Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sweet relief:)

OK, on to phase 2! I was FINE with my dressage test. I knew it was absolutely as good as it possibly could have been at that time; we've NEVER performed a dressage test in public. So, was feeling pretty good about it.

Booked it back to the barn, cut out the braids I'd worked so hard for, wet his mane down to straighten it, and ran to the port o potty to change.My fantabulous support for the weekend, Becca, tacked my horse up for me. Zipped myself into my life jacket, I mean vest, and even remembered my armband. Climbed aboard and headed down to the warmup. He was UP. He was ALERT. He was shaking. He stopped and stared. I was thinking in my head ... "LOOK at the jumps. LOOK at the jumps. Over there, THAT'S where you're going!"

Considering I've never even done so much as a schooling show, I wasn't positive what technique I was going to use. Once I got into the field, there were only 2 other horses in there, so I decided to R E L A X. Held the reins on the buckle, kicked my feet out of the stirrups, and walked for about 20 minutes. Lots of patting, lots of talking, and lots of breathing. I'd learned, and left myself TONS of time for my xc warmup. Shortened my reins, cantered both ways, then cantered into the crossrail. He backed himself up, I sat BACK, supported, and OVER he went! He felt good; nice and forward, but a little hesitant.I was SO happy to see 2 solid warmup fences ... I had NO idea what to expect. He jumped both well (I'd schooled both before at the hunter pace back in August) so I decided to run with that. Got a sip of water, Becca talked me down, and got the 4 minutes to go, so I headed to the start box.

After the horse in front of me went, I felt on the verge of tears with panic, so I PRAYED. Like, prayed for real. We got the countdown, and off we went! Had planned to trot ... straightaway to the canter ... ok! First jump was a hard look, but a good one. Second jump was a kennel ... we'd never schooled it ... the cabin type jumps are a sticky point. I thought it was TOUGH for a second jump on course. He said, "Um, no". I stayed BACK, used my spur, he ALMOST said "OK", but then changed his mind. So, a stop, I used my crop, circled, re-presented, and cropped twice behind my leg at the jump. He landed, took 2 strides, then said, "OK!!! I'm now going FORWARD!" Up to another scary palisade jump, which was great, then straightaway to the bank complex. Big square oxer, up the ramp, off a drop. We'd never schooled that particular type of drop. I stayed back, looked up, used leg, and he sailed off perfectly. From there, he was a MACHINE. Holy cow, it was AMAZING. Every jump was right out of stride, I rode the HECK out of the remaining "scary" jumps, and even though he jumped the cabin framed by trees from a virtual standstill, and I totally ate the tree, he was SUPER brave off the ski jump, and perfect to the last 2.

As we crossed the finish line, I had tears in my eyes. I patted Tiki, good boy'd him to death, and jumped off. Ran up the stirrups, loosened the girth and noseband, gave him the peppermint out of my pocked, and walked back to the barn. He was PUMPED full of adrenaline. I felt lightheaded ... we'd DONE it! Never strung together more than 6 in a row, and never without looking at/jumping at LEAST one of them first. Despite our 20 penalties, we had moved up from 7th to 6th.

A good start ...

Wow. I almost have no words. I am so relieved and happy. I am OFFICIALLY no longer a "Hunter princess playing at being an eventer". I am NOW "A former Hunter princess turned eventer"

What an amazing weekend. It rained Mon-Wed like CRAZY, then had 2 good days of sun; footing on Saturday was magnificent. I was SO nervous. I TRIED to stay as cool and calm as I could, but all I could think about was getting eliminated xc. Walked the course Friday when I arrived, and was really nervous about MANY of the questions. My issue with my boy is I get fixated on what makes me nervous, and don't always give him a confident ride. When he's going in "cold" to jump a course, he MUST have a good, confident ride.So ... I was just so nervous that I would let him down and lean forward, let him get too fast, etc.

