Saturday, 14 June 2014

Lesson Time

For the first time in weeks it did not rain on Wednesday so I was finally able to have a jumping lesson.

I have been riding the mare in a hackamore at home lately so I threw that on so the coach could see it in action.  The consensus?  We both like her in it but we both really like how it forces me to use my legs an core.

The whole lesson focused on keeping her slow.  Very slow.  When she gets fast she takes one step to the side and we are already blowing past the fence.  There was a two stride set up and I could keep her nice and compressed until after the first fence, at which point she takes off.  So we worked at stopping in the middle.  The goal was to stop with enough room to trot the next fence.  I was struggling to get the stop but as soon as my coach said "You were a western rider, sit your butt in the saddle and make her stop" it clicked.  I was able to get the stop and we had one trot stride to the fence.

We then put it into a course and I rode like I was going to stop but then asked her to keep going.  It resulted in us getting 3 strides in the 2 but at least I was in control!

So Shiny!
There were lots of tight turns that really forced me to turn with my body and legs since if I tried with my hands the mare shot her head up into the air and didn't even try and turn.  The hackamore really highlights my shortcomings.

Overall it was a productive ride but it sure wasn't easy.  My abs hurt by the time we were done, which I guess actually is a good thing.
DogDog is liking being a barn dog!

Friday, 13 June 2014

Beaumont HT - Sunday

Since I didn't ride until later in the day on Sunday I got to sleep in again!  I got up and went and walked my x-country course once more and watched the prelim riders go before going to pick up the mare.  It was nice and relaxed morning.  The mare is completely content to stand at the trailer by herself all day.  I have to say that it is really nice!

I love my truck.  And thanks to Isabel for letting me use her trailer
We got prepped and hopped up on to warm up.  We did a ton of transitions in our flat warm up in an effort to remind her that I pick the speed.  Our over fences warm up had a few bobbles.  We had a couple of run-outs at the oxer and she tried to run-out when we took the vertical at an angle but I was able to channel her over it, at the angle I asked for.

We sure look the part...
In the start box I was very nervous again but at least this time I didn't feel like I was going to vomit.  We had planned to trot the first fence to start on a good note and it turned out to be the right choice.  She was a little wiggly but I growled, spanked her and she decided jumping was a good idea.  A short "S" shaped canter to the next fence (which was the one that saw me fall off at the derby) and she popped over no problem.  We had a fairly long canter before we doubled back to Fence 3.  This was the fence with the Pre-Training fence in the line.  The plan was to keep as close to the fence to get a straight line.  This backfired slightly.  She spooked hard at the fence and I twisted my bad ankle.  We then had a run-out at the jump.  I represented and had yet another run-out.  This was the first time she didn't jump on the represent.  I got her over it on the third time and the official photographer got a fabulous shot of us over it.

I trotted into Fence 4 to get her mind back in the game and she responded well.  We then cantered up and over the little hill to the coop at 5 and she flowed right over it.  We cantered into the water and to the Pheasant Feeder at 6.  We picked up yet another run-out :(  No problem on the second time and the train that was next rode beautifully.   Fence 9 was the headstones and unfortunately we picked up our 4th run-out, effectively eliminating us.  I jumped her over it and started the long walk to the vet.

I was made to dismount by Control (via jump judge) and walk on foot.  Unfortunately my ankle was incredibly bad and I could hardly hobble.  It took me 10 minutes to get to the vet.  Thankfully Isabel met me there and walked the mare back and I was able to hitch a ride on a quad to my rig.

Isabel then hooked up her truck to the trailer and took the mare home so that I could go home and ice my ankle.  Turns out I sprained it.  It was bruising by the time I got home.  I guess it's time to look into a brace that will actually fit in my tall boot.

It was a very disappointing end to the weekend but I'm choosing to focus on a fabulous round on Saturday.  We are heading back out next Wednesday to school and then I'm off to Cochrane for a clinic with Sandra Donnelly.  We will get this figured out.

Photo by A Sharper Image

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Beaumont HT - Course

So I just bought the CourseWalk app and I have to say I was less than impressed (especially for $10!)  Every time I wanted to take a photo it crashed and I had to restart it.  I contacted support and they've been great but they can't pinpoint why.  Here's hoping it works in Cochrane. Because of the glitch I missed some photos.

This is the fence I fell off at during the derby.

