Monday, July 31, 2017

Bye Felicia - Glenarden Horse Trials July 29 2017 Recap

  Let's just say....things didn't go exactly as planned.  The entire event ended up being a total gong show, and I doubt I will return to Glenarden ever again.  That being said, I am not blaming the event for what went down with my personal day.

  It started off good. Horses loaded and travelled well, we had lots of time to get ready, and get the horses corked before dressage.  It was a good thing we did cork, the entire dressage, showjumping, and warm up rings were deep, thick wet grass.  The kind that sucks you in.  They had tried to fill holes in the ring, but added white sand in patches.  From tests I was watching, horses were spooking and tripping and slipping left right and center.  The ring was in better shape than the warm up though, and I pretty much just walked on the fence line where it was OK for my warm up.  We did a few trot lines but not much.  Too risky in that footing.

 Indy was feeling incredible. Disappointing because in a good ring, he could have laid down an amazing test.  He did his best, but I was purposefully riding inside the track and around the holes, which cost us marks. We finished with a perfect final halt, and a 58.6 (61%).  That score is comparative to what we have been getting, so I was pretty happy. I think we could have broken low 50s or high 40s in decent footing.  We did get 7s on both our canters which is his weakest part of the test so I was happy about that!  Left us 8th of 10 in the Open division.

the handsomest

that neck tho

  Stadium was not much better.  We had some time before we rode and walked our cross country course.  It looked....big, and technical, and not at all inviting for our first entry.  There wasn't really a fence on the course that scared me, just the way it was put together left a bad taste in my mouth.   I was more concerned about the higher levels though, their courses looked just ridiculous.  I could go on about the level creep I saw there and how I hate the direction courses are going, but I have complained enough on CoTH for the day.  If you want to read it go check it out there.

  Again, with the footing we didn't get much warm up.  I jumped two fences and called it at that.  The ring was better than the warm up again, but not great. My goal was to get around the tracks and avoid the worked in spots.  Indy was amazing.   The footing didn't bother him one bit.  He was bold and listening well.  I asked him to wait, and not realizing that the mud was already shortening his stride he was too short and we got close to a few of the fences.  We had three rails but to be honest I was happy to get out of their alive!  

avoiding the swamp

getting better form!

love this shot

nice bascule! Look how much of his foot is in the ground- ankle deep

  After stadium my friend Katie and I were 7th and 6th place respectively out of 10.  I was pretty happy with how the day was going so far.  I was worried about the bank on XC, it was only fence 4, coming off another fence and facing the crowd.  I was hoping facing home would be an advantage but it turned out I didn't need to worry about the bank.  I never made it over the first fence.  Cue tears. (internal tears. Eventers don't cry outwardly LOL)


attempt 2
not gunna happen :(
  I wish I could tell you what happened and why he stopped not once, not twice, but three times at that first fence.  The start box is on almost a 90 degree turn from this fence.  You leave the box, take a hard immediate right, then again left to the fence. In total it's probably about ten strides from the box.  When I got back to the trailer with my mope face on, I noticed he corked himself behind.  The first jump was max height and width.  It had fake flowers in front and old shiny hay in the manger part.  It was isolated away from all the other horses.  It could have been any one of these factors that came into play, or it could have just been that he wasn't prepared enough.  I have no idea.  I have thought a lot about it.  I will admit I can't stop thinking about it actually.

  This horse has never quit.  He is honest as the day is long.  I even tried to trot it the final time.  He just wasn't going to go over.  He was about to jump at the first attempt but slammed on the brakes.  Admittedly the footing was terrible on this fence because a few other horses had also stopped at it. My friends horse almost stopped and jumped it from a quasi-stand still.  He might have corked himself and thus the pain scared him.  He went out of the start box guns blazing. I thought for sure we were going to have a crackin' ride.  I honestly think the line from the start box and the turns just threw him off.   He turned and then felt the footing and possibly corked himself and that was enough to turn him off.