Had ALL day Saturday to get ready for dressage (2:45), and SOMEHOW ended up in the warmup ring only about 13 minutes before I needed to lay down my test. I wanted a SOLID 30 minutes to help him get relaxed, because he HATES crowds ... and horses passing him ... and horses coming at him ... and ... you get the picture. So after 13 minutes, he was short strided, tense, and certainly NOT anywhere close to being "on the bit".The test went OK. The Myler D-ring is legal by the way. I entered the ring and did the best I could. Problems I could identify was that I was tense and nervous, HE was a little unsettled and tense, and coming from the free walk to the collected walk, he jigged. Overall, score was a little disappointing. I got straight 5's with a few 4's thrown in. Yikes! 53.4 was my score. The judges card showed pretty much nothing but "collection", and "topline". So, we have homework. That's all I can think of. XC description in a little bit!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


It's here!!! Leaving tomorrow:) I'm as ready as I can possibly be. Had a totally super lesson on Monday from Janet, had a totally super lesson today with Susan ... hoping that means the show will be good too:)

I LOVE it when the hunter trainer remarks how much better he looks after the dressage lessons, and the dressage trainer remarks how much better he looks after the hunter lesson. That means I'm doing SOMETHING right. Yay:)

Well, not going to wax poetic about what went on; Janet had me work on slowing my body down all over and not jump ahead, and Susan and Janet both had me work on really riding THROUGH my downward transitions. Panicked and changed Squeaky's bit because I'm afraid the waterford ball bit wouldn't be legal. He was just GREAT today; felt fantastic in it! Haha, go figure.

I'll be coming home each night, so I'll post a new blog for the next 3 nights.:)

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Well, one week exactly. I think I'm about ready. Had a pretty good dressage lesson. Here's my run through of our dressage test:

Consensus is that I need to carry my hands quieter, and do a better job of maintaining outside rein contact. I've shortened up my stirrups by one hole since then, and my leg feels much better.

Friday I didn't ride, and Saturday I rode with Becca. I practiced my corners, and then cantered a low vertical and a small square oxer several times. He was a rockstar. Sunday at the IEA show, he was GREAT!!!!! Great, I tell you! I couldn't have wished for him to be more perfect; I was super happy. Incidintely (sp?), we won our first show of the season! Go PWF:)

Monday off, hills in the halter Tuesday, dressage school Wednesday, and trot/canter sets today. He was so lazy today, lol. I actually had to kick him at the canter, and allowed him to open up into a gallop, but he didn't really care that much to gallop today. He is so quiet when he's at home. Barely touched his face at all today! Tomorrow a light flat with a single vertical to hop over both ways, weekend off. Monday a jump lesson, Tuesday and Wednesday hills/hack in the pasture, Thursday dressage lesson, Friday CHATTAHOOCHEE HILLS! Woo Hoo! Dressage and xc will be Saturday and showjumping Sunday.

My goals are as follows:

1. Not get eliminated

2. Stadium and xc no refusals

3. Finish on my dressage score

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

OMGosh. 2 weeks!

So, was planning my weekends ... this weekend, IEA show. Next weekend, nothing. The next weekend ... HORSE TRIAL!!! I realize that for those of you that do this all the time, it's not a big a deal. For me, I am SO STOKED!!!!!!!!! Never done anything like this before, and I am just SO excited.

Monday, I went with Marisa to go xc schooling at Calimar. It was ALL because Becca had her trailer parked at Joyce's, and was happy to let me steal it for the morning.:) The muffin had seemingly forgiven me for the body clip from Hell, and self loaded on the trailer on the 3rd attempt. An uneventful hour and a half later, I arrived a few minutes before Marisa. Unloaded the boy, unwrapped his legs, and saw the wound had opened up a little bit due to the wraps. The spot is RIGHT where the edge of his open fronts are, so for the first time I schooled with naked front legs. Still put the Woof boots on the hind, and let Marisa talk me into riding in my tall boots.:) We mounted up and headed to the usual side where I always start on.

Warmed up on the flat ... Muffin was quite fresh! He kept tucking his head down and stretching to his knees. Weird; he's never done that before! He got a little swishy swishy bucky bucky, but felt really good. Hopped over a hanging log; NO hesitation. Did hanging log to funky log; NO hesitation. Wow, he felt pretty good. Walked over to baby ditch; stop and leap. Again, and again. Again, and better. Walked over to big ditch. Stop, back rapidly. Crop, re-present, back rapidly. Crop, get ON to him, trot a little, and he jumped. I only did it the one time, lol! Chatt Hills doesn't have a ditch like that at all, so no sense in making the both of us miserable by continuing to drill.

