Monday, July 29, 2019

Check this out - video!

It took a while to get everything set up, but I finally got it together with the help of SO. I have some helmet cam! Wonder what it is like to jump over something pretty damn big and it doesn't feel like....anything? Well now you can. Introducing the Mia4000.

This is a super cool video bc it was the only video SO took of the entire schooling ride and it was the most perfect jump. You can see it from both the saddle and from the ground. But look at the helmet video. It doesn't even look like she JUMPS. There is no big effort, no big elevation in my height, it is just be bopping around until I am on the other side. She can jump y'all. She can really jump.

I have even more, I have 1.5 HOURS of helmet cam video to edit down. Let's see if I can do it before this post goes up ;)

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Training Level Horse Trail debut - Check!

After getting up at the ungodly early time of 230a, I left the barn with MR at 445a. I had forgotten they made one of those, a 230a to wake up to. I mean, I've seen a 230a to go to sleep to, but to wake up to? Totally not appropriate.
Note all pics are taken during the XC schooling, not during the show
The drive down was uneventful, which was nice. It was already 70 with high humidity, but at least the sun wasn't beating down! It got up to 90 degrees by the time BN was starting.

The dressage test was decent! There were comments like "tightness in the back" and "Needs rounder connection", but I expected them.
All the knees
The pluses? Mia was pretty good! I am really happy with her work except the stretching trot and freewalk, in which she did not stretch down for either. Usually she drops down quickly bc it is her reward, weird that she didn't for either part.
All the trots
The negatives? Uh....her rider was horrible. Again. I don't know what it is about her rider, but she really needs to step it up or give it up. I went off course in the dressage course. *sigh* Yes, again. At least in dressage this time so it was only 2 points and not 4. #progress
Max Splashes
I didn't ask for much in the canter lengthenings. The trot lengthening was nailed for going faster more than lengthened. I could have pushed for more points, but the actual forgetting of my course apparently threw me enough that I didn't push.
XC schooling
I really need to get over this "forgetting my course" phase. This is not cool.
Jump 1
The stadium was the 2nd ride and it went double clear. She was sticky to the first couple of fences, which as weird. I thought I had her set up properly, but she wasn't crisp and actually hit a pole on the first jump.
Jump 2
We were super lucky in that the pole stayed up, and she made sure to not touch any poles after that. The rest of the course rode so cleanly and fast, I looked and counted when I passed the start/finish because I wondered if I missed a jump.
Jump 5
I was even tempted to ask the judge if I was clean, but figured they would have blown their whistle if there was a problem. Much better than the show for the Combined Test a few months ago!
Jump 6
Last was cross country. I was beyond happy that we had been schooling the weekend prior, the first 12 jumps on course were ones we had practiced over! We walked straight from stadium to the other side of the property for cross country. I was disappointed that there were no warmup fences for XC. Not a single XC fence to get the juices flowing, nor a stadium fence.
Jump 7
Next time I will def ask if I could school jump 1 of the BN fence. We jumped stadium, gave them a 15-20 min hack and immediately go jump T fences? Give me something to get things going again people!
Jump 8
Mia was actually sticky to the fences again?! Normally she locks onto XC fences and drags me to them, and while she wasn't really TRYING to run out, she was adding strides or drifting for about half of the fences. Fences 1/2 she was sticky at. Fence 4 she couldn't figure out how to canter in a straight line, but locked on about 4 strides away. Fence 5 she drifted enough I was actually afraid we would have a run out, but she jumped the bench very honestly, as well as the 2 stride bench of 6 after it.
Jump 9
We trotted down a very rocky path, since she didn't have shoes, before going over 7 and up the bank of 8 and the table of 9. Looking back, we should have galloped to 10, but I thought we had plenty of time. 10 was great, as was 11 into the water.
Jump 10
A sharp 180 degree turn and we went down the steps of 12 and over the trakehner of 13. 14 was a rolltop at the bottom of a hill and Mia dropped to a trot, she wasn't super happy to go down the hill but jumped beautifully once we she got to the rolltop. We galloped back up the hill before coming back to a canter and over the Training level half coffin. Which Mia did BEAUTIFULLY!!!!

