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Hope for the sandbox-challenged among us (short brag)

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  • Hope for the sandbox-challenged among us (short brag)

    Yesterday was Running Start Horse Trials in So. PInes, NC. If you're like me, you see these scores of low 20s and high teens in dressage at the lower levels and sigh, realizing that your backyard pony can't possibly compete with the gods of dressage amongst us and long for the days where you could still get a primary color ribbon after clean jumping rounds, in spite of an "interesting" dressage test.

    Well, I'm here to tell you it can happen . Ok, ok, it was an unrecognized event, but The Redheaded One and I finally managed to get out and compete after a 5 month absence from the sport (due to various life issues, hock injections, lost shoes, snow, etc) and since it was our first time doing xc since early October of last year, we went Beginner Novice to literally, get our feet wet. There were two divisions of 11 each in BN. My boy is notoriously laid-back at shows. He tends to gallop xc on the buckle, so it was a real surprise to be on a very tense, fire-breathing dragon coming down the centerline. Enter at A, squeal, buck, and proceed. I felt like I was on the runaway log ride at an amusement park - there was no bend, no suppleness, certainly no submission, and another delightful squeal-buck interpretation of a canter depart. I was relieved that the test was over. Judge was laughing in her car - she knows this horse, and knows this is atypical of him.

    Timeline was tight, so we proceeded to stadium, where I was reserving the option to not have to ride if he was going to try and launch me over the poles. After one squeal-buck-run landing, he started to settle and jumped everything reasonably, albeit a bit fast. I have been struggling over the entire period of this horse's career with me to find a bit that he a) does not curl over and pull like a train in stadium, and b) isn't afraid of. I finally found a full-cheek Pessoa Metalab with rollers that seems to do the trick. As I was waiting and watching stadium, I watched while one horse after another stopped and gawked at fence 1, which was a simple grey stone wall oxer. If they managed to get over 1, they still had trouble with 2, which was a green flower box oxer with a white rail. Totally innoucous fences, so I couldn't figure out why it was causing so many casualties. Two people got eliminated, and half the people had stops. Huh. I had to stop watching because I was starting to second-guess my ride plan. As it turns out, he was very strong, but controllable, and he didn't look at a thing, which is typical of him because he's very brave.

    On to xc, which was a blast. 17 fences over some very rolly terrain. Oliver knows how to count, because as the starter counted us down, he started to prance at 5-4-3-2-1 and then at "go", he shot out of the start box without any cue from me. My normally laid-back pony xc (yes, he's a puller on stadium, but on xc he normally goes around like a hunter) pulled my arms out for the first three fences, 2 and 3 were on a downhill approach, and 3 was a large log downhill in the fenceline with a drop landing. He also cannonballed into the water, apparently trying to make as big of a splash as he could, and didn't stop pulling me around the course until fence 16, which was a long log over a row of metallic feedbags stuffed with pinestraw. Very shiny feedbags, with shadow dappling them from the overhead sun. He actually slowed down and looked at those, enabling me to finally kick him on, and we finished double-clear.

    We finally got to look at our scores, and I was in 3rd after dressage with a 33(which was a shock), and due to the difficulties others had with stadium and xc, we won our division. We also, to my delight and surprise, won the low point overall of everybody in the BN group (22 of us), and won back our entry fee's worth in prizes. Yay!

    So, long story short, you CAN still win, even if your dressage isn't great, if your pony is a galloping xc machine. Due to some hind-issues, he will never be an Advanced horse, but he's a blast to ride and isn't xc what it's all about, anyway? Happy eventing to you all!
    "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

    So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."

  • #2
    What fun!! Posts like that make me miss the sport. My old boy and I had rides like that. LOL
    Any pics??

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by eventer_mi View Post
      Yesterday was Running Start Horse Trials in So. PInes, NC. If you're like me, you see these scores of low 20s and high teens in dressage at the lower levels and sigh, realizing that your backyard pony can't possibly compete with the gods of dressage amongst us and long for the days where you could still get a primary color ribbon after clean jumping rounds, in spite of an "interesting" dressage test.

      Well, I'm here to tell you it can happen . Ok, ok, it was an unrecognized event, but The Redheaded One and I finally managed to get out and compete after a 5 month absence from the sport (due to various life issues, hock injections, lost shoes, snow, etc) and since it was our first time doing xc since early October of last year, we went Beginner Novice to literally, get our feet wet. There were two divisions of 11 each in BN. My boy is notoriously laid-back at shows. He tends to gallop xc on the buckle, so it was a real surprise to be on a very tense, fire-breathing dragon coming down the centerline. Enter at A, squeal, buck, and proceed. I felt like I was on the runaway log ride at an amusement park - there was no bend, no suppleness, certainly no submission, and another delightful squeal-buck interpretation of a canter depart. I was relieved that the test was over. Judge was laughing in her car - she knows this horse, and knows this is atypical of him.

      Timeline was tight, so we proceeded to stadium, where I was reserving the option to not have to ride if he was going to try and launch me over the poles. After one squeal-buck-run landing, he started to settle and jumped everything reasonably, albeit a bit fast. I have been struggling over the entire period of this horse's career with me to find a bit that he a) does not curl over and pull like a train in stadium, and b) isn't afraid of. I finally found a full-cheek Pessoa Metalab with rollers that seems to do the trick. As I was waiting and watching stadium, I watched while one horse after another stopped and gawked at fence 1, which was a simple grey stone wall oxer. If they managed to get over 1, they still had trouble with 2, which was a green flower box oxer with a white rail. Totally innoucous fences, so I couldn't figure out why it was causing so many casualties. Two people got eliminated, and half the people had stops. Huh. I had to stop watching because I was starting to second-guess my ride plan. As it turns out, he was very strong, but controllable, and he didn't look at a thing, which is typical of him because he's very brave.

