Tag Archives: three day eventing

My Current Favorite Picture

Sure. It should be of June. Since she's my future.

And I do love this pic of her on a bridge casually relaxing.

But my new favorite picture is of Macy. You know, the mare I have been struggling to ride. The mare who can kill my confidence in the blink of an eye, (or bolt across the arena). I haven't hidden the fact that I'm not sure I'm the rider for her.
And I'm still not positive I am. But man she's been great lately.
And I've actually been having fun.
And letting go of the reins

And while she isn't impressed with any of it, I really am. Because it shows progress. And happiness. And those are both reasons why I spend all my money on this crazy passion.
So here's to more fun with this mare more learning and perhaps more surprisingly good rides on her.

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4 Days to Prelim

The countdown has begun! 4 days until Georgie is in the sandbox for her prelim debut! I’m pretty excited and am getting over the fact that I won’t be riding her.

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Our conditioning ride where I found out Georgie is petrified of sheep.

Although, I will admit I had a couple minor meltdowns the other day.

When I filled out the entry for the event they ask you for the following info: Horse info, Rider Info, Owner info, Trainer Info

Um, I am none of those things. So, in my meltdown the other day I think I said something overly dramatic like “It’s as if I don’t even exist in this horse’s life!”

I warned you about the drama, right?

The next meltdown was one I struggled with in kindergarten as well. Purple is my favorite color. It is the color Georgie and I wear on cross-country. Therefore, in my mind, everyone should love wearing purple. Purple is not Sarah’s favorite color, (at all) and she and Georgie will not be wearing purple on cross country.

“It’s like I don’t exist!” I yelled out (in a text. Probably all caps. Apparently the “not existing” is a real problem for me.)

Sarah offered to let me put her purple bling browband on for xc. To which I snarkily replied: “She doesn’t wear bling on xc. She isn’t a sissy.”

I was really channeling my inner kindergartener and I may have even put my thumb in my mouth at this point.

I’m over it now. I’m way too excited to care about colors or entry forms. I know I’m responsible for getting Georgie to this point and I know Sarah riding her and wearing navy is going to be fine. She will probably wear her purple browband though. Just ’cause.

Video from our gallop last week:

I can’t wait to give you all updates, so be prepared and think good thoughts for Sarah and Georgie at their debut! I have zero expectations for them, only two hopes:

  1. At the end of the weekend they are both safe and sound.
  2. And if I am being greedy, that Sarah has a blast running xc and understands why I love this mare so much.

 

 

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Compare and Contrast

I’ll start with a little history.

When I first took the lease on Georgie I was told by her owner that she was not a Prelim horse, nor would she ever be. My trainer agreed. Georgie would be safe and fun to take Training, but that would be her max. And I was happy with that! I wasn’t looking to go Prelim. At the time, Training seemed scary and challenging enough.

Georgie has been well cared for her entire life. She was bought at an auction for PMU foals. I think she cost her owner $800. Her owner brought her along nicely, never pushing her, and always having fun with her. She was elated to take the mare that she had raised since a 4 month old filly to the Novice level.

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Straight.. when it had wings…

When I took the lease, I immediately put Georgie into a lesson program and got to work with her. She’s as honest a horse as you could hope for, but no one had ever asked her to get out of her comfort zone before. Shortening before the jump, or leaving long was completely acceptable, as was careening around corners. So, it was a lot of work. But amazingly, for a horse that hadn’t been asked to work really hard before, she seemed to be completely willing to try. Sure, we had moments of “I DONT WANT TO” but they were fleeting and fairly easy to work through (all things considered).

And as Georgie and I continued our training, she changed as a horse. She got stronger, and things got easier for her. She began to listen to what I wanted, and jumping 3’3 got easier and easier. With her strength and newfound scope, getting a long distance to a 3’3 jump was no longer scary. Sure, it’s not something we strove for, but I knew she’d have no problem jumping from an awkward distance at that height.

Even 6 months ago though, my trainer and I had the “she’s not a prelim horse” conversation once again. She can jump 3’6. But can she get out of a sticky situation at 3’6? Probably not.

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No sticky situation here

So, what changed? Why am I suddenly eyeing Prelim with a mare that previously was maxed at Training.

