Tuesday, November 4, 2014

windy hunter trials

Sunday was another cold day - dry but WINDY. The game plan was to participate in a Hunter Trials event at a nearby farm that hosts a variety of different shows (including a jumper series, hunter shows, and horse trials), but that Isabel has never been to before.

There were two courses - one with 2'6 and 3' options run over a 1/2 mile course, and another with 2' jumps run over a 1/4 mile course in an enclosed field. I obviously chose the 2' course because, well, just because. 

course map

The obstacles were natural and solid type fences (the stone wall was literally stone and concrete) that you might encounter out on a hunt. In fact, the show was held in conjunction with a local Hunt Pony Club, which seemed kinda cool. 

These pictures don't really do the obstacles justice, but there were coops, roll tops (but only 2' - definitely inside my safe zone, phew), logs and log piles, the aforementioned stone wall (concrete is decidedly NOT in my safe zone...), stacked railroad ties, and gates, all with plenty of brush and terrain. 



My whole idea for this outing was to sneak in a few more miles that would essentially amount to xc schooling. I planned to ride in three consecutive classes: Adult Hunter, Novice Adult Hunter, and Green Hunter. And maybe, if we missed a class or wanted another go, Open Hunter. 

The wind obviously had me a little concerned (it was GUSTING), and my fingers were so numb that it took approximately 15 minutes to button up my blouse (and screw the collar, ain't nobody got time for that). But Isabel seemed pretty content, and warmed up nicely. She really looked around on our walk from the trailer to the warm-up ring and flinched a bit at the PA system, but got straight to work and jumped the three warm up fences beautifully. 

pre-show noshes

I thought we were running late (and have apparently been spoiled by a summer of assigned ride times), but were actually early. They were still finishing up the Family/Pairs/Teams class when I got over there. 

Side note: if I ever do another show like this I DEFINITELY want to do the pairs thing - it looked so fun! The teams rode the jumps together (so if one refused, the other had to circle back and stay with them), and the final fence was jumped abreast. So cool. 

post-show noshes

So we stood around for a while - plenty of time for the chill to set in again. Tho I'm pleased to say my new RJ Essentials wool coat did a nice job blocking the wind, despite its light weight. Because the wind was just gusting away - to the point where some pipe fence sections (think temporary or round pen fencing) that were leaning against the rail actually blew over right behind Isabel. Thank god I was holding the neck strap or I would have been a goner - she LEAPED out from under me lol. 

Poor thing. Isabel's funny tho - just kinda turned around, gave everyone a look that said 'that was RUDE,' and went back to eating grass. Lol.  


'nope - can't pose, must eeet' - isabel

Anyway, Isabel was great and pretty much got us started on a really nice pace. She moved up to the longer spots when I got her to them, or adjusted for a tighter distance when I was holding. (I had to constantly remind myself to LET GO, since she really can set a good pace herself)

She looked a bit, but a little leg was more than enough encouragement. Otherwise she pretty much gobbled up everything on course. Sure, some of our distances were questionable, but we took the questionable long spot more often than the super awkward chip stride. Her rhythm was very steady, and she easily came down to trot for all our simple changes. I was very pleased!

We were the last to go in Adult Hunter, and I asked to go first for Novice Adult Hunter so that I could go right back in. Trip two was pretty much identical. Good girl!


despite my shitty braiding skills, she still gets those cute curls

I decided to just finish on that. Isabel had two nice, consistent trips, and there wasn't really anything I felt needed to be 'fixed.' Plus it was shaping up to be our shortest outing ever (at this point we had been on the grounds for an hour and a half), compared to the HTs that were lonnnnnng days for Isabel. 

Got Izzy all untacked and situated at the trailer with her hay before running back to the office to turn in my pinny and pay (holla for the most inexpensive show we've ever done!). Turns out they had already placed Adult Hunter (our first trip) - and we were first!! Yay Izzy! 

There was a Master's Class later in the day open to first through third place winners, and I thought briefly about sticking around for it... But decided not to. My objective for the day was a fun, positive experience, and Isabel had accomplished that in very short order. Plus, we'd have to wait through five more classes - a few of which promised to be very large (pony and junior divisions) - and it was just too cold. So why push it? 


