Yesterday while perusing the entries for Texas Rose I was delighting in the fact that there are a couple folks in my division that have been to Rolex (welcome to Novice Horse!) and it’s 2/3 professionals. This makes me super happy because of a few reasons: 1) I’ve spent all spring caring a lot about who was in my division and worrying about beating them so I could get my AEC qualifiers. Since that’s done, now I don’t have to give a single crap who I’m riding against and it’s awesomely liberating. 2) I love low expectations. I’m totally the bottom of the barrel in the group, which is 100% fine by me. 3) I get to see firsthand how the pros warm up their young horses. I’m pretty excited for that, not gonna lie. 4) I have a built-in excuse for when they all beat me. I kid, I kid. 😉
Then I started thinking about this program that they used to have back when I did cyclocross. It was a race predictor website, and before each race it would factor in each competitor’s total points and previous performances/experience to sort out how it thought everyone would finish. I have no idea how the math worked but I loved this thing, because it almost always put me at the bottom of the pack. I got a lot of joy out of trying to prove it wrong. Granted, it was right a lot of the time, but sometimes I showed it a thing or two.
Can you imagine if such a program existed for horse shows and events? Obviously we already have rider and horse rankings as far as points earned or money won, from local level all the way up through the best in the world. But there’s no such thing (at least that I’ve ever seen) as a competition predictor that sorts people out beforehand and predicts a finish order. I can’t decide if it would be the best thing ever or the most humiliating thing ever. On one hand, I see it as a challenge, and nothing sets my competitive spirit on fire quite like a good challenge. On the other hand, if it ranked me high and I totally bombed, it’d be another layer of disappointment. Plus it seems like it probably wouldn’t encourage a spirit of good sportsmanship in the show community… it’s already competitive enough as it is.
What would you think if horse sports did this? All in good fun, or total embarrassment? Coming from a horse sports background into cyclocross, it completely floored me when I found out it existed, but I have to admit it never affected me negatively. Then again I never took cyclocross nearly as personally as I take the horse competitions. My good humor might not (let’s be honest, probably would not) extend to this side of the fence.
When things start getting stressful or overwhelming in my life, riding is usually my coping mechanism. A canter truly is the cure for every evil, along with a dash of pony kisses and a pinch of barn buddy camaraderie.
So what do you do when you can’t ride?
Obvious answer #1 is shopping for horse stuff. Tack ho tendencies and all that. The sad thing about being a poor tack ho is that it’s really hard to ho tack when you ain’t got no money. Since all of my cash lately has been going to horse shows, the only things I’ve bought are cookies and fly spray. Boring. Well, I did order an Airowear Outlyne from Riding Warehouse, and although they’re amazing for special ordering navy for me (if you ever want a color/size of something that isn’t in stock, just ask!!), it’s gonna take 4-6 weeks to come in. No instant gratification. Plus the SO is buying it for me for my birthday so it could actually be AUGUST before I get to hold it in my hands, pet it, and cuddle it. That’s not helpful at all in coping with life.
Obvious answer #2 is food. I love to eat my feelings, they’re delicious. Especially when they’re hiding in the bottom of a big vat of queso or baked into something chocolate. Unfortunately this can only go on for so long before your breeches start getting tight, and lord knows I can’t afford to replace those. Delicious as you’ve been lately, feelings hidden in food, I’m afraid it’s time to back off.
I guess that leaves me with non-riding pony time, since I can’t think of anything else to do besides eating and shopping. Non-riding pony time consists of such fun activities such as hand grazing, foot picking, ointment slathering, mud dingleberry untangling, explaining the Novice dressage test to Henry, cookie stuffing, and selfies.
On the plus side, I’ve learned that Henry likes strawberry Pop-Tarts. Maybe he likes to eat his feelings too?
I think if you go by the Kubler-Ross model for the 5 stages of grief, I’m waffling back and forth between anger and depression right now. Texas is on it’s last straw with me. First was a horrible many-years-long drought, then wildfires, then rattlesnake epidemics, now floods. I don’t know why Mother Nature hates this place but I’m about done with it. It seems like all we have is 100 degrees or pouring rain. WHY is there never nice weather in this godforsaken slice of the world? Someone find me a decent horse related job somewhere else, please. But little to no snow… that’s the caveat.