I think 2 things happened.

For some reason, about 3  months ago, I decided to actually ride. And no longer let her bail me out of situations, or take over on our rides. I credit a lot of this to my back having healed, and my ability to become a stronger rider. I could feel so much more when I started sitting deeply in the saddle. My core became strong enough to keep her uphill to the jumps. It’s a marked difference in how I feel, and therefore how I ride.

So, being able to ride better, I was able to ask more of Georgie. To expect more. Time and time again. And she began to change as a horse. She could stay in an uphill frame. She could engage her hind end way more effectively. She could stay balanced and forward. And I could now help her do all of these things.

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She is built like a gymnast. Stocky and muscular.

The Training 3 Day was kind of a test. And while neither of us said anything, or thought anything at the time, after it was all said and done, when Sarah and I looked back at the ease at which we rode the courses, we kinda knew Georgie was ready for the next step. Notice I said Georgie. I’m not sure I am ready to take a horse that has never gone Prelim and give her a safe and confidence building ride. I want to ride our first Prelim and not have anyone think it’s our first go at the level. Georgie deserves that. So, I’ve asked Sarah to ride her at her first Prelim, and after a winter of homework, I’ll take her in the spring. By then I think Georgie and I both will be ready to be successful at the level.

Georgie had an awesome jump school with Sarah this week. While I don’t think the change in Georgie is obvious and huge I think there are some subtletys which are lovely. Length of stride, rideability and adjustabilty are all largely improved. And yes, Sarah gives her a far better ride than I do. But she still wasn’t able to get this ride out of Georgie 6 months ago. And hopefully I can get it out of her in 6 months, lol.

So feel free to compare and contrast our rides. The first from March of this year, and the second from earlier this week.

 

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When Your Trainer Rides Your Horse

Broken elbow be damned, I decided to take Georgie for a conditioning ride. I thought I was being so smart and safe  about it by  inviting two friends to ride with me.

It wasn’t so smart, or safe, as Georgie essentially wanted to race the other fit horse who hadn’t been out in 3 weeks. It was horrible. I couldn’t stop. At all. But Georgie had a blast galloping through my hand.

Trainer Sarah decided she should just ride Georgie more because clearly I was messing her up even more than could be expected of a person with a broken elbow.

So, she tuned her up Tuesday and after Georgie became supple and responsive to her aids she decided to “treat” her by letting her jump a jump or two.

Georgie’s ears perked forward the minute she saw the jump. She soared over it at 3′ so I raised it two holes. She soared over that.

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Wheee, jumping with a competent rider!!

 

We decided to raise it again.

“One or two holes?” I asked.

“Whatever you want.” Trainer replied.

Are you kidding me? If my trainer is riding my horse, I am SO raising it two holes. See how high the horse can jump! The pole was now one hole from the top of the standard. Probably 3’9 or so.

I’d be lying if I said it went perfectly. She hit it hard the first time. But then, then she got a good distance and soared over it. She actually used her neck to jump a jump.

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Blurry screen shot. But is anyone else reminded of Snowman from the Eighty Dollar Champion?

For trainer Sarah, the jump she hit was more importantthan the one she got over. She wanted to see how the mare handled having a rail between her legs. Georgie handled it like a pro. Landed easily and went on. For me, I needed to see that this horse can jump out of her comfort zone and get it done.

And she can.

Thank God. Because I think she is going to be so fun to take Prelim. Now, I need to catch up to her.

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Puppy photobomb. But at least someone was excited about the jump!

Here’s the video which is worth a watch if for nothing else that Sarah and my reaction at the end:

Heal elbow, heal!

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And Then This Happened

I hadn’t ridden Georgie since Rebecca. She got some time off and then her owner was in town. Since her owner lives overseas and hardly sees her, I agreed to let her ride Georgie for a week or so until she left town again.

This past Sunday morning trainer/friend Sarah and I went out for a trail ride on a new trail we had discovered. I figured it was the perfect intro back into riding, and Georgie and I could get serious again on Monday.

On Sunday afternoon, I tripped off a step in my house, landed hard, and broke my elbow. I tried to think of a more exciting story for how it happened, but much like Emma, from ‘Fraidy Cat Eventing, sometimes you just gotta admit you’re not the most graceful person out there. And deal with the consequeces. And drink a lot.

