But I've been stringing you along and here we are, with a couple lessons and two more shows under out belts and still no real definitive outcomes. And a blogger has gotta blog so.... yea.
|maybe figuring the selfie game out tho haha|
Next was lesson day with trainer P at OF (source of the arena jumping pics in this post). As previously mentioned, it was a net positive experience. But not without low moments.
|pictured: fugly distance but still jumping|
|who said oxers were problems?|
And... while originally I wasn't sure I agreed, I'm starting to see her point. Because now Isabel is taking the "Ehhh this isn't quite right, we didn't get where I needed to be, so, NO, no jump for you" answer more and more often.
I get that this angle isn't perfect. But I have watched the full size video and studied the stills. We GOT THERE for this fence. The spot was there. The pace was there. Everything was there. And Isabel just straight up noped it. Had already jumped it once, jumped it again fine after that. But this time? Nope, sorry, triple bar is declined.
|pop quiz: is that an event horse or a reiner?|
(also, this is the hilarious picture i kept promising. funny, right? ...hahaha?)
So I had what honestly were not unrealistic hopes for our h/j show the following day. Just get around the 2'6" division focusing on moving forward to the fences. Seriously. Guys. I do not think it is too much to ask that this legitimately schooled mare and I at least survive a trip at 2'6".
|it's not like we haven't been working on it forever, or anything|
Whatever. Does it even matter? It was a shit show. And I fell off a whole bunch of times. Because these jumps had an awful lot of fill, and I had been oh-so-clever and put open front boots on this mare who has learned to crash through stadium fences.
Only took a bloody blow or two to her cannons to decide that she doesn't like crashing through all that fill after all. And her answer: Stop faster. Stop harder. And.... I can't stick that.
|there is zero media from that h/j show (bc miracles DO happen), so enjoy a similar view of crashing over even tinier fences at this weekend's show|
"Go slower." "Maybe try trotting your fences." "Show jumping is about track and balance."
Idk, I can't even really remember what all everyone said because I was trying to as graciously as possible ask them to please keep their opinions to their goddamn selves. This is a small horse world, and obviously these folks only meant the best... plus we were very clearly struggling (hard to claim otherwise when you're literally covered in arena sand, jumping the jump all by your lonesome)... But damn. People. Cut me a break, please?
|this is not the face of a mare who cares what you think, m'kay?|
|Brita is pretty much just the best.|
The basic premise being that Isabel has lost confidence. And I was ready to raise my flag for the "mare must be uncomfortable" hypothesis.
Our lesson initially supported this theory when Isabel thought hard about stopping going into a grid, but kept on jumping anyway. "Aha!" I thought. "It's the bute - she feels good and now will keep jumping!" "Now just to convince her owner to inject all the things!!!"
So we decided to keep the bute train rolling and go to our event this weekend as planned. (And if you want to judge me for illegally dosing my mare with bute at a starter trial... well... have at it).
|opinionated mares, cold cheap beer, and friends who know all about struggling through adversity. yup. we were prepared!|
Nah. Not really. Jumps were tiny too. It' been raining for something ridiculous like 20 days out of the last 25 or 30 and everything is just waterlogged. The ground is no exception. Footing actually held up pretty well - but they kept the jumps super soft all the same.
Cross country was modified too - literally only 8 jumps in a field. The true test of the day was stadium and they built a lovely course for us. And I got about 5 fences into the 11 and started thinking "Hey wow we are actually doing it!! We might actually make it!!"
Then... refusal at 6. That stupid tiny ass little red and white vertical in the earlier gif that she stopped at when I closed my leg to go. But I'm a good little monkey and only need to learn my lesson once, and waited for the judge to honk me back on course to continue.
Took another rail but mostly finished the course kinda ok-ish. Ok, except for this beauty at the final fence:
|believe it or not, this did not constitute a refusal.|
Oh, and yes, I did in fact circle back to get through the finish flags....
Needless to say, I did not proceed to cross country. It's hard to verbalize just how frustrating and disappointing this is. Why won't she jump?!?
Lucky me, tho - because of the modified xc situation, they were technically running it as a combined test. So despite thinking I withdrew after my 12 penalties in stadium, I in fact only dropped to the bottom of the bunch and got a sweet ass pity ribbon (tho the 2nd place ribbon for just dressage was admittedly pretty nice).
|best horse show prize evar?|
So. Perhaps it was all worth it after all?