Seriously though – on Friday when I changed my Texas Rose entry to Novice instead of Beginner Novice, it was actually a little invigorating. I started having all these grandiose plans and ideas. Like fitness plans with trot and canter sets.
And was excitedly perusing my new dressage test, mapping it out in my mind and taking note of things to work on before the show.
I even spent an afternoon looking at all the video I could find from Texas Rose’s Novice XC course, getting all kinds of pumped.
Needless to say, now I don’t even know if I’ll really get to ride my horse at all before Texas Rose. Luckily he’s a trooper and it worked out ok with Corona. I guess I should be counting my blessings that I got to ride 3 days in a row last week. Even if we can’t ride much before TR he should still be good to go (thank god for a thoroughbred), but man… I’m so over this. It seems like I’ve got nothing to do on this blog anymore except whine about the weather because, well, that’s all that’s been happening since November. I feel so sorry for everyone that is having to keep and care for horses and horse property in this weather. It’s become an impossible task. Especially since Henry pees constantly and his stall is a perpetual swamp no matter how hard you try to keep it clean. Any suggestions for helping keep his feet dry, since it seems they’ll be stallbound for quite a while longer? I’m starting to worry about abscesses and soft soles.
On a less whiney note, Brandy and I at least got to go out on a road hack Monday morning before the monster storms blew in.
I’m about to give up on blogging except for horse show recaps, because that’s really the only thing that ever happens anymore. There are only so many pictures you can take while walking around on the roads. I have several review posts that need to happen but I’m waiting on professional pictures… they were supposed to be here a week ago but so far nada. Anyone have any blog post or review requests?
To add insult to injury, my $550 that was stolen from my account with a fraudulent card will apparently take up to 2 weeks to be returned to my account. That’s a really great thing to have happen right before all my bills are due and we’re about to head to a show.
When it rains it pours. See what I did there? Ba-dum-tss.
At Corona HT a couple weekends ago I overheard a trainer telling one of his students that you shouldn’t move up to the next level until you’re consistently winning at your current level. I thought about that, chewed on it for a while, and decided I don’t really agree.
I think deciding when to move up is one of the hardest decisions we make, especially those with young and/or inexperienced horses. There’s always the worry that you’ll overface yourself, overface the horse, you’ll both die, and the world will explode. Oh wait, maybe that’s just me. But still, no one ever wants to feel like they’re in over their head.
In talking to other people and thinking about conversations I’ve had in the past, it seems like I’ve mostly heard three different approaches on the “when to move up” question:
1) when you’re winning at your current level
2) after X amount of time
3) when your current level feels easy
My issue with the “consistently winning at your current level” approach is that ribbons don’t really tell the whole story. In eventing, you could have a horse that just isn’t great at dressage so never finishes on a super low score, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t 100% capable of competing at the next level. In jumpers, if you’ve ever tried to show in the low children’s or low adult section you’ll understand that unless you have a really fast horse, you’ll rarely win. Again, that doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of the next level. The same can be said across pretty much all disciplines. This approach just doesn’t hold water with me.
Other people like to plan their move-ups based on a time schedule. One year at X level, the next year at Y level, etc etc. That can all be fine and good too, but sometimes things don’t go as planned (whether that’s for better or for worse). I think trying to hinge move-up decisions purely on time frame isn’t really the best way.
That brings us to – when the current level seems easy. This is the one I like. It’s that sweet spot where you’re rocking around at your current level thinking “these are so tiny!” “that was easy!” and your horse shares the sentiment. When your current level looks small and you’re looking at the next level, wishing you were doing that instead. At that point you’re probably in a good place to contemplate an upward progression. But then the next question is – how long do you stay in the “this is easy” phase before stepping up? That’s a harder one to answer.
Then again, maybe all my rambling doesn’t make any sense and I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. That could be true too.
It’s probably not hard to guess what spurred this topic for me… I switched our entry for Texas Rose from BN to Novice. My reasons, whether you agree with them or not, are as follows:
1) Henry is on a roll right now. We’ve had the benefit of doing 3 shows in a really short time frame, he’s been an absolute XC machine at all 3, and he’s felt like he really gets it. Even Corona, with a few Novice size fences, and Greenwood, with some Novice level technicality, were walks in the park. He ate them up without a second thought. We’re both pretty confident right now, and my gut says now is the time.
