What my horse thinks of Dressage.
(Picture is from my last event. Used with purchase)
What my horse thinks of Dressage.
(Picture is from my last event. Used with purchase)
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!
I really need to be more on top of blogging, but I haven’t had much to post about? I haven’t been doing anything unusual, or new, etc etc… I’ve Gone on a couple trail rides! (IT HAS BEEN SUNNY.) and that is nice. I had a lesson, which was also nice. And that’s kinda it.
the one exciting thing, I have a schooling show coming up! It’s just one of the local ones, so I can trail ride over. (Trail ride PAST THE GOLF COURSE 😩) It is always nice to not have to trailer! It’s a “Clear Rounds” day, so you just go and jump around a bit. There is no Judge, and not a “set” course. (although, there is normally a course posted, but you can make up your own if you like.) you can school over all the scary* stuff though.
*scary “ish”. I’ve jumped it all multiple times, and they hardly ever repaint/get new jumps… so it’s nothing new for Ollie or me. Unless they DID get new jumps over the winter????? That would be awesome.
currently the list of “scary” jumps is this:
fake (plastic) brick wall.
white hunter gate. (used in Jumper to though.)
brown hunter gate. (Also used in Jumpers.)
Plank painted with Bricks/tunnel thing.
large red (plastic) plank.
small green (plastic) plank. (Used in both Hunters and Jumpers.)
large flower boxes. (VERY scary.)
and lots of little flowers for jump Fill.
that’s about it. But it’s nice being able to just school. And get you and your horse out for the first time of the year😂 the bad part, is that because it is the first outing of the year, everyone’s horses are crazy and out of control. And the warmup arena is quite small. So it’s a bit like a game of bumper horses.
That video is pretty old, (1 year? 2 years?) but it gives you the general idea! I tried to find the video of Ollie and I doing the Jumpers, as they didn’t put any fill out at that show. (For the Hunters anyway) and I wanted to get a picture of that Brick wall! But no luck so far!
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!