MD HT II – Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad

Well, I survived the heat at the Maryland Horse Trials II, but didn’t turn in the performance I’d hoped for. Oh So was fairly calm for our dressage warmup but perhaps not as supple as he could have been in his back in the trot work. We did test A, which is much simpler, especially compared to the two second level tests we did on Thursday, but he stayed pretty focused. We got an 8 on our canter lengthening and sevens on both leg yields. We also got an 8 on our change of lead through trot, and ended up in second place after dressage with a 31.8, just a fraction of a point out of the lead.

GRC Photo
GRC Photo

I wasn’t able to get a show jumping school in after my vacation because a gallop and cross-country school took precedence, and silly me thought we’d be fine. Not. He was little careless in my jump school at home on Tuesday and although our warmup at the show was fine, he proceeded to take down the first fence on course, which rattled us both (to be fair, it was a vertical and was coming down a lot apparently).

We got a little close to fence 3, a skinny, and he didn’t forgive me for it, so he had the back rail of the oxer at 4a down, then randomly had a vertical down at 6. He jumped the triple combination beautifully and proved to me that he does know how to jump, but then I’m not sure what happened as we came around to a simple liverpool vertical. He asked for a bit of a long one and he added a stride, thus throwing me up on his neck. Thank goodness he still jumped, but we had that one down and I had to regain my stirrup, which cost us 3 time penalties on our way to the last, which he also had down.

I’m a little bit at a loss except to say that I was out of practice and we both got upset after the first fence down. I think he got offended after fence 3 and was really backed off after that. Lisa and I talked about it and she said we never really got into a rhythm and that he decided to peek at the liverpool, which he’s never done.

The cross-country was meant to be a “move-up course”, but I never take any prelim

GRC Photo
GRC Photo

course lightly. The jumps in the combinations weren’t all max height, but almost all of them were angled, which luckily he does very well.

There was a cabin to a left-handed corner that I thought we could have done a little bit smoother, but he was honest to it. The water jump was just a cabin at the lip of it, then a bending line to a cabin out, so not too much there. At that point, which was fence 13, I was starting to feel a little like I did at Seneca. I was a little weak and my position was starting to soften a bit. He jumped the giant cordwood table beautifully and GRC got a great photo, but I look terrible with my lower leg. They also got a great photo at the table afterwards, but again, I look inexcusably awful.

After the table was a log down into a canyon, then out over a roll-top, which we haven’t seen too often. He jumped that well and popped over the last two fences to finish easily inside the time, and I wasn’t even trying for it! We ended up in eighth place.

So, I was pleased with 2 of the phases, but yet again, we embarrassed ourselves in show jumping. He’s turning into a heartbreaker I think. How is it that we can have a nice round like we did at Seneca, then a round like this one?

I feel like the dressage is pretty confirmed now and he’s very reliable cross-country. There’s not much he hasn’t seen at this point.

1C RJC13-0325063Until our next event in September, I’m planning on trying the Dr. Bristol again for jumping to see if I have enough control. I think the Pelhem is fine, but in certain instances, it does more harm then good if I don’t follow him completely with my hand. I’m planning on doing the CDCTA August schooling dressage show in Warrenton and I’m going to try to get to some jumper shows or do some jumper rounds at Morningside. I’m also thinking of trying a lesson with a jumper trainer or maybe trying Stephen Bradley again and asking him if he could sit on him for me and give me an assessment.

Tomorrow I’m off to Young Rider’s Championships to cover it for COTH, just in time for the massive heat wave we’re having. It will still be hot in Kentucky, but not as bad as here.

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Back In The Ring

I’m back from my vacation, refreshed and ready to ride again. I’m working on an extensive Ireland blog, which may take me awhile as I go through photos, etc., so until then, I thought I’d write a little about the CDCTA evening dressage show in Warrenton I went to last night.

To be honest, I hadn’t really ridden through the entire tests I’d planned on riding, so in the end, they weren’t as polished as I’d hoped.

We started with second 1, which we’ve done several times before. We’ve been working hard on our simple changes at home, but I still can’t quite get them in the show ring, so those weren’t the best. I also struggle with sitting the medium trot and feel like I don’t have as strong a medium when I sit, so we lost a few points there.