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So happy because they told me they did not need to reset the bone.

 

So, I’m in a sling and off riding for 4 weeks. Which, would be sort of ok, except that Georgie is slated to do her first Prelim in the middle of October with trainer Sarah. So, she  needs to stay in work, even if it’s not me riding her. I’ve basically spent the last two days obsessing about who can ride her when. Friend/trainer extraordinaire has offered to ride her two days a week, and some great riders a the barn have also offered to hop on her once a week or so. So, she should be good to go. Knowing me, I’ll be putting conditioning rides on her starting the end of next week, because I am pretty sure I can do that one handed. And I am stubborn.

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Thanks for riding her Will!!

In the meantime, since I’m not riding, I’ve been watching my Rebecca xc video over and over. And Over. I’m obsessed with it. And Georgie’s ears when she sees a jump.

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So happy

So, for your viewing pleasure:

Rebecca XC 2016

Watching the video confirms to me we are ready to move up. Especially since much of it looks like I remember in my head it felt like. I wasn’t hugely surprised that something didn’t ride as well as I thought…Which rarely happens.

Oh, and to add to the fun, right before I left for Rebecca, I adopted a puppy. I don’t as a rule, like puppies, but something about this one won me over. So, welcome to the family, Siri!

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Don’t be fooled. She isn’t usually this calm, she was just on her best behavior for my friend who was holding her.

 

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Rebecca Recap Finale

I would like to officially exorcise my stadium jumping demons. In the past I have made comments like “I hate stadium jumping.” “I don’t feel comfortable stadium jumping.” And other stupid crap that I need to let go.

Because here’s the thing. In both my rounds at Inavale and Rebecca I found myself thinking “This is kind of fun.” WHILE I was doing it. What the what?

While neither round was perfect, they weren’t bad or scary either. I have realized Georgie needs a near perfect ride in order to not hit rails. At Rebecca, we had two rails. And the first thing I said to my trainer as I came out of the ring was “I know exactly what I did wrong!” And I was weirdly excited about that knowledge.

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We also had our second jog that morning which we obviously passed!

At jump 7 A/B I didn’t think about my position through the two stride. I moved a bit and didn’t keep consistent contact. At jump 9A/B Georgie was well on the forehand and I didn’t bring her up prior to approaching the jump. And isn’t knowledge half the battle?

While it is a bit annoying that Georgie isn’t tidy with her feet, I will take a competent/relaxed dressage horse and cross country machine over a tidy SJ horse any day. Sure, I will have to continue to work hard and really get good at SJ, but that’s ok.

While there were lots of rails in the entire division, having two dropped us from 2nd to 6th. I was bummed for a moment (mainly because there were cash prizes for top three competitors) but I was weirdly ok with 6th. In a tough division of 25, not being in the middle of the pack was a huge feat. And while it would have been lovely to have had a clear round, Georgie and I have only done that once, in our 3 years together. But now, we are actually a team out there. Our rides are so much better! So, that seems like a bigger victory to me.

In case you’d like to watch the video:

Georgie and I still got a big fat ribbon and to participate in the victory gallop, so it was all good.

By the end of the weekend I was exhausted. But so happy to have been able to spend so much time with my two favorite four legged companions as well as my incredible two legged friends. Also, check out that beautiful Dark Jewel Designs browband. I had one for SJ and one for dressage and I am in LOVE with them!! That will be another post…

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They even kinda like each other

I’ve been holding out for this show, and seeing how it went, to make it blog official that Georgie and I are hopefully making the move up to Prelim next spring. She’s ready, but I want to make sure we’re equally ready as a team. I’ve asked my trainer to give her her first ride at Prelim so she can have a safe, confidence building ride. She plans on taking her to an event in October, and I am SO excited. Then, hopefully, if I keep working hard, Georgie and I will tackle Prelim together in May. This is a HUGE move up for me and I am taking it incredibly seriously. If I do anything to injure this incredible horse I’ll never forgive myself, so I want to not only “be able” to go Prelim, but to be a competent, capable pair from the get go. So, lots of excitement and LOTS to work on!

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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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