Thursday, May 28, 2015

MDHT: cross country!!

Going into cross country I knew my standings - something I usually avoid as a rule to reduce any undue pressure. But I couldn't resist and looked up our scores on event entries. So. Going into xc we were in 4th place based on dressage score - followed by a clear stadium round. 


We jumped two warm up fences for Izzy to get her eyes on something solid, then we were off! Recall from the course walk that the first three fences were all pretty big - with fence 1 definitely maxed out. Perfect mare was perfect straight out of the start box - jumped well and with confidence. Yessssssss.



Fence 4 - the brush - was also quite large. And I suspect with the brush it topped out somewhere above 2'7". We were going slightly down hill in approach and there were patches of different colored grass which sorta distracted Isabel a little. I rode strongly tho and she was up and over with no problem.



Then we trekked back up the rising terrain to fence 5 - which was kinda in the middle of nowhere. 



I made it a real point to try and let go in between fences, and not start setting Isabel up too early. I just get so handsy and grabby all the time... it's gotta stop!



Isabel looked a little bit at fence 5 but jumped well. It was definitely the first *different* looking fence on course and I kinda anticipated the wiggles so it was fine.



The mound rode a little funny but that might have been mostly my fault. I kept expecting Isabel to anticipate and look around and she really didn't - she was nicely forward straight through it. 



Actually - so forward that we kinda got the mother of all long spots to fence 7, the ark. Oops. These pics crack me up too bc Izzy's like, c'mon Emma, wtf keep up with me! And um. Yea also scope is not a problem for her at this level. Duly noted. 



Then came the water. Sigh. We came down to walk, then halt, then side pass.... but got in without a backward step or penalty. Good mare. Lots of praise!



And here's where my greenness really showed. We were super disorganized and Isabel was still really uneasy about the water (check out that hock action lol!). Plus I lost a stirrup. But did I circle around? Did I give myself space to organize, pick up my stirrup and get our pace back? Or did I just kick on and take the direct route to the big fence out of the water from a trot?



Um. Yea. Poor planning Emma! But as Dan says, "experience is that thing you get right after you needed it." So. Poor Isabel obviously had no real chance at fence 9. 



I circled to the left and re-approached from a pretty steep angle to slice the fence (thus staying on dry ground), and from a trot too bc Isabel was too sticky to canter. Good good good mare gave it a HUGE effort tho and made it happen with quite a bit of encouragement from me. I did NOT want another refusal!



The above is the backside of the same fance - you can kinda get a sense of the angle we jumped it from. This mare. She's a pretty good girl :)



The refusal actually upset Isabel a little bit and she was a tad sticky for the rest of the course. LOTS of verbal encouragement - mostly along the lines of constant praise and counting out the last few strides to each fence (usually from four out - about as far as my eye can go at present). 



So it was a relief that two of the next three fences were let ups (10 & 12).



The ditch went well too. Tho you can kinda see by the angle of Isabel's head in the first two pics that she actually noticed that it was a REAL ditch after take off and kinda gave it the hairy eyeball. No biggie tho.


She didn't look at all at the carvings on the turtle log for fence 12 - and then we were off past some seriously big fences toward the woods. Poor thing actually spooked at a fruit stand type jump right when I softened my reins to allow her to cruise, too. It was at this point that I realized that the stop had knocked some wind from her sails and she needed a little more support from me.

I'm glad I picked up on that too bc the next fence was 13, the white lattice hidden in the shadows. Isabel looked hard and really tried to slam on the brakes - but we somehow managed to climb over. Seriously - I did NOT want another stop! Mucho praise for the princess, plus an economic turn through the woods (really threading the needle through the trees) to get to the pheasant feeder as quickly as possible and she was much better for that fence. 

Then a long canter to 15 which she jumped very well - getting back into the groove - then through the finish line! We did it!!



I'm pretty sure the only reason I didn't burst immediately into tears of joy and relief was bc of that stop... I still felt incredible for completing - and recall that was my only goal for the day. But knowing that we had been so well positioned after dressage and stadium, only to have a refusal on xc bummed me out. I mean, it's kind of a no brainer that 20 penalty points at this level is enough to drop you right to the bottom of the pack. 