Took a walk over to the water complex; splashed around and he was great. Went to drop in, and he pitched a little fit, again with the rapid backing. Hmmm, not a big fan of this. Came back to it, got onto him again, and he finally squirted in. Didn't mess with this a bunch either because again, nothing like it will be a question in the HT. Jumped a tall x rail towards the water on an angle; no surprise, he stopped. I took the blame for that one since he's never jumped towards the water so close to it, and I didn't even bother to get straight or give him a good approach. Cropped him anyway because he needs to learn at some point to get a little more brave and bail me out every once in a while. Came in straight and really rode it; he landed DEAD, but went through the water and out the other side. Fortunately, I was READY for the dead landing and didn't fall on his neck, haha.

Strung together a pretty tough line of a hanging log, big curvy approach to a y-shaped log, about 8 strides on a L bending line to a big up bank, then about 8 more strides on a R bending line to the train barrel jump. He handled it all like a champ!:)

Another string we did was the hanging log around to the y-log, long gallop to the "wavy rails" open coop, into the water via the ramp, then out the bank. He was a total rockstar; I had a miss at the wavy rails, but that was just because he was seriously on a gallop, and I whoaed a little too late, and rather than jumping out of stride, I tried to get to the base of it, and it was just too deep.

Finally, I put quite a few together. Tiny down bank straight ahead to the hanging log, long gallop to teeny ditch, about a 10 stride R bending line to the 2 stride of hanging logs, lincoln logs into the showjumping ring, around the dressage ring, out the (massive) bench, LONG gallop to the y-log, to the wavy rails, into the water, then out the bank. He'd never jumped the bench; I was afraid of it. Didn't let him get a good look at it because I wanted to do it "cold". All was GREAT until the 2 stride; did 2 and a chip as usual. Awesome over the lincoln logs and then ... cantered around the corner TOTALLY on the forehand, NOT sitting up, leaning forward, holding my neck strap, and crooked. Pulled my right rein and steered to the bench ... when Tiki realized what I meant to jump, he SLAMMED on the brakes a good 5 strides out. Since I had NO canter, NO seat, and NO shoulders, I had no recourse. Opted NOT to push it because I was afraid, and it was a lot bigger than the one I'd already jumped at Chatt Hills. Backtracked to the lincoln logs again, then finished the course on a GREAT note. NAILED the wavy rails this time.

Finished by doing the start again, but adding on the little down bank at the beginning. No hesitation at all off the bank, down to the Cedar Rail this time that he never jumps well. STILL didn't jump it well, but this was the FIRST time he actually jumped it without a 2nd thought. Continued to the ditch, and it was the BEST ditch we'd ever done. To the 2 stride, and I galloped in, landed, galloped, and jumped out in the TWO, WOO HOO! First time, lol. Finished with LL into the ring, schooled the dressage test, then headed home.

Overall, he was just amazing. I'm still nervous, but I DO feel better. Gave him Tuesday off, longed him today (over trot poles), and having a dressage lesson tomorrow. Will probably jump small stuff (under 2'6) Friday, Saturday off, then IEA show Sunday.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Can I just say ...

that body clipping a chestnut horse that wrings his tail and kicks out with simple BRUSHING is a death defying act. He was a ROCKSTAR 2 years ago when I did a trace clip using my friend's Wahl Stable Pro clippers. Stood quiet as a mouse while I clipped him up. This weekend, I did a full body clip with big body clippers, and he tried to kill me on multiple occasions. My horse has never grunted so many times in 3 hours. It was pathetic; HE was pathetic. I feel like it was a total waste of time, too ... he just did NOT hardly have a coat at ALL to clip off. Oh well. At least he'll be naked for the HT. I'm indifferent about the tiki ... my husband says it doesn't look good and I should shave it off. I'll think on it; I may.

