Wednesday, August 26, 2015

OF Starter Trials - cross country!

Cross country time!! We left off yesterday walking away from a pretty decent stadium round eager to get on to the next phase. At that point I didn't plan on any more warm up fences - we were just gonna get straight out there and make it happen. But upon reaching the start gate, there were actually something like 5-6 horses waiting to go ahead of us.

looking ready as ever
That's never happened to me at an event before. Usually we can get right on course, or at worst there's one or two riders ahead of us. So there was a bit of wait time. It was fine tho, we chatted and hung out in the shade and Isabel grazed a little. Then once we were on deck I hopped over one warm up fence and am kinda glad I did bc while she jumped well, Izzy was a little unresponsive to the rest of my aids. Nbd tho, I fixed it and she was ready to go when they counted us down.

brown ramp
Upon leaving the start gate we headed straight over the brown ramp we schooled a couple weeks ago (actually this entire course will look very familiar to anyone who read this post). Seeing as Isabel quite handily managed the novice ramp during schooling, I expected this to be a cake walk. And it was. Good mare.

log pile
Same story for jump 2. Isabel came out large and in charge and made quick work of these logs.

bench
The bench at fence 3 had been causing some issues for other riders, and I could understand why. It looks pretty innocuous sitting there in the fence line - but just as you get to the base you realize it's actually set kinda awkwardly down hill, with a bit of a drop on the landing side. Nothing crazy - it's only maybe challenging bc you don't read that 'down hill' nature until the very last moment. Izzy had looked a little when schooling, but jumped it no problem this time.

first stream crossing
I opted to trot the first little stream crossing. Mostly this was to help get Izzy's eyes on it and give her time to understand. But also the ground was pretty hard and rocky. Plus, going through water then getting back up to jumping pace has proved challenging to us in the past, so this was good practice.

pheasant feeder
And that practice is definitely merited! Sure there was plenty of space between the small stream and fence 4 - but I still didn't have our canter where it needed to be and we stuck in an ugly extra stride by drifting left way far off our line.

This reminded me of what Dan said about how if we're already on our maximum stride length, there's nothing left to move forward with. I think that's what happened here - there would have been a nicer long spot, but we literally could not stretch out Isabel's stride any further than it was. Instead, I should have had her more collected and organized so that we would have had greater adjustability. Oh, and I shouldn't drift lol.

i think they called this fence a 'saw table'?
So we had to readjust our track to get back over towards fence 5 - set in a kinda shady area of slanting ground. Isabel jumped this much better and cantered off easily up the hill toward 6.

brush jump
Fence 6 was another example of the BN jump looking pretty soft, especially in comparison to the novice version we jumped while schooling (which is itself also pretty soft for novice). Izzy got a great read on it tho and jumped from a very forward stride. Perhaps a little too forward bc we kinda mis-shot our turn to loop through the field.

log with rock. note the fairly large ditch/hole to the left
I did not love fence 7 - with it's fairly deceptive approach complicated by a trench and rock on the left side. When schooling I chose the coop next to this log since it had a much friendlier approach, and actually another competitor had said while waiting to go that she asked the organizers if she could jump the novice coop instead of the log. Kinda wish I had thought of the same thing...

Eh it was ok tho. We didn't fall in the ditch and die, and Izzy jumped it just fine. But the angled approach threw us way off the line toward fence 8 and I had to make a very speedy adjustment since I kinda forgot there was a mini-bank complex directly in front of us, and our canter was definitely NOT appropriate for down banks haha.

coop
Then we skipped over the small coop to head into the woods.

more logs!
Same story for fence 9 - it came up easily in line after 8. Then Izzy happily chugged right on along this little wooded path. Dan says that horses back off in the woods but that certainly wasn't the case here. Isabel was GOING!

lattice coop
She really moved up to this coop too. When jumping this during schooling I had really expected her to back off and spook a little, but she didn't at all - she ate it up. Same story for the other riders out schooling with us. And same story for when we were actually on course for the event. So idk. Maybe the fence is charmed or something - horses just love it.

another water crossing
Riders coming off course before we went out said that the water crossings, particularly this one, were getting quite deep. Probably from all the four wheelers going through... So in any case I opted to walk into this one and trot out.

Then it was a quick canter up hill to the green roll top situated in the fence line that we jumped while schooling (my phone crapped out on me and I lost the photo... sorry!). That same fence was also on the BBN course last year so... yea no problem.

roller coaster at 12-13
We had a nice little canter across the field past the water complex toward the roller coaster. Isabel was VERY forward through this combo and we did it in four strides. I suspect that if we were schooling with Dan he would have preferred a more organized five.... but ehhhh. It was fun!


Trainer P happened to be out jump judging in this area and snapped a quick video of us going through. Sadly the video was super mangled into the pixelated monstrosity you see above.... but I'm including it anyway bc Izzy just looks so damn fun! I look ever so slightly defensive about the forward pace and a little behind the motion... but eh that's fine too.

triple bar logs
We looped around to come back toward the water over fence 14 and kinda biffed the jump a bit. I think it was the same issue as the pheasant feeder earlier. I should have been more organized. But also I should have trusted my spurs (new addition to the xc arsenal) to coax Isabel over from a slightly longer spot. Ah well. Next time!

log jump down hill
Fence 15 was no problem and then we kinda eased our way down the hill towards the water.

water complex
The flags were set nice and wide - giving us the option to drop down the tiny bank or just go straight in. I opted to go straight in at a trot, and Isabel acquiesced with the least hesitation she's ever shown at a flagged water obstacle. Sure she's been through this water complex a million times (including just a couple weeks ago), but I'm still counting it as a win.

