Wednesday, May 31, 2017

MDHT #3: cross country!

Let's close out the month of May with a photo-heavy jaunt across 9 fences spread over 500m of terrain, shall we?

patiently waiting for that cue to go. thanks Austen for so many pics! and GRC Photo too!
As I wrote yesterday, the real tests of this event were the dressage and stadium phases. Cross country was short. Really really short haha. And, with one exception, we jumped all the same fences last month.

through the start gates!
Mostly I just wanted to see Charlie go out there and put in an honest and consistent run. Canter the fences. Keep a steady pace. Be a good boy. And he did not disappoint!

nice inviting stick horse
Tho honestly he was sliiiightly wiggly to this first fence. Nothing naughty, but also just kinda taking stock and shifting gears.

easy peasy
He jumped it fine tho and cantered on easily to the tree line and around the turn for jump 2.

world's most adorable brush
I'm a little grateful that we did have that slight turn between fences, as most of the rest of the jumps are one right after the other. And it felt like that little canter towards nothing in particular helped Charlie settle a little bit.

good pony!
He was still a little wiggly to jump 2 tho, but felt pretty easy.

we've jumped this garden gate before!
Mostly my only real goal was to have a more confident feeling horse than last time we were here. If you recall, last time Charlie broke down to trot ahead of most of the fences - especially in the middle portion of the course. He didn't necessarily feel backed off, per se, just that he needed more time to process the jumps on approach.

way less backed off than last time
So this time I was hoping that he'd be able to keep coming to the fences like he had at Jenny Camp, and do his thinking and processing while maintaining a little more pace. And he definitely did! Still took a little leg and wasn't dragging me to the fences like he had by the end of Jenny Camp, but he honestly felt pretty good.

friendly roll top - but note the red arrow pointing to that suspicious dark fold in the terrain ahead (also note the construction mound to the right)
The course obviously wasn't particularly challenging but they still found a way to weave in some interesting terrain. On approach to this roll top, the dug up earth and construction to the right caught my eye and had me thinking I'd ride a little to the left to avoid anything spooky.

But... surprise, surprise, that red arrow is actually pointing to a fairly massive feature in the landscape. Plus, right on top of the point of the arrow is our next fence, so clearly the straight line wasn't actually the right ride.

pictures almost never do terrain justice, but this was a fairly substantial and steep drop in the ground immediately after the roll top
On the landing side of the fence was this steep slope that is clearly used to create more challenge for higher level tracks haha (like the training brush on top of the hill that you see in the above picture).

It turned out our best course of action was hugging the construction zone on our right - which Charlie happily did, tho not without a minor "oh shit" moment when we got long to the roll top and I kinda had to play catch up a little bit to avoid taking my heavy-on-the-forehand-and-prone-to-tripping ottb down that damn slope haha.

then back around to this wide-but-low roll top again
Anyway, tho. Once that was accomplished we could make a sweeping turn toward the familiar roll top that we kinda biffed from a trot last month and begin making our way back up hill to the finish line.

we kinda futzed it but all's well that ends well
Charlie got right on up to the base of this jump but made it over just fine. In a way it kinda reminded me of jump 4 from our stadium round, and I'm beginning to wonder if we're starting to see which lead Charlie is stronger in jumping from (hint: probably not the left lead lol).

then rising ground to the rail road tie
Then we sorta cruised up hill to the next few jumps - which was nice bc it served as a reminder for me to try to push my hands forward and let the hill influence Charlie's balance and pace vs me trying to do it all myself.

horse is unimpressed lol
And this was where Charlie finally felt like he was settling a little bit. With such a short course and the jumps all right on top of each other, the horse had maybe been a little slow to get into the zone.

same coop again!
But he cruised right on up to the coop too, continuing his easy lope up hill.

pictured: cruisin!
A giant part of me wished we could have cruised like that for another hundred meters or so bc it felt perfect :)

i actually kinda love this fence lol
But then all to soon we were onto our penultimate fence - the only "new" one on course for us. This really unique and visually interesting brush fence.

and charlie jumped it well!
It was a good size and felt like a good fence to catch Charlie's attention and make him think about it - but situated as it was toward the end of course when he was finally getting more into a groove, I didn't expect it to pose issues. And spoiler: it totally didn't.

same final jump as last time
Then a quick turn to our final fence, the same raised log we saw last month. Only this time without any pretty planted flowers in it.

and naturally we had to get in one goofy flyer lol. atta boy, charlie!
We got a little long to the fence (it had to happen at some point, right? lol.... some things will never change) but he cruised right on over nbd.

seriously. it's 1:37 haha. 

