Monday, May 15, 2017

2017: the new 2015?

If the internet is to be believed, 2016 was a pretty disproportionately shitty year for many, many folks. Probably for lots of difference reasons... and maybe at different intensity levels.... But all the same I count myself among those who were very happy to close the book on 2016.

Last year my horsey world unraveled slowly and subtly at first, and then kinda all at once. And despite my feelings of persistence and determination, spring ticked into summer with every day taking me a little further away from my goals and hopes. Almost uncontrollably so. It was.... disheartening, to say the least.

maybe the only good thing to come of summer '16
The year ended on a very high note tho: with our star ottb Charlie Murray coming home. And ever since, I've been slowly trying to wipe away the bad memories and anxieties associated with last year's experiences.

Our recent outing at Fair Hill was Charlie's first sort of official "revisionist history" opportunity. When Isabel and I went to Fair Hill last year, I still very much had my eyes on all things novice and believed that we'd be able to squash our stadium demons to get back to that level reasonably quickly. Of course.... the technical elimination at that event (in stadium, no less) dampened those hopes a bit.

Charlie, bless his soul, cruised through his own stadium at Fair Hill like a breeze (albeit one that doesn't turn right haha) despite me musing aloud about having been eliminated on the same course a year prior. Score 1, Charlie. History: 0.

1st xc course? nbd,  according to charlie
Next up on the docket will be Charlie's biggest test yet: MCTA's Jenny Camp. This event and I have a .... checkered history haha, having only completed all three phases once of my three attempts.

In 2014, it was my second ever event - and first ever at a brand new venue where I had never seen any of the jumps before. Isabel blew me away at that event with how good she was - but also dumped me at a mud puddle two jumps from the finish line on xc. That.. sucked haha, but at the end of the day it felt like a win knowing that actually, Isabel and I maybe could make good work of this eventing thing after all.

Then the following spring we came back out with our eyes firmly fixed on redemption: cruising to an easy 3rd place finish at Jenny Camp as our last outing at Intro before moving up to BN.

But last year? Alas, last year Jenny Camp proved to be the straw that broke the camel's back. We had the most spectacularly shitty stadium round. Like. Stupidly depressingly shitty. I withdrew from cross country and retreated to the trailer to cry into a beer can for the rest of the afternoon. And.... that was basically the end of my 2016 season right there.

isabel only sneered into her beer can
So.... with Jenny Camp now looming as our imminently approaching next event, I'm feeling a bit apprehensive.

It will be Charlie's most technically challenging outing to date. The dressage courts on grass will probably be fine. And he jumped stadium on grass at Fair Hill (albeit, at a lower height) so hopefully that will be fine too. Cross country will be his longest track with the most jumping efforts to date, complete with ditches banks and water.

Again, I'm hoping that all will be fine. Actually I'm starting to get kinda excited about it. It's weird - this is maybe one of my favorite events bc of how firmly interwoven it is with the landmarks in my horsey history.

no pressure bro, but... i'm kinda relying on you
So while it may be a smidgen unfair to ask Charlie to whitewash away all my bad memories from the past... perhaps it's not unreasonable to expect that he might be ready and eager to break out of Isabel's shadow and start working on his own chapter in earnest.

We shall see! Do you ever feel like you have history with an event or venue? Or like some of what you work on with your horse today has something (or everything?) to do with a horse of your past? Or maybe you have an easier time wiping the slate clean each day and taking the horses or events as they come?

46 comments:

  1. I can see why this is kind of a big deal for you and totally get it. For me it wasn't the venue per se but getting back into showing at all. I don't know that anyone is good at completely ignoring history. But I found that once I got at the show it was all about the moment because there is far too much to think about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yea that's the great thing about these events with horses right? We never have to look too hard to find things to keep us occupied in the moment, and time keeps on marching ever forward. So suddenly things we didn't think we could do- become done and in the past. Crazy how that works lol

      Delete
  2. Yeah I definitely get that. Granted, mine is on a smaller scale but I feel like I need to go back to the venue where I fell off three times in one day, once just from mounting enthusiastically.

    You and Charlie will be great though. You're going to be so preoccupied once you get there you're hardly going to think about it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha thanks! And have no fear - the show that I fell off at a bunch last year is still ahead of us with Charlie too lol. It's funny how these things stick out in our memories. Nothing feels better than wiping that slate clean tho!

      Delete
  3. Y'all are going to be awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks I'm looking forward to it!