She felt similarly game at our last event at Fair Hill. And while we did come to a full walk to get into that water, I had the distinct impression that she would have trotted in too. Perhaps we're really truly making progress with the water issues!

tiny roll top for 17
Fence 17 came up somewhat quickly after the water and we kinda just plopped over it from a distinctly mediocre distance haha. Eh. I was actually a little surprised to see this fence on the BN course anyway (it's about 2') so neither of us gave it much respect... Whatever. We cantered right on through the finish line and were done!!! Yay mare!!

'um why is you touching me?!?' - isabel
(also how majestikal is that tail?!?)
So it was a great run. A couple messy fences, but predominantly it was an easy forward course that did very little to distract Isabel from galloping along like a pro. The whole day really just felt supremely easy. Part of this is a function of familiarity (ie on our 'home-away-from-home' turf), and partly bc the jump courses themselves were on the soft side.


And obviously I love the helmet cam footage. Seriously this camera is the best thing I ever got myself lol. Hopefully you enjoy it as much as I do!

tired horses and happy riders!!
I'm really happy with the outing tho, and can't see anything to dislike in Isabel running across a whole course with such confidence and ease. So we again finished on our dressage score - second time this year and third time ever! The clear jumping was enough to move us up to 2nd too - yay satin!!

This was made doubly sweet when B also finished on her dressage score for second place. Good day all round!!

unusual prize, right? 
The prize for second place was this omega 3 supplement. It's apparently peppermint flavored fish oil. Seems kinda like horse candy that might make Izzy shiny... but we'll give it a whirl. She usually loves all things peppermint, and the liquid nature of this stuff might help her better manage all the powder in her feed from her gastric supps. We'll see haha. 

But anyway, that's a wrap on the event. A very good time had by all, and hopefully a solid run in preparation for next week's trial at Olde Hope. 

44 comments:

  1. Congrats on the satin! Isn't it great when things go so well and any mistakes you make are not catastrophic?

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    1. thanks! yes mistakes that are just little mistakes are always FINE by me haha. in some weird way i actually kinda like when my horse gets to the point that she can kinda just ignore my occasional stupidity and still get the job done ;)

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  2. AWESOME RUN! Love the helmet cam, as per usual. You guys killed it!!

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    1. thanks!!! ahhh this helmet cam is my favorite thing ever now lol

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  3. I think someone needs to start doing recognized so she can qualify for AEC next year.

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    1. that's sorta on my radar (esp given the AECs are moving so much closer to maryland), as much as any long term plans can be given the uncertainty in my lease with isabel. but if nothing changes in that regard, yes that may be something i try for ;)

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  4. So exciting. You ALMOST make me want to try eventing. Congrats on your 2nd place!

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    1. haha you should try it! even if it's just schooling here or there. it's an entirely different feeling than anything i ever did in the hunter ring

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  5. Awesome! I almost want to event again so I have some new helmet cam videos. Then I remember I enjoy eventing by watching other people's videos :)

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    1. haha fair enough - well i will do my best to keep the awesome videos coming lol :)

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  6. Congrats! Well done both of you :)

    Majestikal tail is right - very nice!

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    1. haha thanks - she's so expressive with her tail that i always love really brushing it out so it looks its best

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  7. Woohoo! Y'all are turning into cross country machines :)

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    1. thanks! she's always been a beast out there but i'm finally figuring out how to give her the right kind of ride to capitalize on that

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  8. Way to go! Iz was just eating up that x-country!

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  9. You guys are just kicking all of the ass!

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    1. haha thanks! fingers crossed we keep it up for this coming weekend too :D

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  10. Awesome!! Major congrats! I love watching her focus in the video with the occasional ear flick :)

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    1. yea she really zeroes in on those fences!

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  11. Congratulations! It looks like a very fun course!

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  12. Love the confident run! Also love what the next event entails!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Yay for stalking! :P)

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    1. haha stalking is pretty much the best. i may or may not be deluding myself (and slightly overly ambitious....) but we're gonna give it a shot !!

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  13. This looks so fun. Congrats on 2nd. What kind of helmet cam do you have?

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    1. so much fun!! the camera is a Contour ROAM, which i learned about from Carly who also uses one. so far i like it!

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    2. definitely lmk if you get one!!

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  14. Congrats on the impressive outing! All your hard work is paying off :)

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    1. thank you - that's what it feels like and it's pretty exciting :)

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  15. Congrats!!! On both clear jumping and an awesome dressage score (my phone crapped or when I tried to comment of the dressage post). I just love Izy's ear in the helmet cam - it looks like she's totally loving it!

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    1. thank you! i love watching her ears too. she was so lazy and sleepy at the trailer throughout the day that i actually was getting kinda worried. but seeing her ears in the video was super reassuring: she was AWAKE and into it haha

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  16. I love watching your helmet cam footage! Except that it makes me want to event...

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    1. haha well.... maybe it's a sign??!? lol

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  17. Congrats on the second place! I can see how fence 7 would be super tricky. Love the helmet cam footage.

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    1. thanks - and glad you like the helmet cam!! i really didnt' like 7 at all haha. most horses are smart enough not to run into holes or huge stones.... but still, i'd rather not take the chance lol!

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