Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Jenny Camp!

Happy Monday Tuesday, folks! We had a great (and long) horse show weekend here --- finally getting back to ride the full 3 phases at MCTA's Jenny Camp at Shawan Downs, for the first time since 2017 (omg)!! 

out with her ponies, unaware of the fate awaiting her!!
also sad to only have a few more days with these sweet ladies... and Rosette is already gone from the farm! the group is scattering into the four winds :(
And fun fact --- we came in last place this time too, just like we did all those years ago with Charlie... Consistency, yo, we got it!! LOL

For real, tho, it was actually a great day. And I was absolutely bound and determined to not get too stuck in my head or too stressed out or anxious about anything. Bc... Ya know. This was kinda our last big outing with our longtime barn mates. It had to be a good one!
but first, one last hurrah with everybody at Shawan Downs!!
My friend Katie went over earlier in the morning and absolutely slayed the Novice division with a 17%** in dressage and clear jumping!! Which was a perfect swan song, as their plan was to move directly from the horse show into their new boarding barn. No going back, y'all.

(**More on those crazy dressage scores later...)

she was a very good girl at the trailer - even after accidentally locking eyes with Rosette across the field!!
Then Amy and I had a very civilized morning schedule for our rides in the starter division, dressaging around 10:30 and jumping around 1. Considering how close this venue is to home, it all worked out for a very pleasant cadence to the day!

Plus one of my longtime horsey friends came to visit for the weekend and was an awesome set of extra hands around the show. Also meant for TONS of media!! Even tho my ridiculous self managed to forget my helmet cam at home, whoops. 

it was also perfect that Amy and I were able to do all our rides together
we could see xc warm up from the trailers too, was nbd!!
So anyway, we got to the show nice and early and had a relaxed preparation for dressage. Amy and I rode at more or less the same times all day, which was nice bc we got to kinda go everywhere together. Doozy and Punky got sliiiightly attached to each other, which was a little complicated, but it was nbd. 

Even so, Doozy was.... not great in the warm up. She's been making incredible progress in our rides at home, but it was always just going to be harder at the show. Esp without our martingale, gulp! So she was pretty wild and explosive. Oh well. 

picture not representative of our test LOL, but she was a good girl
We managed to royally piss the judge off before even going into the ring, too. The ring was empty so I walked by the judge's car and all, so Doozy could see it. Which, the judge kinda felt like that should be illegal. At an unrecognized show. For the local club. That's already down on entries, and basically uses the starter event as a fundraiser. 

But no no, no ring familiarization for the bebe horses --- it's an unfair advantage, y'all. In fact, don't even stand over here, don't even look at that ring, go away, be gone!!!

the judge was already mad at me bc she thought i was riding too close to the (empty) dressage court -- but even she had to give us a decent walk score haha
So she punished us for that by basically ringing the bell immediately when it was our turn to start circling the ring, and then proceeded to judge us a bit harshly thru the test. Which, well... honestly the scores were more or less fair. Doozy was.... tense. And we did have a few little breaks to canter, plus never quite managed to find our right lead in the second canter circle...

oh Dooz, one day we'll get all the pieces moving together
I was proud of the mare, tho. She kept it together, managed to find a few moments of true bend in the test, had surprisingly timely down transitions, and basically just clocked around the pattern. Plus slayed her free walk, as always, which even this judge had to admit deserved a 7. 

So ya know. We'll get there eventually. And in the meantime, our 45% is fiiiiine and fair lol.

for now, tho, this was good
Tho, this judge... I know y'all probably get tired of me complaining about dressage judges. But some of them are real pieces of work. This one seemed to think she could choose the winners and losers at a horse trial all by herself, the jumping be damned. 

One rider in my division got a 9.7% final score. Not a typo there, guys. An actual 9.7%, in the starter division. Scores in the teens abounded, too. Plus ya know, a whole bunch of scores in the 20s and 30s, and then those poor souls among us who managed to hit the 40s. Silly me, I thought it wasn't just a dressage show. But what do I know anyway, right?