2) The dressage and stadium are no problem. He showed in the 3′ jumpers last year, was nonplussed in the 3′-3’3″ at his jumper show a couple weeks ago and he’s really been solid at 3’3″ at home for a while now, so 2’11” ain’t no thang for him at this point. And the N dressage is pretty much the same as BN.
3) The Texas Rose course isn’t easy per se, but it’s well designed. It asks legitimate questions for the level and has some big fences but there won’t be any unfair bogey fences waiting to eat you. Well… he’s never seen a Weldon’s Wall so we’ll see what he thinks about that, but a little bit of unknown is always part of the game in eventing. The XC is in big fields that invite a forward ride, so as long as I sit up and go forward (and isn’t that always the truth) I think it’ll be fine.
4) Nothing hinges on this. We’re already qualified for AEC at BN. I really only wanted to do this event at Texas Rose because it’s the AEC venue, and I thought getting him there once to see the sights before AEC would be an advantage. It’d be an even bigger advantage if he’d already run Novice when we show up for AEC at BN. So since we’re really only there to feel things out anyway, it’s a pretty low pressure situation. If he needs to circle, I’ll circle, if he feels like he’s losing confidence, I’ll retire. No biggie.
5) Trainer says do it. This is super important to some and less important to others, but if she says go for it I’m certainly more inclined to go for it.
That’s not to say that I’m not a tiny bit worried that it’s the wrong decision. That will always be a worry when you’re completely neurotic and overprotective about your horse’s mental state like I am. But I’m hoping that if I ride semi-well and Henry stays in his awesome groove that he’s been in all spring, it’ll be just as easy as everything else has been. Otherwise, I feel like I’ve overthought it quite enough by now, and it’s time to just put up or shut up.
So I’m curious – what are everyone else’s thoughts on knowing when to move up? How do you gauge things for yourself?
The weekend started off so promising. I got to ride my horse 3 days in a row last week, with 3 good rides. We dressaged and jumped and he was super. He even got a couple days of turnout, which is nothing short of a miracle at this point in our apparent monsoon season. When I got home from the barn on Friday and checked the mail I had my awesome new custom charm from Straight Shot Metal Smashing waiting for me. Yes it’s a Narnia quote. Yes I’m a nerd. Yes I absolutely love it. Yes it’s now living on Henry’s breastplate.
I even got Indian food for dinner on Friday. Indian is my favorite, and it was delicious and all was right in the world. Then Saturday happened.
I was up early on Saturday and at work at 7am. I’m super busy at work right now, plus I’m in money hoarding mode trying to save up for AEC’s, so the overtime is welcome. After putting in 4 hours I went down the street to the grocery store to stock up on a few essentials and grab some cleaning supplies (the SO’s parents were set to arrive at our place on Sunday, so my Saturday afternoon plan was a thorough scrub of our very-neglected-during-show-season house). There I am in the self checkout line – mistake number one when you have a crapton of produce – and my debit card gets declined. Try again, same thing. I look up my account on my phone and see two transactions from a Walgreens that certainly weren’t me, then I get a text from my bank that says my card has been suspended due to suspicious activity. WHILE I’M STANDING IN THE CHECKOUT AT THE GROCERY STORE. The timing is really quite impeccable. This asshole was buying things at Walgreens with my money while I was slaving away at work on a Saturday morning trying to make some extra cash.
After a lot of embarrassment and fumbling around in my purse I luckily had a checkbook on me, so I wrote a check for my groceries. I ran home, unloaded those, sat on hold with the card services folks at my bank for 10 minutes, then ran to my car so I could hightail it to the bank before they closed for the day. Half an hour, a mountain of paperwork, a new debit card, and a police report later, I should hopefully get my money back at some point. To the jerkoff who charged $550 to my card at Walgreens: I hope karma is extra bitchy when she catches up to your ass.
Then I cleaned a little, it rained all night, and my level of grump went sky high. On Sunday I got up and cleaned some more then went out to the barn to douse my creature with fly and mosquito spray. I also wanted to see just how wet and muddy it was (we got another 2.5″ at the barn. I don’t even know what that brings us up to for the month… 14″? More? Whatever). The answer is: wet. Really wet.
