Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Fair Hill: cross country!

Cross Country Time!!!! We came out of stadium feeling pretty good about things, despite the persistent rain and treacherous footing. There were two or three obstacles on course looming large in my mind - but we were ready.
these girls absolutely INHALED the hay we brought, going through half a bale in about 2 hrs. geez ladies, slow down!
I jumped a warm up coop twice to tune Izzy in to the solid stuff, then off we went!
My general impression of the course after the walk was positive. It was easy to remember, not very long, and had minimal terrain. Most jumps were full size but very inviting (and many were quite similar in appearance). So I figured that just like Loch Moy, we'd have an early fence or two serving as a litmus test for how the rest of the ride would go. 
We shared the log berm for fence 1 with Intro - definitely inviting. It was a tad bigger than it appears, since all the dirt is built up in front of it. But all the same I stepped over this pretty easily on the walk, and Izzy stepped over it pretty easily once on course too. It was quite close to the start gate, but nbd.
Then it was a quick right bend to a good sized 'dog house.' Hard to tell from the pictures, but it was a touch imposing. Nothing terrible - but again, perhaps a test for how Izzy felt about the size. Verdict? She felt fine lol.
This flower stand seriously caught my attention on the walk - to the point where I didn't even immediately notice the lattice novice version to the left. I rode the HELL out of it - taking zero chances for Isabel to either spook at the lattice next door or question jumping 3. She jumped it beautifully tho - and we got some serious hang time. This definitely reassured me about the rest of the course (with two exceptions haha).
Coops are just fine. BN height is definitely not a problem for Izzy (even if it occasionally looks big to me) and this was the first in a series of nearly identical fences. So I took the opportunity to establish a powerful and confident canter. I wanted Isabel feeling solidly in front of my leg because fence 5 would require a careful ride....
On approach during the walk we couldn't tell if it was a faux ditch (fitch?) or not. But nope. It's a real ditch. A really F-ing wide ditch (Fwitch?). Isabel couldn't care less about faux ditches... but we've only jumped the real deal once at Loch Moy, and she eyeballed the hell out of it mid-jump. My hope was to get her so solidly in gear that she would never have a chance to stop. And the plan worked!! She looked HARD at this ditch. Like, really REALLY hard. But she was already jumping haha so too bad princess, too late to do anything about it now except keep on jumping!
She landed well and didn't seem too resentful of what might have been considered a tricky move on my part lol. We moved right along to this ramp with no problemo. 
Same goes for the house at 7. These jumps have different names - but see what I mean about them looking so similar? They rode the same too - Izzy was fine. The trick here was getting back onto the mowed path to the right of that big oxer ahead of us. Isabel occasionally gets distracted by bigger fences on course, but never even looked at that one. Phew!
I didn't expect the hay feeder to pose any problems. Neither hay bale jumps nor unadorned feeders have ever given Isabel pause, and this jump combining the two was no different. Then we had a long-ish gallop past all the stuff you see ahead, bending left through that small tree line into a different field. I got slightly worried here about missing a jump since I lost count during the ride... but a steward would have to pull me up bc there was no way I was stopping on my own!
The blue bench seemed inviting enough tho I wondered if she'd look at it. Combined with a little trench-like dip in the terrain leading to this fence, I planned to swing wide to the right such that the hill on the left acted as a nice barrier on that side. Izzy jumped it fine. She had started looking at the ground a little bit, but I just stayed in the backseat with super high hands and all was well.
Interestingly, I didn't even realize this was a roll top until editing the pictures. I typically hate these fences but maybe only when they're green? In any case we were powering forward in a strong canter and slipped a little at the base, combined with an already tight distance... but no worries Isabel was up and over without issue.
This hay wagon seemed super straight forward compared to the hay feeder earlier. Isabel jumped it nicely and we slowly worked our way down to an easy trot and then eventually a walk for the water.
Dan told me to trot into water, not walk.... but this obstacle had already caused issues for other riders (in fact the whole course caused issues - refusals, eliminations and falls in nearly every division and split) so I played it safe. It's a tough to see from this pano shot but it was a steep slope into the water. 

Isabel REALLY impressed me by going straight in. Like, I actually rode too conservatively. Crazy, right? But perhaps this is part of her figuring it out. Whatever the case she walked in and we moved up to a somewhat stilted trot through the water. I aimed to the left getting out of the water to give plenty of time to get back up to speed for that line of fences to the top right in the above pic. 
Because this table really was HUGE and WIDE. The picture doesn't do it justice at all. (what I really need is someone like Bobby to pose crazily at all the fences for relativity haha). As it was, this fence prompted some trepidation bc of its size... but I was optimistic. Size aside, it's actually quite an inviting fence. I rode strongly and Isabel soared over. Thus concluding my concerns with the course!
Then we turned around heading back to the finish line - with a quick downhill hop over this skinny log. Nothing particularly technical - I just made sure Izzy's head was UP and that she had a good read on it. During our course walk up the hill after this jump I noted that Isabel would likely gallop there. And sure enough, she FLEW across the ground, including a little road crossing that I made sure she saw lol.
Ah - finally, a fence with a person near it for size comparisons. This fence was pretty much in line with everything else on course (except the red table and the blue flower stand, they were bigger). Somewhat imposing in size, but really quite straight forward. I didn't expect problems here, but had heard tell of multiple riders who had multiple refusals. So I rode strongly anyway and Isabel was up and over to the final fence 16.
Another train!! I LOVE these trains! So cute! And Isabel didn't really back off at all. I worried this might be a little spooky, but not enough to derail (haha puns are fun) us from cruising through the finish lines shortly thereafter. 
Part of me was mildly worried that we had missed a jump... but the course was so straight forward I doubted it. Regardless, I hopped off immediately to hug my parents and tell them to meet me down by the trailers. Then Isabel got all the pets and praise in the world and we started down the long path home on foot with M and Special. 