I'm standing right beside the Pre-Training jump to get this photo

New jump!

It was up and over a hill to get to this coop

The headstones, almost every horse knocks these.

The dreaded airplane, complete with new gravel to give it a scary terrain change

Bank up, down was not required but it is only 1 stride (2 if you're crawling) across.

I think we've jumped this during schooling?

In the pipeyard with yet another strange approach necessary due to other fences

Last fence, also one we haven't schooled before.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Beaumont HT - Saturday

My ride times: 

Saturday -Dressage @ 12:28
              -Stadium course walk at 3:00
Sunday-X-Country @ 1:23

One of my new favourite photos of the Red Mare

It was very strange to sleep in on a horse show day.  I got to the barn and loaded up the mare shortly before 10 and was on the grounds for 10:30.  I decided to braid at the trailer because she actually stands better at the trailer than she does at the barn.  Braiding went quick, that is until I got to her forelock and then it all fell apart.  She was not interested in me touching it, never mind braiding it.  In the end I could not get it braided with the time and lack of help.

Dressage was on grass so I tossed in little corks and headed off to warm up.  Our warmup was FABULOUS despite the fact that my coach was nowhere to be found!  She was forward but contained, supple and responsive.  We did a bunch of spiral in and out to loosen up her shoulders.  I was feeling pretty good so I headed over to find out how many riders before me.  The whipper in stated I was in now, and I needed to get moving.  I should have told her that I wanted to take a few minutes (since they were running early) but I was flustered and managed a single trot around the outside.  The mare has never seen a dressage ring and was confused why she wasn't supposed to jump it.  She was tense and very, very looky.  I remembered my test and managed to complete my goal of keeping her speed and stride under control, no running since 20X40 is small!

We ended up with a 58.5% for a 62.3.  Not what I was hoping for but fair.  Our scores were quite consistent.  A few 5's, a few 7's but mostly 6's.  We need to work on keeping that relaxation inside the little white fence but that will come with some miles (and if I remember to breathe).

I then settled her in with her hay bag and headed out to walk the course.  There were some questions that I anticipated being difficult but I felt all we doable.  I felt that fence placement was actually a bigger question than the actual fences. My coach and I devised a game plan and I felt confident we could deliver.

15 minutes before it had been sunny and clear

At this point the skies were starting to darken and I popped the mare into the trailer and took cover myself because it started to pour.  There was a ton of rain and hail over a 20 min period so Stadium got pushed back.  We watched the last of Pre-Entry go and then walked our stadium course.  It was full of turns and interesting fences.  Once again we came up with a game plan.  I was going to take big corners, focusing on inside leg to outside rein and be scarier than any fence out there.

It worked!  We didn't have a single run-out or refusal and we only pulled one rail.  Fence 1 was an oxer (seriously, this is 3 shows in a row we start with an oxer, it's like it was designed for me).  Mare tried to run out but I got after her and we stalled out a little bit and then deer jumped.  She didn't even look at any other fences.  We pulled a rail at fence 8 because I sort of forgot to prepare for the turn and she got flat to the jump.  

Needless to say I was ecstatic after exiting so it was high fives all around.  My coach told me it was the nicest stadium round she has ever seen me ride!

After that I was super happy to load up, drop the pony off and return for the competitor supper (lazy perogies!!!).

It was a good start to the mare's first event.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Derby Photos!

Fence #1
She does the tail flip on a regular basis
Fence #11, the big one now looks tiny under my horse
I sure need to work on short reins and looking up apparently!

If you look closely you can see the bank we are actually going up is much smaller than she is jumping

Final fence, and my favourite photo

Friday, 6 June 2014

Rain, Rain Go Away

So we are headed to our first event of the season this weekend and it's been raining off and on for the last two weeks.  It seems to consistently rain on Wednesdays when I'm supposed to have a jumping lesson.  So I'm feeling under-prepared for this weekend.  Mare had Monday off after the derby, Tuesday we went for a short hack down the road (4 miles in 30 min), Wednesday it stormed like mad, Thursday the arena was too wet to ride so we went for another jaunt down the road.  I'm hoping to get a jump school in this afternoon before I give her a bath.
Ducky photobomb!

I will also get to see Riddick at the Beaumont event for the first time since I sold him a year ago.  Here's hoping him and his new owner have had an awesome year!

