Saturday, January 7, 2012

Drats... another vowel!

Sunday, May 25, 2008
Well....attempt number 2 at Training didn't go so well either. Course, it was better!!
So....anyways, we had been working hard before this show so that it would go better than The Ark. We have been jumping alot. Shelly and Vickie have been great at helping me when I go jump at Morning Run Farm and just last week we had an incredible ride. We jumped everything beautifully and it was just so much fun. We figured out that Fleck needed some clucking and some cheering. If we talked him up, he felt super confident and almost got cocky! Which really works for him. So it was great. Then I had another good lesson at Ashland and Fleck was great going into the water. And I had a FANTASTIC dressage lesson with Karen. So we were all set.
Friday we hauled there and got settled in. We hacked around and did some dressage to get him used to the area....and...I swear.... I might just have to start showing him as "Sore Thumb" because we really stuck out!! It was us...going around looking at everything, with about 10 bay thoroughbreds. Yeah.....sorta the oddballs of the group!! Oh well. But after he looked around, Fleck was great! Really felt good. So anyways, he got his bath and then I went to walk the courses. The cross country course didn't look too bad - just technical in spots. The first three jumps were pretty straight-forward. Then there was a sharp turn to a big bench set one or two strides away from the up/down bank. Then a half-coffin (ditch to roll-top) and then a tricky for us fence. It was in the fenceline, which meant I had to ride straight to it. It was also on a downhill approach (fairly steep too if you came straight) and it was a tiny bit of a drop on the other side. Then you went to a big bench, then through a path around the lake and then all of a sudden, out into the open at the water. I knew Fleck was going to look at everything, so I planned to trot here. The line was a small jump into the water, bend left (not too far or you hit a prelim dock jump) and then out a stride and over a big triple log. Then through another bridlepath, over a bridge, through a covered bridge, over a whiskey barrel jump, out of the woods, past the lake, and to the next line. This line was set at almost a 90 degree angle, with not much approach. It was a skinnier chevron, up to a bank up, and then two strides to a bench (all up the hill). Then it got fairly easy as far as technicality. It was a long run to another fence line hanging log (HUGE!) and then a big gallop to a big bench, then down the hill, up the hill to a huge table, then up the hill to another huge table/roll-top thingy, and then up the hill and over the vertical gate jump and you were done. So.... I figured that I would have to trot alot of the technical stuff and trot alot to get good apporached, but we should be fine. Stadium was also a little tricky, atleast for a horse like Fleck. Nothing huge or scary, just bendy lines and such. It was an oxer with a bendy line to a vertical. However, if you jumped it straight it put the vertical slightly on an angle with it very easy for Fleck to continue to drop that left shoulder and slide left. BUT, if you took a bendy line and jumped the vertical straight, you'd have a really tough time making it to the next jump which was off a right turn. So... I decided to just try to ride the straight line and counter-flex him some so he wouldn't pop that outside shoulder and run out. Then it was a roll-back turn to another oxer, nicer bendy line to a stone wall, turn left to a two stride, then roll-back to a gate type jump, sharper bendy line to another vertical, then a little roll-back to a double again. I'm bummed cause it was a triple, but they changed it to a double. So anyways... not too scary or anything, but I felt like I was going to have to use my brain to get Fleck into a nice approach. So...then i grazed fleck, thenI ate and got set up for the next day. Of course then I realized that I had forgotten my black helmet cover! My helmet is a periwinkle/purple/blueish color, so I panicked!! I did have a navy lycra helmet cover, so I figured that would have to do. Of course in the morning I would try to borrow something. So off to bed I go.
Saturday I woke up early and found Fleck COVERED in poop stains.... so we reapeated his bath. Luckily Full Gallop had warm water (and it wasn't that cold). But, I could not find anyone with a black helmet or cover to use. So... I had to go into the ring with my stupid navy helmet cover. Which was fine for XC, but NOT for dressage. And when the sun came out, it was much more of a bright blue than navy. ARGH!! Oh well. I apologized to the judge, and.... that was all I could do. Turns out later that both of my friends had a helmet or helmet cover I could have borrowed, but I didn't want to call and wake them out. Oh well. So anyways... he warmed up good and we went in the ring. The test felt pretty dang good. And our lengthen to canter transition (with a regular trot in between) felt soooo much better than it had been in tests. Not as good as at home, but better than most times. It just felt like a nice test.. Turns out, it was! We got a 35.5 which put us tied for 5th place out of...maybe 15 or so. Of course I didn't know this until after it was all done.
