Wednesday, October 1, 2014

HT re-cap: XC + results!!

Our cross country round started at 3:30, following the 3:15 stadium round. I let Isabel nibble grass while I donned my vest and re-checked the course map. 


Walking the cross country course was a first for me, and I did it alone (trainer P was positioned as jump judge on course). We met the first four jumps at our xc schooling last week. So I didn't take pictures of them. Jump 1 was the candy cane, as expected, and 2 was a neat little hanging log thingy that we jumped twice last week. Jump 3 was a log set in a hollow between two fields (the one that *almost* looked like a keyhole). 

After that, it was over a patch of cedar chips (to fill in mud) then up a long hill with a hard right turn and short approach to our small rolltop friend from last week. I already had a good idea of how this needed to be ridden: forward with commitment. 


Jump 5 was a fallen tree that I did with a lesson pony on my first ever xc outing - ie not bad. And then jump 6 had me questioning every decision I've ever made leading up to this day. It was another fucking BIG green rolltop. Except this time, no astro-turf. No no, none of that faux soft shit. Just straight up 2x4s nailed into a solid green round monstrosity. And easily the biggest thing on course.

yep i can totally do this


hahahaha nope nevermind

My confidence started waning at this point. Tho this is also where I decided that YES, I *would* be carrying a stick - for the first time ever with Isabel. 

Provided we made it past 6 without elimination, we'd go through a narrow gate into another small field with a quick left turn to follow the perimeter, then sharp right to 7. 

The ground slopes down to the left here, making that side look bigger. But given the turn and short approach, I was worried about a fly-by to the right. So this one would be a balancing act for sure. Then continue around the perimeter of the small field to jump 8, an inviting brush covered log. 


must choose track with care


this is *only* inviting when compared to that f*ing rolltop

After 8 it was back out the way we came, looping towards the water complex, where 9 was just skipping through a corner of the water. I also happened to run into trainer P at this point of the walk. She was stationed at 6 and I had somehow walked right past her moments before (clearly I was in the ZONE - or, ya know, quaking in my boots, blind with fear...).

So we had a nice chat about my thoughts on the course. She told me that little Sally Cousins adage that I paraphrased yesterday about getting the jump done the first time no matter what because it won't look any better the second time (this mental note clearly came in handy during stadium!!). And she reminded me that we are really truly capable of that rolltop. Isabel can trot it if need be. Hell, she even said we could go as slow as we wanted to on course - even coming down to a walk - so long as we didn't go backwards. 

It was also good timing to see her at this point on course bc she gave me very good insights on jump 9 - the water obstacle. The flags were set so that the approach was an easy shallow diagonal line across a corner of the water square. But she said that was deceptive - and some riders who tried to follow that diagonal line were going to have runouts. She recommended instead that I point Isabel straight into the middle of the water, rather than worrying about any particular line.  

After the water was a roundabout left turn straight up a short, steep hill to a biggish coop that Isabel and I jumped a couple times on our second xc schooling. 



It looks big to me, but as I've mentioned before, my brain prefers angular jumps to rounded jumps, even tho the round ones are easier for the horses. My only concern here was running out of gas since it was the 10th xc jump after 10 stadium jumps and some schooling, PLUS it was right on top of a big hill. But at least the steep approach made it look smaller??



So it was time to go. Our stadium round was clean, but with lots of hesitation and trepidation. It was clear that I needed to support Izzy and really encourage her to go forward and stay with me. After a few moments of rest following stadium, we cantered the itty bitty warm up log with no problem, then came around and did the actual height warm up log - again with no problem. After that it was just grazing around the starting box til they counted us down. 



Isabel started really well - settling into an easy canter up and over the candy canes. The rest of it is honestly a bit of a blur, but I'll try to recount it as well as possible. 


nom nom nom

She was still a little sticky leaving the ground for the jumps, but was listening and staying forward. I was actually a little surprised at how well she settled into a strong gallop. We made it over 1-2-3 no problem, then had a mini spook at the cedar chips spread over the track right after 3 lol. She jumped 4 and 5 ok-ish. We chipped into one of them pretty badly, but I can't remember which one. At this point she was hauling along and I had some difficulty settling for the jumps. 

Then came 6. And it came and went. No big deal. Huh. It wasn't great, no - we took a pretty tight distance to it (as we did with pretty much everything on course) - but you'll see in the video: we were just up and over and on our way (hint - the jump is the green blob behind the car). Phew!!

We had an oopsie moment going through the gate into the small field for 7 and 8, wherein we turned left too sharply while cross cantering and Isabel lost her hind end (anybody else noticing a pattern here?). But we continued on, and 7 and 8 were fine. We then *trotted* back out of the gate like civilized, balanced beings before cantering to 9. 

