Tag: eventing

In which I earn my sticky nickname.

I’m BAAAAAAAAAAACK.

And I have fun pictures for you!

So we had a combined test at the farm a few weeks ago – we have one every spring, and home shows traditionally do not go well for me (see video still that serves as my bio photo, stage right).

This year we have many new school horses, and so when my trainer yelled at me for not entering said home show, I said go ahead and stick me on a school horse.  Whatever.  I have to be there anyway.

This was not the brightest idea, kids.

a bucking bronco

it was way worse than it looks.

This, dear friends, is Kramer.  I tried him when he first came to the farm, and he was lovely.  Happily went into the bridle, was bendy, not crazy, point and shoot to jumps, and generally fairly simple.  Great! we said.  We’ll keep him, he’ll be great for Equishare.

Things obviously devolved from there.  By week number 2, he was turning into a spooky little monkey.  The going theory is he just got overwhelmed, because it is not the quietest farm.  There are lots of horses, lots of kids, lots of lessons all the time.  It turns out he is much better with lunging.  What did I not do either time I rode him that day?  Lunge.  Yup.

Kramer had actually been getting a lot better with regular use, and the diligent work of one of our full-time instructors.  But a show with lots of people and ponies running around was just breaking the poor guy’s brain.  Which, really, was the whole point.

this went on for a while.

this went on for a while.

We started with a dressage test (Beginner Novice A) which actually only had one small disobedience, but was preceded by some bucking and a small rear-and-spin.  So that was fun.  But afterwards we took a little walk to take in the sights and check out the jump ring, and he happily traipsed around the property like he owned it.  Weirdo.

THEN we attempted stadium a few hours later.  Solid warm-up in the indoor, trek to the upper ring, and begin to pop over some fences with four other people in my class… and then it all went crazytown.  Bucking and hopping outburst, including one HUGE leap into the air capriole style.  So they clear the ring, so I can school him properly (it’s a very small ring), and he proceeds to have a meltdown.

In. front. of. EVERYONE.

Thankfully one of the teenagers caught it on camera (Thanks Deborah!!!).  Also big ups to resident safety mom Julie, who let me borrow her air vest just in case.  I actually fully expected to go flying, so I came prepared.  (I did not, in fact, go flying like I predicted but of course I’m happy to be wrong about that.)

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yup.

I think he wore himself out pretty quickly, because he decided he wanted no parts of going over brightly colored objects.

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and then we started running out! yippee!

He usually jumps around courses quite happily.  So this was an interesting development.

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hello, i am the queen of defensive riding.

And finally we jumped.  Popped over a couple times, so came to the agreement that I could just do my course and get it over with.  He was lovely, go figure.

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hey look, we found a butt.

 

Once he got moving, and forward, he was much nicer.

aaaaahhh much better.

aaaaahhh much better.

Hooray for getting mileage on the new pony.  Good boy.

I has a plan!

I think one of the things that has held my progress in check for a long time is not having very clear riding goals.  In high school I competed essentially to go hang out with horses and friends all day.  It wasn’t much different in Texas, when I was leasing a horse named Checkers.  It was just kinda like, okay go.  Get around the course, you didn’t die, okay cool.

Then I moved to Maryland, started eventing, bought a house, had no money, and I realized something.  Eventing is way too expensive to not visibly improve from event to event, even if that improvement is developing consistency.  If I’m going to bother with it, and bother to take two lessons a week, and not waste my and my trainer’s time, I need to have a clear cut plan and progression.

Yeah, so, I has a plan.

Short Term (Winter 2014-2015)

  • Improve and lighten my dressage seat – quieter hands, stronger back to minimize collapsing to the right side, open angle of hip to thigh to solidify lower leg
  • Improve sitting trot – catch more of the “upswing” and bring center of gravity back
  • A training level dressage test capable of scoring in the high 60s
  • Work on downward transitions and halt
  • Lots of gymnastics to strengthen and improve jump form
  • Stop using the martingale on the flat

Next Show Season (Spring-Fall 2015)

  • Complete an entire event without forgetting a test or course
  • Recognized Beginner Novice horse trial
  • A “move up” horse trial at Beginner Novice or a starter trial at Novice in the fall (This one’s a long shot, because I won’t bother to move up until I can actually complete events with no eliminations or memory lapses consistently)
  • One hunter show

Long Term

  • Renew CHA Certification
  • Qualify for the American Eventing Championships

Now, I’m not usually much of a planner, and I know as much as the next person what happens to the best laid plans.  I was actually feeling a little superstitious about writing them out, but my checking account needs real focus from me this year.

What are you planning to accomplish in the next year or so?

Photo “Blueprint” by Will Scullin