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

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!