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Freaking out! First HT this weekend...

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  • Freaking out! First HT this weekend...

    Paper Bag! Paper Bag! I'm hyperventilating...

    I'm set to head off to my first HT (BN) this weekend, it's a recognized one, why not dive in right off the bat, eh?

    I am usually NOT nervous before shows. Ask anyone...I am almost too mellow. But, I am freaking out about this! What is my problem? I'm a basket case.

    I think it's because I've always gotten to school before a show in the actual ring (my experience is mainly local schooling shows, I have some rated jumper background, but even then you go to school in the ring and then they would change things around for the show). Horse only knows schooling before and is a bit of a "peeker."

    Also, our dressage sucks. It should be our strength, but we have lost our way somehow and don't have it back yet.

    Oh, and I have the flu, supposedly the four day kind, set to end right before we leave (that's good I guess?)

    I'm just hoping that I can somehow enjoy myself - eventers seem a somewhat tolerant lot, so hopefully my fellow competitors can help me find something to help me laugh about?

    Any advice to calm me down?
    "Fool! Don't you see now that I could have poisoned you a hundred times had I been able to live without you." Cleopatra VII

  • #2
    I haven't gone to my first one yet as were not ready (still need to school some XC), but I know my dressage is going to suck too. But as long as I make it through the three phases alive and don't get eliminated, I'll be happy So I guess all I have to say is have fun and fill me in on your experience!
    - paintmare

    Horse Eden Eventing - A Virtual Eventing Escape


    • #3
      Take night time cold medicine...it'll make you mellow!

      OK. Maybe not the greatest idea. Considering the nerves I just dealt with, I know what it can be like. Try to keep your brain busy between now and the event...don't allow yourself to dwell and start thinking about how nervous you are or how things may or may not go...if you DO get distracted by the event, TRY to think POSITIVE (this is easier said than done sometimes).

      Otherwise, for the event itself, you REALLY need to make your goals FUN oriented. Just go out, have fun, and try your hardest. Remember to keep kicking (at all costs) and don't lean. Don't be afraid to be aggressive with your horse if it wants to peek...it's NOT a hunter round. Growl, yell, whoop! Whatever it takes to get your horse (or yourself!) over the fences! It's all ok with us.


      • #4
        I'm going to a HT this weekend, and I just turned in grades AND met with grad students all day in annual reviews. I'm not going to be nearly as prepared as I would like....

        So my goals are:

        1. To prepare for each fence.
        2. To keep my legs tight on my horse's side.
        3. To keep my head as still as Peter Atkins' (yeah, right!).
        4. To have so much fun on XC I feel the need to yell "Tally ho!" at least once.

        It's been so rainy here I've not gotten to ride in the ring, thus no dressage practice...but I've been trying to visualize us doing a great test several times every day.

        HAVE FUN! This is truly more fun than grown ups should be allowed to have.
        --Becky in TX
        Clinic Blogs and Rolex Blogs
        She who throws dirt is losing ground.


        • #5
          Awesome! Hope you do great. My goal is October for my first horse trial, so you're beating me to it. Good luck, and post the details when you get home!


          • #6
            Sometimes it helps to set a goal for each phase. For example:
            Dressage: remember my test, make accurate figures, keep rhythm, etc.
            XC: remember the course, take it one fence at a time, keep rhythm, etc.
            Stadium: ditto

            You can add your own-- but having realistic goals and then meeting them sets you up for having more confidence next time out.
            Taco Blog
            *T3DE 2010 Pact*


            • #7
              From someone who got a TE for jumping a Training fence (I was actually going BN) at my last event, try to give yourself enough time to walk the cross country course at least twice, preferrably three times.

              The first time, get the lay of the land and a good feel for the course. The second time, pay attention to the approach and landings for each fence. The third time, visualize each fence and how to ride it, before you come to the fence. When you are riding the course, pay attention to the color of the BN numbers on every fence (this is what I don't do, thus the TE). Give yourself enough time on the approach to make certain that you are jumping your fence.

              Setting small goals for each phase, like Cookie Pony said, is a very good way to approach your first event.

