Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fighting the nerves ...

Our ONE show where we've jumped 3':)

I think I'm my own worst enemy.  I need to work on staying calm, cool, and chill about jumping around.  I will be working on my visualization techniques these next 2 weeks, thinking about double clear jumping rounds and a relaxed, correct dressage test.  I have 2 goals for this horse trial; score better than mid 50's on my dressage test, and finish the competition on my dressage score.  I think both of those goals are worthwhile and reachable, I'm very excited!

Today was the first day this week I rode the muffin.  I had plans to ride yesterday, but the weather changed that plan.  It rained pretty much ALL day.  I tacked Tiki up and went up to the ring where all the jumps were in the center and the footing had been dragged.  Sadly, it had hardened up a bit and wasn't half as soft as I'd hoped it would be.  After walking around and feeling the footing break up some, I decided to jump at height a little bit.

Set a 2' bounce, 5 strides to a pole on one long side.  Had a 5 stride line of 2 3' verticals on the other long side, the coop on one diagonal, and the stack oxer set at 3' on the other diagonal.  While I set the jumps, I had secured the reins under the stirrup irons and let Muffin just GO.  He was hilarious ... walked slowly, ever so slowly, then burst forward into a squealing, bucky gallop.  Back to a moseying walk, then explode and squeal into a series of bucks!  I'm not sure how many evenings he's been turned out because there has been some pop up showers activity lately, so I'm sure glad I let him get some of his freshness out:)

Walked him twice both ways, practicing turn on the haunches.  Trotted twice both ways, reversing through an extended trot on the diagonal, then cantered twice both ways.  I just enjoyed how nice he felt; balanced, perky eared, and ready to go!  I get totally stressed out just thinking about jumping over 2'6, and my heart was pounding a little as I passed by the 3' verticals.  The good thing is they look much smaller when I'm ON; when I'm setting the jumps it is SO hard not to drop them down a hole.

I trotted the coop, then cantered the pole to the bounce.  Ugh.  I got left behind at the trot jump, underestimated his stride and came into the bounce on a 5 1/2, and he jumped through hard.  NICEEEE.  NOT.  Reversed it, and cantered into the bounce, made the 5 on step this time, then trotted the coop MUCH better.  Only down side was coming into the bounce he whacked the first pole really hard and knocked it down.  Fixed it, then did that again and things were much better:)  Came into the line before I could change my mind, thinking I'd easily add the step and do 6, but the height made me come into a 5 1/2 ... again.  JEN!!!  Get it together!  I cantered in again, landed and softly closed my leg, came into 2nd jump a LITTLE long so I clucked and he jumped a bit awkwardly, but didn't even tick the pole.

I strung together the usual; inside outside inside outside.  Started with the pole to the bounces, then to the oxer, then the line, then the coop.  Everything felt good up until the line.  I waited coming in ... then waited some more ... then pulled him to a deep, dead spot that it's a MIRACLE he actually was able to jump and clear it.  UGH!  Came back into the line on the left lead and was able to let go, find a distance, and make a nice 5 strides:)  Reversed the course and it was fine.  I was working on sitting UP, keeping my hands UP, and not letting him fall around the corners.  I did pretty well; I caught myself a few times dropping my hand down and leaning forward and letting him get heavy and on his forehand.  I let him take a break for a minute and made a slightly tougher course; oxer, bending line from first vertical to coop, back around to 2nd jump in line from opposite direction, then a big easy rollback to the bounce.  He did that really well, so I let him be finished.

I feel good.  I feel ready.  I'll confess:  I was completely set and ready to go BN again at MayDaze.  I had posted a topic on the COTH bulletin board asking for opinions, and the consensus was it's smart to do another BN since the one and only one I had completed, he had a stop and a rail in.  But then I got a PM from a reputable poster ... that told me in confidence that the MayDaze course is RIDICULOUSLY easy and super tiny for N.  It's very much a move up course, and it we were comfortable at BN, then the N course should be a good confidence builder for us.  That did it for me.  Depending on how well we cruise around, if I do a Chatt Hills or Poplar this year, I MAY go BN one more time there unless Tiki just makes a mincemeat pie out of MayDaze:)  Heck, I've already joined the USEA, so may as well get SOME use out of it!:)  Not sure what the next 2 weeks will bring; still have to pay for a hotel room and the gas to KY, so I don't have a lot of extra $$ lying around to spend on lessons or clinics or whatnot.  Jeff Cook is at PWF this weekend, so I will stay late on Saturday after my lessons to audit:)  Hopefully I can pick up one or two pearls!  Will pass on Sunday and spend the day with my boys since hubs is letting me go to KY guilt free (so far).  Tomorrow I'll do trot sets in our usual trot set pasture, then spend some quality time next week working on our dressage!

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