Category Archives: endurance day

Building Trust

Probably my favorite part about having Georgie was the trust we had. She was an easy horse to trust. I would joke that Georgie at her worst was often better than most horses at their best. She would pull some antics, but I could laugh them off, and not worry that they would affect the rest of our ride. I knew her so well, and trusted her so much that I felt invincible on her.

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And it wasn’t that she was perfect or ever put a foot out of place. In fact, Georgie had some serious opinions. She would rear if the dressage work got too tough. And she broke free and galloped off with me unable to catch her at least twice. (Once at an event, that was fun). She thought about running out at light colored fences. She thought there were demons in the north end of the arena during the winter.

But none of these things ever scared me, or made me nervous around her. Because I trusted her wholeheartedly. Like a toddler, I let her have her moment, and then asked her to behave again. And she always did. And I knew that she always would.

Sure she jumped with her eyes closed, but I still trusted her…

And that kind of trust, that kind of relationship, is what I am currently missing in my life and am struggling so much with.

I cannot wait to have Junebug and start the trust building. I can’t wait to work through issues together and figure out what her triggers are, what scares her, and work through it. I can’t wait to have a horse who I trust wholeheartedly, and know so well we can anticipate each others thoughts to every question.  My hope is that Junebug will be as trustworthy as Georgie was, and I realize it will take years to get there, but I am excited for the journey.

I’ve been lucky to ride quite a few horses since Georgie’s injury, and each have taught me so much. But because none of them are mine, and I’m not training any of them to be my partner, there is something missing with each and every one of them. And it makes my ride on them that much more difficult.

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I would have never done this with a horse I didn’t trust.

So enjoy your pony, and enjoy the trust building. It’s for sure the thing I miss the most. Well, that, and galloping cross country.

 

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2017 Goals

Hoping everyone had a very happy holiday season! If nothing else, the holidays are a great time to reconnect with family and friends and it marks the end of one year and sets in the hope and excitement of what’s to come.

So, here we go. Looking forward to a new year, new season and new habit of setting goals. Lets see how well I am able to stick to them and get them accomplished!

I’ve separated my goals into three categories. Personal, Riding and Competing. Day to day riding is very different to me than competing is, and I don’t want to lose focus of that by just setting goals that are competition based.

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I want to enjoy these views more

Personal Goals:

  1. I decided on this one while on my run this morning… Do a 10k. At first I was like “sign up and finish a 10k race” but to be honest, I’m not sure I want to enter a race and spend the money. So, my goal has been revised to just getting a 10k done. By July.
  2. Remain fit and continue to make fitness and health a priority. I’m 10 pounds into a 20 pound weight loss, but I want to make sure I don’t lose sight of staying fit. Being active makes me happy.
  3. Balance your personal life with your equestrian life. I want to hike more. I want to say yes to more things that aren’t horse related. While still being a dedicated equestrian. Let me know if this is unrealistic… 😉

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Riding Goals:

  1. Be able to do trot sets for 15 minutes in jumping position by the end of the winter. I think I can do this one. It’s just a matter of getting out there and getting it done. I can be pretty lazy about trot sets.
  2. When I ride, remember to ask more of Georgie in each ride. I need to stop being complacent as to where we are at in our training. She’s at the point where I can ask and expect more of her. And I should.
  3. Sometimes, just enjoy the ride. Go for a hack. Explore a new trail. Don’t make it all about training all the time.
  4. Get the most out of each ride. If I’m going to work on jumping, how about I work on multiple things, rather than just one thing. If I am going to ride for 30 minutes, how about I spend those entire 30 minutes working….
  5. Enjoy stadium jumping. Figuring out a way to keep my brain from spinning out of control would be awesome.

