Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Doozy does Arena XC

Whew happy Tuesday, folks! More to come later about the rest of my California trip --- to include recapping the incredible weekend I spent at the Ram Tap Horse Trials. Wow, talk about a special place! 

exploring the grounds at Loch Moy
But! No rest for the weary. I touched down in Baltimore at 2AM yesterday, and by noon was tacking Doozy up at Loch Moy to ride on their all weather arena xc schooling courses. 

Quite a few serendipitous things worked in my favor -- like my seminar ending a day early, and somehow all the stars aligned that I could actually get directly home... My friend Katie had been planning this schooling day for some time and I leapt at the opportunity to tag along.
guys it was crowded --- but lookie at her omfg! #TrafficSkoolGraduate
Tho ya know, obvi it was always going to be a somewhat big ask for Doozy. Not least bc she'd had a week off while I was away. But, eh, I figured... It was going to be hard no matter what, right? She is who she is. At some point we have to give her the opportunity for exposure, and go from there. So I went into the adventure with literally zero expectations and no agenda. 

closer up pic of doozy doing doozy
But at every step... Doozy kinda just... Stepped up. She came off the trailer quietly. Tied right away (tho she did dance around a little and bonked her head at one point). Stood easily for the saddle and bridle, and more or less proceeded in a direct route to the big mounting block by Loch Moy's score board (which also features a whole bunch of flags). 

Sure, Katie was there with Rosette to assist with the process as needed. And we certainly needed the assistance, obvi. But everything went off on the first try with minimal fuss. YES! 

we got comfortable with lots and lots of little logs at walk then trot
Our warm up was more of the same. We started in the ring typically used for show jumping, and basically spent about ages familiarizing. Walked past the ivy wall and signage in both directions, observed spectators, experienced horses running and jumping in all directions... And didn't murder anybody. Tho we didn't really get much done either beyond a few little trots while Katie did her thing.

then we did proper jompies!
As we moved from ring to ring, tho, Doozy seemed to kinda figure stuff out. And by the time we made it to the lower ring, where a lot of the little stuff was set up, she was a lot more at ease with existence. 

just cantering this little rockette out around wide open spaces omg
The cool thing about this horse is that once she's thinking about jumps, kinda nothing else matters. The rest of the world melts away. It's.... honestly a wild feeling. 

her expression is honestly pretty incredible
But there's just kinda a big hump to get over before she's ready for that. Like, gotta put the "bolting" feeling to bed first before starting with the jumping lol. And that... takes a while.

pictured: a relaxed horse making a small mistake about distance as she learns to be clever and more consistent with footwork
But literally as soon as we started tinkering around with little logs, this mare was ALL ABOARD the schooling train. 

this is a FUN horse to ride, guys omg <3 <3 <3
I aimed her for some of the ittiest of bittiest actual jumps, and she just... is a lot of fun haha. 

bebe's first "table" lol
So obvi we went for the next little level up -- the 2'3 fences. 

ermagerd we got into the water and learned it's actually kinda fun!
And she just jumped everything I pointed her at, some questions asked, but all answered correctly. And I didn't push things, ya know? Like, I didn't try to string things from different ends of the arenas together --- we kinda stayed in one "zone" at a time. And I didn't do anything with banks or ditches, tho we did get through the water nicely.

But I'm just so pleased with this mare, guys, omg <3 And she's getting exponentially better about life as Le Sport Horse with every single trailer outing. Like, sure, the first hour of our 1.5hr ride was spent keeping a lid on the powder keg... But the last 30min was worth it <3

guys, i'm so so so excited about this sweet little mare!
It's honestly wild to see her grow in leaps and bounds from week to week. She's sensitive and reactive... but actually pretty darn sensible too. She wants to be good, wants to color inside the lines, and has an incredible and innate pressure response. 

can you believe that's Charlie's Back on Track cooler?? maybe she's not that small after all...
So. Another achievement unlocked, another milestone in the books. It all feels very exciting, and so good to get back to doing fun horsey adventures. 

It's actually kinda crazy, bc I really haven't experienced the same type of anxiety (yet) with Doozy that characterized some of the early days with Charlie. Maybe bc... Charlie just gave me a lot of confidence over the years? Or bc after a year away from doing the things I wanna be doing, the determination is winning out over the anxiety? 

Who knows, ya know? All I know is that this process has been a lot of fun so far, and I'm not really in any rush to change that!


  1. Oh, yes, I think determination can definitely outdo anxiety. Such an awesome feeling to be out there doing stuff with your horse. Loved seeing the variety of jumps, the water and the busy atmosphere. From the video cam you can see how she was just doing her job and listening to you, not super worried about all the stuff. Fun!

    1. thanks! it was honestly a lot more crowded than i expected, even for a federal holiday monday. doozy did a great job holding it together tho! like it still took an hour of walking around before i felt like we could really start focusing... but then again that hour was spent entirely in the saddle, we didn't do ANY hand walking --- which we've had to do a lot of for all of the lessons we've traveled to so far. progress!

  2. Wow, well done Team Doozy! What a great feeling when a horse locks onto the job.

    1. thanks, it really is a great feeling! like... the jumping is the EASY part omg haha... it's just everything else that can be really f*ing hard... but that's all getting easier too. slowly but surely!

  3. Look at you guys go!!!!

    1. right??? so pleased with this little lady! :D

  4. I was just chatting confidence yesterday, Sophie in a mood used to make me nervous, now it's nothing I think about - for me determination to get back to doing the things winning out over the what if's. I love your attitude in general with her - just get out and do the thing with minimal expectations and celebrate all the good that comes from that!

    1. yes haha -- that's exactly it! i feel like i've been sitting on the sidelines for so long now, it's honestly just refreshing to be back in the saddle doing things. like i realized yesterday as we were tacking up that i hadn't even zipped on my xc protective vest since december 2022.... more than a year ago!

  5. I think the lack of expectations helps keep a lid on the anxiety. If there's no pressure to perform at a certain level, what's there to be worried about? Besides all the things you could be worried about of course... Lol. Either way. Glad you're feeling confident!
    Doozy looks AMAZING! She's really filled out a lot, and she looks so happy to try and do the things. I love how game she is to jump. You two have so much fun ahead of you!

    1. thanks, omg she is SO GAME!! like, it's almost like i just have to indulge her a little bit through her silliness and then suddenly she's firing on all cylinders! which, it's kinda funny, her first race trainer replied to my outreach a few months ago when i first adopted her, and he offered that "she was always very easy to train." i'm guessing this is what he meant!

  6. That sounds like a really fun and successful outing!! What a cute mare she is!


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