take all his tack off, (hose him down if it’s summer and he’s hot) scrub him all over with a jelly, then I use my soft brush. If he did a hard workout I’ll put liniment on his legs. Then he gets Neem oil or Sudocrem on his belly.
14. Describe a day in the life of your horse?
If it’s summer he’s outside 24/7, so probably;
eat, eat, sleep, eat, go for a ride, eat, eat, sleep, eat…
and pretty much the same for winter, except he comes into his stall with a run out at night.
15. Favorite season for riding?
16. If you could only have 1 ring: indoor or outdoor?
I love love love the indoor, and it’s super handy, but I don’t think I could handle only having a indoor to ride in. So… outdoor? If I could have a big grassy field though, then I’d choose indoor and use the field for my outdoor 😉 the question said one ring. Nothing about fields!
17. What impresses you most about the opposite discipline (english vs. western)?
I like how most western horses I’ve met seem to have better ground manners! Versus some of the horses I see at events who are pulling their riders around (my horse included! Need to work on that.) I’m also impressed with how much they have to ride from their seat, not the hand. That would be hard!
18. You have unlimited funds to buy one entire tack set for your horse, what is he/she wearing?
DO. NOT. GET. ME. STARTED.
19. How many blankets do you have? When do you blanket?
Ollie has 2 fly sheets that he wears in the summer unless it’s too hot. I do blanket him in the winter as I clip, and sometimes it goes down to -8 (coldest I can recall it ever getting was -11) so he has 2 rainsheets, one has a removable hood, one 100 gram with a removable hood, a 180 stable sheet, a 220 gram that has the cutest pattern, and a 350 gram with a removable neck. Oh plus about 4 coolers. My horse has more jackets then I do.
20. What is your horse’s favorite treat? Favorite place to be scratched?
He will eat ANYTHING. Although I think Carrots, nickers, or Gatorade are his favourites! He like to get scratched on his belly, chest, and everywhere that the bridle would sit on his face.
21. Something about your barn that drives you crazy?
I really like my barn, but no water inside the barn drives me crazy. We do have a hose that’s only about 50 feet away, and the hose reaches into the barn, so it’s not that big a deal though.
22. Roached manes, pulled manes, or long flowing manes
I like the look of pulled manes, although I don’t think I’d ever do it. So I like to use scissors. But Ollie rubs his mane out in the summer (😳) and I always end up having to roach it. He’s cute with a Mohawk at least!
23. Can you handle a buck or a rear better?
I’d rather ride a buck then a rear. Rearing freaks me out. The thought that the horse could fall on you? Yikes! And while bucking seems harder to stick, and least you can keep your forward motion? Ollie unfortunately used to (still does occasionally 😑) do both. The rearing is always more scary because I’ll doing everything I can but he won’t stop. With bucking I can just grab one rein and make him stop. (Video is 2 years old btw lol, but the only one I can find.)
24. I would never buy a horse who ___________________?
Rears? Huh. What does this say about Ollie? Had bad confirmation.
25. Favorite facial marking?
Either a BIG snip, or a cute gigantic blaze like Ollie has:) or nothing.
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.
A Enter working trot. C track right.
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.
B to E half circle right.
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
Between H and C development working canter right lead.
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!)
C circle right 20m working canter.
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.
between B and F working trot.
I was unprepared for this, and the score reflects that at 5.5 but at least we Survived!😉
K-X-M change rein working trot.
I actually thought this was pretty good. But apparently our pace changed, and we got a 6.
E to B half circle left.
Here my circle was VERY shallow. It more resembled a straight line across the arena. We ended up with a 5 on it.
Between M and C development working canter left lead.
Ollie can up above the bit again, and I was wasn’t very good about my track. We got a 6 though.
C circle left 20m working canter
The less said about this the better. 5.5
between E and K working trot.
I needed to balance more, and the down transition was a bit rushed. 5.5
K-F working trot.
A little tense. But not bad. 6.5
F-B medium walk.
Needs more “March” 6
B to H change rein free walk.
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.
H-C medium walk. C working trot.
some tension, and we needed more bend in the corner. 6
A down centre line X halt salute.
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 twothree 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;-))