              Have fun! I hope that your first recognized BN is a "WhooHooo!" event.
              When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!


              • #8
                I feel for you! Maybe you should set some easy goals rather than worrying about how you place- that might reduce your stress a little. Just take a deep breath and remember that the jumps are low- they can easily be jumped from a trot and as long as you remember your dressage test it can't be THAT bad.

                My goals for my first HT which was a few weeks ago were:
                1) Don't get disqualified
                2) Remember dressage test (I did go off course once)
                3) Remember jumping courses
                4) Don't have any refusals

                I achieved most of my goals and had a great time. The horse was great, especially for his first time. We did BBN so the jumps were tiny, but they were scary looking so I'm glad they were low. I went off course on dressage, but it is only 2 penalties, so no sweat!

                You'll be fine! Good luck and I hope you feel better.


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks all! The advice about goals is spot on and it my usual MO,not sure why I am so off track. I sometimes have very simple goals like "don't leave the ring )"

                  My goals are:
                  1. Dressage test - ride with a looser rein, trust the horse (we are in a tense, giraffe impersonation stage...) and of course, remember the test. I really need to let frame go on this one. I've tried 18 different things in the last 3 weeks and we get worse - get thee to a trainer! The thing is we CAN do it. Dressage SHOULD be our best. Wait, I said I'd let that go.
                  2. XC - have fun!! And SLOW DOWN. Horse is always odd over the first 2-3 fences, so I have to remember that and not let is set the tone as what we look like doesn't matter. Great advice on course walk- I won't be able to walk it until about 2 hours after it opens due to my dressage time, but I hope there will be time for 2 trips.
                  3. Stadium-remember the course and SLOW DOWN.

                  I'm not even thinking placing - no "E's" on my score sheet will be first place in my mind )

                  I think it's the recognized nature that has me in a tizzy too, I am not a groomer (horses are clean, but I suck at the other stuff...)
                  "Fool! Don't you see now that I could have poisoned you a hundred times had I been able to live without you." Cleopatra VII


                  • #10
                    I have only been to two events (starter trials, at that), but my advice would be to get there as early as you can and leave lots and lots of time for relaxed warm-ups. Nothing stresses me out like having to hurry, and even though we arrived early for our most recent one, I didn't factor nearly enough warm-up time-- thus, I had the Fire-Breathing Giraffe OTTB for our dressage test. Awful awful, awful. (He was NOT that wound up for our first event last fall, but that time, I got there ridiculously early and actually had time to trail-ride him around the complex for an hour before we attempted any sort of warm-up, and he was considerably calmer by dressage time. Lesson learned.)
                    *friend of bar.ka

                    "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"


                    • #11
                      no real advice....just wanted to say you made me smile! I'm sitting at work instead of riding...and waiting for what I know will be a VERY boring meeting to begin. Your post just exudes the excitment we all love about eventing.

                      Forget about the ribbons...forget about worrying about how you are going to ride...realize that you are just plain EXCITED to be going. That is really cool! Enjoy it!

                      Recognized is no different than any other event.....don't make it any different in your head. You get to do dressage, jump stadium and most of all, cruise around xc! You will be spending the weekend surround by a lot of other crazy people who enjoy the same thing! Have a blast and tell us all about it when you are done!
                      ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by akor View Post
                        1. Dressage test - ride with a looser rein, trust the horse (we are in a tense, giraffe impersonation stage...) and of course, remember the test. I really need to let frame go on this one. I've tried 18 different things in the last 3 weeks and we get worse - get thee to a trainer! The thing is we CAN do it. Dressage SHOULD be our best. Wait, I said I'd let that go.

                        As far as your dressage test, just focus on forward and straight, and make sure you ride EVERY STEP of every figure. I tend to get ahead of myself thinking about what is coming next in the test and I stop really riding the rest of the movement. You can make up a few points with good geometry and accurate transitions, so just keep a steady, consistent contact, keep your leg ON and horse FORWARD, and focus on what you DO have. My mare tends to be tense also - we've been doing straight dressage shows all year, and she's getting better; low 70's and high 60's, mostly, at intro and then training level.