Otherwise, he was fairly attentive and not too tense. He did try to jog before the first half turn on the haunches, which made it not-so-good, and then he pivoted a bit too much on the left turn and then tried to get tense in the free walk to medium walk. We got an 8 on the free walk though, which he’s totally capable of, but never quite earns.

We ended up with a 62.1%. I’d like to get that up to at least a 65%. I know we’re capable.

The second test we did was the second level rider test. It’s fairly complicated, but I wanted to try something different.

The first tough movements are shoulder-in to a travers on the centerline. The right shoulder-in was quite good and the haunches in were a good try, but I had to make sure I kept his shoulders on the centerline.

Next, we did a medium trot on the diagonal and had to show steps of collection over X, which according to my trainer is more like a fourth level movement. Since we don’t have a strong medium, it was tough to show enough of a difference there.

His half turn on the haunches were better in this test, but he bobbled a little in the free walk. When he gets tired or a little tense, he seems to bob his head, but he didn’t jig when I gathered him up (the movement was going left, finally after years of going right).

His simple changes again were just not quite there. He had a couple of decent ones, a couple where he trotted, maybe because I wasn’t collecting him enough or maybe because he was tired.

For whatever reason, the halts weren’t quite square from behind either, but at least he was straight. We scored a 74%.

So overall, it was good to get back in the ring and see myself on video. Now I know for this weekend at the Maryland Horse Trials II that I need to shorten my reins a bit and make sure I keep the impulsion.

Looking ahead

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Things are looking a little better with Oh So this week. He feels almost 100%, but I still feel like there’s something going on behind the saddle. After consulting with both of my trainers, we all think he must have tweaked himself in the paddock, so we’re trying a 5-day bute regimen to see if it helps bring down any inflammation. I’m not sure I want to rush419688_10100818499098197_184014323_n back to the vet quite yet, so we’ll see how this goes. So far, he feels ok, but warms up a bit stiff to the left and doesn’t want to work his right hind as well as he can.

I tried using a Dr. Bristol for our flat lesson on Sunday and actually liked it. He still got a bit strong, but he didn’t mess with his tongue. We had some good moments and I think he was trying hard, considering our ride on Saturday was a meltdown after not being able to ride for four days. I entered another dressage show at Morningside this weekend where we’ll do Second 1 and 2, and Nicky is going to be there, so I feel fairly prepared.

DSC_3552Last week was basically a wash because of extremely cold weather and a couple of small snowfalls. I was pretty grouchy about not being able to ride, let alone exercise, so I made do with a stationary bike and an exercise ball.

I had a good ride on Sam on Saturday, but haven’t ridden him since. I’m considering it a mini-vacation due to my schedule, the weather and my energy level. I’m going to try to get on tomorrow, unless we get thunderstorms (in January?).

On Sunday, I attended the CDCTA Awards Banquet at the Fauquier Springs Country Club.  424162_10100815222230067_1474104458_nMy mom came with me so we could celebrate my win and Lisa’s eventing trainer of the year award. I hadn’t been in many years, so it was nice to pick up my huge trophy and ribbon in person and see some friends. The food was great too! We also got our reserve champion ribbon in the mail for USEA Area 2 adult amateur prelim.

I finally got out to a jump lesson today. It was literally 75 degrees, so a little warm, but no complaints from me! We didn’t do anything huge, but he kept a nice rhythm and I didn’t screw it up too much. Lisa casually made a comment about how we would do “a couple of 291106_10100818628683507_1908747615_ointermediates” before our first CCI* this fall, which made me a little bit speechless. Intermediate is certainly not a goal of mine right now- I just want to jump a consistent show jumping round at prelim- but if she thinks we can do it and wants me to go for it, I guess I should. I’ve got the horse who would do anything I asked, I just need to get more fit and get over some mental blocks.

I also had a couple of stories on COTH’s website over the last week. First up is a blog I wrote for our Staff Blog Thursdays about winter riding. The other was a profile on Tracy Brennan, an adult amateur who riders her OTTB in a side-saddle in just about every discipline. She was definitely inspirational.

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