Show recap #2: High Point Derby

Originally this show was supposed to be on the 13th, but we got massive amounts of rain and they had to reschedule. I was debating scratching either this one or the combined test on Saturday, but finally decided it could actually be good for us to compete two days in a row. Miles and all that.


This show was a derby – we had dressage first, then about an hour break until a mixed round of XC and stadium. There were 12 XC fences and then once you landed from the last XC fence you just kept going and jumped 7 stadium fences. I thought this could definitely be a challenge for us, considering that XC Henry isn’t exactly ideal for stadium. I also entered Training, and while it was soft, there were still a few max height fences and some combos. I was just hoping for a clear XC and maaaaybe a low ribbon. This show has badass prizes, and I wanted a badass prize.

Dressage was fine. I got on and let him canter a few laps until he relaxed, and basically warmed him up the same way as Saturday. It was really cold but he felt good… calm, in my hand, listening. If anything maybe a little too quiet, which I’m totally ok with. Considering we spent all of last year not cantering in dressage warm-up because his brain fell out afterward, I’m cool with too-quiet-after-cantering. He was a little more tense in the test itself, but overall ok (another “not brilliant, but not awful” test) and good enough for a 36.1 and 4th place after dressage.

After a quick course walk and tack change, back out to warm-up we went.  We trotting and cantered a few laps, then I opened up and let him gallop a bit (Training speed feels really fast to my micro-managing self so I needed to get myself thinking forward), cantered three fences, then walked up to the start. Hopefully this is the last helmet cam video using the GoPro, since the new one should be here this week. I was having a hard time getting it to stay put, soooo sorry in advance for all the jostling. The damn screw thingy (technical term) doesn’t stay tight anymore.

I came out of the box a little aggressive, wanting to make time, and Henry was totally game on. My goal was to NOT pull on him or try to micromanage (my favorite hobbies), and he pretty much took me to everything without a second thought. Big white skinny ramp, ditch combo, bank combo, water… Henny got dis! Henny got dis a little too much at fence 9 where we almost died. Ok we didn’t almost die but I almost crapped myself. Note to self: ride better. Note to Henry: I’m still in charge. In general I tried to let him just flow forward, tried to stay out of his way, and we saved ground wherever we could.

I jumped the last XC fence in more of a hand gallop, since we literally landed and cantered straight ahead to jump 1 of stadium. He came back pretty politely and jumped the first three fences really well (and I found the base!), then wised up to what we were doing and tapped a couple (coincidence that it was the two fences I had a teeny bit of a gap to? Neh…).


His minimalistic efforts in stadium give me heart palpitations, but they stayed up and we finished double clear. We made time on XC too, so we ended on our 36.1, moving up from 4th to first!

less ribbonz, more cookiez

The prizes did not disappoint, it was like mini-AEC. Two gift certificates, an engraved plate, an embroidered belt, a saddle pad, a hat, and a set of Equiflexsleeves. And we won the TIP award for Training (highest placed TB) which got us another ribbon and a Jockey Club backpack. I’ve been tying to win a TIP award with Henry for two years, so I was pretty excited about that!

Overall I’m pretty happy with how Henry handled everything. He was brave and happy, and is getting to be a total pro at hauling and standing tied at the trailer. It wasn’t mistake-free… it wasn’t one of those shows where I walked away feeling like I’d done a particularly great job (I could write another whole post about that), but in the interest of being less self-critical I’ll just say we dipped our toes into the shallow end of Training and didn’t die. We have a lot more work to do before we’re ready for “real” Training, but it’s good to feel like I’m sitting on a confident horse that likes his job and seems eager for more.

Now we go back to plugging away at lessons, then a recognized Novice in Louisiana next month, then more lessons. Keeping our sights on Coconino…

38 thoughts on “Show recap #2: High Point Derby

  1. Um, HOLY AWESOME SWAG! I had no idea you had Henry registered with TIP (maybe I’m just oblivious). Congrats on the win! Your stadium round looks awesome, Henry looks so calm and relaxed and totally ‘Henny Mode Engaged.’ Going straight from XC into stadium sounds….interesting, but you made it look really easy 🙂


    1. Yeah, I actually had to have him DNA tested since he isn’t tattooed and didn’t come with papers. Luckily the previous owner knew his registered name so it was pretty easy to verify and then get his TIP registration done. We don’t go to many shows that offer TIP awards but when we do I’m very quick to write his TIP number all over the entry lol.


      1. That’s so awesome that you registered him with TIP though, I think TIP is a great program and they obviously put a lot of thought and time into their awesome ribbons and prize packs!


  2. yea seriously those prizes are no joke! also that derby design definitely looks challenging to me – switching gears so quickly from 13 xc fences then straight up to a big stadium oxer? yeeeahhhhh that takes a little more finesse than the average xc run lol. nicely done 🙂


    1. It was really challenging in that format, to go from 450mpm to more like 325mpm and totally different canter right at the drop of a hat. Super fun though!


  3. Maybe I should have stuck with eventing. Best prize I’ve gotten for straight dressage is a stemless wine glass (which can also be used for cider, ahem). At least you’ve also got the backpack for carrying the wine (or cider) and the silver tray for serving it on. Hmmmm… maybe we should get together?


    1. For a fun little unrecognized derby, it wins the Best Prizes Ever award, no doubt. They get so many great sponsorships! Every placing walked away with a little something.


  4. From the little I know about Eventing, it seems like this was at least good practice for a true 3-day event where you jump Stadium after XC so that’s cool. He’s so cute and props to the photog for having photos ready so fast!


  5. Holy prizes!! Why can’t shows around here be that cool?? GroPRo for the win, I adore watching them. He’s so game! Sidetone, Training looks massive to me these days, almost peed a little.


  6. dude LOOK AT ALL THAT LOOT~!!

    well done, he’s so cute I love when he gets the jump in his sights he looks like he goes “BUCKLE UP here we go!!”


  7. I’m totally in awe of you guys, it seems like you just go from achievement to achievement! Congrats on such an excellent experience. You do such a great job of setting Henry up for success.


  8. Going from XC mode to stadium mode definitely looks tough, but it looks like a better inbetween than just a CT for moving up to the next level. The photos are awesome and so is the loot. Looks like money well spent. 🙂


  9. That looks so fun! Our derbies have the stadium jumps out on the xc course, so that is a neat difference with your derby. And hell, I want all the awards! Dang!


  10. WOW!!! congrats!! Sometimes the unexpected ribbons are the best kind, especially since you guys are just starting out in training! Plus those prizes are seriously killerrr. I wish he derbies by me had prizes like that! Louisiana isn’t exactly known for it’s evening venues lol


    1. I’ll actually be in Louisiana next month for a show at Holly Hill. And have you been to Fleur de Leap? Considering making the trek (8hrs for me) in the fall!


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