 

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Competition Goals:

  1. Go Prelim at a recognized event. I have to make this a goal since it’s on the table now.
  2. Let Georgie jump the tables. I need to just let her jump out of stride at a gallop. Even if at first it feels uncomfortable and makes me wince a little.
  3. In each element of the competition, give Georgie a thoughtful ride. In dressage, think about your next movement, on xc, think about the next fence and how to approach it, and in stadium jumping, just think. I think that if I can do this, we are going to be a really successful pair.
  4. Have fun at the competitions. This hasn’t ever been a problem, but if it becomes one, I think it is time for me to hang up my hat.
  5. Do not care about where you placed. Look back at the competition and think about how your rides made you feel as a rider. You are only competing with yourself. Sometimes a high or low score can dictate how I feel about a ride. And it really shouldn’t. I have no idea where those other riders are in their training, or what their expectations are for themselves. I can and should only concentrate on my ride with my horse.

So there we go. While I’ll admit my goals aren’t as specific as they might be for some people, I think they give me something to work on and something to achieve.

So, HAPPY NEW YEAR and let’s go have fun with our ponies!

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Year in Review

I have a habit of not setting solid goals for myself as a rider for the coming year. I feel like horses and riding are so unpredictable. Georgie could be lame tomorrow and there go all our goals for the spring. Or, I could break my elbow. Again. Or, everything could go exactly as planned. And wouldn’t that be nice. And unusual.

But, I’ve decided to set goals for the coming year. They will be put into the universe in a later post, as this one will be to review how shit went down in 2016.

Things started ok. It was a lot of indoor work due to an Idaho winter, but we worked on thinking quickly while jumping. Something I struggle with.

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This instilled some serious fear in me

Off to Utah in March for some xc schooling and my spirits brightened. Georgie felt like the horse I never thought I’d have. Adjustable, uphill and forward. It was a blast. Plus, Training felt easy. That was a nice change.

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Jumping over the rock

June was the start of our official season with our show at Inavale. Once we were able to get there- after my truck died and a kind friend let us borrow theirs. Dressage in my mind was AMAZING but the judge had a different view and gave us our worst score to date. Just made me determined to show her this wasn’t a dressage show, stupid judge.

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Amazing. Duh

Georgie ate up the xc course at Inavale. So much so that I thought I had speed faults. I didn’t. We were perfectly within optimum time. It was a great course and gave me the confidence I needed to know we could tackle the 3Day in a month. Plus, we had an awesome show jump round. Only one rail down, which is below average for us. And it was the final rail because I rode to it stupidly. So good news was if I ride well we can do well. We finished in third place, and I had a lot of fun, so really it was a great weekend.

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Does not care about 3rd place. Cares that there is a stupid ribbon on her and her tack has yet to be removed.

The following month was the Training 3 Day at Rebecca. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you have the chance to do a long format, do it. Dressage in the big arena sitting the trot and doing some movements we will be doing at Prelim. Again, judges and I disagreed. This time they thought my test was nicer than I did and gave us our best score to date. That’s cool.

Endurance day. Pretty sure I smiled the entire time. Steeplechase was SO MUCH FUN.

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Love her ears

The xc course was easy peasy and it was the first time I felt like I just let Georgie gallop and didn’t interfere three strides out. (My favorite thing to do.) Stadium was good. Two rails. But they weren’t for obvious reasons and I was pleased with our ride. Sadly we dropped from 2nd place to 6th because of the rails. Which was annoying, because there were cash prizes for riders up to 3rd place. But it is what it is.

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One of my fave pics ever.

Probably the best part was that when the 3Day was done and over with, trainer Sarah brought up the P word. As in, it was something we could start thinking about. I NEVER thought it was an option. But Georgie is such a different horse than she was 6-8 months ago, and I like to think I’m a different rider, but maybe not to such a dramatic degree. And because it would be the first time for both of us going Prelim, I decided to have Sarah take her to her first recognized event at the level.

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While schooling next door to Rebecca, in 2015 I had been too scared to do this ditch wall. This year we conquered it easily. Amazing the difference a year makes.

August was stupid. I tripped and fell (totally sober) and broke my elbow. So… Sarah took over riding Georgie after her post Rebecca break and got her ready for Prelim.