I turned Henry out in the round pen while I cleaned his stall and he did this:
So I did this:
Hopefully today I’ll have time to at least go for a road hack, if we can beat the rain. Yes it’s supposed to pour buckets. Again. Never fear, I bought myself the best shirt in the world as a “don’t be sad” present:
I’m generally pretty boring in my choice of color for a horse. I like brown and bay, and with either little or no white. I tend to roll my eyes at people who are immediately taken in by a pretty color or flashy markings and not really see much past that. There’s really two reasons for my snobbery: 1) trying to keep a gray horse or very chromey horse clean drives me nuts, 2) flashy color and markings can make an otherwise unattractive horse look a lot “fancier” than it really is, so for a plain horse to look stunning they truly have to be stunning. Plus let’s be honest, there’s a lot to be said for one that is mud colored. Especially when they like to do this at shows in between phases.
I am probably one of the few people in the world that really doesn’t want a chestnut with chrome or a black horse with 4 high whites and a blaze or a dappled gray. But every once in a while a “weird” colored horse comes along that tugs at my little pony-loving-kid soul and I get a little googley eyed. It’s almost never a pinto (because holy crap way too much white) but there’s something about a dilute that can really get me.
Yes blogger friends, I confess… this plain bay loving snob has a weakness for yellow horses. Not the apple bottomed stock horse variety, but sporty types. Usually warmbloods and Connemaras to be specific. I’m usually one of the first people to roll my eyes at the crazy color breeders (especially the thoroughbred ones, they seem to be a whole new level of internet wackadoo) but every once in a while I come upon a horse that makes me think they might be on to something after all.
There are two stallions in particular right now that make me all sorts of weak in the knees when I see pictures pop up on my facebook feed (because, naturally, I follow their pages). Quasi Gold is the first:
The pitter patter of my little heart is very real. I dunno what it is about those chocolatey dapples but I can’t control myself. He’s stunning and I would take one just like him in a heart beat, even if it meant scrubbing off poop and pee stains for an hour every horse show morning and buying Quiksilver by the barrel for that tail.
The other one that always makes me pause when I see him on facebook is WH Topgun, a little buckskin Connemara. At 14.3h he’s even further away from my typical choice of horse, but this guy is just too cute for words.
That little dude has some serious hops and I want him. I want him bad. Pretty sure I could make 14.3h work for me, even though it’s not mud colored.
Someday I’ll get my yeller horse. Someday. Maybe eventually there will be a really nice dilute thoroughbred stallion and I’ll be able to have the best of both worlds.
Does anyone else have weird or outside the box color obsessions?
Last fall when I made the decision to officially switch Henry to eventing, I figured it was time to retire my 15 year old Pelham-Ascot brushing boots and buy some real cross country boots. When I set out on my search I had 3 main criteria:
Oh, and budget friendly. Everything always has to be as budget friendly as possible because my life is expensive enough as it is.
After looking through all the popular boots on the market like Premier Equine, Dalmar, Kentucky, NEW, etc, I settled on the Majyk Equipe XC boots. Several friends had them and loved them, and the boots were very reasonably priced at Riding Warehouse (especially with the USDF 15% off code!) plus they offer free shipping. This was actually my first ever purchase from RW, so thanks Majyk Equipe for starting what is now a pretty intense obsession. The total for the boots after the discount was $131 shipped – a pretty fantastic deal for XC boots. And I got a free RW hat out of the deal too. Bonus.
Now that I’ve had the boots for 8 months and have been using them on a regular basis both at home and at shows, I feel like I can offer a pretty thorough opinion. The short version: I love them.
I got medium fronts and hinds for Henry, because he is a bit on the fine boned side. The boots are designed to be able to overlap on the sides, so it gives them a more flexible fit for different size horses. When I first got them it took me a few minutes to figure out how to put them on right. The trick is to find the guard inside the boot, line that up with where it’s supposed to lie (for the front boots the guard runs down the back over the tendons, for the hind boots the guard is in the front along the cannon bone) and then velcro them shut. Once I figured that out it made total sense.
The boots are super lightweight and very breathable, and they hold absolutely no water. In the past I’ve always taped my boots for additional security but these don’t require it at all – the only times I’ve taped my boots has been purely for decoration (because sometimes you just need mac and cheese duct tape). They’ve never budged an inch. The lining is soft but not so squishy as to hold heat or water, and the perforated materials allow for maximum air flow.