It's going to be a great weekend and the mare is going to jump all the jumps!  (Wish me luck, I may need it(

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Derby 2.0

Well I've been waiting to post about how the derby went last weekend until I had the pictures (!!!) to go with it but since it's taking a bit I'll just post them later.

The day started off on a sour note.  Somehow I managed to get a bee in my shoe.  I thought I had stepped on a nail but turns out I got stung.  Good thing is now I know I'm not allergic to bees!  Bad thing is holy bejeezuz did getting stung on the bottom of my toe hurt.  Between my ankle giving me fits and the sting on the other foot I hobbled around like a crippled goat.

After that we got the horses loaded and were off to Red Deer.  We got there only to find out the times had been pushed back by 30 minutes.  Which turned out to be good since our coach was running behind.  When she got there we headed out to walk the course.  Considering the week before Beaumont had felt small and short, this one felt big and long and both were designed by Barry Tyerman.  There were a few fences that I had some concerns about but figured the mare likes them bigger anyways.

Fence 1 was a max height ramped oxer with a short gallop to something that was apparently forgettable... 3 was a big, dark roll top with only a couple strides until we went down a steep hill and winding track through the trees.  4 was a vertical grey wall with 8 strtides to a natural table.  Then a long gallop  back up a hill to a brand new light coloured thing.  Long gallop to a tan and brown box then a right turn into the infield.  The first fence in the infield was an unassuming vertical with a black picket (this becomes important later).  Then through the water (wasn't flagged but made a nicer line) and a left turn to a vertical 2 stride.  A tight left run to an oxer that was between the two stride and then a short gallop out of the infield to a BIG rampy fence.  12 was up the bank and then the final fence was a big square oxer.

In the picture it looks small but it walked BIG!
We were pressed for time in the warm up so we compressed our 45 min warm up into 20 min.  After a quick flat we started over the cross rail and just kept circling back, moving to the vertical and then to the oxer.  We did that for close to 15 min straight, constantly focusing on bringing her shoulders up without taking back from her pace. She didn't even think about not going over any of them.

In the start box I was crazy nervous so I cracked some terrible jokes with the timers.  Before I knew it we were off.  She had a single moment of hesitation coming to the oxer but I growled and we got over it (and then I sat down early and we pulled the back rail).  Fence 2 was no issue (since I can't even remember what it looked like) and and fence 3 we had a run out to the right (which never happens for us).  I represented and we sailed over.  She wasn't sure about the footing so we picked our way down the hill and trotted through the woods.  I cut the corner to fence 4 and she just stalled out.  On our second attempt it was clear sailing and she didn't even look at the table.  If she could have squealed and galloped at the same time I"m sure she would have going up the hill.  I think it was her favourite part.

A run-out to the left (I wasn't sure she was going to jump and she took that as instruction, bad rider!) at fence 6 but success at try # 2.  I let her move out on the gallop which turned out to be very hard to bring her back from but she jumped 7 smooth as silk.  The unassuming vertical brought me a refusal.  And then she leaped into the water!  We were crooked though the 2 stride but managed to survive.  The oxer was easy peasy.  I actually brought her to a walk just out of the infield because she was pulling on me so much.  We then picked up a lovely canter and she jumped the big ramp like a pro.  Up the bank and we finished strong over the oxer.

So if you're skimming, we picked up 4 stops, were only 25 seconds over time (1875 m and 5:21 was optimum) but I stayed on!

Our second ride was much better.  The whole course rode super smooth and easy with her taking fences out of a nice gallop, coming back better and it just generally felt like a fabulous x-country round.  That is until that stupid vertical.  She ducked left, despite the growling and whip application and I nearly came off.  I grabbed my holy shit strap and managed to stay on.  I also may or may not have fit pumped I was so excited.  Again she jumped it on the second try and pulled a rail but at least she cantered into the water like a solid citizen.  I lost my reins over the first fence in the 2 stride and just squeezed my legs and grabbed my neck strap.  I was very proud of her for saving my butt there.  The rest of the course was great.  I trotted some since we were quick and we finished only 12 seconds fast.

The second ride gives me hope that there is cross country horse in there. We may not have taken a placing but I was happy with our day.  Now to just figure out how to jump the fences on the first try every time.

And because I hat post with no pictures here's how I spent my Saturday.  Shaving a friends cats.
We only did half of Ninja before she ran out of patience, so we left her like that :)