Thursday, May 26, 2011

One Crazy Week...

So in a matter of one week I have managed to get sick and fall of of my horse twice. Good job Jamie.

In my defense, the second time I fell off was because I was sick. I shouldn't have ridden but I kind of had to... I'll get to that part of the story.

Well, in my last blog post, which was way longer ago than it should have been, I talked about all the awesome things that had been coming up. I had a fantastic birthday and my horse was amazing for the dressage lesson I had on my birthday. Then we were off to Jersey Fresh! We had so much fun! We drove down on Friday and got there about 11:30. We watched a few of the CCI** dressage rides and then we went out to walk the xc course. Jeez, those jumps are huge!

 CIC*** oxer
 CCI***/CIC*** brush table
 Standing next to the CCI*** jump into water
 C element of CCI***/CIC*** second water. It was a brush drop in, a handful of strides in the water to a corner that rode sticky for just about everybody, then out uphill to this massive narrow
CCI***/CIC*** trakehner

On Saturday we watched pretty much all of the cross country. It was a very exciting day and the courses rode pretty tough. Sunday was stadium day and we watched the CCI**, CIC** and CCI*** before heading home.

I got my puppy the Monday after we came back. He has been keeping me very busy. He comes to the barn everyday and he is now great friends with Ben, despite being a little weary about him at first.

Fast forward to this week. Mystic Valley Hunt Club Horse Trials is this Saturday, the 28th. It is the first event of the season for us.

On to the first fall of the week. This past Sunday, I was planning on hopping on Ben, doing a 20 minute warmup, and then popping him over a few cross country-esque things in the ring. We have a skinny wood coop and hay bale covers that look like bricks that I put out. I also laid out a few Blocks on their sides to make a tiny but cross country-esqe fence. We also have a beefy log out on our "loop" that I was going to hop over. We haven't had a chance to go cross country schooling and Ben hasn't seen a cross country fence since October, which is why I wanted to do this.

So I get on Ben and I'm walking around. A couple of the other boarders had their horses turned out in the grass field which is right against the ring fence. They thought if would be a fabulous idea to gallop around and buck and leap. Ben did too. I managed to stay on for about a good five minutes of various bucking, spinning, leaping tantrums until he bucked and twisted and I went off the side. I landed on my back and got a little bit of a "road rash" kind of thing going on but I'm just fine. By this time we had to leave to go horse shopping with a friend and her mom so I just lunged him to make him know he had to work still and then put him away. I planned on riding him when we got back.

Of course on our way back home I started not to feel fabulous. I had a sore throat and a headache and was in no mood to ride. It was feeding time anyway which means I would have had to wait to feed Ben before I left and my dad was at home watching my puppy. We had decided not to take him with us because it was a long drive to where we went to look at horses. Then it rained on Monday so there was no riding that day either.

Bring on Tuesday. I felt like crap. I had such a bad cold, I had been waking up at 5:45 am everyday with my puppy, and I knew I wouldn't be able to make it through the lesson. Of course, this was also my last opportunity to jump a Novice height course with my trainer before Mystic this weekend. I had decided not to go until the last minute, when I started to feel slightly better and then decided to go. So I groomed Ben really quickly and took him down to our lesson. The lesson went pretty well, we warmed up to jump, and then she put the fences up. We go around and start jumping our course. Ben was getting so deep into all of his fences and popping up over them. One of the fences he completely jumped with his shoulders. Yikes. Then we turn to the oxer, the second to last fence. The oxer is the biggest fence on our course. It is really wide and more like a low Training fence than a Novice fence. It is off a really tight turn. So tight, in fact, that I had to circle once because I missed my line the first time. So we get on the line, counting our rhythm in, last minute Ben decides he can't make it, this is going to be too hard, and runs out. Me being all sick and having my equilibrium all off, almost saves myself but then ends up overcompensating and falling off the other side and managing to get my hip clipped by a back hoof.

I now have a pretty little scrape to match the other side. And by pretty little scrape I mean like a quarter of my lower back is missing skin and it hurts to do anything. Anything except ride which is a really good thing.

So I got back on and we did the whole course a lot better! Ben just needed more go to feel comfortable jumping from the longer spot over bigger fences. He hasn't done more than 2'6" since November.

