Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tucker's Horse Show Journal - BWF 9/20/09 - Pre-Adult Hunter

Prep: Got turned out overnight, then hung out at home all day (so, he got to sleep all morning). Poor Alicia had another student showing in the morning and then had to hang out at the show all day, and couldn't get a straight answer on whether they were going to move the class. So Tucker and I hung out at Whitmere all day (which did give me time to braid him absolutely perfectly), only to get a call that they had moved my classes to another ring and my class was going to start in an hour. Luckily, we had thought this might happen, so my trailer was hooked up and ready to go and I just loaded him and got on the road. Unfortunately, that meant we got 3 minutes on the longe, 10 minutes of trotting around in the ring, and then we started jumping. He was good in schooling though, despite the fact that there were some kind of crazy things happening that made both of us wonder if we were going to make it out alive... gotta love the crazy adult schooling ring. I miss the schooling ring when I was a junior. We were all friends, we laughed at each other when someone's pony was running away with her, we were polite, looked out for each other, helped each other out. Now I'm one of the nervous adults and none of us can think about anything other than our own horse, our own jump, our own trainer, our own agenda. Everyone has that same blank, scared look on their faces. Ah well. Maybe eventually I'll make friends in the adult ring too.

First trip: First fence, left lead single on the quarter line, was quiet and conservative, which was the plan. He landed left, and then I had a long approach to a diagonal oxer. He stayed quiet all the way down the long diagonal, the distance was just right, landed and did a nice left to right change. Then he came right back to me, we got a quiet distance in to the outside line, which was a ridiculously short five strides. Since we jumped in quietly, it worked out. Then he landed left and missed the left-to-right change. He was looking out of the ring at the other rings and I needed to open my inside rein and guide him around the turn. So we trotted a step and fixed it, but then we were super long to the next diagonal oxer, which was a short approach right out of the turn. Landed left, so I just had to balance and get him back to me. Then the next outside line was a normal four strides as long as we jumped in quietly, which we did. The four stride was really the only place I could let go. Then the last fence was just the other single on the quarter line. I balanced through the turn, got him back to me, and that single was nice. So other than the missed change and the super long diagonal oxer, it was a good trip.

Second trip: Started with the other single quarter line off the right, got a good distance. Got the left to right change. Unfortunately, got that same stupid big long distance to the diagonal oxer. But he landed left, and then he waited to the in of the four stride diagonal and the four was good, I just let go. Then the long approach the other diagonal oxer, that jump was fine but he got a little rushed for the left-to-right change afterward. I just felt like I had to keep him so slow for that tiny ring that we got into a little tug of war for a minute over the lead change. Then for the five, he jumped in nice and soft and quiet, so I just tried to be still, but unfortunately since the line was set so short, he was really tight jumping out. Missed the left-to-right change again -- same thing, he was looking out of the ring to the left. Then the last jump was the other single quarter line and the ride was perfect to it, but the last stride he saw a big dark shadow under the jump and jumped it like it was about 2 feet bigger than it was, with his head down between his knees. I just laughed at him, and then I think we missed the left to right change and had to trot a step, if I'm remembering correctly. Not our best trip but not awful.

Third trip: Same course as the first. Fence one was the same ride, quiet and conservative. Second fence was the single diagonal and I think he was thinking about the lead change afterward because three strides out he gunned it and then ran to the corner and pulled me through the change. Again, I think that was due to the tug of war in the trip before and he never quite relaxed around the corner. Then in the five stride outside line, I didn't sit and collect him in the line with my seat, I kind of stood and pulled, though I did remember to use my voice. Not the prettiest ride, and not the most effective because the out was still tight. But, I opened my inside rein and this time he got the left to right change. Sadly (ugh!) got the same ugly big distance to the next diagonal oxer. This time, I was trying to make him wait and he sort of blew me off and took the long one, so he jumped it really pulling the reins out of my hands which worried him a little. He landed right but got a beautiful right-to-left change. He got forward again through the change, but I used my voice and got him to slow down again. He waited for the in of the four, but it was a little bit of struggle and then the four felt a little rushed. Then he sort of cruised around the end of the ring, never quite came back to me, so the last fence, the other quarter line single, was tight and he rubbed it. To his credit, the rub didn't phase him. All in all though, not a very pretty course.

Hack: Got in and trotted until the judge started the class, because we didn't have much time between our last round and the hack and I wanted him to realize we were just flatting. His first trot was beautiful, first canter was good. Then we reversed and she asked us to pick up our canter first. He was thinking trot so I had to ask a little harder for the canter than I normally would in a hack and the canter got just a little too bold. Then she had us trot, and his trot was pretty good again. He was fourth though, so I think that second direction canter is what hurt us. There were some good movers in the class though.

Overall: Not a horrible horse show, but a little disappointing. We have been working so hard over the past month and I feel like I've really started to figure out at home how to let go, leave him alone, stay soft and flowing, and we didn't get to apply any of that. Mostly due to the fact that the ring was tiny and the lines were set pretty short, so I had to fight to keep this tiny little canter that he's not comfortable with, and I think he got a little stressed about getting his changes in tight quarters. I also think due to the last minute ring switch, we didn't get as much time to prep him as we usually take. He might not have needed more time on the longe because he wasn't fresh, but he could have used more time to flat and relax before we showed. Alicia and I have decided that the next time we show there, we need to do the 3' schooling hunters, which go in the morning, and then there's no worries about a ring switch etc. Of course, that means the next time we show there we need to be ready to show at 3', but I'm starting to think we're getting there. I just need to start thinking something other than Holy @&$*! as we're cantering down to the 3' oxer. All in good time.


  1. I hated those shows where the ring is too small and nothing can flow - and if they set the lines too tight - which I suppose they have to do in a small ring, then the lines can't really flow either. Not a bad effort, IMO.

  2. You amaze me at how well you remember each class - how Tucker went over each fence, what lead he took. I would just be blank and just concentrating on how to get around!!!! :o) Well done to you and little Tucker :o)


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