SO! Where did I leave off? Oh yeah, Friday! Well, I ended up jumping again since I hadn't done much of that lately. I thought it would be a good idea since Tiki hangs his knees sometimes to jump a low, wide square oxer. I'm not a huge oxer fan ... ESPECIALLY wide ones, lol. But I sucked it up, and set a 2' tall 3' wide square oxer. The others were 2'9. Jumped a hunter course first, and he was perfect up to the oxer ... and then he got in long, so I added ... he jumped ... then looked down and went, "OH CRAP!".:) Bent my fingernail back, owww! He cleared the jump no problem, and heart pounding, I came in again. Got a better distance this time, clucked, leg, and he JUMPED. Did an easy course, and this time got in long again, but went. Ugh, it felt AWFUL. Jumped the oxer again alone, and it was decent. Decided my final course would be jumper-ish, so I planned the cav stack oxer (high), inside turn to a vert, tight turn to the outside vert/cabinet line, then finishing with oxer. Got in fine to the cav oxer, but he knocked it so hard, he landed 3 legged. Walked him until his back ankle stopped stinging, then tried one more time. He jumped the cav oxer so hard I could NOT make the inside turn. Jumped everything else fine, then really NAILED the wide oxer perfectly, so I quit there.

Actually rode Saturday with my friend Becca. Warmed him up on a TOTALLY loose rein, w/t/c. Did a little leg yielding, a little canter circling, a little toth, then warmed up over the cabinet a few times in my 2-point. Jumps were down to 2'6, and the wide oxer was now a fan jump (which I haven't done with Tiki yet). Becca jumped, then I jumped an easy hunter course. Didn't let him see the fan ahead of time, and he was great to it. Looked at it as he jumped it, but didn't stutter. Decided to try my jumper course from Friday one more time with the inside turn(cav oxer was low now). Made the turn, but he didn't land his lead, so I did a simple change on the rollback. Finished with the vert of the outside line, bending line to the fan jump. He was a rockstar, so quit.

Bathed him, and started clipping, expecting full cooperation like last time; he HATED the vibration and the loudness of the huge clippers. His skin was twitching like he was being attacked by bees; he was dancing around, kicking out, trying to bite me. Broke the crossties twice. NOT a happy camper. I will be investing in some SUPER quiet, smaller clippers for next year. This was NOT a fun weekend.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Great week:)

My boy has been super this week! I love the little muffin brain; he is so much fun!

Monday I jumped again. Had the same course from Sunday set up. Flatted him fairly lightly, always practicing picking up my canter on an open 20 m circle since that seems to be our biggest dressage test weakness. The 3 ring waterford really feels like almost too much bit on the flat, but I'm using the oppourtunity to really get him in front of my hand and into the bit. Set every jump at 2'6 (except for the new, teeny cabinet jump). Made one of the diagonal singles a square oxer. I'd decided to jump the same course 3 times; at 2'6, 2'9, and 3'. First course felt really nice. He backed off the oxer a little, but jumped it well. Hopped off, raised everything to 2'9; ramped the oxer this time. Jumped everything well; I really worked hard at "building scope and stride in the corner", then steadying (and adding leg) to the jump. All but the oxer was fab; I was just a little long to it, but not bad. Raised up the jumps one more time ... I wimped out and didn't jack up the oxer; just sqauared it up :) He jumped everything well except for one of the singles; he knocked it down, and the oxer ... we were coming in long, so I pulled on his face and he chipped in a stride. Kept cantering around, and came up to it one more time. NAILED it perfectly, so we quit there.

Tuesday, I held horses for the farrier. True story: Pulled Tiki out to get his shoes. Eric picked up his left front; Tiki started shaking like crazy, and breathing like a maniac. Since he's known to be a little bit of a spaz, Eric and I figured he was having a neurotic moment. Dealt with it for about 2 minutes, and finally Eric decided to go ahead and pull the other front shoe in case something was amiss ... he had a GIANT rock in that shoe that was pressing painfully against his sole. AGH! Poor baby. I felt so bad. Eric knocked the rock out, and Tiki was perfect.

Wednesday I opted for a dressage school again. Put on Nicole's dressage saddle, padded it up, and strapped on the dressage bridle. He was good until I started the canter; I need to put in the med gullet; it has the extra wide gullet in now, and I think at the canter, it was sitting on his shoulder too hard core. Nicole said I could swap it, so I think I will:) Transitions were fair; it wasn't a telling ride since the saddle wasn't sitting perfect.

