From racing to riding... the training diary of an off the track Standardbred

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bristol County 4-H and Open Horse Show at Haskins 10/23/11

Last Sunday, we had our final show of the season at Haskins. This is the last time Jet and I would ever be eligible for the Green Horse classes we have been doing for the past two years. I really wanted to make it count.

I decided to do seven classes that day. We started with Halter, then went to the Green Horse classes (equitation, pleasure, discipline rail, and trail), and then I decided to throw in two crossrail classes just to see how he would be in them. I wasn't expecting him to be a superstar in crossrails or Halter because we usually do not do those classes.

We got there nice and early and I decided not to get on and warm up before Halter. This meant that he would have to go into the show ring without being able to look around first. In the past, this has been an issue because when we warm up in the ring, he usually spooks quite a bit at first. It was time for him to grow up and put his big boy pants on.

Halter went really well. We were waiting for half an hour outside of the indoor ring before our class started. By the time we went into the ring, Jet was getting aggrivated. However, he held it together during the class. He stood still and square and trotted right when I wanted him to. There were seven in the class and we ended up tying for sixth. I did not care about the ribbon, I was just proud of Jet. All of the other horses have been trained to do this class and have been doing it for some time. However, my Mom was not as happy as I was about it. She asked the judge why I placed so low and he said that it was because my bridle was a flash bridle (even though I did not have the flash on the noseband). If I didn't have that, he said I would have placed in the top of the class. Oh well, atleast I know I did well!

After that, I ran back to the trailer and tacked him up for the undersaddle classes. We only had two classes to warm up in a small warm up area. Our class was called and we entered the ring. There were three in my class this time (better than it being just me like the last show!). One of the girls has been going for year end points, like I was.

Our Green horse classes went really well! Jet wasn't spooky at all in the ring! We didn't break or do anything stupid. We stood still when we were supposed to, and didn't go around at 100 mph! The only this he was iffy on was trotting right on the rail. As the day went on, the track on the rail got really deep and mushy and I think he was having a hard time so I pulled him to the inside just a bit so he wasn;t on the track and he was MUCH happier. He was moving straight, getting great transitions, keeping an even tempo, level headset, he was just being great! We were spot on in trail too! In one of our classes, the girl that was going fr year end awards fell off of her horse RIGHT infront of us when the horse spooked. I immediately dismounted (a habit I guess) and just looked on. Jet was fine throughout the whole ordeal but was a bit looky where the horse spooked. After once past that area, he was fine. The girl was fine and hopped right back on like a champ! The rest of the day was fine with no injuries. We ended up with two firsts and two seconds!

Then we went on to crossrails. I snuck into the warm up and got a few rounds in and was laughing so much that it interfered with my riding. Jet was being good though! He was going over everything...WAY over everything. Our lines could have been straighter, we could have had a better, more consistant tempo, but he did it! I knew I wasn't going to place well compared to the lesson ponies so I took the oppurtunity to try some things out in the ring. i was trot one line, canter the next, trot in and canter out, ect. Just playing around with lines while we had the chance. Our ring at home isn't big enough for lines so both of us are only used to riding single fences so we both had some trouble doing lines. At Flatlands, the jumps were set as a jumper course so there weren't many lines but at Haskins, they were set up like a  Hunter course so it was all lines.

Overall I was super proud of him! We somehow ended up placing fifth out of eight in Equitation and fifth our of eight in Hunters....I have NO idea how that happened! Here are the videos: (notice how Jet decided to stop and poop in our first opening circle! lol)

(Will be edited in alter once they load so check back!!)

They ended the day with announcing day and year end champions. Jet and I won Day End Green Horse Champ and year end Green Horse Champ!! Yay Jet! I was so proud of him! Our hard work paid off and we improved from our reserve champion last year. We endded the show season being undefeated Green Horse Champion (except the show I did with Elsa). I'm a proud mom! (:

Here are some pics:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall Show October 15th, 2011 and Trail Rides

Since Flatlands, we have spent the majority of our time out on the trails. We have gone here there and everywhere. If you don't already know, I used to own Jet when he was three/fourish but then we sold him because I couldn't train him to canter. The last ride I had on him before we sold him was a two-hour trail ride down some streets to fields after fields that led to great trails. This past week, I re-rode the same trails with Jet.

It was such an awesome time. The trails were amazing and the fields were gorgeous. Mom took Elsa along for the ride. It must have been the first time in months that Mom rode Elsa for this long. It must have been nice for her. We rode for two hours and ended up with two very happy horses. They both enjoyed the ride. A few days later, Mary-Kate and I rode the same trails and had just as great of a time. Here are some videos:

Attempting to gallop Jet...

Off into the Sunset

Anyone have any ideas what his "hitch" in his hind right might be? He always does this with this leg...

After our trail rides, Jet and I had a show at my school. We have our annual "Fall Show" where every major puts on some sort of display, competition, educational demonstration, etc. For Large Animal science majors, there are shows that allow students ro learn how to show various animals. This year we had a horse show, dairy cow show, beef cow show, and sheep show. At the horse show, students can use the school horses or bring their own. I decided to bring Jet.