      On to xc, which was a blast. 17 fences over some very rolly terrain. Oliver knows how to count, because as the starter counted us down, he started to prance at 5-4-3-2-1 and then at "go", he shot out of the start box without any cue from me. My normally laid-back pony xc (yes, he's a puller on stadium, but on xc he normally goes around like a hunter) pulled my arms out for the first three fences, 2 and 3 were on a downhill approach, and 3 was a large log downhill in the fenceline with a drop landing. He also cannonballed into the water, apparently trying to make as big of a splash as he could, and didn't stop pulling me around the course until fence 16, which was a long log over a row of metallic feedbags stuffed with pinestraw. Very shiny feedbags, with shadow dappling them from the overhead sun. He actually slowed down and looked at those, enabling me to finally kick him on, and we finished double-clear.

      We finally got to look at our scores, and I was in 3rd after dressage with a 33(which was a shock), and due to the difficulties others had with stadium and xc, we won our division. We also, to my delight and surprise, won the low point overall of everybody in the BN group (22 of us), and won back our entry fee's worth in prizes. Yay!

      So, long story short, you CAN still win, even if your dressage isn't great, if your pony is a galloping xc machine. Due to some hind-issues, he will never be an Advanced horse, but he's a blast to ride and isn't xc what it's all about, anyway? Happy eventing to you all!
      This account had me laughing out loud!!! I can so relate!! Glad you not only survived all that fun, but won, too!! My second event with a TB was like that. Dressage was hell...started CC in 13th place, but ran and jumped clear the rest of the day to win. Oh for the old days when you could do that. Now you need a GP dressage horse at BN!! Congrats!!!
      www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
      Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

      Comment


      • #4
        Glad you had fun ... Sounds like he did too!!

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks, guys! We had a blast - when you don't event that often, you sort of forget why we do this in the first place. It's definitely not for the dressage!

          Sannois - no pics, unfortunately, as there was no photographer at the show and Mr. Eventer_MI is not allowed at events due to the fact that I always do abyssymally when he shows up. My parents are not allowed, either - they somehow cause me to fall off during the show.
          "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

          So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."

          Comment


          • #6
            Great job!

            Although I question the "innocuous" first fence if it resulted in 1/2 the horses stopping at it. I think this was a major issue at the last RSHT also (?). Especially since it's an early season schooling show the organizers ought to look at that and come up with a really friendly first fence and let the stone oxer from H-E-double hockey stick be at the end of the course.

            Isn't it a funny the stuff that we humans barely look at but the horses see carnivorous monsters?

            Congrats on rocking it out!! I know you had a big smile carrying the blue home
            Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

            The Grove at Five Points

            Comment


            • #7
              I enjoyed "riding along with you" through your account. Yeah! And I can so relate, my boy is no slouch but he certainly isn't the fanciest beast, either. We're still trying to get out for our first BN (had to scratch from the first two due to sickness, abscess, etc) and I can't wait to join in the fun!
              You can't fix stupid.

              Comment


              • #8
                A 33 in dressage would be an all time best for me and the pinto boy.
                Click here before you buy.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Awesome! That is usually me as well and I can confirm the innocuous fence causing issues. Mari's jump courses are really fantastic but the stadium jumps are not scary at all. I don't know if it's the lines or the setting (field) but horses refuse left and right (usually from being underridden when I have observed) and make me very glad I'm sitting on a brave, honest horse. Her XC is ALWAYS awesomely fun and bold -- I'm glad y'all had such a great result!

                  And don't feel alone, last time I was there, the dressage judge and I were BOTH laughing by the time I saluted...pretty much on her vehicle bumper.
                  Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                  Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                  We Are Flying Solo

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by wildlifer View Post
                    Awesome! That is usually me as well and I can confirm the innocuous fence causing issues. Mari's jump courses are really fantastic but the stadium jumps are not scary at all. I don't know if it's the lines or the setting (field) but horses refuse left and right (usually from being underridden when I have observed) and make me very glad I'm sitting on a brave, honest horse. Her XC is ALWAYS awesomely fun and bold -- I'm glad y'all had such a great result!

                    And don't feel alone, last time I was there, the dressage judge and I were BOTH laughing by the time I saluted...pretty much on her vehicle bumper.
                    I agree about Mari's XC fields, they are fantastic! That water complex is dreamy. Too bad about the stadium stops, must've just been one of those things.
                    Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

                    The Grove at Five Points

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      I honestly don't know what caused the first fence issues - it was a little (about 18" high) grey stone wall, with a grey rail over it. The stone didn't have any high contrast, so it wasn't visually challenging. Yes, there was a lot of under-riding to it, but people should have been able to get over it the second time. The second jump that was also causing problems was a little green box with a white rail - again, not visually challenging. The only thing I can think of is that both jumps were ridden towards the office, so there was a lot to look at beyond the course itself - the green box, in particular, had a shiny silver car parked outside of the arena, so maybe that's what the horses were looking at? I thought it was a very fair course, but if the stone wall is causing that many stops, you're right - it probably should be moved to later in the course. I was relieved that the shiny feed bags were one of the last jumps on course - had they been the first, I'm sure a lot MORE people would have had issues on xc.

                      Mari's xc courses rock. They are so much fun, and for the most part appropriate to the level, and the water complex was a blast. Thanks for everybody's support - I rarely get a chance to brag, and I immediately felt bad about it after posting, so thank you!
                      "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

                      So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Don't feel bad eventer mi, we all share the good and bad! Kudos for rocking it!!
                        Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

                        The Grove at Five Points

                        Comment

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