She was just SO GOOD out there! The level is certainly easy for her. Sure there are challenges and sticky moments, but every outing is a little better. Unlike Tranquility, which was a very small BN, this course rode like a true level-appropriate test - esp with the added nasty weather conditions. 

So in a way I feel like we're actually 'confirmed' at BN now by finishing on our dressage score of 33.3. That score put us in 3rd after dressage, and a rider ahead withdrew before stadium so we moved up to 2nd and sealed the deal with clear jumping. Feels good!!

51 comments:

  1. Wow - those fences look HUGE to me! Great ride!

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    1. they were certainly bigger than tranquility, that's for sure!! isabel got a great read on them tho !

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  2. Congrats, how awesome that you are doing so well at BN and the jumps aren't scaring you *that* much :)

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    1. thanks! every time we're out the fences look a little more normal haha

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  3. Ahhh you guys!!! This is so amazingly cool!!!! Congrats on a fantastic outing!! Sounds like you and Iz have totally hit your groove and are just rockin' it :)

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    1. oh man we have definitely hit our groove!!! it's so much fun right now!

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  4. I LOVE your course walks!! This was a really fair BN course, I think, and you guys did AWESOME! I can't wait to show here in the fall. :)

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    1. thanks!! yea the course was great, i was really happy with it. a few things could have been more challenging (like there were no banks and the fence after the water was quite a bit aways) - but it was a fair test. riding there again in september will be AWESOME!!!

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  5. You two are eventing MACHINES!!!

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    1. isabel is definitely a machine haha. i'm mostly just along for the ride but it's definitely a blast !

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  6. Wow! you've brought Izzy so far! You two just keep getting better and better! :)

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    1. thanks she's really thriving in this discipline !

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  7. Do you ride with a girl named Meri?

    I am on the HGS forum and a young woman by the name of "Meri" competed a bay mare named "Special" this weekend, too. I'm just curious if they are one in the same. If so, that is so badass.

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    1. haha i don't know her as "Meri" but yes it's the same person. she is supremely awesome!! just moved to our area in the past year and it's been great getting to know her!

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    2. Ah!
      So it is the same person! Such a small world :P
      Would you happen to know a girl who owns a mare named Tilly that competes in Eventing too?

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    3. Yerp lol, she trains and boards at my barn. she's made appearances on this blog in gif form. look for the May posts on 'cross country w izzy' and 'getting back into the groove', and the June post 'eventers lesson in the rain'

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  8. OMG congrats on 2nd!! SO exciting!!

    I'll echo Allison and say that I love your course walks as well :)

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    1. thanks - i'm SO PUMPED about that ribbon and the placing!!! glad you like the course walks too. tho i'll tell you a little secret: things are about to get a little better for anyone interested in going along for the ride ;)

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  9. First off - CONGRATS!!! Second off, I would have totally laid across that table with and empty beer bottle in my hand for you to demonstrate how wide it is! I'll send a cardboard cut out of me next time and you can pose it however you like and dress it up with props!! Congrats again on an awesome weekend!!

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    1. hahahaha yesssssss please do lol and i will not hesitate in the slightest to tote that thing around xc!!!

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  10. That looks like a really inviting course! And congrats on a great ride!

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    1. thanks! it was super inviting - one or two looky things but really nothing to actually get the horse too backed off (aside from the footing lol)

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  11. Congrats!! Sounds like you guys are getting pretty solid at this level and it didn't take too long either!

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    1. thanks! i'm feeling the same - like we're setting into this level quite nicely. hopefully it lasts!

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  12. Congratulations on a great ride! I love that train jump, not that I would ever jump it. But it's so cute!!

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    1. thanks!! the train jumps are so stupid cute!! and they actually tend to not be as big relative to the rest of the course (at least at the past two events they weren't). plus the parts we jumped were just log piles - which apparently Vintage loves - so maybe youl'l have to try anyway!

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    2. HEAR HEAR!! Vinny loves dem log piles. She probably also loves trains ;)

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    3. i think you pretty much have to try now :D

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    4. haha, i'm way too cowardly for all that. But I bet Vintage would love it - Olivia can take care of all that craziness!

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    5. there's only one way to start out - little baby logs here and there and before you know it, you're trying little stacks of logs or bigger logs, and so on and so on :)

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  13. Great job- sounds like an AWESOME show!

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    1. thanks!!! it really was super awesome :D

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  14. Ahh! So freaking exciting!! :) :)

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    1. thanks - i'm so pumped about this show!!!

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  15. I love how creative they get with the jumps

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    1. me too!! this course actually seemed almost tame / homogeneous compared to some we've ridden

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