Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Reality check...

This past weekend was the t3day at waredaca! This show has been a goal of mine since I first heard they were offering a long format at training. I first made this a goal with red, and then a whole slew of others... Last year I jokingly nicknamed myself the novice champion, I had been there done that on a bunch of horses, and then for one reason or another training didn't happen. I was starting to think it might not! But then this spring a bunch of things happened, I started a whole new program, and with that I have been lucky enough to expand my string. 

When I bought lena I was all about getting to waredaca, I had a bit of tunnel vision. Then it came down to I realistically had time to run 4 trainings, exactly the number I needed to qualify. So no pressure or anything! We managed.

I left for fairhill and honestly didn't believe that once I got back it would be time for me to do my first three day as a rider! And then I started getting nervous, the kind of maybe I'm not ready for this, I haven't ridden in a week! Eeekk. luckily I have some awesome friends and a lesson with Mara to remind me I was more than prepared!

I arrived at waredaca with lena on wednesday, she was all business at the jogs, and she looked sharp! After being accepted, I had my first look at the course, it looked really doable, and I was thankful that Stephen was there to give us all his input on the course! I got lena settled in at turnabout farm (our home away from home for the week!) and passed out early, dreaming of perfect circles!

Thursday was dressage, and lena was as perfect as she could have been. Again we recieved a few 8s from both judges, but I gave away some points for not being acurate in the walk work.  Overall I was so pleased with how far she has come, we scored a 37.9. Not our best score, but I felt it was our best test, and certainly the hardest! Lena and I hacked roads and tracks, and after getting lost once or twice I figured it out! We skipped out on steeplechase practice, because I don't need to practice going fast so to speak....

That night my dad came up from ga to watch xc, and I was super excited to see him.  He hasn't seen me ride xc in years, when I was still convinced that everything happened slow! Emphasis on slow there..... So Friday I woke up feeling totally ill, we picked up lena and headed over to run around the course one last time and then get ready. At 1043 we headed out on phase A, she trotted along, but was certainly paying attention to the horses on xc, she wanted to be one of them! When we reached the end of a, I had time to watch the rider in front of me finish steeplechase, and I guess lena was watching too because when the starter said go, she was off like a rocket! We had a blast, I think I had the biggest grin, and she did too! I pulled up, colleen checked my shoes, and on with phase c we went.  I let her walk quite a bit, and we made it to the 10 minute box, I can't even describe what it felt like to ride into it, normally I'm grabbing the horse, and sponging. The hardest part for me was sitting there, but colleen was amazing! She had everyone doing their job, and made sure I had time to go over my course before getting back on.  Lena was not at all phased, and heading out to the start of d, I could literally feel lena grow.  She is such a jumping machine!

She ate up the course.  I was a bit worried about the second combination, a drop 3 strides to a skinny.  I shouldn't have been the second she saw it she locked on, jumped quiet of the bank and 3 perfect strides out. Love her! She answered all the questions, and was really adjustable between the fences! When we got back to the vet box I was over the moon, I'm quiet positive my feet didn't touch the ground for hours after! Colleen and crew took great care of lena, and we were out of there in 10mins.  My dad was so cute, in typical fashion, finally you learned how to gallop! (atleast someone noticed). My dad sadly had to head home, but I felt blessed that he could come for part of it.

Sunday morning came way to early! (they always do!) Lena looked like a million bucks, and passed the jog easily. I was lucky enough to be in the 2nd division, so I got dressed, and watched a few rides before getting on.  I don't think I realized how nervous I was until I got on, show jumping has been hard for me, I don't trust myself enough and always seem to be making a change 3 strides out. Lena felt great in warmup and jumped around like a champion! I only made one bad choice, I moved up to a flyer, always wrong, but she sorted it out.  We finished on our dressage score in 5th place, and won the award for best turned out!

I just want to say thanks to Mara for all of her help and support, jenn and allegra for riding lena while I'm gone, Colleen and her family for letting me stay at there beautiful farm and putting up with me in the vet box (that deserves a gold star on its own), my dad for coming and supporting me, my friends for all the good luck wishes and reminding me to breathe, and  everyone involved with the training three day it was such an amazing experience!

Monday morning was back to the routine, up way to early, do the barn and then head off to gallop. It was the fastest trip back to reality, but I wouldn't have it any other way! Lena is on a vacation, and I am headed off to the va horse trials!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

We're here! Fair hill that is...

I arrived on Tuesday with Sarah, and her 2 ponies.  We had a lovely trip up, catching up, talking about winter plans, and predicting fair hill results! We settled in the ponies and made it out before the mad dash of late afternoon arrivals started.

Laura arrived Wednesday morning, and after round 2 of unpacking, the riding began, and then the washing, braiding, etc. It seemed as if the jog snuck up! But all 3 of the boys were passed. The word accepted never sounded as good!

The 2 3star boys did dressage today, and as per usual at fair hill, there was some rain involved! However that didn't stop us. Everyone had there first walk around the lovely xc courses, tatton has dressage tomorrow, and the 2 big guys have a light day planned.

I'll try to keep everyone updated, and hopefully I don't get stuck in the mud!

Before I run off to bed, I want to thank Mary for the amazing job she does at fair hill! She is wonderful, and I for one am thankful for the job she does!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Maryland horse trials was my last qualifying run for the 3day at waredaca, and the pressure was on to make it happen.  Let me go back a second... When I bought lena, we mapped out a plan to make it to waredaca since my qualifications had expired.  The plan however changed rather rapidly as it was clear with my busy grooming schedule that getting lena back in shape was not happening.