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The improvements with Sarah riding Georgie were pretty obvious early on…

September Sarah took Georgie to a schooling Jumper Show and they rocked. ZERO rails. Made everything I had said about her unable to not hit rails complete hogwash. This put me in a weird headspace. Mainly just not riding my horse, but also missing her and having someone else take over the ride for the first time in my life of horses was weird. But I knew it was for the best, and I am still enjoying all the improvements Sarah worked on. Hello responding to my leg!

And then her debut at Prelim with Sarah. Ok, let’s just skip too much writing about that. The fates just weren’t with us that day. But, you better believe this venue will also be the first Prelim I take her to in the spring. I don’t even care if I fall off (ok, I do) that course is not getting the better of that mare, or me. Stupid book jump.

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Being #13 DID NOT HELP

And then… Ireland. Trip of a lifetime. OMG. Foxhunting with the Irish. Riding Irish horses. I still have no idea why I came home.

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And then, in November, the final xc school of the season. Sarah took Georgie back down to Skyline and rocked the course with her. Had a blast. Georgie proved that she is a Prelim ready horse. Sure, the book jump was in hiding and not available to school, but that’s ok. We’ll get ‘er in the spring. Stupid book jump.

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Why hello, huge table

December has been work work work. Jump and dressage lessons. Raising expectations of what this horse is capable of.

She’s still the best damn horse I’ve ever known. I’ll never stop loving her and I cannot wait to see what 2017 brings.

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Rebecca Recap Part 2

I forgot to mention that on Thursday morning, before my dressage ride, there was a course walk for 3Day competitors with either Jonathan Holling or Sharon White. For the T3D we had our course walk with Sharon. I’m a fan of Wundermaske, so this was a bit of a “oh my God I am hanging with a celebrity” moment for me. She had some GREAT insight on the course. Which jumps to gallop, how to approach some of the trickier questions. I walked away feeling really confident and excited. That evening, post dressage, post dinner and post a couple of beers, I went to walk the course with my trainer.

I’ll be honest. The course is a move up course. But, it didn’t look all that challenging to me. But then, the minute I thought that, I thought “What is wrong with you Nadia??? You’re horse could stop, or get cheeky, and the MINUTE you get complacent you will fall onto the ground and have a wake up call.” So, I took the course seriously and made it my mission to have the best ride we’d ever had.

We had a long gallop to a brushy oxer table thing, Jump 10, (I need to start taking pics) and after that we headed left to another table. Getting from the table to jump 11 was a really weird line. They hadn’t mowed a path, which was odd, so trainer and I couldn’t really figure out why the course went this way. We figured something out and moved on. There was a GREAT coffin complex. A tough one. And I was really excited about it. I can’t wait to get the video! And two good water questions. One was a raised log, into the water, out over a corner. Second one we came down a hill, into the water, jumped a brushy rolltop in the water and then out over a log.

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This was a fun jump, that led to a chevron type B element.

The morning of xc day I went to run my course to get it sealed into my brain for good. As I was jogging away from the weird table with no direct path, a woman rode her bike over to me and asked if I was walking the 3 Day course. I replied that I was, but it was the Training course, not Novice (which was currently running and I thought she wanted to know what jumps were on it.)

This kind stranger then proceeded to keep me from getting eliminated. She told me the weird table was on the regular Training course, NOT the 3 Day course. My jump was a straight line from the brushy oxer table, and had a clear line to the jump after it.

OH MY GOD.

I thanked her profusely, told her I would hug her if I wasn’t so sweaty and thanked my lucky stars she had been out there when I was. I also learned the following:

  1. Don’t drink before your course walk
  2. Your trainer will assume that since you are a) an adult b) an experienced rider at this point and c) have already walked your course once,  that you will know and remember your course and she will not need to be checking the flags at every jump. Yes, we walked it correctly with Sharon. I just was too star struck to remember it.

I ran the correct line after learning my mistake and not surprisingly, it rode way better.