There was a solid hesitation at the water - followed by Isabel's first EVER smack with a crop by me. (So glad I heeded P's advice here, we would have run out for sure if I went for the shallow diagonal cut across the corner!). Then we were through (with a beautiful trot, imho) and out and up the hill to 10 and our finish line! 

YAYYYY!!!!!!

Isabel's fan club got to see us out of the box and over our first fence before cutting through the woods to the water complex where they saw jump 6, the 9 water crossing, and the hill leading up to 10 and the finish line. So that's pretty much what you get in the video:


I was kind of astonished - we finished on our dressage score!! None of the jumping efforts were great, but they were also kind of on par with my average piloting skills. After Saturday's schooling, I *know* we've got better abilities buried in there somewhere. But now I also know we can get around a course at this height with minimal drama. 

It turns out that everyone in my division who completed (one elimination in stadium, one rider fall in xc) did so on their dressage score. And we placed a very respectable 4th in our first outing!

good mare!

I'm pretty happy :) The pressure and show atmosphere opened up some holes that I thought were almost closed, but no big deal. I want to make sure we establish a solid foundation that allows for safe and enjoyable outings. 

Also - for those of you interested: I have been using my new stirrups and LOVE them!! But a word to the wise: when my exhausted self went to dismount and 'kicked' my feet out of the stirrup... the kick was relative to a heavier stirrup and didn't work for these light composites... I got almost tangled in dismounting... ooops. All was well tho and I still highly recommend them! 

Stay tuned for one more post about all the other incidentals related to the event :)

37 comments:

  1. That's fantastic! Great first outing.

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  2. Congratulations! That looks like a fun and successful show! Love the cuddle pic at the end!

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    1. thanks!! it was definitely a fun and educational experience lol. i kinda love that pic too :)

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  3. Way to go, that is so exciting!!

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    1. thanks - it felt pretty amazing to canter through that finish line :)

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  4. I have done the SAME THING with my new composite stirrups. Not good! Congrats on riding strongly and finishing on your dressage score :)

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    1. thanks!! and i can laugh in retrospect now - bc it WAS funny. but seriously, i almost ate it hardcore. Isabel was very worried - like 'oh god what did i doooo?!?' good thing she's pretty short lol

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  5. Awesome finish! Congrats on a great weekend!

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  6. You guys rocked it! Way to go :) Also I love composite stirrups. I think I have the same ones you do~

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    1. thanks!!! :) i'm kinda surprised at how much i like the stirrups - was mostly interested in them for the 'look', but def love the feel - and you can't beat the price!

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  7. Woohoo! Congrats on finishing and placing to boot!!

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    1. thanks!! that ribbon was definitely icing on the cake :)

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  8. Congrats! I can imagine the shock at the smacky!

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    1. thanks!! and yea... you can see her whole body twitch in the video... but i wasn't taking any chances. not sure if i'll always carry one, but after that stadium round i knew that *encouragement* was the name of the game. and they don't call them 'peace wands' for nothing! lol

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  9. Congrats you two! That is so exciting :)

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  10. congratulations! What a great experience!

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  11. Woohoo! I love the candy cane jump!

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    1. right??? isabel was all over it lol

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  12. Way to go! Sounds like a great time. You should be totally proud :)

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    1. thank you! it's a small accomplishment in the grand scheme of things, but for me: it's pretty freakin awesome :)

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  13. Hi,
    I just started following your blog and signed up for emails. Received a few but now they have stopped appearing. When I attempted to resign up, it said I was already a follower. Hope this gets fixed.

    PS. I'm a fraidy-cat ex jumper. Now dressage rider, as we get older our goals become just getting out and into the saddle is a success! lol

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    1. thanks for reading! i'm not totally sure what's going on with blogger - it's seemed more buggy than usual over the last few days. but i certainly hope it gets fixed too! i will look into it. in the meantime - i know feed readers like feedly and bloglovin are working, in case you want to sign up for those (and combine all your feeds into one).

      also - i think you're spot on re: goals changing with age lol. but i'm hoping that the right equine partnership can bring out some of that former glory :)

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    2. hi again anon - just checked my subscribers via feedburner and there's no indication of any unsuccessful delivery attempts. maybe it was just buggy for a day? please let me know if the issue continues however, as i can probably find and delete your subscription on the back end, and you can sign up again.

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  14. Great job!! =) So happy for you!!

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  15. That's great! Congratulations!

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  16. So awesome!!!! Congratulations! You must be over the moon :) She looked lovely in the XC vid, and good on you for facing the scary, scary rolltop and dealing with it like NBD. And well ridden through the water, she didn't look too thrilled about that, haha.

    Finishing on your dressage score is an amazing accomplishment. So happy for you!

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    1. thank you!! all i wanted was a number - so finishing on the dressage score was SO COOL ! and yes - the water apparently had monsters in it. she schooled it really well a few months ago, tho (like, uber-confidence-leaving-out-strides kinda well) so i think we can polish it up a bit

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