(For the record -- that 9.7% horse was LOVELY OMG, and ridden by a very nice professional who has always been a wonderful human. The horse did have a stop on xc tho... which obvi bc of the crazy scores only dropped her a little bit down the ranks....)

and this was better!!
But eh. We were NOT here for the dressage lol.... No no, we are here to JUMP!! And after a little break, we went ahead and did just that! 

The show jumping ring is set up in the same field as the dressage, so Doozy seemed a little more at ease out there for being her second time over in that area. 

not a lot of screen shots from the jumping bc somehow almost every single jump was blocked by another jump in the video whooops!
And she handled her warm up fences quite nicely! Tho... it occurred to me as I observed the show ring... I've never actually schooled the mare over 2'3 show jumps, let alone 2'3 oxers. Like, she's jumped the height before, particularly that height and dimension of xc fences... but not show jumps. Uh, oops? 

she was a good girl, tho, and jumped around pretty much ok, aside from the scary nature
So we jumped our first real oxer in the warm up LOL, but obvi it was fine. She's a nice jumper, she's bold and brave. Kinda likes it. Nbd. 

Even so, I was a little tentative through our round. The course started with an oxer, set on a straight line that was fairly long enough to be unrelated, but barely. I opted to whoa! immediately back to trot in the middle of the line, tho we ended up having the rail anyway.  

Next two jumps were kinda on a line across the diagonal too, and we did end up cantering the whole way down, tho Doozy got a bit squirrelly on the way out. 

good over the finish next to the spooky judge's tent
Then we trotted by all the scary grass omg along the rail over another jump, then sharp turn to an end jump by the crowd. I again brought her wayyyyyy back down for the turn to this end jump... which, idk, maybe was unnecessary. Except that I honestly think we might have had a runout if I'd let her just plow forward. 

As it was, we were good over that one, then had a nice little circuit back across the ring over another oxer, then up to another vertical at the other end of the ring (which we also knocked, whoops), and then finished strong despite a little wiggle over the last. 

It's easy to watch the course and think maybe I should let the horse canter on more, since she seems a bit happier jumping from a canter... But, eh, honestly I think this was probably the right choice for where we are right now. 

It's not hard for her to end up getting a little ahead of herself, ya know? Like remember at Thornridge when she sorta skittered out the side when she arrived at the jump a little forward and out of balance and didn't quite have an answer? 

So ya know, we're still learning and growing LOL. And honestly I'm pretty happy with the round!

then onto the BEST part!!
It was also a useful experience to have before the cross country, too! We had a little bit of a hack over to the xc fields, and just jumped the little telephone poles a couple times as prep, then headed to the box. Doozy was actually a bit sticky about leaving the group, tho my friend helped us into the box. 

She was a little sticky out of the box too... which you can see in the video, but it was nbd. Leaving the box is honestly one of the hardest things for young horses, I think. And it always seems to catch a lot of riders off guard -- with lots of silly refusals at the first couple jumps.

easy and brave over the big box!
Luckily Charlie trained me well about the importance of not taking those early jumps for granted haha... and I was ready to keep Doozy pushed up to the fences. She jumped 1 fine enough considering it was a log, and then was pretty wiggly to the second but jumped it well enough. 

I eventually got her back down to trot for the 3rd, which she also jumped fine... But then when I tried to get her back to trot again for the 4th, she kinda just like declined lol, and instead offered up a very balanced polite canter. So like, ok cool. Fine. Let's just go with that!

tiny dot jumping beautifully at this gorgeous iconic venue!
And we just proceeded to canter the whole rest of the course! At first a little tentatively, but then sorta eased into a rhythm and I was able to start trusting her more and more as we went along!

I'm honestly sorry not to have the helmet cam from this trip bc I think it would have been really helpful to study... But she really just clocked right on around!

finishing strong over the barbie dream house 
Not every jump came up perfectly out of stride, but nothing was uncomfortable or chippy or gappy either. Like clearly still just learning how to jump from a good balance, but honestly was just so so good!!

link to clips from xc here - includes almost the whole course!
sorry guys i left my helmet cam at home womp...