It took me a minute to pull Charlie up and he was maybe a little surprised that the course was already over. Bc again, I can't emphasize enough just how short this rode in comparison to last week's Jenny Camp, or even the elementary at Fair Hill.

treats at the trailer make everything better
But it was good. Charlie did everything that was asked of him - and honestly I don't think it's a very bad thing for a horse to walk away from an outing thinking, "Hm that was a lot easier than I expected!"

such a good boy <3
Still tho - a longer course would have allowed him to settle more and stretch his legs out and shift into cruise control. So I'm thinking we will probably stick to longer course formats from here on.

mini xc course machines right here lol
As it was, Charlie definitely knew he was a good boy. Definitely was happy and relaxed when I hopped off and got all his gear loosened and tucked up. It was just icing on the cake when I saw how well our dressage score had placed us too!

charlie wanted to tell bella all about how awesome he is at this game
The rail was a shame since it dropped us a few places to finish 6th - but imho that green looks mighty fine on Charles haha.

really tho, it was a good day had by all. brita and bella continue to kill it out there - snagging another 2nd place finish
So now we get a little break - probably about a month or so until our next event. Lots of time to just settle in to work on refining our training, and schooling more of that stuff on xc that we're going to be seeing more and more of. And maybe take a few dressage lessons too haha.

naturally we were happy to have Lyra watching over us all day too :D
Do you ever feel like the actual "training" work kinda has to get put on a back burner while you work on preparing for shows or events? Or like you can finally settle back down to focus on the 'normal' stuff once the showing is over?

35 comments:

  1. Aww you used some of my favorites today! <3 That photo of Lyra and the two of you in front of the mountain.

    Man, so proud of you and Charlie. What a crazy spring with such great results. :)

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    1. I love all the pictures - thank you! There's even more that I just couldn't make fit today (tho clearly I tried lol) that will just have to wait until future posts. So much good stuff! Thanks for coming too - it was great seeing you there!

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  2. Such exciting last couple recaps!!!! He's really starting to figure it all out and you can see how much fun you both are having!! Such a good spring season!!! Way to do Team Charma????? I'll keep working on it 🙄 Congratulations on a great event! Green looks good on you guys!!

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    1. Ha Team Charma - I like it!! Thanks tho girl, idk if Charlie and I could have gotten thru this month without ya ;) and congrats to you and Bella - everything is clicking together!!

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  3. Great work - such amazing photos!

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    1. Thanks girl!! We are looking forward to the fall season when you and Grif will be out too!

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  4. I guess I never realized how big Charlie is until that pic of him beside the white mare. Wow. Congrats on a great outing and a 6th place ribbon!!!

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  5. YAY CHARLIE! The positive outings just keep racking up! Pumped to compete with you guys in July! :D

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    1. i'm really looking forward to july too! looks like it'll just be us too, since a lot of my friends will be on vacation. should be a good time!

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    2. woohoo now to get the nerve up to enter myself for July 1st :) But I can't wait to 'meet Alli AND Dino" and of course see Emma and Charlie again!! YAY (Great job on CC and Carousel Park Trials was like that, you barely got started on CC and it was done.)

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    3. yesssssss just enter Michele!! doooo eeeeeeet!!!! Allison is basically the best ever and when all our horses unite? ah, so fun!!

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  6. His tail in that first pic is making an arrow and I cannot stop giggling.

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    1. "Follow me to cross country!!!!" - Charlie

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    2. So glad I am not the only one to find that adorable. :)

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  7. He is go Charles going!!! What a positive outing for you guys.

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    1. "going" is one of his favorite ways to be!!! (after "eating" and "posing majestically," that is) lol

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  8. I agree, way too short of a course but I love all the style of jumps there were. I could see Savvy being creeped out by that second last jump with the sparse brush sticking up. Charlie just keeps getting better and better!

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    1. thanks! and that second to last fence was definitely funny looking haha - but surprisingly rode quite well!

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  9. That is seriously the shortest XC course ever! But so glad you had another successful outing.

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    1. omg it was so short tho. last month it was 600m so i actually expected it to be a little longer this time, as the series is typically progressively more difficult as it goes. but nope. 500m.

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  10. He's looking so beefy and confident!

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    1. :D he's really filling out, it's so exciting!!

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  11. That really was the shortest XC ever! I was smiling watching Charlie happily go around and then...wait, that's the last fence. Is that it? lol And also, Charlie's tail is making an arrow. It's making me giggle lol!

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    1. yea it was suuuuuper short. honestly too short. it especially felt like the jumps were all jumbled right on top of each other, which is bizarre considering that's how they are in stadium haha

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  12. That's an awfully short XC course, but at least you had fun. Show prep definitely gets in the way of day to day training for us. It'll be good to get done to training for a while now.

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    1. yea i mean i knew what distance it would be (approximately) well before i ever sent in my entries. it was perfect for charlie's first xc course, but even with his own limited experience he's outgrown it.

      and totally agreed on being ready to focus on training again - we need it!

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  13. He just looks so GAME in all the jumping photos! You've done such a great job of nurturing his enthusiasm and keeping it both mentally and physically challenging for him without overfacing him. You're making me want to event, and I'm too much of a weenie to jump, lol.

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  14. Those are wonderful photos to have. You guys look so polished!

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  15. Just wanted to say that this was the first time I saw him going around and thought he totally looked the part as an eventing horse. Congrats on another awesome outing with your boy.

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  16. What a month! Great job! Question, does Brita have a blog? To answer your questions at the end. I don't think I've ever shown that many times in a single month but in sure it is a whirlwind and does feel like consistent training gets put on hold. But you are training him in lots of other ways so it was time well spent.

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  17. He's like an expert at all of this now! You should be so proud of each other :)

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