Tuesday, October 22, 2013

2013 American Eventing Championships

 Wowza's.... It was... a lot! 

After our last jaunt with Christina, Fleck rested for the day and then we hauled to Kims farm where he stayed in her spacious stalls for a few hours before we left for Texas. It actually wasn't too bad of a haul. (Of course I wasn't driving!). Pretty much straight on I-20 the entire way. We did hit a bad storm and there was a cop that was slowing down and directing people to slow down. I joked that Fleck and Bear were such rockstars they got a police escort. Hee hee. It slowed us down substantially but it was fine. 

We got them unloaded and settled in and set to work getting everything else unloaded. After the long day,
I decided to just hand walk and not ride Fleck. I figured he would be happier that way. We had decent stall locations in a great barn with the rest of the Georgia people. We even were on the same row (but opposite ends) of Lainey Ashker and she even asked me how we did at the end and said she "loved that horse"! whoo hooo! Anyways, the only downside was that the floor was packed dirt and they only gave us one bag of shavings!! For 5 days! And each bag was $10. You weren't supposed to bring in "outside" shavings so we snuck some in. Wednesday was a recovery day so Fleck and I had a dressage school. He was pretty darn good and I was feeling good about things. We were riding at the same time as Jonathon Holling and Kyle Carter and they were ribbing each other while they rode. "You call that a leg yield?". Hee hee. Jonathon and I almost hit each other twice (translate to... I almost ran into him twice) and I joked to Beth that Fleck must have been looking so awesome they decided to bump out the competition. Ha!! He did feel really good though. So good I wanted to keep riding. But I didn't. He got a bath and I got ready for dressage day! Oh, and in addition to his primping, Fleck got some acupuncture. He was still pretty tender on his SI and the SI points were definitely reactive. He got all humpy and bouncy in his stall while the needles were in. Afterwards, we did another walk around, let him have a pee, and finally called it a night. Kim let me use her truck to go to the hotel and back. Her and Hope stayed in their LQ's while Jamie and I drove back and forth to the hotel. Man... I like the diesel! It's loud and ... rawry!

So dressage day! I didn't ride super early so Fleck got another bath that morning and I braided. Then Beth fixed his trims and we even spray painted his tail. It actually looked good! My tack was all clean and I was actually on time and put together. We warmed up pretty well I thought. Beth said that I needed to ride my corners more effectively. And of course, I took that to heart. ;) And proceeded to go into the ring and override the corners. Doh. Oh well. It wasn't our best test, but it wasn't horrid. I actually liked it better on video than I thought I would. But... it was champs. And so we scored a 38 something and were tied for 30th place out of 39. Doh! Alas. Oh well. I was still proud of the big guy.

Now that dressage was over, it was time to focus on the fun stuff! I had walked XC already and jeesh!! It started out looking okay. And even like prelim would be okay. And then.. not so much! It was big!! Even BN looked big for BN. I was very glad we were running training level. In fact, I was a little worried about making it through. But then I walked it a second time, and it looked much better. And a third time made it look even better. There was the ditch and wall on there. And it looked huge. But I was actually kind of looking forward to it. It was a real ditch and wall. But it had a decent related approach and was next to a bunch of other bigger ditch and walls, so... I was feeling like we would get over it. I was starting to feel pretty good about the course. And then, the added a bunch of brush in the ditch and added a colored rail to the top. And then it kind of ruined my "yay, this will help me get over my ditch and wall fears" feeling because... it wasn't really a ditch and wall anymore. But...Oh well. I was still a little bit worried we'd have an issue there. So, back to XC day. The water at the horse park in Texas was coming out orange. Like orange gatorade orange. And it was staining the horses! I was a little afraid that Fleck's hiney was going to look like a pumpkin! I managed to get him mostly clean by using a particular faucet when it wasn't busy so he didn't look too bad. We got free flair strips, so I slapped that on. And Kim had fun and drew spots in on it. Hee hee.. I liked it! We got lots of compliments. I tacked up and and got on a bit earlier than I needed. I thought, oh well, I'll walk him around and loosen him up. Ha!!! Fleck had other plans. He was HYPED!! I got to warm up and it was all I could do to keep him at the walk. Any attempts to trot became canter/gallops and there was a few bucks and shoulder drop and spins thrown in too. What?!? Silly horse! Finally it was time to start getting ready and Fleck was so thrilled to be able to do something other than walk. Yay! He felt phenomenal. Like... I could have comfortably run around THAT prelim course!! THAT championship area 5 prelim course! He was on fire!!