 Like I said in my last blog post I am really competitive. But the feelings here were not sadness because I couldn't place.  I was sad because I felt like I let my horse down.  Did I ride the fence wrong? Did I over or under ride?  Was he not prepared well enough? Does he not want to event?  The questions that swirl in my mind were driving me a bit mental.  It's hard enough getting eliminated but I didn't even make it over the first fence.  Thankfully, the organizer was watching and she let me jump the starter fence before I walked off course.  He gave it a BIG look but went over.

 My friends have assured me it was not either of us, just a bad day on a tough course.  Don't take it to heart and don't give up.  I am so thankful for their listening and supportive ear.  They are right.  Indy was so great in 2 of 3 phases.  He always tries to hard.  He has only been under saddle for about 9 months, I can't fault myself or him.  We are both learning to trust each other and figure each other out.  I felt horrible like I let him down trying to tackle such a big course for his first entry but Glenarden was not the same course I remember.  A lot of changes since I was there last.

  Poor Indy was so confused walking back to the trailer.  He SO wanted to be out there, his brain just fried a little at the start.  I think if we could have gotten some flow and he could see the fence head on from the start we might have had a chance.  For now, it's back to the drawing board.  Lots of homework to do before we try and make our upgrade again.

  At days end I learned a horse had to be euthanized due to a fracture after a rotational fall at the Pre-Training level.  I honestly wasn't surprised after seeing the courses.  It made me feel dumb for being sad about our day when some kid lost the horse of her lifetime.  Sometimes I don't know how I feel about eventing these days.  One thing is certain, I love my horses to death.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Tomorrow, We Ride

  I'm going eventing tomorrow.  I'm taking Indy.  We are doing Entry level (BN).  I'm nervous as hell.  Not because I'm scared, but because I am really super competitive and want to kick ass.  I know there is a little ditch and bank on the course. I know that Indy likes to look at them, I also know we are well versed in schooling them.  I also also know that when you focus on one fence, it's usually some random baby log that ends up tripping you up.

 I'm not scared of Entry level, but it is really amazing how you can get so nervous on a level depending what horse you ride.  Indy has proven himself solid at the Pre-Entry level. He finished on his dressage score at the 4 events he has done and was top 3 in all but the first event.  He is a bold and careful jumper.  He is quiet and rideable in the dressage.  So why am I still nervous?  I don't get nervous going Training level with Penny.  I know she will jump anything. My nerves seem dependent on the horse I am riding, and how competitive I may be that day.  The unknown makes me nervous.

excited for this!!

excited for this too!!!

I guess sort of excited for this lol

 I know people say, just aim to finish with a number not a letter, but that's not how I roll.  I show to be competitive.  I train to be competitive.  I want to be competitive...but that isn't always the case.  The ironic thing is at the end of the day, whether I win or get eliminated, I always have fun.  I am still beaming after cross country.  I am still proud of my horse and myself for going out and giving it everything we have.

 So regardless of how our "big" upgrade goes tomorrow , and regardless of how bad I want to win, I will be thrilled if we make it around.  I am excited to spend the day eventing with one of my closest friends.  I am excited to take Indy to the next step on our journey.  I am excited that maybe, just maybe, we can bring home some satin, and have a great time doing it.

  Now to ride, braid, and pack the trailer!!!

Indy is excited too

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

New Life, New Garden

  It was hard leaving my beautiful turn key farm with all the fancy amenities.  It was not hard leaving the bad memories.  What was really hard, was leaving my garden that I spent 6 years developing, growing, planning, organizing and watching bloom every summer.  I have had a love for big, bright flowers everywhere since my late teens.  I have learned a tonne from reading, and trial and error.  My new farm is what you would call a "fixer-upper".  That is an understatement though.  It was more like a glorified animal hoarder, garbage dump with an old Victorian house sat in the middle. Not exaggerating.

this is after much was already cleaned up

where my wild flowers are now...the entire place has already transformed

 Starting a new garden from scratch is sad, but also very rewarding. Plus it is an artists dream because you can shape it anyway you like.  I made two gardens this year, beside my side door.  The whole area was littered with about 2 feet of garbage, and one area had rabbit hutches before and I shit you not (pun intended) - 2 feet of old rotted rabbit shit.  It took me 2 hours to shovel all that rabbit shit out and it was not an easy job!  I made a perennial bed beside my house and a wild flower bed across from it. The wild flowers I used one of those Miracle Grow shakers and also the free seeds from Cheerios they were giving out this year to help the bee population.

