Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Jenny Camp dressage & stadium re-cap

So onto the details and zillions of photos video stills from Jenny Camp this weekend! Thanks everyone for your congrats - we really had a blast and I'm very pleased with Isabel's performance. Or rather, I'm pleased with myself bc Isabel consistently demonstrates that she will rise to any occasion - I just need to meet her part way. 

obviously anything is possible when your mascot is this adorable
This event was a new experience for us too in that I signed up for coaching from OF trainer P - and it was definitely a worthwhile decision. It reaffirmed that I'm not missing much when I compete sans coach, but having her (and her helpful little nuggets of wisdom) around added value to the experience and kept me even-keeled.

super groom at work making isabel's tail more beautiful than i ever have in nearly three years
I also had a 13yr old rider from OF acting as 'super groom' for the day - she met me at Isabel's barn in the morning for bathing etc., and stuck around all day long to help in whatever capacity was needed. HUGELY grateful for that!! Plus Isabel pretty much adores her, so I could pass Izzy over after dismounting to give the princess a break from evil me :)

isabel jiggity jogs around like a seasoned veteran
There was quite heavy rainfall the night prior and all morning, but by my ride times the skies had cleared for a strong sun and intense humidity. So much so that I only put my jacket on at the last possible moment before entering the ring haha. 

We kept our dressage warm-up to a bare minimum. Isabel was immediately ready with her game face, so I just trotted a little, did a single canter circle in each direction, and maybe one or two more transitions, a centerline turn, and general focus on rhythm. 

The heavy rain on such dry ground (we're in a bit of a drought) created this greasy slickness on the grass, and Isabel slipped a little bit in warm up - plus riders were having serious issues in stadium. So we aimed to keep it very steady and balanced. 



look ma - a right lead canter that's almost balanced!!!! wooooo hoo! (nvm that it kinda failed a few steps later lol)
And Isabel seriously impressed me and rode very very nicely. I worked hard on sitting up straight, keeping my toes pointed forward and thumbs up - and just generally riding the way C has been telling me. Quiet and soft when Isabel is soft, and rhythm rhythm rhythm. 

I made sure to ride the canter transitions and canter circles as separate movements. The transitions were pretty typical for us, deservedly earning 5.5s, but I kept riding for the circles to get marginally better 6s. 


I also made myself take a VERY deep breath when picking up the reins after the free walk change to right rein. We usually fall apart after switching directions, but I managed to actually keep things somewhat consistent. The downward transition from canter was kinda heinous (or "abrupt" per judge's notes) bc I kinda forgot about my seat and just leaned forward and pulled... but I got it back together again to NAIL the turn down the centerline for an 8. Yesssssssss. 



'i grant you this moment of straightness bc swinging my haunches out is too much work' - isabel
I knew immediately upon our halt that this would be our best test to date. Sure there's plenty of room for improvement - but it's a very accurate representation of our current level of training, and furthermore it clearly demonstrated (to me, at least) the progress we've been making. To say I was thrilled would be an understatement :)

Rather than trying to create some legible copy of the test sheet that doesn't take up the whole page, I took a note from Kathryn's book and added the judges notes and scores directly to the video. So for those interested in the details of the test, see below:




Two hours later it was time for stadium. For various reasons I didn't walk the stadium course or watch many rounds. And the rounds I saw were not consistent enough to tell how lines rode - other than seeing some problem areas. 


Jump 2 was wreaking havoc - perhaps due to the approach and greasy footing? In any case, trainer P witnessed an earlier horse slam hard on the brakes then go down flat with the rider. Both were fine, but P was very explicit to me: TROT FENCE 2. 





I warmed up quickly and minimally. Our xc walk was a bit of a doozy (details tomorrow), and I was worried about Isabel running out of fuel, esp given the heat/humidity. We trotted the X twice, then cantered the vertical and oxer each once (and Izzy was perfect) then headed into the ring. 