      Delete
  4. ugh I know what you mean. I wont ever ride at Plantation again. After being dumped gloriously in stadium and being SO relieved I didnt have to ride CC after that I realized i was overfaced at that event. Not enough schooling opps there worth going back (They let you school one time a year) SO yep, no redemption needed (Now you are facing it head on like the champ you are, I prefer to lick my wounds and find other venues to go to:) HA You will rock it and I am waiting to read all about it :) Go CHARLIE...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh plantation. Yea. That one didn't end up on my shit list bc I had already stopped competing Isabel by that time. But I went with Brita and.... Honestly don't feel super inclined to go myself. Lol. So I definitely understand the whole "thanks but not thanks" attitude too. For MCTA tho I'm excited to give it another crack!

      Delete
  5. I can't say that I've ever really felt any kind of history like this with a specific show, but I also don't event and I feel like that adds a while new layer of complexity, haha. But I agree with Liz, I think you guys will be awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha yea that's fair - dressage in particular might feel different bc it's tbe same test just in different venues.... Tho I feel like some venues play a larger role than others lol.

      Delete
  6. I bet it would be hard to push back the old demons and start anew, but if anyone can do it it will you Charlie and you. Have fun and enjoy your big guy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks I think we will have a good time no matter what - I just hope it also comes with a completion lol!

      Delete
  7. I totally understand where you're coming from! I will also NOT ever compete at Plantation again, and there are definitely parts of certain courses at certain venues that make me very, very anxious because of past experiences. Good luck at Jenny Camp!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! and ugh yea that plantation course last time... it's kinda hard to get past stuff like that for sure.

      Delete
  8. You're a different rider than you were then, on a different horse, and the two of you are a completely different type of partenership. I don't think you can get much of a cleaner slate than that. Remember that you're awesome, your past history there has nothing to do with the present, and that Charlie is awesome! Have a great time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks Jodi! that's basically the plan - charlie can't possibly have any idea what all came before him, he only needs to know how to keep going forward. so far, so good on that score!

      Delete
  9. Jenny Camp was my very first event ever! Way back in the dark ages. But I swear I think all of us have that one venue that becomes our nemesis.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ha yea for sure. it's a shame too bc i actually LOVE jenny camp and would never want to think of it as a 'nemesis' for me - except that i've got such a shitty record there lol. c'est la vie, tho i guess.

      also it kinda makes me curious bc jenny camp has moved around over the years. it's currently run at shawan downs, but quite a while back was actually hosted by my current h/j barn (hard to believe, but true). do you remember where it was?

      Delete
    2. I think dressage was in an actual sand ring (and maybe stadium too?) but otherwise all I remember in my head is a few of the jumps and some grassy hills, which narrows it down to like 99.9% of that area. That was 16 years ago!

      Delete
    3. haha fair enough - that definitely sounds like basically everywhere around here haha.

      Delete
  10. I guess that is one benefit of having so few venues to choose from. The good the bad and the ugly all happen at the same place.

    Good luck! You guys will be awesome!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ha yea, i know that feeling too. we've got a lot of venues but we still manage to basically go to the same ones each year. so it ends up feeling somewhat similar.

      Delete
  11. I don't show, but I certainly remember specific soccer fields or venues I thought were cursed because I always seemed to play terrible there. Sometimes it was the weather or the condition of the field or just plain old bad luck but all it takes is one great performance to overshadow all that negative. As long as your expectations are in the right place for you two right now, then this could be the time that turns it all around! As you said, I think he is ready to start writing his own chapters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ha yea i've definitely known that feeling of a 'cursed venue' and we've got some others that can basically always be relied upon to to have nasty weather (ahem, fair hill, cough cough).

      Delete
  12. I believe that Charlie is going to start blowing away those bad memories faster than you are going to realize they are gone lol. It is going to take more than a few outings for you to stop expecting the worst but as long as you keep the expectations low (I will not jump out of the arena, I will finish on a number over a letter, I will not fall off!!!), it won't be hard to start having positive experiences and he can start pleasantly surprising you.

    You two are going to be a great pair, just give it some time and mileage!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ha thanks! tho in fairness - i absolutely *never* expect the worst at any event, ever. if i did, i would 100% scratch bc that attitude is a recipe for failure. and i usually outline pretty clear expectations for each event - sometimes they're easy things like "keep the horse between me and the ground" and sometimes i aim higher. so far? we've had exclusively positive experiences and i remain thrilled with the horse's performance. no additional mileage needed to convince me of that!