So then Fleck got a break and I tried not to worry. Then we got ready for stadium and cross country. Since they made it a one day, we went straight from stadium out to cross country more or less. He warmed up great! We practiced jumping on an angle and not running out and he just felt ...on! So then we went for stadium. It wasn't nearly as pretty as warm-up, but he was great! He totally did the second to third fence great and didn't pull a rail (like some others that took it a little more bendy). We ended up going clean!!! Yay!! And he sorta spooked at the last double because there were houses on the side, but I said "keep going" and he said "okay then" and jumped it fine. So whooo hooo!! I felt really good about XC then. So we warmed up over a roll-top and then headed out. I didn't even worry about my watch and time because I knew we would be slow with all my trots planned out. We started off great and did fantastic over the first two fences. Then Fleck sorta took off and careened a little but I managed to get him back on track and straightened our approach to fence three. Then we headed for the bench and up/down bank, which he did beautfully. He was going in such a nice rythm, I opted to not trot, which I think was a good decision as he went. Of course, he did the Fleck thing and trotted once up on the bank and trotted down, but no worries. So then he started rolling again and I was able to balance him for the half-coffin and again decided not to trot. Which again, worked in my favor. So then we went way up the hill and I got him to trot and we came down to the brushy drop scary fence. Well... I think I knew I didn't have enough impulsion and felt like I had gone too far up the hill and it was steeper, so we just didn't have it to get over. So he stopped. So I circled and came at it again and he was fine and over it. So then he went careening down the hill and around the turn and tripped a little. Which sent me a little off balance and I lost my stirrup. So I yelled "i'm not approaching the fence" as we were a little close to the bench, circled him and got my stirrup. Then he jumped it great and we were off down the lane around the lake. And then.... it all fell apart! I trotted because I knew he would have to look at everything, and look he did. He came trotting up to the jump into the water very behind my leg and crooked. Not wiggly, but very crooked, so I pretty much knew it wasn't happening, but there wasn't too much I could do about. Not much room to circle and we had already "approached" the fence. So I tried to be firm with my seat and legs, but...he stopped. So we circled and tried again and ...pretty much the same thing. So I smacked him...only once... which I'm not sure why I didn't give him two more good cracks! So then as I turned around for our final try, my brain thought...maybe you should canter? but it just didn't make it to my legs in time so we trotted to it again and he stopped again. So...that's it, I was done. So...we made the walk of shame back up the barn. I just couldn't figure out why he wouldn't go into the water. I didn't feel like he was scared or anything, but.... oh well.
So yeah.... another E! But...atleast we got better this time. Turns out I was still tied for 5th after stadium, so... oh well. Because they changed it from a two-day to a one day, they said they would leave the course open for schooling the next day. So that was our the next day and fix things.
And school we did!! I warmed up and then started at the upper water to get his feet wet. Well, he was naught at first, but after a whuppin' he went in and was a good boy. So then we decided to run the course, but...they took down the last four or five of my jumps!!!! So we could only do the first part of the course, which atleast was the technical part. The last few jumps were just the big gallopy jumps. However, they were BIG so I wanted to jump them. Oh well. So anyways, Fleck did great and even jumped the drop brushy fence at first and was great. Until we hit the water again! He stopped and got smacked and then went in the next time, but was confused and ran to the right and up the bank next to the prelim jump. So then we tried to go to the out jump but the line was too bad he just couldn't jump it, so we didn't try. So then i came around a second time and he understood and did it fine. So... I really just think he was confused and couldn't figure out what the heck the plan was and where he was going and what he was supposed to do. Which I can understand, so.... we just need to work on some technical stuff and getting him to realize that he can rely on me for directions sometimes. So then we jumped the rest of the course that we could and he did great. I didn't even break to a trot for the stuff I had originally planned on. He was great! Then we started to play with the prelim stuff. We jumped most of the prelims out there that weren't too HUGE or too technical. We did some big jumps that were just out in the open and he was great. We even did the big scary prelim chevron!!! Which really felt like the best jump of the day! And we did the prelim bank complex...which was a big up bank, one stride to a roll-top, one stride to a down-drop. Wheee! He was great! And then we tried the full coffin. Again.... just wasn't sure what the question was I guess. Though you would think he'd be able to put two and two together... we've done half-coffin's both ways.... jump to ditch and ditch to jump. But oh well. It took tries for him to realize and then he soared through it. Then we did a up bank, bounce to a log, and he was fine. We did the double down banks and he was fine. Then we finished with the top water! I was so proud of him for this! We didn't do the whole prelim line cause the first jump was HUGE!, but we did a roll-top drop into the water (which was pretty decent sized) and up out of the water and a one stride to a big roll-top again. And he did it perfectly the first and second time!! So whoo hooo!
So all in all, while it was a sad day with the Big E, we learned alot and ended well. I feel like we're making progress and think if the water hadn't been so looky, we probably would have finished! Not without the one refusal and possibly another one, but I feel like we would have finished. So...atleast we got 2/3 down and next time we'll manage to get that 3rd in and atleast finish! The good news is that once we get the XC down, we should be fairly competitive, since our dressage and stadium seem to be going well now. So it was fun!!

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