                        Psssst. She's going to her first BN this weekend too.


                        • #13
                          Heinz57 - are you going to Happs? I wanted to go but didn't have the funds
                          Yogurt - If you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? Steven Colbert


                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks again all! I will have fun! Shower for me, then a few final things, and off I go!
                            Wow, though lots of stuff. (and me, being a packrat, I almost need a 3 horse trailer for one horse )
                            "Fool! Don't you see now that I could have poisoned you a hundred times had I been able to live without you." Cleopatra VII


                            • #15
                              Yes, Mtn trails. I will be there - we leave tomorrow.

                              I only, ONLY entered because we went up last month before the course closed and schooled the hell out of it. I hadn't even given any thought to entering, and had planned to wait until late summer or fall before taking her to her first recognized HT. However, after having gone up and jumped ALL of their BN, N, and about half the T fences like she was an old pro, I decided to give it a go. I had some minor panic attack moments earlier this week after a bad ride and was asking myself WTF was I thinking... but they have mostly subsided and now I'm getting psyched up for this weekend, rather than psyched out.

                              It certainly wasn't cheap, I'll give you that. Right around $300 without meals, the hotel room, or diesel.


                              • Original Poster

                                11th of 14 (lots of ties) in BN-rider after dressage.

                                I am very happy though, placing aside. Horse was calm for nearly all of it. It was raining and they were 15-20 minutes behind (didn't know that to start..), so warmup was a bit too long. We improved our dressage score 10% from just a month ago - I feel much better about things. Lots and lots to work on of course. But, I met my goal - remembered my test, rode with a lighter rein, didn't freak out at a big spook (which affected the second part of the test, but it would have been worse had I reacted like usual). 1st half of the test was good - lots of 7s. Most of all, her head actualy went DOWN on the free walk!

                                I walked the XC course 3 times.
                                Now I have to turn "on" the aggressive rider switch. I have a note to myself...hope I find the note
                                "Fool! Don't you see now that I could have poisoned you a hundred times had I been able to live without you." Cleopatra VII


                                • #17
                                  Good for you! I am so proud of you walking the course 3 times.

                                  I will be doing the same on Memorial Day weekend, with the same butterflies for moving up to Novice.

                                  Please keep the updates coming? Stay safe and have fun on cross country.
                                  When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!


                                  • Original Poster

                                    2 down, 1 to go.

                                    Wow. Just wow. What fun XC is. Rough rough start, 2 stop/run outs, one at the first fence (had a great school before, not sure what went wrong other than first time out of the starting pen leaving the school buddies?), wrestled her into the woods for jump 2, fought like he$$ for jump 3, cantered like we were drunk to 4, run out at 5 (I really tried on that one), and aimed right for a prelim log in the first water (but she chicken-ed out at the last minute and went the way I wanted to go... and then we hit our stride (and I decided enough was enough - we were GOING over everything else the first time - learned a little trick with her, seems to work) and fence 7 - 17 were dreamy. Lots of time penalties, but to be honest, I wasn't paying any attention and didn't plan to. There were places I wanted to trot and I made her do it and so there Thanks again for the support.

                                    We are in last place, unfortunately, 4 of the 14 in my group were elimated, so technically, we moved up ...
                                    "Fool! Don't you see now that I could have poisoned you a hundred times had I been able to live without you." Cleopatra VII


                                    • #19
                                      Hey, great job!

                                      Keep kicking, you're almost done.

                                      We were tied for 17th after dressage, out of 24 - and there were quite a few rails and refusals in my division in stadium, so hopefully we moved up a bit.

                                      I'm worried about the water on XC - she's a little iffy. But, all I can do is kick on. Dressage was sufficient, with no blow ups, but not spectacular. Stadium was pretty spot on, except I should've put on the running martingale as she got a little speedy and high headed between fences.

                                      GOOD JOB!!


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Good luck to you!
                                        "Fool! Don't you see now that I could have poisoned you a hundred times had I been able to live without you." Cleopatra VII