      Delete
  13. ugh i feel you on being cursed with a venue. unfortunately (or fortunately?) mine was flora lea. and we go there for so much that i kind of had to get over my 'issues' with it.

    charlie looks so happy over the xc jumps. hes been looking nice lately as well. handsome!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! and yea i'm definitely of the opinion that some venues just need us to dig in and make it our bitch in order to start making good work of it lol!

      Delete
  14. My old horse, Red, had a severe dislike for those fake stone walls in stadium and basically refused to go anywhere near them. He got us eliminated at Plantation and nearly eliminated at Bucks, so when I did my first event with Bobby where they showed up I definitely had bad associations with them. Of course Bobby has never cared about fill, he's too busy being dramatic about flat work, so he jumped it easily. Hopefully Charlie will erase the Izzy demons!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ugh yea haha - it's funny how we can start associating things as "spooky" based on how one horse perceives it.... and then never see another horse spook at that thing ever again. go figure.

      Delete
  15. I love when a horse just knows what we need and gives us that. Rooting for you huys!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks girl :) charlie's been such a good boy for me, idk how i got so lucky!

      Delete
  16. I definitely have one very specific venue that is my ultimate demon. Whenever I see a show pop up there I think about doing it for a week or two, and then eventually chicken out. Maybe this will be the outing for you to get rid of some of those demons at this venue and have a fantastic outing with Charlie!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ha yea i have a venue like that too, tho we haven't attempted to revisit those showgrounds yet this season lol. it's such a shame too about Jenny Camp bc i actually love the venue and the event and the hosting organization.... i just... have a poor record there lol

      Delete
  17. 2013 is my downfall year I guess, everything since then, even with the blips of unhappiness, has been infinitely better. And always when you look back, there is some good to be found.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. agreed 1000%. 2016 was not the year i wanted or believed that i needed, but maybe i'm better for having had it? who knows. but you say, things get better!

      Delete
  18. There are a couple of places where I just have zero luck and it's starting to be a 'thing'. The pace clinic course at Johvale...I'm 0/4 on surviving that, lol. Charlie's a whole different guy than Izzy, and I have so much faith you're going to have a super weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yea i think i'd start to have misgivings about that Johvale situation too lol. thanks tho - i think we're gonna have a good time no matter what!

      Delete
  19. I'm glad we're all in agreement that 2016 can suck it. I don't have any one doomsday event, but I feel like I have a really storied relationship with Pine Top. It's 100% hands down my favorite venue, but I've also had some of my worse ever XC trips there. I've won too, but it seems like it's usually a complete success or utter failure. Maybe that's the nature of the sport anyway? But it seems highlighted for me at Pine Top lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol i think you're spot on with the 'complete success' or 'utter failure' thing lol - the highs from jenny camp have been pretty great for us! sometimes tho i'm totally satisfied with middle of the road, plain vanilla experiences too lol

      Delete
  20. I don't have enough options to have particular feelings about one over another. Maybe as time goes by, I'll develop some intuitive feelings. Try to have fun at Jenny Camp. That's the important thing: fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks but i think your advice on "trying to have fun" is misplaced or misguided. i'm pretty excited about this event and have every expectation that it will be fine. and of course, it'll be fun no matter what.

      that's.... basically just how i roll. if i didn't think an event was going to be fun, you can bet your ass i wouldn't even bother doing it.

      Delete
  21. I'm like this with Camelot. I LOVE that place, but it burned me hard to get eliminated (in front of the last fence, no less) at my first rated ever there. I later successfully completed the course (with Murray trying to dump me in front of the last fence once more, because there exists there the finisher's booth of the devil). I'm back for rated redemption in June, though!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'm like that with Jumping Branch in Aiken. It's such a nice facility but having had terrible stadium schooling outings in the weeks leading up to the HT, I had an actual melt down in SJ warmup and scratched. So I get it. I think Charlie will do great! I love your horse ❤️

    ReplyDelete
  23. For us humans, it's so hard to wipe the slate clean and start fresh, remembering how each horse is different and so much unlike the other. I have faith in you and the groundwork that you guys have put together - rootin' for you from TX!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I can't wait to hear how Charlie does! I bet he'll be awesome. I don't have a venue, but I've found that since Amber is my one and only, she's helping me to cross off things on my bucket list. I didn't think I'd show reining after leaving Texas, but I'm going to do it at our local venue. Cross country was on my bucket list, tho I never thought I'd event, so I'm doing it with her! For me, it's the horse I'm on. So while I don't have a physical nemesis, I think my own brain is my nemesis many times, and she helps me overcome that and do things I've dreamed of. And I think you and Charlie have a special bond, and are still developing that. Plus, with the way you two have been going, I bet you'll rock it!!

    ReplyDelete