I admitted the mistake to my trainer, and now to all of you, so I feel like I have learned my lesson and we can put this in the past. And thank my lucky stars for not getting a TE.

I don’t even know what to say about endurance day, so I’ll make it short and sweet. Phase A was fun and Georgie was forward but not frantic. Phase B, steeplechase, was AMAZING. We came in 19 seconds too fast. Way better than Galway where we ran 30 seconds too fast. But she felt so game and I think she really enjoyed it as much as I did. Speed is 520 mpm, so you’re hauling. But it just feels effortless.

I’m mostly a blip in the horizon for most of the video but it’s still fun…

Phase C is recovery. And I let Georgie recover. We did some walking, trotting and more walking. I saw I had about 3 minutes to spare as I headed into the vet box, so I made her walk into the box,rather than trotting in frantically. Vet box was routine (yay!) and then we were off to Phase D, our xc course!

Jumps 1&2 rode perfectly. Nice galloping fences. Jump 3 was supposed to be an easy jump as well. Basically a table, but with little rounded stools in front of it and flowers in front of those, so a bit ascending. The wind was blowing and the flowers were flying back and forth. I worried Georgie would be spooky so instead of just supporting her with a more solid leg, I pulled back a little. We got a bit of an awkward distance and she landed cross cantering. Our next jump was the jump that ended up having the most stops. The Trakkener. We cross cantered over to it, she got looky, slowed down, I put my leg on and said “GO ON” and we cruised over it. The rest of the course felt fast (speed was 470mpm) and really, really good. I only brought her back to jumps that needed it, (hello coffin complex!) and galloped most jumps right out of stride. She was the most rideable she’s ever been and I was the most relaxed and willing to just let her gallop I’ve ever been. We cruised through the finish flags with 17 seconds to spare. Within 5 minutes of being in the box Georgie felt ready to go back to her stall. We got lucky with a nice cool day, and she was eating grass and bored before we were even released. I love having a fit pony.

I was excited to have tackled the course and to have felt so confident about it. I didn’t check my scores until much much later and was stunned to see we had moved into 2nd place. My immediate reaction was “I don’t want to be in 2nd. Second place is a foreign place to be!” But then I was like “Damn. You’re in second in the Training 3 Day! You hoped to be in 11th or 12th all weekend!”

But I also knew that we had SJ the following day and odds were, I wouldn’t be in 2nd for long. And I know I shouldn’t go into SJ with that attitude, but if you look at our stats, we drop rails. I kinda hoped the other pairs dropped rails consistently too…. Being in second place made me feel more adamant about riding well. Because if I rode well, actually if I rode perfectly, maybe we wouldn’t have rails.

I decided to enjoy 2nd place and not worry about SJ until the following day. And so the suspense continues. For those of you that didn’t stalk scores or read comments from my previous post, lol.

 

 

 

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3Day Ready

Today I spent Independence Day the best way I knew how. I skipped the local parade and headed out for a conditioning ride with Georgie. We went 11km in an hour. Mostly trotting, with some canter, and about 10-12 minutes of walk total. I wanted to make sure we were both ready for the approximately 48 minutes we would be spending in the saddle together on xc day at Rebecca Farm in two and a half weeks. I would say that we are officially 3Day ready!

IMG_0028This coming weekend we have a clinic with Brian Sabo. I’m really excited but also a bit nervous. I have heard great things about Brian, and how he’s a great clinician. But I am in a clinic group with two professionals, (1 being my coach) and it’ll be easy to call me out and make me the example of how not to ride. On the other hand, it’s an opportunity for me to rise to the occasion and get some great instruction.

And afterwards, when it’s all said and done, we have a derby on Sunday, and I get to be the xc controller. All this really means is that I make sure jumps are set properly, help jump judges with questions and maybe get to ride around on a four wheeler. But, the title has the word controller. So, needless to say, I am a LITTLE excited.

