Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Twisted Pine Horse Trials recap

Last Sunday, Lily and I headed to Twisted Pine Farm for their horse trials. We had never been here before, and this is also my first time competing in the SOCTA series. I was excited for a new venue and a little nervous, as we hadn't been able to school xc yet. We had a decent start time, and left the farm at 6:30 am to make the 2.5 hour drive. I usually event with my friend, Tori, but she wasn't able to make it this time, so it was just Lily and I, and my parents came along as well. It's definitely different when you don't have a friend along to psyche you up!

We arrived in plenty of time for me to get a lay of the site. I walked show jumping and cross country with my mother, who wasn't very good for my confidence. We walked up to a particularly big and scary jump on cross, and the first thing she said was "there's no way Lily will go over that". Thanks mom.

The jump in question was quite large and airy with no ground line. Lily is notorious for spooking at random shit, so to say I was nervous was an understatement.

The eliminator

I put it in the back of my mind and tacked up for dressage. Lily is usually very good in dressage, but the last week she had been a little stiff to the left. I wasn't expecting much, just hoping she would put in a solid test. She ended up putting in the best test of her life, scoring 71.5% and two 9's and finishing first after dressage. I didn't know this until after we had completed all 3 phases though, as I don't tend to look at results earlier. I find it puts pressure on myself if I'm doing well.

Beginning our dressage warm up, before my mother got bored of taking pictures.

After a quick break and tack change, we headed to show jumping. The course was nice and flowed well, so I was looking forward to it. Lily warmed up beautifully. Our round was okay though; I think I must tense up when I go in, as our beautiful warm up led to a bunch of tight spots and one rail. I was still happy with her though, she jumped well and listened, even if I rode like shit.

We had a half hour before cross country, so Lily had a short break and tack and clothing change and we headed out. I didn't do a huge warm up with her being so soon after show jumping. I watched a couple people leave the start box, and I was actually feeling really psyched to do the hay wagon jump. This is when I learned that some people had complained and the jump had been taken out. Boo. The optimum time was suuuuuuuuper slow at 5 min 1 second, so I had planned where I could waste some time if needed. It was needed. Lily jumped very well, had a great gallop, and even with wasting time, we still finished at 4 min. Oops. I wasn't too upset though, as Lily is finally figuring out her job: she's learning how to gallop without getting on the forehand, and she's not spooking at every. little. thing. She was looky at the water and the two colorful jumps that followed, but went over them no problem. After we finished and I hopped off, she wasn't even puffing. I guess she's fitter than I thought!

Good mare through the water!
Photo copyright Ian Woodley
Everyone ended up having TONS of speed time faults, so we didn't fall that far down in placings with ours, finishing fourth. Our next event will be Dreamcrest on July 1, and I cannot wait!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

First show of the year! (recap)

Last Saturday we loaded up 3 horses and drove an hour to a new show series in Kingston to compete in the jumpers. This location also holds some of the South East Trillium zone shows, so I figured it would be a quality show, and I was right. The rings were lovely, the jumps were lovely, and the courses were great and flowed really well. Perfect for the first show of the year.

Kristy brought Ozzie, and I rode him in the 0.60m division. Ozzie competed on the A's as a 5 and 6 y/o, but he is now 16, and really hasn't done a whole lot in the past 10 years. Kristy took him to a couple shows last year, where he proceeded to be a complete jack ass. Kristy can't ride right now, so I convinced her to let me take him and see what he would do. He completed exceeded my expectations. He warmed up well, settled in, and when we walked into the ring for our rounds, he was all business. 100% ready to go. He jumped beautifully, gave me auto changes almost every time they were needed, and was just a pleasure to ride. He definitely needs to be jumping bigger next time, but this was a great confidence boost for Kristy to see him go so well, as she can be nervous and that makes him more of a jerk. He took home Reserve Champ for the division, and I was so incredibly proud of him.

Zippy competed in the .75m division. This was his second show, and man, he completely exceeded my expectations.
At his first show, he couldn't be left tied to the trailer because he was rearing and attacking his reflection. Needless to say, I was a bit worried about how he would be this time, but thankfully, he was a complete angel, although he did still stare at his reflection the whole time he was tied.
He warmed up very well and bravely, and had springs over the warm up jumps. We went in for our first round and he was a little shell shocked, and stopped at the first and second fence, but happily went over on the second try. He seemed to understand the game after that, and just got better and better as we went around the first round, and the second and third. He jumped out of his skin over every single fence, and even threw in a bunch of flying changes.
We pulled off a fourth in our second round which was the icing on the cake. His next show will be another jumper show in June, and I'm really looking forward to it!

Michaela (a student) and Cross (Piper's pony) also competed in the .75m. Although they didn't ribbon, I was extremely proud of Michaela for trying so hard. Her biggest issue is her mind, and by the last round, she was actually riding, and man, her and Cross will be so competitive once they put the pieces together! That pony is quick!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Curtis Barbour clinic recap

Last Saturday I held our annual event clinic with Curtis Barbour. This is the third year running it, and it's always such a fun day with great people and lots of learning. It was busy this year with 18 riders from grasshopper to prelim.

I rode Zippy in the pre-entry group. He is such a brave horse, but we still have issues with steering and staying straight. Curtis teaches a lot about keeping the horse very straight between two hands and two reins, and riding off your outside aids to turn the shoulder. We always start by riding square turns, keeping the horse straight and not allowing much inside bend. Zippy is decently good at this on the flat, but once jumps come into play, he gets a bit excited and things kind of go out the window. None the less, he tries very hard. He was really 'up' for the first half hour or so of our lesson. I think he was a bit overwhelmed with all the horses, plus our lesson had started about 20 min late, meaning he had been walking on a loose rein for 20 min. In his mind, I swear he was thinking, um, why are we working? I'm done now.

So excited. Must canter sideways.
We worked through a course of both stadium and xc type jumps. It started with a x rail with 10ft placing poles on either side, left bending line to a vertical, turn right to a 2 stride, another right turn to a corner, bending line to coops, left turn to a coffin. This was only Zippy's second jump school this year, and he really worked his ass off, doing more then I've ever asked of him. Curtis reminded me to really sit up, which is always a bad habit of mine, and to stop trying to help Zippy so much to the perfect take off spot. After Zippy settled, he put in a couple really nice rounds. This horse has such a nice jump, he really has springs in his ass! I'm really looking forward to getting him out to some events this year, but we have lots to work on before then.

I rode Lily next in a semi-private. We did mostly the same course, jumps a bit higher. Again, Curtis drilled me to sit up. I felt like I was riding on her ass, but when I sit up and stay there, things go sooo much better. Amazing how riding properly makes things easier. Duh. Lily was jumping me out of the tack, as normal. She has such a powerful hind end and her front end is finally catching up to her. She only knocked one fence all day. I really have to try and give her a nice release to let her use her back. She was so quiet and so wonderful all day, that I could really work on perfecting our rounds and my position. I didn't get any media from her aside from a few videos.

One of my biggest goals this year is to SIT UP and keep my damn shoulders back. I feel like it's working, I actively remind myself throughout my rides to sit up and bring my shoulders back. 

First show of the year is this Sunday, a jumper show in Kingston. I'll be taking Zippy in the .75m, as well as riding Ozzie, a boarder's horse, in the .60m, and Michaela is taking Cross in the .75m. The weather looks great and I'm pumped to get out there!

25 Questions, stolen from The $900 Facebook Pony

I saw this blog post on The $900 Facebook Pony , and I love these things, and I haven't been blogging much, so I thought I would give i...