So yesterday we did some conditioning sets. The loop is quite wet and muddy so unfortunately we could not ride out there so we were forced to do our sets in the flat, boring ring. So instead of doing 5 minutes of trotting per set we did 7 minutes to make up for the lack of hills.

I started with 15 minutes of long and low walking, really stretching him over his back and loosening him up. Then we did 7x2x7x2x7 for our trot. Then we walked for another two minutes and did canter for 2 minutes, walk for two minutes, canter for two minutes, cool out.

He was sweaty and breathing a bit, but not too bad and he still had plenty of go. He cooled down in about 3 minutes. He got hosed off and he got his socks "pre-washed" with QuicSilver yesterday. I figured if I washed all the really deep down stuff out yesterday, it would be less work on Friday when I give him his bath. Of course, he immediately rolled and got them all muddy again but what are you going to do?

Today we have a dressage lesson and tomorrow we will do our little cross country stuff that I had planned to do on Sunday. On a normal basis, I don't like to jump horses the day before a show but Ben is certainly an exception. Plus the biggest jump is the coop and its only 2'3".

Tonight will be busy and I will be cleaning tack and packing up my trunk. Not as busy as tomorrow of course. I like Saturday shows because you have the rest of the weekend but I don't like being limited to just the afternoon of Friday to get ready for the show instead of all day Saturday to get ready for a Sunday show. The show is not far so we will be heading up there to walk the course tomorrow.

After 5 days of a cold I feel pretty good today with just a little bit of a residual cough.
Sorry for how incredibly long this post is. I really need to start updating more often so every post is not like a novel...

There will defintely be pictures and videos and if all goes well there will be a helmet cam video too! Thanks for reading guys!

Friday, May 6, 2011


Apparently I'm a bad blogger...
Sorry guys, I've just been so busy and really just forgot about the blog!

I will continue to attempt to upload the videos from the combined test on the other post. Maybe if I upload them to YouTube first it will work better. I'll give that a try and hopefully they'll be up on the other post by later on today.

While not much has happened in the riding part of my horse life, we did get some bad news from our barn owner a couple of weeks ago...
In November, she is closing the barn so we have to find a new place to go. At least she gave us 6 months notice, which is very generous!

So we have been barn shopping quite a lot. On another fun and exciting note, I am going to look at puppies tomorrow! I have my heart set on getting a Jack Russell Terrier so I am going to look at a litter of puppies that just turned 8 weeks old.

So lots of exciting things! My birthday is in 6 days, I'm turning 16 so I can finally drive! For my birthday, my parents are taking me down to the Jersey Fresh Three-Day Event. We're going down on Friday and we'll be there for XC day on Saturday and show jumping on Sunday. I'm really excited about that!

Ben and I have been prepping for our first event of the season which is the Mystic Valley Hunt Club Horse Trials on May 28th. It's a really nice, low key event even though it is recognized, with nice open, flowy courses that are good for galloping and going forward. A really nice season opener. They never really have any combinations either and only a few of the fences are maximum height/width. I think if I had to pick the hardest things on the course they would be:
-The ditch only because Ben is slightly ditchy when he feels like it and the ditch is set basically in the middle of a field and you have just come off a log that you jump downhill so you are kind of rolling along. The ditch just seems to pop out of nowhere!
-The water. The actual water is not flagged which is nice because Ben is not a huge fan of it! The water is in the woods and you gallop into the woods and jump a beefy hanging log, turn a sharp corner, go through the water, go out and up a slope two strides to another log. It's a really fun combination but it is one of the harder things on the course
-The last fence. While this fence is really fun, it does not make for a good final fence. It is a decent size hanging log with a dip in it that makes the jumpable part really narrow if that makes any sense. It is also a drop fence that lands you from the grass cross country course into a sand ring where the finish line is. It is also where people are warming up just one ring over. It is actually a really looky fence, especially for the last one on the course.

Other than those few things, the course is pretty easy and those things actually end up riding pretty well. Dressage and warm-up is on sand which is always nice! Stadium is usually on their grass field but is not this year because of the late winter we had its going to be on sand. No complaints from me!

So that is everything that is going on right now. I promise I am going to try to be better about posting!
Thanks for reading!