I have done an update on William since my return to Blogging but have not done one on Archie. I have filled you in on all the other things happening with me and around the farm and since my yearly review post is around the corner I figured I better give you update on ol' man Archie.
Archie and I have had quite the year. I felt it was quite up and down but looking back I have realized it was actually pretty good with just a few bumps along the way. After a winter of some good dressage lessons and a few jumping lessons, I was feeling confident we were ready to upgrade. We started the season at Ottawa Horse Trials at the Pre-Training level (Novice in the US except we are 3' not 2'11 and stadium can be up to 3'2). I was extremely nervous about the stadium because it is really our weakest point. Our biggest issue is my inability to ride my horse properly in the stadium ring, not to mention Archies' inability to relax and be a normal horse in the ring. Minor details.
We ended up having a good dressage test and an OK stadium, I think 2 rails. The rails to me are not important. The rideability of my round is what I am focusing on. We had a brilliant clear cross country with time faults. I made a point to ride every fence in control on cross to ensure Archie learns what is acceptable and what is not. Time faults are not important. If I have to trot then I trot. The thing with our show jumping that is frustrating is that Archie is great at home. He does have his moments where he is launching at the fences, but 90% of the time at home he is brilliant. We school over 3'9 courses with no issues. No rushing, no launches, no rubs, no rails. How does this happen? I swear I am not riding any different but maybe I am? We still need to bring our jumping at home into the ring.
We finished the entire season with only one cross country jumping penalty - and it was an elimination where we fell. If you watch the TTE eventing Thrills and Spills video I posted previously you can see it there :). Basically, I went cross country in my Myler which was a mistake. Archie grabbed the bit and ran away with me which was the first time I have ever experienced anything like that. I literally had no control. By the time we got to the bank on the course I was ready to pull up. On one side there was a bank with a small jump 2 strides after, and on the left was the Training fence coming down the bank. Archie locked onto the Training fence. I was trying to circle him away from the fence to pull up but he had grabbed the bit and launched at the fence. As he did this I pulled his head sideways and we ended up jumping into a bush, falling onto the bank and rolling down the small hill. We were both totally fine. Here he is before the fall and here we are missing our turn. Runaway.
After Equus where our fall happened I had some doubts on whether I could work through things with Archie. I wasn't sure if we could fix this problem of his "over boldness". Thankfully, I have great friends who are also great horse people. They supported and assured me not to give up. It was one bad day with an unfortunate fall and I can't let this decide my whole life with Archie. Ironically, I fell off Archie again a week later. I have had this horse for 5 years and never fallen off him, then in the span of 7 days I had two scary falls. I learned later that life goes on. We become stronger. We become thankful.
I worked through my own mental issues and continued on my focus with Archie. We continued on and did several more events. All finishing clear cross country with decent dressage. In Ontario the competition at Pre Training is pretty stiff. There are always at least 15-20 people in your division and most are riders and horses who have competed there for years. We ended the season in 7th in Ontario rankings, out of over 200 riders. We were first in our division in the region of Eastern Ontario :)
Although I know we still have a lot to work on in the ring, especially in stadium, I am very proud of how far Archie has come. Two years ago I thought I would never be able to show Archie. Now he is not only showing, but doing well and behaving well at shows. He ties to trailer. He stands on the trailer. It's shocking. We have schooled Training fences all summer and should be ready to take on Training next year if the winter goes as planned. It's a scary but exciting time for sure. I love eventing and I love Archie.
He is a video of some of our events this summer. Notice the difference in his control in stadium from the start of the season to the end. Photo Spam afterwards.
|Schooling at Dreamcrest|
|Touch a Rainbow|
|Smiling Happy TBd|
|We are flying!|
|Momma groom extraordinaire|
|Havin fun at Oakhurst!|
|like a carousel|
|Archie gorgeous - I look like a boy..lol|