Given the fence 2 game plan, I opted to trot fence 1 too to mitigate any resistance to slowing down from Isabel. Then continued to hold a bit too much to 3 and had a rail. But the rest of the course was quite lovely in my opinion. It took me a little too long to start letting go, but Isabel jumped well and easily. 




This was perhaps one of our first competitive jumping rounds where every distance was mostly pretty decent. One or two were kinda tight - but nothing super icky. Isabel moved up well when I asked, and I actually had enough presence of mind to do the asking. Again - I was seriously thrilled. 


The rail was a disappointment - but only for a moment and forgotten before I even reached fence 4. The rest of the course rode so well and there wasn't really any time to dwell bc it was time for XC!!!!! Details on that tomorrow :D

34 comments:

  1. I love that you bring little Isabel everywhere!!

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    1. she is just the cutest - everyone loves her haha

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  2. you both look great! very smooth stadium!

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    1. thanks! it's definitely gotten smoother over time :)

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  3. LOVE IT!!! You are so very very much improved from last season already, oh my gosh, you guys look great. :D

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    1. yea the differences are pretty huge, that's for sure haha. i'm more educated about dressage and isabel's more educated about jumping and the end result makes me very happy !

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  4. Look at that flow over fences!!! Riding on grass after a rain is super tough, you handled it so well! Congrats on an AWESOME job!!!

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    1. thank you! i was perhaps a little too conservative with releasing over the fences but fortunately isabel's kinda used to it and tolerates me lol

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  5. Lovely! Your dressage and stadium look so consistent and easy :). Well done! And I love the captions on your dressage video...such a good idea!

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    1. thanks! perhaps it's my background in hunters but i feel the best about rides when everything looks 'easy' - that's just the picture i like to see :D

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  6. That greasy grass is the worst! You guys look so smooth and polished in both phases. You're totally going to kill it at your BN move up!

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    1. thanks - i'm SO EXCITED haha! this outing was exactly what we needed (tho i wish they had set stadium to the actual height, but i guess it was soft bc of all the issues ppl had early in the day)

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  7. Significant improvement over last season. Congrats!

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    1. thanks! things really feel like they're clicking

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  8. You guys look just fabulous! All your hard work and patience is paying off! Congratulations on a successful show and what looks like the best time ever!

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    1. thank you! it definitely feels good to make some progress :)

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  9. Wowza!! What a huge difference in that jump round from last year. You've done a ton of work and both of you are looking better than ever! Congratulations!!!

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    1. thanks! it really is a big difference - even tho we were clear last year, and last year's round was pretty good for us at the time, this year's was just so much smoother haha

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  10. You two look like total pros! I love it!

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    1. thanks :) it was definitely worth it to stay in this division for one last event to get that super confident feeling. hopefully it'll carry through to bn :)

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  11. Love the video editing, Super smart! You guys look aweesome!

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    1. thanks - i always have to toggle back and forth from the notes to the video when watching, and figured it'd be easier to just combine the two. it worked!

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  12. Great job to both you and Izzy! Loved the video with the judge's comments, I am going to try that on mine next time!!

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    1. thanks - and you definitely should! even in analyzing my own performance it's really helpful to have the notes right there to see what the judge saw

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  13. Way to go, you guys look great! And I think I might totally steal that idea of putting the scoring and comments in the video - that is brilliant!

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    1. thanks! and i first saw the notations included as captions on a video on Kathryn Little's blog Incidents of Guidance and thought it was equally brilliant. it even made the test moderately less painful to watch for my ever supportive by decidedly non-horsey family haha

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  14. Way to go! Can't wait to see how far you go this year!

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  15. You guys are so badass! Love it.

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    1. thanks - it's all isabel, i'm just along for the ride ;)

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  16. Hooray!! Wow you guys rocked it! Looked so good for dressage and jumping. Loved your video editing too! What a fabulous outing, so happy for you!

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    1. thanks! feels like our dressage is really starting to come together -- now if only we could canter like civilized beings haha

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