There aren't a whole lot of classes offered but we managed to find three out of the eight that we could do. We did Open Fitting, Open Showmanship, and Limit Walk Trot Canter Equitation. Yes, our first canter class!

The morning of the show, Jet was all jacked up. The show was on a Saturday and I hadn't ridden him since that previous Monday due to rain and poor I had a bad feeling he would be all prancy. It took a few people to hold him and help me get his shipping boots on and then get him on the trailer. He usually loads himself on just fine..

Anyways, we got to the school and I opened the doors on the trailer and just let him chill. I checked in, got my lunge line, then brought him into the indoor arena where the classes would be held. To my amazement, he calmed right down and was really lazy on the lunge line. So I went back to the trailer and tack him up and warmed him up. He was great! I couldn't get him to pick up the canter on the right lead (his bad lead) but I was thrilled at how he did besides that. I knew going into it that the canter would stop us from placing well but I went anyways for the experience.

The Fitting and Showmanship classes came around and I was worried he would get bored and aggitated in the middle of the class. It was a huge class (16 people!) so we woudl be in the ring for a long time. Each horse was on the rail standing then got called individually to the center to have the judge evaluate the horse and then the handler would have to perform a pattern with the horse.

Jet was a little spooky with all the other horses in the ring and the HUGE crowd on the sides. After a few time around, he was fine. Thankfully, when he was spooking, the class wasn't being judged because some of the school horses were being passed off to different handlers. So it worked out to our advantage.

By mid-class, he was falling asleep. We were in the middle of the pack to get evaluated. He was great except he wasn't perfectly square. I had been fitting him all day long on the rail to get him square. Most of the other kids didn't even know how to swuare a horse so I figured that I'd just let it slide and let him be. He was great for the pattern too!

We placed 3rd of 16 in fitting and didn't place in showmanship. I am guessing it is because he wasn't square all of the time, the fact he was falling asleep, and that the teacher was talking to me on the rail during the class lol Woops. Oh well! I still had fun

Doing the pattern. The draft paint X in the back is the horse I ride for drill team (:
He's a 3 yr old named Finnegan. He's green but is willing to learn!

Not quite square..

Pretty boy!

Then we had the wtc class. There were only 3 in the class thankfully...the other classes had 10-17 riders in it. I was riding against one of my best friends, Julie, who was on the buckskin you see in the pics. He is cleverly named Buck. How original!

Jet was great in our class! He was PERFECT walk trot. I was so proud! He even got both canter transitions and kept the canter WITHOUT bucking for about three times around each direction! His right lead was a mess but he still did it! We were racing around like an idiot that direction and I knew we blew our class but I didn't canter. He got both leads and kept them for as long as I asked!

The judge came up to me after and asked if he was a Standardbred. She went on to tell me how she went to Maine and judged a big Standardbred show up there recently! She said that I have him going very well and to work on the canter a bit more but in no time he should be a star (:

Obviously we placed 3rd out of three. The other horses are school horses with very good riders that deserved to do well. I felt like a winner because Jet was a superstar and proved me wrong that day. Even though it started out iffy and I thought it was going to be a disaster, the show ended up being great!

After the show was a drill team performance...that ended in disaster and an ambulance ride (not from me though!). More on that later...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Flatlands Pics


Cross Country


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Flatlands Mix and Match Horse Trials Oct. 2nd

Today, Jet and I took a whirl at eventing. This is something I have really wanted to do for a while and since there is a place within spitting distance from my house, I figured I'd give it a shot.

One thing I was somewhat concerned about was the fact that we were also taking our other horse, Elsa, there so my sister could do a dressage test. This meant that Elsa would go there with him but leave part way through the day. I personally think it is pointless just to go for a dressage test but oh well...

We got there a little later than I wanted to so I got on right away. Luckily, my test was at 12:08pm so I got to sleep in this morning ;) We decided to stick with Walk Trot for our first dressage test so we chose Intro B. It is a simple test that I freaked myself out over. I thought I was going to forget it but surprisingly I didn't.

Our warmup was great! He was paying attention and I got him into a really nice, forward, straight, stretchy trot and a few moments of collected trot. I guess they were running early and they asked me if I wanted to do my test early. I thought everything was going great so why not get it over with?

The dressage test was in an indoor arena complete with doors, windows, mirrors, and a barn attached to the longside where B is. Stalls were being picked and horses were being shuffled in the barn as I did my test. Elsa was also not in his sight...But I got in the arena and got his attention on me. They are supposed to give a 2 minutes warmup but I didn't even get to make a circle of trot before they rang the bell. I started my test by making a great square turn onto the centerline, stopping square right at X,  and saluting only to have them ring the bell and call me over. The judges asked if I was doing Intro B or A for my test. Nowhere did I ever write down that I wanted to do Intro A so I have no diea why they asked. But I started to freak out since I thought somehow the show committee mixed it up and I would have to memorize a new test on the dot. Luckily, the judge just rumaged through some papers and allowed my to restart my test. Unfortunately, that whole mix up completely screwed up our test. I don't know what happened but it everything we had going for us completely fell apart. I got to circle him once at the trot then start my test. He way over shot the centerline and was buldging the entire way down. He wouldn't stand still long enough for me to salute. From here on out we didn't even trot the test, we racked it. WTF JET?! He never racks and he decides to in a dressage test?! swell... Our circles were not circular and our transitions plain ol' stunk. We got the highest score of the day: a 48.something%. Woo! Needless to say, after dressage we were 12th out of 12 in our division.

