Monday, June 29, 2015

eventers school xc in the rain too

Ok so what follows is complete and utter photo spam. And I'm not even sorry - we had so much fun during this lesson and I got a LOT out of it.


Our usual lesson with Dan was cancelled due to 'damaging' storms, including lightning, hail, and tornado warnings.... Boo! But I wanted to reschedule before Fair Hill and the only day that worked for him was Thursday. Meanwhile, M and I had planned to school xc on Thursday since she was showing at Fair Hill as well, and her borrowed horse had never been out before....

So what the hell, two birds one stone, right? Dan was game, so we moved our lesson to the cross country course at Tranquility - conveniently still set up from the previous week's event.
Of course it happened to be drizzling this evening as well - but the thunder and lightning blessedly never arrived, and the footing was way better than it was for the event. Plus we're certainly not made of sugar and won't melt in the rain :) 
We started in the big front field that had jumps 2-4 at the event, plus a TON of other stuff. Dan put us immediately into course work over pretty much all the things - like the weird jump above, described as a mini-trakehner or mini-weldon's wall (there's a ditch underneath). I'm not sure exactly what it was - except that it was on the novice course at the event. It's not very big, but I gave it the hairy eyeball anyway. Isabel obvi didn't care tho. 
Dan had to consistently remind me to ride the same as when I'm schooling in the arena. Balanced gaits with horse in front of my leg - not running fast and flat. He repeated this probably more than he wanted to since I was feeling overly gung ho and confident lol. But actually it was a good reality check for me.
It was especially enlightening having his supervision / feedback over these same fences I had just jumped at the event, or that I had jumped on previous schooling outings. Mostly we were doing pretty good, but Dan flat out told me that some of what I was doing was wrong ('not appropriate' were his exact words lol) and would actually increase the likelihood of a stop (like my penchant for gunning it to the fence...).
and oh yes - gif spam galore in the post too haha. because i can.
Isabel showed up with her game face on tho and didn't look at anything. Nor did she care about the footing or the rain or what have you. And we managed to stay in a pretty nice rhythm. I am just so crazy about this little mare - not only is she a saint but she is just SO MUCH FUN OMG. 
She jumped everything I pointed her at on the first try, whether I buried her or raced for the leaper. Tho of course her nicest efforts where when I settled and rode the canter properly.

I had a minor miscommunication with Dan about this line above (he had us doing a TON of related distances, which I thought was interesting). After this log we went down the same little hill that I walked at the Tranquility event (between 4 and 5) to a row of log jumps. The footing was much better and he wanted us cantering the whole thing. I could not for the life of me figure out which log jump he wanted me to finish over, and ultimately chose the wrong one (a slightly off-center skinny log, rather than the wider log dead ahead that he intended...) but it rode just fine. 
Then we moved along toward the water - which sadly appears to be under construction and had a tarp floating through half of it. So we just trotted and cantered through a few times while Dan reminded us that everything we've learned about rhythm still applies to the water: sit back and keep the horse in front of your leg on the same rhythm. 
There wasn't much more we could do there, so then we went up the same path from the event into the little wooded clearing. Meaning we jumped that line of the muck buckets to the tires again - and now it's on video, yay! Once in the woods we jumped around a whole bunch of the logs in there, including the above log to small up bank. Dan's big point was that horses tend to back off and get behind the leg in the woods, so we had to ride proactively.
we also turned this around - coming down the bank then over the log. slightly nerve wracking!!
Next we went out to the line from the bench to the faux ditch (or the fauxffin, as I referred to it haha). Dan had us start by trotting just the faux ditch first, then cantering it and adding the bench, which was a rolltop in this direction.

And here's where I got reprimanded since I remembered getting 4 strides in this line at the event (even tho now we were going up hill instead of down) and GUNNED it, leading to a nasty sliding chip stride. As Dan said: "That was not an appropriate approach for this fence." Oops.... He was right tho - and you'll see what he meant on the video.
we fixed it tho
So after that I remembered to actually organize my canter and ride the freaking horse, not the distance... and we did it just fine both directions in an even and rhythmic five strides.

Dan specifically pointed out the terrain here - noting that the hill wasn't insignificant and played a role in our approaches in both directions. He said that for a down hill approach it's important to get all the way to the base of the fence.
After that we moved on to the last section of the day: the bank complex. And this complex appears to be fairly recently freshened up with really nice footing all around it. So we stuck around playing for a little while.

I needed to be reminded to let my reins slip on the down banks after catching Izzy in the mouth badly the first time. He wanted us trotting to the banks exactly as if we were trotting to a jump in the arena. And again - we were supposed to get all the way to the base for the up banks - no weird leaping.
We then added the small left side roll top to the line after an up bank, and it rode just fine (except I nearly ran into the tree, oops). Then I almost peed my pants when Dan told me to jump the bigger side (above) and come down the bigger bank. I actually asked if he was serious. Which naturally was a stupid question deservedly met with silence and I just sorta wandered away to find my line (and try to remember when I last updated my life insurance policy...). 
But Izzy jumped the bank! And I didn't fall all the way off!!! And only almost killed the horse!!!!
not shown in the gif (but fully included in the video) is my graceful scrambling after losing a stirrup and yanking Isabel almost off her feet by turning too sharply on the steep hill...


So yea... we survived haha. Isabel is a saint. I think this mare will eventually take me to novice. She's probably ready now, actually. I'm not (obviously) but it feels amazing knowing she is. 
We finished up with a quick up bank, bending to the down bank in 4 strides. Both of these banks were about equal in size - therefore nbd after the monster middle section. And I actually remembered to stop Isabel *straight* on the hill.