IMO they offer the perfect amount of coverage. They aren’t so big and bulky as to be cumbersome or restrictive while galloping, but they fully cover the cannon and the tendons, plus I absolutely love the construction of their shin/tendon guards. They will not shatter, and they’re strong and rigid yet not restrictive to the movement of the horse.
As far as durability, the Majyk Equipe’s are holding up very well. I hose them off when they’re dirty and let them air dry – that’s it. There are no frayed spots or worn spots or loose threads… pretty sure if I took the effort to throw them in the washing machine they would come out looking brand new. I’m feeling pretty positive that these will last me quite a long time. Originally I didn’t really love all the tags on the straps and had every intention of taking a seam ripper to them, but honestly I love the boots so much that I’ve left the branding on. If me using them helps them sell more boots, great! They’re fantastic, and I want people to easily be able to see what they are.
For the science geeks among us, you will probably really appreciate the research that has gone into the Majyk Equipe boots. There’s a whole page about it on their website, with a link to the full Biokenetics test results at the bottom. This is the kind of stuff I LOVE to see. They’ve made a really great product, and they can prove it. I’ve used them in the mud (quite a lot by now) and the scorching heat, and they’ve performed admirably in all conditions. In addition to all that fancy smancy impact testing they had done, I can attest firsthand to the fact that they really are non-slip, and they really are quite breathable.
All in all, these boots are one of my favorite eventing specific items I own. The value is fantastic, the performance is great, and believe it or not – I really have no complaints! And we all know how rare that is…
Not gonna lie, I’ve been walking on air since we finished on that 28.3 (whaaaat?) and scored our last qualifying placing for AEC’s. If this is a dream, please no one pinch me.
Although when Henry and Halo got home from Corona and we tried to be nice by turning them out in the round pen for a few minutes, they decided their weekend long bromance was over and broke up in pretty epic fashion. There was a lot of kicking and horrible noises but it looks like both boys managed to escape with just superficial wounds. I might kill them, but they managed not to kill each other. This is why Henry has no friends.
Not even that could damper my mood, although it did make me feel like I should cover him in bubble wrap with a layer of full body armor over top until September. Brace yourselves for much obsession over every bump, lump, scratch, scrape, and funny step for the next 4 months. I already booked the hotel because I know as we get closer to opening date the rates will skyrocket, so cross all your crossables that I haven’t jinxed us. I’m about to get very superstitious and unreasonable and crazy. You have been warned.
Of course, it’s still so swampy and gross here that we’re never riding again anyway. It’s getting to the point where everything just smells like rot.
On the bright side, my horse has this one clean spot, so it’s not all bad right?
Not even the shitty weather can kill my buzz right now. You know why? Because BOOM.
Yep, that’s gonna get really obnoxious really fast.
Otherwise there’s very little else to report here except that I think I finally settled on the Airowear Outlyne as my new vest of choice, for a multitude of reasons that I’ll explain when I actually get it. Between that and a new Samshield and the cheap-but-it-works skull cap I already got, I’ll finally be all caught up to where I want to be in the safety department. I think Henry already has every piece of equipment any horse could possibly need, but I’ve been thinking about getting him some ice boots. However, I can’t find any that look promising and aren’t expensive. Let’s be honest, if it comes down to spending $200 on ice boots or just polo wrapping ice packs to his legs, I’m taking the cheaper way out. Any recommendations? I want all 4. Or I can just buy old crappy SMB boots and stick my ice packs under those, because I’m lazy.
After our shenanigans on Friday, I actually managed to get about 5 hours sleep which is pretty amazing for me before dressage day. Nothing unnerves me like dressage. Our ride time wasn’t until after lunch, so Barnmate Bobby and I piddled away the morning walking courses and grazing the boys.
A couple weeks ago at Greenwood I changed my approach to how I warm Henry up for dressage, and I liked how it worked, so I went for the same format again this time. I got on him about an hour ahead of time, trotted a little, cantered once, then spent the rest of the time walking, halting, trotting, halting, stretchy trot, walking, halting, and very basic lateral work. Basically – bore him to tears and get him thinking “whoa” instead of “go”. It took about 30 minutes for him to really settle and relax, but he did. When it was our turn I walked him around the outside of the ring, let him look at the potted plants at the letters, waited for the whistle, picked up the trot, and straight in we went. No fuss, no muss, no time to get worried or tense.