'omg - guys, the floor! it's WET! guys guys!! water = danger! danger!! must paw furiously so the whole world knows!!!!' - isabel the desert horse
'wait - why is everybody laughing at me??'

So I got Isabel back home around 11-11:30am, which seems like a criminally early end time for a show day - not that I'm complaining! Mare was very happy to be home, and danced and pranced and pawed around until I finally got her back out to the field. 


Update: Learned from show management that we actually won both classes - way to go Izzy!!

42 comments:

  1. Congratulations on a first place and a positive experience! I'm with you on cheap shows: I love me an inexpensive show bill at the end of the day! :)

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    1. thanks!! and yea - i'm always super happy to save some $$ while we're at it lol

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  2. I'm so jealous of all the different cool things that you get to do up there. Congrats on the win!

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    1. thanks! i never even knew this kind of show existed until i stumbled on the prize list a few weeks ago - and now i definitely want to do it again!

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  3. Woohoo what a fabulous start to your HT career ☺

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    1. thanks!! too bad winter's on its way and riding will be limited... so gotta get it all in before it's too late!

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  4. Wow!! Congratulations!!! She's such a good girl! It all sounds so much fun - How do you find these horse trials? is there a website, or is it an organization?

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    1. thanks! this particular barn hosts a ton of shows so i browsed their site to see what was still left on the calendar.

      not sure how close you are to maryland, but the mcta also posts an annual calendar of non-competitive events (think clinics and schoolings) and competitions throughout MD, VA, PA, NJ, DE etc, so that could be a good resource too

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    2. Good to know - thank you! I'll see if I can look around some local farms, at least for a touch of schooling and work up to a HT. Sooo curious to see how Max will like it. MD might be a touch far, but NJ could be do-able!

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    3. good luck! i'm sure most states/regions have some variation of the mcta (it stands for the maryland combined training association) - you can probably ask your trainer for info on something a little more local to you :)

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  5. Woohoo! Congrats on the awesome show!

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  6. Get in there and get it done, congrats to you and Izzy! I totally want to try the pairs thing too...one day when Quest and I actually know how to jump.

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    1. thanks! the pairs thing was so awesome bc it especially helped some horses who were a little green or lacking confidence to have a friend to follow

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  7. Congrats on such a successful outing! Looks like so much fun - I'm envious :)

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    1. thanks! it was so super fun - will definitely try to do similar events in the future :)

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  8. Well done, sounds like such a good event! Good pony :)

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    1. thanks! she's a very good pony indeed :)

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  9. Yayy well done Emma and Izzy!
    Pairs is super fun I would definitely recommend!

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    1. thanks! yea i really wish i knew about this sooner lol

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  10. Agh isabel, your cute curls and pawing is too much cuteness!
    That's awesome that you had a great outing, and got some good mileage from it too - despite the gusty wind.. AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!!

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    1. lol thanks! she is nothing if not cute :)

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  11. Huge congrats you two!! Sounds like a great experience plus awesome placing! :)

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    1. thanks! i literally just read your show re-cap too, lol - sounds like a great showing weekend all around :)

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  12. Yay!! Congrats on your awesomeness!! Like the kinky hair too

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    1. thanks! i like that she and i match when her hair's like that: two curly redheads lol

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  13. Yay! Very well done to both of you!

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    1. thanks! she's apparently an old pro now :)

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  14. That's great! Congratulations! I also think it's very admirable that you decided to end it on an extremely good note instead of pushing for more :)

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    1. thanks! i definitely want our outings to be memorably fun, tho sometimes maybe i'm a little too quick to call it a day... but i figure we'll save the 'push' for when it really matters :)

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    1. aw thanks! i think the curls are pretty cute, but they never last long...

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  16. What a fun experience! Hunter trials seem like so much fun.

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    1. they really were - and i had literally no idea! will definitely do this again :)

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  17. Congrats on first place! That's so awesome!

    The pairs jumping thing sounds so cool. Also her reaction to the panels falling is just too cute. I'm glad you stayed on! Oh and her curls are adorable!

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    1. thanks!!! i only wish the curls lasted longer lol

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  18. Yay for blue ribbons, congratulations!

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    1. thanks!! they make me happy inside lol

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