(video includes both M's and my rides since Dan's feedback is pretty useful to hear regardless of who it's aimed at)

Phew - sorry (but not really) that this was so long! Virtual cookies if you made it this far - and if you did I hope you enjoyed all the media haha. It was a really great ride that left me feeling super positive about our event at Fair Hill. 

42 comments:

  1. Wow I LOVED the video!! Hearing Dan's comments was great... considering I don't get XC lessons too often and you and I are working on the same stuff, this was so educational!! You and Iz look super, and I would have peed my britches riding that Novice down bank! Love his "energetic but not flat" comment... and next time you should count how many times he says "rhythm" LOL!

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    1. he really always has a lot to say about the canter - and the 'energetic but not flat' thing is something we hear frequently (esp since i tend to just run isabel at things lol). but there are a few things he definitely runs on repeat - 'rhythm', 'more together', 'squeeze and hold' - haha we could probably make a game out of it honestly

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  2. This is so beyond cool! I hopped over some logs in the woods this weekend and was all "lol I'm a cross country rider now," and I'm itching to go play like this! You and Iz are such rockstars,

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    1. yesssss you should definitely go schooling! i bet Addy would be a beast at it!

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  3. I love all the media-and what a fun lesson!

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    1. thanks - it was a blast. and i'm obvi moderately obsessed with documentation in the form of alllllll the media lol (words, pics, gifs, video... tho perhaps there are other exciting formats i'm missing??)

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  4. Those jumps are too easy for her. She's not even a big horse but she makes them look tiny! Time to move up! :P

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    1. haha no she's not a big horse at all - she's a freakin pony lol. but yea it's easy for her for sure :D

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  5. Sounds like a great and a fun lesson. It's so much fun when they love their job and it sounds like she does.

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    1. it really makes everything so much easier for me that she loves it so much!

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  6. What a fun lesson. Great review, as always!

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    1. haha thanks. these posts get so long sometimes but.... well, i love all the pics and remembering the details so whatcha gonna do about it?

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  7. Looks like a great lesson! Izzy seems to be having a blast!

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    1. thanks - she definitely enjoys herself out there!

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  8. One of the gifs made me say "boing boing" :) You guys looks great! I am too wimpy to ride outside in the rain... eventers are hardcore!

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    1. haha she boings alright, that's for sure! and i don't mind the rain so long as the footing is ok. like the footing was actually worse for the tranquility event, even tho it was sunny out, whereas for this schooling the footing was much better even tho it was raining.

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  9. Thanks for sharing. You rocked my work day! Love Izzy's expression, just a beautiful horse loving her job!

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    1. aw yay thanks! i pretty much adore Izzy's expression too - she's so gung ho!

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  10. Looks like a total day of fun- weather be darned!

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    1. haha seriously! in fact the rain even helped by holding down the temps too - which we're always happy about

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  11. You guys look AMAZING. I love hearing all your talk about confidence lately, especially with your blog title. ;)

    I will have to watch the video when I have sound. I love the picture spam.

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    1. thanks! the confidence game is definitely ever-evolving and ever-changing... but for right now things are clicking along quite nicely.

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  12. I love the pictures and gifs! You look so great! I think that log in the woods is the most terrifying thing I have ever seen and it was no problem for you... nice!

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    1. glad you like all the spam!! and the log actually wasn't as bad as it may have looked. the up hill approach can make it look big-ish (plus the fact that our videographer was a pipsqueak 12 yr old haha) but the horses get a pretty good read on it. plus we had just jumped it at our event the week prior so i knew izzy would be fine

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  13. Seriously. You guys have come SO far since I first started following you. I love how you have stuck with Isabel through it all, even tho she may not be someones "first choice" for an Event horse, esp because of her breed. I love that Iz is SO game with you and I love how you ride her.

    Gah... you'll have to excuse me... just gushing over here!

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    1. thanks!! oddly enough, if it wasn't for isabel i'd probably still be doing the hunters. i only switched bc she started to become an interesting ride (rather than just the extra saddle time i had expected) but she obvi doesn't fit the hunter mold. and boy am i grateful for that every day haha! she is a gem :)

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  14. Love the photos and GIFs! I'll have to save the post and come back to watch video. =) Overall sounds like a fabulous outing!

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    1. thanks it was a great lesson in all. and i'm pretty sure it's my first lesson on xc with isabel since last year... so it was definitely overdue!

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    2. Watched the video - you guys look AWESOME!! So confident, and even the not-perfect moments were completely NBD =)

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    3. this horse really makes it easy - she loves it so much that it's easy to just settle into the rhythm and enjoy it :) glad you enjoyed the video!

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  15. You look brilliant! That down bank looks super huge.

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    1. thanks! that down bank was horrifying haha. but we survived! all the same, i doubt i'll do anything at all similar to it without professional supervision for a looonnnnng time lol

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  16. Your lessons always look like so much fun! I love the picture of her coming off that bank, and she's so handy with that bending line.

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    1. thanks she's SUPER handy! definitely the advantage of a pony that can do the horse strides :D

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  17. That down bank gives me nightmares. You guys rock.

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    1. yea it's not exactly my favorite jump either haha - but izzy made it work!

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  18. Omg that looks like SO much fun! And I love how Isabel has her ears forward throughout it all - you can tell she is enjoying herself too!

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    1. haha she really has the best time ever out there - definitely makes it fun for me too

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  19. That looks like a blast! I always feel like a giant moron when my trainer goes dead silent after a question lol

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    1. yea.... it can be a little nerve wracking. and this trainer is definitely the silent brooding type... but eh, whatevs i have fun and that's all that matters :D

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