Tuesday, August 11, 2015

xc schooling extravaganza (gif heavy)

Ok so as mentioned yesterday, we schooled cross country at OF this weekend. It was a much-anticipated outing (and B's first actual xc lesson!) and we were not disappointed!
my running braid skillz are still clearly lacking - the top half fell out before we even really got started
Also as expected, nobody was around to film for us, so I have exactly zero videos of us jumping beyond the helmet camera footage. But rest assured - the helmet camera footage was pretty spectacular and imho makes up for the dearth of video stills.
we've got lots of gifs tho. brace yourself!!
So pictures are limited to a couple candid snap shots and pics of some of the fences from when I walked the Novice course while volunteering at last week's recognized event.
also pictured: my questionable equipment decisions. why bother with anti-grazing reins when you can just bungee the martingale neck strap on to keep it from flipping over her head?
Anyway, everything was pretty much still set up from last week's event and will likely stay that way through their starter trial in a couple weeks. So we warmed up over the stadium warm up fences before hitting the actual course.
yep, that's my bad ass eventing pony, folks. she may be tiny but she's mighty!
Izzy knew *exactly* what we were doing out there and initially tried to get a little fast. Except - it's kind of wild, her 'fast' of today is so entirely different from her 'fast' of old: her canter is balanced and rhythmical and she's so easy to rate that it never felt like we were rushing or careening or anything like that. Plus once we actually started doing some bigger stuff she settled right into gear - getting all the way to the base just the way I like. 


Our group schooled through the entire BN course with a few novice fences thrown in. Last year these ramps (even the brown BN one) looked way outside my comfort zone, and I had only ever jumped the brown one once before this ride - earlier this spring with Peanut. But this ride I actually asked to do the green novice ramp and Izzy was totally fine. 
somewhat imposing in size but really quite inviting
So we got to piece together the first two jumps from the novice course. They may have been on the easier side for novice, but whatever - it felt pretty good to kick off our schooling at a higher level than what we do in competitions.
just another log. 
A lot of the jumps were built into the pasture fencing, meaning they were covered up in no-climb wire or hot tape, or otherwise roped off. So we didn't get to try some of the other novice jumps that I kinda wanted a shot at (like a big-ish green bench). But it didn't matter. Isabel happily jumped from field to field, moving up and coming back exactly when I asked. 
i think they tried to give this fence a 'Weldon's Wall' type feeling with the log and mulch in front simulating a ditch... not very convincing!
There were a couple jumps where we came in with not enough canter - but that was entirely my fault. Like I actually kinda forgot the whole 'galloping' part of xc for a moment lol. Isabel was very game tho - and I found myself thinking back to the DOC clinic from last week: particularly the two gallop positions of forward seat and preparation (in the last 6 strides before the fence).
these jumps built into the fence line had the advantage of looking even smaller when compared to the actual fence itself
When I actually paid attention, I realized that just bringing my shoulders and seat farther back was enough to get Isabel tuned in. Thinking in terms of the preparation zone also really helped remind me to leave the mare ALONE in between fences haha. I think she appreciated that.
we jumped back and forth over this brush from both directions. the other side looked bigger bc it had logs creating a ramped face. but trainer P said this side was actually a little more technically challenging bc of the vertical face
Another DOC tidbit that stuck with me through this ride - and was even more obvious when watching the footage - was DIRECTION. Trainer P was kinda giving me grief for our penchant of drifting left over the fences.... something we've done pretty much since the dawn of time. And I'm always sorta aware of it, but I also sorta never do anything about it.

But this helmet cam perspective makes it VERY clear how pervasive the habit is. Plus, as P pointed out - the standards (such as they are) on the xc course are solid and won't fall down if I hit them. So if I care at all about my knees I better start working harder on straightness.
another super friendly novice fence leading down a narrow shadowy path
The path pictured above ended at a large novice-sized log or a BN coop covered in lattice. I, uh, obviously would have preferred the log to the lattice... but P only cleared off the coop so to the lattice we went. You'll hear me trying to pump Izzy up for it all the way down the path (I sound a little bit like a spaz haha - 'it's lattice izzy, see the LATTICE?!?' like she knows what that means...), but she was fine and didn't even look at it. Good mare.

Of course that didn't stop her from trying to duck out of another lattice-type fence that closely resembled the one we struggled with at Waredaca... Again, never mind that it was among the smallest things we jumped. Silly horse - but she still jumped it. No pics tho, so you'll have to just look for it in the video (around 6:30)
tough to see but the landing side leads immediately downhill
One fun aspect of this lesson was that P had us stringing a lot of things together. We did some single jumps one at a time, but also quite a few lines of 2 or more jumps in a row. I loved this since we could really allow the horses to open up, rather than starting and stopping all the time.
this drop into water for the 17-18 line definitely looks challenging to me... at least they're flagged separately so you could theoretically circle... but yea we are not quite ready to see this in competition!
Also some of these lines were actual combinations, like the sunken road below that was flagged as an A-B combo on the novice course. 


The roll tops themselves are BN sized, but I guess the terrain and proximity to each other is what categorized them as novice? 
You can sorta see the terrain here...
But this makes it a lot more obvious. No matter tho, Isabel was foot perfect to it all. I got her a little deep to the A element but she moved right along the terrain to get over B without issue. 
And of course, we also spent time on the holy trinity of eventing: Ditches, Banks & Water


We tackled the ditches at the very end at my request. I've never properly schooled real ditches before, and while we've never had a refusal at one on course, Isabel has definitely given them a funny look and I want to make sure a problem doesn't develop.


