Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Jenny Camp XC re-cap

Cross country time!!!! The pictures below were mostly snapped on the course walk, with a couple video stills mixed in from the very end. This was actually my first time walking the course with a trainer, and it was definitely insightful (altho occasionally slow since P knows all the jump judges and we stopped for chit chat frequently lol). 


P described the ground as 'greasy' but thought that Isabel might have an advantage by being barefoot behind. It was hot hot hot tho and humid, too, so conserving energy would be a must. P instructed me to only jump one or two warm up fences after stadium for the sole purpose of showing Isabel a solid jump. Obvi the mare was fine.

The course was actually quite a bit different from last year - with the start box (green and white box above) and first two jumps in the front field that held stadium last year. And the water was jump 4 - kinda screwing up my plans of detouring over there early for schooling lol. But anyways - onto the course. 

Jump 1 was SUPER inviting and Izzy just skipped over it. I spent the walk eyeing a lot of the BN fences to see how I felt about them - and especially in this instance it felt kinda silly to be doing Intro. But that's ok - we wanted a positive and confidence building outing. Plus, Intro ratcheted up the complexity pretty quickly, so we definitely got our ride's worth haha.


Fence 2 was a quick right turn from 1, and also quite handily managed by the princess. 


Fence 3 was a little plank roll top that was perhaps the first full size fence, but not intimidating. We were up and over from a comfortable distance heading toward the water next to that big tree.

Apparently the water basin leaks, plus someone had left the (huge) hose running, so the entire footing through that area was completely water logged. We took care during the walk to note where it was driest, and I formulated a plan to WALK this section.


The water complex is divided into two pools, and our flags were on the right side pool (we approached from the left). All the ground was total slop and I was pretty worried during the walk that Isabel would be VERY hesitant about this section. 

The below pic is looking back to the left hand pool - the side with no flags. P and I decided that I would ride first to the left hand pool and get Izzy in and out there, then go through the flags on the right hand pool. 


I am SO GLAD we talked about this too, bc it really took a hot minute to convince Isabel to walk into the water, and she only did so unwillingly (and with at least one step backwards). But by taking the pressure off by practicing ahead of time (and being untimed), I was able to stay very patient and encouraging with the mare and got her in and walking around. Then back out, then back in again, then out, then through the flags above into the second pool. 

Isabel was not really thrilled walking through the water... but through she went and with no penalties. I lavished praise on her and let her back into a relaxed trot, then canter for the same up bank we owned last year. 


Remember this guy? Yea we totally owned it again. Isabel's a champ :) Right u-turn after the up bank around the tree back toward the road behind us to the rest of the course.


Aaaaaand this is where the course started to get interesting (read: physically demanding). Fence 6 was on a pretty steep hill. Inviting fence yes, but some serious terrain. At least it forced me to *let go* of my reins a bit and allow Isabel all the forward she needed with leg support. She got a stellar distance here, and we cantered away to the little break in the fence at the top of the hill.


The break in the fence line took us over a gravel road (that Isabel didn't even glance at - tricksy mare and her weird on/off cares about changes in terrain) right up to this 
'saddle bronc log,' which then took us through the tall grass to that, um, HUGE M--F-- HILL in the distance (see the mowed path?).  


Here's a closer look at the carving - how neat is that? P said there's actually a series of carved logs, tho I forget what the others were. Anyways, it seems like an easy fence but Isabel looked hard, maybe bc of the unnatural carving? No matter, she jumped it. Unfortunately a rider not far behind me was not so lucky and took a pretty nasty fall with suspected elbow injuries. Just goes to show that horses love to keep us guessing about what is and is not spooky...


Here's another look at that hill beyond the log, complete with a mandatory crossing halfway up. This hill was a MONSTER. Isabel seriously could not believe we were cantering up this thing, tho she gamely attacked it. See those little posts at the top? That's where we were headed for the last FIVE fences....


Once up on the top, things flattened out a bit with two inviting fences. 8 & 9 were technically still on rising ground, but nothing compared to the hill, and they felt like let up jumps.

My super groom had run up the hill ahead of us to meet us at the finish line - and got a couple quick videos of our ride. It was also the perfect perspective to get a sense of how high up we had climbed, with the rest of the valley far below.

Isabel was definitely tired by this point but just jumped so so so well. She attacked 8 (above), and gamely cantered at everything I pointed her at, jumping out of stride every time.


Fence 9 was our last fence on an incline, after which we turned back toward a welcome gentle down slope.


Ditches of the faux variety are no problem for Izzy, and actually I felt like we were ready to do this whole BN line. The Intro course drifted right after the ditch tho, toward the penultimate fence. P had said to let Izzy jump the cabin if she locked on, but that never happened. Izzy locked on to everything I pointed her at, but never got distracted by anything else - she just felt so supremely rideable even this late in the course (and after that hill).


Fence 11 was the biggest fence on last year's course and had me worried then. But Isabel nailed it last year anyway and repeated her performance this year. Good good good mare. 


Final fence would have been our first ever bench - except this same bench was in the warm up area too and Isabel ate it up like candy, thus relieving any of my concerns. It's interesting to note the size difference here between the Intro and BN (green bench on left) fences - sure the green bench isn't maxed out - but I feel ready all the same. 

