Stupid Log Oxers

On Friday following Spring Bay, MET had an open schooling day which gave us the chance to school the N XC course.

In true KB fashion, I let the words “move up” get into my head (why? I have no idea. We schooled N all of last year). I was nervous and my default position when I get worked up is hands on M’s neck, leg off and assume the fetal position.

Which works super well at a jump that petrifies you. Stupid Log Oxers.

I have no idea why this particular style of jump bothers me so much. I do know that out of all of the jumps on the Team Challenge course last fall, it was the one that I was flipping out about the entire course walk (which is sad, because it was maybe 2’3″). And when riding up to it, it looks GINORMOUS.

The one at Masterson has terrified me and every time I ride past it I can hear my brain going “NOPE NOPE NOPE”. I picture us landing in the middle of it because it feels so wide.  So of course, this was the first N fence we had to jump after we warmed up.

I did my normal whimpering and Julie responded without batting an eye “you’ll be fine!”. So we jumped the first few, then galloped towards it.

And I assumed the fetal position. M stopped. Three attempts and Julie screaming “GET YOUR BUTT IN THE SADDLE” later, we made it over. And then jumped it again. I rode away from it as fast as I could as Julie reminded me that its a permanent jump at Masterson and I will be schooling it all summer. Blech.

When in doubt fling your body and lay on their neck


The rest of schooling went okay. We had several stops-well run outs-because he would get heavy, pull me out of the saddle and get long, then run out left last minute. It became a bit of a vicious cycle, as it caused me to lose confidence in him, which only made me ride worse and caused him to do it more. After a fit that I am not proud of (beating him in the middle of the XC field while yelling “YOU JUMPED THESE 5 DAYS AGO ON COURSE” and realizing that had it been a show I would have been handed a red card)  we adjusted my reins to the lower ring on his 3 ring, and I had a bit more whoa, it got better. Julie continued to yell “GET YOUR BUTT IN YOUR SADDLE” and “GET YOUR HANDS UP”. We still had a couple stops, but overall better.

Novice house? No problem. Starter and BN? Let me be a turd at them


Julie used this one to point out how good my position is when I SIT MY BUTT IN THE TACK


We jumped our first Trakehner without an issue which was awesome and our first mini Weldon’s wall (extra fun when you don’t realize its a ditch in front until you are right in front of it).

And back to laying on his neck because what else do you do when jumping scary jumps?


So we definitely have a lot to work on before MayDaze but at least (other than stupid log oxers) the questions and the size aren’t the issue. M is pretty brave, just not an easy ride. So I’m going to spend the next month working on sitting back, getting my butt in the saddle and getting my hands up.

Spring Bay HT-Day 2

Sunday late morning we loaded up and headed to Masterson. Marcus was super chill while we were taking up and as we headed to the warm up. I was a bit worried because normally he’s super up-jigging, spooking, just being a general PITA. He warmed up pretty quiet and we jumped a couple Xrails before jumping a log and a coop. Again, super quiet. Julie had me slice the coop to make sure we could jump at an angle because of some of the approaches on course. We headed to the box  and I took a deep breath. Only one jump was bugging me on course-fence 3 which was a rampy table on a downhill approach. Blech. Julie told me to over ride to the first two fences because of their proximity to the warm up and to just sit up and kick at fence 3. Simple enough right?

We came out of the box at the first jump and I growled a bit. He landed, turned towards fence 2 and you could feel him dig in. That’s still the coolest feeling to me. Fence 3 jumped great despite my worries and we were all good until we landed off fence 7 where we came head to head with the rider before us. Marcus spooked and ran sideways so we wasted a bit of time trying to get forward again. He did that a few times on course between fences 8-11 but then was back to all business. I can’t blame him-we haven’t had to encounter another rider on course yet.

It was a fast (holy crap we came close to speed faults! That never happens), fun, confidence building course for us and we ended up finishing on our dressage score to stay in 5th. Mr. Mellow lost his marbles when we were done and proceeded to be the most annoying, obnoxious PITA horse ever back at the trailer.
Next up Novice at May Daze. Let the freaking out commence…

Spring Bay Horse Trial-Day 1

Marcus and I ran Spring Bay HT this weekend at the KHP/Masterson Park. Spring Bay was the unofficial start to what I am affectionately calling the “Balls to the Wall” show season in attempt to get ready for either AECs or Area 8 Championships.