Banks, on the other hand, have never not been easy for this confirmed trail horse. We only went down a couple at this schooling, but up banks are the same story: she's fine. 


And then there's water haha. The first time through the puddle above Isabel sputtered to a halt then walked through... which kinda screwed up the two riders who were hot on our tail. Oops - sorry guys but maybe don't follow the hydrophobic horse to a puddle? She cantered through fine the second time.


Same story for the drop into water. I had to ease her in the first time, then she was fine. But not so fine that we made it over that triple rail on the first attempt. It bugged me a little that I let a silly stop happen at the end of what was an otherwise perfect schooling...

But it wasn't dramatic or bad. And really the jump wasn't lined up to be taken from the down bank so it was awkward to begin with... And as you can see above, she jumped it just fine to finish (complete with ridiculous verbal encouragement from yours truly).


The video is a bit longer than what I typically try to post (tho didn't I just say that last week too??) but I couldn't really edit it much further down without skipping some jumps. Which, well, I didn't wanna do that. I trimmed it up as much as possible tho, which actually gives the effect in some places of continuous course work rather than stopping and starting. Regardless, I hope you enjoy it!

So yea, all around it was an awesome schooling. We'll be running BN at this same venue for our next HT on the 23rd. First tho, we'll head out to a schooling jumper show this coming weekend. Thus begins our fall season campaign with 5 straight weekends booked!!

40 comments:

  1. I LOVE THIS!! I love Isabel's happy ears, I love all the "good girl", I love your confident ride, LOVE LOVE LOVE!! It really helped me to watch the video and imagine my own chestnut ears in there. :) :) This also makes me really want to try and get together for a schooling day!!

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    1. haha thanks - i was really curious to see what all crazy things i say to izzy while riding, but it turns out that i'm super boring and just repeat 'good girl' over and over in increasingly higher pitches. lol. and YES please let's go schooling?!?

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  2. SO. MUCH. FUN. Man, I'm just dying to get back out XC schooling now!!

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    1. oh man, allll the fun!! and yes you need to get out there pronto!

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  3. That looks amazing! I love Izzy's flowing mane in all the Gifs :)

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    1. haha i love her mane too. i try to put in running braids to help keep her neck cooler and prevent my hands/reins from getting tangled up (which has totally happened before - not fun!) ... but the mane makes for good video too lol

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  4. Cool gifs! Congrats on tackling some Novice fences, if you don't look at the fences, they don't look big. That is my current go-to cheat with Mia!

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    1. yep - i agree completely. and was pleased that the helmet cam didn't show any examples of me staring down at the fences... so far so good!

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  5. Replies
    1. lol right? she just keeps on getting better and better!

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  6. Looks like loads of fun! Makes me want to ride XC soon, except I've only done baby fences at the trot, and that was a year ago so I won't be doing XC any time soon. I love the gifs!

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    1. oh man it's so much fun!! and they have baby xc fences too - maybe you'll find yourself out there sooner than you think ;)

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  7. Izzy is such an awesome girl. You guys have been achieving a lot this summer!

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    1. she's pretty much the best. so long as i get myself in order she's up for pretty much anything (except water lol)

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  8. This looks so fun. I want to go...

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  9. Replies
    1. yess!! she's developed into such a fun cross country horse too!

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  10. Replies
    1. lol i always second guess myself about exactly how safe that is.... but whatevs it works :)

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    1. haha glad to hear that! i knew i was pushing it with a nearly 10min video... so the gifs are there for those who would rather not click 'play'

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  12. Love your distances to these jumps! You guys look pro

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    1. thanks! i really feel more comfortable getting to the base, tho perhaps get a little too close to some of them... not really a big deal at this level but could lead to hanging a leg eventually.... eh, isabel is scrappy and catty so we'll see

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  13. Heck yeah, helmet cam!!! Izzy looks like a blast to ride out there!

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    1. i am so in love with this helmet camera!!!! and yes isabel is a total blast :D

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  14. Gosh you have the nicest places to school! Very jelly and loving the bungee. It is like duck tape, am I right?

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    1. haha give me bungees, duct tape and baling twine and i can solve just about any problem. and yes we are so spoiled with the properties around here - esp by lessoning at OF we don't need to pay the extra schooling fee which certainly helps!

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  15. What a good girl! No need to bother with a running braid when you have that long, gorgeous mane!

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    1. she's so good!! and her mane is certainly very pretty - tho i've gotten tangled up before which caused a few dicey moments... but these days she'd probably still go straight to the jump anyway haha

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  16. AWESOME!!! Love the helmet cam footage and her happy ears. =) Some impressive looking jumps too!!

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    1. haha i love looking at her happy ears too! and am really pleased with how game she was with all the fence. still work to do, but she definitely gets it

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  17. Omg y'all are jumping everything! Love the helmet cam gifs!

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    1. we're jumpin alllll the things alllll the time haha

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  18. So fun!! I'm totally jealous. I can't wait to get back out at it.

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    1. ooooh yea!! i really don't think you can school xc too often haha

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  19. Wow, look at you guys go! Love the helmet cam perspective.

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    1. thanks - me too. i was super paranoid that i didn't have it aligned right, but it turned out well so yay!!

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  20. Nice! Looks like you guys had a lot of fun.

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