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And before all this fun can happen, my little monkey dog, Stella, has to have ACL surgery. It’s scheduled for July 7. She’s 12 years old, (but no one believes me when I tell them) so I’m pretty stressed. And ready to see her post surgery, as she tries to drag me to the car and get the hell out of there. So, think good thoughts for her and I can’t wait to update you on how well she’s doing!

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16 Hours Left

So, I’ve been spending the past week packing and riding and cleaning and riding and packing. And now we’re finally in the home stretch!
I spent yesterday going for a conditioning ride.

It was a gorgeous afternoon and just what both of us needed and wanted.

  And Georgie worked hard. But enjoyed it

I’ve been trying to put together some goals for this event and weirdly am really struggling. Typically I think “end on your dressage score”and that’s been tough to attain so far. And that would be an amazing goal for this event. But I have no idea what to expect from endurance day and how Georgie will be feeling at jump 12 or 16, and I’m not going to push her harder than she’s capable to go just to try and make time.

So here are some goals that are less performance based and perhaps more personal based:

I want to come out of dressage feeling like I rode well and gave a good test. I don’t want to make amateurish mistakes, and want to be thinking throughout the test about the next movement.

I want to have a blast on xc. I want to feel like Georgie is fit and having as much fun as I am. I want to ride my lines and have a forward and safe ride.

I want to feel comfortable and confident in show jumping. I want to give Georgie a forward and thoughtful ride. I don’t want to lose my brain.

I’m so excited to have an amazing time regardless. And who am I kidding,as long as I get to do the steeplechase, everything else is just icing on the cake.

Be prepared for lots of updates

Xoxo

Nadia and Georgie
 

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More Endurance Work

I’ve spent much of this week thinking about endurance day and how best to prep for it. Georgie is fit, but the T3D asks so much more of my horse than a regular horse trial. Sarah was amazing and used her math skills (which I lack) to help me figure out what my pace should be for the 4 sections of endurance day. I calculated a mile on my gps watch out a canyon that has lovely footing. Sarah helped me figure out how long it should take to do each section at the correct pace. 220 mpm, 520 mpm, 160 mpm and 470 mpm. I decided on Saturday to work on the mile at 220mpm and 470 mpm. The canyon road is a bit winding and all uphill, so I didn’t want to do 520 mpm just yet, until Georgie is in better shape and she stops spooking for the first part of the mile (which is super fun).

As was to be expected we were too fast for the 220 mpm pace and a bit too slow for the 470 mpm. I wasn’t shocked about the latter. Georgie was spooky and it was hard to get a rhythm for the first 1/4 mile, but I tried hard to gain time at the end. It was close, so I am not too stressed but next time I go out I have some ideas about how to better make time.

My dogs came along on my conditioning ride with me. Stella, who turned 12 on Saturday was leading the charge!

My dogs came along on my conditioning ride with me. Stella, who turned 12 on Saturday was leading the charge!

I need to keep in mind that endurance day involves more than a jog out and looking fashionable. Most importantly I need to have a fit and sound horse that is ready for all aspects of the T3D. I’m doing the jog not to show off my new boots, but to show off my horse. And I’m really excited about that. And realize I need to practice getting Georgie to jog…

I was lucky enough to petsit at a farm where Georgie could stay with me. It was fun having her there and she enjoyed it too!

I was lucky enough to petsit at a farm this week where Georgie could stay with me. It was fun having her there and she enjoyed it too!

As another part of preparing for the T3D I have a steeplechase lesson next week at a stable about 2.5 hours away where they have a track and a very experienced steeplechase instructor. I’m incredibly excited, but also nervous. I’ve never jumped steeplechase jumps and never jumped at 520 mpm so the entire experience will be eye opening. We watched some steeplechase instruction at Rebecca Farm and it was a huge help in what to expect, but I’ll be honest. The idea of just galloping up to a jump at 520 mpm and jumping out of stride is so completely out of my comfort zone. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to have this lesson and perhaps more if needed. I know I need to trust Georgie and enjoy the experience. it’ll be fun to report back to you.

So more work ahead, and hopefully I’ll continue to enjoy every minute of it!

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