Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Greater Dayton Recap Day 2

Holy Cow it is XC Day!!!

That was pretty much my feeling when I woke up on Sunday. I'm not entirely sure if it was excitement or terror because sometimes those feelings can be hard to distinguish from each other!

We didn't ride until a little after 1:00 so I actually slept in and got to the barn around 9:30. I took my time getting Loki cleaned up and making sure I still had everything ready to go. My husband came with me and helped me load and helped me to stay calm.

By the time we got back to the show grounds we didn't have to sit around long. I checked out pictures in the photographer's tent. There were a couple of really funny ones from my trainer and another friend and I wasn't too disappointed in mine which is always a plus. I totally meant to go back and order a couple because they always have show day specials but totally forgot. So now I have to wait until they are up on the website. Oh well.

After that I got myself and Loki ready and we headed on out to warm up. Right away Loki was SUPER heavy and I realized it was because he was pretty darn tired. We've had a really busy couple of weeks. At first our warm up was pretty rough and then my trainer had me do some trot-halt-trots and then canter-halt-canters until we were able to find a balanced canter. It really helped!

And before I knew it it was time to head out on course! And here some silliness ensues!

So right before I went to the start box I was sitting by warm-up and there is a part of the course you can watch. There was another rider from my division coming through and this particular rider happened to be very scary to watch, like literally waiting for the train wreck. The horse was pretty much out of control and they were careening around the course and the rider was yelling so loudly we could hear it from quite a distance away. At first I thought the yelling was something along the lines of whoa, stop, help as if the horse was running away and the rider was yelling for help but they kept going so I'm not sure. We even watched as they had a run out at a fence and circled back to jump it. I mean just the circling back was done at mach 10! (Update: I don't tell this story to judge the rider. The horse looked very difficult to ride and I'm sure they were doing the best they could.)

I mention it to sort of give you an idea of what was going through my head as I headed out on XC. Pretty much it was me being terrified that I would completely loose control of Loki and careen around the course at mach 10 scaring us both and the people watching. And to be sure there have certainly been moments in the past where Loki was not completely under my control. Basically I just freaked myself out.

The result was we had the absolutely SLOWEST XC round of the day, LOL! Looking back on it and it actually makes me giggle a little because I absolutely hauled Loki in and we fought through most of the course and in my head we were careening around like the horse and rider I had just watched when in reality I now realize we were actually going kind of (really) slow! The reason it felt so fast, in my defense, was that Loki was running pretty flat which is the most comfortable and least energy draining way for him to run. I wanted him to be nice and round the entire course and that is not fair nor realistic. They can't run an entire XC course in a super pretty dressage canter! Plus Loki was already tired and he was really trying to get me to carry him the entire way and since I was terrified we were going way too fast I totally fell for it. To clarify, we did have some moments where Loki did get too fast usually right after a jump and it would take me about five or six strides to get him reeled back in but what I really needed to do was ADD MORE LEG to get him balanced and not worry about how fast he was going. His speed isn't the issue it is his balance and I'm slowly starting to get it.

So anyways, the first three jumps didn't ride super well but then we hit a slightly uphill part of the course and that really helped us get it back together. By the end of the course we had some really lovely jumps and there was one jump in particular that rode so well that I thought THIS this is what XC is supposed to feel like.

Never once was there any indication that Loki was going to run out. He ATTACKED the course which was a really awesome feeling now that I can think about it without being pumped up on adrenaline. I also realized afterwards that it has been nearly 4 years since I've ridden a XC course. I've done lots of schooling but that is totally different than actually being out on course so it makes sense that I was having a serious attack of nerves. I really do think it will be better next time.

Well, I tried to keep this as short as possible. I learned so much at this event and I will definitely be writing about that in my next post. But, for now here are some photos of our illustrious first ever XC course. :)

(Oh and by the way we ended up with 28 time penalties... like I said we were going slllllllllowwww!)

XC Warmup
In the start box
We shall proceed with caution at the trot
Our very first XC jump on our very first XC course!
jump 2
One of the only times I lost my lower leg at this jump which was slightly downhill.
One of our little jumps
I'm pretty sure his ears were pricked forward the entire ride.
We finished!!


  1. I think you always feel like you're going faster than you are lol. That's my problem anyway... seems to be everyone else's as well :\

    That being said, it takes time to get use to the appropriate speed- and since it's his first xc outing, I wouldn't stress about it since it's better to take it slow and let him learn to listen to you and you both gain confidence.

    I think it sounds like a very successful first official event and you should be proud! My first event was like a 45 dressage, refusal and rail in stadium, and a refusal xc! haha. Although somehow I still ended up 6/12 because River Glen just destroys people lol. But we learned from it and look how good he is now! You guys will be great :)

  2. You both look great!! Love the forward ears. :) Looks like Loki is a happy pony with a happy rider!

  3. Love the expression over fences. Better safe with penalties and a good experience than not!

    Just an aside - try not to judge the runaway rider...Ive been there before and my horse literally grabbed the bit and we did not stop until we ran into a bush and fell..I was trying to stop him for a good half of the course, Im sure I looked just like that kid out there. You never know whats happening, whether they are aiming for top speed or being run away with. Just a thought.

    1. I honestly didn't mean to sound judging although after re-reading I can see where it sounds that way. I will have to update with a clarification. You are right that I had no idea what was going on with this rider/horse I only wrote about it because it effected me so much right before my ride as in it scared me to death to watch no matter what the reason was for the speed!

  4. AWESOME!!!! Those jumps are HUGE!!! Love the "proceeding with caution at a trot!"

  5. Loki is jumping those SO CUTE! If you like slow maybe you should be a hunter? :)

    1. Actually... I think dabbling in the hunter world would do us a ton of good. I do plan on doing as many of our hunter schooling shows as I can because we need to learn to keep a steady rhythm and jump out of stride, etc. You guys make it look so easy! But of course I will still always want to be an eventer. :)

  6. It sounds like a pretty positive learning experience over all. The weather last weekend was awful. Every time I went outside I would tell myself that I was glad I wasn't showing this weekend. Hopefully that yuckiness is gone for real this time. Great attitude about all of it. Want to go on a trail ride soon? I also want to take the haflinger out schooling at tt's so of you go soon let me know and I'll join you.