Pine Hill Part 1: Pre-Game

I can’t decide if I love one day events because it gets everything over with, or hate them because it’s one crazy whirlwind of a day. Thing good (or bad?) thing about this one is that it was a far enough drive to make it necessary to leave the day before and stable overnight. I do not miss the 3:30am wake up calls when I evented in Maryland.

Henry and his buddy Halo, ready to go!

I was up early on Friday, with the goal of leaving the house by 7:00 and pulling out of the barn by 8. We were trying to beat the rain that was looming down on the radar. I did succeed in leaving my house by 7:00, sat in awesome Austin rush hour traffic for a while, then realized when I was only miles from the barn that I forgot my suitcase. Figures that I would remember everything except my own non-riding clothes. Back to my house I went, back to the barn I went, and the whole thing meant we didn’t leave until 9. Guess when it started raining? Right when we loaded the horses. Barn Buddy Bobby had his guy Halo in his trailer, and I had Henry in Barn Buddy Brandy‘s awesome rig (thanks Brandy, loves yous 4ever!). It rained on us off and on the whole way, but we managed to drive all the way through it and had about a 15 minute gap to unload before it started raining again.

Been a long time since I had to back a trailer, but BOOM first attempt. It was probably just luck, honestly.
That looks ominous
And then it poured for a while

Luckily after about an hour the big blob on the radar literally parted in the middle and went around us. Divine intervention or coincidence, whatever, I’ll take it. Bobby and I took advantage of the dry spell to hop on and go for a ride. We were probably the only people there who weren’t trying to shove in a last minute dressage school. Bobby went off to just do some trot sets with Halo, and I put Henry in his sidepull and went for a hack around. I really just wanted him to relax and go forward. He was great and seemed happy, so after about 20 minutes I let him be done and got off. The next day was gonna be long.

We had the best stabling spot ever

If Henry ever got a little looky or worried about something, he tended to look to Uncle Halo for guidance. Halo is pretty chill and very experienced, so it was nice to have him there. Henry did neigh for him a little every time he left but when he got no response he quickly gave up and went back to his hay. Perfect horse show buddy. After we put the boys away for the day we grabbed some drinks and headed off to walk our cross country.

Bobby’s wine and my Wicked Mango, sitting on jump 3 – the Red Mushroom. Jump 4 is on top of the mound in the background.

The course was really straightforward and inviting, although with a few tricky/short approaches. The only jump I was concerned about was the “coal car” jump, it looked like a train car and was filled with black rocks that made it a bit spooky looking. Otherwise the only real consideration was the footing. The rain had made for quite a few muddy spots and some standing water back in the woods so we were concerned about possible slippage. By the time we went back out later to walk it again the ground had dried up a bit and gotten tackier, so we just crossed our fingers for no more rain and tried to decide on the best path through the mud.

13 - Pine Hill Express Coal Car

After walking stadium we called it a day and headed to the competitors dinner for more drinks, fajitas, and conversation with Trainer Karen. Poor Karen… when Bobby and I are together we’re a bit much, I feel sorry for anyone who is unprepared for or unaccustomed to our inappropriate behavior. Secret – it’s mostly Bobby’s fault.

Tomorrow: we ride!

Sign here and here and here, please

It’s finally time! Opening date for what will be my first event of the season has arrived, so my entry and my check went in the mail first thing.

It’s still amazing to me how cheap recognized USEA events are compared to h/j shows. It’s pretty much the same (a little bit cheaper really) as what I’d spend going to a 2 day local unrated h/j show. Ha! It’s still not cheap, but coming from jumperland I have to admit to feeling almost gleeful when I write the check… it feels like I’m getting a great deal considering it’s half the price of an average A show. One day I should put all the numbers out there for everyone to marvel at, I still have old bills from A shows and some local h/j shows floating around in my trunk. I don’t think eventers know how good they’ve got it in comparison! The only thing I don’t like is having to commit so far in advance. This commitment phobe is more of the last minute type, so sending in an entry for something still 6 weeks away feels like I’m just asking for trouble.

the schedule has officially been marked

On one hand I’m really itching to get the season started. It looks like, due to my schedule and distance and the fact that my horse doesn’t do hot weather, I’m only going to have 3 chances to get the two qualifying placings I need for AEC’s, so in a sense – shit’s about to get real. Our first up is Pine Hill, which has a very easy BN course and should in theory be a breeze. It’s really all in my hands to not mess up the dressage or do anything totally stupid. No pressure. In a way I feel like I have to be even more on my toes to not let either of us get complacent about it. He’s schooled the whole Novice course here and a couple Training fences, so he might not really register the little BN boxes and logs.

the Novice trakehner at Pine Hill


another Novice… thingy… at PH


and a little BN jump

After Pine Hill I’m planning on hitting Greenwood up north near Fort Worth. They run a CIC2* and CCI1* at the same event, so my BN should look extra simple in comparison. To be honest, the main reason I want to do Greenwood is because they’re involved in the TIP program and offer TIP awards. I want to support any event that supports TIP. Hear that, show management? TIP makes you more appealing!

I want this stuff, this stuff is cool

After Greenwood I should know if AEC’s are totally out of the picture or still on the radar, and be able to decide what to do from that point. There’s really only one more possible event after Greenwood before it starts getting too hot. We’ll see how it goes. Time to start working more on the dressage and picking away at the things that will get us a better score. The dressage scores at BN can be so cutthroat, I know it’s going to come down to the minutia that make a big difference with just a few penalty points. EEK.