But lo - I was not the only one to struggle! In a way it reaffirmed my initial assessment that this course was somewhat high-level for BN considering it was a starter event... The course was influential enough that I only dropped two spots in the rankings to finish 6th with a score of 46.8. Kinda crazy but I will take it! 

So. In summary - we're going to stay at this level. Almost all of our training pieces are in place to correctly handle the complexity expected at BN. Water needs work, period. But that will hopefully continue improving with time and experience!

68 comments:

  1. The pictures are fabulous - totally worth buying that package :) congrats on a successful move up!

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    1. thanks!! and i was super pleased with the pictures and actually had a tough time limiting myself... (in fact more will probably be posted over time lol)

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  2. Congratulations on such a great BN debut!! I think you and Isabel both stepped up to the plate, and you'll only get better and better. Also, I LOVE all these pictures! :)

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    1. thank you! isabel really did step up - even after getting a little shaken. what a good mare!

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  3. You definitely got your money's worth with these pictures! You both look great and Izy is such a freaking cute little jumper! Congrats again on your first BN and some great riding!

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    1. thank you! she's just the cutest little mare haha (aside from Maggie, obvi lol). i'm so excited about these pics too - esp bc i got the full high quality digital copies, so can print them out as i see fit. works perfectly with the picture frame i won at the last event :)

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  4. Wow - great cross-country pics! Congratulations on your awesome finish!

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    1. thanks! it was such a relief to cross that finish line lol

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  5. AAAHHHH!!! You both look amazing!! Izzy is SO stinkin' cute over that ditch!

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    1. thank you!! i was so proud of her over the ditch - esp bc she'd never seen a real one before :D

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  6. The pictures are AWESOME and it looks like SO much fun! Refusals happen, and like you said be thankful for the experience! You two look GREAT!

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    1. thanks - it really was so much fun haha, even with the refusal. i just feel bad about that bc isabel isn't really much of a stopper and it could have been avoided if i'd ridden the obstacle differently. but live and learn!! :)

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  7. You got some great pictures! Agreed that it sounds like BN is the right level for y'all now. You learned a good lesson at the water (don't we all learn things the hard way?) and did a good job to get her through the rest of it positively.

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    1. i am so thrilled with all these pics - even the, um, less flattering ones haha. and even more thrilled that isabel could finish out the ride happily :). next time we'll maybe be better prepared for jumps after water

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  8. These pics are awesome! I love how Izzy's ears are forward in each one. You guys did great and I love how you adjusted to realize Izzy needed your support for the rest of the course. You got a nice ribbon and learned something new. Nicely done!

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    1. thanks - the ribbon was some serious icing on the cake haha. and i just love isabel's attitude too - she really is such a treat to ride and seems to really enjoy it (mostly, except for that pesky water lol)

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  9. Congratulations! That course definitely looked like a challenge--way to go! The pics are all amazing, especially the brush jump pic! You and Izzy look fantastic! :)

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    1. thank you - and i really like that brush jump picture too! esp given how well izzy handled it :)

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  10. Moving up is always hard, but it sounds like you had a really great round bar one honest mistake! Great job on meeting your goal and your 6th place ribbon!

    PS I love your sequence images- those are great!

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    1. thanks - and that's exactly the perspective i'm trying to keep. there was definitely a distinct difference between this bn course and last week's intro but we really did make it through ok! plus, unexpected satin can help ease any dissatisfaction haha

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  11. Girl - you are AWESOME! I smiled through this whole post. So many of those photos belong in a frame. She is wonderful!! Great job overall. Don't think twice about the water issue, it sounds like you handled it well from there and you'll know how to approach it better next time.

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    1. yay thanks!! isabel really is amazing - she'll figure out the water thing eventually, and after that i doubt it'll be a problem. glad you like the pics too - i'm SUPER happy with them and just trying to decide which one to put in the pretty MCTA frame i won last weekend

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  12. you guys look amazing! i love those brown boots. :)

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    1. thank you! the boots are actually mondoni kingstons (from divosa) that i first read about on the $900FB Pony's blog. they're great!

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  13. Aw, such great moments though! My horse hates water, so I would have the exact same issues you did. Y'all keep getting better and better and you look like you're having so much fun in these pictures :) Great job!