I will forever be grateful that my barn has this unfinished ditch that we practiced over for every ride until she stopped caring about ditches. #Win At this point, I realized we were going to have time faults and let her fly. Mia flat out galloped that last 2 fences and took them beautifully. We still ended up with 5 points of time faults. Womp womp.
Put it in the bank! Mia loves banks!
I bet myself up pretty good on the walk back, but got Mia iced and cooled down in no time. If I could figure out how to properly keep my head in the game at a show, I knew we could do better. And time faults? Since when do we have time faults!?

When they posted the preliminary results, my jaw dropped. We went from last place of 5th to 2nd place. OMG. We made up HUGE points during the jumping and XC phase, and not a single horse had gone double clear in XC! Someone did challenge their XC score so I ended up 3rd of 5, but still. OMG! We did it. We actually did it. We successfully finished our debut in Training Level, and did so in a manner I was proud of.

Could things be better? Sure. I don't know why Mia wasn't locking onto all of the jumps, but she sure did at the end of XC. She literally drug me to the last 3 fences and I was just a passenger.

She got a good solid 3 days off to relax and hang out before having a quick hack. We were then part of the "OMG We are dying" heat and humidity over the weekend, so she got 2 more days off. And then last night was the farrier. The farrier was there late enough that I didn't ride, but let Mia run around and she looked fabulous. I won't be able to go out tonight #lifeproblems but I will be riding tomorrow.
Snacks are a requirement. At all times. Snacks.
Time to get going again. I am toying with the idea of another HT next month, and if not in Sept. I want to get this figured out so we can stop having these stupid mistakes!
3rd place baby! 
And stay tuned, I have even more goodies for you.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

We did a thing, and we did it.

My word how time flies. I had big plans to do massive blogging and they all fell flat. So a recap, yet again. Even numbered this time!

1. I went to England! It was for work, so half of the time was not mine, but I had tacked a few days onto the end of the trip and I am really glad I did. Going to see the Tamworth castle built in the 1200's, having a proper afternoon tea (which includes food!), taking a canal tour in the city that has more canals than Venice, visiting a "50 years of Black Sabbath" exhibit, and taking the train were the highlights. Going through Customs/Immigration to go into the UK was a weird experience. I legit didn't realize we were doing it until they stamped my passport. It took less than 30 seconds. I can honestly say the experience to get back into the US was NOT the same. #BarneyFifesEverywhere

2. I had two days to get back in shape after I landed because I had a lesson on the 6th. That was fun, trying to fight the jet lag. #Tiredfordays The lesson went pretty well. I was told I was 100% wrong, twice. (turns out, she was right too) That apparently *I* am the reason Mia falls in and drops her shoulders at times, not her. I am also not currently allowed to use my inside rein if my right hand is holding it. Yeah, big rider fail, I am pulling it WAY to much. She also said I am riding better, but I am still riding to a pattern and it is obvious when I am riding my test. And I also have legs of iron.  When I take my legs "off", apparently I am still using my legs which is the opposite problem of most people. *sigh* The homework until she comes back is to work on a better, consistent connection which will come if I stop pulling with my right hand and stop driving so much with my legs. Hmm.

3. The very next day we hauled out and went XC schooling. I had high goals of doing the Training level HT, but to do that I needed to go over some actual Training level fences and questions. There are only 2 Training level size logs in the "course" my barn has, and that won't do when I need more variety, so a good 2+ hour drive to go schooling it is!
Schooling went excellent despite the temperature. We had the opportunity to go over a lot of jumps that were not set up the last time we were there. Each time I got a little intimidated by something, I stopped looking at it and that seemed to be the solution. I can't worry about their size when I don't see them! And it works because Mia hops over them like they are literally a little BN fence.

4. After the great schooling, I pulled the trigger. We entered our first ever Training level Horse Trial! There was a period of time in which I wouldn't have anyone with me, as SO was out of town and no one else was available, however MR from the barn stepped up when she heard I was going alone and got up at god-awful in the AM to go with us. The week leading up to the show was an intense, ride every day, whirlwind as we struggled to get back to the place we were before our 1.5 week sabbatical while I was in England.

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So here is your obligatory cliff hanger! How was the show? Did we finish on a number or a letter? Did the rider go off course again? Stay tuned to find out!