This was only our second time doing Test B, and on paper I don’t really like how it flows, but it actually seems better suited for Henry. Having all the trot work in the beginning and canter work at the end helps him not get flustered and tense. Overall I have very few complaints about our test, I felt like it was pretty representative of where we are right now. Our canter work was a little subpar, just kind of heavy and blah and more like ovals than circles, and I’m still not able to keep him connected in his trot to canter transitions, plus his last walk to trot transition was tight and tense – but otherwise I thought it was pretty solid for us. His free walk was great for him (remember how we used to not have one?), his down transitions were great, and I was able to ask for a little more brilliance in the trot than I did at Greenwood. I walked out of the rectangle feeling like we’d done just about as good as we could do, and hoped that was enough. Turns out it was good enough for a personal best score of 28.3 (first time in the 20’s!) which put us in 4th place. I needed a top 5 finish, so I was starting out in a good spot and now the pressure was on to stay there.
On Sunday we had stadium immediately followed by XC. The stadium course was tricky and from watching the other levels go before us, it seemed to be wheeled on a tight track. There were lots of rails and lots of time faults. By the time they put the jumps down for BN they looked microscopically tiny, which worried me more because I knew Henry wouldn’t be very impressed. I did a fairly brief warmup of mostly trotting, a couple laps each way of canter, then I jumped the vertical once and the oxer once off of a short approach. No reason to use him up in the warm up, I still wanted him to be sharp. I usually give him a little tour of the ring when I go in so he can see the jumps a bit before we start our course, but this time I trotted in and kept him to the rail, hoping that the element of surprise would work in my favor for keeping the rails up. He cantered right around, taking all the tighter options and shorter approaches, and had no problem. I did give him a little cluck at a very delicate little natural jump as a reminder to pick his feet up, but he had nary a rub and was very rideable and put in a nice smooth round. The stadium course claimed A LOT of victims, with only 3 people going double clear – me and Bobby being two of them. Pretty proud of our boys for that! Plus our clear round moved us up to 2nd.
After stadium I did a quick helmet change, threw my vest on, and went straight back out for XC. Since it was getting hot I just galloped one loop around the warmup and jumped him over the little coop once. Henry seems to be understanding the phases now, because as soon as we jumped the coop in warmup he was like YEAAAAAHHHH!!! THE FUN PART!!! Ok Henry, we get it, you’re a big deal. He even jigged a little on the way to the startbox. He never jigs.
Once again I do have helmet cam footage (thank god for helmet cam!) although I still forgot to clean the lens. I swear I cleaned it after I saw this video, so it won’t be so bad for the next one. Unless I put my fingers all over it again. No promises.
I came out of the startbox like we were on a mission, because the first 3 jumps were no joke. They were all big and 2 in particular wasn’t inviting. He leaped happily over the first one and also had no problem with the second and third. When we came out of the brush into the field for fence 4 I slowed him down a little to remind him that just because we came out bold doesn’t mean we can’t be adjustable, and he politely cantered the hay box. We made our way back into the brush for 5 (and I actually went down the correct path – I kept picking the wrong one when we walked it) and through a little bit of mud to 6. There’s really not much to say about any of those because he just rolled along, and I let him, so that was that. Pretty easy.
After 6 we made a bit of a rollback turn to 7ab which had a funky approach, but again he locked right on and had no problem. Fence 8 was a tall, very vertically faced fence in the treeline, which he took a bit of peek at off the ground (apparently this fence didn’t ride very well for a lot of people for whatever reason) but he never wavered. Then it was back into the brush over 9, then back out into the big front field for 10 A & B, a log to the water. I always ride the water very aggressively and I did the same here because I knew he wouldn’t see the water until we landed from the log. I sat deep, gave him a growl, and he bounded right through. With many pats and Good Boy’s on the exit, I let him gallop a bit to the bench at 11.