After dressage, I took him back out to the warmup arena to canter him a bit. Elsa's test was the test right after ours so when she was done, she got untacked, loaded, and left to go home. Jet had a meltdown. He was bucking and spooking, and racked some more! I finally got him sane enough to feel safe to canter him with some little walk trotters in the ring. His canter was actually amazing! The best canter I have ever ridden on him. Going to the right (our bad way) he did a little buck but that buck really got him stretching his back and using his hind end so I didn't mind it. I walked him out while I waited for my Mom to get back with the trailer so I could get ready for Cross Country.

The trip to take Elsa home and come back with the trailer should have taken no more than 15 minutes. 45 minutes later...they still weren't back. I began to think we were just going to have to do cross country in our dressage gear. I was supposed to be up and walking him around by 1 and they finally pulled in the show grounds around 12:55. I got my cross country stuff out of the truck and trailer and whipped it on me and Jet. Thank god my friend Ashley was there to hold Jet, who was prancing back and forth non-stop while whinnying like an idiot, for me while I got him ready. By 1:05, I had somehow managed to make my way to the cross country warmup wayyyy at the back of the facility. after walking him around a bit, we picked up the trot only to have up spook not even 5 seconds later. What a great sign...But I kept moving him forward with a smile on my face (did I mention I was laughing at him during dressage?). Gotta love my idiotic horse. We warmed up over a crossrail and some logs and he was superman-ing everything. A crossrail quickly turned into an imaginary 3' oxer. I felt like I needed a cape so I could be superwoman. After a few times going over the jumps, he settled down so I made my way down to the cross country course.

The cross country course is an enclosed field with about 15-20 jumps. You get to design your own course by choosing 10-12 of the jumps in the field. You can jump 10 different jumps or you could jump the same one 10 times. I really liked this for his first cross country course because a.) I can pick the jumps I want to do b.) Its in a field so if I fall off I don't have to worry about a runaway pony and c.) My friends and family can watch and laugh at me. We went into the start box, had a count down, then off we went! He was flyingggg the entire time. I literally had to bring him down to a walk at one point so I didn't blow my next fence. The ground was a bit slippery from the rain we had the day and night before so we almost ran into some trouble coing off of our 5th fence. We jumped jumps ranging from little logs to Beginner Novice Fences. He absolutely LOVED it! His ear were up the entire time and he just wanted to keep going. There were some fences that I thought he would be spooky and look at but he never gave any of them a second look. I did get left behind on most of the fences since he was still superman-ing them but the few bigger fences we did, he took them really really well. He bucked a few times and almost got me off once. Silly horse. We went clear for cross country and we both has a blast! It was probably our favorite part.

I had a two hour break until I had Stadium so I put him on the trailer to chill and eat hay for a bit. He was whinnying non-stop. About 40 minutes before stadium, I got him off and walked him around then tacked him up. I had plenty of time to warm him up over some crossrails in the indoor (he was fine in the indoor this time...) They called my number earlier than I was expecting but we were ready. We went in to our first ever crossrail course ever. The bell rang and we were off yet again. I decided to keep it at a trot for stadium because of our crazy cross country and because it was a course with some tight spots. The first fence had flowerboxes but he went right over it, no problem. The second and third fences formed a line. The first part was a rainbow railed crossrail with a groundline and the second part was a somewhat intimidating plank crossrail. He went over both no problem. I really had to keep him straight after our third fence to get him deep in the corner for out fourth fence, a yellow and green railed fence with a rolltop as wings on the side. The fifth fence, combined with the fourth fence, formed a broken line. The fifth fence was a grey fence with a wall forming wings on the side. The sixth fence was in the corner and was a friendly natural looking crossrail with groundlines. The seventh fence was a two stride line that he handles perfectly. We rounded the corner to come to our eigth fence with had blue barrels as wings to the side and finished the course off with a friendly fence. He handled it great! Iwas extremely proud. By this point in the day, he had settled in and gotten over the fact that Elsa had left him.

We finished the day 8th out of 12th riders and got ourselves a brown ribbon. I showed it to my dad and said "I got a poop colored ribbon." He replied by saying, "yeah, its because you did a shitty job. HAHAHA" Obviously, he was joking and it made everyone chuckle. It was more than I was expecting since I had no vision of even getting a ribbon. I didn't really care about the ribbon. I was more happy that Jet had a good time jumping and we went double clear in cross country and stadium. Eventing is defintely something I plan to do in the future and something I can now cross off of my bucket list.

Pictures and videos coming soon!