5, 4, 3, 2, 1... have a great ride!! We were off like a rocket. The first three fences were table or roll top types and he jumped them easily out of stride. We then headed to the fourth fence which was a stacked log thing slightly uphill. I accidentally buried him at it and he sort of knocked his hind end a bit but carried boldly on. The fifth fence was the "OK corral". I won't lie.. this one actually worried me more than the ditch and wall. It was a very open airy table top fence, built into a fence line, uphill. I was afraid that I would either not rock him back enough and he'd chest it or that I would rock him back too much and take away and he'd chest it. But guess what?! That was our BEST Fence. He nailed it perfectly and galloped off through the exit to the corral like he jumped through corrals every day. Whoo hooo!!Then it was up to the steeplechase brush, bendy line to the corner, to the up bank to the table and on to the angled cabins. He nailed the two stride angled cabins and then jumped the stew out of the big red barn. He was a little stuffy into the water because I think I held too much. I tried to get him too "Coffiny" in his canter and over did it. But he rocked on through anyways. It was just stickier because I got him a little behind my leg. But maybe it was good because then I had to GALLOP uphill to the fairly intimidating big open airy trakenher. Fleck jumped the poo out of that one too. I even have a pretty pro shot coming! Then we turned to the other fairly scary open oxer jump, wiggled around the prelim and intermediate fences to the small bank down, out over the rolltop and then....7 strides to the ditch and wall. Fleck never even blinked. We had it!! YES!!! The rest of the course was great too. The big other fairly impressive open tabled oxer was met in stride. He collected nicely to the half coffin and jumped it pretty in two instead of strung out or stabby. He cleared the roll top and then sailed beautifully over the final steeplechase brush roll top which was shared with prelim. We cantered easily on home as we were up on time and I believe we finished within 2 or 3 seconds under optimum. Whooo hoooo!!!! Great ride! Fleck was so proud of himself too.

Our clean cross country run moved us up to 16th place! Whoo hooo!! Not a bad place to be. Not so high up that there's intense pressure to go clean in stadium but high enough that a clean round could potentially put us in the ribbons. We walked stadium and it looked like fun. The final line was a 5 stride to a 6 stride off set. Beth warned me that the 6 stride would be very easy to get long and flat too and very easy for them to pull a rail. Fleck felt pretty good the next morning and was jumping nicely in warm up. It was our turn and in we went. The first jump was great! No stickyness or anything. The second jump... all my fault! GAH! It was a solid wall with a very upright plank covered in roll top fake grass. For whatever reason it intimidated me. So what did I do?? I threw myself at it and flung myself up Fleck's neck a whole stride early. Doh! Bless his heart. He rolled his eyes, patted the ground, and heaved himself over it to jump it cleanly. We then had a splendid round for the rest of the course. He jumped the triple quite nicely (as usual!) and we came to the final line. He jumped the first two beautifully and we headed to the last fence. I swear I thought we had it. I even thought we had it as we were arcing over it. But it was not to be. I didn't quite get the impulsion I needed and he was a little flatter, so he hit the front rail with his hind legs. Doh! Oh well. We stayed in 16th place. Without the final rail, we would have been 8th. Oh well. Totally my fault. And considering he hauled that far and did that well all weekend long... I can't complain about the rail. I'm still so proud of him and was so pleased with him.

Ha!!! We kind of stick out in a crowd, don't we??

All in all, it was a wonderful and fun weekend!!! Our friends did super well and I'm very proud of them. Mr. Fleck gave it his all, as usual, and I couldn't be more proud of him.

I promised him.. and he deserved it!


  1. Omg, you and Fleck look STELLAR! Those XC jumps give me goosebumps just looking at them -- they looks so big! But it's obvious that they are not nearly big for Fleck; he cleared them all with room to spare!! Congrats on a great ride!!

  2. You two look amazing together! And he looks like he is having a ball out there. :)

  3. You guys are seriously rock stars!

    I love love love the picture of you patting him after dressage :)