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    1. thanks - i kinda love all the different emotions captured throughout the course: like when i'm a mess but Izzy pulls me through, or vice versa (not that izzy could ever be a mess). definitely fun times!

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  14. Love it!! You guys look awesome and like you're having a fun time. Congrats!!

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    1. thank you! fun is definitely the name of the game :D

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  15. Congrats!! You guys look amazing

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    1. thank you! i'm so pleased with how she's doing !

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  16. You are both bad asses. And the pictures are also bad ass. Congrats on rocking it at BN! Woo!

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    1. haha thanks! i didn't really feel like a bad ass (tho obvi izzy fits the description) - but am still proud of where we are :D

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  17. Well done!!!! SO thrilled for you as to how you cued in and handled her confidence issue after the refusal. Man, you make BN look like a level I could actually do someday!

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    1. thanks! she's such an honest horse that really all i have to do is listen (which, admittedly, can be hard sometimes lol). but yea, if i can do BN you totally can - it looks impressive but my horse really didn't have problems reading any of it (except that water grr haha)

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  18. Congratulations on a wonderful run at BN! You guys looks phenomenal!

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    1. thank you! i think isabel was happy that i finally let her jump the "big" stuff lol

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    2. Hahaha I love it when I get that sense from a horse rather than the "wtf are we doing why" sense I sometimes get

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    3. yea seriously - the 'wtf and why' can be trickier to ride lol (as evidenced by our water pics!) so i much prefer the game attitude :)

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  19. Woohoo, congrats!!! You guys look great :D Plus, that looks like a ton of fun

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    1. thank you - we had a ton of fun! :)

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  20. LOOVEEE the water photos! Her expression is priceless, 'eww no, you want me to what? It's disgusting...*SIGH*, fine'

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    1. haha she's certainly very expressive. poor thing - she wanted to make sure i was reeeeeeally sure about getting in there :)

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  21. You guys look awesome & Lizzy looks like she was made for XC- love her little knees!

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    1. thanks! she's a beast out there! i think the stop surprised her but we'll get past it :D

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  22. WOOOOHOOOO! Love you two as a team

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    1. thank you!! i'm pretty much bananas over this horse :D

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  23. You did great! MDHT does hard XC courses. I almost picked up a stop at the brush fence (your fence 4) last year when I competed there. My horse gave it a big ole hairy eyeball....

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    1. i never knew that about mdht and for some reason had the impression that it was a good move up venue. and yea the brush was daunting. my mare didn't care too much about the fence itself, but the approach definitely had her stepping gingerly - kinda on sloping ground with these weird yellow-ish patches of grass?

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  24. So cool Emma! Congratulations! You and Izzy look fantastic -- and might I compliment you for supporting your local show photog by buying that huge CD. Seems like it SUPER paid off! I can't wait to hear about all your future BN adventures!!

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    1. thanks!! izzy was in top form, that's for sure! and this photo company was AWESOME. the trailer was really nice and they had 3-4 computers in it for viewing pictures. i only had to scroll through a couple pics to know i wanted the full CD haha - isabel is too stinking cute in all of them even when i'm looking a little iffy :D

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  25. The pictures are fantastic! Congratulations on a good show at the new level!

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  26. This is all ah-mazing. Those pics are gorgeous, you look like you're so in the zone and having a blast and Izzy looks like an absolute pro. Congrats!!!!

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    1. thanks - we were totally in the zone haha, and isabel is the quintessential professional :D

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  27. You two rocked it!! Congrats on a great finish and a great ride!

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    1. thanks! i'm so happy we were able to finish on a strong note :)

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  28. Those jumps look huge! Props to y'all! Man, I want to go school some XC now!

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    1. yea i was definitely a little impressed by them (and actually didn't ever get too close on my walk haha) - but isabel was all over them. you should definitely go schooling - Archie would love it!!

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  29. Congratulations! I could never make it through that

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    1. thanks! and we almost didn't make it through haha - but it wasn't as hard as i thought it might be

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  30. WOW Emma -- congrats!! You look awesome over those XC fences -- your position is SO GOOD!!

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    1. thanks so much Tracy! i'm certainly trying pretty hard, but it's really great to finally feel some stability over fences!

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  31. YAY!!!! I'm still catching up, but congrats on such a fabulous first BN outing!! Fabulous photos!

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