I was proud of myself too for being a little more trusting of her, and just focusing on keeping her straight. Once we were out there, it really felt like she was interested in each of the jumps, focusing on them, drawn to them. 

None of the surroundings were spooky to her either, and she was super up the hill to the last jump heading back toward home and the warm up -- what a good feeling!

what a superstar <3 <3 <3
Obvi we were never really gonna close the gap up the leaderboard with the dressage scores being what they were, plus our added 8pts from show jumping... But if you had asked Doozy, she would say that we won and she's Champion of the Goddamn Universe LOL... And I have zero intentions of telling her any different haha! 

All in all a solid day. Bittersweet in some ways because things are changing and I'm sad to part ways with my barn mates who have been such great friends over the years... But new adventures and friends lie ahead of us too. It's possible that by the time you read this, Doozy will be settling in at her new farm. Cha-cha-cha-changes, y'all!


  1. What a great last hoorah with barn friends! So funny that once she realized there were jumps involved, leaving the start box/friends made way more sense to her. Good girl!!!! Congrats!

    1. Thanks!! She was such a good girl, I’m glad we got to go out and have such a fun day!

  2. USDF scores are %, but eventing scores are converted to penalty points (ie 9.7, 16, 45 etc) are just scores, not % fyi!

    1. Not quite lol. The dressage score is the % you got “correct” on the test - like a score of 6 on a movement with 10 possible points is 60% of the points available on that movement, add up all the points scored (“won”) and divide by the total possible points and you get the total dressage score. Like if you got 6s on everything your score would be a 60%. The eventing score is the inverse of this - the percentage you did NOT win, so on that movement where you got 6 out of 10, it’s 40% of points not won. So on the 9.7% example above, that riders final dressage score was 90.3%, and her penalty score (100% minus points won) was 9.7%. Compared to say a test where the dressage score is 60% and the eventing penalty score would be 40% (100% minus 60%). Still a percentage, just the percent lost vs won. And these scores were still ridiculous LOL

  3. We have a judge like that around here that I seriously feel is out to get schooling show competitors. No you may not come say hi to the booth, how dare you take the full lap of the ring after I've rung the bell, you shouldn't have put braids in this isn't recognized, etc etc. Way to turn people off of the sport 🙄

    1. Dude seriously …. I feel like I’ve been beating this drum for actual years now but there are still these judges who just like. Seem to maybe hate green horses and/or riders lol

  4. Omg that judge. The one I had let me get away with something she probably shouldn’t have, lol.

    1. lol wellllll sometimes with horses it’s nice to have a little wiggle room!!

  5. Ugh, that judge! It's starter. Set these baby horses up for success... sheesh.
    Anyway, sounds like a great day otherwise! Definitely bittersweet, but all kinds of new adventures are just waiting for you guys.

    1. Thanks, definitely bittersweet but honestly the best way to cap off years well spent with friends at the old place <3

  6. That judge is out of her ever lovin’ mind - I’ve scribed everyplace from schooling shows to advanced 3days, as well as large recognized dressage shows from Training to Grand Prix, and EVERYONE warms up around the ring, from Boyd Martin down to the littlest Thelwellesque Pony Clubber!. There is no rule against it, and there is even a rule that if the rings are close together, riders are allowed to warmup inside the ring - they leave the ring and reenter after the bell.

    1. Yea basically my thoughts exactly. I really don’t know what this judge was all about, literally the entire point of events like this is to help educate and produce horses for the future by giving them a good start, which includes positive experiences inside the boards….

  7. What a cranky judge! It makes me appreciate the little dressage schooling show I go to, I'm not sure if this is typical or not but they actually send us over to the judge's table to tell them our name and test before we begin. I appreciate it!

    1. That’s awesome tho! It’s definitely good practice to greet the judge and confirm your number before starting! Bc let’s be real, the judges shouldn’t judge differently based on their impression of the rider as a person, but…. They absolutely do LOL


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