After 11 I looked down at my watch and went OH SHIT. We were too fast. At the time it sure didn’t seem like we were going that fast, but I came out going more like Novice speed and since he was rolling along so well I just really didn’t think about making wider turns or squishing him back into a slow canter. I collected his canter for 12, then brought him down to a trot right after. It was a pretty slow little trot, with me looking at my watch trying to remember what the hell the speed fault time was. We’ve always come in just a few seconds under Optimum, so I knew what OT was but I couldn’t for the life of me remember what speed fault time was. 4:05? 4:08? 4:15? SHIT! So there I was, trotting around between 12 and 13, taking the longest route possible, with Henry going “What the hell are we doing?”. Bless his heart, his mom is an idiot. We jumped 13 and eased across the finish, with me still not sure if we were too fast. Luckily speed fault time was 4:05 and we were 4:19, so all of my trotting wasn’t quite so necessary, but it worked out. Lesson learned – know both times by heart. Or ya know… be more aware of your canter and how that affects the track you take. Duh. Almost everyone was closer to too fast than they were to OT, even people that are normally slow, so I wasn’t the only one thinking it rode a lot faster than it was wheeled.
But at the end of the day we got the job done, and a double clear was exactly what we needed, so we kept our 2nd place! Barnmate Bobby was the winner, so our two bay boys went home with a first and second. He said he came inches from falling off after 8 when he got popped out of the tack… now I call him Dreamcrusher because if he’d done that I would have won. Thanks Bobby for killing my dreams by not falling off. J/K love ya mean it. We were the only two to finish with scores in the 20’s as well so it was a great weekend for us! I think Henry is a bonafide event horse now. And better yet – we’re officially qualified for AEC’s. It’s gonna be a hell of a party. Goal that I made last October: accomplished, and it feels pretty damn good. I’m super proud of this horse of mine and really excited to see what he develops into as we continue our journey. For how green he is to this sport you really couldn’t ask for more than he’s already done for me in our 3 shows this spring.
We’ve got Texas Rose in 3 weeks, then we’re done for the season.
Have no fear, I’ll cover Corona Horse Trials in just two posts, since I sadly have almost no pictures and video from the show itself. I do however have a lot of pre-show shenanigan pictures that absolutely deserve their own post.
Barn Buddy Bobby and I ended up being the only ones from our Austin contingent that went, and of course when we loaded the trailer and drove out of Austin on Friday morning it was raining. That’s all it does here anymore. And then along the way the clouds parted, the angels sang, unicorns had rainbow colored kittens, and WE FOUND THE SUN. It was a mere 3 hour drive away and boy was it glorious to finally see some blue sky. You might be hideous, West Texas, but you win a million bonus points for Vitamin D. Our moods instantly became cheerful.
We got there, unloaded, got the boys settled in, and then got on to ride around. They hadn’t been turned out or ridden since the Sunday before, due to how much rain we’ve gotten, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Henry neighed for Bobby’s horse Halo a couple times, but settled well so after a brief school I went for a little walk and let him chill. After we put the boys up we grabbed out adult beverages and our course maps and headed out to walk XC. We did the first walk fairly normally (well, ya know, with a drink in hand)
but there were a lot of really confusing twists and turns through all the brushy scrub in the beginning of the course so we walked it again. That’s when I mapped it with My Course Walk and Bobby insisted on starring in every picture. Well, except jump 1 because I forgot to take a picture of that one. Ooops. If you want to see the whole thing on My Course Walk, click here, but here are all the jump pics:
Course Walks with Bobby really can’t be beat. I’m not saying that’s the best thing ever posted on My Course Walk, but… it is. Obviously we take ourselves very seriously and have zero fun at shows.
You also might notice that a few of those jumps are a little big for BN. They were. Unless I’ve suddenly shrunk and now my hip is only 2’7″. I wasn’t going to complain though, because I’m already planning a fall move up to Novice and figured this would be a good way to test him over a few bigger fences. I wasn’t really worried about any of it in particular – it was big for the level in a few places but overall I didn’t think any of it would be a problem for Henry. It was a course that was really looking for forward positive riding, and that I can handle. The real test would be to see if I could remember where the hell I was going, weaving through that maze of scrub. It’s funny how our Texas events can have such completely different landscapes. Two weeks ago at Greenwood, just a few hours east, we had lush green fields with rolling hills and big trees. Not so much at Corona, but the sandy footing has held up well to our rainy spring so it worked out perfectly.
We walked the stadium course, which was pretty twisty and challenging (I thought it was really going to separate the men from the boys) then grazed the ponies and headed to the hotel. Saturday was the hard part – DRESSAGE.