Today I worked a combo hills and hack. Walked the less steep hill on the opposite side of the pasture from where I've been working him lately. Did that 3 times, then hacked the flat spot up by the road. I'd taken off the noseband, and was in the loose ring; he was a little bit of a jerk. Decent at the trot, really tried to pull and lay on me in the canter. Mouth was GAPING open, and he was "voicing" his displeasure at being made to w/t/c in his pasture. Circled a few times at the canter and held him up HARD with my inside leg. Ended on a good note.

Haven't decided yet on what tomorrow will bring. Whatever it is, I'll make sure he works hard! Body clipping this weekend; pics to follow!:)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Can't wait to win the lottery!

So I can spend every weekend doing some horsey activity, haha! Had a great time today riding with my friend Becca. She has just moved her horse to Tiki's barn, and I'm super excited to have another friend there. Next Saturday is a hunter pace; the following Saturday is a Mary Bess Sigman clinic; that Sunday is a show at Chatt Hills; the next weekend is ... you get the idea. I just don't have the resources to do all that I so desperately want to. Oh well, at least I get to RIDE my OWN horse, and not make do with everyone else's. I've waited a really long time for this reality, and now that I have it, I will NOT ruin it by wishing for more than I have.

Jumped for the first time in 2 weeks. Set up a course with 2 outside lines and 2 inside singles. Added a new jump; Becca gave me some cabinets to use as a jump, and they look/work great! Mark dragged the ring, so the footing was excellent. Gave Muffin a nice, long grooming, then tacked him up with the usual. Still have the 3 ring on the jumping bridle. Wore my new boots, and tied my feet to the girth. He felt a little stiff today; not TERRIBLY surprising considering he had yesterday off, and what was really just a hack on Friday. Normally, his first day of really WORKING is just OK; he "warms up" well in subsequent days as we work consistently.

When I flatted, I did the circle/counter canter/circle/flying change exercise again. Lead changes weren't as clean as they had been last time I did that. Honestly, I think my stirrups were a little too tight! Ooops, haha. Warm up felt GREAT. Trot into a small crossrail, canter out in 6 to the new cabinet jump. He could have cared less. Did again, and again, pretty perfect. Did outside/inside/outside/inside. The first outside was 5 strides with a low crossrail/low cabinet. Inside was a tall x rail. Other outside was stack oxer (low) to a 2'6 single, and final inside was a 2'6 single. Nothing big; they didn't need to be. First course was pretty ok. Didn't MISS any distances, but did have to make some last minute adjustments. Tried to work on building pace in the corners so I can sit up and balance to the jump. We both felt pretty decently good; I got him a little too forward, which flattened him out and caused some leaning in the corners. He was SO forward, he was just about leaving a stride out! Re grouped, and got him a little more under control. Again, and it wasn't bad at all. Did it a final time, and missed to the long approach to the big crossrail, then the outside low line just didn't click well. Finished by approaching the tall x rail off a long canter one more time, and NAILED it. I did what I had forgotten almost every time. 2-point, build pace in the corner. Sit up as soon as I sight in on jump. About 10 strides away, start to half halt and balance with reins ... ADD LEG. That's what I forgot, the leg. He balanced right up, lifted that shoulder, and nailed the distance perfectly. Quit there.

Becca and I finished with a little trail walk through the big pasture. Both boys were picture perfect; great way to spend a BEAUTIFUL Sunday afternoon!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Good things happening ...

Fortunately, the "injury" wasn't too significant. Cold hosed for 2 days, then proceeded to hack lightly in the ring and cold hose again. Thursday was an off day because of a little field trip to Dover to get new field boots! Woo Hoo!! Today I decided to practice 16 year old rusty braiding skills; not to mention I've NEVER sewn in/braided button braids before. I think considering his mane hasn't been pulled in 2 years, and I've been scissor cutting it, the braiding went fairly well.:) Took me a solid hour and a half to put them in.

Rode in Nicole's dressage saddle today. I havent' ridden in one in FOREVER, and it was cool to feel how it immediately opened up my hip angle, and helped me sit up. My stirrups were a hair too long, and the new boots squeaked against the Wintec pleather like crazy, but the ride was pretty good. The little booger REALLY wants to miss his left lead (the GOOD one) on the 20m circle approaching X. It's quite annoying. Thank goodness I have a month to DRILL that little exercise. Good boy today, 100% sound, and getting ready for Halloween!!!:)