Isabel finished strong and loped through the finish line on a loopy rein. 


she's a beast from dawn til dusk

What a good mare!! I hopped off immediately to loosen the girth and take advantage of the water truck at the finish line. Bottled water for me and ice water for Isabel to slurp first, then get wiped down with. 



video here. starts with our stadium round, but skip to 2:00 for just the xc jumps

Completion prizes were cosequin buckets with MCTA logo wash rags. So we could help ourselves to the water, buckets and rags to attend to the horses, then keep the buckets and rags as mementos - nice! 



This was also where we ran into the outrider who owns Isabel's cousin and obvi we had to do a little photo shoot before the long walk back down the hill.



Guys - I just can't really explain how happy finishing this event made me. I still made lots of mistakes as a rider, but Isabel's education at this point is undeniable. She knows her job and gets it done and it's really the ride of a lifetime. We made it through everything with confidence and gusto, and I couldn't have asked for anything more in anticipation of our Beginner Novice debut this Sunday!

50 comments:

  1. You guys looked like you had so much fun! Looking good in stadium!

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    1. thanks! we really had a blast :)

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  2. How awesome, congrats on such a good ride!

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    1. thanks - i'm pretty happy with how it went

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  3. When XC feels easy it's the best high in the world. Good luck this weekend at your first BN.

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    1. thanks! and i agree - it's amazing pretty much whenever riding feels easy lol

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  4. That looks super fun! Izzy is a rockstar and you guys looked super boss! It's amazing how much she and her cousin look alike!

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    1. thanks - izzy is the greatest :) and isn't it crazy how strongly the horses resemble each other? even tho i'd met the owner before i STILL recognized the horse first haha.

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  5. Looking down, that hill does look crazy. Congrats on doing such a good job!

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    1. it felt pretty crazy walking up it and then riding up it too haha. thank you!

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  6. I AM SO SO SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!! This is amazing... I am smiling so big right now for you and Isabel!! You two are total rockstars - have a BLAST running your first BN this weekend!!!!! :D :D :D

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    1. thank you!!! i am really really really looking forward to it :D

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  7. What a great round under your belt!! Way to go you two!!! Sending wishes of good luck and a great ride for this weekend!

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    1. thank you! it was our 3rd ever true xc round, but the 1st to feel like we did better than just survive. feels like progress! :)

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  8. I didn't even notice the saddle carving until you pointed it out -- very cool!

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    1. haha it was a subtle detail - except the horses noticed it immediately and were very unsure about it!

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  9. Now that looked like fun! Great job!

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  10. LOVE the carved log. That is incredible. You look great, very proud!

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    1. i thought it was pretty neat too - i kinda love all these crazy looking xc jumps :)

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  11. I don't know if beginner novice is ready for you guys and your beastness. It will be awesome!

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    1. haha i seriously hope we take it by storm! (in an organized and civilized fashion tho, obvi lol)

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  12. Awesome ride and awesome recap! Excited for you!

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  13. You guys look awesome! Well done :)

    I just wanted to say thank you for posting about your experience with Isabel's ulcers, if it wasn't for your posts I don't think the thought would have ever crossed my mind to get Sunny checked out but this morning he was scoped and found to have grade 2 ulcers, hopefully I can start to make him a little more comfortable now. So thanks :)

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    1. thanks! and what a bummer about Sunny's ulcers - but glad you've got a diagnosis and can work towards treatment now! and oddly enough, i figured out isabel's health issues after reading another blogger's experiences with a nqr horse that turned out to have a more serious problem lurking just beneath the surface

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  14. Whoop! You guys got it done! Huge congrats on a great showing and complete redemption :)

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    1. thanks!!! the redemption definitely feels good haha

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  15. HUGE congrats on killing it!! You and Izzy are rock stars! I think BN is going to be a breeze for you two! :D

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    1. thanks - and i really hope so!

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  16. Hooray!! That looked like so much fun :)

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    1. ALL of the fun all of the time :D

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  17. My comment was going to be something like "what a neat little course!" Until the hill - geez! Way to go for nailing it! On to BN!!!

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    1. yea my thoughts weren't much different... i've been to this property a few times now and never in a million years thought they'd send us up that hill, considering all the other nice and perfectly suitable riding areas (that all have varying level of terrain too) haha

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  18. Oh yay! So happy for you guys, great job! I'm excited to see how you do this weekend :)

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    1. thanks!! i'm pretty excited too lol

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  19. =) YAY!! I am just so so happy for you! Great job, great riding, and what a challenging Intro course!! BN baby!

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    1. thanks! and jenny camp is an interesting show bc it's not recognized, but they also explicitly say in the program that it's not a 'starter' trial and asks the same questions as recognized events. hopefully that means we're ready lol

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  20. What a fabulous job you two!!!!!! Congratulations on a fun and successful round!!!

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  21. You two look so good, and it feels good, which is great! The humidity is always so insane though. Doncha love MD weather?

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    1. thanks! and yea the humidity was pretty intense... but at the end of the day i think i prefer it to rain so.... that's something i guess. hopefully this weekend will be nicer!

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  22. Ahhh congratulations! Well done.

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  23. That log carving is SOOOO cool!!

    Great job and congrats too!!

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    1. thanks! i loved the log too - even if isabel didn't. silly horse haha

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  24. XC is definitely my favorite part of eventing, I totally got vicarious enjoyment from watching you and Izzy dominate. Best of luck this weekend!

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