I debated even entering as we hadn’t done much all winter and in previous years, it’s been an event in my opinion with bad juju (terrible flooding, snow, horse deaths, etc.) What ultimately made me enter was that I knew mentally I needed to run BN once more if I was going to attempt to move up this year.

I had a few lessons in March and felt pretty decent in stadium, but still felt really weak in dressage (our test at Paul Frazer CT was HORRIBLE) and hadn’t schooled XC since October. When the weather caused us to cancel our chances to school on the Sunday before, then again on Wednesday before SB, I came close to scratching because mentally, I knew I couldn’t do it cold. Luckily Julie fit me in for a lesson the night before SB and we jumped around some smaller XC fences at her place. I figured I would just see what I had when I got there.

Saturday I hauled over early so I could scribe for the morning (KY events is awesome-they treat their volunteers fantastic and you get a voucher good for free schooling or $10 off an entry for every 4h shift). I love scribing because you learn SO much. I finished up and headed out to braid and get ready for dressage.

Marcus was pretty mellow and while it wasn’t our best test to date, we did put in a solid effort to score a 36.1. We weren’t center on the CL for our entrance and his frame was too open after we did our first canter but I didn’t have an angry, tense horse like PF and we improved on our free walk (always something we struggle with). It sat us 5th of 19.

For stadium I had a little opps and didn’t get a chance to walk my course, so watched a few rounds and figured we’d be ok. Marcus warmed up mellow and I debated taking off our gag rein (recently added back after Julie ended my two year “you will learn to ride this horse in a loose ring snaffle and use your seat and body” punishment) but the Murphy ring is tight and I figured after our stadium round at prelim speed at PF, I might need a little whoa.  There were few growls for my own confidence (and maybe an F bomb dropped by accident at a big spot), but overall a good round

I took M home and he and Hillary’s Annie got to hang out for the night and stretch their legs and eat some grass.

Champagne Run CT

Despite my nerves, I entered Frankie in a little schooling show this past weekend. I went back and forth debating if the young pro should show him again, if we should each do a CT or if I should just show him. Ultimately I put my big girl panties on entered him with just me as the rider.

He loaded well (an issue we have been working on) and we headed over. I got there, got settled and he was a bit up, dancing around, kicking out, being a general PITA. So I gave him his breakfast then tacked him up and tossed him on the lunge. I spun him for maybe  5-10 minutes until he stopped trotting around like a standardbred at the meadowlands.

We headed to the warm up, and I was pretty nervous. I got on and he was nervous but really, really good. We trotted around and did a few transitions then headed to the indoor for our dressage test. He hacked down quietly  and stood like a champ waiting until our turn. We walked in and he quietly trotted around the outside of the dressage arena and we started our test.

 

Dude needs a mane tamer

Our Dressage test:

We had a few baby moments but overall he was SO good. Better than I could have expected! We got a 39.

We had about 2 hours before “stadium” (using that loosely because it was ground poles) so Frankie got to hang out and eat hay tied to the trailer like a grown up horse.

 

Practicing to be a good Ammie horse

 

He didnt mind be drug along like a dog on a leash because there was plenty of snacks!


For stadium, the warm up was in an open field next to a herd of cattle. He was much more nervous than in the morning, but held his composure well even with kids riding up behind him and with an exploding greenie. In stadium he tried hard to be good and overall he was. We have to work on his head tossing straight up in the air but that will come (not sure where that habit came from). His last 4 trot poles were perfect.

 

Our “stadium” round:

We ended up finishing on our dressage score to place 2nd out of 6! I was super proud of him-especially since he took it all in stride and took care of my nervous self. Not bad for a 4 year old and his nervous rider!

MSEDA Official’s Training

This past weekend I went to the Midsouth Eventing and Dressage Association (MSEDA) Official’s training at Flying Cross Farm in Goshen KY. My trainer talked me into it so that I could become a stadium judge. The process includes attending a training, shadowing two judges for a minimum of 8 hours and taking a test. I did quite a bit of jumper judging in my hunter days as  barter for my entry fees so I figured it could be fun.