So we waited and kept revising and then it ended up being only 5 horse shows. We ran one novice and I waited to see how it went before getting excited about the t3d.  We spent the whole show season taking it week to week, and evaluating if it was still in the cards. After Maryland I can confidently say its on the horizon, but I won't get too excited until I'm there. It is horses after all!

So Maryland was an okay weekend, lena was such a star! Me not so much. I memorized the wrong dressage test, managed to make it through the test with 2 errors, and a few 4s for not getting some of the transitions exactly right.  After all that I still managed to pull out a 41 something. Which kills me, because she should have rocked it. We certainly won warm up. I tried to relax but really the longer I sat there the more upset I was at myself.  I tried talking myself down to no avail, but forward progress had to happen eventually.  Show jumping was not quite our best, as I got a bit to forward to the last 2, but she put in a double clear, she always puts a smile on my face. 

The course was the perfect last run, it had great questions, and lots of terrain.  Lena ate it up.  She is so light and quick across the ground.  We had a fabulous go through the first water, and at the ditch and brush, which I was super worried about! The 2nd half of the course I decided to take it quite slow and just sort of coast, since I had breezed that morning and my pace was a bit off! I was also still wound up about the dressage, so I used it to take a deep breath and relax! She was great, I saw all the distances, and could not feel more prepared.  I brought north along to hang out, and ride around.  He was awesome, doing flat work, hanging out, and stopping to chat! I can't believe how grown up he is, and am excited to see what he's capable of!

This week is fair hill, where I will be grooming 3, and lena will be enjoying a quiet week.  I promise lots of updates, and I really might have a problem with owning red heads...with white faces :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Middleburg. Morven. Monday....O my!

Lena has been out and about rocking it at training. literally, the ribbons just keep on coming. I headed out to Middleburg, and was excited to be working out of my own rig, and to show off those circles we had been practicing with Mara. Lena did not disappoint, scoring a 34, I still gave away a few points in the lengthening, but I am really figuring her out. Mara came out to walk the courses with me that afternoon, and I was excited to have a plan. Mara gave me plenty to think about. The SJ was on the side of a hill in a narrow space, and it is very easy to find yourself pulling to find a distance., so in warm up I focused on getting her forward and soft to the jumps. She went in and posted a lovely clear round! I was pumped for xc, with the terrain it was going to be a perfect fitness run to get ready for the T3D. She was a star! She loves XC, comes out and wants to jump between the flags. I literally show her the jump and she's on it. I could go on for hours, but that would be a bit boring! She finished 6th, and after a little vacation it was time to start prepping for Morven.

We decided that since I was running 3 weekends in a row, it would be best to jump Lena once on Wednesday's, and to jump as little as possible. Lena doesn't need to practice, but I do! I had a fantastic lesson with Mara, really working on the quality of canter and what type I need to different jumps. We ended jumping some skinnies and a corner. Lena was awesome, Mara still laughs as I look like I might cry when she puts the jumps up! I should know better than to worry, Lena never bats an eye, and I always have a huge smile on my face after. Thursday and Friday Lena practiced circles, and I was excited for Morven.

Morven was awesome! I was grooming for Laura Vello, and her awesome ponies, and riding. Saturday was a bit hectic, but it ended up being easier than expected. It was only misting when I went to get on for dressage, and a few minutes before I went in, the skies opened up, and well I bet you can see where this is going..... Lena was pretty offended, she just wanted to get it over with and go back (not that I didn't feel the same way! I was soaked and freezing.) She was very obedient but just a bit tense, not that I can blame her! The judge blew the whistle in the middle of the test, but it was a total misunderstanding, she had looked at the test wrong. so I'm not going to lie, after that I got flustered to, so while we had some 8's, I gave away alot of points, silly rain, judge blowing whistle. I was highly disappointed with myself, but had no time to dwell because I had to get Laura on, and then tack up to jump. At this point I was cold, wet, and miserable, and it was still raining sideways, and if I didn't need this run to finish qualifying I would have scratched. Mara came down and helped me warm up for SJ, which was extremely helpful, as my legs were having a bit of a problem working!! Lena was a star, I made one mistake going into the second double, Lena sorted it out for me, (lots of cookies for Lena). I think I deserved to have the pole down, but Lena hates to touch them. When I got down to XC I was the first training horse, I don't like being first! I had a few questions about how things would ride, but no time to stress. Lena came out of the box on fire!! Ears pricked, and waiting for me to show her the way! The course rode great! I was glad I ran as the course had some pretty tough questions, and Lena didn't bat an eye. Every time she runs I gain a massive amount of confidence. She finished 4th, in a pretty competitive open division! (Check out the Eventing Nation Training level video to see Lena at the first 2 jumps.... kindly ignore me apologizing to my horse for taking the move up distance to 2!) Sunday was still cold, but not as rainy, Lena enjoyed the day off, and Laura's ponies enjoyed a nice canter around the XC.

Now it's monday morning, still cold and rainy. The furnace is broken at my apartment, and all the girls were a bit wild this morning jogging in the rain. (Luckily I managed to stay on top, it was a bit hairy there for a bit!) Next Lena is off to Maryland and I could not be more excited!