  With a lot of hard work, and garden is blooming for the first time.  The rocks around the parameter were all pulled from the barn.  The flowers except for a couple, were all taken from my family and friends gardens.  I'm really pleased with how well it is coming along for the first year.  Next year after I redo the front porch and roof, I will do the front gardens.  For now my dad built me a nice big flower box and I will probably plant something there in the next few weeks.



Bee balm

in the wild flower garden

black eyed susan

phlox in the wild garden

a flower basket on the barn

probably should just be a XC right?

before bloom - the "garden of weeden" LOL

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

XC Schooling with Indy at Fallowfield Farm

  After my lesson with Penny, I went home to clean and re-pack the trailer so I could take Indy cross country schooling with my friends Katie and Bri that afternoon.  With all the rain we have had in Ontario this year not many places are open for schooling.  I specifically wanted to school where there was a bank and a ditch and luckily we have a small but nice XC schooling facility available about 20 minutes from my farm.  The only downside is there aren't too many baby fences there but I guess we didn't really need them in the end.

  We started off in the sand ring and worked over a little course work.  Trying to remember what my coach told me about being light and giving him his face and sitting light and keeping my shoulders back and my chin up to help lift his heavy forehand.  We are getting it about %60 of the time, I just need to remember to not let him go on auto pilot because he is still green and his auto pilot is to take the flyer and then root and canter around on the forehand. Not conductive for good cross country LOL

  After we finished in the showjump ring we went out to the XC field to play.  I started over some basic logs and tires and put them together to make a little course.  Indy was bold and we had a few flyers and dives after which helped remind me that I am a rider not a trained monkey and I need to actually do something to help my horse use his body better.  We were much better off from there.  We did the stairs quite a few times, up and down and back and forth.  Indy has been good with banks but once in a while he doesn't understand the "down" question so I repeated the banks down many many times off different lines, in mini courses and by the end he was stepping off nicely with no worries.

I got this mom...hold tight

ahhh...those wide hands...I think I was gathering my reins at least
  After schooling the bank I wanted to jump the Training fence out of the water so we went through the water first.  Indy has been pretty good about water, but this water is notoriously "spooky" and it took a little encouragement for him to go in.  Once he realized it WAS water he went straight in.  We had a trot and a canter through then came around and he popped out over the little Training fence on the other side.

  Then I got brave, and decided we would try the other Training fences on the course.  As Indy is still learning how to use himself to "jump" instead of just haul ass on the track, I was worried he might not be scopey enough to jump the bigger stuff.  Not sure why I was worried.  When I ride him to the fences properly, he jumps me way up and out of the tack.  He doesn't like to touch fences and these ones were no different.  He was about a foot over them, so much fun to be on his back when he's jumping like this!

  We did the training roll top with brush, then the Training house, which is my new fav picture of him.  Reminds me off Opposition Buzz with his "lift off".  After this I headed to the ditch to see where we were at with those.  The ditch here can be a bit spooky and to my delight he trotted right over it back and forth first time with no hesitation! Yay!  We did the ditch about 20 times, some on our own and some leading Bris baby horse Murph over.  I think we have solidified what the ditch is in Indys mind and how to cross it easily.  It's not that Indy was bad about ditches before, just that he didn't really understand what they were and how to navigate.  It looks as though that is all behind us now.  

Houston...we have lift off

 I was very satisfied with our day out schooling, and am looking forward to our event this weekend at Glenarden where we are going to do the big upgrade to Entry level (BN) LOL! 
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