The morning started with a power point presentation by Wayne Quarles. He did a really good job explaining the roles of officials (judge, TD, PGJ, CD) and then we moved into reviewing rules. Luckily things are pretty similar to normal jumpers so much of it was review. Next we watched several videos that demonstrated things like when to call a refusal versus a jumping effort when a horse crashes a jump and what is considered crossing your path.



After lunch we went out and walked a Novice stadium course so Wayne could have us point out what was legal/not legal (such as a one stride vs a two stride) and what was legal but not appropriate for the level (such as a swedish). I learned a ton and I can’t wait to shadow this summer and take my test.




The hope is to work off a bit of my entry fees for my balls to the wall schedule this summer 🙂

First lesson back

After a few weeks of sass filled flat work, I hauled Marcus over to my trainers this weekend to see what I had over fences. I am entered in a CT in two weeks and figured as much as I was dreading it, I needed to jump around to see where we were.

First showed his unhappiness with me daring to *gasp* load the trailer while he was out by galloping around the pasture for 5 minutes. Idiot.

 


Lucky for me this seemed to take the edge off.

Ever the optimist, I left his boots and my spurs in my trailer since I figured we would mostly flat and maybe hop over a few X-rails like our first lesson back last year.

I warmed up for a few minutes, instantly regretting the lack of spurs as Marcus spun at a) a dog, b) a person walking up and c) a pole on the ground. It was going to be ugly.

Luckily, something clicked in his brain and after a couple ugly unfocused X-rails, we got his attention and added a a vertical. We gradually built the course and jumped around fairly well and with decent manners for just coming back.

Julie had me focus on two things. First, she reminds me to square my shoulders the the jump-this gets me to tip them back and use my body which helps tremendously since  my default position is fetal while repeating “shit shit shit”.  Second, was to keep his stride “bouncy” and package him up, especially later in course. Marcus likes to build and by half way through the course, he thinks we need to jump BN at prelim pace.

Our final good trip. He felt awesome:

 

 

And here folks is why core strength is essential. Opps.

Overall we had two bad fences but he was obedient and happy. I’ll take that!

2017 Show Schedule

Since I mailed in my first entry of the year last week, I thought I probably ought to (tentatively)  map out my season so I had an idea of what we are going to do this year.

Marcus

Marcus is going to a CT at the end of March and then we will start HTs in April. The goal, as of now is to run BN at Spring Bay and move up to N at May-Daze. That being said, if I don’t feel ready that move up isn’t going to happen as I am still nervous about the jump up in height and technical difficulty. I keep reminding myself that a) we were schooling N and T last year and b) I was this nervous moving up from starter to BN and we did fine. But again, no need to move up if we aren’t ready.

My schedule is pretty heavy on the KHP shows, and while I would love to show elsewhere, it adds considerable expense compared to showing at a venue that is 10 minutes up I75. I hope to make it to IEA in IN as my “away” show this year.

  Dates Show Location
March      
  25 Paul Frazier CT KHP Lexington KY
April      
  8-9 Spring Bay HT (USEA) KHP/Masterson Lexington KY
May      
  13 Sayre School CT Masterson Station Lexington KY
  20 Wilderness Trace CT Meadowlake KY
  27-28 May-Daze HT (USEA) KHP Lexington KY
June      
  3-4 IEA HT (USEA) Edinburgh, IN
  24-25 Midsouth PC HT (USEA) KHP Lexington, KY
July      
  8 Bourbonwood CT Georgetown KY
  15-16 Champagne Run HT (USEA) KHP Lexington, KY
September      
  1-3 AEC or Area 8 Championships KHP/Tryon NC
  16-17 Flying Cross HT (USEA) Goshen, KY
  30 Jumpstart HT (USEA) KHP Lexington KY
October      
  21-22 Team Challenge HT (USEA) KHP Lexington KY

Frankie

Frankie will likely do one schooling show a month if I can swing it. Champagne Run holds schooling CTs and MT and there are a few other places we can go (dates havent been posted yet). My goal with him is to do starter at Octoberfest over halloween weekend.