A Bit Of Pre-Season Practice

Sep 28, 2009 - 10:00 PM
Katie Christiansen (right) and her co-captain Cecilia Pontoriero.

Last weekend, TUEQ traveled to Dartmouth College in New Hampshire for a pre-season practice show.

Let me emphasize practice in that sentence. Like, really emphasize it.
Although only five of us went to compete, I think the entire team now knows that the only way you get to Carnegie Hall is—say it with me now, gang—practice, practice, practice.
I would say that I was satisfied with my over-fences trip. I pulled a fantastic horse named Glory, a big bay gelding with a great stride and a fun jump. The open course started with a single diagonal vertical out of the short turn with a rollback to a vertical on the quarterline. These went smoothly and uneventfully. The next couple jumps, the in of an outside line bending in a forward four strides to a diagonal vertical, were fine but a bit rough. I didn’t quite stick to my original plan of jumping in at an angle to make the four ride a bit quiet, but I made it work, and Glory opened up his stride beautifully for me.
The course then continued with the out of that same outside line (also a vertical) rolling back to the in of the outside line on the opposite side of the ring. This is where I started to get myself into a spot of trouble.
I have a habit of pulling if I don’t see a distance. Not obnoxiously so, but if I don’t come out of the turn with the PERFECT spot I start to nip… and nip… and nip… until… HEY KIDS! We’re underneath the jump. Awesome.
OK, so it wasn’t THAT bad, but it certainly wasn’t the fluid jump into the long four-stride line. But life goes on, chips come and go.
Even though most of us TUEQers spent the show working out our kinks and shaking off the summer rust, we had one shining star who really made us proud. One of our newest riders, Carole, is also our most inexperienced. But with only 12 weeks of instruction under her belt, Carole competed in the walk-trot class and gave us all a lesson in composure, perseverance and confidence…what a STAR!
This past weekend, though, I took a brief break from IHSA showing to head home to show my horse at the Old Salem Farm autumn “A” show. After a bit of a less-than-stellar warm-up (nip…nip… nip…), Ivan and I won the Marshall & Sterling Adult Medal and were second in the Ariat Adult Medal and the Edward Penny Adult Medal Finals. I’m trying to prepare for the New England Equitation Championships in a couple of weeks, so my trainer is making it perfectly, crystal, undoubtedly clear that yes, Katie, it’s all about the equitation and don’t you think differently.
Despite being back in the “real” show world, I still made sure to apply what I’d been working on in my lessons at school—shoulders back, elbows fluid but not flopping, trotting without irons while pasting a smile on my sorry face. Riding a variety of horses in the IHSA is nothing if not incredibly beneficial for my riding; my basics have never been better, and the bedrock of my riding—my attitude—has never been better adjusted and focused.


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